Cacawate Cake

Today is Grace’s 2nd birthday. I can’t believe it. I don’t remember being this stunned at Asher’s 2nd. In fact I think I may have the tendency to rush him in my mind, thinking each milestone takes forever to arrive….somehow with Grace they creep up too quick.

I’ll let ryan, the mast photo-poster put up the birthday pics…I wanted to talk about the cake. ;)

Last year I made basically banana bread (with extra sugar) into cupcakes & topped it with weird, to sweet, heavy cream cheese icing. Overall: far too sweet & kinda gross, definitely too heavy! The kids didn’t mind but when it comes to things with sugar, their opinion doesn’t really count…they’ll eat anything called “cake”. ;) (ok…it won’t work for thing OBVIOUSLY not cake…like fruit or veggies).

This year, added to my obsession with trying to turn food items that are by default unhealthy into healthy(ish) treats is the pressure of it being gluten & casein free (google it if you don’t know what they mean).

I did some internet reading & opinion asking…and i finally settled on a cake recipe taken off the Tropical Traditions website and an icing recipe taken off one of my favorite gluten-free blogs, everythingfreeeating.

I was going to go w/a more traditional gluten-free cake but i’ve found coconut flour recipes to be less oddly textured than the normal gluten-free recipes that require starch flours. This did not fail us for sure. Though the icing may not have been QUITE sweet enough for the average bear, i would still feel confident to serve this to non-health-nut guests. Due to the cocoa powder used (Chatfield’s) , it had a definite dark chocolate essence to it, vs. uber-sweet milk chocolate. Since i’ve been converted to the “dark-side”, this was heavenly for me. Unfortunately ryan’s not a fan of coconut, but since he’s not much for dessert anyway, i decided to not cater to his palate (sorry ryan). Here’s my versions of the recipes below:

Coconut Flour Chocolate cupcakes (I didn’t actually change this recipe at all)
1/2 cup coconut oil (i used expeller pressed)
1/4 cup coconut milk (or heavy cream if you’re not dairy-free)
1/4 cup cocoa powder (..heaping 1/4 cup)
9 eggs (yes…9…)
1.5 cups sucanat
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup sifted coconut flour (i actually followed the rules & sifted. figured dana would be proud)
3/4 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder

Melt coconut oil in a saucepan over low heat (or live in central FL & it will never reach a solid state anyway). Add cocoa powder and coconut milk and mix together. Remove from heat and set aside. In a bowl, mix together eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Stir in cocoa mixture. Combine coconut flour w/baking powder and whisk into batter until there are no lumps. Pour batter into muffin forms. Bake at 350 for 30min or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool & cover w/frosting as desired.

Sin On a Spoon Icing
(my take on it)
4.5 TBS Ghee (or butter if you’re not casein-free)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 TBS coconut milk (or heavy cream)
3 TBS agave nectar (or honey or 8 drops liquid stevia…haven’t tried the stevia myself as i’ve had bad experiences w/stevia + chocolate)
2 tsp. lecithin (i did not plan in advance, so had to buy some from the local whole-foods. Which of course only had soy lecithin. I’m usually anti-soy, but i made an exception here due to the fact that i didn’t have time to wait for egg or sunflower based lecithin to be shipped from an online store).

Blend ghee in mixer on high till soft. Pour in coconut milk, lecithin and sweetner, whipping until blended. On stir setting add cocoa powder, turning speed up to high as the powder becomes incorporated. Mix until the desired consistency, adding more lecithin if necessary to emulsify the ghee and coconut milk.

I sprinkled some unsweetened shredded coconut on top for the coconut-likers in the house. The kids & I definitely enjoyed what Grace called “cacawate cake”…and I did notice that ryan ate his cupcake as well….coconut flour & all. ;) ooh, if you’re really daring, chocolate chips in the cake would be pretty awesome i think.

