Chocolate Roses for Valiant Bloggers

A while ago, the fearless Daily Warrior Liz C. nominated me for a Valiant Blogger Award that she created. I am sorry, dear Liz, that it took me all this time to respond, and that’s not only due to my busy schedule this semester. Mainly, I kept thinking: why me? I’ve met quite a few awesome bloggers who are much more deserving, starting with Liz herself, a valiant person and a great blogger! But a meanie, nonetheless, because she stipulates only one nominee per nominator – how am I to choose?  Well, she is The Creator – it’s her right, and, ultimately,  I can’t say no to her, so here it is:

valiant-blogger-award-rules

As a perpetual subversive element (is that why I got the award, Liz?), I am complying with the rules in the wrong order. Thank you, dear Liz, for this unique distinction! I am greatly honored to be included among those amazing bloggers in the Hall of Valor. It is a truly humbling thought that put me in a quandary. Since quandary is not a place where I stay for long, I got out of it by baking chocolate roses for my husband. But seriously, I’ve been getting an impression that you, Beautiful People, like reading my historical improvisations more than my recipes. I am happy to accommodate. As we say in Odessa, “If it’s songs you want, I’ve got them for you.”

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If anyone deserves this award, it’s Frida Kahlo, a great Mexican artist famous for her self-portraits and paintings of flowers. She is the one from whose life I’ve drawn inspiration and strength throughout the years. At the age of six, as a result of polio, Frida ended up with one leg shorter and thinner than the other. Bullied by kids, she developed special closeness with her father, himself a victim of epilepsy, who gently pushed her towards sports and physical exercise. As she was gaining her strength, never letting a physical handicap get into her way, Frida pursued not only “girlish” sports, such as swimming, roller-skating, bicycling – with one short leg! – but also boxing and wrestling that were considered strictly a “guy-thing.” Not as drastic as that, but I did something similar, the only girl playing futbol (that’s soccer, my American friends) with boys in the country and at the time when it was strictly a men’s game.

As if this was not enough, at the age of 18 Frida Kahlo suffered a near fatal traffic accident that left her ill for the rest of her life. She was in constant pain. One of her friends remarked that she “lived dying.” But she cheated death by dancing flamenco with it! She requested an easel and paints, and a large mirror, and bedridden, she started painting herself. Gradually gaining strength, she also started gaining acceptance as a talented artist. She managed to get up, get married, travel, exhibit, earn a world-wide fame, and all that within twenty years of intensely active life. She was in her thirties when her health declined to the point when she could no more sit or stand for long. Confined to a wheelchair or bed, Frida went on working. Through excruciating surgeries and hospital stays, she continued painting until her last moment, or, as she called it, “exit” at the age of 47.

Odessa 1973.jpg

I was twenty one when I found myself in the hospital with an undetermined diagnosis. Illiterate nurses’ aids and cleaning ladies used to whisper around my bed,”Look how fast her hair grows! And her nails too! It’s a sure sign that she is dying – and so young!” When I realized that I wasn’t getting out any time soon, I asked my father to fashion a wooden book stand for me that allowed me to read and write while lying on my back. I would give my mother lists of books to bring me: history, philosophy, art, music, all the world culture that was accessible in communist Russia. Much of it wasn’t accessible, but my mother, may her memory last forever, managed! After a few months of the best intensive Liberal Arts education you could ever get, they finally figured out – surgery! Immediate! Stat! Without prepping! Another bout of comments from lower med personnel ensued, “Take the wedding band, earrings, and gold chain off her, and let’s give it to the family.” “No, wait ’till she dies, that’s how it’s done.” “But it’ll be harder then, and she is going to die on the table anyway – what’s the difference?”

The latter opinion prevailed. My little jewelry pieces were taken off and given to my grandmother who promptly concluded that I was not around any more, since jewelry usually is not removed from a live person. My grandmother’s shriek is the last thing I remember, until I came to in the post-op room shared by sixteen post-operational ladies. I am not counting words (sorry, Liz!), and I don’t know whether this was the greatest challenge in my life, but I remembered the words of a song:

But I don’t cry, I don’t cry ever,

Mine is a different endeavor!

And I laugh, day, eve, and morn, 

Because I am Odessa – born!

For those of you, Beautiful People, who understand Russian, here is the inimitable Boris Sichkin as Buba Kastorsky – Buba from Odessa!

