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Musical pairing – So Small by Carrie Underwood

My oldest son and his family moved to Indiana last month; the last year without Alice has been difficult and everyone felt they needed a new start – new job, new home, new beginning, moving forward. So they packed up their house in New Hampshire, along with Alice’s brother, Doug, 3 Labrador dogs and hit the road heading West to Indiana.

None of us have navigated these waters before – of moving forward without the physical presence of someone lost so young – someone who made you laugh, someone who could be vexing on her worst days and someone who also had everyone wrapped around her little finger. But we are all moving forward . . . together.

Sunday suppers are becoming a tradition around our table – pot roast, meat balls, sauce and breadsticks, pizza and smoked brisket. The music is cranked, glasses of gluten-free beer and/or wine are poured and everyone is given a task: chopping mise en place, pulling together a dessert, setting the table, lighting candles or creating a salad – our little family in a small space, orchestrating movements as if we are pair-skaters, gliding on ice, moving about in circles from one task to the next.

Cell phones are silenced and left in another room; salad, main course and some sort of bread is passed from one person to the next, each filling his or her plate . . . and we eat . . . and we talk . . . and we eat a bit more . . . and we talk. Sometimes it’s about what happened in our week, sometimes it’s about something the dogs did or it might be about some event that is coming up – a trip, a holiday, a birthday celebration – but the conversation eventually leads to Alice and the memories we have of her.

It makes me smile, it makes me laugh, it makes me remember – and it keeps the essence of Alice alive – death, or the absence of her physical body will never take that from us . . . as long as we continue to talk about her, write about her and simply share her life.

I’m grateful for these Sundays – life is incredibly busy these days and we are juggling a lot; having Sunday suppers forces us to slow down, to think about a menu, to plan what each family member can do to participate in the meal and most importantly, to be able to sit at a table and share life, talk, connect.

We’ve already experienced our first freeze and as I gaze out my windows, I see miles of deep burgundy, bright yellow and shocking orange as the leaves give up their last hold on summer. I look forward to the changing of each season and I always seems to find myself saying, ‘This is my favorite time of year!’ And in that moment it is.

October 27th is the first anniversary of Alice’s passing; I know my family would appreciate any good thoughts and prayers you can send our way. We all miss her terribly – I think we always will.  And that’s okay.


  1. Aloha, I just came across your site looking for GF recipes. I am sorry for your family’s loss of Alice. She sounds like she was a hoot and lots of fun; again so sorry. My kids are big now, but I remember the joys of watching them grow up. Can’t ever figure out HIS plan.
    Dinner is in the oven, and I am sure hubby will love it! Bought extra wine just in case.

    Mahalo Nui Loa!!

  2. Hello… I just stumbled onto your blog when looking for a GF chicken pot pie. I’m mid way through the cooking, a few adaptations to work with what I had in the fridge…. I’m so happy to have found your blog. It is just beautiful. We are 4 mos into being a GF kitchen / house and always on the look out for new recipes. I can tell that your blog will be a highlight for me – for both the recipes and the stories.
    With gratitude from Nova Scotia, Canada.

  3. I’m so sorry I didn’t see this ’til now. Been staying away from the blogisphere of late because of my son’s health problems. I’m so sorry for the loss of your Granddaughter. The other posts are correct; you wrote about her beautifully.

    Thank you also for the gf flour ref to gluten-free girl and the chef. Seeing her formula and sub info should be a huge help for me. My son is gluten-free, corn-free, and rice-free amongst other foods. thanks!!

    • Thanks so much Dana – and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment; Alice was a bright spot in our lives and we cherish the memories

  4. Just made this and it’s delicious! I’m new to cooking/baking gluten-free for my husband. Thank you!

  5. I only just stumbled onto your blog today, looking for a gf chicken pot pie recipe.

    I just wanted to leave a comment with {{{hugs}}} and prayers for you and your family. Because of your words, another person–a complete stranger– has thought about your little Alice.

    May God and all His angels comfort you and your family.

  6. I thinks this is a lovely memorial. GREG

  7. Hugs to you, my dear friend. I can only imagine how hard this day, getting to it and passing it, is and will be. You all will be in our hearts.

  8. Hugs to you and your family as you mark one year of missing your sweet Alice. I remember well the post you wrote after her passing and the tears I wiped away while reading it.

