{Gluten-free/Flourless} Cinnamon-Sugar Cake

One of the things I detest about moving – other than the whole, you know, being without most of your things for months, welcome to life in the Foreign Service – is realizing just how much stuff I have. Pretty bowls, plates, too many wine glasses (especially now since a glass of wine pretty much puts me to sleep, welcome to life with a 16-month-old. Why do we have so many wine glasses???), clothes, and on and on. And while every move allows me to downsize – one of the things I do like about moving – I find it difficult to give up the little things I’ve collected along the way despite a strange wish to get rid of everything I own. Case in point these blue and white saucers that show up on this blog often. I bought two, plus matching cups and a teapot, at a store in Old Town Alexandria probably in 2004 or 2005 when my brother lived there. So they’ve come a long way in their lifespan and there’s no way I’ll be giving them away any time soon. After all they make my cakes and muffins look so very pretty and when I’ve come up with a recipe as delectable as this gluten-free/naturally flourless cinnamon-sugar cake I want to show it off as much as I possibly can.

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Chicken-Rice Soup for a Cold (or Anytime)

Sierra came down with a rather wicked cold last week: fever, cough, sniffles, all of it. There’s not much sadder than a sick baby toddler? 16-month-old – you can cuddle her, wipe her nose, give her all the water she cares to drink, and tell her she’ll feel better soon but does she truly understand? This week she finally seems on the mend but we’ve been laying low and eating lots of soup (and cake for the grown-ups because why not?).

I made one of my classic many-vegetabled soups (garlic, onion, carrots, sweet potato, potato, parsnip, turnip) and pureed the pot into velvety smoothness on Saturday afternoon while she had a long nap. The sun streamed in as I enjoyed my solitary lunch and hit the clementines (or tangelos?) placed just so on the counter. There was a blessed respite from the ongoing construction project next door and I took a moment to be thankful for the quiet. The little things, yes? Two months in with no end in reasonable sight I’ve started appreciating Sundays ever more, as it’s the one day a week they don’t work. Morocco, you never fail to challenge.

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Rainy (+ Flourless Pumpkin-Chocolate Bread)

It’s raining as I type this, pattering down on the roof and slipping through the leaky skylight on the stairs leading to the second floor. The California wind chime on the porch is merrily beating against itself. Two nights ago there was a fierce windstorm that had the whole house creaking and groaning; I always forget how it does that, and how the desultorily-attached outside shutters blow back and forth with great crashing booms. If during rainstorms my San Francisco apartment felt like being inside a ship at sea – still cozy, though, especially with a wool blanket tucked around my knees – my house in Casablanca during thunder-and lightening storms feels a bit like being inside a tent in the mountains. I was thinking about long ago backpacking trips the other night when the wind tore at our outside bedroom door and then managed to push it open for a minute, how sometimes it seemed as though that flimsy contraption of aluminum and nylon would slide right off the slick granite and tumble down to the valley in the darkness below. We’d huddle in our bags and listen sleep deeply if fitfully and then in the morning the sun would shine brightly again and the breeze would be a gentle thing. Oh the mountains are calling and I must go — yes. Always.

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