a gluten-free dinner? yes!

fresh scratch, gluten free, asian short ribs

fresh scratch, gluten-free, dinner, asian ribs

We have dear, dear friends who can’t have gluten, so I am always on the look out for a really good {and I mean really good as in it shatters the misconception that g-f means grody and blah} gluten-free recipe to turn into a dinner for them the next time we have them over {which is never often enough!}.

Since Matt gives music lessons in our living room every Wednesday until just about dinner time, the crock pot has become my best friend on Wednesdays. I’m busy, he’s busy, and the crock pot allows me the option of taking the girls and getting the heck out of my house until dinner time. I mean, have you ever heard the same chords played week in and week out? Remember when Journey said lovin’ a music man ain’t always what it’s supposed to be?

They had no idea how right they were.

I have an entire Pinterest board related to crock pot things, and I’ve been slowly working my way through it, one week at a time. I’m not even going to try to say I’ve adapted this recipe for Asian Short Ribs by 100 Days of Real Food, because it’s practically perfect in every way. The Chinese 5-spice powder is becoming one of my pantry staples – don’t skip it in the recipe! Also, the prep before you turn the crock pot on is incredibly minimal.

fresh scratch, gluten free, asian short ribs

About 45 minutes before dinner time, I rinse some rice (brown or white), using my trusty-stove-top method to cook it. It makes a perfect bed for the ribs. I also set a pot of water to boil and steam some broccoli. Other firm veggies would be nice, or even a batch of fried rice.  

The secret to what makes this amazing is the soy sauce glaze. Soy sauce can be purchased g-f, so holla’! Double the batch. Trust me. You will want to bathe your broccoli in this, too.

Whip up a cocktail, throw it all on the table, and wow your guests. Let them think it was a lot harder than it was ;).

You’re welcome!

PS: Need some more crock pot ideas? Here’s a post where I rounded up some of my favorites.

 

 

where i’ve been hiding.

Fresh Scratch, Creperie

I’ve decided the best parts of a summer’s day are in the early morning – while there are still pockets of shade in the backyard – and the late afternoon, when the shadows start to stretch out impossibly long and can almost cover my entire backyard. In the morning, that makes space for a cup of tea without sweating, and in the evening that makes space for a glass of rose’, and – by then – who cares if I’m sweating?

Those are the kinds of truths I’ve arrived at in the last few months. The simple kinds of truths. They matter to me. While in the crazier seasons of life, I can’t slow down to make those kinds of observations, and then I feel like my lungs are gulping water instead of sweet air. Because I sort of feel like a person who was born inside out, where everything automatically sticks to my soul – good or bad – and life can easily get overwhelming. And I am a person who needs solitude and space to process so I can better be present to all the gorgeous wonder that surrounds me.

For a long time, all of my processing was done here, five mornings a week before the sun came up. But there are some serious life things that a girl just has to sit with and work out in her own sweet time. I gave myself a wide margin and trusted my creative process to swing me back around when it felt right.

It feels right.

It’s been a while.

It’s good to see your face.

Here are the spaces, places, and things that I’ve been cavorting with while I’ve been thinking:

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Rules for a Knight by my boy Ethan. Yes, my boy. Since like high school. Because he is a thinker. And there is nothing more intriguing than a curious, creative mind. But I digress. This book!!! Equally important as the actual story between the covers is the introduction that comes first. When Ethan’s grandma died like in the 70’s or something, his family found some very old Cornish papers in her basement. In recent years, he paid a professor to translate them. They were letters written by Lemuel Hawke, a distant ancestor who was a knight. He wrote them to his children before going off to a battle from which he never returned, offering life lessons and wisdom.

You get the feeling Ethan isn’t so sure these are legit, either, but he wants to believe it, and why the heck not? So he took some liberties and wrote little chapters in the knight’s voice, with titles alluding to things like bravery, honesty, etc. His wife restored some art work of birds that were found along with the letters, as his family were once hawkers (hence the last name. See that? Neat, huh?), and those simple pieces introduce each chapter. Every chapter made me think about my own life. You can find the book in the kids’ section in most book stores {my fave, as you know: Browsers in downtown Oly!}, but I think it’s a fine choice for any age.

