Archive for the ‘Affection’ Category

The Not-So Normal Birthday Carrot Cake

My Dad had a big day a couple weeks ago.  He turned 65, retired and moved all in one day. Somehow, my sister, mother and I had failed to foresee this day coming and we had nothing planned in terms of celebration besides knowing that we’d go out for dinner.  So, I took the Friday afternoon off (from what you may ask? hah. I keep busy) and made a cake.  My sister requested “no funny business” and “just do something normal for once Kim”.  And so I truthfully set out to do just that, to make a normal, white flour and white sugar Birthday cake.  I don’t know what happened along the way, or how it ended up being sugar free…..and whole wheat…..with raw cashew icing.  My eco/health conscience is so strong I think I lose friends because of it sometimes…..tough go for my family, they can’t unfriend me.  hah.

I merged 2 recipes into one for this one and I’m quite proud of the esthetics of it all.  I don’t know where I got the idea for using dried mango to cut little carrot triangles out of, but it must have been a brilliant post somewhere.  I came across the little green christmas tree candies at the Bulk Barn and voila! Carrots.  The Bulk Barn apparently only sells candy corn (those awful candies that look like carrots) around Halloween, and I’m glad that’s the case because it forced me to get creative.  Why carrot cake?  I don’t really know.  I just know that we have killed my dad with Chocolate over the years, he doesn’t like things too sweet and I think he likes muffins. Solution: carrot cake, naturally.

I set out to find a winning carrot cake recipe, but in that search came across a winning recipe that happened to be sugar free and whole wheat.

http://sweetandnatural.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/yogurt-glazed-carrot-cake/

It uses a lot of agave nectar and I even threw in a handful of raisins, so I figured it would be sweet.  The yogurt glaze from the recipe wasn’t quite enough for me to decorate with, so I put it in the middle layer of the cake and then iced the top with a thick layer of raw cashew icing.

Check it out, home-grown carrots for this special man’s birthday cake! That odd shaped orange thing on the bottom left of the cutting board is a carrot that got super stumped by the clay-pack at the bottom of our raised beds so it grew a lil’ round.

And you mix it all together….. (I had a hard time believing that this would turn out to be a cake…it was very carrotty)

But, after 30 min in the oven: amazing, cake!  Icing with the cashew icing was awesome and easy.  It is the perfect consistency to stick around and be thick and yummy.

And tadaa!  Not bad for an amateur if you ask me!  The “Definitely past half way” is an inside joke, but look at those dried mango carrots! They were my favourite thing about the cake.

And even though they knew it was healthy, they all loved it.  To be honest, getting my father to eat some pure food and giving my diabetic-in-denial mother a treat without the sugar high is more important to me than buying their love with refined sugar and white flour.  And they ate it all!  Mission complete.

Top 10 Kitten Toys – No purchase necessary

Our house has begun to remind us of the book Where the Wild Things Are.  We have 2 monsters who collide, jump from far distances, run at top speed from end to end and scale walls.  Dylan wanted to name then after the monsters in the book, but their names are among the likes of Emil, Aaron and Bernard – not the best kitten names.  When we first got the kittens I was almost lured into buying them those cute cat nip mice at the pet store (they even had “all natural” eco friendly ones), but boy am I glad I didn’t fall for that.  Here are Mister and Miss’ top 10 list of things to play with:

10) Dry leaves

9) Anything and everything that dangles – including my hair

8) Laundry piles

7) House flies

6) Dust bunnies

5) Crumpled up paper

4) Backpacks on the floor – so many buckles that make noise!

3) Socks

2) Tin foil balls  (Upgrade by tying it to the end of a string)

1) Another kitten

And, as a side note, in an effort to maintain our sustainable living goals, we’ve opted out of the “temptations treats” and instead, we shake a jar of their usual all natural kibble to get them to come inside and give them a treat of sardines! (A sustainable seafood choice). I can’t believe I just added a category to my blog titled “cats”….my apologies for the dog lovers out there but I can promise I’ll keep these cat posts to a  minimum. Chances are it’s just cat lovers still reading anyhow, and in that case, here’s one more picture of my latest love affair 🙂

Eat, Pray, Love, Love, Love

Last night I saw the movie Eat, Pray, Love, based on the Elizabeth Gilbert book.  At first, this had been a film that was a definite ‘yes’ on my list of films “to see”, and then I read some pretty relevant criticisms of the film and thought, maybe not.

When I was living in Sweden and going through a deep personal crisis full of isolation, depression, over-eating and the start of a yoga practice, my best friend mailed me this book.  It was one of the best gifts I’ve ever received because it was so timely and, being rather unaware of the depths of my state, it was a very intuitive gift from her.  I read it, bead-by-bead, mostly in the bathroom (where much of my breakdown took place), and it soothed my stress knowing that I was not the only woman with many of these feelings. It also brought laughter and a sense of lightness to a very dark time.

The criticisms of the movie were that it depicted a flimsy American woman, overly-dramatic about her divorce, gallivanting freely around Italy, India, and Indonesia as though that is what these countries are set-up for – to accommodate needy, empty Americans searching for something outside of themselves.  When I read the critiques I imagined how that was so, and even after seeing the movie, the criticisms are still relevant.  Nonetheless, it is a movie, entertainment, and for that purpose, I loved it.

The Italy scenes made my heart thump so loud in my chest, giving my whole body goosebumps for longer than any movie has.  It brought back an adoration of the culture, and a sense of awe at the ancient infrastructure that I first felt on my own European escape.  Her desire to know herself and her confession of an incapacity to listen put me right back in my Swedish apartment.  I laughed and cried, and thought “Crazy, this is so me!”.  How many other woman were thinking this too?  It doesn’t matter, the more the merrier.  (Although I am very curious so please let me know if you also share a deep similarity with this character).  Even with my small taste of Ashram life I could see a few cultural errors, but her experience with meditating would ring true to anyone who attempts a regular meditation practice.

In the end, it was a light-hearted romantic comedy just like 50 First Dates, My Best Friend’s Wedding etc.  A distinction that it deserves is that it is particularly relevant to many woman at this moment of social evolution where a greater consciousness is emerging.  That is evident in the literary field (ie. The Secret being a top seller), the growing yoga/meditation/alternative healing industry, and a society expressing a need for more meaning in their lives.  I’d be so happy if everyone were able to adopt this mantra and just eat, pray and love.  What do you think about the book, the movie or my review?