Sunday, March 31, 2013

Practicing Resurrection

Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. -Wendell Berry
I live a fact-governed existence.  I love figures and numbers and black and white.  I like knowing and weighing and considering, and making choices on pro/con lists.  But over time, I've come to realize that that isn't how I should live my life.  As comfortable as the neatest trajectory from A to B is, or as much as I love the glow in my heart that comes from doing what's expected, that's not how I now feel called to live.

Last Easter, I sat in a cold wooden pew in the Stiftskirche St. Georg in Tuebingen, where Easter services have been held longer than the US has been a nation.  As I looked around, I realized that we were all alone, even in our togetherness.  Celebrating in silence.  Comforted by our adherence to tradition.  Waiting for church to be over to rejoice with friends and family.

This year, I woke up early to celebrate at sunrise with an eclectic bunch of students, faculty, staff, and children from all Christian traditions.  We clutched our little paper programs as we stood on the cold dock watching the sunrise.  We laughed with the kids who couldn't keep quiet.  We shivered together in sweatpants and earmuffs.  We took turns reading scriptures and prayers.  We all hugged after the final hallelujah.  It was far away from fact and tradition.  In that moment, we were united in faith and in something bigger than ourselves.  The celebration was in the service, not after it.

Sometime around 7:20 this morning, I realized something.  Easter is the holy in the messy.  It's in the shrieking children and in the broken promises, in the missed calls and the misread prayers.  Easter isn't a testament to the enduring and the predictable and the traditional.  For me, in this time in my life, it's the radical departure from all that we know and trust.  It's the certainty that even the craziest, most confusing, darkest, scariest, most unpredictable nights emerge into glorious mornings.

Happy Easter.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Pancake Days: Blueberry Sorghum and Hazelnut

The hunt for the perfect gluten free pancake might be nearing completion.  These guys were pretty great: light, puffy, slightly sweet, and THICK.  Don't they look like regular pancakes?  I know!  But they are delicious, fluffy, gluten-free blueberry pancakes!

I've never cooked with sorghum flour before.  I've seen it, but heard somewhere that it's bitter and gross.  WRONG!  I used Bob's Red Mill sweet white sorghum flour and these flapjacks turned out mild-tasting and delicious.  If you want to make your own, check the (very easy) recipe out .

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Cooking For Yourself in College

Mmmmm, homemade chococado pudding!
Most people I meet groan jealously when I tell them that I got a meal plan accommodation to cook my own food.  For American college students, avoiding the dining hall or cafeteria is one holy grail of success by which coolness can be measured.  In most cases, your parents are wealthy enough to pay your meal plan and discretionary spending, you're finally a senior or live in the right place, you're studying abroad where there are no dining halls, or you're like me and allergic to enough foods to cause chefs to throw up their hands.  As nice as it may be to avoid overcooked Friday fish and watery iceberg lettuce, cooking for yourself can actually be a hassle and a surprising time commitment.  Busy college students are, well, busy and you may find yourself eating one too many packets of Ramen between practice and student government.  Or even worse, not eating at all.   

If you're an aspiring chef, living with a newly limited diet, or already cook for yourself and feel overwhelmed, check out these tips on how to cook for yourself in college. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Fatherland Tastes Like Curry

Laugenweckle.  I stumbled over the cumbersome names of the rows of soft pastries lining the shelves at Keim’s, but the beautiful, exotic Ingwer, Rosmarin, Basilikum, and Kirkuma rolled off my tongue with languid ease.  The smoky sweet scent of the paprika, the texture of the multicolored peppercorns, and the taste of the free Turkish marshmallow candy always lured me back.               

The front door of the spice store, the one I usually came in, opened into a bright, airy room, painted gold, and stuffed with rugs, plants, masks, baskets, and tiny elephant carvings.  Massive walnut chests and tables held everything from the everyday to the exotic:  Italian seasoning, vanilla sugar, dried chilies, flavored salts like basil-rose and citrus, dried lavender, sage, bright round peppercorns, powdered mango, garam masala, big green cardamom pods, graceful saffron threads, five types of mustard seeds, curries, and anything else you could imagine.  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Avocado Chocolate Pudding

90% of what I eat comes from two places.  One, I come up with something (Gee, I'd really like breakfast sausage this week!) and then search an appropriate recipes out.  Or two, I come up with something (huh, chicken-cranberry-citrus salad sounds good!).  This one was something I never would have come up with.  Who'd have thought that creamy avocado would be the magic ingredient in both guacamole and pudding?

Not me, that's for sure.  But I'm a convert, and I want to make a believer out of you too.

To make two very generous servings of chocolate avocado pudding:

--1 whole avocado
--1 can coconut milk
--4 tbs (or more or less) cocoa powder
--2 tablespoons (or more or less) honey
--Flavoring: a dash of mint, orange, raspberry, or etc. extract, a tablespoon or two of pb; the list goes on and on.

Blend the avocado and coconut milk until creamy.  Add the cocoa powder and blend until smooth.  Add the honey and blend again.  Mix your flavoring in, if you like.

Serve immediately or chilled.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

If Eating Was a Love Story...

...peanut butter and chocolate would be the protagonists.  Seriously.  And if they were the protagonists, these would be their first steamy makeout scene.  Sweet, delicious, and satisfying -just like the resolution of all that sexual tension.

ahem.  I mean seriously:

Best part of all, they're everything-free (no corn, potatoes, yeast, tree nuts, etc. in sight).  Promise.  Keep reading to learn how to make your own delicious allergy-friendly treats.