Connecting Yourself: Autumnal Gluten Free Pies

Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Which pie wins your heart as the classic autumnal pie: apple or pumpkin?

There is something about pies.

Baking_a_PieThis is what I wear when I am working in the kitchen. The poofy sleeves help me focus.

There is something about pies that make them comforting down to the pit of your soul.  Pies are the dish that connects us.  It is after dinner (sometimes breakfast…), relaxing with people, sipping coffee and letting yourself loosen up.  Everyone has their own favorite pie, which is why you need a few pies for a good spread.  I have never liked pecan pie, but my aunt loves it.  I like fruit pies, but I’m not a huge fan of berry pies (except for Knott’s boysenberries, which is on another planet entirely).

Pies are not to be taken lightly.  You might favor the pies with the graham cracker crust.  You might favor the pies with flaky pastry crust.  Personally, I refuse to put limits on myself.  Pie is not the sort of thing you start taking sides on.  You eat both.

Ultimately, baking pies and eating pies are all about connecting yourself to people.  Like, you and your son both love apple pies.  There is a glaze that films over your eyes while you guys are eating fresh, homemade apple pies.  It is a transcendence experience that you both share.  Nothing in the world can replace this kind of pie experience.  Especially if it was made in your kitchen.

Of course, you could buy premade pies.  They taste fine, no two ways about it.  But I guarantee you: a homemade key lime pie will be a conversation piece for years.

Connect yourself this season.  Make pies.


Let’s make this happen.

My own gluten free pie recipes.

I’ve been doing this gluten free thing for the past 10 years, and I have determined something as truth: I hate horrible food.  Just because it is gluten free does not mean it has to taste like cardboard…or worse!  Bad pies do not connect anyone.

So make good gluten free pies.

Do yourself a favor and make some really stellar desserts this year.  Be the rockstar of Thanksgiving!




  Always A Winner Pies:

Gluten Free Pie Crust Recipe…along with Pumpkin, Peach and Pear Cranberry Pie





 Rockstar Pie:

Gluten Free Lemon Meringue Pie




Autumnal Edible Threats.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014
Tell us about your favourite autumnal edible treat.


I keep reading this as “Autumnal Threats.”

So let’s go with that.

Autumn sucks hugely in regards to eating.

Oh sure, there is caramel apple cinnamon crumbles,



baked pumpkin fritter bites

4dbd32d9499f2902b6a5bc1e03fbf235Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins



Or an ENTIRE PAGE of Pumpkin truffles

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But my body was not designed for eating.  Well, it was designed for eating.  My body is just plain maternal, so it absorbs airborne calories, just in case my uterus kicks in again.  I have been skating, running and skating again for the past year…and I still get winded after 3 miles.

At least I look fantastic on purple skates to counter-balance this.  Geez.

10509540_10152143759952181_9057443813904455724_nHot Stuff. 

When I think of the fruits of the Spirit, I think of self-control.  Because it absolutely does not come naturally…it is definitely something I have to plan, organize, plant, grow, tend, water and see to it that it matures nicely in order to produce fruit.  At all.

All these foods that are just going to lead to my obesity, my high blood pressure, my possible future with diabetes…is just a plain ol’ threat.  And I already got 99 problems here in the laundry pile.


That’s right.  I’m saying the Pumpkin Cheesecake Muffins of Wonderfulness are each, individually, an Autumnal Threat.


My ability to make my world famous Split Pea Soup for dinner, and 4 out of 5 children cheer for it, means I have victory over the threat.


Tamarah -1, Autumnal Threats – 0 




No joke:  My treat is resisting.


Sea Weed

I watched it rip itself from the bottom and float to the surface one marine-foggy day. The amber bulbs floated as buoys for the stalk and leaves that followed the ascent. It was a longish piece from the fringe of the bed of kelp, and it seemed to writhe and struggle against the waves until it could snap its base and untangle itself from the roots which had affixed it to the clump of mud that had been loitering next to an old watch and a bottle of something empty; but the label had come off, and I do not know what substance had lingered within until it had inebriated its posses- sor enough to let it escape beneath the waves, as well.

