Less than stellar two weeks….

I have always known I was allergic to things. Certain foods, grasses, trees, etc… And I just always dealt with them. But this last year that got really out of control and so I broke down and went to see an allergist. I had put it off for quite sometime because I have a deep fear of needles (a phobia actually) and to test you the poke you with a needle…a lot. And second I was afraid I would be allergic to wheat. I know a lot of people have that allergy and deal with it beautifully. I would not be good at dealing with that beautifully. So off I went. They were kind of rude, they kept telling me, “you think you have allergies” and I kept thinking to myself, “no, I have allergies, I don’t just get hives for shits and giggles”. But none the less I just smiled at them. My smile turned to smirk when my entire arms went aflame and before she was even done with the test she said, “oh, I guess you do have allergies”. Gee, I guess I do. But here comes the super crappy part. I’m allergic to my dog. Yes, CCS. Luckily, I am not allergic to rabbits. But my puppy. :( They told me of course that the best thing to do was to give her away to a friend or family member. Which I did, I gave her to my husband. ;) I just laughed at the doctor when he told me that and he knew he would not be winning that battle. He then told me no more dogs after CCS. I laughed again, but this time in my head. :) Then he told me that since I am allergic to every tree, grass, pollen, pet dander (but hey…good news, I am not allergic to cockroaches…lucky me!) and molds, that the best course of action would be to get allergy shots. Shots? I avoided coming in in the first place was because of the needles and now you want to stick me three times a week for three months and once a month there after…for five years. Ugh. Though, in good news, I am not allergic to wheat.
That was followed with my right hand going numb all the time. I couldn’t do simple things like stir cake batter in a bowl. I couldn’t keep grasp of things. Yep. I have the dreaded carpal tunnel. Mostly because of how I sleep on my wrist at night. But aggravated from the computer. So you probably haven’t seen me around as much and if I do get to your site my messages have been short and sweet. This may be the case for awhile. I have also had to slow down on my baking as some of it just down right hurts. Grrrr.
That followed with me losing my main source of income. They simply aren’t making money and therefore can’t afford employees.
That followed with my husbands company laying off 5,000 employees within the next 18 months, with 1,400 being laid off last Thursday. The great thing is that we made it through that round. The scary thing is we still have 18 months to have that possibility.
Needless to say I have been a little less than perky as of late. So it was so extra special when Melinda (a faithful reader) of Melinda’s Kitchen Diary sent me a care package….a big one. It arrived on the day we found out whether my husband was going to have a job or not and for some reason when I opened up her packages it was like someone telling me everything was going to be alright…and it was. An hour after opening the packages, we found out my husband was still employed. What was in those packages was a complete surprise. See, when I made quince paste over on my other blog, she emailed and asked me if I would like any quince cheese (that is what they call it in the UK). I was really interested in trying it out and so I said yes, please. Well, I got my quince cheese along with many other items. There was a cookbook (Bake by Rachel Allan…she is a UK baker), tea towels (you can see those in the pictures), a little bag for my pup, and a cute little polka dot mug. Far more than what she should have done but a great treat as even though my husband did not lose his job we are buckling down and not spending money. So no more cookbooks for me for quite a while. :(
These shortbread (though the way I make them they are more like a butter cookie) are a take on the peppermint version I already made. This time I used the full cup of rice flour and really liked the texture. You could use any liqueur but I love Frangelico and it goes nicely with coffee or tea. They are quite addicting I must warn you. If you end up using the 9 by 13-inch pan you will need to bake them longer.
So there you have it. Not the best two weeks of my life. And also the reason why you wont see me as much around to your blogs and what not. And even when reading them I might not be able to comment depending on if my hand is numb or not. :(

Frangelico Shortbread Butter Cookies    

1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 TBSP Frangelico liqueur
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup white rice flour
½  TBSP salt
2 TBSP coarse sugar for top
Parchment paper

