Purple Cabbage & Sunbutter Soup

Alexander Allrich in New Mexico
Alex in Ojo Caliente, New Mexico

The visit with Alex and his girlfriend was thick with conversation, food for the eyes, and dreams for the soul. As always, in the wake of my son's absence I am struck dumb by the restless silence of the desert, finding it difficult to steady my post-maternal footing. It's not the letting go thing. Letting go of your children is the easy part. Their beauty is astonishing and too big to keep for yourself. You miss them, yes.

But the space between you is precious, too.

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Hannah Montana Party

A girlfriend called this week with a request for cookies for her daughter's Hannah Montana party. Since I have a boy and we are kind of "all-LEGOS-all-the-time" around here, I wasn't quite sure where to start. I took a look at the Hannah Montana website (I must say that I feel much more "with it" now that I know about Hannah), but decided I wasn't going to be able to get her name/logo to look quite right in my handwriting. I didn't have a guitar cutter, so here is what I came up with. The HM is for Hannah Montana, obviously, in Hannah colors. My sister had to set me straight on how to make the treble symbol. :) I like the way the music staff came out on the cookies.

I hope Penny and her friends like them. Can't you just picture a group of 9-year-old girls dancing around in their pj's? :) Happy Birthday, Penny...have a great party!!!

For the colors:

Black: Spectrum Super Black
Yellow: AmeriColor Gold mixed with AmeriColor Egg Yellow
Purple: AmeriColor Violet

Sticky Notes (on an anniversary)

Misty arroyo, near Abiquiu New Mexico
Mist on the mesa- toward Abiquiu.

We choose our partners with a secret eye seeking the twin. Not the twin in the mirror, but the lost twin in shadow. The discarded, smothered twin we poked and twisted and kicked under the bed of childhood. The Other. The Everything We Are Not. The Abandoned One.

Forgotten in order to please.

If the stars are kind and align just right, you choose well. And The Chosen shimmers with your own potential, reflecting not what you have found but what you seek. And basking in their soul mate glow you grow- just a little. You stretch and you risk- just a little. With time and fledgling self awareness you notice a glint sparking back at you and you reach to claim it, knowing, This belongs to me. I am this, too.

And you take it back.

This unburdens your partner, piece by shining piece- who is, by design, if you have not done the work of reclaiming, either bored or chafing beneath the yoke of your golden-hued projection. Or worse- wandering off in search of eyes that see something new, or more authentic.

When people ask, What is the secret of a good marriage? I usually answer, Chemistry. And good manners. Especially when it comes to the toilet seat. And then I laugh. Because it's true. But only a slice of the truth. The more complicated truth (and one you don't share at dinner parties) is a messy, juggling, wrestling wrangle with the aspects of two separate selves discovering two mysterious twins in the marriage bed.

You see, it's not always safe to integrate.

The squelched and sore parts of you can knock apart your coupled equilibrium. Don't kid yourself. It's not ever easy to bid for wholeness. To grow. Growth means change. And change is challenging. Even in the best of circumstances. So some days it's frighteningly tempting to believe that the dust balled fragments skulking in the shadows are not worth the effort of excavation.

Denial and distraction can smell pretty good at first.

But one cloudy day when your mending hip is aching and your desert skin is itching, you glance up from the kitchen counter cluttered with sticky spoons and banana peels, and you meet a clear gaze that sees you for who you really are- not some projected angel in the house, not some idealized muse, or nurturing mother stand-in. But who you really are in all your unadorned, quirky, burnished glory.

And you thank not the stars, or luck, or even fate. You know better. You've done your homework. So has he. So you smile a slow smile and crack, What are you looking at?

The love of my life, he says.

Happy 13th Anniversary, Steve.


My Favorite Gluten-Free Spring Recipes

Lighten up. Celebrate Spring gluten-free!

