Tensions are high lately and moods are low. Sometimes, we are simply bored and tired of our own four walls and the same faces we are seeing everyday. Other times we are stressed out by our responsibilities or weighed down by the gravity of the world news, family news and losses that keep tallying up all around us.
And yet, most of us are finding little wins in our daily lives, and we are learning to make do…with less of everything: money, food, seeing friends, fun and the list could go on for the rest of the page and more. Perhaps, those small wins are tallying up as well, not to the degree, of course, that the huge losses are scoring, but we can CHOOSE to see the little wins no matter how microscopic.
Some people are finding that friends or family far and wide are reaching out more and realizing that life is precious, too short, and it’s worth letting go of small grievances. Most of us are discovering it is better to extend an olive branch and make amends, to hold our loved ones tightly, to talk to friends via Face Time or Zoom and to learn how to make do without seeing each other in person.
Learning how to really communicate for a change is a big win in all of this. To feel so many people around us helping each other—strangers, neighbors, family and friends—all helping. Not looking the other way, not too busy to stop and reach out a hand, not bogged down by what doesn’t matter anymore. I asked an elderly neighbor down the block if he needed help getting groceries, and he told me that so many folks had offered to help and were bringing him groceries that he was “set” for AWHILE. That is a huge win.
While walking my dog I had to apologize to a neighbor for my dog’s need to stop and smell the roses—she’s thirteen and lumbers along. My neighbor had to walk in the street to be six feet from us, and he smiled and said, “No matter, I’m just walking over to Jason’s to trade another book from his Little Free Library in front of his house. That’s keeping me sane!”. I pass a bowl of grapefruit that has a sign that reads, “Please take a few!”. It seems Los Angeles is actually getting friendlier. The sun is shining, the air is cleaner than usual, people I pass wave (masked faces hide smiles), and I am trying to breathe it all in…the small wins.
My small win yesterday was baking my daughter some delicious chocolate chip cookies. She needs to eat gluten and dairy free (GFDF), and a truly delicious, chewy chocolate chip cookie is hard to come by. I made a few tweaks yesterday to my already YUMMY GFDF cookies but yesterday, yesterday they were AMAZING, something to write home about…or at least on this blog about, and something definitely dunk-able.
That was a big win in our books. We both agreed NO ONE, not a soul could tell that they were GFDF.
So, as I sit here on Sunday morning typing this blog post, reviewing my wins, I realize I am one of the lucky ones. There is so much heartache right now. I completely realize this. But perhaps if you are in a place where you can take a step back, if you have the emotional bandwidth, you can focus your lens right now on the little wins.
If you need a little win today, I highly recommend these fabulous and drool worthy Chocolate Chip Cookies. And if you don’t need to eat GFDF may I direct you to my All Purpose Flour and Butter Version. They are famous in these parts and either way, you will not be disappointed and you will have another win to add to your tally.
Chocolate Chip Cookies Gluten and Dairy Free
An S&C Original Recipe
Makes two dozen cookies
3/4 cup or 6 ounces dairy free “butter” such as Earth Balance
1/2 cup granulated sugar (very fine is best if you have it)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed tightly
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups GF flour blend (see my recipe below)
3/4 teaspoon Xanthan or Guar Gum (unless your GF blend already has it in it)
1/2 cup blanched almond flour (Trader Joe’s has the best price usually)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (or your preference)
Optional: 3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
To make the cookies: Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Do not use foil or nonstick cooking spray. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a little warmer than usual for baking but helps prevent them from spreading out too much.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a big mixing bowl fitted with nada), beat your butter and sugar together until creamy. Add one egg at a time and beat in between. Stir in vanilla.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together flours through baking soda. Never scoop and pack GF flour blends. Use a large spoon to gently spoon flours into dry measuring cups. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat on low until well combined. Add chocolate chips and optional nuts. Turn on low or stir together.
These cookies will puff up and spread a bit. So scoop out a little smaller cookie dough than you normally would. I use a small ice cream scoop for this. Scoop out cookies three across and three down to allow for spreading. Bake in a 375 oven for 10-12 minutes. You want them to be nice and golden. GF cookies do a little better when slightly browned rather than lighter. See pics above. Let cool for ten minutes. Put the second sheet of cookies in while cooling first batch and continue until done.
Enjoy with a tall, cold glass of almond or cashew milk! 🙂
GF Flour Blend Recipe
2 cups extra fine brown rice flour (extra fine is essential)
1/3 cup tapioca starch/flour
2/3 cup potato STARCH
Never scoop and pack GF flour blends. Use a large spoon to gently spoon flours into dry measuring cups. Whisk together and store in an airtight container. I shake up my mixture in the sealed Tupperware to aerate it before using it in a recipe. I like to make a double batch and keep it in a large storage container with a tightly fitting lid. Out of the fridge, the mix will keep three months.