“But I really don’t have anything to complain about, though….”
I ran into a friend today who asked how I and the family were doing. Because he was a friend, I felt comfortable telling him about the emotional roller coaster the family has been on since May with two children being in car accidents, my husband’s father dying, trying to figure out what caused a seizure for my middle child, our oldest in angst about what to do next year after her senior year of college, our youngest camping in our bedroom since May, suddenly not wanting to sleep alone, health issues I have been having, a cousin’s wife struggling with a recurrence of cancer, and the transition to another full school year of responsibilities for both my husband and myself.
After briefing him on all that, he asked how in the world we were holding up, and I told him that we were actually doing okay because we continually and daily reminded ourselves about the many things we have to be grateful for in comparison to other things happening in the world. We aren’t living in any of the places which have been devastated by the recent onslaught of hurricanes. All our children are alive and well physically. We have jobs, a home, provisions. Our friends and family are numerous and great supports to us. My husband’s mom is not alone as she copes with the death of my father-in-law. My own parents are holding their own despite setbacks here and there.
Our gratitude list can go on and on, and some days we just sit and speak that list as a way of thanksgiving for all we do have, even in the midst of these more emotionally taxing times. For us, it really is the only way to live when life gets tougher than we’d like.
Sometimes, food allergies and health issues can be taxing and make us weary, too. We wish we didn’t have to eat a certain way. We miss and crave foods we used to be able to eat. We are frustrated by the time and energy and costs it takes to eat non-traditionally. We don’t like being the odd people out. We want to complain. We want to shake our fists at the universe.
I felt this the other day when the only options for food at a church gathering were ones I couldn’t eat, despite the number of times I have tried to make the church aware of just how many people with food allergies attend the church.
In these situations, though, I once again find myself thinking about the ways I am blessed. For those of us with food issues, we live currently in a time when options for alternative foods exist. Many of us also live in countries where we have access to nontraditional ingredients and food. More and more restaurants are offering options to meet dietary needs. Blogs and cookbooks are focusing on our health issues. Schools and hospitals are enacting changes to better help care for folks with allergies. Stores like BJs and Costco are selling nontraditional ingredients for cheaper. Those of us with food issues provide an opportunity for others to learn and to show compassion and understanding. Those of us with food issues have an opportunity to practice compassion and understanding when folks don’t learn and show compassion.
Again, the list of things to be grateful for about food issues can go on and on, if we truly consider them.
The other day, I was grateful for pumpkin. Pureed pumpkin is awesome for food issues because it is a healthy, vitamin-filled vegetable which can be used as a substitute for eggs as well as fats. Plus its orange hue makes food pretty, and it tastes yummy.
So, I decided I would make three pumpkin bundt cakes for some upcoming weekend events. For one, we ate the cake topped with an apple compote I made in the crockpot as a snack. For the other, folks put vanilla ice cream on top for a dessert. For the third, people just ate it as is for breakfast.
Pumpkin Bundt Cake
1 1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 cups cooked, pureed pumpkin
3/4 cup extra light olive oil
1 tbsp minced ginger paste
1 cup agave
3 cups gluten free flour blend (I used King Arthur’s whole grain blend)
2 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt pan with vegan butter and coat with golden ground flaxseed.
- Blend together the bananas, pumpkin, eggs, oil ginger paste and agave. Set aside.
- Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet, along with the apple cider vinegar, and mix quickly just until the dry ingredients are moistened and incorporated.
- Evenly spread the batter into the prepare bundt pan.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes until the cake is puffed, golden and a toothpick inserted comes out with only a few crumbs sticking to it.
- Cool in the bundt pan on a wiring cooling rack for at 15 to 25 minutes. Turn the cake upside down onto the wire cooling rack, removing the pan, and allowing the cake to cool completely.