What We Miss When We Move

For four years I lived in Anchorage Alaska. Yes, I was a short timer. When I first moved there I thought I would live there forever! Then winter happened! In October! And I found that cold weather makes me angry. If it is below zero, I hate you. I’m sorry, I don’t know you, but I hate everything and everyone when I am cold. It was horrible. I don’t like being angry. I like to be a nice person. Then I met a gorgeous fighter pilot and I didn’t have to worry about moving again. The Air Force decided when and where I was going to move. Easy! No more decisions.

There were times when Alaska was magical. And maybe it’s just that I’m nice and warm in my house in Idaho, but sometimes I miss Alaska. I would like to go ice-fishing again, ice skating on a pond, see the Northern Lights, go to Charlie’s Bakery. Ah, Charlie’s Bakery. Crazy craziness, only in Alaska. They have the most beautiful cakes and pastries, French baguettes, opera bars – glorious, yummy sandwiches and the best dim sum in town. One side of the menu is soups and sandwiches and the other side is traditional Chinese food. Sometimes it was so hard to decide if I wanted a sandwich or dumplings. I’m getting so hungry! One thing I always had was a coconut bun. So good. Probably full of dairy. Now I’m sad. Even if I go back to Anchorage I won’t be able to have a bun.

Coconut buns are a traditional item found in Chinese bakeries and not so traditional Alaskan bakeries. They take some time to make, with all the kneading and rising. I think they are worth the trouble, at least every other year.

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Dairy-Free Coconut Buns

1/3 cup white sugar
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk beverage (not canned)
1/4 cup dairy free margarine
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup all-purpose flour, or more if needed

Filling:
1/4 cup dairy free margarine
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup soy milk powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup finely grated coconut

Directions

  1. Place 1/3 cup sugar and milk in a small saucepan, and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Add 1/4 cup margarine, and gently warm the mixture until the margarine melts and the mixture is warm but not hot (no warmer than about 100 degrees F (40 degrees C). In a large bowl, stir together the yeast with 2 1/2 cups flour until well blended, and pour the milk mixture into the flour-yeast mixture. Stir in 1 beaten egg, and mix until the mixture forms a sticky, wet dough.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead for about 10 minutes, gradually kneading in 1 cup of additional flour or as needed to make a smooth, elastic dough. Form the dough into a round ball, place into an oiled bowl, and turn the dough around in the bowl a few times to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with a cloth, and allow dough to rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. I turned my oven to warm, turned it off and put the dough in to rise.
  3. Cream 1/4 cup margarine with 1/2 cup of sugar in a bowl until the mixture is light and fluffy, and stir in dry milk powder, 1/2 cup flour, beaten egg and the coconut until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Set the filling aside.
  4. Working on a floured surface, punch down the dough, and cut into 2 equal pieces. Cut each piece into 8 equal-sized pieces (16 pieces total). Form each piece into an oblong bun, and flatten the bun with a floured rolling-pin or your fingers. Scoop up about 1 tablespoon of filling with a spoon, and place in the center of a bun. Pull and pinch the edges of the dough together to enclose the filling in the bun*. Repeat with all dough pieces, and place the filled buns, seam sides down, onto the prepared baking sheets. Cover the buns with a cloth, and allow to rise in a warm place 1 hour.
  5. Pre-heat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Bake in the preheated oven until the buns are golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.

*I flattened out the filling and then rolled the dough back over the filling so that there was coconut throughout the roll. (I should have taken a picture of that)

Also, the filling was sticky,really sticky.

The only thing I want to work on is the filling. I think the soy milk powder is too rich. I don’t care enough to make a yeast dough again right away though. And my kids weren’t impressed with these so I’ll be eating them all by myself. Maybe they freeze…who am I kidding? I’m sure I’ll eat them without much of a problem.

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Are We Done Here?

Does anyone even read blogs anymore? I haven’t followed anyone for years. This blog is rather like my MySpace account. Does MySpace even exist anymore? I tried to stop using FB because it’s for old people, but I really didn’t get into twitter or instagram. I’m pretty sure I’m old. Anyway I read a fluffy little novel about a girl fighting for an IT job with a blog: whoever had the most followers won the job. Crazy how fast our world changes. Eh, well, now my blog can be my personal diary. Not that I ever had over 30 followers anyway.