In a standard mixer or with a hand-held beater, cream sugar, Frangelico and butter until light and fluffy.
Add flours and salt and combine until mixture just starts to come together. (The dough should be crumbly but stick together when squeezed.) Don¢â¬â„¢t panic as the dough will be very crumbly, when they start to bake they will form into a cookie.
Line a 12-by-16-inch pan with parchment (I used a 9 by 13-inch pan). Place dough into the pan and break up any large clumps, spreading evenly.
Press dough down gently and sprinkle coarse sugar on top.
With a rolling pin or drinking glass, roll out the dough evenly. (Use a little additional sugar if the dough sticks to the rolling pin.)
With a meat tenderizer or fork, press indentations into the top of the shortbread. (This prevents the shortbread from rising unevenly.)
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes(if you use a 9 by 13-inch pan you will need to bake yours around 30 minutes) or until shortbread is golden brown. I under baked mine because I like mine to be on the soft side.
Cut into squares while still warm and remove cookies from pan to cool.
Makes 24 2-by-2 inch cookies.
Source: Adapted from Sugar Bakery & Cafe right here in beautiful Seattle.



  1. I too am very allergic to everything in the air. Luckily, I am not allergic to my sweet dogs, but I am horribly allergic to cats and horses. I ALSO have a major needle phobia…or used to I should say. I have gotten a lot better, due to getting allergy shots. It really isn’t so bad because they only go into the skin so they use a short needle. The first few months of me going in to get shots I made my husband go with me for moral support.

    But now, I don’t really have problems at all. I can even get a flu shot without much anxiety. So, allergy shots are great. My allergies are able to be controlled with medicine in the summer and without in the winter.

    By the way, I would have cried if I didn’t get to hear any more CCS stories. I love reading them.

    Those bars look fantastic.

  2. OH NO!! You’re allergic to CCS?!?!??! I’m so sorry, Peabody :-( Hang in there with the shots and company lay-offs as well.

    I’m here for you if you need extra support!!

  3. So sorry you have had a rough couple of weeks! Seems like bad things always come in groups. Hopefully you have had your quota and things will start turning around.

    I am glad you aren’t allergic to wheat. I think being unable to eat (and make) baked goods would be just horrific!!

    Keep smiling, or at least try to. :)

  4. That is a crappy few weeks! I’m allergic to pretty much everything too…including Claritin. I hope the rest of the new year goes better for you than January has.

  5. oh no!!! Hopefully things will start looking up for you … I could never give away our pets, even if i was allergic, so I understand!

    Hang in there girl! ((hugs))

  6. i’m sending lots of virtual hugs and prayers your way…

  7. I have allergies too – but you don’t have to get shots! You can get drops put under your tongue and they work just as good if not better as the shots! Ask your allergist or go to a different one and then you don’t have to mess with needles every week. Go for the drops!!!!

  8. My boy is allergic to every tree, grass, pollen, etc…he had shots for 3 years, but our doc said that it really wouldn’t do much good.

    Doc said to keep the mold, dust, blah…blah…blah down to a minimum, but for him to stay around it as the more you are around your allergens, the more you build up an immunity to them.

    The first time he mows the grass in the summer, it is just a.w.f.u.l., but by the 3rd time, he doesn’t have a reaction.

    He is allergic to cats too, and we have 2 of them.

    One thing that we do to help him is that we keep the cats off the furniture, we don’t let them in his bedroom, and we lock them up in ‘kitty jail’ whenever we leave or go to bed.

  9. Oh dear Peabody…so sorry to hear your woes…we’re in the Seattle area too and while we aren’t under the umbrella of the big M, many friends are. We keep our fingers crossed for you and all of them.

  10. Good lord lady, thats a lousy couple of weeks for sure. Ive got the allergy mess, so I can sympathize there. And my hubs was laid off the year before last out of the blue. Im with ya. Those are scary times. Do the best you can and try not to think about it toooo much. Stay off your puter to give your arm a break. The allstar break is over, hockey starts back up! Go Pens! ;) xo

  11. you’ve done such an amazing job on this blog, always bringing a smile to my face, i hope that i can say a little prayer for you and maybe lighten your load a little … repay the favour i guess?

  12. Sorry about the rough two weeks. Makes the stuff I’ve been stressing about seem pretty trivial. The shortbread looks great. Although I have no idea what frangelico is…I’m such a hick. May give it a go anyway. Thanks!

  13. I’m so sorry about everything that’s been happening to you… Let’s hope that things will not get worse regarding your husband’s job!

    What wonderful shortbreads!



