Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Plan for Delight

In my old, old age (almost 28, people!), I think I am finally learning that nothing will ever be perfect.  I have learned to snatch delight from the chaos of life, and most days, that’s good enough for me.

I do, however, have moments when I feel perfectly delighted, like the universe just winked at me.  This morning was filled with those moments.  It was one of those rare instances when all of my food plans outshine any hopes I had for them and I feel like a complete genius.

Behold, the breakfast menu!

* Mango smoothie, made with about one cup of frozen mango (thawed overnight), half a cup of buttermilk, and a splash of water.  Whirl in blender, sip, and realize that the mango is SO SWEET that there’s no need for a shot of honey.  I’m seriously impressed with Albertson’s organic store brand—I’ve had nothing but delicious food from O Organics.  Later I wondered if the frozen mango had added sugar, but there was just one ingredient in that package: mango!   (Note that the buttermilk is not an approved SCD food, but it is a cultured dairy product and contains live bacteria.  It’s also left over from making cornbread a few weeks ago, so I get a free pass on the buttermilk.  SCD-approved options could include yogurt, nut milk, or pure coconut milk.)

* Coffee with half a teaspoon of honey and two tablespoons of coconut milk.  I’ve been missing milk in my coffee, but the coconut milk today totally hit the spot!  The coconut flavor was subtle and complemented my nutty flavored coffee.

* A baked egg topped with almond flour “bread crumbs” left over from the onion ring project.  I don’t want to brag too loudly here, but this egg dish was amazing.  It was so good that I had to e-mail my sister-in-law to tell her about it, even though I’m pretty sure she’s following along at home.  (She may be my only reader who actually owns Everyday Grain-Free Gourmet, so she knows exactly what I’m talking about when I refer to recipes from my SCD cookbook.)  The almond flour mixture becomes toasty-crisp inside the oven, while the egg underneath bakes into softly yielding perfection.  Eaten together, it’s the best combination of textures and flavors.  The baked egg is definitely on my list of things to make later this week—it’s repeat-worthy.

In addition to my amazing breakfast, I woke up in the mood to get things done, which is always a great feeling, no matter which day it is.

Lunch was not that exciting and I’m slightly ashamed that I have to tell you about it.  Because it was boring.  More leftover Tomato Vegetable Soup, leftover pumpkin-ricotta pasta, and few bites of grain-free granola.  The pasta was wheat pasta and it is most definitely not a food that one is encouraged to eat while following the SCD.  I get a free pass on this one, however, because it was a leftover and I’m trying to clean out the fridge.  Interestingly, I noticed that after lunch I felt fuller than I have after most meals this week.  I’m hypothesizing that the wheat might have something to do with this…

I’m afraid my afternoon snack was also boring.  It was boring because it was also a rerun: a flourless peanut butter brownie and a few more bites of granola.  These endless leftovers are, in my opinion, the most difficult thing about being a home cook for a household of one.  It’s amazing how much more variety you can have if there’s just one extra person around to eat all that food!  May I confess that part of my joy when Matt visits is his enthusiasm in eating my food?  Because that means that I don’t have to eat all those leftovers!  He has an excellent appetite.

Dinner was (oh, my cheeks are flaming with embarrassment here!) another almond crust pizza and a simple spinach salad dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice.  Oh, belly, I’m sorry to put you through so many repeats today!  At least we had breakfast to delight us.

But I’m about to redeem myself.  For the first time in four nights, I had dessert after dinner: Amanda’s Spice Cookies, adapted from the recipe for Ginger Cookies in Everyday Grain-Free Gourmet.  These cookies are chewy and sophisticated, rich with almonds and winter holiday spices.  Amanda had made them for Lydia’s birthday party last month, in the shape of trains and hearts, and they were absolutely adorable.  Amanda, renegade cook that she is, made them with coconut oil instead of butter, so that’s what I did too.  The coconut oil lends a subtle, unusual flavor that I find rather tasty.  I think these cookies would be delicious made with butter too, so I plan to try that variation in the future.  I’m such a tease, dear reader, because I’m not going to give you the recipe now.  The truth is, it’s a work in progress for me because I just made the cookies for the first time tonight and I like to get to know a recipe a little bit better before adding it to this site.  You are more than welcome, however, to find yourself a copy of Everyday Grain-Free Gourmet and test-drive the Ginger Cookies in your own kitchen.  By the way, Amanda wrote in her recipe notes that she thought the cloves were too much in the original recipe.  I took her advice and cut the cloves from 1/2 tsp. to 1/8 tsp. and thought that was just right.

‘Tis past my bedtime again, and dirty dishes await me in the kitchen.  We’ve just completed day four of this week of grain-free eating (well, almost grain-free) and I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of new recipes to try.  Such is life: there is never enough time for everything I want to do, so I quietly dial back my expectations and continue to bask in those tiny moments of sheer delight.  Really, it’s the best I can do.


Shannon said...

what a fabulous smoothie!! and i have had a jar of coconut oil waiting for me to try it for awhile now... i really need to get on that! that and a zillion other things on my list :/ i'm right there with you on the cooking for one... i need to find me a man like matt :)

Rosiecat said...

Seriously, mango smoothies are the best.

Coconut oil is a fun ingredient to have in your baking pantry! I've been tinkering with it, and so far, these spice cookies are my favorite thing to make with it. It's also nice to use for sauteeing vegetables for an Indian-spiced dish, like a red lentil stew. That's my other favorite thing to do with it.

Shannon, I think you do a great job cooking for one. The treats you turn out of your kitchen are amazing! So here's a question for you: do you share a lot of your treats with co-workers? I find that scientists are a pretty ravenous bunch!

And yes, find a man like Matt! He'll make you want to cook even MORE!

ammie said...

"like the universe just winked at me" is such a fabulous phrase! I love it.
You know, I made those spice cookies and had marginal luck with them. I think my almond flour should have been more finely ground. I'll be trying those again soon too!

Rosiecat said...

I liked that phrase too, Ammie! Writing is so much fun.

I'm sorry to hear about the spice cookies! I made mine with almond flour from Bob's Red Mill and thought they were wonderful. The texture is a bit nubbly, even with finely ground almond flour, but I like it. I would LOVE to try a vegan version of these cookies. The batter is pretty thick and holds together well during baking, which I think is a property of the almond flour. So I think these cookies would lend themselves well to some tinkering. Ooh, I'd love a chocolate-banana version, made with cocoa and/or chocolate chips and banana puree. Excuse me, I have some baking to do right now...