Friday, October 19, 2007

A Chocolate Adventure

I wanted to try a new cake for my birthday this year. In the past I've ranged from the classic cake--yellow cake and chocolate frosting--to a light angel food cake to no cake to I-don't-care-you-decide cake to chocolate caramel nut cake. Cake seems to feed a range of emotions for me. I've also had a haunting desire to try a blueberry and banana cake that I read about several years ago--but I've never found a recipe I really liked so it hasn't happened.

This year I just wanted something yummy and chocolately and on the far side of decadent with just a hint of nutrition.

Don't laugh. Yes, nutrition. Not the dense nutrition of the "I-only-eat-organic-raw-foods" kind but more light nutrition of the "at-least-throw-a-vegetable-in-there" kind. I had heard about Jessica Seinfeld's new book Deceptively Delicious on this Oprah show. In the book, Ms. Seinfeld describes feeding vegetables to her kids by pureeing foods like spinach, squash, broccoli, and carrots and then adding those purees to food the kids love. She did this after fighting constantly with her children to eat their vegetables at dinner. I thought the concept was brilliant.

Dr. Memhet Oz said that it makes sense that kids have a harder time with vegetables because they have about 10,000 taste buds compared to an adult with about 3,000. Those extra taste buds make children much more sensitive to any bitter foods--what might have been a poison in prehistoric times. By pureeing vegetables and hiding them in her children's food, Ms. Seinfeld was increasing the nutrients her children were receiving without all the dinner table drama. (Just an aside: She continues to serve steamed, raw or cooked veggies to her children, but now she doesn't harp on them to eat every last bite. The kids are then exposed to vegetables daily, they are able to try them without a bunch of pressure from mom, and they watch mom and dad eat their own plates of vegetables too. All a great set up for children to grow into adults who love vegetables.)

Ms. Seinfeld adds purees to desserts as well. She said it actually makes the desserts more moist and yummy. That's what I wanted to try. A moist, yummy cake with just a bit of nutrition. I checked out her book but didn't find a recipe that appealed to me for a birthday cake so I went to two of my favorite food bloggers--Elise at Simply Recipes and Clotilde at Chocolate and Zucchini. Elise has a great chocolate and zucchini cake that she inherited from her grandmother and is much like Clotilde's cake. I took both recipes and did a bit of a combination cake.

Mostly what I used was whole wheat pastry flour--it's supposed to make a lighter cake than just whole wheat flour--and pureed zucchini and dehydrated cane juice crystals as my sugar. We topped it off with chocolate syrup and nuts as you can see in the picture and everybody ate it. The cake was very rich, dense and moist and yummy enough that I was just fine after one slice.

Call it an experiment, an adventure or a choice. I just call it chocolate and have now found that I can have my cake and eat it too.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I've been tagged (sorta)

Meg tagged me in an email. She is unaware that I've started this site. She just said she wished I had a blog so she could tag me and I decided to be tagged. As I am still a bit incognito, I'm just going to publish this now and see if and when anyone reads it. But I decided it was a great entry to get things going.

4 Jobs I've Had
1. Web Editor at BYU Studies (five years and counting)
2. Editorial Intern at FARMS (one very intense summer)
3. Teacher at MTC (2 ½ years of blood, sweat and tears)
4. Floral Designer (at Bloomer’s Floral in my late teens and then in my own business)

4 Movies I Could Watch Over & Over
1. Sense and Sensibility—I’ve really, really, really been wanting to watch this movie over again recently and I can’t wait to get to it; I love Emma Thompson
2. Wives and Daughters—I love the book too. I just think this is a great movie and book
3. Pride and Prejudice—the six-hour version or the new one; I’m just happy to be watching
4. Finding Neverland—Kate Winslet is a charmer and the combination with Johnny Depp and Edwardian England make this a keeper for me

4 Favorite Movies (recent favorites, otherwise my list would be exactly the same as above)
1. Miss Potter
2. The Devil Wears Prada
3. Ratatouille
4. Pride and Prejudice (with Keira Knightley)

4 Places I've Lived
1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Downingtown)
2. Salisbury, Maryland
3. Orem, Utah
4. Burley, Idaho

4 Favorite TV Shows
1. Designed to Sell
2. Divine Design
3. House Hunters
4. Curb Appeal (obviously an HGTV fanatic, I love me a good interior decorating show!)