So I asked for my book stand again, and I started drawing. I am not an artist, by far, and certainly nowhere near great Frida Kahlo, but I got quite a few laughs drawing very not-politically-correct caricatures of doctors and nurses. So what if they were not professional; they worked better than medicine! Then I got up and started moving. And I haven’t stopped yet! A second surgery, in the U.S., was a breeze compared to that one. More than forty years later, I am here, and enjoying life!

So here are two pieces of advice, for the price of one:

  1. Laugh and make others laugh – it sends a surge of serotonin into your brain and gives you strength!
  2. Keep active and move, physically, mentally, and emotionally as much as you can, and then a little more every day – this way problems never have a chance to catch up with you!

Am I still with the program, dear Liz? You really stomped me with this “nominate one person” rule, but since I have to choose, I am nominating Terry of https://spearfruit.com/ who is right now valiantly struggling to adjust to the process of recovery after drastic surgery.  Going into surgery, he had found strength to prepare and schedule posts to be published while he was fighting for his life! My heart and blessings go to you, Terry!

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Frida Kahlo had painted flowers. I baked them. We don’t exactly celebrate Valentine’s day, other than a day of love that should really be celebrated every day. As usual, my husband brought me red roses – it’s not a Valentine thing with us; he brings me red roses every Friday, for Shabbos. In return, I baked roses for him – double chocolate, of course!

Choc  ros 1.jpg

In my kitchen, spelt is considered gluten free, but if you have allergy or a celiac disorder, please consult your physician. In this recipe, spelt flour could be easily be substituted by gluten free or almond flour.

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I use whipped aquafaba (that’s the liquid you get after cooking chickpeas or draining a can of them) instead of eggs, to avoid cholesterol, but you can use two eggs here, if you are not of vegan persuasion. Whip’em good, to a nice foam.

Choc  ros 2.jpg

Add the rest of the stuff: soy milk (or any other non-dairy milk you prefer), agave, a little baking powder, and a pinch of salt, and whisk it all together. Then mix your spelt or gluten free flour into it and gently mix it into soft dough that doesn’t stick to the bowl.

Choc  ros 3.jpg

 

This is the fun part. Dump your dough onto a floured board or working surface and flatten it. You don’t need a rolling pin – just do it gently with your fingers. Mix equal parts brown sugar and cocoa powder and spread it on top of the dough. Now roll it, like a sushi roll. Keep sprinkling flour, if it sticks to your fingers.

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With a floured sharp knife, cut one inch (2.5 cm) pieces. If some cocoa and sugar spill in the process, don’t worry. Let it be for now.

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Place your cut pieces on the side on a lightly oiled baking sheet and try to keep each slice in the shape of a rose. If you have any spilled cocoa and sugar, you can sprinkle it on top of the roses. It only takes thirty minutes to bake them at 350 F.

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I promised double chocolate, and here it is – chocolate syrup drizzled on top of the baked rose. The cat in the background is undoubtedly playing something romantic, like Rachmaninoff’s Concerto in C-minor. That’s what I hear, anyway.  So happy Valentine’s Day, Beautiful People and Valiant Bloggers! In the immortal words of Michael Jackson, “I love you, I love you, I love you all!”

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cups spelt or gluten free flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup aquafaba or 2 eggs
  • 1 cup soy milk or any milk substitute of your choice
  • 1/3 cup agave
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • Chocolate syrup to garnish

PROCEDURE

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly mist baking pan with oil.
  • Whip aquafaba to foam, add salt, baking powder, agave, soy milk, and whisk together. Add flour, mix thoroughly but gently.
  • Turn dough onto floured surface, gently flatten. Mix brown sugar with cocoa powder, spread on top of dough. Roll dough, cut across into 1 inch (2.5 cm) slices.
  • Place slices on oiled pan, keep rose shapes, sprinkle with leftover sugar/cocoa filling.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Remove, drizzle chocolate syrup on top. Can be served warm.

Enjoy!

 

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106 Comments Add yours

  1. Another wonderful post! Congrats on your nomination – and good choice for the next honoree. As always, I enjoyed the post, but I’m especially excited about trying a GF double-chocolate dessert. I might add a bit of whipped cream or a side of vanilla or coffee ice cream as well. (In for a dollar in for a pound – literally – lol)

    It’s not true, btw, that we like your words “better” than your recipes. They get more comment, probably, because yours is unusual among the food blogs. Their text almost always centers around the food itself. On your blog we get stories and an education. That’s why we all love it (and you).

