Saturday, March 1, 2008

Therapy 202

I do have a second therapy that used to be mainly for pleasure, but has become a necessity, and an occupation. I have loved cooking and baking since I was at least 7 years old. I know this because my mom has oft told the story of little 7 year old Lori asking, "What does the t stand for in the cookbook?" Mom explained about teaspoons and tablespoons. I went back to the kitchen and made a PIE CRUST by myself! All was well until we bit into it and discovered that I had not learned the DIFFERENCE between teaspoon and Tablespoon. The pie was a bit salty.

I spent many days in the kitchen growing up. Baking was preferred to cooking. I love sweets. And, for most my life, I could eat what I baked and enjoy it without any consequences. Now that I have hit the "over 40" mark and been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, that's changed a bit. I've had new challenges in baking. Imagine trying to make a loaf of bread without gluten: no all-purpose flour, no bread flour, no whole wheat flour, no spelt, no rye, no barley, and normally no oats. It's definitely challenging! One of my goals in life is to create the first Gluten Free Crescent Roll that will taste like Pillsbury crescents!

When I attended my first Pampered Chef show, I was quite pregnant and went just for the free food! The only time I'd ever REALLY sold anything in my life was working at Payless Shoes in college. I was a teacher, and now a mom. Yet, when I saw these tools, I thought, "WOW! If EVER I were going to sell something, THIS would be it." 3 years later, I signed on the line, and started a business doing something I love. Little did I know that getting the kitchen tools free or at greatly reduced prices would be a lifesaver a few years later.

Some people cook from scratch because they love it. Some people cook from scratch because they have to do it to feed the family. I do it for both of those reasons, and others. I can no longer grab a can of cream of mushroom soup and a bag of noodles to make beef stroganoff. I have yet to find a can of mushroom soup on the shelves in our stores that is gluten free (apart from the $3.00 cans at the health food store). A loaf of bread, you know, that thing that can be bought for as little as 69 cents if you go generic? If I buy a pre-made tiny loaf of gluten free bread, it will cost $5.00 or so, and will likely taste freezer burned and cardboardish. A mix is about the same price, but makes a bigger loaf and tastes better. To make it from scratch means mixing several different flours together (rice, potato, teff, quinoa, and other assorted "exotic grains"), adding some xanthan gum, which kind of acts like gluten (providing elasticity), and just the right amount of liquid; not overmixing, not over-proofing, and baking just the right amount of time. Because the bread dough is more of a batter, I can't freeze the dough in portions like I could with wheat bread dough. I have to say, cooking at home, in my tiny kitchen, with all the changes for gluten free, is NOT therapeutic like it used to be.

THAT is why I love my job as a Kitchen Consultant. I LOVE going into homes where I can actually see the countertops, have exactly the ingredients I need in front of me, and not worry about food allergies (unless, of course, the host or guests are allergic). I love our company's mission. We are putting families back around the table. Our new shows are focusing on FAST recipes that, combined with our FAST tools, get you in & out of the kitchen FAST. I am ready to get back to cooking for people and showing them how easy it can be when you have the right tools! I am teaching a class of middle school students how to cook. If THEY can cook, then I know any adult who wants to provide healthy food for their families can do this! Do I sound like a woman on a mission? LOL!

There, you have read about my 2 therapies in life. If only I could find time to DO those things! My first and most important priority within my family is to be a wife and a mom. Stamping and discovering a million ways to make gluten free bread have to wait. However, I do sometimes get the girls to stamp with me, and am teaching them to cook. You know measuring DOES count as a math lesson........

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