  14. What a sucky two weeks! :P Glad you aren’t allergic to wheat, though. The cookies look great.

  15. What an awful 2 weeks – I think you should be darn proud if you make it out of your bathrobe this week. After CCS you will just have to get one of those “doodle” dogs that have been mixed with a poodle and are supposed to be non-allergy causing. :) Sorry to hear about the other worries in your life – when it rains it sure pours.

  16. Oh man Peabody, I’m sorry to hear about your crappy luck these days. :( I sincerely hope your husband avoids the lay offs.

    About the allergies… I’m allergic to trees, grass, dust, just about everything. My doctor says I need the shots too but I’ve found that Alavert (it’s OTC) works as well if not better than anything the doctor gives me. I’ve never gotten hives so obviously yours is different but I thought I’d throw that out there so maybe you can avoid the shots.

    Good luck with everything!

  17. That is a very bad two weeks! I hope things start looking up for you soon!

  18. Hopefully things will get better for you. Just keep smiling through it all…

  19. I’m so sorry to hear all this! What a tough couple weeks. I hope you all make it through it all and come out with the sun shining.

  20. ıt looks so delicious…and l love your napkin..

  21. i would cry and cry and cry if i were allergic to pups. i’m sorry!
    and i’m all too familiar with the possibility of losing one’s job. it sucks.
    great cookies though. :)

  22. Oh Peabody…sending hugs your way. that was a really bad two weeks. I’m sure everything will become better!

  23. Hi~
    Sorry about the tough times you’ve been having. Hope things settle down and get better for ya.

  24. Hi Peabody,
    I’m really sorry to hear about all that! Sometimes life seems to throw too many things at you at once.

    When it seems like you’ve got more than you can manage, just try to keep your chin up and stay positive and eventually, it’ll all work out! Believe me, my family has been struggled through a lot of bad events in these past two years.

    I hope you feel better soon. We always look forward to your posts and your comments!

  25. Jeepers, what a time you have had. Hmmm. A doc who does not understand love of dogs. There are other ways to deal with allergies than shots, or drops under the tongue. Have you looked into alternatives? Natural medicine, maybe check out what Bastyr or similar places have to offer?

    I’m needle shy too, but I’ve found accupuncture to be helpful for my various ailments.

    Quince jam is divine! I really enjoy your blog.

  26. Oh, wow. I’m sorry about your allergy to your dog. I can’t believe they told you to give him away. >:(

    I hope you feel better soon.

    (your cookies looks delicious, btw)

  27. When it rains it pours. :-( I’m hoping some sweetness comes your way soon! I think that by continuing to bake sweet and happy/delicious things like this you’re cosmically balancing out the universe–something’s gotta give! I know the cookies brightened my day!

  28. You are far far braver than I am. I have a terrible allergy to needles. It’s so bad, that I break out in hives if someone even mentions getting a shot.

    – but you are lucky not to be allergic to cockroaches. I think their dander is like the most allergenic allergy there is.

  29. Hehe… you and I are allergic to nearly exactly the same things. When people ask what I’m allergic to, I tell them that if it has spores, pollen, dust, or dander, I’m allergic. Except for cockroaches and ragweed (strange, I know).
    Since you’ve got pollen allergies, you should make yourself aware of Oral Allergy Syndrome. There may be things you’re not actually allergic to that you might react to. Prof. Google has lots of info if you want to know more.

    Those shortbread look delightful.

  30. Oh my goodness, the puppy, get the shots – have hypnotherapy to get you over your needle phobia. Take care. x

  31. Oh no!
    I hope things turn around for you. It is good that wheat is not on the list – maybe if you cut out some of the other stuff, the pet allergy won’t bother you so much.
    Take care.

  32. Oh Peabody….

    What can I say except that all sucks, really sucks and I’m hoping the next few weeks are better.

  33. So sorry to hear about all the bad news. I hope things start looking up for you this spring.

    I can’t believe I didn’t know you had another blog. ::Add to RSS Reader:: I was wondering what else you ate other than awesome sweets.

  34. Oh dear, how awful. Glad you had some positive news to balance things.

    One of the girls at bookclub who is a very sceptical scientist found she cured her wrist problem at yoga, although everything else failed.

    Those cookies sound awesome, shame big brother wont let me see them :(

  35. Hypnotherapy might just help with the needle thing.
    Wonderful gifts!

  36. Angielala says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your rotten 2 weeks. And I’m glad to hear that you are keeping CCS! I feel for you on the layoffs! I work in the travel industry and my job is day by day.
    I am going to have to try your cookie recipe, as it sounds wonderful!

