I haven’t written much since I’ve arrived in Asheville. Getting accustomed to a new place pulls attention in many directions. I wanted to give an update, though, since my last post was in December, and I’ve been up to a lot.
Since it’s spring (though really chilly today) I have been working on planting a garden.
Snap peas and kale are doing great so far. It feels so great to be growing things.
I’ve been making new friends, an important part of embracing my new community. Some of my friends have goats:
Goats with babies.
I have been working on making a dairy-free almond-based yogurt. Making yogurt is on my Life List, and I’m so happy to have come up with something I like! I had originally intended to make traditional dairy yogurt, but I have found that without dairy, my sinus headaches have all but vanished. I tried almond and coconut yogurt from the store, but they just didn’t have the tang that I feel a good yogurt should. Also, the texture was… icky. So, I decided to make my own. I use a crock pot, and I’ve done a few batches now. Next time I make it, I’ll take photographs and write about my method.
I’ve also been working on a gluten-free bread. I tried many variations and had many failures. Failures of the sort where the bread is not even good for bread crumbs. Not even the birds would touch it. Ouch. My stomach can’t handle a lot of xanthan gum, and I searched for a long time for a recipe that would work for me. I discovered a recipe on another blog, which uses psyllium husk and ground chia seed for the binders. And you can knead it! I’ve even made it into bagels:
I’ve made some adjustments to the recipe so that the flours used are more to my liking, and measured by weight instead of volume. It made a GREAT thin-crispy-chewy pizza crust too. I’ll write about my recipe soon. Also on my Life List is to make 100 sourdough recipes. I started the life list while still using wheat flour, and this bread recipe gives me hope that I’ll be able to make great gluten-free sourdough breads and other goodies. I’m excited to start with sourdough, but I feel that I have some little things to work out with the yeast recipe before I add another challenge.
I’ve been enjoying the spring weather here, including the rain:
And last, but certainly not least, I’ve got printed greeting cards of my paintings!
They are for sale in my Etsy shop, and they’re available in a few local shops (Asheville Art Supply, Hickory Nut Gap Farm Store, and Thyme in the Garden)! I’m also taking part in an up-coming exhibition at Asheville Art Supply, starting in early May. I bought a lot of frames yesterday for my paintings, and will be matting and framing this week! More details to come soon.
I have been perfecting making homemade refried beans in bulk (they are great for freezing!), and I have a pot on the stove right now. Once you make homemade, you won’t bother with the cans anymore! I use a method that one of my sisters told me about. Boil/simmer beans (I like a combination of black beans and pinto beans) as you would to cook dried beans, but when you get to the simmering stage, add bay leaf, garlic cloves, salt, and chili pepper flakes, and any other spices you like. Let it all stew together and add more hot water if it gets too low. When the beans are very soft, mash them in the pot (don’t drain the water out). Super easy, and delicious. Don’t leave out the bay leaf – it adds a lot of wonderful flavor. I don’t use measurements for any of it, I just go by eye and add more salt or spices if I need to near the end. These will go great with the cilantro that’s in the fridge (can’t wait for the cilantro in the garden to be ready)!
I’m off to stir the beans again. If I’m lucky they’ll be ready for lunch time.