Celebrate a G-Free Spring

It's time to lighten up and get fresh. So here is a collection of my favorite gluten-free recipes to celebrate winter budding into spring. Soups are vibrant and simple, brunch is all about eggs and bread is Irish. Shake off the winter blahs. Try a new recipe today and wake up your taste buds.

appetizers + bites

Cilantro Pesto de Esteban
Hot Artichoke Dip
Jalapeño Lime Hummus
Pecan Crackers
Nachos Fabuloso

Roasted Yellow Tomato Salsa
Savory Grain Free Crackers
Spinach and Cheddar Quesadilla
Sweet Potato Shoestring Fries

Warm Spinach Salad with Quinoa and Grape Tomatoes

eggs, breakfast + brunch

Artichoke and Jalapeño Savory Pie
Baked Frittata with Gold Potatoes and Sour Cream
Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
Breakfast Brownies

Gypsy Soda Bread
Maple Apple Sausage
Purple Potato Crustless Quiche

Roasted Vegetable Cheddar Quiche
Santa Fe Huevos on Polenta
Savory Kugel with Mushrooms, Potatoes, Spinach and Mozzarella
Spinach and Cheddar Quesadilla
Strawberry Hemp Milk Smoothie
Sweet Potato Cornbread


African Coconut and Chick Pea Soup
Carrot Soup
Celery Soup with Fennel with Ryeless Rye Croutons
Coconut Split Pea Soup
Cream of Broccoli Soup with Coconut Milk

Irish Potato and Cabbage Soup with Sausage
Potato Leek Soup
Potato Soup for the Sensitive Soul
Roasted Vegetable Chowder
Rustic Mediterranean Chicken Soup for the Soul

Spicy Vegetable Soup with Lime
Sweet Potato Soup with Ginger
Purple Cabbage and Sweet Potato Soup
Vegetarian Mulligatawny

main dish

A Spring Risotto with Asparagus and Leek
Alex's Favorite Baked Chicken Mediterranean
Baked Chicken Chili Rice Casserole
Baked Cod with Roasted Sweet & Sour Vegetables
Baked Mac & Cheese - Dairy-Free
Balsamic Roasted Veggie Smothered Baked Potato

Chicken Enchilada Casserole (New Mexican Style)
Creamy Penne Pasta Bake with Zucchini
Dijon Roasted Vegetables
Enchiladas Griegos for Two with Spinach and Feta

Gluten-Free Pizza!
Irish Cottage Pie with Mashed Potato Crust

Lime Chicken Tacos
Maple-Apricot Glazed Meatloaf
Peanut Broccoli Chicken Stir-Fry
Pineapple Salmon Brown Rice Bake with Sour Cream and Green Chiles
Pork Roast in Apricot Mushroom Sauce

Quinoa Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
Quinoa with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Leeks, and Almonds

Roasted Brussel Sprouts Medley with Butter Beans + Rice
Roasted Vegetables in a Nest
Roasted Vegetables on Broiled Polenta with Goat Cheese

Sexy Spring Pasta- with roasted asparagus
Shepherd's Pie Two Ways- Vegan or Chicken
Spaghetti and Meatballs
Spinach and Chicken Rice Bake with Portobellos and Mozzarella

Tuna and Artichoke Pasta
Turkey Meatballs with Lime and Mint on Sir-fry Asian Noodles
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
Vegan Garden Loaf with Maple Apricot Glaze

side dish + light fare

Art School Rice with Curry, Appple, Carrots and Raisins
Asparagus with Maple-Tahini Dressing
Baked Grape Tomatoes with Cornbread Crumbs and Basil

Herbed Flatbread with Roasted Veggies
Kicked Up Colcannon (Mashed Potatoes and Cabbage)
Lime Quinoa Salad with Mint
Millet with Carrots, Mushrooms and Mint

Peanut Coleslaw with lime and cilantro
Pomegranate Glazed Green Beans + Portobellos

Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf
Quinoa Salad with Pineapple, Broccoli and Fresh Mint
Quinoa Taco Salad

Roasted Blue, Red and Gold Potato Wedges
Roasted Sicilian Potatoes

Savory Vegetable Pancakes
Spanish Rice Bake
Spring Millet with Mushrooms and Carrots
Two Potato Salad- with sweet potatoes

Warm Spinach + Quinoa Salad with Grape Tomatoes
Three Ways To Dress a Naked Salad (Three Dressings)
Zucchini Tomato Mozzarella Pie

bread and muffins

Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
Banana Corn Muffins
Banana Blueberry Muffin Cake
Big Banana Muffins
Blueberry Corn Muffins
Blueberry Oat Muffins

Carrot Bread
Chocolate Muffins

Delicious Gluten-Free Bread
Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread with millet
English Muffins
First Loaf in My Gluten-Free Bread Machine

Gluten-Free Focaccia with Garlic, Herbs + Tomato
Gluten-Free Multi-Grain Sandwich Bread
Gluten-Free Ryeless "Rye" Bread
Gypsy Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread
New Irish Soda Bread with Millet

Strawberry Banana Muffins
Strawberry Rhubarb Muffins with Streusel Topping

Whole Grain Strawberry Muffins 
Yeasted Quinoa-Cornbread


Anise Biscotti
Balsamic Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
Banana Snacking Cake

Blueberry Brownie Bites
Blueberry Cake Cupcakes
Blueberry Crumb Cake

Chocolate Chip Cookie Squares
Chocolate Chip Cookies and Vanilla Brownies
Chocolate Cookies with Chocolate Chips
Coconut Carrot Cake
Coconut Layer Cake
Coffee Biscuits with Chocolate Chips

Lemon Yogurt Cake
Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Orange Creme Cupcakes

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
Rice Crispy Treats

Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble with Quinoa Flakes
Sweet Banana Polenta Cake
Vanilla Cupcakes with Mocha Icing
Nirvana Bars

Vegan Asparagus Recipe with Maple Tahini Sauce

Cooking Gluten-Free By the Seasons

My Favorite Summer Recipes

My Favorite Autumn Recipes

My Favorite Winter Recipes

More Spring Menu Posts:

Cranberry-Banana Smoothie

cranberry smoothie
Cranberry banana smoothie - refreshing and dairy-free.

Here's a quick and simple cranberry infused recipe for breakfast that is refreshing, tart and food allergy friendly (around our humble casita, anyway). It's dairy-free, soy-free, egg, corn and nut free. And naturally, it's you-know-what free.

Spring is around the corner, Babycakes. Are you ready? Are you feeling a little bloated and pasty? Do you crave something light and refreshing? Something to wake up your winter saturated taste buds? I knew it!

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Ears or Tails?

How do you eat your chocolate bunnies? Notice how one of these is missing part of an ear and the other his heinie? :) I tried to make their little eyeballs look toward the bite marks. The ribbons on their necks are pale pink, but it doesn't really want to show up in the picture.

I used my scalloped heart cutter to make the "bite mark" on the cookies.

Some of these faux chocolate bunnies are on their way to La-La Land...hope they make it safe and sound! Happy Trails, little bunnies!

More Easter cookie ideas: Cookie Exchange!

My cousin, Maura of paper bluebird, made these cookies for Easter last year and I think they are just adorable! I especially love those pink bunnies! :)

Take a minute (or more!) to check out Maura's blog to see her darling bride and groom felt birds!

Easter....NINE days away!!!

Wow! Easter is sure sneaking up on me this year. Need to get to the store before the all the good candy (Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs) is gone!

Here's an idea for your Easter baking:

These decorated Easter eggs are some of my favorite cookies. I don't know if it's the combination of dots and squiggles, or the colors, or those little scalloped lines across the middle.

