Now and then, when “stuff” starts taking over our home, I have to ask myself:  “Does everything here have a home of its own?”  When the answer is no, I make new homes for the stuff that stays.  The rest of it has to go.  This is not to say I should impress you, because I don’t do this often enough.

A couple of months after I took to gluten-free and vegan baking, I noticed that all the different flours, starches, and natural sweeteners I had bought were homeless, which was obvious after they started overtaking another piece of my home.  They would be thrown into a paper grocery bag after each baking session.  There they’d hide, making clutter in the next room right into my meditation space.   Baking became the activity that I romanticized but when it came to it, I’d be swearing up a storm in the act, trying to scoop into and out of flour and starch bags that were original packages to each product.

Enough was enough.  I invested in Snapware.  Not the best but not the worst.  I bought the box of 38 pieces and went to town, building homes for all my pretty flours and starches.   I gave my light brown sugar a castle that holds twenty-four cups.  Yes, I buy the big bag and use it well.  I bought aluminum scoops which work magnificently; spoons just don’t cut it anymore.  I found new homes for things I couldn’t put into containers, like my Agave sweetener and Spectrum shortening.  To baptize their new homes in my kitchen after I was done building them, I baked.  A scoop into the flour, and sweetly into the measuring cup.  A teaspoon gliding in and out of the xanthan gum and voila, into the mixing bowl.  If I knew baking could be so easy, I would’ve built new homes a long time ago.

Lesson 6:  Everything has a place once I make it. 

Lesson 7:  Once I make the place, rejoice when I get invited in.

Snapware = Bringer of Peace and Harmony

I’ve always felt a pull towards creating stuff.  And I’m learning that creativity isn’t necessarily a reflection of the deepest darkest pits of our imagination.  Yah, pits.  Each thing I make, even the gluten-free vegan vanilla brownies or the silly flower pens, gives me a feeling of connection to myself and to the potential for human creativity.  So, for Amado’s birthday this year, I wanted to go further than my homemade Thomas train cake from last year’s second birthday.  This year’s theme was Cars the movie.  He had two birthday celebrations.

First we celebrated with his dad’s side and my mom and stepdad.  We mad a chocolate and yellow cake with buttercream frosting  in the shape of a car modeled after Chick Hicks, the antagonist in the movie.  Amado likes antagonists.

Although this car looks nothing like Chick Hicks, Amado made the connection and that’s the most important thing, right?

The following week, I made a chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting for my dad’s side of the family.  The aunts thought it looked cute but they really loved the taste.  It wasn’t sweet like other chocolate cakes.  I forgot to tell them it was an organic box cake and not homemade 🙂  I still feel guilty.   A simple free-hand drawing took much less effort than engineering a cake in the shape of a car.  Amado requested Doc Hudson, and so it was.

And though I’m gluten-free, I did have to take a taste for good measure.