for real?


*my sister-in-law made me gluten/dairy/soy free cookie dough bon bons for my birthday. for real. i still can’t get over them. they made me giddy. literally: because i haven’t had sugar in a month and these bon bons were my first birthday sugar. hyp-er.

*they were so good that everyone at our 4th of July cookout tried them and couldn’t believe they were gluten/dairy/soy free. yum-e.

*here’s why this is one of the best birthday gifts ever:

being diagnosed with digestive issues makes you put a lot of things in perspective. for example, i never ever ever take for granted how much effort it takes to cook and bake for someone who has food allergies. it requires a lot of time. baking and/or cooking for someone like me requires the following:

1. finding a recipe (usually online) that is gluten, dairy AND soy free. a lot of times, gluten free recipes include diary and/or soy–both of which i have to avoid. so searching for a recipe can often require multiple attempts to “find the right fit” for someone like me.

2. figuring out ingredients that are super odd for most people. when i first learned i had to bake gluten/dairy/soy free, i realized i needed to figure out what flours i can use (almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, etc) and how they changed textures and flavors. i needed to figure out what the heck xanthan gum was. (it’s not gum you chew; it’s an ingredient that adds volume to baking with flours that do not “rise” the way wheat and grain flours do.)

3. reading labels. obsessively. knowing where the hidden things are. i.e. whey. whey = cow’s milk/dairy. most people don’t think about this. they see “gluten-free” and think: all is well! let’s do this! and then they bake me bread and i look at the label and have to say with guilt (usually because the person spent money and time making me something special): i can’t have this. (this has happened with mom a few times with bread mixes.)

4. having money to buy ingredients that are often triple the cost. some nut flours can cost $9-10. chocolate chips: $5 a bag. candy bar: $3 minimum. maybe more. the price tags can be shocking when you’re not used to them. so, if someone is willing to spend that much, it’s a big deal to me. there are no $1.99 cookie mixes in my world.

all of these reason are why i don’t bake for myself anymore and why it means so much to me when someone takes the time to figure out a way to feed me. because it takes all that effort, care, attention, and love to do it.

so, thanks gretchen: my amazing sister-in-law, who showed up tuesday with two containers of cookie dough bon bons made just for me. i couldn’t be more thankful for a more loving and perfect present. you’re the best.


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