home and gingerbread

It’s only after being away from home that we really appreciate it. I came home three days before Christmas and things have passed by so quickly since then! Christmas is my favorite holiday; the day we take down decorations and ornaments is one of my least favorite days of the year.

They talk about ‘reentry’ after being abroad, or getting used to living at home again. Coming back wasn’t as extraordinarily mind-blowing as the study abroad guidebook made it out to be. Yes, I had vibrant dreams in French for the first week after coming home. I miss being able to walk everywhere. And the butcher.  And ‘evidently’ has been solidified as a part of my vocabulary.

So there are hard parts about coming back.

But there are some great parts, too.

Evidently, coming home is almost always wonderful. Snuggling into my own bed in a cocoon of blankets, listening to the comforting pitter-patter of Seattle drizzle is one of my favorite pastimes. Having a kitchen that isn’t full of dangerous loaves of bread, butter, and breadcrumbs is an absolute luxury. And all of the little specialty food doodads that can only be found in co-ops and at Whole Foods is lovely.

Things like sweet potato flour and honey peppermint patties.

And really good Kombucha. GT’s, I’ve missed you so.

Some of the best parts about coming home:

  1. Tons of fridge space. This means the ability to save lots of leftovers, which means that I can make yummy things like this kitchen sink salad, with sautéed squash and kale and pesto chicken from a couple nights ago, steamed carrots with parsley from last night’s dinner, fresh arugula and dried cranberries. Sometimes the best salads are the ones with the most random ingredients!Image
  2. The mondo food processor. My mom’s large Cuisinart food processor and I are best friends.
  3. Playing Scrabble. It’s our family sport. We play for blood.
  4. So many blankets and Law and Order SVU. Cocooning and watching SVU is one of my favorite downtime activities.
  5. Having parents around for advice and whatnot. As much as we pretend that we hate having them around, the truth is that we millenials really do love our parents, especially after we hit the 20-year mark (am I really 20 already?)
  6. The trail system. Nothing like being able to find silence in the middle of a forest no more than a 7-minute walk from the house.
  7. Realizing how much spending time away makes you appreciate the place where you grew up. The Pacific Northwest is incredible. Minus the sorry excuse for snow we have in the mountains this year.
  8. Sweet potato flour! A friend introduced me to sweet potato flour and I finally decided to buy some and give it a whirl. I used it to make some spiced pumpkin bread which we took with us to watch the Seahawks game with some food-allergic friends last weekend. It turned out pretty well.  If you can’t find sweet potato flour anywhere near you, it can be ordered from http://www.zocalogourmet.com/products/sweetpotato.html or Amazon and makes a light but moist cake…Enjoy!

1/2 cup garbanzo bean flour

1 cup sweet potato flour

3 tsp baking soda

2 TBSP cinnamon

1 tsp each allspice, nutmeg and ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 cup applesauce

1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree

3 TBSP honey

2 TBSP apple cider vinegar

Optional: 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Grease a loaf pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix everything except for the apple cider vinegar and cranberries. Fold the cranberries in and then add the apple cider vinegar. Immediately mix thoroughly, pour into a pan and put in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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