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My husband thinks Ethan Hawke is a “hunk” – oh, how I hate that word! Whatever. I think he is unpretentious and just trying to figure it all out. And he’s not afraid to say that. Why do I know all of this? Because I’ve been listening to a lot of long interviews with him while I’ve been doing things like pulling weeds or the dishes or just lying on my bed like a high school-er in the middle of the afternoon.

I know.

My take-away? We are all just growing. There’s no growing up; there’s no growing older. There is just growing. And we never stop. You will never reach the end. You will never be satisfied. You will never know everything. You will never not question. It just goes on your whole life, forever and ever, amen. This is why you can have friends of all ages. We all have the same questions. We all can learn from one another. And we can all have wonder at life at any age.

Here are some of my favorite interviews with him:

  • Go to the bottom of this link to hear a short clip about the time he went gaga over Springsteen.
  • This long one.
  • And this really amazing one that I spent all of Mother’s Day morning listening to. It’s like ninety minutes!

And have you seen him playing Chet Baker in Born to be Blue? He broke my heart. He really left it all on the field – an Oscar-worthy performance, for sure.

Have you watched my secret boyfriend James Corden in this one yet? Dang, I’m going to miss Michelle.

And OH MY GOD, BECKY, have you been peeping at the Netflix original series Stranger Things through the holes in your afghans like I have late at night???? It’s all the best creeptastic-ness of vintage Spielberg and Stephen King rolled into one. There are eight episodes of sun flares in the cinematography, the perfect setting of 1983 America, four middle school boys getting in too deep with things they can’t understand, the girl who just lost her virginity and DOESN’T SHE KNOW SHE WILL BE THE NEXT ONE THE MONSTER WILL TAKE BECAUSE THAT IS THE FORMULA IN A SCARY MOVIE?! and Winona Ryder playing to perfection the chain-smoking mom of a missing a kid. Oh, and did I mention Matthew Modine? Yes, that Matthew Modine. As a scary doctor. Come on. You have to watch it. It’s absolutely brilliant.

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I was also wrapped up for a while with my seniors as they were preparing to graduate. Here I am with my niece Lexi on the big night. I got to read her name on stage, along with the names of quite a few of my favorite graduates, and it was such a blast. This year’s senior class really got into my heart in a way none before them ever had. It’s almost August, and I am still having dreams about them. My fourth period? The one that clapped for me every single day as I entered the room? When they did that on our last day together, the door shut, and I turned around, my back to the class, desperately trying to call off the ugly cry. It didn’t exactly work. I don’t know if they’ll ever understand how much that applause soaked in during a year when I sure needed it.

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I hid out in Europe for a couple weeks at the start of my summer. Here I am with my favorite grumpy crepe maker up on Montmartre – I think of him as Jacques. I told him about a photo I took three years ago of just the window, the jars, and his hand pouring a crepe in the background, then asked if I could get one with his face in it this time.

“You come to my kitchen, we get a picture,” he smiled.

So I handed off my camera, stepped inside, and suddenly his arm was around me. “Come here, baby.” There was finally a smile in his French accent. He may not remember me from summer to summer, but he is the one person I always hope I will see. We’ve got a four-year streak going.

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Just a week ago my family and I were returning from our epic RV trip across the North Cascades and into Montana. 90% of our trip was comprised of places none of us had ever been, and that made it ripe for adventure. This is Diablo Lake, which you’ve likely seen on Instagram at some point if you follow any PNW photographers. This photo was the entire reason why our trip had to begin in the North Cascades. It’s not lost on me at all that I live in a gorgeous place.

But now this wandering heart is at home. I don’t want to be anywhere else or go anywhere else right now. My wanderlust has been satisfied for a while, which is a rare feeling. I awoke days ago with a new spring in my step and a desperate urge to come to this page, to make plans for guests to come for dinner, and to purge my closet.

Like I said, it feels right. It’s good to see your face.

PS: See my face for real August 18th at Browsers, when Andrea and I host our first cookbook club! Space is limited, so sign up soon by calling or emailing the shop.