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Monday, February 3, 2014

People are Good

People are good.  No doubt about it; there is way more love and support in this world than evil an harm.  I often times don't feel I deserve the impressive people I'm fortunate to call "friends."  Yet, over and over the amazing people in my life continue to stick by my side with their love, compassion, and support.

Ok, let's back up.  As most of you know, I'm a dog lover, and it seems over the past 2.5 years I have taken on the role of canine care taker and Hospice facility, as well.  It all started with Del.  I got Del because my original labrador mate, Fred, was climbing on up the life ladder being 12 or 13 years old at that time.  Long story short, I had Del for 9 months, and then she died from Cancer.  She was the first dog I had to make "the call" on, and it broke my heart terribly.  Fred was still kicking, though!  Then, I got Cinna, my shepherd, to fill in the late Del's role, and, again, long story short, she died from cancer this past fall after having her for a little over 1.5 years.  But, yet, Fred prevailed showing he wasn't going to leave me without a fight.

Two weeks ago, that fight came, and his poor, feeble body couldn't endure what his heart could.  A type of stroke/episode/whatever it was left him completely immobile, and I'm pretty sure he had organ failure, as well.  He couldn't walk, use the bathroom, and eat and drink on his own as a result.  He became unhappy and tired.  His time had come, and he needed my help in getting there.  I put Fred down January 25th, 2014.  He was around 16 years old, and he was my baby.  We did everything together.  We ran every errand together.  We traveled every trip together.  We damn near took every pee together.  Slept together.  Swam together.  Hiked together.  Made every move together.  Most importantly, he stayed in a dark, closed-off room for those months my life was a prisoner to my deepest depression and OCD spell.  That's when he became my everything.

I want to take this e-moment (because I do not have all your mail addresses) to stress just how GOOD people are and to thank those who showed their goodness and empathy to me during my times of loss....

Thank you SO MUCH for the card, donation to NB Dog Park, flowers, gift, chocolate and wine, etc:

Paige Stallings, Justin, and Cassius
Erin Loggins
Dr. Kenny and Mrs. Sheli Patin, Kaylyn, and Lyric
Country Hills Veterinary Clinic of Bulverde, TX
Jose Castelan and Happy Tails Pet Ranch
Jim and Hollye Cunningham
The O'Kelly Family
Grady and Judy Joiner
The Swain Family
Romeo Dominguez
Dan and Kristin Ray
Drew and Holly Kennedy
Cindy Wilkins and Helen "Mimi" Mask
The Peitersen Family
The Dreistadt Family
Brad and Terrilyn Crowley
Southridge Animal Hospital of Denton, TX

I know I'm missing some people who given some form of tangible love, and I do NOT want to dismiss all the love from e-friends via Facebook.  I simply don't have room to write you all down.  Every sympathy card, vase of flowers, "I love you," donation to the NB Dog Park, book, text, hug, picture drawn, phone call, and paw print will not be forgotten.  The amount of love I've received for my late four legged friends the past two years has been SO SPECIAL to me.  Each of you remind me to be a better person...to strive to be the person YOU are.  I don't deserve such love...not at all.  You are all angels and a reminder that what may appear as a small offering of love and or help from you is huge on the receiving end.  A reminder to not let apathy or fear stand in the way of giving love.  Thank you, thank you, thank YOU.  Each tear shed by your gesture watered the hearts of humankind.

With love and gratitude- Claire

Del


Cinna

Fred

Cinna with her cousins Max and Barney

Me, Del, and Fred

Me, Fred, and Cinna

Cinna and Fred

Cinna, Fred, and their cousin, Stella



Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Chewy, Flexible, Crunchy Gluten Free Pizza Crust!

I loooooooooooove pizza because I loooooooooooooove bread.  LOVE IT!  I can not stress my affection for bread enough.  During my trials of eating Raw Vegan, Gluten Free, and now Paleo, I can easily say chewy, artisan, crispy, wheat, gluten loaded bread is by far what I jones for the most.

