During the month of May my bosses-bosses-boss had a meeting with all of us, and told us that we were required to take 40 hours of paid-time-off before September. He hoped this would give us a break after a terribly stressful May/June. Really I think they just wanted to get some PDOs off the books before year end, but regardless…this past week was my ’40 hours’. We went back and forth as to if we were going to go out of town or not. Originally we had a grand plan to fly all over the country to look at PhD programs for Nathan, but geez flights are expensive! Then we thought about going to the coast for a few days, but apparently that is something you need to plan a few months in advance (or at least more than 2 weeks in advance). Also, going out of town involves medically-boarding our cat, which is fairly expensive and incredibly stressful for him. (we’ve been working on training him to hang out on the back porch without kamikaze – jumping off the 3 story balcony).
So, all of this is just a really long way of saying – we decided to have a staycation. And it was the perfect decision. I turned off the email feed to my phone, for the first time in two years. We went on long walks, ate out at places we usually skip, and watched TV until late at night. I read a book, that wasn’t for work. We helped two families move (and collected moving boxes for our move – which made it feel incredibly real!). We spent time in the sunshine, and lazy rainy afternoons on the couch.
Mainly, we enjoyed each others company, which is exactly what we needed.
And, alas, tomorrow I will have to return to work. While I would love to never go back (wouldn’t we all) I am feeling much more refreshed and rejuvenated than I was 9 days ago. I think I had not realized how much working (50, 60, +) hour weeks, coupled with constant let down in the fertility world had taken its toll on me, and on Nathan.
40 hours off was an excellent idea. Thanks work!
We also cooked a lot of our usual favorites while I was off, although we also ate out a lot – which was one thing I really wanted to do. Tonight I decided to cook a recipe out of a new cookbook that I ordered: Chloe’s Kitchen. I have cooked a lot of recipes from Chloe’s Blog, with my favorite being the Mac ‘n’ Cheese that I wrote about here. Her recipes are vegan, but not gluten free, and often contain a lot of oil and sugars, but I am getting fairly versed in subbing for gluten free, artificial sugar free and lower oil, so I was excited to try it out. The recipes look seriously awesome – and I’m hoping they will give me greater confidence for cooking meals for my non-vegan friends. Tonight I am going to make ‘Penne alla Vodka’ – a red creamy vodka sauce. She suggests pairing it with garlic bread, and gives a great sounding recipe, but I decided to try my hand at making some garlic bread in the bread machine. I made it earlier today, because I was scared that it would turn out horribly, and needed a back up plan if it did.
I can say, though, it is awesome! It isn’t going to fool the world in to thinking isn’t gluten free, but it is garlicy, and delicious.
I use dairy free milk and butter, which you could use exact subs for the non-fake counterparts. You could also replace the flax meal/water with 2 eggs. Apple Cider vinegar is a must in gluten free bread – because it helps it ‘poof’ (just an educated guess). The maple syrup can be upped to 2 tablespoons, if you like your bread sweeter. The concoction of dry ingredients really shine in this recipe. You can even make your own brown rice flour by following this tutorial. This bread will definitely leave you with garlic breath – so if fending off vampires isn’t your thing, either pack a toothbrush for after dinner, or cut down on the raw garlic. I store my parsley in the freezer (just stick the whole bunch in there) so mine was frozen when I put it in the bread machine – which seemed to do fine.
My bread machine layers liquids first, then dry, then yeast (as I think most do) but please follow the instructions for your machine. I haven’t tried this without a machine…but I’d love to hear how it turns out!
- 3/4 cup dairy free milk
- 2 tablespoons flax meal + 6 tablespoons warm water, mix and let stand for 5 min
- 1 + 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. vegan butter (earth balance)
- 1 + 1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 6 - 7 cloves of garlic, minced
- roughly 1/8 cups of parsley, loosely chopped
- 1 + 2/3 cups brown rice flour
- 1/4 cup corn starch
- 2 Tbsp. potato starch
- 1 + 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
- 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp. onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. active dry yeast
- Mix together flax eggs and let stand for 5 minutes, meanwhile-
- In a separate dry bowl mix together dry ingredients (brown rice flour, corn starch, potato starch, xantham gum, onion/garlic powders and salt)
- Add wet ingredients to the bread machine (milk, flax eggs, apple cider vinegar, vegan butter, maple syrup, minced garlic, parsley)
- Add the dry mixture on top of the wet mixture in the bread machine, completely covering the liquid
- Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture and add the yeast in to the well (making certain it doesn’t touch any liquid)
- Cook on white bread / light crust setting, or according to your bread machine’s instructions
- Remove immediately when the bread is done (it has the tendency to burn if left for a long time in the bread machine). Put on cooling rack to cool completely (out of reach of the cat) before storing in an airtight container. Will keep about 4 days, or longer if stored in the fridge. Serve lightly toasted, perhaps with a tomato based or Alfredo pasta, or lightly toasted with avocado slices.
Have you ever taken a ‘staycation’? I highly recommend it!