Gluten-free bread that worked!

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In the time that I’m not writing, lately I’ve been desperately trying to make a decent gluten-free bread. I’ve tried multiple recipes, and I just can’t get one to work for me! Baking bread at its best takes a hint of magic. It’s all about humidity and sea levels and the breath of an angel.

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Anyway, not to bore you with the nitty gritty details of gluten-free baking, but it’s not the same. It’s like taking geletin, sugar, flavoring and wood pulp and asking you to make an approximation of an orange. Gluten-free bread is not actually bread.

Today, I decided to take another stab it it, though, and I finally made a delicious gluten-free bun! It’s light, fluffy and makes on heck of a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

DSC03278So here are the ingredients, for those of you who might want to give it a whirl. This is a small batch of eight buns, since I was just trying it out:

1 cup rice flour

2 cups corn starch

2 tsp. yeast

2 tsp. guar gum

1 egg

2 cups water (Approximately)

2 tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

1 very fervent prayer, and quite possibly the breath of an angel. ;)

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Easy Peasy!

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I love my home, and I want it to be pretty, but I’m NOT an artsy person. Not in the decoupage-ing, chalk board menu, paper-mache’d harvest kind of way. “This eye-catching pumpkin decorating idea couldn’t be easier: Just use Mod Podge to découpage a white gourd with pressed leaves. You can harvest the foliage from your own backyard!” Things that come easily for others, don’t come easily for me. I love looking at the results of other people’s artsiness, but my own is neatly contained in a paperback novel.

I admire the women who throw together a chalked sign to hang above their children’s heads the first day of school, announcing grade, teacher, future aspirations and number of missing teeth, because my kid doesn’t get that luxury. Oh, I take plenty of pictures of him, and he is thoroughly loved, but my artistic abilities run out after slapping those photos into an album or a frame (that I have not refinished.)

Except… I’m a writer. So I DO write books. I’m not completely barren of artistic ability–just not in the crafting department.

However, a family cannot be celebrated in the mother’s romance writing alone, so I do my part to make our apartment a home. Now, this probably doesn’t actually count as crafty because I didn’t craft it in any way. I picked it up from Winner’s with some birthday money, and I just love it! When I saw it, I HAD to have it. It’s my bicycle built for three!

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“Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do!”

And a third seat… for their future child.

Twice a day ;)

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When I turned 35, all I could think about was when my mom turned 35. I was a teenager at the time, and 35 seemed just so ancient. She wore mom jeans, and while I thought she needed to buy a younger style, she rolled her eyes at me and said that she was comfortable, and after fourteen years of parenting, she was owed a comfortable jean. (Can’t really argue with that, can you?) 35 felt old, for some reason.

Well, this year I turn 36, and I feel downright young! At 36, I have at least 30 more years until I’m a regular retirement age. That’s 30 more years of hard writing–do you know how much a woman can accomplish in that amount of time? Young.

And as for the mom jeans… forget that! I’ve discovered plus sized clothing. Seriously, it’s a beautiful thing! After a mere 6 years of parenting, I feel that I’m owed a comfortable jean, too. I look amazing, everything fits, and I seriously look a good 20 pounds lighter, just by wearing clothes that fit me properly. Not that I even need to look lighter. As I’ve told pretty much all my girlfriends, I love the way I look! I just needed clothes that complemented it. The under-18 crowd can judge me as they will… and they probably will… ;)

For my birthday, my mom sent me the gift of shopping. She understands!

I have no idea what my husband and son have planned for me this birthday, but with my edits for A FIREFIGHTER’S PROMISE emailed off, I’m free to enjoy it. Just for fun, I asked my six-year-old what he thought of 36, and he informed me that it was ooooold.

Old? Pssht. My Oil of Olay begs to differ. ;)

We’re just like…

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this!

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Unless we have to share a computer… but we don’t need to talk about that right now.

We are not two peas in a pod. We don’t have the same hobbies. We seem to come from different planets!

But marriage isn’t about just a signature on a dotted line. It isn’t just a civil agreement about next of kin. It might not be in the vows, but I’m pretty sure you’re signing on to flirt with that man for as long as you both shall live.

Tell him he’s gorgeous. Make eyes at him across a room. Meet him at the door with a kiss. Admire his physique. Lure him home with… well, with whatever you’ve got!

My best tip for a happy marriage: flirtation!

A turkey-less Thanksgiving

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This was the Thanksgiving of First World Problems:

1. Last weekend was chicken dinner with family, and next weekend will be my birthday feast of chicken wings, so we really, really didn’t want to eat more poultry. (So much food… just So. Much. Poultry. I can hear entire countries cursing me for whining.)

2. Ever get sick and tired of cleaning up after big meals? The cooking part is pretty fun, but after the food is consumed and you’re left with piles of dirty dishes and crusty pans… Less fun!

3. I was tired and my husband was tired from a hard week at work and there was no way he was going to pick up the slack for me. Understandably–the man works hard!

So I opted out–but with a smile on my face, because I had plans to kick back and enjoy some time with my family instead of cleaning up after them. This is not a picturesque holiday this year. Sorry about that, but the irony of my First World Problems wasn’t lost on me, either, because we have been blessed with so much in this fine country that we can actually complain about being too full,  or be truly disappointed about a lack of photo ops. With food in our fridge, employment, a comfortable home… The whining needs to stop! ;)

So since a turkey got to live to see another year, I thought I’d leave you with pictures of the birds in our home that will never be eaten, Coco and Little Blue. If one goes on my finger, the other will hop up, too–it’s a team sport. And included in all the things I’m thankful for this holiday, I’m also thankful for them. <3

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And one more for good measure…

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A very happy Thanksgiving to every one of you! (Even if you’re not in Canada and you’ll celebrate later on…) Let us never forget how very blessed we are.

