Sunday, October 20, 2013

Trying to Cure the Crankies

It's been a helluva week.  That last post is the tip of the iceberg.  Yes, even with its vast detail of my work activities, it's just a hint.  Work has been thoroughly frustrating.  I could rant at length but I'm trying to get out of rant mode.

More aggravating than being at work and dealing with the fools determined to send the school district crashing into the iceberg like the Titanic, is sitting at home unable to do much more than alternate ice bags and heat packs on my lower back and sacroiliac. It's been such a joy what with the intense pain every damn time I try to move and not being able to get outside in the gorgeous fall weather to enjoy a hike....or even just stay in my own back yard and do some yoga to help myself chill the heck out...or hell, just SIT and not feel like my lumbar spine is going to erupt.  Unrelenting pain is just such a joy.

I'm not a happy girl this week.  I'm throwing myself quite the pity party, aren't I?  Wah wah wah...

Ok, so I'll share what I was doing last weekend because it was a pretty swell time for the most part.  Last weekend I was busy turning 45.  Woohoo!  My dear pal, Gwennie, had reserved two spots for us, on my actual birthday, at a chocolate cooking class at some wellness center she goes to.  I was admittedly just a teeny bit suspect at the venue for such decadence but she knows me well enough to know I can't resist chocolate.

Last Saturday we were off to class.  After introductions it was explained that all the recipes were designed to be gluten free and mostly dairy free as well as organic and other forms of nutritional goodness that generally translate into food being less than fabulous.  I looked over the packet of recipes and found avocado figuring prominently in a couple of recipes.  Avocado is not my favorite.  There were chocolate mint smoothies with spinach.  Now I love spinach...but in smoothies?  I dunno.

After some briefing on the ingredients we were split into teams of two to produce various recipes.  At the end of the morning we'd all taste each other's handiwork.  Since it was my birthday it was determined that Gwen and I should make the cake recipe.  They were also kind enough to adapt one of the smoothie recipes to substitute avocado and apple for the banana since banana has this habit of making my tongue swell until I can't breathe.  It was very thoughtful of them not to want me dead.

Now you have to understand Gwen and me.  She and I are very different in many ways.  One venue in which this is quite evident is the kitchen.   She has participated in my annual Christmas cookie insanity and has alternated between calling me the Cookie Nazi and the Cookie Goddess.  I'm not a Nazi or a Goddess but there is some need for efficiency when producing between 75-100 dozen cookies within 2 or 3 days.  Also, with regard to the Christmas cookies, I am making recipes that are family favorites so I don't muck around with the ingredients.  I know what works.  Other recipes I muck with, not my cookies.  Gwen, on the other hand figures as long as most of the listed ingredients wind up in the same bowl and get mixed together it's all good. 

We were to bake a cake together, using a new recipe with far from traditional ingredients, after being told to halve the recipe as it was printed.  Ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere, I submit to you, this is the sort of thing that could further cement our love or end the relationship.  Fortunately we were able to breathe and laugh at each other through this particular challenge.  Imagine if you will, me measuring the dry ingredients into one bowl while Gwen measured the wet into another....well measured the original amounts then fished half of the partially mixed wet ingredients out since we were supposed to halve the recipe.  She's got degrees in psychology.  I suspect she may have been setting me up to see how well I coped with this on turf other than my own.  I went to the microwave to heat some water is how I coped. 

Once we got the batter all mixed it became apparent that we had still managed to get twice the amount of fats into the otherwise halved recipe.  I wondered how this recipe was going to turn out since it was made with some bizarre flour I've never used before and the proportions were off.  Into the oven it went while we made the filling and the frosting.  Oh, and I licked all the bowls.  Gwen loves me and it was my birthday so she said I got the beaters and scrapers all to myself if I wanted.  She is indulgent of what child-like behavior I cling to. 

I indulged her own child-like glee in a high-tech ionizing squirt bottle that allegedly makes water a disinfectant. She was enamored of the gadget so I found things for her to spritz and wipe up.  She was happy. The place was clean.  The teacher was happy.  The cake needed to be removed from its pan but was sticking.  She asked what to do.  I said let it cool more and her inner child was displeased by having to wait.  When a few more minutes passed and it turned out of the pan with ease she said, "I told you all that was needed was a little patience."  I almost spritzed her but instead we laughed at our respective kitchen personalities.

