Month: December 2021

Nolan’s Vegan Holiday Rolls

Savory Soft

Nolan’s Vegan Holiday Rolls are an adaptation of the Soft Gluten Free Dinner Rolls which I have been touting for several years. Nolan is one of my Great Nephews and he, like some of our other family members, has food allergies. A vegan diet is best for him. Anyone with either food or drug allergies or high levels of IgE due to insect reactions knows just how careful one must be not to trigger allergens. So, I am including extra hints for those fortunate not to have allergies and not used to cooking for someone with food allergies.

First of all, make sure all measuring devices as well as mixing bowls, baking pans and cooling racks are thoroughly clean. Cross contamination can be a problem. Next, remember to grease the pans with a vegetable oil, not butter or other dairy product. Finally, have a separate serving container for these rolls.

Changes from the Original Recipe

I first used the Nolan’s Vegan Holiday Rolls recipe at Thanksgiving. This recipe has been tweaked in multiple ways from the original recipe of Soft Gluten Free Dinner Rolls which you can find by clicking here. For starters, the honey has been omitted. I did this because a child not quite one would be sharing in the meal. The rising times are also a bit different as are the baking times. But the process is much the same.

Kitchen Equipment Needed

Stand Mixer with Paddle (Can be mixed by hand as well.)

A Dozen Muffin Pan (Regular Size)

Small Loaf Pan 3 x 5 ½ inches


Cooling Racks


Nolan’s Vegan Holiday Rolls Recipe


2 TBS. dry active yeast

1 TBS. sugar

2 cups almond milk divided with each part warmed to 100-105 degrees

1 ½ cups white rice flour

1 cup almond flour

¾ cup corn starch

1TBS. xanthan gum

1 tsp. salt

1 TBS. baking powder

¼ cup chia seeds

¼ tsp. ground thyme

½ tsp. dried basil

½ cup apple sauce

¼ cup vegetable oil (Both Olive Oil and Sunflower Oil work well.)

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar



Steps for Making Nolan’s Vegan Holiday Rolls

Step One

A poolish is made with the yeast, sugar, one cup of the almond milk, and rice flour. However, the yeast bubbles through quite quickly. Only 20 to 30 minutes will be needed for this step.

Poolish for Nolan's Vegan Holiday Rolls
Step One Make the Poolish
Yeast bubbling through poolish.
Poolish is ready when yeast bubbles through the dry flour.











Step Two

Next, add almond flour and remaining dry ingredients. Then add the second cup of almond milk, apple cider vinegar, the applesauce and the vegetable oil. Mix at low speed for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the bowl and let rest ten minutes.

Slow mixing
Mixing dry ingredients just until incorporated into the liquid.
Step Three

Mix at medium high speed for three minutes. The mixture should be slightly thicker than a quick bread but not quite as thick as chocolate chip cookie dough.

Batter for Nolan's Vegan Holiday Rolls
After mixing on medium-high for three minutes let stand for ten minutes.
Step Four

Using a small scoop, place three scoops into each of the muffin tins. Scrape the remaining batter into the loaf pan.

Scoops of batter in muffin pan.
Scoop batter into muffin pans. Three small scoops per muffin.
Rolls ready to bake in muffin pan.
Pan ready to bake.








Step Five

Let rise for 15 to 30 minutes. Then cook at 375° F in well- greased pans. The muffins will take 20 to 22 minutes and the loaf will need an additional five minutes.

Rolls cooling on rack.
I hope you enjoy these savory dinner rolls.








Econogal’s Top Ten Favorite Books of 2021

The List

The top ten “Favorite” books of 2021 is a bit easier to compile this year. Not as much reading, and a few books read and not reviewed impact the pool of eligible books. Interestingly, several non-fiction book reviews yielded the most traffic on the website. A combination of reader and blogger interest generated the list. I hope you enjoy these recommendations.

Non-Fiction Books of 2021

As a kid I loved biographies. However, I don’t remember any autobiographies. Writing for children and teenagers can be quite challenging, so perhaps that explains a lack of memoirs. The books of 2021 are lacking in reviews of memoirs. A few were read, but I did not feel compelled to share my opinions.

Instead, self-help books and multiple entries revolving around Covid-19 became fodder for reviews. Thus this type of writing is found on the Top Ten Favorite Books of 2021. The reading audience enjoyed, or at least visited, the reviews of non-fiction entries frequently.

Interestingly, the most visited post of all types belongs to the review of Liquids Till Lunch. (Perhaps many people did gain weight during lockdown.) I continue to use many suggestions from the book. However, the book I have given to several as a gift is Cleaning Sucks. The tips from Rachel Hoffman have really helped my household organization.

The remaining entries are quite thought provoking. We are living through a period of time that future generations will study thoroughly. Thus, it is not surprising multiple books discussing the pandemic make the list. Additionally, the New Great Depression is worth a mention although just falls short of making the top books of 2021 list.

American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America is a must read. Even though this book is a 2011 release, it is a perfect gift for any student of history from late teens to octogenarians.

Top Favorite Fiction Books of 2021

This category is tough for me as I love fiction. Genres covered range from Christian to Romance to Murder. The YA entry Instant Karma just barely missed making the list as did a reader favorite, Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.

Many of this year’s fiction reviews were new releases for blockbuster authors. However, one of my favorites was released back in 2015. Much like American Nations, I think finding a copy of Jack of Spies is very worthwhile.

Top Ten Favorite Books of 2021


The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Jack of Spies by David Downing

The Authenticity Project by Clare Pooley

A Distant Shore by Karen Kingsbury

Meant To Be by Jude Deveraux


Liquids Till Lunch by MaryRuth Ghiyam

American Nations by Colin Woodard

Cleaning Sucks by Rachel Hoffman

The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis

Ten Lessons for a Post-Pandemic World by Fareed Zakaria

Eight Perfect Hours Book Review

Eight Perfect Hours is a poignant romance. It is also a story depicting the red thread of fate. Lia Louis weaves this tale of what could have been and what is meant to be with deft and skill. The telling brings both tears and laughter.Cover of Eight Perfect Hours

Theme of Eight Perfect Hours

The over-riding theme is one of ships passing in the night. And then kismet. Noelle is stuck in a traffic jam. As in a parking lot on the freeway. No inching along, just a complete stand still. Furthermore, she is experiencing a complete meltdown for all the surrounding drivers to see.

The closest driver, Sam from America, approaches to offer aid-in the form of allowing her to re-charge her cell phone in his car. At first, Noelle is reluctant to take up his offer. Eventually, they spend eight perfect hours waiting for the traffic jam to clear.


They part just like passing ships.

Complex Storyline

Eight Perfect Hours is far more than girl meets boy. Lia Louis fills the pages with internal conflict for the main characters. Noelle in particular is pulled in many directions. Emotionally attached to a past that has been ruptured, she also is compelled by duty to support her mother. Thus, her dream career is put on hold.

Sam carries tremendous guilt over the death of a cousin. Furthermore, he is struggling to forgive and forget the transgressions of his long-time girlfriend. So, his attraction to the stranger on the freeway adds more complication.

Red Thread of Fate

Noelle and Sam continue to bump into each other. Their attraction builds even as they fight the emotion. Like the Chinese Proverb which opens the story, Louis provides some twists that make the fate even more pronounced. The conclusion will be very satisfying for romance aficionados.

Eight Perfect Hours Emotional Tug

The novel is well written. The inner conflict of the characters tugged at this reader’s heart. The back story brought tears and the interaction of the principles brought smiles. Eight Perfect Hours is highly recommended. A great read for the holidays. Lia Louis is to be commended.