Welcome back to my kitchen!
As you now know, The Hubs, Em and I get a kick outta throwing a creative party. We’ve become good friends with a neighborhood couple. They, too, get their kicks outta throwing a creative party.
For about four months, The Hubs and I only ate out during our minimal travel and basically avoided all meals outside our home. It just was too tough or risky. We couldn’t trust others’ kitchens or them possibly cutting corners on my very strict new way of nutrition. However, The Folks were glued to finding new recipes. They even tried started eating under 20 carbs a day, one day a week to understand my needs. And, treated us to meals.
December came. The neighborhood couple invited us to their annual holiday celebration. The Hubs was all-in on attending. I had to swallow my nerves to give it a go. When we arrived, the house was beautifully decorated, full of guests, and the counter looked like a holiday potluck times 100. The always friendly-welcoming host, said to me, “This is tough, I know.” I had to look away. Or, she would have seen my tears. It was damn tough. The Hubs filled plate after plate. It was like he was finally getting a chance to eat. My insecurities about being at that party were outweighed by his genuine need to be around people, socializing from table to table.
Unlike him, I just don’t do small talk. I despise it. I quietly nested myself, at an open seat, at the table of the male host. He introduced me to the others at the table–an interesting duo. She was elderly. He appeared to be young, close to our age I thought. The host left us and we sat in silence. Until the younger guy broke the ice, “We live three houses down from you.” “Oh,” I dumbly replied, looking away drinking my water. “You seem smart,” he remarked, “What do you do?” I laughed, “It’s complicated and silly. I’m a lawyer who writes the law.”
“I need to talk with you,” he quickly replied while asking if I wanted a beer. “Oh, I’m good. I got my trusty ol’ water,” I answered. He got up but he came back within a flash with a few beers.
“You know what sucks?” he asked me. “Excuse me?” I answered. “I can’t work as much as I want to! Social security is a frickin’ joke.” He told me. Suddenly, I got interested in our small talk conversation. I didn’t realize at the time, this well-spoken sharp gentleman had an intellectual disability from a traumatic brain injury. I shared with him, “Funny you should say that! You are talking my lingo. That’s my number one priority for federal policy changes. Social security disability hasn’t been revised since the 1980s. It’s a complete joke that you can’t work as many hours you can work.” We continued in our shared passion.
The Hubs joined our table. “Hi—I’m Chris,” he introduced himself. I whispered to The Hubs, “Sit down and tune in.” He gave me a weird look. Suddenly, an hour conversation turned into three easy hours.
We learned our new friend, after graduating from college, suffered a lifelong traumatic brain injury from an idiot running a red light in the wee hours of the morning. Our new friend, who outwardly admitted in the first hour of our conversation, told us that had diabetes. During those wee hours, he got a rare sugar craving for a midnight snack. He hesitated but headed to the grocery store—against the wishes of his doctor or his strict nutritional diet.
For hours, The Hubs and our new friend drank beers. We laughed together. Both The Hubs and I drilled him on diabetes, I mean asking every question under the sun. He asked me for my phone number and email address. I wrote it out. The Hubs reminded him, “I was a happily married woman.” He laughed. We shook hands after cleaning up empty cans. I left the party laughing to myself– that poor guy must think boy, these two ask a lot of questions.
Our new friend emailed me right away the next morning. Since December, we’ve broadened our friendship with him. It’s literally a day’s highlight when we get to see him, out in his yard. He always has a smile and asks how we are doing. Pretty unselfish, if you ask me.
This week, I made him my No Sugar Baker’s Blueberry Raspberry Cheese Danish. It was a brand-new recipe for me to try out. It apparently passed the test. He emailed me, again within minutes, asking if we had any more. He would buy it from us. I wrote back, “Sorry it’s all gone. I brought it over to our other neighbors.” You know, the same wonderful couple, who introduced us to each other at their holiday party. That party was a truly the gift of the season.
The Folks keep telling me, repeatedly. From the bad, good will come.
Maybe not right away, but the good will come. Part of “this good,” has been the remarkable people brought into our lives during these past six months. They are the good. The heartbeat of awesomeness.
Now, go break bread together. We’re on a roll. Life is sweet.
All this made with LOVE!
Jayne (aka The No Sugar Baker!)
The No Sugar Baker’s Blueberry Raspberry Cheese Danish
Ingredients for Dough:
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water, room temperature
1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
1/4 cup butter, room temperature, cut into small cubes
1/4 cup Swerve Granular
3 ½ Cups almond or coconut flour
3 tsp Yeast, active dry, instant or bread machine
Ingredients for Filling:
2 Ts. Swerve Granular
¼ cup water
I pint fresh raspberries
I pint fresh blueberries
8 oz cream cheese
Ingredients for Frosting:
3 Ts. Swerve Confectioners
½ cup Heavy Cream
1 tsp vanilla
1. Follow your usual sweet dough making recipe with these ingredients. I used my bread machine. The dough will be incredibly sticky, you will need to flour your counter and rolling pin. After the dough has been mixed and risen, rough out the dough into a square shape, about ¼ inch thick. Line a cookie baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the dough onto the cookie sheet.
2. While the dough is rising (first time), place the berries, Swerve and water into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. After a rolling boil, stir in cornstarch and bring to simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cream cheese. Combine the mixture until smooth. Let it cool to a touchable temperature.
3. Spread the filling mixture straight down the dough center. I used my kitchen scissors and cut inch stripes of dough, from both the right side and left side of the dough. I wrapped the dough, like a braid. Tucking every open spot of dough, with dough.
4. Cover the dough with a dishtowel for an additional 45- 60 minutes. It will slightly rise again.
5. Before baking, you can top your dough with very little amount of melted butter or egg white for a golden little brown color baking.
6. Bake in oven at 350 for 30-40 minutes.
7. Let cool. If you choose you can additionally top the danish with sprinkled Swerve confectioners. You can also make an easy glaze by combining the heavy cream, Swerve confectioners and vanilla into a bowl, mixing together then drizzling onto the danish.