Category Archives: People

Breakfast anyone?

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Breakfast anyone?, originally uploaded by Kate Chan.

Saturday I’ve been invited to a “Brunch with the Ladies”  by a tender-hearted, lovely colleague.  I actually thought the brunch was a “bring-your-loved-one” event and had convinced My Love that he should go.  After all, my friend is newly married and her husband and mine have a few things in common.  AND they enjoy each other’s company.    On Monday, I stopped her in the hallway to tell her that the invitation had arrived and that *we* were looking forward to going and then she looked befuddled.  She asked, “Kate, didn’t you see the invite said “Brunch for the Ladies”?”  Ay ay ay.  Needless to say my Love is delighted to have the house to himself (well, and the dog) for the morning on Saturday.

The next part of our conversation about brunch was predictable and lovely, really. I offered to bring something and she said not to worry.  However, she did wish to clarify about what I could/could not eat.  And maybe I could bring something to share that was gluten free?  Then she told me that she was making scrambled eggs and would have tons of cut fruits, etc.  I told her that it sounded like she had a great start on a gluten free breakfast already.  She was thrilled.

Don’t get me wrong.  I *am* bringing some arepas and a tortilla patata on Saturday.  It *is* the polite thing to do, after all.  I think there will be many people there and every little bit helps.  I know we haven’t been throwing parties or dining out in order to save some money for when the Chicklet arrives and it’s always a good idea to save a little money any way.

It’s nice to be bringing something because I’m contributing to the party and festivities rather than just covering my boot to make sure that I can eat something too.  Sometimes that is the hard part when dining with friends.  My family usually gets it.  It’s meeting new friends and going out with people that stresses me out.  I *hate* the fact that I have to push myself to request specific types of places to eat (because I know it will be easier for me to find something on the menu), especially when eating with new friends.

When I started thinking about brunch, I knew the typical foods that I would find:  eggs (probably a quiche… it’s a party for women, after all), fresh fruit, ham or sausage or bacon, toast and juice/coffee.  Beyond that… I was hoping NOT to find a large buffet table filled with croissants and danishes.  Not because of my gluten-free diet, but because of my Oh-My-God-I’m-Going-To-Be-40 diet.  I think I’m safe though.  Something tells me my friend is more likely to have a spread of yogurt rather than that.  However, I do think someone will impishly bring some baked goods to share. LOL

But you know what?  I don’t think I miss them any more.

See that picture above?  That’s what My Love made for our breakfast on Sunday.  And it was perfect.  The little bowl off to the right is filled with cut strawberries (no sugar) so when I finished the ones on my plate, there were more goodies to be had.  Breakfast consisted of one egg, one slice of ham (cut in two), a bit of mashed avocado with a couple chips  and the cut strawberries.

And the presentation?  Oh yea, that’s all him.  And NOT for a photo but just because he likes too.  (Don’t tell him I told you this, but my Love even folds the edges of the toilet paper when he puts on a new roll – especially in the guest bathroom.  He’s a gem, I tell you.) You’ll know when I plate the food for the photo.  It will look like something off a diner menu but it will still taste good!  LOL

I started thinking about all the typical breakfast/brunch foods that can even be found on a menu and then realized how well we’ve adapted our lives and eating to be gluten free.  A gal on the adoption forums was asking me how to start, where to start, etc.  She was most worried about breakfast and lunch.  Thanks to your help, breakfast during the week when I have little or no time, is not such a big deal any more.  I make granola cereal or bars to grab and go.  Sometimes I make a yogurt, granola and fresh fruit parfait the night before for me to take to eat before school.  (I do think especially when I’ve stopped at the coffee shop the day before and seen the yummy looking, but not-gluten free parfaits all lined up.)

It’s on the weekends that breakfast and brunch can really shine.  Gluten free crepes, pancakes, tortilla patata (Spanish egg/potato frittata-like dish), etc are all within reach and rather quick to make.  I’m hoping these things are loved by our Chicklet too when she gets here.  I’m thinking she and I are going to be the yogurt and parfait-loving girls while my Love scours the fridge for some kind of meat to eat with his breakfast.  (Do you have a carnivore in your life too?)

So here’s to Brunch with the Girls.  (“Ladies” just makes me feel *OLD*!)  May I seamlessly slip in and enjoy the morning with the gals and NOT have to discuss dietary requirements.

Ah.  It will be like I’m one of the “normal” eaters.  LOL
(If there *IS* such a thing.  Really.  Have you seen the stuff people eat?  I’m kidding!)

Have you been to a gathering – with a food theme – and found a way to blend in without feeling insecure or awkward?
How did you do it?
What’s your secret?

That’s my goal for Saturday:  Blend in and NOT feeling hyper-aware of what I’m “missing”.
Because really?  The only thing I’m “missing” by NOT eating gluten or cross-contacted foods?
Getting sick!  And who would MISS that?
Not me!
I think this is definitely a skill that we either (1) have before going gluten-free or (2) have to develop after knowing that we *must* be gluten free. I’m at almost-9-years of “study and practice* with this skill.  It sure is something I work on too.  I know I appreciated the social tips I heard from others before me too.
What are your tips for someone just starting out?
Or heck – for me!  I’ve still got my training wheels on here!
:)
Happy Brunches, Lunches, and Time with Friends -
-Kate

Adoption Auction: Signed Copy of Gluten Free Girl’s Book

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THE AUCTION CAN BE FOUND HERE.
It ends at 11:28PM PST on December 9, 2008.
Item sold!  Thank you, all!