I let some breath release from my lungs and I followed the piece of kelp, a little sorry for
having to breathe at all, and leaving the reticent peace. My yellow and green fins stirred up some sand on the way up, raising some detached seagrass so a few got tangled on my legs and came along for a free ride. When I got to the surface my mask was a little foggy anyway, so I was able to take it off and spit in it again to keep the mist from collecting. There was a little more foam floating around me than when I first went down, and I figured it was due to the winds picking up and churning the waters a little bit more. I looked back to the shore looking for beach flags to see if I was right: which I was. The lifeguards’ pole had a hysterical fabric orange cone attached to the top, as if struggling to break free and warn us all of what it sees looming on the horizon,
that only it can see from that vantage point.

The kelp I had followed was floating next to me, some of it draping down the wave it trembled on. It had trapped some of the mocha foam in circulets of stem it had looped in the water, creat- ing little hills of salty fluff. I didn’t feel like I was moving, except for the motion of the ocean breathing, raising and lowering me in a gentle lull; yet, when I looked back to see if the orange cone had finally gotten its wish, I saw the towel I had laid down on a mound of sand was much smaller than a few minutes previous. I kissed an amber bulb and wished the kelp the best of fates as it drifted away from us, and decided my own fate would not fare as well if I drifted towards the horizon, so I paddled my fins and headed back to the shore. There was still a few long,
dark green strands of seagrass wrapped around me for good luck. I let them come along: who was I to interrupt the destiny of seagrass?

The wind had indeed picked up and it roared in my cold ears. In my trek back, I could only rel- ish with the memory of watching that piece of kelp furiously snap itself and drift away, by itself. It didn’t mind the hills of foam that it collected, nor the slight wilting some of its leaves suc- cumbed to by surfacing.

I swam on my back and watched it float in the direction of the sun.

I Love Pumpkin Spice Because I Am A Clumsy Oaf

Monday, October 6, 2014
Pumpkin spiced flavoured everything: can’t get enough OR enough already!


201309271344_1380307477.02628This has happened to me before.

Except it wasn’t in a rather empty room with a few other people.  It was on choir risers. In front of an audience. At a women’s conference. I was on the top riser, and I tried taking a couple ladies down with me as my feet forgot how to feet.  I don’t know how I misstepped on there, but I was in heels and just stepped quite confidently… right off the step and straight into air.

Thankfully, no one was hurt and the women were upon me like blankets making sure I was okay and patting my shoulders.

I just walked it off…what else are you going to do?

Never get invited to another women’s conference choir, for one.


The thing is, pumpkin spice speaks to me because I am a clumsy oaf.

Pumpkin spice is not associated with delicate things.  Dainty things.  Things that are diamond encrusted, high society, “Oh no darling, I simply couldn’t eat another pumpkin spice thing. It is simply undignified” people.

Pumpkin spice is for people who fall off risers.  People who love to love flavor.  People who get excited about pumpkin spice vodka, because the possibilities are endless.  And you don’t even like vodka!!  Pumpkin spice is for the salt of the earth kind of people.

Or maybe the spice of the earth…???


Here is what I am talking about.  These are some of the amazing, tasty things that are associated with pumpkin spice:


pumpkin 006Martinis.  I am all over this.

And most importantly:



Wait, what??

enhanced-5425-1410215272-18Okay, maybe this has gone too far.

What isn’t associated with pumpkin spice may be things like,



bacon…hey, wait a second.  What is on that bacon…??

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10 Notes For Creative Souls And Entrepreneurs



I get a lot of messages like, ‘I wish I could find the confidence to write more, but English is not my first language…’or ‘I doubt that any publisher would be interested in my silly little story…’ Call me a dreaming fool but I have rarely thought that way. My life has been one of knocking on doors, entering if they are opened or climbing in through the window. If that doesn’t work I call up a carpenter to discuss how I can build my own door.

