Let them eat cake!

After seeing this post from The Kitchn, I decided to make my own birthday cake this year. I’m not even supposed to have chocolate (allergies), but I am a firm believer in the everything-goes-on-your-birthday policy. As the chef/baker in this house, I didn’t feel confident assigning a gluten-free cake to someone who wouldn’t know what even a ‘scant teaspoon’ meant. Gluten-free is tricky business in the first place, not to mention the fact that I was combining two recipes in an attempt to adapt what I wanted to gluten free.  They both had sour cream as a common ingredient, but that was about it. One used 3 eggs, one 5, so I compromised and went with 4. After shrugging my way through the rest of the recipe, I put it carefully in the oven and hoped for the best. What came out was one of the best cakes I’ve ever had. It was dense and fudgy, and the saltiness of the chopped pistachios cut the sweetness of the icing nicely.

Yes, I highly recommend making your own birthday cake.


Carnival Cookies!

Yup. That is popcorn you see up there.

I don’t quite know what to think about these cookies. They are from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Everyday. I was really excited to make them because although there’s no dairy or added sugar, (or even eggs!) there is popcorn, chocolate chips and peanuts in the dough! There wasn’t a picture for this recipe, so I had no idea what these little guys would even look like.

Turns out they look like macaroons, but taste, well, rather odd. Not bad, but I wasn’t scarfing them down either. I had to make some substitutions (quinoa puffs instead of oats), but I think the flavour that throws me off are the bananas. There are 3 mashed bananas in a recipe with few ingredients that only makes 24 small cookies. I found the flavour of them overpowering and incompatible with the popcorn. The popcorn gets a little soft in the cookies, kind of like marshmallows.

I would like to make these again, but I think I will use add-ins that work with banana bread: walnuts, chocolate, coconut etc. Made with healthier options, they would make a great and quick breakfast snack – or maybe even a granola bar.

Resolution Report Card: February

February is always a tough month for me, and I suspect I’m not alone in that. This year I was either sick with the flu or in rehearsal for most of the time. This meant I was constantly wearing either pajamas or yoga pants and eating mostly chicken soup and toast. So, that’s a no for sporting vintage clothing and cooking fun new recipes. I did however, put together some scrapbook pages that are making me very happy. It’s been really fun to dig through my old photographs. Also, I am close to finishing up not one, but two dresses using old or leftover fabric!

I’ve decided to accept that some months are going to be better than others and focus on not giving up. I’ve got ‘new recipe’ cookies in the oven as I write this and March is my birthday month, so things are looking up!

Confused as to what my resolutions actually are? Get the details here.

Gingerbread Weasley Burrow

Every year during the holidays, my family makes a gingerbread house. Normally I participate more in the deconstruction rather than the construction, but it’s always a highlight for me. This year, after seeing the Lego set for the Weasley’s Burrow, I thought, what a great gingerbread house that would be. There are photos and instructions available online (sometimes from professional bakers/prop-makers/architects), but I am lucky to have a dad who is both obsessive and awesome. He created his own template and (due to a sudden emergency – what’s Christmas without one?) did all the work himself.

I’ve already been on the lookout for an idea for next year and, ever the competitor, I’m tempted to give one a go myself. Perhaps a family wide, long-distance bake-off is in order!

In the wee hours

This weekend I worked at the Farmer’s Market with School House Gluten-Free Gourmet. I was up and out of the house by 5:40 A.M. I rode my bike down in the fog with flashing traffic lights all the way. It was very dark and I could just see my breath in the air. There are a lot of trucks there at that time, and if you are someone who enjoys seeing people “set up shop”, I highly recommend getting to your local market early.  It was nice to be in the booth, see the sun come up and the shadows change quickly around you. And the produce – glistening rainbow chard, rainbow carrots, fennel, blueberries and more to tempt me with! However, I was very cognizant of the limits of my bike-basket, and hoarded only as much as I could carry home at the end of a very long, but very fun day.