The adoption page has links to other posts that include thoughts/information about our adoption as well as our adoption time line (for those of you who have been asking for more time line information).
Nothing keeps you watching the calendar/clock like a pending adoption…
—————————————————————————————————————————-

Okay….. I’m back at the book bartering.
But just in case you think it’s because I’ve lost my mind… let me just say this: I have.
Completely, too.

You see 5 weeks ago we received our referral for our daughter. In the mail arrived three single solitary pieces of paper and two photos of a little girl we have already fallen in love with.

baby toes

We dream of her little toes and the tickles and caresses we will give them.

Baby fingers

We dream of her little hands and fingers curling around our fingers just as she is doing her with her foster mother’s hand. (And OH, how we LOVE her foster mother for loving and caring for her!)

baby lips
We dream of her sweet lips tasting popsicles on hot summer days, dipping to red bean drinks with coconut milk and “jellies” with the family and kissing her until the end of time.

And oh, how we dream.

The nursery is painted. The crib is ready. And our arms have been open and waiting for far longer than I have ever wanted to wait. But we will continue to wait until she comes home.

Our little girl’s paperwork is currently in the land of “immigration” and “visa” funnels. Of which we know the steps, but we have no idea which step our paperwork is in. No knowledge is hard. It just makes up stare harder at her sweet pictures… which are now in frames by our computers at home… on our desks at work…emailed and printed for family/friends and even on our desktop wallpapers.

Yes, we have completely lost our minds… to love.

This means that I have one more auction that we hope to sell. This time it is for Shauna’s book, “Gluten Free Girl or How I found the food that loves me back and how you can too”.

Last Fall I met Shauna while she was here in my town for a cooking class. There she sat – pregnant and happy with her Love working diligently in the kitchen prepping for their cooking class. We spoke about blogging, gluten free life, the joy of good food but mostly about our love of life and hopes/dreams for our futures. To mothers-to-be on different paths, but both paths filled with love. I told Shauna then that I wanted to get a copy of her book to auction off for our adoption and she giggled with delight.

It was a done deal. Shauna grabbed a pen and signed the book with a flourish, a smile and a deep profound wish for our successful adoption and I for her baby’s birth. She’s truly a lovely girl, that gluten-free chica.

I learned that we had more in common than I originally thought. I am a teacher and she was teacher. Our journeys to that profession were rather similar – both pursuits of passion that brought us to that calling. Her passion has pushed to her write… mine pushes me to blog like a random internet spammer but with great zeal and joy.

We both met the Loves of our lives and knew it when it happened. It was a done deal with them too.

And now we venture in to parenthood via blogging together.

And our journeys to Celiac? Well, all journeys are distinct and personal. While Shauna and I are of the same age group, our parents had amazingly distinct food preferences when we were children. :)

Shauna’s book does a great job of giving a voice to the gluten free journey. It is uniquely her journey that she takes us through – and for that, I thank her. As through her stories, she introduces people to gluten free foods that only 8 years ago, when I was diagnosed were unheard of/not as common. And this was just FIVE years before Shauna’s diagnosis.

At the time of my diagnosis, I was lead to believe that my life would no longer include croissants, pizzas, breads, wrap sandwiches, cupcakes, etc. I was told to just not “eat anything white – like bread, pasta, etc.” Not super helpful – but thankfully we’ve come a long way, baby.

Shauna’s book will not only lead you through her life, however, but she introduces her passions for finding new foods and includes several recipes for you to try as well. Above all, I am thankful for her voice to our “cause”, if you will.

Are we a “cause” really? Us gluten free eaters? Not really, in my opinion. But I can say that she has helped empower countless bloggers, readers, recipe testers, chefs, etc to begin to push forward into the land of not just “suitable” or “edible” items for the gluten free diet, but rather DELECTABLE, DELICIOUS and WONDERFUL foods too.

In fact, let’s just say my lavash wraps, cupcakes, yellow cake and pizza crusts are now the preferred items for my gluten and gluten-free eating buddies and family! This is FAR cry from the duffel load of “muffins” (or bricks) that my Love and I hauled to Rome for our honeymoon so that I could have some “bread”. Please note I am using the term “bread” here very liberally. In fact, after attempting to eat just ONE of the $60.00+ worth of “bread”, we promptly deposited all of the pre-wrapped, nuclear-fallout-ready “bread” into the trash. I’ve felt guilty for years that we didn’t leave a note to warn the hotel maid of the heft of the trash can that morning. I sure hope she didn’t sprain a back muscle while attempting to lift up those bad boys to dump them out.

But with gluten-free bloggers and books, sparks of change are everywhere. Now at the bookstore, you can find a dozen or more cookbooks – but just as many authors! (Versus before, two authors, two books!)