  37. Peabody,always check for that silver lining behind the cloud. I’m glad yours was there…your husband still has a job and you found out what you are allergic to. Sometimes we have sensitivities that do not show up in the allergy testing, so if you can you should get yourself checked, as intolerance symptoms are very similar to allergic reactions. I should know as I have everything under the sun…I bake but can’t eat anything, how tragic is that!! By the way, I’m allergic to my cat, but that didn’t prevent me rescuing a second one,and I’m doing fine. The value of a pet is worth the little trouble. Take care and thanks for a truly great blog. From a kindred Canuck. By the way did you see the all stars game over the weekend?!!! It was awesome. Annie

  38. Your blog is one of my favorites, and I read a lot of food blogs. Your tone is just right–I always look forward to your new entries. I know you don’t want to spend any money right now, but when your financial situation is stable, I suggest Dragon Naturally Speaking for your computer. I have used it, and it works. You’d be able to dictate your blog entrees instead of typing them. The software comes with a headset, and once you train the program to your voice, it does a good job of translating.

  39. Hello,

    I have been following your blog for a while now, and absolutely love it! Congratulations!

    This is the first time I am commenting on any blog, and the reason why Iam doing so is because your story somehow touched me. I can relate to uncertainty and worries that are crossing lives of millions at this time, around the world (I live in Portugal).
    But I also believe that after a storm, there is always a rainbow, so I’m sure that thigs will start to brighten up in your life soon.

    I don’t have a blog of my own…I love to cook, but my courage to post is still very weak. :)

    Anyways, I really hope things will brighten up for you soon!

  40. I am so happy to have cheered you up for just a little while, Pea. You certainly put a lot of work into your blog and you know I love it!
    I am glad all the goodies got to you safely. I had fun selecting all those things especially for you.
    Regarding your allergies: I am sure there are many people out there who are allergic to their dog and have some tricks to lessen the allergen. I don’t blame you for not listening to such drastic advice. Little CCS is for life and you love her!
    Now I am a nurse, and I know a thing or two/or a billion about needle phobias. I am a renal nurse and am poking people with them all the time. If what is going to help you, is only available through an injection, then you need to seek needle phobia counseling. It really works and you will reap nothing but benefit from it. You know it makes sense!
    I would ask about those drops on the tongue someone else said they get first and if those could be suitable for you.
    I have no sage advice regarding the state of employment or the economic climate. But can only offer you this: Change what you can and if you can’t change it then learn to adapt. You are a woman of many talents and clever to boot!
    Cheers X

  41. Gosh, you’ve had a rough couple of weeks. I’m sending good energy in your direction.

  42. Peabody, I don’t mean to mother-hen you, but have you considered a second opinion? It might not be such a bad idea, and allergies can be tricky things to treat. Also you can lose and gain allergies, if you have a tendency to develop them (as do I) and they can be exacerbated by stress.

  43. I’m so sorry that your last few weeks have been bad…
    I know how it is to hear a bad new after another… There are times they come in groups. I hope you get better soon. Don’t loose your happiness and great energy and everything will work out, it always does.


  44. Dear Peabody, *hugs*

    I don’t comment as often as I should, but I read your blog all the time and enjoy it very much, so thank you. I hope your hand will feel better and the allergies will go away! Hang in there!

  45. Hi Peabody,
    I love reading your blog daily, its what gets me through the rest of the afternoon at work!

    I hope things pick up for you soon…I guess its going to be a hard next couple of months for everybody so hang in there.

    Take care :)

  46. seriously lame peabody (not you, but the circumstances)…sorry about all the drama (and trauma) that has been happening to you. best, cindy

  47. oh, I hope your husband’s job remains safe. How lovely to get that wonderful gift though! the shortbread looks divine and I love those tea towels – too nice to to use!

  48. I am so sorry to hear about the allergies to the doggy. We just finished a couple months of shopping around for a Maine Coon kitty that I am not allergic to. Best wishes to you.

  49. Sorry to hear about the allergies…. shortbread looks amazing. Good luck


  50. When it rains, it pours, eh? I’m so sorry that you’re feeling down right now. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for your husband and hope your wrist starts feeling better asap! The shortbread looks fab too!

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