Finally it was time to taste everything.  I have to tell you I was truly surprised in the best way.  the cake was yummy and I would not have thought it was made from anything strange.  There was an equally tasty cookie recipe.  The smoothie, although it was kind of a sickening shade of drab green, was one I would make again.  There was fudge that was edible but not impressive to me.  The recipe that was truly stunning was a chocolate "pudding."  Instead of milk thickened by cooking it was made with pureed avocado.  It was one of the recipes I found revolting to read but I have to was DELICIOUS!  Color me pleasantly surprised.

Since we started with dessert, Gwen and I followed with a lunch of veggies at a cute little place nearby.  Then I went home and was welcomed by Mr. Lime, the Limelets, and a house ready for more birthday celebration.  The table had been set with the nice china.  Diana surprised me with my favorite wine and a birthday hat I was required to wear.  Calypso made a fabulous veggie lasagna and chocolate chip cake (of the traditional variety).  Mr. Lime and Isaac had exchanged the old fridge in the basement with the one formerly in the kitchen as I had been asking for some time since the door shelves kept falling off the kitchen fridge unless the door was opened VERY carefully, in spite of significant reinforcement by duct tape. (We are classy folks here.)

It was a happy day with gorgeous weather, good food, and loving friends and family.  I was feeling the love and basking in the glow. For the drive home I took the scenic side roads to enjoy the fall foliage and enjoy some quiet time.  I'm pretty sure Hugh Jackman and I were sending each other good vibes on our shared birthday too.

And it was the 8th anniversary of this blog.  I never imagined where this thing would go 8 years ago.  I reflected on the amazing friends I've been blessed with both in 3-D life and through this crazy little world of ours, friends who carried me through some dark days over those 8 years.  It was a very good day all the way around and I was grateful.


Beach Bum said...

Happy belated birthday!

...the door shelves kept falling off the kitchen fridge unless the door was opened VERY carefully, in spite of significant reinforcement by duct tape. (We are classy folks here.)

We had a very similar issue with our old fridge a few years ago. The "Incident" involved collapsing shelves and some of my mom-in-law's dishware.

Still it took wild swings in temperature before we went out and bought a new one.

Tabor said...

First, belated Happy Birthday! Second you and your friend are smart to work on your differences. Third, pain is a nasty thing that will change you energy and personality in a snap. I am hoping you are on the mend very very soon.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

I know Cranky.
I'm reasonably certain he can't be cured.

I also commiserate with you regarding the issues with your lumbar region.
Here's hoping rest will do the job and that you can get some rest.

Bijoux said...

Wow! Happy birthday! What a special day you had! And we are blessed here to be able to call you 'friend.' So, thank you for sharing your life with us.

I'm a fan of the foodgawker app and I've been seeing all sorts of recipes where avocado is substituted for butter, like avocado brownies. I actually love avocado, but I'm not sure I'm ready for it in my chocolate.

Hena Tayeb said...

Happy 8!
While the week may have been crappy all that food sounds so good...
Here;s to a better week

Stephen Hayes said...

Happy Birthday, even if it is a bit late. But chocolate and avocado? Just doesn't sound right to me but what do i know. Take care.

Suldog said...

You've been blogging for 8 YEARS?!? What are you? Nuts?

Oh, hey, wait a minute. I've been blogging for a bit more than 8 years, myself. So, let's see... carry the one...

Yup, you're insane. We're both insane. That's why we get along so well.

I'm sad we didn't get a photo of you in the required birthday hat, though.

Kat said...

Well that sounds darn near perfect. What a lovely day! I'm so glad you had a good one.
Happy Belated Birthday!!!!

Jocelyn said...

Congratulations on the blog and the Lime birthdays! The cooking class story is amazing--how could it not be when two such colorful characters are starring in it.

What I mostly took away from this post, though, is a confirmation that fudge is just NEVER that good. Why do people get all excited over it?

Hilary said...

Awww sounds like a wonderfully fun day. Belated Happy 45th, and congrats on 8 years of blogging. I'm so glad you chose this cyber path. You're a joy to know.