When I have a "cheat meal," I try to keep some sort of goodness intact, so the other day I decided to make pizza with a homemade gluten free pizza crust when I came across this recipe on Pinterest.  I noticed in the post the blogger said she would eventually like to tinker with adding psyllium husk and reducing the starch level, so my first go around with this recipe, I did just that...but I wasn't totally "on" with my proportions.  Since it was my cheat meal, and I was willing to deal with the starch content, I decided to not be too concerned with the starch level and simply "improve" (IMO) on the original crust's texture by adding my new favorite ingredient, psyllium husk powder.  I love the "chew" this ingredient adds to GF breads.

Well, after some trials, the following recipe is an alternative to Zen Belly's recipe that I've come up with it...and I think it's amazeballs.  It's light, it's chewy, it's got some crisp to it, it rises beautifully, it stays thin crust, is easy to spread/shape, and has baking properties of "normal" bread.  Let me know what you think!  And, NO NASTY XANTHAN GUM!

Gluten Free/Grain Free Pizza Crust (nom, nom, nom, nom...)

  • 2 1/4 tsp. yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 Tbs. raw honey
  • 1/2 cup of very warm (not scalding hot) water
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 Tbs. psyllium husk powder
  • 1/5 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher/sea salt
  • 1 Tbs. olive or coconut oil or Ghee
  • 1 egg white (slightly whipped)
  • 1.5 tsp. apple cider vinegar
Directions:
In a liquid measuring cup, combine the warm water, yeast, and honey.  Stir until all is dissolved, and set aside to activate and become foamy (appx 10min).

In a stand mixer, or stand alone bowl with hand mixer, add the dry ingredient.  Quickly mix to incorporate.  Add oil, egg white, and vinegar to the yeast mixture.  Stir to combine, and then add to the dry ingredient in mixing bowl.  Mix all ingredients together.  The mixture will be VERY wet, but this is necessary because the psyllium husk will "gel" over time causing the mixture to thicken substantially.  Add pizza dough to a greased bowl, and set in a warm spot to rise appx. 1-1.5 hours.

 very wet after just mixing

much firmer after rising for a little over an hour

risen dough turned out onto parchment lined baking sheet.  See those bubbles and texture?!

Simply use your hands to spread the dough between parchment paper and plastic wrap (I used Press N' Seal") into your desired shape.  The plastic wrap will peel right off.

 (The crust needs to be pre-baked before loading with toppings.  Do so at a fairly high temp like 425F until the crust browns over.  You do not want to under-bake this crust.  The pysllium husk keeps the bread VERY moist.)

Once pre-baked, load it up with yumminess, pop it back in a very high heat oven, and finish off with a broil on top!  I like my pizzas well done, but I can assure you the crust was NOT over-cooked, was still VERY "foldable", but yet had a great crunch on that outer ring.

SO.  GOOD.

Humane or Inhumane?

Recently, I had to "put down" another fur baby, my Cinna.  I originally adopted Cinna after having to put down my "Del."  I lost both to cancer in a about a 2 year span.  Just when my heart was beginning to mend from Del, it broke again with the passing of Cinna.  I miss them both terribly.

Since the subject of euthanasia has been on my mind frequently the past two years, I've found myself contemplating the ethical, humanistic, religious, and emotional viewpoints that often accompany the subject.  In particular, phrases of condolence such as: "[the animal] is so thankful to you for ending his/her pain" and "it's the humane way to die" and "don't let them suffer; you can ease their pain" run over and over again in my head while in the throws of grief.

I, personally, believe in the validity of all those phrases of support and compassion, but I also know that some of those offering those phrases don't necessarily believe their own spoken convictions when it comes to care of the terminally ill in their own species.  I'm talking about Assisted Suicide, Human Euthanasia, and "The Right to Die," which is illegal in most states.  How come I have never received a "don't help them pass over" or "let them suffer as long as long as possible" or "the humane thing to do is to let them die slowly and suffer through the inevitable" when dealing with my sick pups?

I'm not here to point fingers or attempt to change one's preference or personal beliefs on the subject matter , but I would like to open conversation for the reasoning behind a person's different set of standards for the acceptance of euthanasia for animals but the non-acceptance of euthanasia for human beings.  And, to be perfectly clear, I'm strictly speaking of the acceptance of euthanasia in the context of terminal disease and suffering, NOT elective suicide provoked by Depression, other emotional health disorders, or "undesirable" birth defects or disorders.


