As much of a dreamer as I am, I am even more so a realist. I’m not quite sure how I got that way, but it’s the truth.
I stick to the basics.
I do what I can.
I don’t stress out about what I don’t.
One of my favorite phrases is: “Change what you can, accept what you can’t.”
While I really don’t live up to that phrase on a daily basis, I really try. Because let’s face it, as much as I try to, I can’t change the fact that the Husband shakes his leg uncontrollably all the time. It doesn’t matter if he has drank six cups of coffee or if he is falling asleep next to me in bed — he still shakes it. He claims he doesn’t even notice that he does it. He claims it is just “part of who he is” and that I “can’t change everything about him” even if I try so hard.
I am a realist — and my realist self is thinking that leg shaking is annoying.
Sure, I dream of embarking on a world wide excursion to the safaris of Africa and the Australian outback, but I also know that I will have to start saving now — and I’ll go someday when I’m old and gray and my future children aren’t sucking money out of me (which never ends, right Mom?).
So, when I found out in October of 2009 that I had to go gluten free, I let myself wallow. Because that’s what realists do — right? I grieved for every single kind of gluten laden treat there was out there.
Oh, did I mention bread?
I really couldn’t even begin to imagine my life without anything that contained gluten. I also began to dwell on the fact that for twenty two years, gluten unknowingly attacked at my body. I cried the first time I made unstuffed cabbage roll casserole and put Worcestershire sauce in it — because I had no knowledge that it had soy sauce. I let my realist self cry until my mother went to the store at 8 PM to remake my recipe for me so I could eat it.
That was a good example of how I did not “accept” very well.
But then, something inside of me started to change. I realized that I couldn’t change the fact my body hated gluten. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times I have heard people say they “wish I could take a pill like Lactaid to help me digest the gluten”. Do you know what I tell them? Why fight to have my body digest something it really doesn’t want in the first place?
That, my friends, is acceptance.
I learned there was a whole new world outside of the every day all purpose flour. I began to experiment in the kitchen. I began to challenge myself to make food that tasted good, but would also keep me from feeling sick.
To tell you that it happened overnight would be a lie. I have spent the last year and a half trying, creating, failing, and succeeding in making my lifestyle work for me. I didn’t wake up one morning and decide I was going to stop depending on prepackaged gluten free products. It was a long and slow process.
I made muffins.
Then, I made bread.
Then, I made rolls.
And then, I made pasta. But not any kind of pasta — ravioli. The one menu item I would go crazy over when I was younger. I could sit down in any Italian restaurant without even looking at the menu and know what I wanted to order already. Ordering ravioli in a restaurant is long gone for me, but I changed my perspective. Why not make it at home?
Spinach and Mushroom Ravioli (makes 8 ravioli)
- 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. gluten free all purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
- 1/3-1/2 cup water
- 1 and 1/2 tsp. olive oil
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 5 baby bella mushrooms, diced
- 1/4 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/4 cup cashews, soaked for 1 hour
- 1 handful fresh spinach
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp water
- salt and pepper to taste
Directions: Begin by combining your salt and all purpose flour in a large bowl. Add your water and olive oil and knead until a ball forms. I had to play around with how much water I needed. You want to form a dough. It shouldn’t be sticky and should stay together when done kneading. Set aside in a bowl with cling wrap over it for 30 minutes.
While your dough is resting, heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a medium sautÃ© pan. Add your mushrooms, onion, and garlic and heat over medium high heat until tender. Stir frequently and add your spinach for 1 minute to wilt. While your vegetables are sautÃ©ing, add your drained cashews, nutritional yeast, 1 tbsp. water, salt and pepper to a food processor. Process until a ricotta cheese like consistency is formed. Add your “cheese” to your vegetables and stir until evenly spread.
After your dough has rested for 30 minutes, dust a flat surface and a rolling pin with flour. Roll your dough until desired thickness is achieved (you want it pretty thin), and cut out dough circles with a wine glass (classy over here). Place a teaspoon of ravioli mixture onto a ravioli cut out and top it with another one. Use a fork to press down the sides so they are secure.
I believe my exact words were, “oh my gosh, I can’t believe I made ravioli.”
But a year ago, I would have probably said, “oh my gosh, I can’t believe I made homemade gluten free bread.”
Baby steps people — baby steps.
I’m going to accept this the best that I can.
Until then, I’m going to be crabby.
Because that’s what realists do.
Question: What is something you have done that you never thought you would be able to accomplish?