But I get it. Rejection is horrid and it is that fear of it that frightens people from moving forward. I get it and my ‘ballsiness’ is not from lack of fear of rejection, it is more from perspective.

I always put it this way:

I may produce crap, but there are people who produce even bigger crap than I do who…

View original post 669 more words

Those Stupid, Addictive Facebook Quizzes.

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I already know my gifts…why on earth do I need to take a quiz to find out?

Because I do. Deal with it.

What Kind of Coffee Are you?

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Well. Yes.

In reality I drink black coffee in the morning and the evening, but I drink coffee with cream and sugar in the afternoon, just for a little pick me up.  But for relaxing coffees I like macchiatos.

Not that this is saying anything about the quiz results…


What is Your Gift?

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The thing is, I read books to learn more about people, philosophies and ideas.  But there is no book on me…and I am still working on understanding myself.  I honestly take these silly tests to get little pieces to put together, and maybe I’ll get a better idea of who I really am, instead of who I think I should try to be.

The reason why I don’t have a tattoo is because my mind is just all over the place, and I would need a different tattoo daily. If not hourly.  Tattoos are just way too permanent for me.  One day I’m sewing and the next day I’m writing.  I need to mix it up a lot…and still be productive with them all and actually produce something from them; otherwise I’m just wasting my time.

So, this doesn’t surprise me too much. I’m always thinking, looking for something new to learn.  It is a bad time in Tamarahville when I run out of things to research…


Which Superhero Are you?

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Of course I am Batman.  Good heavens, who else would I be?  Ironman?? *maniacal laughter* whew…nope. Lives in a cave? Has weird hobbies that may or may not destroy the world?  Gets stuck in odd pits in the middle of deserts?  Has few friends he sees occasionally? Sucks at domestic duties?


Need I say more.


What Is One Word To Describe You?

Screenshot 2014-10-04 14.34.42

This is totally true.  It doesn’t occur to me to delegate tasks. I don’t want to pressure people into doing something, I don’t want to make someone do something they aren’t good at, I don’t want to keep on top of the task to make sure it gets done…and I really don’t want to hear whining about it.  If you want to do something, go do it.

This is an absolutely fantastic strength to have in life. Until you have to do a group project. Or someone says, “You don’t work well with others, do you?” And then it is a huge thorn, and I have a large spoonful of guilt for blazing my own trails.

Batman understands.


What Kind of Fairytale Creature Are You?

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Anyone remember David the Gnome on Nickelodeon in the 90s?  Man that was a crazy show.


What is Your Brain Like?

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And I think this is the gist of it all.  I am looking for patterns in myself, mainly so I can stay a step ahead of myself!


I Love Me Some Laser Focus

Tuesday began my edX course, “Art of Poetry,” taught by the prolific Robert Pinsky.

I may have mentioned before how stupidly excited  I was about auditing this class.

Recently, I have gone back to my roots and have been writing poetry again.  I never thought my poetry was anything special…everyone writes poetry.  And that’s the weird thing: I know for a fact that 85% of people have a poem hidden away, and it is special and it is theirs.

I’m just guessing at the approximation of this number, but I’d gather to say that roughly  <1% of those people admit to writing poetry.  You know what I hear every time I mention poetry?

“I have a niece who writes beautiful poetry!”

Yes, I know. I can assure you that everyone knows a 16 year old who can write beautiful poetry.  I wrote beautiful poetry when I was 16.  The reason is that when you are 16, you still believe in yourself…even the really depressed teenagers (maybe, especially, the really depressed teenagers).  You still believe your voice matters.  So you write those words down and make a beautiful poem, because you still have that glimmer of hope in your heart that art makes a difference.