In Love and Remembrance of Del... 

...and Cinna

Thursday, September 5, 2013

"Good For You" Mayo

I mean "good for you" as in using high quality oils.  Check out THIS link for a informative guide on the goods and bads of oils.

I have a love/hate relationship with making mayonnaise.  It is either kind to me or a complete asshole.  Once you get a process down that works for you, STICK with it.  There are many different approaches to making mayo.  Here is mine.  It's really not difficult, but if I stray from these measurements, my food processor decides to hate me and will "break" the the mayo.

I've used avocado oil, walnut oil, macadamia oil, extra-light olive oil, and mixtures of these.  They all make great tasting mayo, but I would say the extra-light olive oil is definitely my least favorite, and the others are all amazing.  The picture below was made using half avocado oil and half walnut oil, and it was super yummy.


Ingredients:

  • 1 whole egg + 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt (more or less to taste)
  • juice of 1/2 small lemon
  • 1 cup "healthy" oil listed above

In a food processor, add the egg, extra yolk, and lemon juice (have the dry mustard and salt set aside ready to go).  Pour oil into a liquid measuring cup.  Turn on food processor with egg mixture.  Through the lid's opening, SLOWLY begin to TRICKLE in the oil.  We're talking not even the tiniest of streams....quick drop by drop type movement.  Keep doing this until the emulsion begins to take place.  The color will begin to lighten, and the sound will become a more heavy "slapping" sound instead of a splashing one.

Once you see the emulsion taking place and becoming stable, you can increase the oil flow to a SLIGHT "stream."  Once you get about halfway through the oil, and the mayo has started to form, add the mustard and salt.  Continue slowly adding the rest of the oil until finished.  Voila!  Hopefully, you have mayo at this point!

Want to get creative???  You can flavor your mayo!  Here are some great add in's: chipotle peppers, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, a little sugar, Tabasco, lime juice or ACV vinegar instead of lemon, herbs like dill or parsley, curry powder, fresh garlic, and the list goes on!


Homemade mayo really is so superior to the commercial stuff, and when you use healthy oils in place of the unhealthy ones, it really can bean enjoyable treat for not just your tastebuds, but your healthful body, too :-)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Misrepresented?

Orange is the New Black....who's watching it?  Supposedly, if you're not watching it, you're missing out.  I took it for a test drive a few weeks ago, but I didn't find myself going back to it after episode 3.  At the time, I wasn't sure why I stopped watching it, but I had a moment of true honesty with myself a few days ago which revealed that answer to me: sex...sex obsessed...lesbian sex, in particular...lots of nasty, raunchy lesbian sex and vulgar sexual innuendo.

I've never thought of myself as a homophobic.  In fact, I'm very supportive of my homosexual friends and their rights.  So, why was I so bothered by all the lesbian activity in Orange?

Sure, homosexual sex is always going to make me a little uncomfortable to view since I'm not homosexual, but I'm usually pretty good about separating myself and "norms" when assessing situations outside my comfort zone.  I was bothered by my apparent feelings of homophobia coming through!  Then it hit me.  I didn't have a problem with the general homosexuality present in the show; I had a problem with the sex only and how homosexual sex was being represented...dirty, raunchy, disrespectful, and calloused.  I started recalling other shows involving homosexuality and sex, and I found this "raunchy homosexual sex" trend to be pretty prevalent.  Sure, I know there a shows/movies out there representing a more respectful and sensual portrayal of homosexual sex, but I feel like those shows are in the minority.  I actually felt a sense of relief upon assessing my comfort level while watching homosexual movies like Piper Perabo's Imagine Me and You and the infamous Brokeback Mountain.  The love, respect, and sensuality were more apparent in these shows which resulted in me having a more comfortable experience as a hetero-viewer, but I haven't found this to be the norm for LGBT media.

Maybe my assessment is inaccurate as my LGBT media experience is most definitely not on the "experienced" side of the spectrum.  Or, maybe I'm just a sexual prude, and I simply have an issue with rough, animalistic sex in general whether it be gay or straight.

