are internet friends imaginary friends?

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today, after wishing two of my long-time friends happy birthday (via twitter) and realizing that I’d never even met either of them, I began to think about all of the people I easily call friends, yet we’ve only communicated via the web. does this make them any less of a friend, or more? my internet friends (most of whom I’ve connected with through the old etsy forum or twitter) know more about me than some of my family. they’ve been there through the end of my marriage, the milestones and struggles of my three kids, break ups and make ups, job loss, job attainment and more. they’re always there—and gladly offer support, advice or just humor without hesitation or prejudice. the seemingly unconditional friendships I have with my online friends is a comfort I’ve grown accustomed to, and would miss dearly if the inter-webs collapsed.

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several of these online relationships have grown into long time ‘real life’ friends, whom I chat with, have visited in their home states….one of whom actually dropped everything in her life and drove five hours upon hearing I was in the hospital. (that’s a serious friend). but I really believe these now IRL friends became who they are to me from those years of fostering the relationship on the internet. getting to know someone without any preconceived notions about them, their appearance, where they live, etc. creates a relationship that is truly just built on friendship and support…..and is not imaginary at all.

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for: anna, jon, tina, beth, sarah, kate, vanessa, katie

xoxo

time to bake.

(finally)

looking back, and realizing that we have moved six times in the past year helps me understand why lately I just feel like sitting on the bed zoning out to back episodes of shows like “keeping up with the kardashians” and “brooklyn nine nine”.

mindless brain numbing occupiers of my time.

 

but last night I decided I needed a treat, preferably a gluten free one….and even better if I could bake it myself.

so

I did just that.

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behold; the shortbread crust.

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reserve 3/4 cup of the crust, blend with brown sugar and 1/4 cup gluten free flour.

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I used frozen organic cherries….tossed with a tiny bit of sugar (about a teaspoon)

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sprinkle the crumb topping on top.

bake!

 

Gluten Free Cherry Shortbread Crumble

Ingredients
  • 2 cups (280g) + ¼ cup (35g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
  • ¾ cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 16 tablespoons (224g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup (109g) packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup frozen (organic) cherries, thawed and tossed with a teaspoon of sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch square pan. Set the pan aside.
  2. In a large bowl, place 2 cups flour, the xanthan gum, (if needed)  granulated sugar and salt, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, and mix to combine. The mixture should come together as a soft dough. Remove about ¾ cup (150g) of the dough and transfer it to a medium-size bowl. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and the remaining ¼ cup (35g) flour to the reserved dough, and mix to combine. This is the crumble topping. Place the bowl of crumble topping in the freezer to chill.
  3. Scrape the remaining soft shortbread dough into the prepared square pan, and press into an even layer with a spoon, or well-floured hands. Set aside.
  4. Layer the cherries on top of the shortbread evenly.
  5. Remove the crumble topping from the freezer and sprinkle it in an even layer on top of the cherries. Press down on the topping gently but firmly.
  6. Place the pan in the center of the preheated oven, and bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is uniformly light brown in color and seems set. Remove the pan from the oven and allow to cool completely (place in the freezer to speed the process).
  7. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Freeze any leftovers, tightly enclosed in freezer-safe wrapping.

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