Tag Archives: gluten-free

A Yearly Renewal Of Vows

What is a wedding anniversary? Beyond being the day each year that the event of a wedding occurred, it is so much more! It is a day to reflect on the past, the present, and the future to come with your spouse and the communities joined by the union of marriage.

As we lined up with the last minute change to put me at the end

On September 2, 2018 I walked toward the rocky cliffs of the Maine coastline where my best friend waited for me, standing next to his father (our officiant) between our friends and chosen family. As they processed down the aisle, this instrumental version of A Thousand Years played. Amanda pulled me aside and reminded me that this was what I should pay attention to – this is what I will remember – the moment before everything begins. It’s important to have close, lifelong friends like this in our lives. Thank God I am blessed to have a friend like that.

Amanda looked so beautiful.

An instrumental version of Candle On The Water played as I walked toward Jacob – the rewritten duet I created for our wedding playing in my head.

Before us a community brought together through our lifetimes guided us through a ceremony of our own design (based loosely on old Norwegian and New England heritage waterman traditions. My father had to bow out of his role as a fiddler due to surgery on his wrist years ago).

Once we said our “I dos” and the community said their “We dos” we left to the Vitamin String Quartet’s version of Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.

I recently read an article that remarked a concern that I’ve seen repeated my whole life: is marriage dying? As long as there is love and there are humans falling into it – no. Marriage is not dying. I promise 2020 is not going to kill it.

Our marriage was not about legal benefit, it was not about a big party, and the ceremony could have proceeded without any legally binding contract or even the <50 people that were present. Marriage is about something much deeper. Marriage is about community and the joining of communities – the chosen families we accumulate through our lifetimes. And though we don’t plan to have biological children, we plan to raise children within these joined communities.

One of our flower “girls”, Calleigh, in her tiara and dress with a color matching mine

Marriage is valid even when children are not involved. Communities can be joined simply for love and to join families that are meant to be together. That may sound trite, but it is a beautiful, valid, amazing thing I will need to go into more detail on at some point. Marriages “of the soul” are valid, if not more so, than any legal contract – if two individuals remain together even though they are free to leave does that not make their union more valid than those who remain together out of legal obligation? I think specifically of a widow friend. Though never legally married, I will always view her as the rightful widow and the one and only true love of a late friend.

Every year we are faced with the opportunity to reexamine our union, and 2020 is no different. We are blessed to have joined our two families and to spend the rest of our lives with each other, and I promise there is nothing more healing than finding a friendship that sows seeds of love wherever it touches your life.

And so, without further ado, on this second anniversary, I share the proof of the design project I’ve been working on with our vows. Consider creative ways to celebrate love. I decided to take our vows and re-write them into the shape of a lighthouse.

You are 
my best friend;
My partner in this adventure.
You have shown me the 
Definition	of	Love 
And encourage me to share 
that with the world
I will always have 
the time for you, 
And       for      us.
I   promise  to  be
Your   best  friend,
 Your	      Partner, 
And your  Spouse.
I	will	hold 
The     	   Boundary 
Between what I can do 
And    what    I    cannot; 
For  though  I  may  wish 
To make everything perfect
Life  is  about  experiencing 
All things: both good & bad.
I       will        support      you
 As	  you	  support        me 
And	at	the center of my life 
I  place  our  marriage  and  our  future 
as we raise a family and honor the generations 
of memories, heritage, and tradition that our families have passed down.
Through all the storms, when you are at sea, I will be your lighthouse.

The shape of the lighthouse is based on the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse (without the keeper’s house) in Bristol, Maine where we held our ceremony. There’s still room for improvement – I’m aware! For those using assisted readers, I have included our vows in the alt text.

Part of planning our ceremony was bringing a community together. Jacob’s mother’s wedding dress became the stole for Jacob’s father’s officiant robes.

My mother and Nana wove the knots and did all of the floral arrangements for the wedding, including my bouquet. As per family tradition, these knots were saved and are displayed at holidays around our home.

The bridesmaids and groomsmen carried lanterns that were an arts and crafts project labor of love between Becky, Kate, Heather, and myself. These beautiful lanterns were constructed using LED lanterns that can be purchased at a craft supply store like Michaels and bulk loose wooden flowers in the colors sage, sky blue, dusty rose, natural wood, and ivory. Those wooden flowers were used for decorating throughout the weekend, including on the cake.

After our ceremony, we proceeded back to the Bradley Inn. They provided an inclusive wedding package at a reasonable cost compared to other similar venues (that did not have on-site lodging) with gluten free and allergy conscious catering with menu options that acknowledged all of our heritage traditions. It was a truly remarkable experience. We were even able to set up a dance floor!

One guest made the comment about how they worried they were at the “gay table.” The hardest/most awkward thing we had to disclose later was that we actually had to put together a “straight table.” Welcome to the 21st century! As a reader may be able to tell our accent metallic colors were in the copper to rose gold range with some aged bronze thrown in.

We kept the invitation list very small. We invited fewer than 50 people and still have spare invitations for future memories to share. I guess in 2020 it’s valuable to share our experiences with planning a small wedding such as this.

It would be an absolute shame if I failed to mention our cake by Hippie Chick Bakery (pictured below). This champagne, ginger, raspberry cake was gluten free, dairy free, and 100% divine. The top layer kept in Jacob’s parents’ freezer for a year and a half with minimal freezer burn, so we were able to fulfill that tradition as well! It turns out gluten and dairy are not required.

Our very first dance as a couple was to a special duet version of Broken Road by Rascal Flatts. This was followed by the realization during the planning stage that we had both chosen Paul Simon songs as our Father/Daughter and Mother/Son dances. The song chosen for that first dance with my father was Father And Daughter with each lyric carefully examined. This song captures my relationship with my father in a way I could have never predicted until I did that.

Jacob and his mother chose Loves Me Like A Rock for similar reasons.

One unusual bit of our wedding compared to others people may have experienced in America is that we had a dance that brings the community together as a singing/dancing hymn after the “first dances.” This hymn is called “Lord Of The Dance” and is a Shaker hymn. It’s important to note that Shakers do not traditionally believe in marriage and this is part of why they’re dying out.

File:Shakers Dancing.jpg
Image Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Shakers_Dancing.jpg
A close up of our dancing

But back to the lanterns really fast – we don’t have pictures of this part of the event sadly. As the wedding party lined up and we walked out of the reception, the lanterns were lit to guide our path into the future through the darkness. As we walked out, our wedding DJ (Bob Wilson – Maine) conspired with us to play Pachelbel Canon in D as played on rubber chickens as our exit song. Because this is Us.

Our friend Krieger doing his due diligence
Many thanks to Doreen at Seams Sew Elegant for all of the help!

As I look back on that day, and all of the work that went into making it happen, I do have one regret. My eldest sister had a speech prepared and the person hired to make sure microphones got into the correct hands and things went smoothly handed the microphone to the wrong person. As in, the exceptionally wrong person. Things did not go smoothly. Feelings were very hurt. Two years later, this still hurts. My sister still hasn’t shared those special words with us and I can only hope that someday we will be gifted with the honor of hearing them.

But given we planned a wedding from over 2,000 miles (3,220 kilometers) away and that’s the hardest lasting hiccup, even though I purchased a used dress that needed extensive alterations, left a toxic PhD program, and started a whole new journey focusing on my art and writing… The truth? It’s all better than my wildest dreams could have ever imagined.

At the end of the day, through all of the stress, we joined two communities: one from the North and one from the South. We did this through the efforts of everyone involved in making the day happen. And we did end up signing a legal contract because it’s America.

We still ended up married and many more people will continue to get married. For this, we give thanks.

Credits
Bei Capelli – Hair and Make Up
Love Pop – Invitations – we chose their now-retired lighthouse design.
James Allen – wedding bands
Adair Jewelers – Lo’s engagement ring setting
Tiffany & Co. – Jacob’s engagement ring
Kate Crabtree Photography – Photography

This post contains no affiliate links. Feel free to click and follow – I’m not earning any money from this.

Thank you for joining me in honoring our 2nd wedding anniversary. I hope that this inspires those looking for ways to celebrate their love in a time of social distancing and more intimate celebration restrictions. If you enjoy this post, please like, comment, and/or share. It helps me know which posts my readers enjoy most.

Lo Is Domestic AF: Saskatoon Berry Biscuits

I love exploring new and unusual foods that break the normal monocultures people expect – particularly, wild edible foods.

It had been a while since I did a recipe comparable to the Ship of Theseus, so it seemed time to make that happen again. I hope everyone is ready 🙂

Pictured above are Saskatoon berries. While similar to huckleberries or blueberries, Saskatoon berries do have a higher quantity of amygdalin than some other fruits and this breaks down into hydrogen cyanide. Eating too much of any fruit containing large amounts of amygdalin will you sick, but heat will break this down easily.

But how do you use them? In baking! Today, I’m going to share my recipe for Saskatoon berry biscuits. I based the recipe on one for blueberry drop biscuits, but I made quite a few significant changes to all of the ingredients to the point that it’s no longer the same recipe. Additionally, please keep in mind that the baking process heats the berries to a toasty 500 F (260 C) for ~10 minutes and helps guarantee that the berries are safe to eat for sensitive populations.

It’s important that you always wash berries before you cook with them. I removed all kinds of twigs and things from these before I added these to the dough, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

So, besides approximately 1 cup* of Saskatoon berries, what other supplies will I need? You can replace 1 cup of Saskatoon berries with a cup of huckleberries or local wild blueberry relative – I’m sure Maine blueberries would be divine!

*I include metric measurements for all of my ingredients at the bottom of this post

Because I try to reduce the overall sugar content of these recipes, I use Truvia sweetener baking mix.

I make my own self rising flour using Namaste flour blend (though you can use any cup for cup gluten free flour blend containing xantham gum). You may find that you need to adjust the ratios depending on the humidity and elevation of where you are living. I baked these biscuits at 3500 feet (1067 meters) above sea level and about 30% humidity.

The next task is to combine all dry ingredients called for – in this case it’s the sugar substitute and the self rising gluten free flour blend. Make sure to take your time with this step because uneven mixing can create issues. The one thing I would have changed while making this recipe is that I would have added a sifting step (I do not own a sifter).

Before we go any further, make sure your oven is preheating to a toasty 500 F (260 C) and get a vent fan going. At that temperature if you have anything baked to the inside of your oven, your smoke alarms will let you know.

Next, we add the dairy free milk option.

Let’s make something really clear: I’m from The South. I like my fats. They make everything taste good. In the drop biscuits I grew up with we used butter and full fat buttermilk, so I thought why not use coconut oil and canned coconut milk?

It takes a bit more effort though – because canned coconut milk comes out looking like this:

Doesn’t that look appetizing?

To fix this, place the bowl in the microwave for 15 seconds, then stir, and repeat until smooth. You’ll end up with a homogenous and smooth coconut milk.

Okay! We have all of our wet ingredients, fats, fruits and dry ingredients. Before we go any further be sure to double check your berries for stems and ripeness.

Next, add the coconut oil and start cutting (with 2 knives) the coconut oil into the dry ingredient mixture until you end up with dry pea sized granules.

Next, slowly add your coconut milk little by little and continue cutting in until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and the majority of the mix looks moistened.

It should looks something like what I have pictured below:

Now, add your berries and very gently (as to avoid squishing them) fold in your fresh berries. I did the folding part with a flat wooden spoon.

Once fully incorporated, move to a plastic or silicone mat and get a wooden rolling pin (marble or silicone may work here too) and gently roll out dough mass into a 1 inch (~2.5 cm) thick mass. I used a medium sized biscuit cutter, but the choice is yours. A smaller sized biscuit cutter will likely double the yield.

Continue to cut, transfer to a greased cookie sheet. If you can’t cut, reshape and gentle roll out without pushing the dough down with force – you do not want to squish the dough particles together!

A medium biscuit cutter yielded 8 biscuits, but the small may yield closer to 12-16 depending on how big your small sized biscuit cutter is.

Once the biscuits have started to get a nice golden brown appearance on top they are cooked through. Go ahead and take them out of the oven, but let them cool to at least 100 F (37.8 C) before serving. Cook time will vary based on a number of factors – these took approximately 10 minutes in our gas oven.

I’m so happy to have been able to share this recipe of Theseus with you today! While none of the ingredients matched the original version I based this on, it turned out fantastic. Therefore, I am going to put it out into the world and call this one a success.

Ingredients (Summary)

  • 2 cups (480 g) gluten free self-rising flour
  • 1/3 cup (80 g) truvia baking sugar substitute
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) coconut oil, non-melted
  • 2/3 – 3/4 cup (160 – 180 mL) canned coconut milk, warmed and blended smooth
  • 1 cup (240 g) fresh Saskatoon (or other local wild) berries (frozen may work too)

Did you give this recipe a try? What did you think? Have you ever cooked with Saskatoon berries? Are you a fan? Let me know in the comments below!

Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to read about this recipe. If you enjoyed this post, please like, share, and/or leave a comment. This helps me know which posts my readers like best. I hope you are well and I encourage you to try new things, experiment, and don’t be afraid to replace ingredients if you’re allergic to them. You’d be amazed what you might discover!

Today in “Lo Is Domestic AF”: Will It Chocolate Chip Cookie? Part 1

That’s Thai Basil Lemonade – I can do some things

I’m going to let everyone in on a little secret:

I’m not a domestic goddess

But I really like cookies and my sister has gotten me craving cookies. I blame you dear sweet sister, Becky.

Except, unlike her, I am not an angel of the kitchen. No. I create abominations behind closed doors. I present to you:

The Pillsbury Gluten-free [Cayenne Surprise] Chocolate Chip Cookie*

*not sponsored – this is what we had in the pantry

“But Lo,” You ask, “What’s the surprise if you tell us the cayenne is in it?”

Well, most people aren’t prepared for a cayenne chocolate chip cookie made with coconut oil instead of butter.

Don’t forget to preheat your oven to 375F because Pillsbury says,“🦆 the metric system!”

That’s 1/2 cup of softened coconut oil, couple dashes cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon tap cold water, and an egg.

Blend until decently homogeneous such that unsuspecting husband cannot see the cayenne pepper flakes.

Advise him that he can taste how spicy they are if he would like. Watch as he makes his “ew that has raw egg in it” face.

Laugh on the inside as you taste it and suggest adding more. He says, “No.”

Elevation seems to impact cooking time a lot for this baking mix. At 3205 feet elevation (at MSO) the cook time is approximately 10 minutes. I have made this recipe at 6000+ feet elevation and 10 minutes was not the correct time. Both were gas ovens, but there are other variables to be aware of.

Listen, gluten-free baking is weird and I’m constantly whispering incantations like “you better work you 🦆ing box of baking soda tasting 💩 “ over it. I’m not a wizard, contrary to what my last name may lead some to believe.

Once the cookies are out you have to let them cool a little, then detach them.

Next comes the fun part – the cayenne.

Dust the cookies with cayenne then transfer to a rack to finish cooling because I obviously trust you to do the right thing. Right?

Psych! Get that second batch in the oven and get your favorite homogenized nut juice some weirdo is insisting you call nut milk. Pour a glass and get a plate with at least 2 cookies.

If you are using horchata instead, you’re the true goddess, my friend.

Like that glass? Sales of it support the survival of a community gathering place important to me. You can buy that glass here.

Are you ready?

Yay! 2/2 approve! Cayenne Surprise is the good kind.

So What’s The Surprise?

The spice sneaks up on you. The tingling starts around your lips and crawls around in your throat balanced with the flavors of chocolate and cookie. It’s subtle, but you can’t eat too many. The cayenne isn’t super noticeable visually. It adds a brightness close up. Overall, I’d say this was a success. Have you tried similar with a different chocolate chip cookie mix or recipe? How did it turn out?

What should I try to add to cookies next? Do you have another domestic potential disaster for me to attempt? Comment below!