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Gluten Free Treats, espresso and….

by Karen on August 16th, 2010

Double tall latte

Raising a child is a humbling experience.  Each stage along the way prepares you a little for the next—-some lack of sleep during preganancy helps to prepare you for A LOT of lost sleep once the baby arrives.  And so it goes through the years.  I am now at that stage where my first baby is about to leave for college, but she has prepared me.

She took a job this summer as a camp counselor at a group of camps that she has attended since age 10.  The youngest begin at a camp that feels like wilderness, junior high students graduate to another camp that is more remote and by the time they are high school, campers they are truly in the wilderness where they kayak to a remote island and sleep under the stars.

As a counselor she works Monday through mid-day Saturday and is home for a day and half. And at the beginning of the summer it didn’t really feel like a day and a half, more like an hour and a half (if you count the awake time that you actually see the child).  After a week at camp she is very ready to see her friends and hang out.  Week by week though that changed as many of the camp counselors who live as far away as Germany or just a ferry away on Bainbridge Island began to spend the night at our house during their day and a half off from camp.

So as my daughter has gradually prepared me for the quiet to come when she is off at college by essentially being gone the better part of the summer, I have also started to see her counselor friends as young adults that are a pleasure to host each week. I also now see my daughter more through the eyes of other adults as she becomes a beautiful young woman.

Ugggh….she would say if she were reading this…so of course there won’t be any photos of her or her friends.  

Gluten Free Espresso and Hot Cocoa

The set up for espresso and hot cocoa with to-go cups.

Instead this post is about the coffee and hot cocoa that I made as the carpool to camp left today for their last week.  A big week to be sure. After this last week of summer camp, the counselors will spend the weekend cleaning the camp and celebrating with a big counselor party.

Celebrating their amazing summer of being unplugged and connected to each other while taking care of other peoples’ children.  Quite a different summer than what many teenagers experience.

Those lucky enough to have this group of counselors over the summer were just that….quite fortunate.  Each one is terrific—–motivated for their future, fun-loving, caring, together—-I was honored to host them all during one weekend or another.

So I figured the least I could do was to cook for them and then send them off in the morning with a hot cocoa or latte.  I would like to say that I sent them off with scones too but usually it was an energy bar instead.  Our German friend preferred Dr. Pepper and a Twinkie so there wasn’t much I could do for him, though he did appreciate the joint meal we cooked together one night.  What a treat to have him ask if he could cook for us!

When you are on a gluten free diet it is easy to look at the world through the lense of “what I can’t eat”.  We try to look at life as “what can I eat and make at home”.  And in so doing we have invested in things that make that process easier and better.  One day, after owning many different espresso machines that are sold retail, my husband bought a commercial grade espresso machine that is made for the home.  The difference is quite real.

It is a KitchenAid coffee grinder and a Rancilio espresso machine.

As it fills the shot glass the coffee is a caramel color and finishes with this look.

The velvet foam this machine creates puts it in a league that Seattlites know from the lattes served at the Uptown Espresso. The crema our machine makes is pretty good and it is certainly much better than any other machine we have owned.  For those of you who aren’t familiar, crema is produced in a shot of coffee when you have the right grind and have tamped the coffee correctly (and of course have the right kind of espresso machine).  When all of this is done right the shot of coffee has a creamy taste rather than bitter.

Espresso drinks are naturally gluten free.  The gluten free hot cocoa I made this morning was from the recipe on the Hershey’s cocoa box just sugar, cocoa, salt, milk, and a touch of real vanilla. Superb!

I guess my point here is that even if you can’t have the quick baked good purchased at the coffee store you CAN have a great latte whether you buy it at Starbucks or make it yourself. It always pays to look at your glass as half full. (and if you want the other half, do it yourself)

Gluten Free Treats

I am working on a scone recipe right now and it is pretty good.  I have some new ideas from both Molly Wizenberg and Shauna James Ahern that I want to work with, and in the meantime I am having fun tasting the various creations.  I really think that most people can do the same if they put their mind to it,  something productive to make your gluten free life better.

For breakfast treats such as Smoked Salmon Potato Pancakes with Dill Yogurt Cheese, Granola, Cinnamon Rolls, Pancakes and Waffles visit Cooking Gluten-Free!

Alone again to enjoy the paper and breakfast.

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