I have been having a bit of a hard time remembering where I have certain recipes. It seems like I get into ruts in my cooking. I’ll cook one recipe several times in a matter of months and then I never make it again. Or I want to make it again the next year and have no idea where the recipe can be found. How do I tackle this problem? My mother had a recipe card with a list of where to find her favorite recipes. I started this blog so I could gather all my recipes in one place. I’ve gotten a bit lost and the last few years have barely written anything. Back to it then!

Easy Cream Cheese Danish 

2 cans refrigerated crescent dough sheets
1 (8oz) tub of Tofutti cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons Tofutti sour cream

1 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon almond milk
1 tablespoon dairy free butter

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line 9×13 pan with parchment paper.
  2. Roll out  one dough sheet and lightly press into pan.
  3. Mix together cream cheese, lemon juice, sugar, vanilla, and sour cream. Spread filling evenly over dough.
  4. Roll out second dough sheet and lay on top of filling.
  5. Bake for 22-27 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Stir milk into powdered sugar and margarine to make a glaze. Drizzle over slightly cooled pastry.

*optional: top with strawberry jam

 

Did you know that Pillsbury Crescent Rolls are dairy free? Chock-full of chemicals I can’t even pronounce, but dairy free! YES!

 

 

Getting My Uh, Stuff Together

Why are the sides of this wagon so low? I fall off every time I go over a rough patch of road.

There are so many facets of my life that I am trying to improve. I can never seem to have everything working like I want. It is difficult to have more than one area of my life moving in a positive direction. Well, summer is here again and I am ready for a new beginning.

My dad died a couple of months ago and I have felt like I am living in a kind of limbo since then. I wasn’t really exercising, I was eating whatever (unhealthy) food I wanted, dishes stayed dirty in the sink, laundry piled up, I felt like I was just barely making it. I am so grateful that summer is here now. I love the slower pace of summer. I love that my calendar fills up with things like camping and dinner with friends. I feel like I can take a breath.

I have a cleaning calendar on the wall by my computer. It has been neglected for months. Cleaning the kitchen turned into washing dishes when the sink was full. Cleaning the bathroom turned into cleaning the toilet when I couldn’t stand the sight of it anymore. Vacuuming happened when we were having someone come over. I just didn’t care. I felt like I was swimming against the tide, getting swept out to sea. I need to take a big breath! I will not be overwhelmed.

Yesterday I started following my cleaning schedule again. I feel lighter. It took a bit of time to get my bathroom deep cleaned, but next week it will be much easier. I also cleaned the kitchen. It is going to take some time to get things back in order. Hopefully I can get it together before school starts again.

I’m Still Thinking

The new year has started. Millions(?) of people made new year resolutions and half of them have already failed. I can’t have broken my resolution yet because I haven’t made one. I’m thinking it might be fashion related. I found the Dress Your Truth site as I was trying to figure out what I am supposed to wear.

I cannot figure out what “season” I am. The clothes that an hourglass shape woman is supposed to wear are usually a little more, um, how do I say this,  hoochie mama, body conscious, than I feel comfortable wearing. So, I found this quiz on Pinterest and stumbled upon a new way of looking at my clothes. I found a new way to look at myself.

For the first time ever I neatly fit into a category. As I learned about the 4 types of DYT women, I agreed with almost every statement about the Type 2 woman. The personality type fit! I was so excited, until I saw the clothes that Type 2 women are supposed to wear. I didn’t like any of them. What was wrong? Should I retake the quiz? I took some time to think about my current wardrobe.

What type were the clothes I already had? Most of them would fit into the Type 1 closet. What about the outfits that I really love? Um, well, I don’t think I have any of those. I don’t own one article of clothing that I love. Nothing that makes me feel beautiful, nothing that feels like me. Why did I buy these clothes?

I have been trying to be someone I am not. My husband is a “get things done” person. He’ll make of list of things to do and before the ink is dry he has already completed one thing. And for some strange reason, he thinks I should be like him.

I have always wanted to be friendly and outgoing, a cheerleader. I looked at my nature as something to overcome. I gravitated toward bright, cheery clothing. Hot pink with polka dots. I wanted to be bright pink with polka dots, but I’m not. I’m soft blue lace.

I took two months to go through the 30-day Dress Your Truth challenge. I am a Type 2, I need more time. I went back to watch the videos discussing the clothes of Type 2 women and I found I liked them more than I did two months ago. I went through my closet and moved most of my clothes to the back. I ordered two shirts and two pairs of shoes. I have a ways to go.

