Today I'm baking a wedding cake...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Wish me luck!

Grown At Home

Thursday, August 14, 2014

One of the best things about being home in the summer is the abundance of fresh produce and real farmer's markets. In Boston farmer's markets are too trendy and expensive to be authentic. At home in Virginia, farmer's markets are still little huts on the side of the road where local farmers are trying to rid of excess produce before it goes bad. Not to mention everyone has their own mini garden, so if it's not coming from the farmer, it's coming from your neighbor. Fresh produce abounds.

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Muffins

Monday, August 11, 2014

Time with mom and homemade sweet potato muffins. #thebest
Sweet Potato & Five Spice Muffins

Adapted from It's All Good

Makes a dozen muffins

1 large sweet potato 
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
3/4 cup pure maple syrup, plus 2 extra tablespoons for brushing the muffins
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups gluten free flour (plus 1 teaspoon xanthan gum if not included in flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick the sweet potato a few times with a paring knife or fork. Bake until soft (when a paring knife can cut through with zero resistance), about 1 hour. Set the sweet potato aside until it's completely cool.

Peel the sweet potato, discard the skin, and mash the flesh in a mixing bowl with a fork. Whisk the olive oil, almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla into the sweet potato. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, five-spice powder, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. 

Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and evenly distribute the muffin batter among the cups. 

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, brushing the tops with extra maple syrup during the last 5 minutes of baking. Let the muffins cool before serving.

Note: delicious with pumpkin butter! Nom.


Saturday, August 9, 2014

It's been nine months since I was in Albania. As I finally sat and edited my pictures tonight, I also read through my journal and experienced the whole thing over again. I remember the exact way I felt when meeting my cousins for the first time. It makes me sad, but it makes me happy at the same time.  I'm so grateful for the many blessings that week and being with Alexandria and Stephanos. I'm so grateful for the opportunity to meet the family that my Baba always told me about. I'm so grateful for the experience. I'm so grateful I wrote it down. 

November 26, 2013; 2:00am
"I was sitting at their kitchen table, dining with them, and casually chatting as if I saw them everyday. I was thinking back to a couple nights ago when I met them for the first time. We met at Hotel Tirana. I will never forget the way it happened and the way it felt; the way they looked, the four of them sitting in the corner and I could see their jittery excitement through the window as they recognized me from the pictures. When I walked in to greet them, they jumped and ran at me with open arms and kisses. It was like they had known me and loved me forever. As we talked, I could see Lluka's heart through his eyes as the tears welled up at the corners. The kids were shy and giggled, and gave me the most generous, loving hug. I can't take it. I don't want to leave them. I just want to be with them forever."