There is nothing better than cooking all day on a rainy, windy, dark Fall Sunday. We had a busy time outside yesterday, first the zoo for early trick-or-treating, then to a lively farm for pumpkin picking. It was nice out so everyone else was out too, because the forecast for today was not for the weak. Even those native to the area of western Washington have to pause when headed out the door today, although it did not stop the three natives in my life heading out for a Sunday drive. And actually, I heard at the store today that there is a game or two happening today (Huskies? Seahawks? Some other team?) so I’m sure somewhere there is a stadium full of gortex yet remarkably few umbrellas. Before the weather turned quite so wet we went to a nearby elementary school for some playtime. My older son found the baseball pants that his cousins handed down to him so he was immediately interested in baseball, fussing at me to find a baseball shirt and scurrying around the backyard looking for an old, forgotten bat. One does not pick up a bat and perfectly hit a ball (tennis-all we had) from the start though, much to his chagrin. There were some frustrating moments, to put it mildly, and also some moments of pure excitement when he actually hit the ball. My younger son was cold and not thrilled with how wet the playground was. In short, Charles Dickens came to mind as we were packing up to leave, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” Indeed. Taking refuge in the kitchen was a no-brainer for the rest of the day. Here’s what I made: penne for Asher (boxed shells and cheese. The reason we call it penne is a long story.) A simple green salad with a lot of fresh basil to make it taste not quite so mundane. Chili from scratch~ I used about a cup of veggie stock this time to make it thinner than usual, and I added a big leek, both are changes I like. Then I roasted ridiculously few pumpkin seeds from my older son’s pumpkin with butter and Mediterranean salt. Next I made gluten free cardamom cupcakes with chai “buttercream” frosting~ both are recipes from the gluten free, vegan cookbook put out by the Flying Apron’s original owner, Jennifer Katzinger. I use this cookbook all the time because it uses whole grains and does not use xantham gum, an ingredient in gluten free baking that I’m just not convinced needs to be there. I substituted the garbanzo bean flour with oat flour and as for the liquid sugars, which she gives 3 different ones as an option, I did not have, at least not 3 cups worth. So I used one she recommended (maple syrup) and two others that were not listed as options (honey and molasses.) Obviously, those change the taste quite a bit, but it is still really good. Oh, and I made egg salad. If you happen to live where you can get the Mediterranean salt mix that Whole Foods sells in plastic containers with their own name but it is actually Sarah’s salt mix, then you really need to put that salt into egg salad. And if you can eat that mixture on rosemary bread, gluten free or otherwise, it is awesome.