It's no secret I'm turning 30 next year, and I think I've also made it clear that while I'm doing my best to embrace my age, I can't help feeling introspective. What tangible--and intangible--things do I have to show for these past 30 years? So many good things. So, so, so many good things. Family. Love. A stable household. A job I enjoy. Hobbies (like this blog) that I happily pursue. And many more good things than I could list out on one page.
Lately, though, I've also been thinking about the future. Am I in a good position to get where I want to be? How do I get there? Tim and I even have a date a few days after Christmas to sit down and talk through our joint goals. (Kind of romantic, isn't it?) I know I'm not the only one that looks at their life and sees room for improvement. People decide to be the change that they desire and then execute that change. Maybe they decide to lose weight--and do it. Perhaps they decide to find the reason for their health problems--and they find it. It could even be that they are unhappy in a job--and they seek out a job that fulfills them.
When I see those examples, I recognize that they are all getting well--physically well, emotionally well, financially well, maybe even spiritually well. I'm on a journey to wellness, too. So when my allergy doctor, who I am seeing about my food intolerances, told me this week that in addition to the seven foods that he has already directed me to avoid he would also like me to avoid a few others--including chocolate--I said, "sure."
Just like that. I walked out to my car after the appointment, called Tim, cried a little about how many foods I simply can't eat right now; he soothed me by reminding me that this is all to help me feel well, and I resolved to carry out my doctor's orders.
Before you think that I'm dragging you into a pity party, I'd like to say that I am still finding food to indulge in; it just takes a little more work. Except in the case of this Gluten Free, Vegan Apple Cake. This didn't take much work at all.
I'm generally not one to suggest box mixes, mostly because I take pleasure in cooking from scratch. But after awful experiences making gluten free, vegan cornbread and gluten free, vegan pie, I needed a baking win. This box mix, my friends, is a serious win.
To find out exactly how to make this cake, you have to buy the mix! Part of 123 Gluten Free's very smart marketing is to put the recipe for the eggless version of this cake inside the box! Would you even believe me if I told you that there is a whole can of chickpeas in this cake? (There is.) Do not be dismayed--there is no lingering flavor of chickpeas in the finished product.
It's a sugary, chewy cake that manages to be light at the same time. I gave it my own spin by swapping out the suggested golden raisins for a 1/2 cup of each diced apple and pecan pieces. Also the box recommends either a dusting of powdered sugar or an icing so I whipped up some vegan buttercream. I must say that this cake was excellent the night I baked it, but it was particularly great the next few days. I am already planning on making this for Christmas Day with my family, but you don't have to wait until then--you can go out and buy the box mix tonight.
A quick note: Part of the process that I'm working through with my allergist is to get to a point where I feel good every day. When we get there, I expect that he will allow me to reintroduce certain foods into my diet, one at a time, to see if they cause me to feel sick. Then we will know which specific foods are the problem. It's entirely possible that in six months from now, I may be enjoying chocolate--or any of the other foods on my do-not-eat list-- again. But for now, I'm just following the good doctor's orders.