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.

Continue reading

{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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading