Now We’re Cookin’

I don’t know whether my favorite room in our new house is the bathroom, or the kitchen – well, put that way, the kitchen wins –  but it’s been such a pleasure to take a long warm shower in such a roomy space. A luxury that I often took for granted before our RV life!


I’m spending a lot of time in the kitchen baking – I love to bake, (in the 70’s and 80’s I baked all of my own breads) and I love having my tools and a big oven again! I want to share this GF Carrot Muffin recipe with you, not because it’s inherently healthy, or even healthier, but because it’s a darn delicious recipe. And it had me scratching my head, then laughing at my dense-ness, over the directions!

But, before I get to that, I want to chip in my two cents about GF cooking and the fact that going gluten-free isn’t healthier than eating gluten. Gluten isn’t some evil poisonous thing that’s been added to our food. Gluten is a protein found in flour, nothing more. It is this protein that grants things made with flour their elasticity, texture, rise, and exquisite flakiness. 2D676278-6ADA-48B8-947D-63F91A2274D8

Only a small percentage (1-2%) of the population are truly gluten intolerant (celiac disease) while 6% are gluten-sensitive and, like me, plain old allergic to wheat. We must avoid it to be well and healthy.

Switching to GF substitutes made of white rice flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, sorghum flour, etc. isn’t going to help if you’re switching  hoping to lose weight: pizza, even a GF one, is still pizza.

A cold-weather cozy: if you have access to Netflix, I highly, highly, highly recommend watching Michael Pollan’s fascinating four-part series, COOKED. The section entitled AIR is my fave… about bread.

If you want to make a healthy change, try switching to organic breads, and using organic flour for your baking. I personally use King Arthur products (and, no, I’m not being given anything for saying that) and they have a wonderful website and a good GF flour blend. I’ve worked out, and adapted, some great GF recipes… for when I want a treat. I’m happy to have them, but they are no comparison to wheat flour…  That said, this Carrot Muffin  recipe from The Minimalist Baker (nothing minimal about this recipe, the ingredient list is a mile long, but worth it) is pretty darn close!

After these muffins are baked, they must cool in the pan for a bit, then the directions tell you to, “turn muffins on their side in the pan.” I swear… I was stumped!  Do what? How?  Then I realized that she meant turn each muffin sideways in it’s space so air could circulate around the bottom. Like this: 6E2A9BF2-4150-4D15-8DF4-373F9E76EB3F

I couldn’t wait to eat one, but they must cool completely or half the muffin sticks to the paper! And, GF tends to taste better after it’s cooled, honest.  I store them for a couple of days in a big ziploc, then refrigerate or freeze. Let me know what you think!

XO Donna


63…is the new black

I had a late afternoon doctor’s appointment this week, just blocks away from where my dear friend Mike lives. He and I made plans to visit afterwards so I could see some new artwork he had purchased, and go out to dinner together.  

The last time I saw him, he was dissatisfied with the way he was looking (a few pounds overweight, jeans too tight) and feeling (out-of-shape, tired). Not one to blame it on his age, and resign himself to it, he made a decision and stuck with it.  Mike torsoHe began walking to the H.E.B. grocery about a half-mile from his home, rather than driving. He renewed his membership to the gym, works out 6 times a week, (2 of those with a personal trainer)and walks there each morning. He also began to walk at the park at the new Mueller Development.

I was really impressed when Mike opened his front door to greet me! I’ve known him for over 20 years, and he’s always been slim, but buff is a new thing. He’s always been decisive, adventurous and very creative. He makes up his mind, and then does things. He left a job, one year shy of being able to retire, and started his own German-to-English translation business. He decided he wanted to get back into playing the piano, and now has a beautiful piano in his living room where he plays regularly and is doing his own arrangements. And he wanted to learn to make his own cappuccino.

Mike told me that he walks “pretty much every day,” does 150 sit-ups and 100 push-ups. “If I don’t do it now, I crave it. Especially with a sedentary job like my translation business where I sit for hours. I’ve realized that I must get up each hour to get both a physical and mental break.”  Mike makes coffee That includes going into his designated coffee room, complete with an Italian espresso machine that he has mastered, a cozy window seat for himself and/or a guest, and a French door out into his beautiful backyard. An ideal place to relax and refresh your spirit and your mind!  

I am very impressed with Mike’s lifestyle changes:  from inactivity, and not being mindful of what he was eating, to a fit and healthy lifestyle with an emphasis on movement, and a diet based on a variety of fresh, healthful food. He said he is trying all sorts of new fruits that he had never eaten before as he placed a plate of apricots the color of  a Texas sunset on the tray with our cappuccinos.   “Since I’ve been working out, I’m more focused and efficient. I find that my my mind/body connection is improved. If I get stuck on the perfect word for a translation, or the perfect phrasing for a piano arrangement,  I go for a walk, and the answer, the right word, just appears! Maybe it was there, and I was blocking it…but the solution shows up!”  Levi tag

We  joked about  reinventing ourselves at our age. About “60 being the new…40? 50?  What?”  Mike’s answer was, that it’s the new black, and that sounds great to me.  Any age can become an opportunity to create a sexy, healthy, and vibrant life for ourselves.  Oh, and to create a smaller jean size!

XO Donna