Twitter Updates for 2008-08-29

  • Sitting at the bellingham airport… Yup… Tons o fun. #
  • Grabbing a burger and a beer in Seattle before getting on the red eye back to Orlando. I can’t wait to see my family. Grace’s bday is sat. #
  • Just landed in Orlando. 5 hour flight through the night with on and off sleep… Yeah, I feel beat up. #
  • Waiting for my ride and am about to throw up… It is like a freaking smokers convention out here. #
  • Finally home… Going to take a nap now… Ahhh. #
  • http://twitpic.com/9go7 – Bought it with his own money. #
  • http://twitpic.com/9gpo – Too cute. #
  • Long day with a bit of work stress. However, on a date with my wife, so that is nice. Plan on discussing possiable move to WA. #

Twitter Updates for 2008-08-28

  • Long, long day. With all the travel I managed to not eat today. Just sat down at the hotel bar by myself to eat… Mildly depressing. #
  • This hotel bar is strange… I feel out of place. Lots of hip young people drinking martinis and being cool. It’ll be over soon enough. #
  • Not a great nights sleep. Woke up at 2 am and couldn’t go back to sleep. Now out and grabbing breakfast at a sweet diner. #
  • http://twitpic.com/9bbc – Mmmm, breakfast. #
  • Still sitting in the diner, looking out the window, reminding myself that 1 Cor 1:9 is true no matter what. #
  • http://twitpic.com/9ctk – Look jenn. #
  • Finished up interview. Took a drive down the shoreline (beautiful). Now grabbing coffee at nice little shop. So much to think about. #
  • Free wifi… SCORE! http://tinyurl.com/65r46u #
  • I keep having that feeling like I’m missing my flight… I still have 3 hours… but keep having that, “oh crap” feeling. #

Twitter Updates for 2008-08-27

  • Heading home. Very tired. Need to pack. Early flight tomorrow. #
  • 6 am and I’m ready to head out the door and off to the airport. Not entirely looking forward to the very long flight from FL to WA. #
  • Airport security was a breeze. That’s a good way to start the trip. Would really like some coffee now. #
  • Attempts to get a first class upgrade have failed. I watched a show once that said you should always ask for an upgrade. #
  • Looking at the teenage girl listening to her iPod next to her mom over there reminds me that grace will one day be that teenager. #
  • People are so funny about boarding the plane. They haven’t called a single row and there is already a mob near the gate. #
  • Ha! Gate agent just got onto the mob about not following her instructions. #
  • On the plane. Good thing – bulkhead with extra leg room. Bad thing – middle seat. #
  • Flying over the Rockies without a window seat is killing me. Also, wonder if twittering in the air a violation of FAA rules? #
  • http://twitpic.com/984b – Beautiful. #
  • Spent over an hour in a holding pattern. 15 minutes on the tarmac. Sprinting across airport. Breathing hard. Heart about to explode. #
  • I’m here. Time to grab rental car and run over to my hotel. That was a lot of flying. #
  • You might be at a small town airport if cars are parked unattended at the terminal. As in 8 cars unattended. #
  • Nicest best western 3lve ever seen. Very surprised. #
  • http://twitpic.com/98np – It is go time. #

Burgeoning Prayers

Grace has started praying more lately. Actually she’s been praying for some time, i’ve just never known what she says (just folded her hands, closed her eyes & babbled). 9 times out of 10 it’s, “God, thank-you, Amen”. Short & sweet. There have been variations on that as well.

Ryan is in Washington State until Friday on business. We prayed for him a few times today, and much to Grace’s delight she did get to say hello to him on the phone when she got up from naptime. Tonight at our bedtime prayers she strayed from the usual night-time prayer that we’ve been teaching her (thus far it’s mostly unintelligible). She said, “God, thank-you, Momma, Dad, ahshingson, Amen”. She says Asher very clearly these days, so it was definitely not Asher. 99.9% sure that last bit was Washington. sweet gal.