But when you are 25, 35, 55…and you have been working a job just to make ends meet and raise a family, paying car insurance just in case you get in an accident, health insurance just in case you might die, and life insurance for when you do die…that little glimmer of hope for art vanishes.  Art is no longer important, and neither is your voice.  What are you going to do to change the world? Who are you, who lives in suburbia, compared to absolutely anyone else in the world who may be actually doing something in life?  Why does your poetry matter at all anymore?

The thing is, I want to read poetry from people who have experienced all this.  I want poetry from someone who has a crystal ball into the void.  I want poetry that has a laser focus that grips your soul and reveals something inside of you so profound, you realize it has always been in you…and someone else feels the same thing. That connection is priceless, and it is the very nature of good poetry.

I say all this, and yet I wrote, “Recently, I have gone back to my roots and have been writing poetry again.  I never thought my poetry was anything special…everyone writes poetry.


I swear, poets are such tormented people.



I have a B.A. in American & British Literature, but I had to take a poetry class along with my literature classes.  Our final was to send our poetry in to publications to learn how to interpret rejection letters.  I received quite a few, but I also received a check for winning 1st place in my university’s annual creative writing & poetry journal.  So that was interesting (especially considering my professor didn’t like that poem).  I remember the Dean saying, “I had to read this poem 7 times…and then I got it.”

After that, what do you do with poetry?  Who knows!  After I graduated college, Ben and I began our ascent into parenthood, and that certainly dominated my time.

Yet, I was at a rather creative church at the time and the music director was interested in getting a poet on board.  So, for the next few years I wrote a ton of poetry.  Very good poetry, I think. I published many of them in my book, “Petals of Magnolia.”

During this period, I noticed that other people were writing as well, and they were staying quite mum about it.  Me, being a wriggler, wriggled poetry out of many of them; and thus, the in-house journal of “Illume” was born.  I published 3 issues of “Illume,” and it was enormous fun collaborating with other poets.

But then we moved, and the river of poetry ran dry again. I went through 3 pregnancies within 3 years, and we figured out homeschooling during this time.  Last year, my first full year of not carrying a pregnancy, was spent rebuilding muscle mass and getting caught up on projects; but in November, I realized it was time to start writing again.  Hence, The Platypus Directive was born.

This season, it is absolutely time to find my poet’s quill again.


Screenshot 2014-10-01 08.24.16

This is a screenshot of my twitter account on Tuesday.

If you will kindly direct your eyes to the posts, you will notice that Robert Pinsky replied to me.

Replied.  To. Me.

I completely lost my mind, took a screenshot, told Ben, sent it to a friend and also told another friend when I saw her that day that Robert Pinsky tweeted back.  To which she very quickly said:

“Tamarah…you are a married woman!

(as in, I can’t leave Ben and throw myself at Robert Pinsky. Which is just such a ridiculous idea, but it was funny.)

And here is the thing: I love me some strong men.  I really do.

I love strong women, because we are definitely a force of nature.  We are creators and destroyers, who rebuild and create again.  There is a very specific insight from the female gaze that heightens the entire craft of art and poetry.

But strong men are so different.  Disciplined. Like a laser, focused on their craft.  Ben is obviously the most amazing man on earth.  The fact that we found each other so early in life is a blessing…to humanity, I think. I couldn’t imagine the carnage I would reap upon any other person; but Ben understands and loves me in strong and amazing ways.  He is also so adept in his field, I love seeing him work.  Recently there was a company who was talking with Ben, and the notes on him were “extremely technically competent,” which I love hearing because although I know this, I am completely thrilled to hear his expertise acknowledged.

Robert Pinsky is one of these laser focused men, which why I love his poetry.  Benedict Cumberbatch has the same laser intensity in his art, which is why I love watching his performances.  Even Alton Brown has the same laser focus on his craft in the culinary arts.