    Happy Valentines Day (even tho’ you don’t celebrate it).
    xx,
    mgh

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you, Madelyn! And thank you for your kind words about my blog! Happy Valentine’s – love you right back!
      P.S. Meow and purrs, and love to Tink from Beba and Barmalei.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Tink got a grooming reprieve for his Valentine’s Day present – and just a few bites of chicken. Happy little boy! 🙂

        He hopes that Beba and Barmalei got something good too – and sends his love.
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Barmalei tried to steal a Russian hamburger from my husband’s plate. When I chased him away, he came to me for a kiss, so I gave him a treat, and Beba got one as well, to be fair! Bad parenting, I know!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. lol – guilty as well, sometimes. And they do know how to work us, don’t they?

        When I had more than one pup, if one earned a treat, they all got one – not only fair, I never wanted food guarding behavior, and I never had to deal with it.

        I would call out the name of the dog that earned them all a treat as I went to the other dog(s) – “Dog yummies on the Bandit!” (or whichever). I swear I think they understood.

        When we had a small fenced in yard (and I had 3 Shiz Tzus), the first one in whenever I called them got an immediate treat. The other 2 would actually smell that dog’s breath when they came in, before looking at me expectantly. By the time the other two got their yummies, the first dog had demolished his own and stared up at me as if he’d never eaten before, so he got a second.

        It didn’t take too long before they practically knocked each other over to be first in the door — SO funny!
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Sounds like a comedy show!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Liz C. says:

    Oh Dolly, I nominated you because you inspire me so much. You have a rich historical background, and getting to know more about you motivates me even more. I really admire how you are so thoughtful and intelligent, and very resilient in life. It’s like no matter what challenging thing happens, you will just bounce back! And possibly bake a cake. (Haha!)

    Btw, I love the story about Frida, and I love the fact that your husband gives you roses every Friday.

    Also, sorry if you had to think of only one blogger to nominate. You can actually nominate as many as you wanted to. T_T

    This was a very good post to read. I’m so thankful. ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you, dear Liz, and there is no need to apologize! If I can be helpful in any way, I will always do it – you know it! I’ll probably nominate some more people – there are some awesome truly valiant people out there who deserve this award. You really came up with a great one!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Liz C. says:

        That would be great. I love reading about these posts and adding them to the Hall of Valor. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  3. israelisalad says:

    You should be happy that readers like your stories more than, or at least as much as, your recipes. For recipes, we could open a cookbook. As a writer, I want people to read. Plenty of food bloggers just post recipes, but I think that’s boring. Keep laughing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good point, thank you! I do appreciate comments and feedback, and yours is very valuable.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. randyjw says:

    Wow, Dolly. You have such a persevering, indomitable spirit! What a story! Thankfully we know it turned out very well! Happy Valentine’s, and glad yours was a beautiful one!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much, Rachel! It’s the Odessa blood in me. Everything always turns out well – Gam Ze Le Toivo!

      Like

  5. Congratulations on your award 🙂 wonderful story too-great post, great lady :)x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, dear Samantha! Coming from a great lady like yourself, it’s a great compliment. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. spearfruit says:

    Dolly, I had to wait a little while before I could leave a comment, you brought tears to my eyes. What a special person you are and I truly appreciate your advice; great advice for all of us. Thank you for the nomination and I will try to respond to it, as I am slow these days with everything. Thank you again, have a happy day! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Don’t worry and don’t rush! Take it slow and easy, and keep smiling! Blessings,
      Dolly

      Liked by 1 person

  7. bad301 says:

    Welcome to the Hall! -Bruce

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Bruce!
      I find myself in very nice company,
      Dolly

