A RECIPE FOR BIRTHDAY CAKE

February 18, 2015

goldenbirthdaycake

We had the best day celebrating our sweet baby and his first trip around the sun. We did all his most favorite things: we woke up early (just the way he likes) and played with some new birthday toys, he ate his morning egg and took a little nap – a rhythm he’s developed that’s dramatically improved the quality of our days, B + I took Roux shopping, swimming, and to lunch while the big kids had a lunch date with their daddy, and we all met up again in the evening for dinner, cake, and a few more presents for the birthday boy. It couldn’t have been a better day.

How far we’ve come in just one year.

With the addition of eggs and dairy into our regular diet, it was the perfect opportunity for me to try out a traditional white cake recipe I’ve been tossing around since I started getting reacquainted with traditional foods. It turned out just the way I’d hoped, better even, and I look forward to making it again for the little party we’re throwing for our precious one year old.

1/2 C cane sugar
1/2 C grass-fed butter
2 pasture raised eggs
2 tsp. organic vanilla extract
1 1/2 C flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 C organic cream
1 tbsp. maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350° and butter a round cake pan.

Cream butter and sugar together. Add each egg individually, beating first in a separate dish. Stir in vanilla extract. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder, adding these dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Once combined, add the cream and beat until a smooth batter forms. Add the maple syrup and beat for one more minute, before transferring batter to prepared cake pan.

Place cake in preheated oven and bake 35-40 minutes, until a fork inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Let cool completely before frosting, though this makes a delicious naked cake. I served it with freshly whipped cream and a side of blueberries.

The baby is still not sure, but the rest of us loved it! Simple, golden, delicious, everything a birthday cake should be.

THANKSGIVING EVE

November 27, 2014

forsunandrain

a blessing from Jade’s second grade class

It’s just before midnight, which means that by the time I’m finished writing this, my pumpkin pie will be fresh out of the oven and it will officially be Thanksgiving.

Prep Day was every bit as wonderful as I hoped it would be, surprisingly much less chaotic, even. I might actually serve our meal on time! Although, I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I had intended. One of these days I’ll figure that part out. But for now, I’m pleased just to have things so neatly organized. I’m anticipating another fun day in the kitchen pulling everything together, especially the part where my daughter and I set the table.

And then we feast!

As is customary on this occasion, I present unto you my Thankful List.

My family, above all my family. I am so lucky to share my life with my sweet mister, a man so kind and hard-working, who cares for me and my children in such a beautiful way. The three little spirits that chose me to be their mama are my biggest inspiration, and my proudest accomplishment. Being a mother is a fundamental part of my identity, and watching these three grow makes me happier than anything else on Earth.

Our life here in San Diego is beyond my wildest dreams. Our house, our neighborhood, our school, our friends, all of it is just so good. Granted, it’s obscenely expensive and a lot of hustling is required in order for us to stay, but we’ve lived at the same address going on fifteen months and I’m so grateful to get to have this experience.

There are a million different little things like late night sewing, strong coffee, good comedy, the sound of my children laughing, the way B’s neck smells, I simply could not list them all here. But it is these little things that conspire to make my life so darn lovely, and I’m never not aware of what a lucky girl I am.

I have been challenged this year in many ways, but none so agonizing as day my tiny guy was born. Those nine days, and the nine months that followed, taught me about faith and resilience, opening my eyes and my heart to the delicacy in each and every moment. I am a different person than I was before I was put under anesthesia, and it’s hard not to be grateful for something, even something awful, that I believe actually bettered me.

Before I go, I want to let you in on one of my little secrets. The night before Thanksgiving, I put a whole bunch of vegetable scraps (like the ones I gathered while prepping the stuffing, salad, and gravy) into my crock pot along with a handful of fresh herbs and a sprinkling of some spices, cover it all up with water, turn that sucker on low, and let the savory aroma of fresh vegetable stock filter through my house all night long. When we wake up, the air will be positively intoxicating, and I’ll not have cooked a darn thing yet. It’s a great way to get the day started, in my humble opinion, as there is definitely something rather wholesome and fulfilling to a house smelling so delicious.

With that, I’m off. Wishing you and yours a very cozy and very yummy Holiday!

THANKSGIVING BREAK STARTS NOW

November 21, 2014

hotcocoa

When you’re a teacher, even an assistant teacher as I am, there is no greater sense of accomplishment than arriving at the end of the last school day before vacation. All Fridays are special, but the Fridays before a long holiday are the stuff dreams are made of. I’ve been eagerly anticipating today for exactly such a reason, and I’m here to tell you that yes, it is as glorious an occasion as I’d expected.

We’ve got a busy weekend of dance classes, baseball tournaments, birthday parties (Happy Birthday, Mareluna!), and errands ahead of us, but first things first, I say. There is but one way to properly welcome the Holiday Season, and that is by sipping hot cocoa and nibbling on cookies while watching a Christmas movie.

It just so happens that I managed to perfect the most delicious dairy-free hot chocolate, which might actually be just the most delicious hot chocolate, period.

Unsweetened Vanilla Coconut Milk
High Quality Dark Chocolate (I used a 56% since I was making this for my daughter, but I think it would be superb with an even darker chocolate)
Maple Syrup
Dandies Marshmallows

In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk coconut milk until evenly heated through but not boiling or scalded. Add a few pieces of chocolate, and continue whisking until well incorporated. Sweeten to taste with a splash of maple syrup, top with a few marshmallows, and cozy up with your loved ones. Pro tip: anything made to the accompaniment of Christmas music tastes better.

It’s called the most wonderful time of year because it is!

ONE-PAN FARRO

July 22, 2013

IMG_1944

I found this recipe last week and have been eager to give it a try ever since. I love a good quick meal, which this is. I made a few adaptations to Deb’s recipe: I replaced half the water with a vegetable broth, and I finished the dish off with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and a few diced olives. Satisfying and so simple to make, I am sure I’ll be enjoying this at least a few times again this summer.

GRILLED AVOCADO FLATBREAD

June 30, 2013

grilledavocadoflatbread

I posted this photo to Instagram and had a recipe request. And since it’s pretty much the most perfect snack for a hot and lazy summer day like today, I’m more than happy to oblige.

FOR THE CRUST

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup water

FOR THE TOPPING

2 small avocados
sea salt + fresh black pepper
red chili flakes

In a mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Make a well and add the oil and water. Using a large flexible spatula, combine the mixture until it forms an elastic dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until pliable and spongy. Roll the dough out to desired thickness and place directly on a preheated grill. Cook on both sides for 2-3 minutes each, until cooked through.

After cooling slightly, top with mashed avocado, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with red chili flakes, and devour immediately.