Gluten Free Bread, attempt #8432.

So it’s been what, five years since I went gluten-free? I have to alway compare it when we returned from Vietnam, so I guess it is more like 4 1/2 years. A while. There aren’t many times when I really feel like This sucks! except when I can smell fresh, homemade bread. And then I want to sit down and cry for a while knowing that I will never have that again.

Seriously sucks.

But there’s hope and I keep trying out bread after (fake) bread, hoping to find something that tastes remotely similar. I have found that I really like Udi’sfor sandwiches, still a rare treat at something close to $5/loaf. And then there’s the Gluten Free Pantry mix that is fairly close to the real deal according to my daughter (who can still comparison taste, unlike me).

But I’d love to find a way to make it at home because, well, that’s how I am. As has been pointed out, if there is a more time-consuming way to do something, that’s what I’ll do. shrug So I’m going to try out this recipe that I found via one of my favorite fabric designers, Daisy Janie (organics, whoop!).

At last

It’s been a six-year hunt for black boots I could love. I’d actually been hunting for a pair when I stumbled onto the brown Born boots that i wear so often during a trip to Boston. Since then, I have hunted and hunted. On Tuesday, I found them. Let the angels sing.


What do I want? Sweets. When do I want ’em? Now.

I’ve been craving sweets lately and I’m just gonna go ahead and blame hormones. For one thing, I think that it’s actually true about hormonal cravings. And also, I’ve been doing pretty darn good with the non-sweets-eating, even through the holiday season. So there. I think I might indulge with one or all of these:

A Spoonful of Sugar’s cupcakes look awesome and the fact that they have no flour makes them edible for me. Whoop!

And these Salted Whiskey Caramels, oh my…

Or how about Salted Caramel Brownie Fudge?

Just looking at the recipes is making me put back on those few pounds I lost, I’m sure of it. Maybe I’ll just stick with a peppermint patty instead. Or not.

P.S. I really want to make this black rice and red lentil salad, too.

Chuc mung nam moi


Getting ready for Tet is always a tad overwhelming for me. I want to do far more than I am ever able to accomplish.But this year Jaymee came over early and helped me out with the cooking. She even made the Banana Flower Salad, from start to finish. And I wore my flip-flops to make it feel more like I was still in Vietnam (not–I just forgot to ever change them!).

the rare treat–gluten free pizza

my pesto vegetable extravaganza pizza

Okay, so this is my favoritest pizza ever and it really has to do with the delicious pesto sauce. A friend of mine introduced it to me last year and I have loved it since.

Prado’s Pesto
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
5 garlic cloves, chopped and lightly toasted
small package of basil (a good handful)
salt and pepper to taste

You can use a food processor or one of those little Handy Chopper things to blend it all up, then refrigerate it for a day. This helps the flavors really blend together and make it oh-so-yummy.

I add lots of stuff to my pizza (unlike the daughter who goes with just cheese–booooring), and to this one I added:

  • sauteed onions
  • spinach leaves
  • fried tofu
  • yellow bell pepper
  • zucchini
  • roasted red peppers
  • kalamata olives
  • black olives
  • feta cheese
  • mozzarella cheese

I forgot the artichoke hearts in the fridge. Grr. Next time!

Next, we’ll try electric shock therapy.

As if sticking needles in my back wasn’t fun enough, the chiropractor suggested we try a little electric stimulus for my back pain. Now that sounds awesome and all, but I still remember a dozen-plus years ago when my then-husband was playing with a little Jacob’s Ladder he’d made. It left burn-holes in his t-shirt where the electricity decided to escape via his shoulder. Yeah, not thrilled with the idea of any added electricity in my body.

not me, but a similarly hued woman
But she says electrotherapy will be good, ease the pain. Maybe, we can hope, get my back muscles to stop going into spasms that last for hours. At the possibility of that, I consented.

The why of it working for pain relief isn’t really well-documented from what I can find, but the ideas floated around are that it:

  • tires out the muscles so they relax,
  • releases endorphins, our body’s own painkiller, and/or
  • blocks the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain.

Now, I don’t know if it did any of that for me, really. I was completely sidetracked by the fact that my left shoulder (and eventually my right, too) was dancing on its own. Up, down, back, up, up, down, up, down, up, back, up. It was going at its own rhythm, dancing to the tune only it could hear through the electricity streaming into my back. For ten minutes. It was weird.

I want to do it again just to see if we can get my shoulders to move in sync.

Poking me is gonna help?

That’s what they said. I’d complained posted on Facebook about the continued pain and a friend-of-a-friend suggested acupuncture. A friend gave it a hearty amen. Then the chiropractor suggested I try it out along with massage therapy.

So with more curiosity than faith I scheduled a visit with the acupuncturist and spent two hours last night doing Eastern Medicine things that I don’t really understand.

He asked all sorts of questions about the accident, the injuries, my health history and that of my family, then on into digestion, bowel movements and menstruation. It was like an awkward first date when your dinner partner starts asking about your sexual history and their own visits to the Planned Parenthood clinic.

“And how would you describe the blood?”
“Um, red.”
“Are there clots?”
Can we just get to the part where you start stabbing needles into me? Because that’s going to be far more enjoyable than this conversation.

First he had to feel my pulse, pushing my wrists in places that made them twitch and get tingly. One hand, then both, the other and back to both. I have zero idea what he may have figured out from that exercise, but he swears that his Vietnamese teacher can do it and tell you your life history. Of course, it takes him an hour and it might work a little like the fortune teller in the Wizard of Oz. Who knows? I’m a bit skeptical about everything these days.

When he’d gotten all the info he could from my pulse, he had me change into clothes that looked like a surgical scrubs gone 80s. The high-waisted shorts hit mid-thigh while the boxy velcro-backed top hit me just at the waist. Hot.

I’m sure I would’ve thought it had potential if it were 1983 again, but today? at 41? Not the most flattering outfit. Luckily, he took plenty of pictures. Me facing the camera, then to the right, then from behind, then from the left. Each time I had to get my toes just right, my ankles lined up with blue tape on the floor and a plumb line hanging from the ceiling.

I pray those photo files are corrupt.

Finally it was time, the time I’d waited an hour and a half for–the needles. He showed me them closely, explained how it shouldn’t hurt and wouldn’t go deep. Pushed it gently against my hand to show me how flexible they were.

Yeah, yeah, get on with it.

I laid face-down on the table, a massage table complete with a hole for my face to be cradled. And one by one he held a little tube to my back, slid in a needle and tapped it in.

Fourteen times. Then I laid there, listening to Asian music for I have no idea how long, waiting for the bits of metal to work their magic.

One by one, they came out. He wiped off the blood and I sat up. Two more pokes to my hand, this time causing more ache than pain. And we were done.

Twenty-four hours later, my neck is dramatically better. I’m able to look up for the first time in nearly two weeks. The headache is down to a low growl.

Is it because of the acupuncture? I don’t know. I’m sure the massage helped and the chiropractor the day before. And just the passage of time helps my body heal. Do I believe? Not yet. But I go back to the acupuncturist on Monday. We’ll see how I feel after that.

From her point of view

Cleaning out the storage closet to fill with my sewing goods, we came across all sorts of things including a French magnetic vocabulary set I’d bought for my daughter a couple years ago when she had a semester (or two?) of French classes. They never were used, but she couldn’t bear to get rid of them. Last night she asked if she could use them on the door and in my bleary-eyed exhaustion I conceded. I woke to find this neatly arranged by her. It says so very much in few words.