So, my question is this: Do homosexual people feel cheated or misrepresented by media's portrayal of homosexual sex?  Do you think people view homosexuals as being sex-obsessed because of media?  Do you feel like the sex represented is accurate or false and exaggerated?  If you feel like it's a false representation, do you feel like the media's representation of homosexuality plays a big part in stunting homosexuality's acceptance in a heterosexual world?  I'd love to hear some of your opinions!

For the record, I restarted watching Orange and am enjoying it.  The character development is brilliant!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dress Pants

(Disclaimer:  I'm making generalizations, here.  Not everyone is a twat.  Get your back down!)

I feel sorry for men.  There!  Yes, I said it; I have a legit sympathy for you dudes.

Women always talk about their low-self esteems due to the ferociously competitive and judgmental playing field set-up by their peers and media.  "Must be pretty - must be skinny - must be a sex goddess - must be pretty - must be skinny - must be a sex goddess."  It's an exhausting game I, personally, do not choose to play, but there's no denying those assumptions and judgments ARE THERE, and they can bring an unmanageable amount of stress, anxiety, and depression among us.  But, we're not alone in this cruel world...

I have recently become aware of a different set of prejudices that the female community does not experience nearly as heavily as the male community, and that would be "the 'appeared' success" game.  I'll explain the "appeared" part later.  As I've grown up, I'll admit I've ashamedly played a role as an assessor in this game primarily due to social convention.  It wasn't until the last few years that I was made truly aware of the unfair judgments and subjective assessments I, as well as many others, were making upon individuals in the male community.  Since working on my spiritual self and attempting to achieve honest personal happiness, I can not deny the apologies I owe to those who have received my silent prejudices.

As men age and mature, they are heavily pressured about and assessed upon their nature of work and success level.  Period.  And, it's not just women who are judging men; it's men judging other men that's probably the worst!  I think women initially started their judgment due to fear and practicality: "We need money to survive.  How would we support ourselves?  I'll have to depend on his salary because I'll never make as much he will."  That's how it started, at least.  Then, those judgments made the swing from necessity to materialism.  Men, on the other hand, are judgmental in this area due to power and pride.  Men feel manly knowing they're the breadwinner of the family, or that they have their own office to reference, or that they're "businessy" and powerful.  They feel they've earned the right to look down on non-business world men.  The older I get, the more I see it, and the more it sickens me.  I'm so tired of the rat race.  I'm so tired of the false assumptions.  I'm so tired of unrealistic "standards."  I'm so tired of the unfair character judgments made simply due to a man's work apparel.

I stress man-to-man judgment because women do not feel the extent of this kind of pressure like men do.  We just need to be cute and stay in our little place-holder jobs, like teaching, secretarial work, bookkeeping, reception, etc.  Hell, it's easy to play the women's rat race if you wish.  Just slop on pounds of make-up and wear trendy clothes.  In regard to the men, it's not easy to go out and find a $100K/year job on a whim.  It's basically like telling a man: "You will never get married or be able to afford children, be judged as a credible man, and will always be looked upon as lazy...unless you find a job where you wear dress pants (so at least that way you can start lying about your salary)."

I've summed up the business world rat race as so:
  • I can guarantee you that simply because you are forced to wear dress pants at work, it DOES NOT mean you are automatically a) successful, b) powerful, c)smart/educated, or most importantly d) rich. 
  • Tradesmen make a great, financially stable living.  Period.  We will need plumbers, auto mechanics, electricians, etc. 'til the end of time.  They make way more money than many of us dress pant wearing workers.  WTF?!
  • Wait, you mean to tell me that my college degree and dress pants don't automatically put me in high earner's tax bracket?  Again...WTF?!
  • Double wait...I can not drive an old car because I wear dress pants to work???  Oh shit, someone might notice I make less than a waiter/ress!  How will I pay for this thing?  Oh, don't worry about that; you wear dress pants to work.  Just fake it.
  • "You shouldn't marry a non-business world worker...you wear dress pants to work, duh!  You're above that....even though he works harder and longer than you do and makes just as much or more money than I do.  But, who cares about that...where are his dress pants?!"   I can personally attest to working loads harder as an $8/hr plant nursery worker than I ever have in a job post college. 
  • "So, you're the breadwinner of the family, right?  Because you wear dress pants at your job, right?"  Ha!  Ugh, no.
  • "Poor thing...her husband's a dead beat.  He has one of those jobs where he works on the weekends and doesn't wear dress pants.  It's a shame..."  

