Sourdough rye and whole wheat batards and homemade chocolate almond bean spread, ready to bring to sewing club
I'm never fully happy without some kind of craft/make/do obsession taking hold of my brain and hands, so the months I spent healing from carpal tunnel and having to pretty much leave my hands alone were Not Easy.
But things are super good with my hands, wrists, arms and shoulders now (thanks to lots of rest, voice dictation software, meditation, restorative yoga and most especially some intensive classes in the Alexander Technique) and lately I've been MAKING and DOING and CRAFTING up a storm.
There's been some knitting (the Delancey cardigan and Knotty gloves—pictures soon!)... but mostly, I've been crafting from-scratch food: baking, scoring, stirring, pickling, pizza-broiling, fermenting, stewing, dumpling-making, miso-souping, sushi-making, kale-chip-dehydrating ... and all without any of my daughter's food allergens--dairy, eggs, tree nuts (except almonds and coconuts), sesame and mustard. Whew!
It all started with a small jar of sourdough starter gifted to me by a friend who makes fresh bread each week. It sat in my fridge for a few months and I assumed it was dead, but when I took it out and fed it, it quickly came back to life. And then it made some bread babies! My first attempts tasted good, though they didn't look quite right (the slashes weren't opening up, anyway):
But now I've gotten into a sourdough groove, and I usually bake one or two whole-grain sourdough loaves each weekend, mostly from Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, which I initially got from the library but finally had to buy when I reached the max number of renewals. (He also has a Craftsy class on artisan baking, but it's mostly white bread, I believe). Here's a much prettier sourdough rye boule with sunflower seeds:
We also have been sticking with our Very Strict Budget, which prohibits eating out more than once a month... and getting very sick of eating the same few allergy-free recipes over and over (my daughter is so allergic she even reacts to tiny amounts of contamination in foods that are made in the same factory as her allergens, so I have to call companies before purchasing anything packaged. We have one safer brand of pasta, one safer brand of ketchup, one safer brand of... you get the idea.)
There are just so many things she had never, or rarely eaten, and so in the evenings, I've been making them. Take falafel sandwiches. There are no safe pita breads or falafel mixes I can buy, and tahini sauce contains her most deadly allergen--sesame. Enter homemade baked falafel from scratch, homemade whole wheat pita bread, homemade fake-tahini sauce (I used Barney Butter almond butter), and homemade pickled red onions:
Sadly, there is no natural light in my kitchen, so most of my photos are crappy low-light Instagram shots. And I didn't even document the sushi or the miso soup or the red beans and rice or the amazing steamed buns and veggie dumplings I've made so far from Asian Dumplings (also by the amazing Andrea Nguyen, who has Craftsy classes on pho and dumplings to boot)... they pretty much disappeared into my family's mouths instantly.
I've also been baking/making tons of vegan (and nut-free and sesame-free) sweet things, from banana bread and maple drop cornmeal biscuits to fruit leather and scones and waffles and English muffins.
Yes, I have a problem (you can tell from my Pinterest habits of late), but... making food is fun. AND it saves money. AND I get to eat my favorite things ever. While having fun and saving money. And eating dumplings.
I'm almost embarrassed to show you these blurry poorly-lit photos but trust me, this stuff was yummy:
Vegan chocolate pudding with Enjoy Life chocolate chips and shaved coconut, from Vegan Soul Kitchen
Mixed berry and apple mango fruit leather
Daughter-approved vegan apple crisp with vanilla Soy Delicious frozen dessert
So... anyone else obsessed with making edible crafts? Or would that cut too much into sewing and knitting time?
P.S. In case you were curious ... we do eat and cook with some very small amounts of meat and fish and poultry, but I currently aim for most meals to be mostly plant-based (and we can't even keep eggs in the house, they're so dangerous for my kiddo), and for a large number of meals to be totally free of animal products... it's better for the environment, and for my cholesterol (which went downhill after a several month cheese binge).
P.P.S. Actually, my daughter has been sewing more than I have lately. Check out her first sewing sampler (done with my advice, but not my actual hands-on help—I just showed her once, then watched and answered questions):
Not bad for a three-year-old!