For details on how to make the dots, click here. For the squiggly lines, follow the basic instructions for dots (adding the line color on top of the WET flood icing), but squeeze lines instead of dots across your cookie. Make all of then lines that you want in one section...in the cookies above, I used 3 different colors, then drag a toothpick through your lines alternating up and down.

To make the little yellow "scalloped" detail, use a #2 tip and pipe across the cookie, changing the pressure while squeezing the piping bag. Don't let up in between bumps, continue in one line. A good way to get a feel for it is to practice on a piece of waxed paper or a plate.
These are great cookies for personalization also, just wait until the icing is completely dry (overnight) and write with a food coloring pen (AmeriColor Gourmet Writer Pens).

Irish Potato & Cabbage Soup with Soda Bread

Irish potato and cabbage soup- rustic comfort in a bowl.

Put on some Irish music and grab your apron. Here's a recipe pairing to celebrate St. Patrick's Day- whether you're a dyed in the wool Celtic lass, Scott-Irish, or only mostly Irish in spirit. Irish Potato and Cabbage Soup and gluten-free Irish Soda Bread.


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Gluten-Free Main Dishes + Comfort Food

Sorry- this index has moved to:

Gluten-Free main Dish and Comfort Food Recipes

Roasted Tomato Soup

A tomato soup recipe to cure all ills. Roasting is the secret.

When cabin fever hits, I am not a pretty sight. My hair has a static-inspired halo decidedly unholy. My chin breaks out (zits? At 53?). I pace and fidget. I am not the serene goddess you think I am.

I am itchy and creaky and sick to death of pilled winter sweaters- not to mention winter temperatures. You folks in Ohio? My thoughts are with you, Babycakes. Here in northern New Mexico I don't have much to kvetch about. But you? Oy. All that snow? It might crush me. Seriously. I'd be done.

So to celebrate the return of Daylight Saving (three weeks early, no less) I made a life affirming taste bud tingling pot of soup this weekend. See if this doesn't help quench your cabin fever.

Just a little.

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I thought I'd post a couple beer cookie pics since St. Patrick's Day is just 11 days away. :) With it falling so close to Easter this year, I'm not sure I'll make Easter AND St. Paddy's Day cookies, but in case your plans call for green beer cookies...here's a tip.

These top 2 pictures show how I first did them. I thought a star tip would work great for the "foam" at the top. Well, I didn't love the way they turned out and this way used A LOT of icing. Near the end, I was close to praying to St. Patrick to let the icing hold out through the last cookie.

So, here's what I finally came up with. The foam part is just filled in as normal with flood icing and after it dried, I piped little curlicues for the bubbles. I like this much better.
Happy green beer drinking and eating!

Sexy Spring Pasta- with roasted asparagus & tomatoes

A simple and romantic roasted vegetable pasta dish for two using gluten-free pasta
Simple and romantic: pasta with roasted asparagus and tomatoes.

Today's recipe is a romantic, sexy spring pasta sauce with balsamic roasted asparagus and tomatoes. Because it's snowing. There's a foot of the white stuff. Ridiculous. Our morning appointment with our real estate broker was canceled. Oh, did I mention? We're putting our house on the market. Los Angeles beckons.

Aside from my husband's screenwriting momentum, these ole bones of mine (not to mention, my spare parts) are too creaky for winters with snow. Two years ago, when we planned our big move west, I was naive enough to imagine kinder temperatures. A January with no snow shovels. February afternoons sunny and warm enough to peel off your apple-green cardigan, roll up your sleeves, and drink in vitamin D old school style. Maybe south, in Las Cruces.

But not here north of Santa Fe. And so I find myself once again turning toward the new, welcoming change. Packing away family photos and books to simplify rooms and coax potential buyers into imagining their own conversations and meals and lovemaking in this space.

This space in the desert that has been my shelter- and my tabla rasa. Where I have shed old skins and birthed a new sense of self- in startling and unexpected ways. Interesting, isn't it? Living here has been so different than I imagined. Difficult, even. And yet. So good for me. It's been all about the process of change.

