Daily word count

Today’s run: 2609

Total: 16902

And, I found the discipline to write in the evening after work, even though I’m tired!

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Daily word count

Today's count: 1040

Total: 14293

Daily word count

Daily count: 1758
Total: 13253

Mini, solo NaNoWriMo

I’ve decided to do a solo NaNoWriMo, even though it’s August, I’ve already started, and it’s not a novel.

Starting word count 11,495

Adventures in gluten free pastry

I decided I need more “things that loosely fall into the category of donuts” in my life. I used to adore French Crullers, which (I’ve now learned) are made from pâte à choux. Never one to jump into a hobby halfheartedly, I ordered a copy of Mastering the Art of French Pastry and have made my first, semi-successful attempt! The book itself is conveniently divided into three sections:

  1. pastry doughs
  2. batters and cakes
  3. fillings and toppings

The doughs are further divided into three sections, which could be translated into:

  1. “Lining pastries”: probably will be fine gluten free
  2. “flaky pastry doughs”: requires a decent amount of gluten, so don’t bother
  3. “leavened pastry doughs”: requires an excess of gluten, so don’t bother

While the batters (and fillings, of course) are practically GF already, or very easily adaptable. Batters includes pound cakes, sponge cakes, meringues, and pâte à choux, most of which rely heavily on eggs for structure rather than gluten!

They are obviously nothing like crullers in shape, but I’m counting them as vaguely successful since:

  • they taste delicious!
  • they more or less behaved correctly (at least, they behaved as overly-runny choux pastry is expected to). I weighed all the ingredients and used my “go-to” gluten free blend* (with 1/8 tsp xanthan gum for the 150g flour)
  • I managed to not ruin the pan making the caramel sauce
  • did I mention they taste good?

Notes for next time:

  • The batter was too runny: probably I put in too much egg (I struggle with meting out small amounts of beaten egg, so I have some technique to work on there).
  • I over cooked the caramel blond, and had strings of caramel across the kitchen, and when I eat one of them, the caramel layer peels off into a painfully chewy thing that remains in the mouth to be eaten after the pastry is chewed
  • I melted my oven knobs!!! The instructions said to bake at 400F with the oven door propped open a tiny bit with a wooden spoon. This melted the bottom side of all my stove/oven knobs. Maybe they have better knobs in French kitchens??
  • Need to find a better technique for getting the batter into the piping bag!

My gluten free flour blend that works for almost everything (cookies, cakes, roux/white sauce):

By weight:

  • 40% sorghum/millet/brown rice in some combination
  • 30% starch (potato, arrowroot, tapioca in some combination)
  • 25% almond flour
  • 5% sweet white rice

When I make it up, I actually use these amounts (hilariously, I use a mix of english and metric! Who says I’m not cosmopolitan?):

  • 1 bag Bob’s Red Mill sorghum (23oz)
  • 1 bagBob’s Red Mill millet (22oz)
  • 1 bagBob’s Red Mill potato starch (24oz)
  • 1/2 bag Bob’s Red Mill tapioca starch (need 10 oz)
  • 797g almond flour
  • 159g sweet white rice flour

I find all sorghum or all millet give too strong a taste to the flour, but the mix is somehow completely neutral. It has been 9 years since I tasted wheat, though, so I might not be the most reliable judge.

Nailed it, again!

I’m teaching myself to sew, after 20 years of thinking about it. A couple years ago I sewed 4 napkins, which went fine. I’ve been trying to get excited about either another beginning project or about hemming the freakishly long IKEA curtains (sewing a mile of straight lines is actually kind of hard), when I finally said “Fuck it” and started sewing a tailored blouse, which is mostly what I want to be able to sew. I really “nailed it”!

nailedItSewingI somehow cut only one arm (or the dogs ate the second one but didn’t touch anything else??), sewed it as a left sleeve, and then attached it to the right armhole (ha!), and I obviously need to grade the pattern for a larger waist. From this distance you can’t see the million ways I need to improve my technique, but overall I’m pretty impressed with myself! And I actually had fun doing it! I ordered an entire bolt of muslin and interfacing and will just keep on sewing this thing until I have a shirt I’m not embarrassed to leave the house in, at which point i will buy some real fabric!

France, 2015

I spent a couple weeks in France with my mom, sister, and niece! I took lots of photos: click on this one to see them al!

France, 2015

The most beautiful lazy kate in the world!

Jeromy made me an absolutely gorgeous lazy kate for our 5th anniversary!

A lazy kate is a device that holds spun yarn singles for plying, to turn singles into a normal, plied yarn. I bought one when I bought my Schacht Sidekick wheel in 2013, but I hated the design! It took up too much space, the yarns tangled with each other, and I couldn’t tension them very well despite the built in tensioner! This one has both “gravity” tension (by adjusting the angle of the lid) and spring tension. It is so much nicer and is so beautiful! He made it with bird’s eye maple, curly maple, and cherry wood.

Here are some antique videos of me spinning on the wheel

Breakfast

I don’t like to make time for a complicated breakfast, but cold cereal with milk isn’t very satisfying. A few years ago I stumbled across this recipe for a breakfast “muffin” based on quinoa flakes. I really like it, but even that is too fussy for a morning (plus I don’t like dealing with partial bananas), so I sort of scaled it up to be made in muffin tins. Over the years I’ve tinkered with the ingredients, partly because quinoa flakes have doubled in price!! This is my current recipe. It makes about 18 muffins, which I throw in the freezer (after they cool). I microwave one for 1.3 minutes at 50% power for breakfast. They also pack well as a snack!

Ingredients:

3-4 mashed bananas
4 eggs
2 c quinoa flakes
1/2 c coconut flour
1 c almond meal
1/4 c extra virgin coconut oil
1/4 c plain yogurt (full fat)
1.5 c water
1/4 c ground flax
2 TB ground chia
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch nutmeg
2 cups coconut flakes
1 cup chocolate chips (mini)

Instructions: mix everything together (I use my hand mixer) and put into greased muffin tins. Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. Makes 18 muffins

They don’t rise at all, and I don’t have any pictures even though I’ve been making them for years!

Nailed it!

Tahini rolls didn’t turn out like I’d hoped. I knew it was too much to ask from a gluten free dough!

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