Yuck, yuck, yuck!  How terrible are we as a society to be making these unjustified low-blows and assumptions about people?!  Why is it perfectly ok for a woman to be a teacher, but when a man is a teacher making a teacher's salary we snub our noses at them?  How is it that an HVAC technician making $45K/year is not considered as satisfactory as, say, an assistant attorney making $45K/year?

And, outside the facts of who actually makes more money despite their work attire and environment, the real point is we should have no concern with someone else's financial business or pass blind judgments on such shallow circumstances.  It's the ugliest thing we can do as loving human beings.  I'm trying hard to catch myself doing this and putting a stop to it.

Fu@% the dress pants.  I'm wearing Chacos to work today just to put a kink in the system ;-)


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Coconut Creamed Tomato Basil Smothered Chicken

Last night I posted an Instagram pic of a plate of one of my favorite dinner meals as of late and received requests for the "recipe."  Well, in my savory cooking, I never have a recipe, but I tried to piece one together for you.  In Layman's terms, this dish is basically sauteed chicken and mushrooms smothered in simple Italian based red sauce creamed up with coconut milk.  So, run with it as you want; modify it to your likes/dislikes/preferences...I don't care.



Ingredients:

  • 1 lb chicken thighs (could certainly use breasts, but thighs are best!!!  Dark meat > white meat)
  • 1 lb cremini mushrooms sliced
  • 1/4 chopped onion
  • 2- cloves minced fresh garlic
  • 1- cup chicken stock (for deglazing pan; could certainly use red wine here, too/instead)
  • 1- can fire roasted diced tomatoes roughly blended in a blender/ food processor/hand immersion blender)  
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil or ~ 2 tsp-1 Tbs. of dried basil
  • ~2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 1 Tbs. honey
  • 1/2 can full fat coconut milk
  • salt/pepper/onion & garlic powder to taste


In a large cast iron skillet/saute/sauce pan on med/high heat, brown salted/peppered chicken pieces on both sides.  They don't have to be completely cooked through at this point.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Add additional olive/coconut oil to pan, and saute mushrooms, onion, and garlic until slightly browned and caramelized (salt this mixture).  At this point, your pan should have quite a bit of caramelization on the bottom.  With heat still on med-high, add the chicken stock/red wine/mix of both to deglaze the pan scraping up all those brown bits and juices.  That liquid should reduce fairly quick.

Add blended can of tomatoes, parsley, basil, honey.  Stir to combine with mushroom mixture and return chicken to the pan.  Chicken should be mostly smothered with mixture.  You'll probably need to add additional water to the mixture in order for sauce to almost cover chicken.  Don't fret; it will eventually cook out.  Cover and simmer on low to cook chicken and tenderize for about 15-30 minutes (depending on how long you have; chicken thighs don't need much time to cook or tenderize).

Then, uncover and continue to simmer in order to reduce the sauce quite a bit.  Once sauce has reduced to a pretty thick consistency, add 1/2 can of coconut milk.  Stir to incorporate, and turn off heat.  Season to taste (will need to add salt again most likely).  Let cool a bit, and serve!


I suck at writing savory recipes.  In a nut shell:

  • saute and season everything, deglaze pan, add tomaters and herbs, cook and reduce, add coconut milk...done!  

If you want tasty food, then SALT IT!  The difference between "edible" food and "amazing" food is salt.




Thursday, July 25, 2013

Blog Challenge: Day 12

What are you most looking forward to in the next six months?