I have always seen women’s souls like a fibrous root.  It is all over the place, but holding it all together through systems of connections.  We network, both through each other and within ourselves.  It is very impressive, if you ask me.  But complicated…which can be fun, if you take it that way.


Men, on the other hand, are absolutely a taproot.

When they love, it goes down to the very fiber of their souls.  They will wage wars against nations for their woman.  They will launch a fleet of a thousand ships to save her.  And if the core of love is uprooted, the foundation of the plant and soil around it is destroyed.

Men are delicate creatures.  You really have to be careful with them, for this reason.  They can be the very strength that keeps the system together when they are strong; but they can be a vast detriment to it when they are weak.

And friends, I love me some laser focus.  Maybe because it is just such a different perspective from the fibrous root system which I am so familiar with, that it is a mystery to be discovered through their laser focused craft.

And I do love myself a challenge.

Autumnal Smells

Friday, October 3, 2014
Which smell lets you know that it is autumn?

I truly believe that being outside in the autumn is the best.  We are rather outdoorsy people anyway, so we tend to take hikes exploring through the wilderness as often as we can.  We have a healthy dose of “free spirit-itis” in our blood, and the idea of being stuck indoors all day is a little unnerving.  There are quite a few lakes and reservoirs around our house that we visit weekly, and they have been part of our routine for years.  I enjoy getting out of the house for some fresh air, especially somewhere where the kids can run around and explore freely, and the kids love the freedom of exploring.  I love watching them climb hills, find sticks, find bugs and hop across the rocks on the shore.  This is where we are in our element, more than anywhere else.

IMG_8973 IMG_8978 IMG_8968 IMG_8977

The smells of autumn are distinctly of dry leaves that haven’t yet begun to decay but have spent months baking through the late summer.  The smells of the moss and algae that have dried onto rocks.  The dry, baked smells are the smells of autumn to me…

But the smell that lets me know it is autumn is when I am walking around my neighborhood and I smell smoke from fireplaces.  It means people are starting to stay indoors with their windows closed, rather than keeping their doors and windows open to try to get a breeze through the house to cool it off in the summer.  When there is smoke in the air, it tells me that people have made the change from flip flops to sweaters.  Families are beginning to keep their kids inside at 7:30pm because it is too dark, and they are entertaining their children with the mesmerizing flames in the fireplace.

The fireplace is the hearth of the home.  It calms tired minds at the end of the day, quietly crackling and dancing in the safety of its bricked home, warming our fingers and bringing us closer at night.

Autumnal Songs

Thursday, October 2, 2014
Winter and summer are two seasons that have songs clearly associated with the time period. But are there any songs that remind you of fall?

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When I graduated high school, my first job was a (thankfully) short-lived seasonal job in the local mall at a virtual reality game store…called…something.  Oh man, I can’t remember the name of it.   They were all the rage in the late 90s, but none of them lasted.  It could be because they were trying to host an ISP out of their dimly lit bathroom where they gave us a phone book and  a telephone and we had to make cold calls at $3.25/hr, along with selling a million little knick knacks that fit perfectly into pockets, and so our inventory kept “disappearing” for some reason.  It was a weird, and moderately flawed, business model, but I met the owners a few times and they were enthusiastic dudes out of Berkeley with a million ideas.  That was almost 20 years ago, so I really hope they did something amazing.  Heck, they could have been the founders of Google and I just don’t remember their names…

After that sordid job, I found a job listing in the Anthropology department in my college for a real estate office assistant.  They wanted to pay me $9/hr, which was stupid crazy money back in 1997.  You could actually afford to live on $9/hr.  With crazy roommates.  Who brought over a thousand boyfriends and all their buddies.  And who forgot to call PG&E to get the electricity turned on for 3 weeks.

Ahh, college.

meme-diyNah, it’s cool. I’ll just get all the utilities in my name and have stellar credit for the rest of my life.

That real estate job was definitely a kick in the pants.

