This last year has been crazy. I couldn’t have predicted this. At all.
February 2012: “My position was eliminated” after 3.5 years of hard work. We went up to Washington State for three weeks to see if being at sea level in a cloudy climate helps my husband’s migraines. Found out that it helps his head about 40%. It’s the largest difference we’ve found so far. We also put our house up on the market.
March 2012: Moved back to Utah to live with family. I thought this would last a few months, but we’re still here.
April 2012: I got a part-time job teaching English online to students (mostly children) in Spanish-speaking countries. I LOVE IT.
November 2012: My husband’s “position was eliminated.” We also got an offer on our house! We’re in the short sale process, so it’s taking a long time. It’s still going on. We’re hoping to close by the end of February 2013. My husband is looking hard for work, but nothing has worked out yet.
As I’m sure you can imagine, having my life turned upside down means that I really have to re-evaluate who I am and what my values are. It’s been a long and arduous process, and it’s not over yet! This blog has undergone some changes, too! It initially started out as a way for my extended family to understand my Celiac and food allergies, became an attempt to have a gluten-free wedding planning business, then to product reviews, then to….jam.
As I’ve been figuring myself out and what I want to do with this blog, I’ve realized that I no longer let my life revolve around gluten. I am still 100% gluten-free. As I was trying to build a business, though, I just became overwhelmed by the hard-core gluten-free and allergy folks.
3 1/2 years after diagnosis, I really don’t spend a lot of brain power on gluten-free. Seriously. After the hours it took to go grocery shopping the first couple of times, I never thought eating gluten-free would be intuitive, and yet — here I am. It’s so intuitive that I occasionally FORGET to tell servers at restaurants that I have to eat gluten-free. Crazy, right?
Then I thought about what I could do with this blog that those hard-core folks out there can’t provide. They are recipe-creating masters! They have every bit of advice that a newly-diagnosed Celiac or gluten intolerant person could ever dream of needing. They’re activists, always fighting the good fight against gluten and allergy ignorance. They’re writers. I felt like there wasn’t anything I could contribute. I don’t have kids that need dinner 5 minutes ago. I’m not even working full-time. I don’t eat organic, well, pretty much anything.
Then I realized: I can promote real food. For me, real food is peace. It’s love. It’s life. It’s intertwined with life. It’s part of a balance. It doesn’t define me, just like I’m not defined by any single aspect of my life. It’s a big part of my identity, sure, but it’s not everything.
So — real food. Tonight, I made an almond bundt cake.
It consists of almond flour, brown rice flour, baking soda, salt, olive oil, water, agave nectar and (pure) maple syrup. That’s it. That’s all. Just this week, I’ve made turkey piccata, twice-baked sweet potatoes, pad thai, a “south american” pork dish involving quinoa, coconut milk, turmeric, ginger, cloves, and a tomato-apricot chutney. (I’m missing a few ingredients because I’m listing them off the top of my head, but they’re all real ingredients, too.) Tonight was turkey chili with rice. Pumpkin cookies. Chocolate chip cookies. Ginger wheels (softer than snaps). A pear spice cake made with teff (and to DIE for. I would have made that tonight instead of the almond bundt cake, but I didn’t have any fresh, ripe pears).
For me, real food is worth it. I don’t spend the extra money on organic stuff (unless that’s the only way it comes, like some of the flours). I just make real food with real ingredients. I haven’t been to cooking school, and I’m definitely not a photographer. I just like to cook, and document what I cook, and work it into my life. Even though I never could have anticipated that we’d be living with my parents at this point in life, I LOVE cooking for all of us.
I am grateful for having been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Yes. I AM GRATEFUL. Without the diagnosis, I never would have discovered quinoa. Or almond flour. Or coconut kefir. Or teff. Or how much FUN it is to make JAM! Or the best pumpkin cookies on earth that also happen to be gluten-free and vegan. Or that pancakes and waffles are not the only uses for maple syrup! Or agave nectar. Or tamari. YUM.
Are almond, teff, brown rice, sorghum, tapioca, garbanzo, rice, amaranth, etc. etc. etc. “weird” flours compared to just boring old flour? Yes. Are they nutritious? Most of them. Are they healthy? Yes! Are they real? Absolutely. Run a Google search on teff flour. Run a Google search on quinoa. Try making a stir-fry, but instead of serving it with rice, serve it with quinoa. IT’S SO GOOD. Run a Google search on tamari. It has a darker, richer flavor than soy sauce, and I LOVE IT. Even if I could, I would never go back to regular ol’ soy sauce.
Thanks for reading, thanks for sticking with me, and if you need any help, please let me know! I’m only an e-mail away. I’m happy to help with shopping or cookbook recommendations or anything at all. cinderellaspear (at) gmail.com. If you’d like to join me on Facebook or Instagram, send me an e-mail. I’m not-so-inclined to add people I don’t know when anybody can read my blog.
Also, if there’s anything you’d like me to cover on the blog, let me know!
Thanks for reading,