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Where to start? First of all, thank you so much to all my friends, relatives, co-forum members, and readers who headed over to 7 Babes A Blogging last week and voted for me. I am officially the 7th Babe for the month of December. While there is no monetary reward, the personal satisfaction of knowing I AM A BABE is priceless!
We celebrated my mother’s 80th birthday on Saturday. You can read my tribute to her over at 7 Babes.(edited to add Sorry, the website is now defunct, so you can’t read the tribute, but trust me, it was good) It was a lot of fun to see her reaction to her surprise party, and all the other surprises that came along with it. My surprise though, was that I got to see a lot of people I haven’t seen in years. Friends of our family, young and old, (HA! Most of them ARE old now, just like me!) came out, and I spent my day not quite getting to finish a conversation with someone before someone else came up and hugged me, and it started all over again. I cannot remember another day when I felt so loved.
I saw my cousin Steve, and my cousin Joe, who I found out was a fulltime RV’er too, having lived and traveled with his wife in a fifth wheel for 12 years before coming home to Georgia a couple years ago. (This is Joe on the left, and my older brother, Hank, who is workamping in Florida this winter. He and his wife came up for the weekend so they could be at the party.)
And Steve, one of my favorite people in the whole world, was one of the very first people to visit me when I moved into my first travel trailer 7 years ago. At that time, he was very excited for me, and kept telling me how he wanted to get one of “those driving things.” He is now the proud owner of his own motor home. I got an email from Joe this morning saying he and his wife are loading up their fifth wheel and coming over to the campground where Jim and I are to visit for a couple of days this week. I can hardly wait!
A lot of the younger generation were there, too. Only one of my own children, Emily, was there, and she looked so beautiful! Here she is (on the left) with cousin Jason, his wife Sandy, and cousin Alisa. My other two could not make in down from Maryland and Virginia.
My sister had hired a photographer to come and take family portraits. Jim and I had our first ever in fifteen years portrait done, and I can’t wait to see the proofs. The only thing, though, is that the guy was taking the pictures outside, and both of our eyeglasses have those lenses that turn dark when you go out into the sunshine. He suggested taking them off, but hey, I have worn glasses for most of my life and I don’t look like ME if I am not wearing them. We were in the shade, so maybe they will be okay. At any rate, as soon as I get my pictures, I will pop one up here to share.
Also, at the party, my sister, Linda, gave me a huge bag of gluten free items. She had tried the gluten free diet but decided it was not for her, so she gave me all the things she had bought. Among them was a Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Bread Mix. I decided to make that bread yesterday, and let me tell ya, it was delish! However, I must tell you all that when I read the ingredients list and saw that it had bean flour in it, I decided to add some brown sugar to it. The last time I tried a bean flour recipe, I decided that bean flour would never grace my kitchen again. But, because this was free, I did give it a chance, and I may well be buying it in the future. Hot out of the oven, with some butter, and I was in gluten free heaven!!! The mix made two large loaves. I put one in a ziplock bag and put it in the freezer, and kept the other one out on the counter. I’ll let you know how the frozen one holds up to the pressure.
And while I was at it, the baking I mean, I decided to make some cookies as I had been such a good little gluten free granny at the party and did not eat the cake or cookies there. I found a recipe for Oatmeal cookies somewhere on the internet. Since I did not have all the ingredients that were called for, I changed it around to fit what I did have, just using that recipe as a guideline. The results were mahvelous, Dahling! Oh, just be sure you use a certified gluten free oatmeal in this recipe. I know there are two schools of thought on whether or not oatmeal is gluten free, but I have not personally had any problems with eating my oats.
The pictures here don’t show you how moist and chewy the cookies were, even the next day, which all of us gluten free types know is practically unheard of in gluten free baking. Or how yummy scrummy they tasted. They were so good that my non-gluten free FabGrandpa Jim ate more than half of the first batch. He is eagerly awaiting the second batch. These cookies are not sugar free, but they are corn free if you use molasses instead of the Karo syrup, egg free, and casein free. Just be sure you use certified gluten free oatmeal in your recipe.
Gluten Free Oatmeal Craisin Cookies
1 ¼ cups oatmeal
1 cup white rice flour
½ cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon tapioca flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup canola oil
2 tablespoons applesauce
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon Karo syrup or molasses
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup raisins or craisins
Mix all dry ingredients including fruit in a large bowl. Mix all wet ingredients in another bowl, then stir into the dry ingredients. Form into balls about one and half inches in diameter, then flatten out and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 14 minutes. Let cool before removing from pan.
This cookie dough keeps well in the fridge, so you can make up a double batch and just bake as many as you need for fresh yummy cookies on demand. They do wonders for a cup of fresh brewed coffee.