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on MarethMB and commented:
    Thanks for this lovely post! I am very ignorant when it comes to some gluten free products. What exactly is “spelt” ? My eldest daughter has to follow a strict gluten-free diet, so I’m always hunting about for something new. 😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Mareth, this quote comes from a very reliable source http://health.usnews.com:
      Spelt is an ancient grain related to wheat that contains gluten. Unlike wheat, however, it’s low in those poorly-digested fructan carbohydrates, rendering it a perfect test food to help clarify whether someone’s adverse reactions to wheat-containing foods likely result from a gluten intolerance or a fructan intolerance. People who are truly gluten intolerant should react badly to spelt. People who are not gluten intolerant should tolerate spelt just fine. (And, for liability reasons, let me be clear: people with actual celiac disease should not consume spelt, and people with wheat allergy should avoid spelt as well.)
      My husband does not have celiac disorder or wheat allergy, but needs to avoid, or at least limit fructan carbohydrates, so spelt is ideal for him. That may not be the case with your daughter, so you definitely need to ask a doctor. You can very easily replace spelt flour with gluten free or almond flour in this recipe. Good luck!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you soooo much for giving me so much added, valuable information! We’ll definitely check on these minute details which I was not even aware of – 😄

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My pleasure – happy to be helpful!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Sumith says:

    Congratulations Wendy! Beautiful post with a great story as always.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Sumith, thank you for the compliment, but my name is Dolly! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sumith says:

        Ops!! Sorry Dolly😅 This used to happen in my college days when I had many girlfriends😂😍

        Liked by 2 people

      2. That’s ok, as long as your wife doesn’t see this comment!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sumith says:

        She too is one among them😅😂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Ah, but does she know the total count?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Sumith says:

        No but I know exactly, in my secret dairy with star rating on it😅😂

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Then I hope you’re keeping your “secret diary” in your head, together with star rating!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Sumith says:

        😅😂 Can’t laugh any more good night Dolly😍

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Good night, dear. BTW, my husband says when he was in college, he used to call all his girlfriends “honey” – to avoid confusing their names.

        Liked by 2 people

      9. Sumith says:

        Haha see, they all are the same😊

        Liked by 2 people

      10. They – guys, or they – girls?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reblogging!

      Like

  10. A beautiful and inspirational post from you as usual! It takes great strength to show strength and may your story inspire more people! Love the double chocolate rose ☺☺
    Lots of love and hugs❤❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, dear!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. This is a wonderful post that tells of tenacity and resilience. You are most deserving of this award.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, dear!

      Like

  12. lghiggins says:

    Interesting recipe, but I loved the story even more. You are a fascinating person of strength. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words; I truly appreciate the compliment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lghiggins says:

        I just forwarded a link to this post to my daughter because of special dietary needs in her family and just because it is so fun to read.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you so much for spreading the word. I am glad to be of help.

        Like

  13. Congratulations on the award also from here! We dont understand the russian language (directly, means without G.translate), but we love the sound. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I have translated the song – it’s in the post. The Russian clip is the original song that I have translated.

      Like

  14. This is a wonderful piece of writing and cooking. I love it. Thank you! I am awed by your resilience and capacity for joy and abundance. 🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Look who is talking! I am awed by your resilience and your parenting!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you. I am always just trying to say cool and focus on one thing at a time. Still, to be stuck flat on your back, and still think of ways to keep your mind occupied is impressive. I am not sure I would have had the fortitude to do that (may we never be tested B”AH).

        Liked by 1 person

      2. G-d forbid it should never happen to you and yours!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Amen! Better to be tested with good problems than bad. (I am trying to translate b’soros hovos🤔)

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I guess “good situations” would be more appropriate, but then again, “gam ze l’toivo”!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. exoticnita54 says:

    That was such an inspiring story of a strong will.. and great posture outlook ..
    THINGS WORK OUT BEST For PEOPLE Who MAKE THE OF The WAY THINGS Work OUT…

    And Steve is really a trooper…

    Sometimes out of difficulties. Grow miracles…

    Love ❤️ this article…
    don’t know how I had missed it..
    Very inspiring.
    BELEIF in ourselves is like a muscle…. it is STRENGTHENED by constant and careful use…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your wonderful inspirational words, dear Nita!

      Like

  16. Dear Dolly, this one got me a little choked up.. I swear people are the bane of my existence because I love them fiercely – and we’re so jacked up!

    I mean, who says this:

    ”Look how fast her hair grows! And her nails too! It’s a sure sign that she is dying – and so young!”

