"Truth-telling" chamomile and honey scones

A few weeks ago, I finished reading Stephen King's On WritingI highly (!!!) recommend it; the book was more humorous than I anticipated, illustrating Mr. King's wit and immaculate ability to weave a story. The first half of the book was a memoir of his career as writer, and the second half consisted of advice to aspiring writers. Much of what he had to say was very useful (kill your darlings, nix the thesaurus, and the road to help is paved with adverbs), but what I really took away was his fervent encouragement to tell the truth. 

"Fiction is the truth inside the lie." 

Of course, nonfiction plays a similar game. Cheryl Strayed says that good creative nonfiction comes with the universal transcends the personal. So these two genres possess one similar objective: find the truth, and then share it like a box of Wheat Thins. 

I originally started this blog to have an outlet where I could write and be free to write without working for the opinion of anyone else. I would write simply to write, just as I had as a child on my family's first Windows Desktop. Occasionally there might be a recipe and a travel story. Since then, this blog has transformed into an online profile of sorts, and a place where I practice reporting, photography, and telling stories. But sometimes when I'm only one glass of wine in, I'll lift my hands of the keyboard and pause. Too much? Which leads to a question that maybe other bloggers begin to wonder: "how much truth do I tell???"

Here's the challenge: I think we should tell all of it.  Part of the fun is finding creative, beautiful, inspiring ways to share the most human and scary things ever. It's not easy. It's very, very, hard to communicate life's most intimate moments in a way that's not over share. But truth can be communicate in a clause, image, or tune. There are many photographers, writers, musicians, and filmmakers who are wildly successful at achieving this, but they find a gentle way of connecting to those universal heartstrings. Simplicity works. 

Last week, when I was visiting K1, we spent part of our last day with one another in the town of Spring. I was sad that our time together was nearing an end, especially because it was likely the last time we would be spending with one another for a long while. He had been sick, and I had been a overly-romantic  24-year old, but in the midst of my pouting and his need for cough drops, we found a bookstore bathed in emerald vines and smelling like glue. The selection was impressive, and featured a plethora truth-telling writers. It was melancholic and a little rainy and I was happy that this bookstore existed.  We made our way to dinner, and music played as he drove and I read. And then we had margaritas. And the next day we said goodbye and I got a plane and read some more. And then I had scones. 

Like a moment of truth or a traditional margarita, scones are simple and good. Unlike some fussy morning baked goods (cough-cough, CROISSANT), scones come together all in one bowl and move all mellow yellow-like to the baking tray. They rise without ego and look a little lumpy. And they go really, really well with a book and a blanket. I made the recipe for a series of "relaxed" foods, for Wanderlust, and the article also includes recipes for rosemary popcorn and boozy blueberry and basil lemonade.

See the recipe on Wanderlust here //

Speaking of truth-telling and Toni Morrison, look how she's killing it over at The New York Times Magazine. Also, my friend Kathryn has recently started a lovely blog about going Zero Waste, and I'm so impressed with her ability to combine language and environmentalism.

Cheers for telling the truth! Fictional George Washington would be proud. 

- Stay cozy


A safe place, and some coconut flour pancakes

Last Saturday, post an evening of whiskey bar shenanigans, I attended a two and half hour handstand workshop at the neighborhood yoga studio with Rachel. NOTE: this was only possible because in between the whiskey bar and the handstands, there was buttery popcorn, 10 hours of sleep, and lots and LOTS of water. I am not the seven-shot superhero I was back in Freshman year.

Rather, in yoga, I felt more like a child. We started off class awkwardly gripping our ankles and rolling around like stoned infants,  eventually made our ways to our feet, and then back down to our hands as we cartwheeled across the floor to the tunes of Elbow and upbeat Iron and Wine. Full-grown newborns, we delighted in the way our feet looked clapping towards the ceiling. 

The heavy thud of feet on a wooden floor. The strum of a guitar. The ocean waves of breath. Our own symphony of yogis. 

Often in yoga classes, the instructor refers to the mat as a "safe spot." Your practice is always there waiting for you, like an immortal pup at the door, thrilled you have come back home. Recently, Ive felt the same way about this blog.  For me, writing and yoga are similar. They both offer their own unique challenges and moments of frustration. They have me (literally!!) falling down and placing my face in my hands and wondering "HOW?!" and sweating and sometimes crying and replenishing all that sweat and tears with copious amounts of chocolate coconut water. But like a long and winding marriage, I love them. I want to make it work. Like in all art forms, the critique works as a separate voice. We are the ones judging, not the writing craft or the practice or the music or the palette or whatever. All practices are unique; they have to be. Our bodies make shapes, our words make sentences, and together, we weave stories. 

