Friday, January 21, 2011

Pre-Menstural Aggression and Ahhhh...Raspberry Bars

When I woke up this morning nose-to-nose with Quinn, my 3 year old, and her mildly funky breath,  my first thought was what a lucky lady I am. I  have 4 kids who bring into the fold of this family very individual, and dare I say it, "dynamic" personalities and I am madly in love with each and every one of them.  But, as the morning progressed through our tried-and-true routines, I started to feel...the break.

I have a lot on my mind after all. My Aunt Marian continues to struggle every day and part of my brain has been twisted and transported to her space.  I have to "stay" there as long as she is  here.  It's the right thing to do.

Although a little shaky and feeling the ever so slight buzz just under the surface of my skin, I was able to get the kids to school without snapping completely.  However, it was coming.  There really is no way to stop it.  I just have to get myself into a locked room by myself and try to handle it.  Fellow Mommies, you know of what I speak, don't 'cha?  Unfortunately, this meltdown was happening too fast, but I didn't know why. What was happening? Why did the thought of how much my kids mean to me send me into an emotional tailspin?  Why do I love my husband so much that I couldn't possibly be the wife he deserves? And why did I feel the need to tell him? Every rambling, jagged part of what I was thinking?  I mean really. Isn't it better to keep the crazy to ourselves?  My husband was not able to escape the brunt of my neurosis, unfortunately. My mind was just moving too fast, my tears were flowing at an embarrassing rate and I was sure that if my husband left this morning we would never see him again.

Then I looked at the calendar.  Sure enough PMS has arrived and boy is she pissed! Andy, my ever-so-patient man, humbly reminded  me that this happens every month.  And, my god, he's right!  Every 28 days I lose it.  The "it " I speak of is that PMS-time when a lot of women experience what can only be described in my life anyway, as a total annihilation of my sensibilities and general kindness to the human race.

This morning, however , I found my crutch. You probably understand the feeling. When I start baking I am thoughtfully moving myself into a space of meditation, into a time of blissful peace  Without my mom here to comfort me and bring me a heating pad, I settled on the idea of her Raspberry Bars.  She used to make them a lot and they always brought peace into whatever was going on in my teen aged, drama-filled life.  So I set myself up to recreate these squares of comfort, but in a way that my family could eat them and stay safe.

No gluten.  No dairy.

The sweet center of these bars could, theoretically be any flavor preserves that floats your boat.  I like raspberry because it reminds me of my mom.  That and I would like my kids to have that same feeling of comfort when they come home from school today.  And this day, in particular, I can take no chances!

On that note, these make an excellent lunchbox snack as they keep very well in a sandwich bag. 

                                    Raspberry Bars

1 1/2  sticks Earth Balance, softened
1 C brown sugar
1 1/4  C brown rice flour
1/4 C potato starch
1/4 tsp xanthan gum 
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 certified GF oats
1, 10-oz jar organic red raspberry preserves
     Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (375 degrees F if you are in high altitude, as I am, in Colorado).   

     Grease an 11"x 9" baking pan with Earth Balance or a GF cooking spray.

     Whisk together GF flour blend, xanthan gum, salt, baking soda until well blended. Add the oats and mix.  Set aside.

     Cream Earth Balance until white.  Add brown sugar and continue creaming until the mixture is fluffy.        
     Slowly add the dry ingredients mixture and blend until a crumble is created.

     Press half of the crumble mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Dump the preserves into a bowl 
     and give it a good stir.  (This makes it easier to spread.)  Then spread it onto the pressed crumble.  Next,
     sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture over the preserves.

     Place in the middle of the 350 degree oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the edges are browned and
     the middle is set.
     Take out of oven and place on a cooling rack until completely cool.  Cut into desired shapes (Valentines 
     Day surprise lunchbox treat anyone?). 

So, another period has begun for yours truly and another disastrous day was averted thanks to my love and passion for baking. Not to mention a husband that was obviously created just for me!  Let me know how baking and/or cooking has filtered into your life and made it something better than it was to begin with.  I'd love to hear from you.

Until Next Time,


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I look forward to any and all comments from readers. Feel free to correct me, enlighten me, and encourage me!