Dancing outside my comfort zone

There’s a time and a place to break away from old behavior patterns.

Ordinarily, I’m a march to the beat of my own drummer kind of girl which is why I tend to shy away from the suggested topics from our wonderful UBC hosts. But tonight’s topic caught my attention as it gives me a chance to brag about my favorite person, my daughter, Heather. Although I’m not going to follow the suggestion exactly, I will be posting pictures of desserts.

A few years ago, I decided to get away from gluten, as well as a lot of the processed “white” products like flour, sugar and rice. Not that most of it was any real loss as I’ve been using the organic sugars and flours for awhile now, and white rice has never excited me, especially with so many more tasty choices. My science geeky daughter took my dietary change as a challenge, soon discovering that I was joined by many of our friends in these choices.

Soon, my talented daughter was using her years of science classes to develop gluten-free alternatives to our favorite cake and cookie recipes, eventually developing a whole line of flavors and combinations of her very own. As she was cooking for my taste first, she reduced the amount of sugar overall, making goodies that were a lot less sweet, but still very tasty. (better, if you ask me!)

But this was only the beginning. Upon learning of her success with gluten-free baking, friends started approaching her with other food sensitivities and she began experimenting with alternatives to dairy and sugar as well. However, her peanut butter, chocolate chip cookies made with honey are sacred!

This year, she experienced a major life change which had her moving away from the town where she’d live her entire life, but also letting her quit her job and resume her education. Being within shouting distance of the school she’d dreamed of ever since the day she declared that she wanted to be a dolphin doctor (I believe she was six at the time), and having a much better community college system at her disposal, she decided that she could pursue both the science and the baking. This semester, her classes are all culinary in nature, but since her general education is complete, she will take science classes while her fellow culinary students are getting that GE out of the way.

But enough of the back story. The challenge today was to write about our favorite dessert, and maybe post a recipe. Instead, (I did say I’d be deviating), I am going to post a few of my daughter’s creations as she’s not only creative with the flavors, but also with the design. Though I can no longer say I have one particular favorite, I can share a few of her highlights. Reeses peanut butter cup cake

This little beauty was her hubby’s birthday cake this year. He absolutely loves peanut butter and chocolate, so she started with her indescribable chocolate cake, made a filling with peanut butter and whipped cream, topped the whole thing with fudge and decorated it with peanut butter cups.

This cake was another challenge she made for herself. Starting with the chocolate cake, she covered it with meringue and chocolate dipped graham crackers. The filling was whipped cream with chopped up graham crackers in it. She calls it her S’mores cake. S mores cake

Not one to rest on her laurels, she blew us all away with the cake she made for her birthday. A mother-daughter brainstorming session (we do this a lot when she has an idea but needs to figure out how to execute it) resulted in a peach filled spice cake which was actually a modification of the chocolate cake we’ve christPeach filled spice cakeened the “better than sex cake” (though the original is filled with whipped cream and Nutella. How can you not love chocolate cake with Nutella???) One bite, and everyone agreed that this was her best effort ever. Note that the ghosts and goblins dancing atop this cake are actually chocolate suckers she made especially for a cake celebrating her favorite holiday, even though the actual occasion was her own birthday.

Though she began her experimenting with cakes, and has developed quite a line of flavors, fillings and toppings, her true love is cooking in general. The culinary arts program she’s in feeds that love, but is also feeding all of us better than ever. She is learning a lot of things about food preparation which she shares with me to make us both better cooks. Her knowledge was especially helpful this week when I received a bunch of kale in my first grower’s association box. My experience with the vegetable in its raw state was less than pleasant, but between a suggestion from a friend and Heather’s guidance, I made a rather tasty saute with yukon gold potatoes, garlic, red onion, kale and chicken sausages.

I could go on for hours in this vein, but even a motor mouth (or motor fingers) knows when to leave the audience wanting more.

My gratitudes tonight are:
1. I am grateful for the skills I’m learning from my daughter.
2. I am grateful for the opportunity to try new foods and eat even healthier.
3. I am grateful for the natural remedies in my house to combat the sore throat I woke with this morning.
4. I am grateful for my daughter’s adventurous nature.
5. I am grateful for abundance: love, sharing, friendship, healthy foods, new things, harmony, inspiration, motivation, health and prosperity.

Namaste

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Comments on: "October 10, 2014 Breaking tradition for a worthy cause. #shericonaway #blogboost" (8)

  1. Your daughters creations look amazingly yummy cakes, what a lovely passion, cooking.

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  2. Isn’t it great when one of your children does something amazing? You must be so pleased. Her use of science in creating new dishes in this alternate field of cooking is unique and could lead to much greater things.

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    • I think we can always find things to be proud of with our kids. Everyone I know has a story. But to do what she’s done with baking is especially amazing as, unlike cooking, you can’t taste as you go. She has learned to recognize that a batter is right by its consistency, which amazes me! But it’s also a real asset to understand how things react chemically, and this culinary arts program is simply augmenting what she already knows. Her dream is to open a cafe with maybe an attached bookstore, and I see no reason why it won’t become a reality.

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  3. Studies show that cooking at home is the only way to remain healthy. GMO’s plague us everywhere else we go!! Kudos to your daughter AND to you!

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    • So true, Kate. She’s even starting to grind her own flour as she wasn’t able to find all of the pre-made flours she was putting into her gluten free mixture. We are especially fortunate to live in an area where organic farms are plentiful.

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  4. The cakes look yummy, indeed, and I your love for and pride in your daughter warms the heart 🙂

    So, my apologies if I am going to ask about something more mundane – gluten free. You know how when you get pregnant, you suddenly discover that everyone around you is pregnant too …? No, I’m not pregnant (would be pretty interesting if I were …), but never having been concerned about gluten, my grandson was recently diagnosed with celiac and all of a sudden everywhere I turn, people are talking about gluten free.

    When you decided to eliminate gluten from your diet, Sheri,was it because of celiac or any other gluten related sensitivity? I have read that for people, who do not suffer from celiac, going gluten free can actually be dangerous, because of nutrients in wheat that we actually need. I’m certainly no expert, but always curious of ways o improving our diet, health and good feeling.

    THANKS 🙂 HUGS ❤

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    • Thank you, Judy. I answered this on Facebook, so I’m assuming that by now, you’ve already seen it. If what I gave you wasn’t enough, feel free to ask for elaboration. As with anything health related, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor or nutritionist if you’re concerned about dietary changes.

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