Monthly Archives: April 2013

Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip and Banana Scones (gluten free)

Thank you to Alejandra Ramos of Always Order Dessert for this photo

Thank you to Alejandra Ramos of Always Order Dessert for this photo

Last Sunday I had the loveliest afternoon. My photographer Brent had gotten married the night before, and after I snuck out from the fabulous party flowing with really good Prosecco, dangerously good mescal and bacon wrapped figs / ribs / pickled veggies and charcuterie that was to die for, I came home to Lil Sis on my couch. She had driven the 10 hours up from North Carolina to bake with me on Sunday, because after a weekend of revelry that capped off a long week there was no way I could haul my loot downtown and bake 180 gluten-free scones by myself.

I am so thankful she came with me, and so psyched for what we did.

We joined 7 other bakers/bloggers, pastry chef Stephen Collucci and chocolatier Mehdi Chellaoui at the Sweet Sensations benefit for C-CAP, which helps at-risk kids find scholarships and placement in the culinary world.

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Living with Lyme: Walking Meditation

Walking barefoot in the quiet of a Spring day.

Walking barefoot in the quiet of a Spring day.

Last night I had to explain to someone close to me how my body works. How, after having had Lyme Disease off and on for almost twenty years, it’s harder to do simple things that I can no longer afford to ignore. I’m not debilitated. Not by any means. But sometimes walking up stairs makes me scream inside. Sometimes holding onto a conversation takes an obscene amount of concentration. Sometimes I realize that no one around me is aware that I’m loaded with small but consistent amounts of pain medication to make it through the job and that I may have blacked out when no one was around only hours before. When I plan any work or social events on back-to-back days, I have to plan precious hours between them or know that it’s going to take a few days to catch up afterwards. I count my blessings – this isn’t about a sob story or a cry for a solution. It’s about the little things that keep it all in check.

Today my dearest friend, whom I will forevermore call Muffin on here, told me I’d made a brave decision in leaving the well-paid cooking job that I loved but that completely depleted my limited stores of energy. Since that time my days have been a weird crucible of covering events, interviewing chefs, working on a book pitch for me and Brent, working on a chef’s book pitch, and keeping my family business in check. I make up for the lost income by cooking at photo shoots or stepping in at my prior job – both which require those small but consistent doses of prescribed pain killers and muscle relaxers. Some days, like yesterday, the consistent amount of work it takes to prevent a flare up feels like too much. I don’t look sick, and for that I am thankful. And the work I do in my private time is enough to ensure that most people don’t see me at a weakened state. Again, I count myself lucky for that.

But it takes work, and being completely aware of a restorative moment.

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A Super-Comfy Giveaway from Albion!

jade_crew2Win this super comfy top from Albion Fit!

I’m not the biggest fan of giveaways here in my dusty baking world – I call in and giveaway enough products for Easy Eats.

But when Albion Fit asked me if I wanted to test out their women’s workout clothing, I was totally in.

I practically live in comfy clothes. I’m either at a computer all day, walking Mitra, sitting in meditation, stretching my way through yoga or on my feet in someone’s kitchen. None of these things require that I even wear jeans, which is pretty awesome. It also means that I burn through fitness clothing, and am constantly looking for affordable clothes with a bit of color and cut that can get me from work to home while still looking relatively cute on the subway.

Enter this gorgeous blue top that I adore.

I tested it at my yoga for chronic pain workshop, and loved how the extra-long torso came down over my hips and didn’t fly anywhere when inverted or twisted.

But the ultimate test came when I wore it to a 10-hour cooking shoot at a huge loft space downtown. Because while working out is obviously the more healthful situation to be wearing fitness gear in, working in a kitchen is a much longer, smellier, steamier experience.

Here’s what I loved particularly about this product:

  • It’s incredibly thin and soft, which helps when you like to layer up on the subway and then need something light under your apron at work without showing any bare skin.
  • The color is really vibrant and didn’t fade at all in the first wash.
  • I ended up going out for drinks with friends after the shoot – sweatpants, frizzy headbanded-hair and all, and the color and cut made me still look relatively cute (when sitting on a bar stool under dim lighting). (I ended up accidentally doing this a second time after a yoga workshop… oops…)
  • The extra-long length can be pulled comfortably down over my hips or sort of scrunched up higher. Either way, it felt comfortable but not clingy.
  • It’s not expensive – $28 for an incredibly comfy, bright top.

So Albion Fit is awesome in offering one of my lovely dusty readers a brand spankin new Jade Go Long Crew (with thumbholes)!

To enter, like Albion on Facebook and pin an  image of an item you’d love on your Pinterest page!

Leave a comment below telling us you’ve done this with a link to your pin!

And to cap it off, they’re offering a $15 discount
when you spend $50 or more! Just use code dustybaker15
(valid until 4/25, when the giveaway ends at 6pm EST)

Make sure your email address is linked to your comment so I can find you.

Thanks! Good luck!

Gluten-free Lemon Poppy Seed Scones

Gluten-Free Lemon Poppy Scones

As Americans, we seem to have several opinions on what a “scone” is, versus an American biscuit or the scone’s British counterpart. And, quite frankly, I couldn’t care less. Because no scone I make here is going to rival the memory of the one I ate in that random country garden in the southwest of England, slathered with jam and accompanied by a hot cup of tea en route to some Arthurian ruin I was longing to explore in the middle of July when I was 18. Or the comfy aroma of waking up at Ruark’s family’s house on holidays of one his dad was making to start the day.  Or even the first gluten-free one I made for myself, when I realized how relatively easy and incredibly versatile they are for the seasons or my moods.

Nothing rivals the sweetness of a good memory. But there’s always room for new ones. Continue reading

Gluten-Free Goat Cheese, Chive and Walnut Scones

I love scones. Ever since I started dating this guy named Ruark and spent holidays at his parent’s house, they’ve intrigued me. I’d sit drinking tea in the kitchen while his dad, Kevin, worked butter and flour together, the air filling with sweetness while everyone else slowly woke. By the time the fluffy pastries were cooling on the counter, we’d be on our third cup with everyone gathered at the table. I could not eat the scones, but I inherited Kevin’s base recipe, which I’ve adapted over the years in numerous ways.

In the next three posts, I’ll be sharing three new scone recipes I brought in miniature form to a benefit for C-CAP, an organization that works with public schools across the country to prepare at-risk high school students for college and career opportunities in the restaurant and hospitality industry. Continue reading

Careers and Chronic Illness: How Do You Find One That Honors the Other?

This was my general state of being in one job in Cincinnati.

This was my general state of being in one job in Cincinnati.

I caught the end of The Devil Wears Prada the other night and something hit me.

Yes, I admit I’ve seen it more than once. And again I completely sympathized with Anne Hathaway’s character, whose job becomes her life even though she initially scoffed at the world she would soon give up everything to excel in.

For the first time, though, I got why I feel that way.

Only in the past year or so have I accepted that maybe I’m a bit of a workaholic, overachiever. People have started using the “type-A” label on me. The emotionally laid-back, tree-hugging, mantra-chanting side of me would never agree to that. But the work horse in me… yeah. Not that I’ve excelled to the furthest reaches of one career, mind you. But I’ve noticed a theme that I usually give 120% for as long as I can until I a) lose interest or b) my energy completely wanes and I’m left depleted, either with a momentary hiccup in health or a wallop that takes more than a year to bounce back from.

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