awellseasonedbook

Pairing Food and Literature to Make Life Better

Voila! Banana Muffin Triumph!

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Do You Know the Muffin Man?

Home Test Kitchen – Day 2

Recipe: The Humble Banana Muffin  

Taste: Delicious and like a banana muffin with only a slight aftertaste (that no one in my family could detect but me)

Tears: Only tears of joy

Swearing: Not unless you count the Warrior’s Cry after battle

Texture: Like how a muffin should look…yummy, soft, and moist

Expense: criminal, but with a good-heart

Result: Ohhhhh Yeah (Kool-Aid Man Style)

Literary Inspiration: The Picture of Dorian Gray. These muffins could quite possibly sell their breakfast souls in order to retain their beauty and taste (and to become comfortably numb to the cost of flour).

Problem Solving: The major issue for me was the cost (I’m a schoolteacher for crying out loud). This flour costs more than an hour of minimum wage in the United States, therefore if you have food sensitivities you may want to take out a 2nd mortgage on your home (but then you good-food-people-of-alternative-cooking-land know this and I’m sure you’ve already mortgaged out a few times already).  Also, I’m pretty sure it’s written in the pages of world history textbooks that long ago pepper sold for more than the price of gold and you know what they say about history repeating itself and all that nerdy awesome historian stuff.

Culprit: Wheat – because it is you I’m peacefully trying to replace.  So yes, I’m pointing my finger at you wheat.  Which finger? I will never tell.

Hunch: Too much wheat running wild on the streets. These gangs of wheat thugs are armed and dangerous!

Next Steps: Eat my banana muffins and make a French press while practicing my lousy French on my cats. Viva la muffin de banane!

Until Then: Think about reconfiguring the lyrics to, “Do You Know the Muffin Man?” into “Do You Know the Gluten-Free Muffin Man?” I have a feeling that muffin man has teeth made of gold and only operates in hundreds (I imagine him looking like the Monopoly Man but way more hipster!)

Happy Eating,

mlb@AWSB

P.S. I think I secretly have expensive taste and therefore I can justify this great recipe from the good people of Cup4Cup.  Thank you for helping change the world.

Recipe Link:  (http://www.cup4cup.com/recipes/banana-muffins/)

Banana-Rama a la Gluten-Free

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Skipping the Drama

Rather than go through the long and painful long process of elimination to root out bad flour, last night I made the hasty decision to jump to the top of the gluten-free food chain. I threw on mascara and lipgloss, jumped into my VW Golf and zipped to Whole Foods in an effort to correct the blueberry muffin debacle.

I spent some time looking at flours and in the end I decided to skip the drama and buy the most expensive gluten-free all-purpose flour on the market. The next executive decision came when I realized I needed to downscale my fruit expense, therefore for my next recipe I’m going to experiment with the humble banana muffin. Someday I will revisit the blueberry, but for now the blueberry is no friend of my pocketbook. Au Revoir Monsieur Blueberry, I will see you this summer.

Now the banana muffin baking has been completed and the muffins are cooling, but the write up however requires some attention that will need to be written in a quiet reflection… and over an icy Diet Pepsi.

Until then,

mlb@AWSB

Home Test Kitchen – Day 1

Day #1 Recipe: Gluten-Free Blueberry Corn Muffins

Taste: Funny…and not in the Tina Fey way

Tears: No

Swearing: A little…ok, yes

Texture: Awesome

Expense: Higher than I would like, but I won’t need to work an additional part-time job to be able to afford this flour.

Result: An obvious double damn and a full garbage dump.

Literary Inspiration to the Rescue: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – I’m pretty sure that eating one of these muffins is not near as bad as sitting 5 minutes in Professor Umbridge’s office.  Just sayin’…

Problem Solving: Find the culprit that is killing my palette and set a new course of action to eradicate the “damn” factor. I’ve decided to taste each ingredient in the raw to determine which ingredient spoiled the muffin.

Culprit: The Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour was the gross factor, which included a mixture of: potato, sorghum, tapioca, garbanzo and fava bean flours.

Hunch: It’s the sorghum flour. Curse you sorghum!!!  Wait, what the hell is a sorghum?

Next Steps: Buy individual specialty flours to ferret out the yucky flour mixture so I can avoid it for life and save the world! or buy a new all purpose gluten free flour!

