The Clean Slate of a New Year

A friend mentioned to me a couple of years ago how we have a whole new year ahead of us that is a clean slate of 365 days. He went on to say it is like a new snow before any footprints have made any paths.

Yesterday, I was pondering this as we had over 8 inches of new snow that fell. Each step I make in the snow permanently changes how it looks. I contemplated how each thing I do, every word I speak and each thought I think has the potential to change the vista in my corner of the world to either improve it or detract from it.

Father God,

Help me to ponder my paths and consider where I will go with my actions, words and thoughts. Enable my paths to be filled with sweet communion with You and falling more in love with You, Lord. May my paths be filled with love for You and love for others, as well as Your perfect peace, joy and gratitude. Lead me in paths that bring honor and glory to You. Please let me not mar my hours and days with the mud of resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, what-ifs, ingratitude or selfishness. Instead, Lord, enable me to beautify my path by loving, giving, sharing, serving and extending grace to those You place along my journey through 2020.

Lord, I desire to be fully engaged in my relationships, in noticing others and recognizing their needs, by being awestruck by Your glorious creation as I walk through each moment You ordain. Deepen my appreciation of all of Your gifts, even the ones that come in the rocky, steep terrain of suffering or inconveniences of a suddenly changed course. May I fully trust Your purposes and rest in Your faithfulness that Your sovereign path for my life is for my eternal good and Your glory.

In Jesus Name,

Amen.

So as I look at our new snow, I notice where a bird or rabbit have gently, perhaps timidly, left their marks. I also notice the gregarious patterns left by my two dogs bounding joyously through the snow. I again ponder how at times the Lord allows times to gently walk one uncertain step at a time while other times we must boldly bound out enthusiastically and obediently where He leads. I pray God gives me discernment when to proceed slowly or cautiously and when He is calling me to boldly step out of my comfort zone. In reality, anywhere I am walking with God should be in my comfort zone.

I am asking the Lord to give me His ability to walk each step in 2020 with faith and confidence in my faithful, sovereign, good and wise God instead of getting off course with worry, inadequacies or fear.

Today I look with anticipation at the blank slate of 2020 and where the Lord directs my paths.

May you each have a wondrous and Happy New Year!

Blessings,

Deb

Gluten Free Almond Danish Puff Pastry

I always enjoyed the Danish Puff Pastry my mom when I was a girl as well as when I made it myself for many years after I married. Once my health tanked in November 2009, I suddenly developed severe gluten intolerance and many food and chemical sensitivities so I no longer made it.

Last week, I tackled a project that I have put off several years. I went through stacks of saved recipes plus the two binders of recipes I have compiled over 37 years of marriage. I reorganized and culled ones there is no way I can use with my Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and dietary restrictions. I came across the Danish puff pasty recipe and thought what if I try to convert this to gluten free? As I did it, I quickly realized it needed more moisture in the crust and some guar gum (you can sub xanthum gum if not allergic to corn).

It came out of the oven resembling and smelling like the original version. After it saw cooled a bit, I frosted it and topped with sliced toasted almonds. Then the hard part was waiting to try it after dinner. We both thoroughly enjoyed this along with a cup of hot tea. It got two thumbs and all fingers and toes up from my husband.

For mixing the crust in this and my gluten free pie crusts I either use my food processor or a pastry cutter like this.

I inherited my pastry cutter/blender from my mother-in-law, but places like Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond and Target carry these.

Gluten Free Almond Danish Puff Pastry

Preheat oven to 400F

FOR CRUST:

Combine in bowl or food processor:

1 cup gluten free flour blend (mine is at end of post)

1/2 tsp guar gum

1/2 tsp salt

Cut in with pastry cutter or food processor blades until it resembles coarse crumbs:

1/2 cup butter, cold (1 cube) cut into small pieces

Add 1 TBSP at a time and stir with fork or blend with food processor until pie dough consistency.:

3.5 – 5 TBSP cold water (varies with how humid or dry it is).

Gather dough into a ball and divide in half. Use a cookie sheet with parchment paper or silicon mat and pat the two halves into two 3″ x 12″ rectangles. Leave on counter while prep the rest.

FOR TOP LAYER: (This very much like cream puff batter).

Combine in small bowl and then set aside:

1 cup gluten free flour blend

1 tsp guar gum

In a sauce pan bring to boil:

1 cup water

1/2 cup butter (1 cube)

1/4 – 1/2 tsp almond extract

Remove from heat and stir in flour guar gum mixture until forms a ball.

Let pan with mixture sit off the heat for 5 minutes.

Add one at a time to pan, beating well with hand mixer after each addition:

3 eggs

Continue beating until shiny and smooth.

Spread this evenly over the two crusts and put into oven to bake at 400F for 18-20 minutes.

Let cool on baking sheet 5 minutes before moving to wire cooling racks.

Let cool 10-15 minutes then frost and top with 2/3 cup toasted almond slices.

FROSTING:

Combine in bowl and mix until well blended:

2 TBSP butter, softened

1/2 tsp almond extract

4-6 TBSP water

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar.

Variation:

Lemon – Sub almond extract in batter and frosting with lemon extract.

Dairy-free – Try subbing butter with organic palm shortening or Earth Balance nondairy cubed butter substitute. (I have not yet tried this but have done this with other recipes.)

I froze over half of ours and will update later how well they do when thaw and eat them later.

Deb’s Nightshade Free Gluten Free Flour Blend:

In large mixing bowl combine until thoroughly mixed together:

5 cups brown rice flour

3 cups tapioca starch or flour

1 1/2 cups arrowroot powder

I store in an airtight container in my upright freezer. Because of my sensitivities I use all organic ingredients.

Enjoy eating this delicious treats!

Hoping each of you has a wonderful time with family and friends celebrating Christ’s birth.

Merry Christmas!!!

Blessings,

Deb