Happy 2012 everyone!
There's a book I love to read to Vida Lev. In it, the world becomes a relatively small, very nature-oriented planet where the birth of a child is passed on from creature to creature until gradually everyone is ready to welcome a new being onto this earth. Beautiful, no? And about as far away from our technocratic, virtual world as it's possible to be.
We live far removed from one another and while physical distance is easier to bridge than ever -- my daughter knows the word Skype already, and knows that it means we will be seeing her grandmother on the computer screen -- local relationships sometimes feel trickier to manage.
The other day, a woman I follow on twitter was commenting how distant she feels from her Facebook friends. I have to admit that I completely understand her. My Facebook page is personal and everyone on there are people I have met face to face and have felt some kinship to at one point or another -- from pre-school to high school, from El Salvador to Ojai, these are people I supposedly know.
And yet, I often find these "friends" and I have little in common. Sometimes I am even offended by their postings -- apparently, in addition to lovely and kind people, I am also "friends" with fascists, bigots, racists and chauvinists. (I'm shuddering right now, by the way.)
When I was first introduced to twitter, I rejected it completely. Enough, I said, no more social media. But seeing as The Picky Foodie won't grow legs and walk the earth without some help, I decided to give it a shot. And the results were astounding. Though I haven't met most of my twitter peeps -- with some wonderful exceptions like the delightful Molly of The Particular Kitchen and Mona of Wise Words -- I find we have so much more in common than I do with so many of my "friends" on Facebook.
Today is my three-month veganiversary. While many assume I have been vegan for yonks, I wasn't ready to take the official step until this year, October 12th, to be exact. My 35th birthday. Will I be vegan forever? Who knows! But for now, I'm enjoying the feeling of not eating animal products (with the exception of the occasional bit of honey), experimenting with plant-based proteins, and eating in a way that is more in line with my values.
While I took this step on my own, I have found inspiration in so many blog posts, recipes and experiences shared by the people I have found on twitter. What can I say? It does truly take a village. Here are my 3 faves:
- Gena Hamshaw at Choosing Raw -- hilariously, when I went to her website to double check the spelling of Gena's last name, I found a recent recipe for a similar kind of bread and just like me, she found that while the loaf is good, it's probably closer to the taste of a health-food-foodie (in fact, I think I'll try hers next). Nutritionist, future super-power MD, Gena is a wiz in the kitchen and knows truck-loads about health as well as recovering from Eating Disorders. Love her!
- Seyward Rebhal's Bonzai Aphrodite -- totally fabulous, totally fun, totally unique, totally vegan. I return to this site again and again, for inspiration and because Seyward is just totally awesome.
- Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy website-- This woman has makes living with incurable disease look glamorous. She's the rock star of healing with food and healthy living. Think attitude isn't important when it comes to kicking Cancer's ass? Check out Kris, her amazing story and her wonderfully informative website.
Through these and other sites I visit regularly, I will occasionally stumble on a one-off wild card recipes by people I haven't heard of before. Blog posts passed and retweeted, about foods and recipes I'm delighted to play with as well. And so too with the original recipe for this moist apple bread by Wendakai. In my gluten-free, mostly grain-free life, I sometimes crave bread and sometimes long for cake. This recipe falls somewhere between sweet and mildly savory, between bread and cake. Does that make it a loaf?
Anyway, the first mouthful took me back to the night I gave birth to Vida Lev. After we had cleaned up, my baby had fed for the first time and we were all happily cuddling in bed, Elke and Sandesh, the amazing midwives, asked me what I wanted to eat. By then it was one in the morning and I hadn't had any food for close to twelve hours. "Be careful what you ask for," Elke said, "because you will remember this for the rest of your life." She was right: the slice of toasted bread DW had baked for me the day before with almond butter and fig spread is something I still dream of.
And when this lovely little loaf came out of the oven, as my beautiful daughter slept in the next room, I slathered a nice slice in almond butter and topped it with fig spread and a touch of nostalgia.
May this year bring health, happiness, joy and may you dance in the sunshine.
Gluten Free, Vegan Apple Spice Bread
1 c whole garfava flour (a mixture of garbanzo and fava bean flour available from Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 c millet flour
1/4 c almond flour
2 t gluten free baking powder
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger powder
1/2 c date sugar
2 T mesquite (optional)
1/4 t sea salt (optional)
1 flax egg (if you need instructions on how to properly make one, Bonzai Aphrodite has great instructions here)
3/4 c apple sauce
juice of 1 lemon (about 1/4 c)
1/2 c water
Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350 Fahrenheit (about 175 Centigrade)
In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, spices, salt
Add the wet ingredients and mix well.
Bake for about 50 minutes.
This loaf if great toasted though, as I mentioned before, it might not be for everyone.
There's a great story of my mother, who has always baked "different" (read: healthy) things, taking a zucchini bread to a picnic once. The husband of a friend of hers couldn't get enough of it -- he just loved it. Until my mother told him what it was made of and he found he suddenly didn't like it anymore.
Afterwards he politely requested that my mother never reveal what she put in her lovely baked goods again.