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Parsley Flowers

Fly on parsley flowers Fly on parsley flowers

creatures (34), flowers (37), fly (2), insect (21), reverse-lens (5), spider (4)

Creatures (75)

Purple Pole Beans

Purple Pole Beans

beans (2), garden (21), harvest (5)

Degree (56)

October Potter Valley Trip

Corner of Kuki and Lovers in Ukiah Jason picking pears Bella picking an apple Bella picking an apple Dad and Micah Jason rowing boat Jason and Ari in boat Jason and Ari in boat Jason and Ari in boat Jason drumming Simon, Micah, and Bella in boat Simon, Micah, and Bella in boat

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Family (48), Potter Valley (43)

Jaes-Allergy-Free Cake

Last week, with my boyfriend's birthday weekend approaching, I began to have feelings of excitement mixed with a nervousness that approached anxiety.

Five months ago, Jason had allergy testing which resulted in long lists of food allergies and sensitivities that he's been advised to abstain from while his digestive system heals. These allergens are in many of the common items most of us eat on a regular basis and some are a challenge to avoid. Even alternative foods and recipes created without gluten or other common allergens still contain at least one of his allergens. The list is long: wheat, gluten, rice, corn, sugar, honey, yeast, soy, almonds, chicken, beef, eggs, dairy, oranges, apples, and more.

I knew that if Jason was going to get a cake on his special day, I was going to have to figure out how to make one that was safe for him. Making a treat like this for his birthday was important to me—I know how much he's sacrificed on his diet, and he really deserved a delicious cake—I just wasn't sure it could be done.

Since he got the shocking test results back in May, I've been experimenting with trying to make baked goods within his dietary limitations. Millet flour scones have worked out, though since I'm not good at taking notes while I experiment, it needs some more refining of the recipe. But scone experiments are what got me trying chia seeds as an egg replacer, an idea I had after reading about their health benefits, and how they turn into a gel when blended with water, the way the starches do that I usually use as egg replacer. It turns out that chia seeds are a known binder for baking with, and I found this chia seed egg substitute recipe while making plans for the cake.

When I first came across this chocolate cake recipe using coconut flour I was turned away by the photo. I know very well how difficult it is to take appetizing photos of food, but I needed the best thing I could find... I searched on, and eventually came back to the recipe because it's the closest thing I could find to what I wanted, and I'm sure glad I did. There were only two ingredients I needed to substitute: eggs and agave nectar. While using maple syrup instead of agave probably resulted in a less sweet cake, I avoid using agave nectar as it's a highly processed and unhealthy sweetener possibly more harmful than high-fructose corn syrup.

It ended up tasting, and looking, great!

Allergy-Free Cake

I didn't write down my improvisational frosting recipe, though it went something like this: start soaking 1 ½ cups of raw cashews the day before, drain, then process in a food processor until creamy and thick; add a few tablespoons maple butter (a very thick, condensed version of pure maple syrup), about 1/4 cup maple syrup, a few tablespoons of coconut oil, and a couple teaspoons of vanilla extract; after it's all blended, add about 1 ½ cups of shredded coconut and mix by hand.

Allergy-Free Chocolate Cake

As modified from the original.

3/4 cup coconut flour, sifted
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp celtic sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
8 tsp of chia seeds blended with 1 ½ cups water in a blender until thick
1 cup grapeseed oil
1 ½ cups maple syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

In a small bowl combine coconut flour, cocoa, salt and baking soda
In a large bowl using an electric mixer, mix together chia gel, oil, maple syrup, and vanilla
Add dry ingredients into large bowl and continue to blend
Oil the sides of two 9-inch round cake pans and dust with coconut flour, place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of the pans
Spread the batter into pans and bake at 325° for 35-40 minutes
Remove from oven, allow to cool completely then remove from pans
Frost and serve

The important part is: Jason loved the cake!

Jason Cake Jason Cake Jason Cake

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Jason's Birthday Adventure in Bodega

Jason Norris Jason Norris Jason Norris Arianna Helen

(Photo of me taken by Jason Norris.)

arianna (27), beach (9), bodega (7), coast (45), jason (8), ocean (33)

Jason (4)

Calendula Blooming

I experimented with my Nikon D300's interval setting by placing it pointed at this calendula flower and leaving it for a couple hours while the blossom opened it's petals in the sun. I certainly plan to continue trying out this exciting feature using different settings.

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Degree (56)

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