Soooo to connect this to pancakes?! Let me try. I celebrate Julia Cameron's idea of "artists dates", or the general philosophy that one should make time to enjoy life's simple moments (aka, make yourself breakfast, homeboys and girls).  Simple moments = peace. The safe place of a yoga mat, or a blank page = peace. Pancakes = peace, duuuuuudeee!!!!!!

This recipe is from Foodie Fiasco, and I am very excited about it. I added sliced bananas and a rainfall of agave. The end result was moist, coconut-y cakes, nicely saturated with nectar. Good morning, indeed. 

- Stay cozy!

 

 

 

gluten-free chocolate and cinnamon scones

There's a fine line between sick days and playing hooky, and I like to walk it. 

In the outstanding cinema experience that is Space Jam, there is a moment where Daffy Duck gets hit in the face with a basketball and begins to see swirling, cartoon stars. In this snapshot of hilarity, he spins, and cries, "But Mommy, I don't want to go to school today; I want to stay home and bake cookies with you."

Ah, yes, Daffy.  I also longed to stay at home and bake cookies with my mother. It was fun. We would both wear aprons and powder our hands with all-purpose flour. Scents of cinnamon and vanilla would waft through the kitchen, and I was thankful for the oven light that allowed me to constantly check in on our creations. And even though sometimes  I was not-faking-it-even-a-little-bit-but-actually-sick,  I still thought it fun to take the day off and spend some quality time learning about the relationship goin' on between milk and cookies. 

Dylan and I share a softness for sick days. He is almost nine and I am almost 24, and we both also have a softness for Junie B. Jones. 

"Don't you just LOVE getting sick?!" He asked me one day. "You get to stay in your pajamas, you get to watch TV, you get to eat your favorite foods...."

Dylan and Daffy are correct. Staying home from school on a day that doesn't start with S is a real treat. And lucky for Dylan, he gets one of those days. It's called, "Random Thursday the 25th When The Santa Monica School System Gives Kids The Day Off."

For us, this day meant all sorts of good things. We went to the Peterson Car Museum. (Which was AWESOME by the way. I got to see some of the first ever RVs and my heart sort of completely melted all over the floor.) And then we decided to bake things.

As I've mentioned before, Dylan's mom has a gluten and dairy intolerance. And though both Dylan and Weston are free to consume as much yeasty cheesy goodness as their young hearts desire, they're sensitive to the fact that she can't. So when it comes time to fill the house with sugar and spice and everything nice, we go for the GF option.

And while cookies are the stereotypical "hooky" food, we were feeling adventures. We were feeling English. We were feeling LIKE SCONES.

Namely, chocolate cinnamon scones.

These are savory and indulgent. They're not as sweet as cookies; they're sort of like biscuits studded with the occasional drop of chocolate. We dusted half with cinnamon sugar and half with maple glaze. Both were wonderful, and I highly recommend them with tea or coffee.  They aren't sweet enough for small children, but I think they would work well for adult tea parties. Or adult hooky days. 

gluten-free chocolate cinnamon scones

scones

1  cups almond flour

3/4 potato flour

1/3 cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon chia seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coconut oil

3/4 cup carob chips

2 large eggs

1/3 cup cold plain almond milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

cinnamon and sugar blend

maple glaze

1/2 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons melted vegan butter

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 tablespoon almond milk 

Preheat oven to 400˚F.  Grease a baking sheet with coconut oil or line with parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, chia seeds, and salt.  Add the coconut oil. Using your hands, blend the ingredients together. Pour in the chocolate chips and mix them into the rest of the bater. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla until light and frothy.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir together until completely combined.

Drop the dough by the 1/3 cupful onto the baking sheet.  If using cinnamon sugar dusting, sprinkle the mixture on top of the scones. Allow them to rest for 15 minutes. 

If using the glaze, whisk the powdered sugar, vegan butter, maple syrup, and almond milk in a mixing bowl. Set aside. 

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until nice and toasty.  Allow to cool before adding the glaze.

Place the scones on top of a piece of parchment paper.  Using the whisk, lightly drizzle the scones with the glaze. 

You can eat them now!!

This recipe was adapted from Spoon With Me, which is probably one of the most adorable blog titles I've ever heard. 

Happy Friday, friends. I'm spending my weekend on all sorts of lovely adventures that I can't wait to share with you...I won't get specific yet, but the words "desert camping" and "vegetarian hobo packets" and  "please bring costumes" were all included in the same event description. And there's gonna be a drum circle. And yellow cake. 

-stay cozy