And Shauna’s book? The personal journey to help and food joy? It’s here too. And now it’s up on auction. (Click here to bid, if you can! PLEASE!) FYI: The auction ends on December 9 at 11:28PM PST.

If you can help us raise funds by bidding on this auction, please know that we SINCERELY appreciate your help in bringing our little one home.

Many happy dreams to all…. and may they include your own little images of comfort and love. For now, my dreams are filled with toes, wrinkled noses, sweet lips and curled fingers……
-Kate

GF: Dessert, thanks to Burt

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Sometimes the best things in life are the things we don’t often stop long enough to contemplate.

Take for example the rare sunshine (in the PNW) through my skylights in the living room. Both Max (our black lab) and I were lounging in the sunshine on Saturday for as long as it lasted. (I swear some part of me in solar-powered.)

Other examples?

  • Watching dragonflies hatch in the summer.
  • Listening to my love roll with laughter while he watches “Human Tetris” on YouTube (for which I absolutely MUST thank my student profusely for the introduction).
  • Early morning birds chirping.
  • Sun breaks in an otherwise cloudy day that spurs you on further.
  • And meeting new people.

Today I met Shauna (Gluten Free Girl) and her love, Danny. It was a lovely chance to meet another blogger face to face and chat about life. And it was refreshing to talk about the many things in life beyond what we eat. In fact, that was hardly a topic of conversation at all.

We talked about travels in Italy, blogging, wedding cakes, pregnancy and babies (adoption for us), and more. It was a lovely time and I left to enjoy the last rays of sunshine on my way home as she prepared for a cooking class they were going to be teaching.

I mention this meeting because she graciously signed a copy of her book for me to somehow (if I can figure this out) “auction off” to the highest bidder here in an attempt to help raise funds for our own bundle of joy. Adoption is an expensive option. Sadly for us, it’s the only one left. But that, that will have to wait until I figure out how to do it. (Any ideas? Feel free to drop me an email!)

So instead, in the sun, I thought back upon the reasons why children make you thrive.

I thought about the lifetime of love I have to share with my love and how maybe if we would have met earlier, things would be different? No. That’s really not it. We’re perfect as is – and I truly believe that there is always a greater plan in action. Things happen when the happen for a reason.

Uncle Burt & Aunt Betty

Take my Aunt Betty. She’s an amazing woman. At the age of 80+, she went on a canoe and camping trip through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Northern Minnesota with her boys (in their 50s). She’s not slouch, either, let me tell you – she was carry heavy packs and all.

My Aunt’s husband, Burton, was a wise man. He knew what a wonder Betty is and his admiration and esteem for her was obvious when you saw them together. In fact, even though they had dated in high school, both Betty and Burton had married others and had kids. It was only after their spouses had passed that Betty and Burton reconnected.

At their wedding, several decades since they had been in high school, both of them had dance cards that they had saved from long, long ago with the other’s name on it. Neither of them knew that the other had saved the dance card until that day.

Things happen for a reason, don’t they?

Burton was an amazing person in his own right. I truly enjoyed all of my conversations with him and the sparkle in his eyes when he spoke and told jokes. And, Burton was an excellent cook. He made the most wonderful brisket I’d ever tasted. (No worries, I have the recipe!)

Better than the brisket though, was Burton’s ability to bring the simple flavors together for an amazing dessert. He brought muskmelon to the table and proceed to slice it up. On each plate he placed a slice of muskmelon, topped it with a small scoop of lemon sorbet and then squeezed a lime section over the top.

Oh. My.

It was all I could do to savor every bite as slowly as I could despite the melting sorbet. (It was July, after all, and even in Minnesota, for those of you who don’t believe me – it gets DANG hot!)

Oh it was wonderful.

So on Saturday, after absorbing as much sunshine as the clouds would let me have through the skylights, I ran my errands. I had to go to the store for some items for our potluck (with the Foreign Exchange kids) that evening. And of course, sun-inspired, I picked up some sorbet and melon too.

I modified Burton’s recipe mostly because I didn’t grab the right kind of sorbet (I grabbed raspberry, not lemon) and then the modifications just kept coming. Strawberries? Oh yea, those looked too good to pass up. Lime juice? Hmm… Why not try Limoncello liquor. Oh yea. That was a winner too!

A simple dessert with many, many thanks to my Uncle Burt.

Uncle Burton’s Simple Dessert
Ingredients
1 cantaloupe, sliced into long slices for serving on a plate topped with other ingredients or cut into pieces for serving in a glass or bowl
1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries
1 small container of lemon or raspberry sorbet
1 lime or 1 Tablespoon Limoncello (per serving)
*mint leaves for garnish *optional

Directions:

  1. Cut and prepare fruits.
  2. Layer fruit (cantaloupe and then strawberries) into your serving dish.
  3. Top with one small scoop or 2-3 melon ball sized scoops of sorbet.
  4. Either squeeze fresh lime juice on top or pour 1 Tablespoon of Limoncello on top for each serving.
  5. Can be served with fresh mint leaves as garnish as well.

Ah. A little bit(e) of summer in the spring time.
Perfect.
Thanks, Burton.
-Kate