1-DSC05399This morning we woke up to snow, not expected! It’s not my husbands favorite topic when he wakes up in the morning (or any other time for that matter) because this year the snow has been a wet sloppy mess and just means more work for him if we get more than an inch. We have plans to move to Vermont, its part of the “5-year plan” which means we are serious but waiting until we have things smoothed out and done in the place we are now. Vermont snow is different, it’s what snow is supposed to be.

For now, I am happy with sitting at my kitchen table every morning, doing my computer based work, eating my oats and see the juncos and cardinals flutter about the new bird feeder my Mother got us for Christmas; it is the hottest place in town for local winter birds. As I type, the tiny juncos, sparrows, and one single chickadee are so condensed out there that the poor cardinal is frantically trying to find a place she will fit in between the busy morning breakfast rush. And here comes the male cardinal, he is not intimidated at all. Then, just as quickly as they came they vanish into the bushes, not to return until lunch hour. But I still hear them as they chirp in the bushes outside my windows and back door. It is such a happy sound.

This morning I got an email from my mother on a recipe she is attempting to convert to gluten free. It’s her spice cookie recipe which I have converted a while ago, but could improve upon to create a chewy cookie for those who prefer chewy over crunchy. I like the crunch of the cookie, but there is something to be said for a chewy spice cookie flavored with molasses and brown sugar with all of those spices. It’s definitely a winter treat for a day like today. The first batch she tried last night came out great, but when she tried to redo it this morning they did not come out so great. Unfortunately she was short just a little bit of the gluten free flour mix and ended up using a baking mix that already had baking powder in it and xanthan gum. The problem I have with baking mixes is that while they give you a good idea of how much of an ingredient they have based on their order of ingredients on the label, you have no idea of knowing truly how much there is and that can really change a recipe; especially with something as crucial as baking soda, baking powders or xanthan gum. It completely changes the texture and the mouth-feel of the cookie. Sometimes you are lucky and can get a cookie that has the same flavor as the recipe your trying to create, but the texture is completely wrong. My husband went to the store to get some caffeine (aka monster low-cal) for a headache and will be bringing back some extra eggs and butter so I can take advantage of this messy day and bake these cookies with the recipe that worked for my Mother when making the spike cookies chewy.

If you look at the picture I took just after I finished my paragraph on the birds, you will see the pretty finches, and the one junco that has a ring around it’s neck. He’s a new one that just arrived mornings ago. I think it’s a genetic quirk, but I like that he stands out from the rest who all look alike. Also, to the left in the picture is a finch with a red head. They recently started coming to our feeder once we changed our feed to a type that does not have corn, but includes a wider variety. We got this feeder from my mother for Christmas and at first the birds were not sure about it. Many of the species we have here are ground feeders. However, after a few days they loved it. It sits about 3 feet off the ground to discourage cats from pouncing on the birds. The feeder did not come with a tall post so we used 3/4 inch copper pipe with a nice patina to it so it matches the feeder itself.

Here is a link to the same feeder: http://www.duncraft.com/3-in-1-Platform-Feeder

These are called platform feeders, and are good for ground feeding birds, in addition to all the other beauties out there!

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The Breakfast Rush

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