No touching Mrs. Johns!

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My son’s first grade teacher asked me to come read a story to the class for Read In Week. She thought I’d be a great person to ask since I was a writer, and she asked if I could tell the kids what I did.

Me: Well, I’m a writer and I write books.

Girl: What books?

Me: I write books about grown up men and ladies who get married. That probably sounds awful to you kids, but grown ups like it.

(Lots of faces made.)

Boy: Ew!

Girl: My mom cries when she reads those books!

Me: Oh, that’s great!

(Girl looks at me like I’m a psychopath.)

Boy: Guess what? My dad is married!

Me: Excellent!

Girl: Can I hug you?

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Teacher: No touching Mrs. Johns! If we all hugged her at once, she’d be crushed and she’d never come back again!

And that was my visit to my son’s first grade class. I read them a story about pumpkins. And not one of the pumpkins got married. But I did learn that half the class HATES pumpkin pie.

For the record. ;)

The other side to the coin

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Having a very vivid imagination is a bit of a two-sided coin. Side A: it’s how I come up with book idea after book idea.  Side B: it’s why I worry about things that will probably never happen. I can imagine pretty much anything, and it’s never the best case scenario…

When plotting a story, it’s very useful to have a morbid imagination. When you think, “What if it all went horribly, horribly wrong?”, that’s the beginning of a great plot! Vladamir Nabokov said, “It is the writer’s job to get the main character up a tree, and then once they are up there, throw rocks at them.” However, this morbid imagination is also the beginning of an ulcer, if you’re thinking about your own life and not that of a fictional character.

Writing is my therapy. It allows me to channel all that creativity into something useful, because if I don’t channel it, it’s going to keep pouring out anyway, and that’s how you flood your kitchen… Not a good idea.

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So instead of worrying myself into digestive issues, I use my vivid imagination for good, and bring you romance novels for your reading pleasure. :)

It’s a win-win!

 

 

 

 

Lecture gems

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There is a quote that says, “I don’t know what I think until I write it down.” It has been attributed to many different authors, possibly because they’ve all said something similar. Writing does have a way of culling down your thoughts unto something clearer. For me, it’s a little different. I often don’t know what I think until it comes out mid-lecture. Thanks to my almost 7 year old.

Today, the lecture was one after an adventurous grocery shopping trip. (Don’t even ask!) But the little gem that emerged that left me thinking, “Yes, yes, that’s it! That’s exactly what I’m trying to say!” was this:

You were not put on this planet to be entertained. You are here to be a helper.

Sec._of_Ag._Orville_Freeman_providing_a_helping_hand_to_Mrs,_Freeman,_1965_(5187278835)I truly do believe that. If we aren’t of use to someone on this planet… if someone isn’t happier because we were in their life… if we can’t make someone else’s life just a little bit easier, then we’re doing it wrong.

 

20 Seconds

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The other day, my husband was getting ready to go to the gym, and I was following him around making conversation.

Me: I read an article that said that couples who kiss more often are happier.

Him: We kiss.

Me: I know, but how well? I mean, do we kiss like we did when we were dating?

Him: Yes?

Me: You should sound more certain.

Him: Come here. (He kissed me.) See?

Me: That was like two seconds. They say we’re supposed to kiss for a full twenty seconds for chemical bonding to happen.

This won me an eye roll, which wasn’t entirely unjustified. We have a lot of conversations that spring from online articles I’ve read. Yahoo relationship articles have the depth of Cosmo quizzes, so I don’t begrudge him a few eye rolls. He wandered off to find his back pack and then stopped at the front door.

Him: Okay, bye. Love you. (He bent for a quick kiss.)

Me: Wait. Twenty seconds. Like this…

640px-Francesco_Hayez_008And I kissed him. To fill up twenty seconds of kissing takes a bit more commitment to the process, and when I was done with him he blinked down at me.

Him: Okay, like that.

Me: Yeah, like that.

Him: Where is my back pack? I’d better go get it.

Me: On your back.

Him: Oh… You’re good at that.

Yes, yes I am! With him, at least. We’ve still got it. ;)

Christmas shopping in September

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Most people cringe at the thought. In fact, I personally know people who get downright stabby when they hear a tinny rendition of Santa Baby piped into a store before December 1. Do NOT push them. They will think Christmassy thoughts when they are good and ready, and they deeply resent being nudged into it by retailers and ad campaigns.

I’m not one of them.

Christmas shopping on Fifth Avenue, 1900

Christmas shopping on Fifth Avenue, 1900

Now, I’m not Christmas shopping in September because I feel so Christmassy. It’s actually more boring that that. I shop in September, because the financial blow hurts less if you spread it out over a couple or three months. When it comes to Christmas shopping, I don’t whip it off like a Band-Aid. I pull it slowly, slowly, tearing out one arm hair at a time. ;) A little gift here… a little gift there… You can actually squeeze a gift out of your grocery budget if you time it right! However I do it, I refuse to have any Christmas debt come January.

Dave Ramsey would be proud. That’s called be “gazelle intense,” when it comes to debt. It’s also called “annoying your friends and fans with untimely Christmas references.”

So today, the last day of September, I dropped my son off at school and headed down to Walmart to check out the toy department. I’ve crammed my purchases into the back of my closet, and heaved a sigh of relief. I’m not done, but I’ve started, and like novel-writing, having started takes off that edge.

Now we can bring on Thanksgiving. And here in Canada, that’s coming up in about two weeks.

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