Until Then: Think about how yogurt is made and if Julia Child’s had a healthy cholesterol level.

Tomorrow is a new day,

mlb@AWellSeasonedBook

(…but the chicken was delicious, so today wasn’t a complete flop)

Looks Can Be Deceiving

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The Maddening Muffin

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The Million Dollar Question: They are Beautiful…but How Do They Taste?

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A Well Seasoned Book: The Test Kitchen Project

Now that spring has sprung I’ve decided to turn over some new leaves, heck, maybe even rake the lawn, trim the hedges, and plant a whole new garden. My latest project is around food. (honestly, could it be anything but food?) It’s not just any food though. It is around the new and awesome fact that on top of being a type one diabetic, I have discovered that eating gluten makes my sugars rise to uncool levels. When I am gluten-free I have total control.

  1. So what does this mean?

This means that in order to think and live like the rest of the world I need to revamp my diet and lose the gluten.

  1. What does that look like?

It looks like me relearning how to bake, cook, and think about food without holding a grudge. (Hmmph!)

  1. How will I accomplish this?

It will happen with lots of motivation from my husband and son, inspiration, research, shopping, and hard work. (maybe even a few trips to the spa…are you reading honey?)

  1. Will there be any Deal-Breakers?

Absolutely, I refuse to eat anything that tastes awful even if it is gluten-free or sugar-free. No one should suffer through bad food for his or her dietary needs.

  1. Where will Mindfulness play into it all?

Just because it is gluten-free does not mean it will be sugar-free and vice-versa and just because it’s good doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

  1. Inspiration? Tell Me More.

I’m a huge believer in inspiration and it is through literature, music, and art that I can build up enough momentum to move forward.  Inspiration is catchy and hopefully recipes turn out yummy enough to share with all the fabulous readers of A Well Seasoned Book!  If not…on to the next idea!

  1. What will be the role of A Well Seasoned Book?

In one form or another, AWSB will serve the glorious purpose of connecting literature and cooking during the Test Kitchen Project. There are too many people out in the world who have dietary restrictions and my goal is to help others see the light at the end of the tunnel via literature. This blog is meant to be funny, enlightening and helpful when food related diseases suck the life force out of you. So now is the time to pop some popcorn (gluten-free), program the Omnipod (insulin pump), and check the Dexcom graph (Continuous Glucose Monitor) because today I am beginning my gluten-free, diabetic cooking quest.

Will you join me in squashing out gluten and the glycemic index? (It’ll be fuuuun!  I promise!  )

~mb

The Beginning of the Tale

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Why, Hello Spring

So ok ladies – it’s time to take your foundation up one shade darker and ok fellows- it’s time to trim the beard down a notch because spring is finally HERE!

It’s time to buy those new water bottles, yoga mats, and closet organizers. Best of all it is time to head to your local farmer’s market! I find that when life gets dumb (because it does get dumb) and life gets boring (because it does get very boring) all negativity melts away somewhere between the bunches of beets and bouquets of tulips and ends at the awesome crepe stand being worked by the handsome Frenchman.

Yes, this was my morning and yes, the fog is starting to lift. With grad school bringing a girl down (truly the most boring and dry coursework in the history of mankind) and mountains of laundry I’ve been blue…verging on green.

So thank you Spring, you’ve reminded me that it’s time to engage back into the five senses, which still remain king, queen and court to all that matters.

~mlb

Dinner is Served: Soufflè Au Fromage

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Saturday Inspiration: Staying True to Your Work and Your Ideas

Last night I announced to my family I was planning to runaway with Tom Ford. Okay – so I’m not really running away with Tom Ford, but a girl can dream, right?

This fashion designer has been hands-down the inspiration I’ve needed in my 2015 life. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to board our invisible Wonder Woman jets bound for London or wherever your inspiration lives to spend time and hear the words straight from the mouths of those who inspire us? Just to listen and absorb would hardly be something to pass up.

This made me start thinking about mentoring.

Inspiration for me comes from creative, work-based thinkers, but here is where I need help. When looking for a place to peel off into new ideas, like-minded mentors are hard to find.  Some are too kooky, some are too rigid, some are too mean, some are too sappy, and some are just full of sh*t.

Like-mindedness doesn’t mean that you agree on everything, however it does mean that you and another person agree on the big overall visions. The rest is just conversation, relationship building, and business plans.