  9. What an achingly sad story but one of so much hope for healing with the family coming together for Sunday supper. My heart and prayers go out to you and your family.

    • Thanks so much Sandy – it has been a hard year but at the end of it, we’re still here – and we’re doing well. Sunday Suppers has been healing and we look forward to gathering each week.

  10. Oh,just found your blog..made me sad and happy…you sound like a wonderful family having to go through something so tragic………… Cooking wise..which GF all purpose flour do you prefer,or do you make your own?

    • Hi Marianne ~ i make my own flour mix using Shauna’s recipe from Gluten-Free Girl – she shows you how here:

      the beauty of this recipe is that you can use whatever flours you like – just keep that 60/40 ratio and you’ll be great; if you have any other questions, please feel free to ask me or you can always ask Shauna. I’m fairly new to the gluten-free scene but Shauna has been doing this for the last 8 years or so!

  11. She is felt in every part of this recipe, post, and comment made here. She lives through your families joy of being together. I am happy you have your family with you, near enough to enjoy a meal together. Which is so important. My thoughts and positive energy are with you and your family.

  12. We love you. We’re so happy we know you both.

  13. This looks like the perfect dinner!!

  14. That bitter-sweet feeling is very familiar to me:( You are so right – you are fortunate to have had Alice in your life:) Sending you a big hug and a bunch of California sunshine:)

    • yes Lana, bittersweet – and i know you know this yourself all too well. i appreciate you so very much and i thank you for your long-distance hugs my friend – am sending some right back your direction!

  15. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    This was a beautifully written post that shows heartache and hope.
    How does time pass so quickly and yet not move at all?
    Thank you for sharing!

  16. Cindy Haroulakis

    Beautiful and profoundly touching. Love you guys.

    • love you too Cindy – i always know you are there for us and it means the world to me and the rest of the family. (((hugs)))

  17. You’re such an encouragement. Watching you and your family—really experiencing along side you in a small way—the last year as you move through such a loss, well … it gives me hope that when tragedies hit as they will, there is a way to keep on going. Thank you for sharing your heart here.

    • thank you Amy ~ the truth of the matter is that i’d much prefer to be an encouragement in other ways, of not having to walk this road. losing Alice was hard but i also have to say that having her in our lives for the time we did was absolutely worth going through this process. am so humbled and grateful to have this space to share her spirit with those who visit – (((hugs))) to you!

  18. Sunday suppers I’m convinced are magic–whether it’s the gathering of family around the table to share with each other, or (like we do) make the food we’d want to make for others were they a little closer. Sending you lots of hugs and support for this weekend.

    • thank you Elizabeth ~ The Professor and I have always cooked together in the kitchen, but was more and more about getting recipes ready for photos or video and less about the act of sharing. these Sunday suppers have helped bring us back to the table in a more relaxed way – and that is a good thing – as you said, ‘magical’!

  19. I think of your Alice often, Deb, and I’m sorry to hear it’s been a year that the world has been without such a bright soul. Traditions are wonderful memory keepers, and communal suppers are something I wish our culture had never lost. Wishing you the best during a difficult time. Xoxo

    • thank you Linda ~ there has been joy and sadness this past year but you know what? we’re still here muddling our way through this thing. i too, wish we’d spend more time at the table connecting w/one another – am grateful for this one day of the week – it’s become sacred time. xo

  20. Sending a prayer your way. First anniversaries are best shared with people you love.

  21. Sending you giant hugs! I am so glad your family is close and able to spend quality time together around the dinner table. Miss and love you guys! xo

  22. My thoughts are with you and your family. Sending you hugs.


  23. Oh Deb, I’m so sorry for your loss. Your Sunday Suppers sound wonderful and warms my heart that you can all be together as a family. Sending my love your way!

    • thanks Lisa ~ i feel the hugs all the way to the Midwest – now have that sweet baby boy of yours and hug him tight! xo

  24. This sounds so incredible. I have been craving chicken pot pie lately. And these biscuits…I’m in heaven!

  25. Oh sweetheart, I hear Alice in every word. You honor her life, her spirirt, so beautifully. She, and you two, are totally in my heart this week. Love you. Call anytime if you want to talk. xo

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