Thanksgiving-y Dessert Dilemma + A Recipe for GF Apple Cake

ApplesOn Thanksgiving Day, how much variety is necessary when it comes to dessert? Do I need a chocolate dessert in addition to the pumpkin pie and apple pie? Is it apple overkill to have apple cake if the dessert menu also features apple pie and the main meal has apples in the stuffing and apple cider in the gravy? Am I shortchanging the chocoholics in favor of the fruit and veg set?

Somehow chocolate doesn’t seem Thanksgiving-y, but then, again, I don’t like chocolate, can’t eat it without getting a horrible headache and stomach pains. Chocolate seems much more Christmas-y, more appropriate for the first holiday of winter than the last holiday of fall. For Christmas, I’ll make chocolate chip cookies, orange glazed chocolate brownies, chocolate cupcakes with mint icing and maybe even chocolate fondue. I’ll go hog wild with chocolate for Christmas, but not for Thanksgiving.

It seems like apple cake would be nice on Thursday because apples are Thanksgiving-y and some people don’t like pie but they like cake. I like cake. I like cake a lot more than pie. I like the pie filling but I don’t like pie crust, even really good GF pie crust.

So, really, I want validation for making apple cake for me while I’m making pumpkin pie and apple pie and not making chocolate anything for everyone else. That’s totally un-Thanksgiving-y, I realize. It’s selfish to want my cake and to eat it, too. Continue reading Thanksgiving-y Dessert Dilemma + A Recipe for GF Apple Cake

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The Ungodly Hour Feline Frenzy

Sophie bedsideSometime between eight-thirty and nine Thursday night I burrowed under the flannel sheets and red comforter and turned out the light. Maybe a minute later, Jax whomped on top of me and curled himself into a tidy ball on half of my rib cage.

Now that it’s gotten cold, the cats have gotten friendlier. During the summer they stay as far away as possible from a warm body like me, preferring to snooze flat on their backs in any place with a good breeze. Over the past week, however, on the trail of the Polar vortex pushing wintery temps way down South, the cats have morphed into heat seeking missiles. Continue reading The Ungodly Hour Feline Frenzy

Friends Helping Friends Cope With Loss

My neighbor, Susan, loves animals. She let me take care of her brood for a week earlier this year while she went on a much-needed trip that was part vacation, part helping her friend take care of his business. How lucky for Susan that his business is fine gems and jewelry. If a friend in need is one who needs help displaying and selling his original designs comprising precious gems and metals at the nation’s largest and most prestigious gem show in sunny Arizona, well, of course you jump to his rescue. And of course, you ask someone to take care of your fur and feather children, someone who understands the urgency of the situation and who gladly helps you so you can help your friend find forever homes for his exquisitely cut and set diamonds, demantoids, tanzanites, etc.. That’s what friends are for, right?

Ebon and Family Asleep
Ebon (front) with (from clockwise left) Beau (white), Creampuff (beige and white), Stanley (orange and beige), Higgins (orange), and Sam (grey).

Of course! So, I took care of the Persians for seven glorious days. And that’s how I fell in love with Ebon, a little bundle of love with a short (for a Persian) jet black coat and vivid green eyes. He’s the gentle leader of the pack. His son, an orange boy named Higgins, was twice his size but deferred to papa Ebon after just a sideways glance of annoyance from Ebon. Every time I entered the house, Ebon and the other six cats would crowd around me, eager for me to sit on the floor so they could rub themselves all over me and jockey for prime petting position. It’s a huge ego-booster to be so adored. I called it Happy Hour because everyone involved got their happy endorphins flowing.

Continue reading Friends Helping Friends Cope With Loss

A Shot In The Arm

Sometimes you really need a good shot in the arm. Especially this time of year, a good shot in the arm can save you from quite a headache. ‘Tis the season of big crowds, short tempers, long lines, and even longer lifespans for germs sneezed, coughed and otherwise spewed onto every surface you might touch.

Knowing this, I got one.

A flu shot, to be precise, is what I got and I got it in my left arm. Continue reading A Shot In The Arm

On the Imminent Death of a Gluten Free Friend

This is a painful post to write. It hurts because it’s about the imminent death of an Atlanta institution, a vanguard in organic, natural, and gluten free groceries. Return to Eden is closing…for good.

Return to EdenOpened in 1993 in an iconic small retail complex on Cheshire Bridge Road (anchored by the indy movie temple, Tara Theater), Return to Eden innovated by offering natural food grocery shopping on a larger scale than anything Atlanta previously had seen. Rainbow was older but Return to Eden was bigger, and it pre-dated Whole Foods’ first foray into the Atlanta market by several years. Ownership has changed a few times and it’s bounced back from near-death more than once, but this time, Return to Eden is not returning. Continue reading On the Imminent Death of a Gluten Free Friend

Putting Your Health Stats In Your Pocket

When I received the diagnoses of celiac disease and dermatitis herpetiformis, I already had a self-concept Jerry-rigged so the bent Person With Chronic Incurable Illness identity sprang from the conventional High Achiever boxed self  taped to the scaffolding of People-Pleasing-Worryer and criss-crossed with labels like  Short White Yankee Gone South. Here was yet another aspect of me that needed labeling, another imperative to redefine myself.

Anyone with celiac disease has a multitude of labels and identities to choose from. I could emphasize the food aspect and self-identify as GF or gluten free. I could focus on the autoimmune aspects of the disease and say I’m multiply autoimmune impaired in a nod to all the ways my body attacks itself: fibromyalgia, asthma, celiac disease, Raynaud’s, etc.. I simply could be a celiac but this one makes no sense to me. The disease is celiac disease. How can someone who has it be it? This one also irks me because it highlights how society likes to use a single label to define all the parts of you, as if having celiac disease explains everything about you, from heart to soul to bones to skin. Continue reading Putting Your Health Stats In Your Pocket

Oh My God, That’s Horrible!

Not too long ago, I worked for a company in which I, well, just didn’t fit. The people were very nice and extremely good at what they did. They ran as a well-oiled machine of grant writing and money-getting efficiency. The writers could crank out wow! narrative in mere hours and their editors could detect spacing deviations between lines of text, around text in tables, from left margin to right margin, and even between your knitted brows, all in less time than a lunch break. I marveled at their prowess.  And I miserably failed at fitting in. Continue reading Oh My God, That’s Horrible!

Voting Is Gluten Free

Voter MeSo many activities are off limits or ill-advised for the gluten free: pie eating contests, food truck festivals, Taste of (insert name of city or neighborhood), the grand opening of bakeries, progressive dinners in a neighborhood where people think celiac disease is communicable, and movie night sponsored by Little Debbie. Craft day at the local elementary school also would qualify if said crafts require use of that thick white paste kids love to eat or Elmer’s Glue or even Play Doh (all very full of gluten).

One thing both gluten gluttons and gluten free gurus can enjoy is voting. Continue reading Voting Is Gluten Free