4 of My Favorite Places to Visit
1. Amsterdam
2. Toulouse, France
3. Stratford-upon-Avon
4. Tyrol region of Austria (I’m a Europe nut and think I need to live there for an extended period of time to get it out of my blood—or just plan a yearly vacation there!)

4 Favorite Foods
1. Chocolate (really fine milk or yummy dark—especially hazelnut)
2. Smoothies
3. Mom’s homemade wheat bread slathered with butter and honey or her frozen raspberry jam
4. Salmon

4 Sites I Visit Daily
1. Email—Google and Hotmail
2. Favorite blogs
4. and

4 Favorite Hobbies
1. Reading
2. Interior Decorating
3. Arranging Flowers
4. Writing

4 Hobbies I Hope to Do
1. Painting with oils or watercolors
2. Playing the piano
3. Ballroom Dancing (this one is for the future)
4. Gardening

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Call Me Miss Potter, If You Please

I went to the dollar theater a few weeks ago with a friend and watched Miss Potter starring Renee Zellweger and I fell in love. Not with Renee and not with the movie (although both are good), but with the character of Miss Beatrix Potter. A quiet, somewhat homely, refined woman who has been under the tight scrutiny of her mismanaging mother for all of her adult life, but who lives an active artistic life with her painting and writing. I want to be Miss Potter. I don't want the mother, or the strict Victorian society, but I do want the countryside of the Lake District, the constant drawing of nature, and the writing of books. If anything embodies my secret desires this is it--to live the artistic life.

In my wildest dreams, my day-to-day life would consist of writing about nature, art, beauty, food, health, life and relationships and I would be engaged in activities that would further that writing, such as painting, growing a garden, improving relationships, eating yummy foods, etc. In other words, it would be a gloriously decadent life of rich creativity. And I would make money doing it. Lots and lots of money or oodles and oodles of money. But the money would come only as a natural consequence of doing what I love every day and immersing myself in the richness and beauty of a deeply creative life.

Aaaaah to dream!

What I do each day now is drag myself to work where I have a nice job with nice people but it throws me entirely too much in the world of business and technology and sucks too much of the joy and passion out of me. I sit at a gray desk and work on a black computer in a tiny windowless office of blah-colored cinderblock, and spend my days sucking as much joy and beauty as I can out of my $12.95 calendar that is a "photographic journey through Tuscany." All that does is make me want to poke my eyes out because I'm not in a centuries-old city, walking on a cobblestone street, looking out over rolling green hills, and picking red poppies on my jaunt to the local corner market each day.

In other words I want out of here.

Just like Beatrix Potter. She wanted out of her stuffy Victorian society where a woman's marriage was the measure of her worth and to be unmarried was considered a deeply mournful state. Constrained by that society, Miss Potter made her rounds of morning calls and dreadful tea afternoons and strait-laced and dull musical evenings all under the thumb of a mother who desperately wished she could fob her off on the first semi-decent excuse of a husband she could muster up.

Well into her adulthood, Beatrix Potter had to play dutiful daughter and curtail all activity that was exciting or interesting or adventurous unless she was under the careful eye of her mama or an elderly companion. Her only escape was when society's daily demands had been fulfilled and she could run up to the old nursery and spend her waning hours with her best beloved drawings of Peter Rabbit and his friends Mrs. Tiggywinkle and Benjamin Bunny and Jemima Puddle-duck. The stories that flowed forth from those drawings (most were first imagined in her childhood) were part of Beatrix Potter's active inner life and eventually at 36 her first book was published. That book flew off the shelves and became wildly popular. And Miss Potter became an author. She would go on to publish many more books over the next few decades and within a very short time she became an independent woman with the sales of these books. Enough to buy a home in the Lake District--an area she dearly loved (and would help preserve in its natural beauty by donating vast swaths of virgin land to the NationalTrust)--and set up a life immersed in nature, its beauty and her dear stories of her furry little friends. It was a life she wanted rather than bowing to the stuffy demands of a society life.

Hurrah for Miss Potter!

May I (and all who so desire) be able to design such a creative life. Cheers!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

It's begun

This is my attempt to catalog, itemize, and record the doings of my little life and those I love around me. Join me in the journey.


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