I want to celebrate who I am. I want people to know that I am quiet and sensitive. I want my clothes to convey to others who I am. This year I’m not going to be a “New Me”. I am going to be the me I have always been, but have been to scared to be.

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty pleasures…that sounds way more scandalous than anything I’ll be writing about. Although, I do feel a little bit guilty about my love of artificial scents.
I know that summer is over because I’m out of my Bath and Body Works Coconut Cove soap. And I am looking forward to getting Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte hand soap. I am usually a crunchy, D-I-Y kinda girl, but I love, LOVE stuff that smells good. Don’t judge, I also love Scentsy. I know there are so many wonderful natural scents I could have (I own a diffuser), but when my house smells like Vanilla Bean Buttercream, I am happy.
I am so excited about Fall flavors and scents! I love apple cider. I know everyone has been pumpkin crazy for years, but to me, apple cider means Fall is here. I will have a pan on the back burner with cider, cinnamon sticks and cloves simmering away. I will also have a Cider Mill Scentsy going.

What are your favorite scents? Do you like essential oils or do you sometimes crave candy-sweet fragrances?

Sometimes I just have to cry

Today is a hard day for me. Some years the anniversary of my mother’s death goes past without me noticing. If we are on vacation or travelling or sometimes I just don’t know what the date is during the summer. This year I have been dreading July 31 for weeks. It came and went and I was fine. But. Today is August 1st. On this day six years ago I woke up without my mom. I remember going downstairs and noticing her bedroom door was open. Before reality crashed in I thought “Oh good, she’s up.” She was gone. Gone. I could never see her again. I could never call her again. There is no way to describe the feeling of knowing she was gone from the world.
I don’t know why I’m having such a difficult time today. I just can’t stop crying. I want my Mama. I miss her and it still hurts.
Grief must be one of those spiral things. You feel like you are just going around and around, but really at the same time you are moving up. The weeks following her death I couldn’t sleep. I would watch the numbers change on my clock for hours. I would cry, full body sobs every night. I still miss her, but I do sleep through the night. I do miss her, but I don’t cry every day. I miss her, but I can find joy in watching my girls swim in the pool. I can find comfort in my family. I can hear a James Taylor song without completely loosing it.
A couple of weeks ago I had a girls weekend in Portland. When my mom was alive she and her sisters got together every year (usually with my grandma). I was fortunate to be able to join them a few times. This is the first time we have been together since Mama died. I hope that we will continue to get together, but I don’t know if that will happen. We didn’t talk about Mama, but I’m sure we all thought about her. She would have had a fabulous time with us.
I think I’m feeling better. I can breathe, my eyes aren’t burning. As long as no one asks “are you OK?” I should be fine.

I want some wine with my whine (and other body issues)

I am a grown woman. Well at 5’1″, as grown as I am ever going to get. Older than I want to admit and I have just realized my body type. My whole life I thought I was a pear. The women in my family all thought they were pears. I have a heavier bottom and thighs, therefore I thought I was a pear. After having a couple of kids I finally have boobs. Turns out I’m an hourglass! Wahoo! Isn’t that the shape that women want? Isn’t that what good clothes try to give you, an hourglass shape? I knew I wasn’t doing my body justice by the clothes that I was wearing. Everything turned me into a box. I just needed to find clothes that nip in at the waist. Easy, right? But wait, I am a petite. A petite hourglass. It’s like a fairy tale. As in does not exist. If only I had a personal tailor.

I read all I could find on the internet about my new-found body type (it wasn’t much) and armed with that information I hit the stores. I quickly found that shopping at brick and mortar stores is not going to work. Do people even shop in stores anymore? It was so discouraging. It used to only be shoe shopping that made me feel like a freak. Enough complaining. I know that fit and flare dresses look good on me, so I went to Amazon and searched for some sun-dresses. I found some with defined waists. Turns out I need to change my persona to a rock-a-billy, retro, millennial. Maybe I’ll get some fashion glasses and tattoos. Hmm, maybe not. I have always had a problem with fashion. I just don’t get it. I don’t know how to look like how I want to look. I need Stacy and Clinton or Trinny and Susannah. Please, someone tell me what to wear! You know what looks good on me? Pinot Grigio. I’m gonna have a glass and look at Pinterest.