How we actualize our constellations is partly based and whom we choose to help us connect the stars and how we go about the connection process.  Too abstract?  Ok.  Find people who think like you and start firing off questions in order to get your plans into reality – oh, and always remember to smile!

Good Luck,

~m

Last Day at the Coast…Until Next Time

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Fin!

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Poaching in Action

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Bundles of Yummy!

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Les Poissons

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Sonoma County ~ Russian River~ Chardonnay

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Salmon Trimmings

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Tie Up the Apron Please!

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Talk to Me Baby…or Don’t Talk at All

Tonight I read an interesting article on the assumptions educators hold. One of the assumptions was: If a person does not verbalize his/her knowledge he/she does not hold that knowledge or understanding.

Ok, hold the phone – Let’s just ponder that idea for a good long second.

Here it is again: If a person does not verbalize his/her knowledge he/she does not hold that knowledge or understanding.

Hmmmm…??? I think I’ve had this conversation before.

This is the point in my evening when I take out my earrings, unclasp my watch, pull off my bracelets and rings, and curl up in my favorite chair to listen to my Destroyed album by Moby in order to bleed my soul into the idea of communication.

Regardless of verbal or nonverbal language, we are all talking and we are all listening. I can’t imagine saying everything precisely how I see it in my mind and besides, so many things don’t need to be said in order to pick up on the gist of the meaning. Many might disagree with me, however I ask – If we all stopped talking, would we be able to get what we want using body language?

I’ll extend the pool even further because I don’t believe it’s just a teacher thing.  People in general seem to measure knowledge by the language they verbalize. How much truth is there in the words we speak vs. the information we put out in body language? Does one have the upper edge over the other? Some days I think I have the answer to this question and other days it makes me want to crush concrete in the palms of my hands, spit out a few swear words, and shrug my shoulders.

Today I taught an entire math lesson without the use of words. I played classical music in the background as my students watched me model the lesson and complete the arithmetic required. I didn’t talk except for when I told them I wasn’t going to talk. Their attention to detail spiked dramatically and each student watched me like their lives depended on it.

Voila! Success!

What is your best mode of communication?

Are you more of a “talker” or more of a “sensor”?

Wednesdays are great days.

~m

My Beautiful Northern Pacific Coast

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Getting Down to the Beach Via Rope and Ramp

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Nature Finds

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Morning Dew

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Northern California Coast

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Child Labor Laws…Breaktime

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Baby Mountain

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Sounds to Remember ~ A Challenge

As my family and I headed back home from our trip, we drove along the Pacific Coastline on Highway 1. This trip never gets old for me. We wind and twist our way back home and it’s always breathtaking.  As the passenger, I am on the cliff side, which makes me wince on and off as we hit hairpin curves and descend down the rolling hills of Sonoma County.  I’m pretty sure I say my fair share of Hail Mary’s each time we descend.

It’s easy to get swept away in life (and yes, this may sound a little girlie) but I’m pretty sure I’m good at it.  I can easily fall in and out of my thoughts and drift away. I chalk it up to being too imaginative.  I’m glad to be busy again – back doing the things that I love best…listening.

At the coast, I kept thinking about all the different sounds I heard while at the ocean. The limited interference of city sounds enhances Mother Nature’s voice and ohh my…she has a lot to say. Sunday night the ocean whipped up some incredible sound. As I was lying in my bed, I could hear the grinding bass of the ocean chewing down on the shoreline. It wasn’t just the sound of the crashing waves – it was deep rumblings and heavy shifts in the earth that worked across the land and met me as I lay on my pillow.

Earlier that day my husband and I hiked to view the “lawn mowing crew” that had been hired to clear off the grassy hillside. This crew was loud and yes…child labor was working at its finest. Hundreds of sheep and goats of all kinds were snapping away at the landscape.  I will never forget the sound of these guys snapping at the ground. The baby lambs were so naughty as they head butted each other and postured themselves to be “King of the Mountain” on the smallest little cluster of rocks in the patch. Nonetheless they still wanted to push to the top – I know the feeling.  I named their patch of rocks – “Baby Mountain”. It was very entertaining to watch them hop around on all four little hooves like little hop frogs.

Challenge:

Think of a sound that is unforgettable to you. Close your eyes and think hard.   My favorite sound will forever be when my son was little and he would start giggling so hard he would (like clockwork) start to hiccup.

Good Luck,

~m

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