    LOL! So glad you recovered and so glad you got time to read all the wonderful books! If someone would just pay me to read, research and report – I’d be the happiest person on the planet! Congratulations on the award! We deserve it! <see what I did there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Who says this? Ignorant superstitious village women, that’s who. My hair really does grow fast – you can see on the photo how long it was – and the nails, well, if you don’t do anything like cooking, cleaning, playing piano, etc. nails will grow. You see, communists declared religion a silly superstition hoping to replace it with blind faith in communism; instead it was replaced by all kinds of ignorant “old wives’ tales.” Thank you for your comment and your kind words!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. kelleysdiy says:

    You are so deserving of that award!!! Wow!!
    and your chocolate roses….yummy looking!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, dear Linda, you are too sweet!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. kelleysdiy says:

        Whatcha got cooking this morning…french toast?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Good old banana pancakes with soy flour and coconut cream – got some overripe bananas to use up.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. kelleysdiy says:

        I shouldn’t of asked…now my tummy is growling!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Come on, it takes a few minutes to throw it together!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. kelleysdiy says:

        No bananas…:(

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Grate some carrots and apples, or just carrots, or just apples – whatever you have!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. kelleysdiy says:

        A friend just gave me 5 Orchid plants. I was so trying to figure out where to put them, I forgot to eat….now it’s lunch time…hahaa.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. One of our neighbors managed to attach orchid plants to the trunks of palm trees in our courtyard – unbelievably beautiful! Well, go eat already, it’s almost dinner time!

        Liked by 1 person

      9. kelleysdiy says:

        They survive your weather outside?

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Sure they do – eternal summer! They are all in shady areas, though. I’ll take some pics tomorrow and send you.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. kelleysdiy says:

        I thought they couldn’t get direct hot sun…that they were for indoors. Can’t wait to see the pics…ohh…you have humidity where you are…we don’t…they love humidity!

        Liked by 1 person

      12. Right, we have humidity, and they are in the shade, and I don’t understand the first thing about plants and gardening…

        Like

      13. Adorable, both of them!

        Liked by 1 person

      14. kelleysdiy says:

        Thank you so much…they are my fur babies!

        Liked by 1 person

      15. Of course they are, and I am sure they love you right back!

        Liked by 1 person

      16. kelleysdiy says:

        Yes, they are so loving and loyal! Mostly just wonderful to hug and love!

        Liked by 1 person

      17. So much love and affection to be shared – you are so lucky!

        Liked by 1 person

      18. kelleysdiy says:

        Yes, I am. Especially for friends like you!

        Liked by 1 person

      19. I think you and I are starting a mutual admiration society!

        Liked by 1 person

      20. kelleysdiy says:

        We sure did honey! Wish we lived closer.

        Liked by 1 person

      21. So do I, believe me!

        Liked by 1 person

      22. kelleysdiy says:

        What fun we would have!

        Liked by 1 person

      23. Was just thinking about that, too!

        Liked by 1 person

      24. On to the kitchen…

        Liked by 1 person

      25. kelleysdiy says:

        Whatcha makin!

        Liked by 1 person

      26. I made baked falafels and quinoa with curried mushrooms. Have a few falafels left for lunch tomorrow – all around good deal!

        Liked by 1 person

      27. So mushrooms were inhaled, but I have some quinoa and a few falafels left, the ones that I didn’t serve because they came out no so pretty. I am thinking of smashing them, mixing them with quinoa, adding some secret ingredients and making a sort of a fake briyani.

        Liked by 1 person

      28. kelleysdiy says:

        Your so talented!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      29. We’ve already started a Mutual Admiration Society! Let’s establish some bylaws. Bylaw #1: You are the talented one because you create things that last. I create things that disappear!

        Liked by 1 person

      30. kelleysdiy says:

        Not if it stays on the hips! haahaaa

        Liked by 1 person

      31. Not my food! It’s mostly healthy and dietetic .

        Liked by 1 person

      32. kelleysdiy says:

        Honey, seriously, with the beautiful meal you prepare, and they are health conscious….that is amazing…look what you do with leftovers. I have to go, I am in the middle of 3 projects …Ugh…I have to stay focused on 1!

        Liked by 1 person

      33. Can’t wait to see your projects finished – they are always sooo beautiful!

        Liked by 1 person

      34. kelleysdiy says:

        You are just so sweet! Whatcha cookin up next?

        Liked by 1 person

      35. Cannellini beans and kale soup and shepherd pie light. Soup is experimental; let’s see what happens. Shepherd pie I will probably repost before Passover, but here it is https://koolkosherkitchen.wordpress.com/?s=shepherd+pie

        Liked by 1 person

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