The Well-appointed Kitchen

When I get home, I am going to kiss my husband, hug my children, pet the cat, and walk into my kitchen for a moment of silence.

I am visiting my now-bachelor son in sunny California.  He is in his 4th year of medical school ~ almost to the finish line!  He needed some good home cooking and some company due to life’s most difficult moments, so I hopped on a plane and came out.  Time for some mommy “magic.”  🙂

Mind you, I tried to plan ahead.  I brought recipes (that aren’t yet on this blog), a baggie of chicken seasoning (recipe on this blog), and a grocery shopping list.  What I couldn’t bring with me is my well-appointed kitchen!  I didn’t realize just how precious it is!  This week I have wanted to make some different things several times only to realize ~ the only large mixing bowl was in the frig full of watermelon ~ the frying pan wasn’t fit to be used ~ the mixer had walked away with his ex (along with many, many other pieces of kitchenware) and I had to make frosting by hand ~ the cake pan (that I bought in order to be able to make a birthday cake) still contained the cake, so granola bars were out of the question ~ cucumbers are much harder to peel with a knife than with the missing peeler ~ nuts can be chopped in the blender, albeit unevenly ~ and I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

I remembered during this process that many years ago I began methodically buying duplicates of my most-used cooking items to avoid this kind of frustration.  I actually have 5  9×13″ pans (1 glass) so that if one has a cake in it, I can still make a “meat”loaf and put an extra in the freezer or take to a potluck or a sick friend.  I have 1 enormous and 2 very large mixing bowls (with a back-up plastic cheapie in the back of a cupboard just in case which since I first posted this has now found it’s way to my son’s kitchen.)  I have a multitude of platters of different sizes, 1- and 2-quart serving bowls, spatulas, wooden spoons, nylon spoons and utensils, etc.  And there are still days when I look in my cupboards and find I really have used them all!!!  (On those days, you can’t fit another thing in my 2 frigs, either.  Remember, I told you I had hungry, hungry teenage boys.)

So, now you understand why I will need a moment of silent appreciation in my kitchen when I get home.  I have a new understanding of its worth.

(And I didn’t even mention the value of a well-stocked pantry!  You know ~ spices, seasonings, flours, rising agents, and the stuff you make sure you never run out of because you use it constantly.)

It still isn’t perfect, but my son’s kitchen has been slightly upgraded to a better situation suitable to a busy bachelor.  There is onion and garlic powder, basil, and Italian seasoning there, as well as a vegetable peeler, some cheap wooden spoons, and a new lightweight frying pan.  If he was more of a cook, I am sure there would be more items on his Christmas list for his kitchen…until then, I’m certain he will survive now.

So ~ what piece of kitchen equipment, cookware, or serving ware couldn’t you live without?

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Blondies

(Sometimes when a blogger does a variation on a former recipe it seems almost like cheating to me…but…if you just stick an addendum onto the first-time-non-altered recipe, most people aren’t going to see it, right?  That must be why we do it.  It couldn’t be because we’ve been too busy/tired/burned out/bored/exhausted to create a new recipe, right?  Um-hmmm…that’s what I thought.)

Everyone was missing cookies.  I hadn’t had time to bake and it had been too hot to slave over an oven for a long time period anyway.  However, when the natives get restless for cookies, you know you’d better do something about it!

I thumbed through my pile of recipes (the ones awaiting hole-punching so that I can file them in my already-stuffed notebook…) and saw my Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe.  Mmmm…man, those sounded good!  And I actually had all of the ingredients available.  But I still wasn’t interested in standing in the kitchen for an extended period of time dropping cookies onto the cookie sheets.  (There is just something about hot weather that makes me lethargically lazy.)  I wondered if I could turn them into blondies?

I added a little more coconut oil and put parchment paper in the pan (although, you might not need that, but it makes clean-up a snap!)  They came out very nicely.  They are still a relatively tender, fragile cookie/brownie ~ it seems that gluten-free cookies are either fragilelike this, or tough as nails ~ but they taste so good, I didn’t mind.

You’ll notice this recipe has very little variation from the cookie recipe I mentioned above, except it’s easier!

Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Blondies

  • 1/4 c. non-hydrogenated soy margarine, softened (1/2 stick), such as Earth Balance
  • 1/4 c. melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 c. evaporated cane juice or sugar
  • 1 T. molasses
  • 3 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 T. Ener-G egg replacer powder (no added water)
  • 1/2 c. non-dairy milk (I use Silk plain or vanilla soy)
  • 1 c. chocolate chips (more if you want them bursting at the seams)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda, sieved to remove lumps
  • 1 1/2 c. fine almond meal or almond flour (I used Trader Joe’s brand), breaking up any lumps
  • 3/4 c. coconut flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Place parchment paper in a 9×13″ pan so that the edges stick up above the pan.

With a wooden spoon, in a large bowl, combine and beat margarine, coconut oil, cane juice, molasses, and vanilla.  Thoroughly stir in egg replacer powder.  Add a fourth of the non-dairy milk, or so, at a time, beating it in completely after each addition.  Keep whipping it until well incorporated.  It may look a little separated due to the extra liquid needed with the coconut flour.  (You can toss the milk in all at once, but it tends to cause separation and then you have to work harder to whip it together.)  Stir in chocolate chips, salt, and baking soda, mixing well.  Stir in almond and coconut flours until no dry spots remain.

Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, checking after 25 minutes to make sure your oven isn’t running too hot.

Place on cooling rack in the pan for 15 minutes or so, then lift the whole batch out (using the edges of the parchment paper sticking out of the pan) onto the rack to finish cooling and to make sure the paper doesn’t end up damp beneath the blondies.  After completely cooling, you can either transfer them back to the pan to cut them (esp. if you have one of those neat cake pans with plastic lids that can store the blondies – less dishes to wash!) or you can put them onto a cutting board to slice them into bars and store them in an airtight container.

Magnesium Deficiency

This is a MUST see for every person on this planet.  Magnesium deficiency is causing health problems that are easily addressed!  Do you have high blood pressure, stress, depression, bone loss, muscle spasms and/or pain, and a host of other problems, then you will especially want to see this short video.  It may change your life.

Click here to watch video.

How can you fix this problem easily?  Increase your greens and seeds and take magnesium citrate.  Read the book The Magnesium Miracle to learn more.