In related news she said her first very clear, even-strangers-could-understand-it sentence this past weekend, “hurt my toe momma”. This morning she was a bit under the weather & was saying, “tummy hurts momma”. Tonight after being poked in the eye by a diplodocus in the bathtub it was, “hurt my eye momma” (i fully expect a black eye in the morning it was a forceful poke). Sure would be nice to hear some sentences not revolving around her pain. ;)

Hiccup Cures

I was just going to post this in the comment section under my previous post, but seeing as how 1) i don’t want that post to have a zillion comments (thus causing people to read it more) b/c i think my sarcasm in the post was lost in typing & thus makes the whole thing weird and 2) there was enough hiccup discussion cropping up it warranted being ‘moved’ to it’s own location.

i mentioned in there that when ryan and I were first getting to know each other he taught me his “zen hiccup cure”. Basically just involves relaxing your chest & throat & breathing slowly & swallowing. it’s weird. doesn’t have 100% success for me but i’d say as much as 95%. I think he gives credit to his dad for teaching him. Asher has started his own hiccup stopping technique that he’s become quite successful with:

It comes from the book, “Hiccup Snickup” which we borrowed from the library a few weeks ago. In the book the grandmother offers this rhyme as a hiccup cure, & the book goes through a variety of “cures” ending w/the rhyme & crazy dancing. the rhyme in the book is as follows:

hiccup snickup, rear right straight up, 2 drops in the teacup will cure the hiccups.

Asher’s variation:

hiccup snickup rear right straight up. 2 drops in the teapot will clear the hiccups.

it only works for him though when he says the rhyme while crazy dancing. It also helps if others join the dance, though it can be effective on your own as he has reported hiccup cures during roomtime.

Twitter Updates for 2008-08-26

  • Going out of town Wednesday and I already miss my family. #
  • Breakfast with my bro. #
  • There is apparently a plot by pant manufacturers to rid the world of tall skinny people and replace them with short fat people. #
  • Off to grab dinner with Brian and then heading to class with Dr. K. Then home to pack for the big trip tomorrow. #
  • Simon Kistemaker is the man! http://tinyurl.com/6zfvdr #

Overzealous

In theory i’m supposed to be running a 10k on sunday morning (via Nike+, the “human race“). However, currently I am kinda stuck in a spot where i can only comfortably finish 4miles. Which means I will be able to FINISH 6…uh…6-point-whatever miles on sunday, however it won’t be comfortable & thus it would be ill advised to try to up my pace (i don’t want to get hurt & mess up my training for the half marathon in December). Add to that the fact that I chose to stay up late & sleep in this past weekend & run zero. I’m much too competitive to just go out & jog what is technically a race.

Mostly i just fell for the bait in that i got a free itunes workout for signing up for it. I suppose I could just not run it, but well….that would be akin to not finishing a book. I occasionally give up on a book, but it’s REALLY rare, & it does haunt me. Like forcing yourself to stop hiccuping (yes, it’s possible, Ryan taught me how). it works, but you feel kind of…unfulfilled for some strange reason. Besides, I like the workout program i got, the least i can do is get through 2 extra miles.

Ok, so thanks for the advice (re: being a sounding board for my verbal processing brain). I suppose i will move forward with the plan, but i will not pursue beating my current 10k PR (personal record). It’ll be good for the ego. ;) Besides i will technically be running by myself, so that will make it easier not to push myself too hard.

The Day Was Against Me

  • It began by getting a crummy night sleep.
  • I woke up and went to get my coffee.
  • After filling my coffee mug I heard a very loud crash.
  • A different coffee mug had randomly fallen out of the cabinet and shattered everywhere.
  • I sat at the computer preparing to work on two essays and one exam that was due today for one of my summer classes.
  • I thought it was due by 5 p.m.
  • At 9:00 a.m. I realized it was due in the school office at 12 noon.
  • I wrote two crappy essays and rushed through the exam.
  • I dropped the exam off at 11:50.
  • I was bitten on the foot by a fire ant, twice.
  • I got home and made a list of things I needed to do.
  • I then got very stressed.
  • I decided to take the family out for dinner and the bookstore.
  • I then discovered that someone had accidentally “stolen” the account I use to host all my domains.
  • I proceeded to FREAK out.
  • Hosting company was no help.
  • Decided to take family out despite my horrible mood brought on by the hosting issue.
  • Couldn’t get the mini-van out of park.
  • Everyone back in the house.
  • Domain account “thief” returned my many text messages with a call.
  • Domain issue resolved.
  • Attempt the van again and it works.
  • Dinner with family very nice.
  • Bookstore very nice.