And lucky for me- I think change is sexy.

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Who, ME?!?

I just have to start out by saying I am beyond flattered to be tagged again for a meme by Aran of Cannelle et Vanille. My first thought is she reads my blog?!?!? Her blog and creations are absolutely gorgeous...gorgeous! If you didn't click on the first link, here it is again. Check it out!

Five more things about me, this time about cookies and blogging:
  1. Years ago, I remember reading a book that said you should follow what you loved as a child and you will be happy. I really racked my brain and couldn't think of anything I was really into as a kid. Now, I get it. My most memorable birthday party...we decorated our own mini-cakes and my mom made all of the girls coordinating aprons and chef's hats out of dotted swiss! In a high school Spanish competition, I won a prize for dessert (I made flan, haven't made it since). As a girl, I loved to make these giant, soft chocolate chip cookies from a kids' cookbook (can't find it now), but I always got a secret thrill when people said they were good. I wish I would have noticed this food trend much earlier in life! A major in psychology?!? What was I thinking?
  2. I started making decorated cookies 9 years ago when my son was a baby and I quit work to stay home. I had no idea what I was doing. I wish I had pictures...they are tucked away in a box somewhere. I used to dip the cookies in icing and spread with a spatula. Most had only 2 colors and sprinkles. I made all of them on a stick and put them in clay pots and sold them to mainly family and friends. (Thanks, guys!)
  3. That blossomed into learning all about cookie decorating and finally opening a web store, shipping nationwide and then focusing on local deliveries only. When 2008 came, I decided to hang up my apron, so to speak, and quit selling cookies and just make them for fun. It gives me more time to spend with my son who we are now homeschooling and less late nights decorating.
  4. I was introduced to blogging by my cousin, Maura. Her blog, paper bluebird, was the first one I ever paid attention to and soon became addicted. She is an inspiration, always finding the beauty and joy in life and crafting some amazing things along the way. So, I thought, OK...maybe I'll try combining cookies and blogging.
  5. My sister & I also have a blog, two curlytops, where we share what we are up to. My sister's posts are a combination of quilting, crafts, photography and food...mine, well, just food. She's more multi-faceted than I am. :)

There you have it...more than you ever wanted to know! Since I tagged 5 bloggers last time, I'll just leave you with 1 more link to Aran's blog...Cannelle et Vanille.

Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Gluten free chocolate chip cookies made with buckwheat flour
Gluten-free buckwheat chocolate chip cookies.
I know what you're thinking. Not another cookie recipe. Please. I've had it with melty chocolate chips and crunchy, chewy sweetness. Where are the rutabaga recipes, dagnabbit? And what about beets? Or parsnips? I've got a hankering for kale the size of Wyoming. I yearn for jicama. Cook me up some kohlrabi, already.

Sorry, Darling. Not today. You'll have to be patient. There are cookies to bake. And these are gluten-free.

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Happy March!

Here's an easy little cookie for St. Patrick's Day...

  1. Pipe the outline of a shamrock in white icing, using a #2 tip.
  2. In the center of the cookie, pipe an outline of a heart in red, using a #2 tip. (AmeriColor Super Red)
  3. Thin red and green icing to the consistency of syrup and let sit covered with a damp dishtowel for several minutes. Run a rubber spatula through the icing to pop any air bubbles that have formed on top.
  4. Fill in outlined shamrock in green using a toothpick to guide into corners. Use a squeeze bottle for easy filling. (Spectrum Leaf Green)
  5. Fill in heart with thinned red icing following method above.

***a note on green icing: a deep green like these shamrocks is susceptible to humidity. Sometimes, the icing will get a blotchy look and turn slightly darker. Not to worry, eventually the entire cookie will darken to an even shade. Although red and blue will do this as well, I find it happens most with green icing. Just try to keep the cookies in a non-humid environment and never put in the refrigerator.***