whatever you believe

grain-free cinnamon rolls

You might be baking tonight. Tomorrow. Maybe even the morning of the 25th.

(Of course, you don’t need to celebrate Christmas to bake on the 25th.)

And you might want some cinnamon rolls.

We made you some grain-free cinnamon rolls. Head on over to Food52 to see the recipe.

grain-free Russian tea cookies

Also, there are grain-free Russian tea cakes. They also happen to be dairy-free too.. You can find the recipe for those here.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to wrap some books for Lu. Every morning this month, she has woken up earlier and earlier, happily chattering and dashing into our room to shake us awake and tell us her stories. We race down the stairs to write the day’s date on our homemade advent calendar together and read books much of the morning. These have been some lovely days. It seems that five is the perfect age for this season. Given that, she’ll be up at 5:30 tomorrow morning. Probably 4:30 on the 25th. So I’m headed for bed.

I’ll be back on Friday with my favorite books of 2013. Whatever you believe, whomever you love, have a wonderful few days.

gluten-free cannoli

“Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.”

I’m tempted to write only this. After all, it’s the only phrase I hear in my head when someone says cannoli. Probably you too. (And if you don’t know what it is, look here. Watch out — you’re going to want spaghetti and meatballs after watching this movie.)

However, I want to share just this bit more.

I am constantly astonished by how much better my life is now than when I ate gluten. If you have been reading this site for awhile, you know this is true. In fact, you have been watching the story unfold — finding my health, writing here, getting an agent, meeting Danny, publishing a book, Lucy arriving in our lives, writing a cookbook, moving to our island home, going around the country talking with people about this cookbook. Add to this the fact that I don’t have to grade papers anymore? That alone would be enough, frankly, to make me say that living gluten-free is joy for me.

But here’s the other part I love. Would I have ever made cannoli from scratch when I thought I could eat gluten? No way. I would have driven to a bakery and eaten the work of other people’s hands.

That bakery cannoli? No way I would ever remember them as vividly as I will remember these gluten-free cannoli.

I’ll never forget spending the afternoon with my dear friend Nina, who came over just to make cannnoli with me, Danny, and Lucy. None of us had cannoli tubes. None of the stores we looked in had cannoli tubes. So we winged it. Nina’s wonderful husband, Booth, fashioned some cannoli tubes out of old bicycle handles. The kitchen was a cluttered mess from all the baking we had been doing earlier in the day. Lu skipped her nap, so she was cranky and clingy, the opposite of her usual self. Danny heated up the oil, then he had to leave for work. The handlebars were too thick, so we switched to something smaller. That’s why you could have found me in our kitchen, wrapping gluten-free cannoli dough around a bright blue Sharpie (pen cap on, of course). Those were too thin. So, like Goldilocks (and the Buddha), we found the middle way: the handle of an offset spatula.

How could I ever forget this?

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