  1. My 30th birthday!  Aug. 10!  I love birthdays...but, I still have no plans.  Hmmmm?
  2. My sister and co. are coming to visit late September!  I don't get to see them enough, and I hope my nephew still remembers who I am.
  3. My beau has some exciting changes and possibilities on his plate right now, and I'm super pumped for him and how these changes will play a part in his life and our relationship the next months to come.
  4. I love Fall...all the holidays...the change of climate...leaves falling...festivals...those first real cold fronts...after work bike rides...
  5. Pleasurably drinking beer with the beau at Phoenix again ;-)
  6. My girl, O, finishes school out in silly Florida come early December!  I don't know if her future career will bring her back to SA/ATX area, but I selfishly hope it does.
  7. I'm hoping to make a trip out to California in the near future to see my dear friend, E's, new home in Long Beach!  I don't get out of TX much unless it's on route to Colorado, so this is a big deal for me.
  8. Hank is coming into the world!  I can't wait to see HMK as a mama ;-)
  9. Finding out if I will be an aunt to another little girl or boy!
  10. And I'm most looking forward to all the cool people I have yet to met, new places I have yet to greet, things I have yet to learn, and experiences I have yet to embrace.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Blog Challenge: Day 11

What's the one thing you would never change about yourself?


I can find an honest connection in almost every person I meet. And, it's a genuine connection.  It doesn't necessarily mean we're soul mates, or destined lovers, or future BFF.  It simply means we're human, and deep down, we're the same, vulnerable, caring human being.  I can "get" what you're going through...despite your job, race, sexual orientation, religious preference, age, etc.  And, if it's a situation I haven't experienced, I can put myself in a hypothetical situation and try to understand in a totally non-judgmental way what you're going through.  I think people feel I provide an emotional safe haven for them, which I hope is true.  That connection I find with people causes them to feel comfortable and honest.  People can "unload" on me and share their dark fears and illogical thoughts.  I feel truly fortunate to be trusted to bear their emotional weight because I completely understand what it's like to be suffocated by your own baggage.

Even when I'm trying to be a badass and say I don't, I do truly care..to a degree of fault, even.  I care about the comfort level of that unknown person left out at the party as much as I care about my best friend's battle with severe depression.  I want those people to know they're never alone.  I know I will continue to connect with people the rest of my life, and my friendships are so rich as a result.

Paleo/GF "One Minute Muffin"

I'm a bread freak.  Nothing makes me happier than a glass of red wine and some chewy, crusty, artisan bread.  Well, that becomes a problem when I'm eating trying to eat grain free.

Back during my first go around with Gluten Free, I hunted high and low for a GF bread, and I finally found one that was pretty good....but pretty void of good ingredients.  It wasn't grain free, either.  So, back to the interwebs I went in search for a healthy, grain free bread alternative, and I came across this magic "one minute muffin."  I gave the first recipe I came across a go, and was pleasantly surprised!  But, in usually CiCi fashion, I knew I could tweak it to make it just a little bit better.  This is by-far the closest "bread" recipe I've come across, and it just so happens to be ridiculously easy!

I love this "bread" option!  Here's why:
  • it contains good wholesome ingredients
  • it makes a single serving (which is good for this single gal)
  • it's FAST
  • it's EASY
  • you don't waste ingredients testing out a full bread loaf recipe only to have it fail (expensive!)
  • the taste is pretty darn good, and the texture is actually light and fluffy!
The one downside of this bread is only for those who are microwave haters.  For me, I don't sweat it.  I've got bigger worries...like how I can finally enjoy a freakin' sandwich again!!!  The microwave is actually key to this recipe because it creates an awesome steamy atmosphere.


CiCi's Paleo/GF "One Minute Muffin" Bread
(modified from this recipe, which is good, as well, but includes flax, which some prefer to avoid)

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup almond flour (finely ground!)
  • 1 Tbs. Psyllium Husk powder (can be found at many grocery stores in fiber section and at Natural Foods stores)
  • pinch of kosher/sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder (could probably reduce to a 1/4 tsp)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tbs. water
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil/olive oil/ghee...a good fat!
Directions:

Lightly oil/spray a ramekin (preferably shallow and wide) or wide base bowl (see mine below).  Combine and thoroughly mix dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Set aside.  Whisk egg, water, and oil together in another small bowl.  Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients.  Mix until just incorporated; add to sprayed bowl/ramekin.

According to my microwave, microwave uncovered on HIGH for 1 min. 30 sec.  Your microwave may be stronger than mine and require less time.

Let cool for a minute in the bowl, then run a knife along the edge and invert onto cooling rack.  After cooling for a bit, I take a sharp knife and split mine.  I always toast mine before eating, but you certainly don't have to.

(base of bowl is about 4in. in diameter)