It wasn’t a seasonal mall job where you always ran into people from high school who would never stop (“please…help….me….”).  It was a real job with a real desk and the people in the office were making real money.  It was a 30 mile commute from my house, so it also got me out of my local community, which was nice.  All in all, it was a pretty sweet gig.

The kicker was: I was 18 and working in a pool of other late-teen girls, most of whom were all too enamored with being hit on by their mid-30s bosses who were bored with their marriages.  I had made myself very clear where I stood on the issue, and my name was brought up in meetings of “whom to not hit on, for verily there shall be lawyers after our hindsides if we do.”  So, I kept my job and they kept to themselves, and to other girls, and I left after a few years.

On the plus side, I got my real estate license and understood the business and how real estate works.  Our brokerage was just refinancing mortgages, so it was all paperwork and appraisals and whatnot.  This made things remarkably easier for Ben and me when we bought a house, 15 years later.

On the down side, I certainly had to grow up fast in that place.

This wasn’t high school, and I wasn’t just angry at the system anymore.  If I wanted to make money in a job in order to survive on my own, I had to put in time and effort.  I had to learn how to be nice to jerks, and also put up boundaries to keep them at a safe distance.  I was not going to be one of the girls in the office who was taken for a ride by some fancy suit, paid off with cars and health insurance (to cover pregnancies/abortions/stds...).  I was going to make it on my own.  I was going to study like mad and get my own real estate license and have people work for me.  I was going to be their peer.  That was the plan.

I ended up quitting right before Ben and I got married, just because it was so difficult working in that place.  I got no help from the other agents, because I was no help to them, and it just wasn’t panning out.  So I went back to college and got a job at an art gallery, which was by far one of my favorite jobs I have ever had.

But I first started working in the real estate office in the fall, and I remember standing on the front steps with the agents, smoking and shooting the shit while the sun went down.  Lots of dark evenings cold calling customers and fiddling with paperwork, determining how to save money for families with 18% interest rates, or retired veterans with worse rates than I care to admit.

I spent a lot of time listening to Everything But The Girl’s album, “Amplified Heart” during that season.

Tracey Thorne had an earthly, yet somewhat ethereal voice that spoke real words about real situations.  She sang from the heart, and she sang about life.

During this time I needed something to anchor me to reality.  It was such a bizarre time of both freedom and bondage, most of the time it didn’t feel real at all.  Ben and I were both advancing our careers and our home, and were still treated like kids by people around us.  It was a tough transitional time to become a woman while I was still wearing the same clothes I wore in high school.

“Amplified Heart” is definitely an autumnal album.  It is a little on the slow tempo side, getting ready for the season of hibernating in winter, but not so on the down note to make you want to curl up under a blanket.  Tracey’s songs are ones you can take with you on a walk through an orange forest.  It is the end of a time of growth, and is preparing for a time of rest and reflection.

Still one of my favorite albums of all time.




Interview with Chef Hollie Green From JoyFoodly

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Chef Hollie Green, master over atJoyFoodlyasked me to do an interview for her site, which I was only too pleased to do!

Go check the interview out here!



(teaser exerpt!)

“Tamarah has been living with Celiac disease for over 10 years. She strives to find healthy, well balanced, gluten-free recipes for her family of seven.

Tamarah Rockwood is a mom of five beautiful children, and she is busy. Between home schooling and raising a family, Tamarah looks for new and fun ways to engage her kids in the kitchen to explore vegetables. As a fellow blogger of thePlatypus Directive, whom I greatly admire, I’m so delighted to share her story with our community of how she has found new ways through the Joyful 12 to cook vegetables with her kids. Between regular school work and special projects like learning about the French Revolution and how it coincides with Dicken’s “A Tale of Two Cities,” I don’t know how Tarmarah gets it done, but I’m so honored the Joyful 12 can be a helpful tool to such a rockstar mom…”


So awesome 🙂  Thanks Chef Hollie!!