Checking In (+ Yellow Butter Cake)


[On the Wadi Trail, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, March 2015.]

We moved into our new house last weekend and I’ve already baked a lemon yogurt cake, made lots of fruit compotes for a certain someone, did the requisite pot of quinoa and roasted a chicken … So, not much has changed kitchen-wise other than my current abode’s offering is much tinier and darker than my last lovely tiled and light-filled space and I’m a bit thin in the wares department. Still, we’ve transitioned OK-ish and I remain grateful we came over to Riyadh from Casablanca rather than going back to the States first. Flying long distances plus time differences when you have a little one adds the sort of dimension to travel that almost makes you want to stay home (only almost) or at least slate a long stretch of time to stay when you get there. That’s to say, pretty much, that I am looking forward to a nice summer of California time because a) there’s no way we are staying in the desert when temperatures can reach upwards of 120 degrees F and b) have I mentioned how … interesting … long haul flights are with an 18-month-old?

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Ever Onward (+ Little Applesauce-Spice Cakes)

In the yard, February 2015.

As I sit here eating (vegan) chocolate chunk cookies and swilling coffee, the thought occurs: wasn’t this blog once more about vegetarian food than sweets? I blame flourless. - which is finally back in stock on amazon and elsewhere; yippee! – and all the recipe testing that occurred during its creation. I always baked a lot, but things really ramped up two years ago when I was in the depths of writing the book and not much has changed since. Though in my defense I do still make and eat a lot of vegetables: Last night I had a bowl of delicious sweet potato/parsnip soup and piled lemony sauteed brussels sprouts atop quinoa and it satisfied my typical wintry cravings for vegetables and whole grains. Yet we’re on the cusp of yet another life change and thus I bake ever more, or at least I tell myself that’s the reason why. Strangely it does seem to help ease the transition.

While Morocco and I haven’t always been friends I made a sort of peace with my life here last fall — just in time to learn we’ll be packing up and leaving. Ain’t that always the way … And while there’s a lot I won’t miss the nostalgia factor is strong. This is after all the place where my baby took her first steps, said her first words, played in the grass for the first time, made friends with construction workers, nannies, and neighbors alike, chased the cats lingering outside our garden walls. I’ve finally! slipped into a routine, made friends, know the drill and while it’s not perfect I find that on the cusp of moving on that my somewhat rut has become a mostly comfortable one. Since I’m still rather sleep deprived the reality of packing up and starting again is not exactly an exciting one. But, such is life. And as the cliche goes as long as we have each other home can be anywhere – that’s no joke. Especially if there are sweets.

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{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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