Cake Please?

 
First, let me direct you to my first few months in February.  Remember those photos?  Remember how it seemed that the earth would never warm again, the birds would not chirp, the grass would not grow, LIFE WOULD NEVER EVER RETURN??  With every new spring, yet again, I am pleasantly surprised to find I am, in fact, wrong, and a bit of a doomsdayer with perhaps a bit of seasonal affective disorder.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh (singing like Ariel, the Little Mermaid)
 

Instead of hiding Easter eggs and counting to 20 and then testing myself for early-onset Alzheimer’s by seeing if I could find them all again, I’ve been watching TiVo’ed episodes of No Reservations and Season 2 of the BBC Scotland series Hamish Macbeth.  A quick search on cast bios reveals that nearly every single Scottish actor in this series did appear in the classic 1995 film…you might remember it…Braveheart.  Isn’t that veeeeeeeeeered?

Moving right along.  I had a hankering to try out this recipe for Spiced Sweet Potato Blondies: http://www.6bittersweets.com/2009/11/month-of-vegan-cookies-sweet-potato.html.  It originated from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  I printed out the recipe weeks ago and I should have refreshed my memory with the photo because I was so confused why my blondies were so fudgy, rather than cakey.  I used canned pumpkin instead of sweet potatoes, but I’d try the recipe again if I felt like making some sweet potato puree.  I would definately up the spices because I could hardly taste them at all.  And maybe it’s because I used light brown sugar, instead of dark, but I would personally recommend using the entire amount of sugar the recipe suggests, rather than cutting.  I did half the oil with unsweetened applesauce, to cut down on fat.  And I used  both pecans and chocolate chips.  Cause I like ’em.  I want to test them again, with my aforementioned alterations, but I was pleasantly surprised.  I had previously tried this recipe from the same authors for plain blondies http://www.theppk.com/recipes/dbrecipes/index.php?RecipeID=52 and it was a huge failure.  I ended up with a massive Pyrex dish of oily chewy…stuff.

Pumpkin Blondies

I had more than half a can of pumpkin leftover and “waste not, want not”, so I mixed it up with some extra boiled kale and added cumin and chipotle powder for a fantastic lunch side dish.  Pumpkin does, however, splatter in the microwave.  Noted.  Speaking of kale, how about some glorious kale chips, with a bit of balsamic vinegar and garlic salt to accompany another round of Mom soup (mulligawtney this time, and no, I will not spell-check that)?

 

Finally, my ode to my handmade, maple, 3-tiered, glorious spice rack.  When my brother and mom ordered it for me for Christmas, my brother told my mom he didn’t think there was any way I could possibly fill it.  My mom, rightfully so, worried that it wouldn’t be ENOUGH space.  I adore spices and wish I knew more about when to use what and what to mix together, rather than relying on tried-and-true recipes or combinations.  I hope to acquire some mustard seed, more curry powders, and better extracts in the near future.  The only herb on here that I haven’t tried is tarragon. 

I would love to give my monster, death-defying pansies the ole heave-ho and put in some boxes of herbs, but for reasons that will be revealed, that’s just not possible this year.  Oh for the day when I can at least have some fresh herbs all summer long, if not my own pots of tomatoes, etc etc etc.  Right now I’m craving eggplant and okra.  Yes, I could get some at the grocery store, but I will not give in!! 

Just in case I fall off the face of the earth for the next few days, I am heading back home to GA on Thursday to celebrate my birthday and my little brother’s birthday.   Remembering birthdays past (and maybe my current struggles to interpret heavy Highland accents) makes me think of my 25th birthday, which I spent in Dublin, Ireland with my brother and my parents.  Aside from the fact that I didn’t get a freaking cupcake, or any cake for that matter, and my husband (then fiance) forgot my birthday, it was a really cool way to celebrate my birth : )  Some of my funny memories: my father, getting louder and louder telling the coffee folks he did not want whipped cream in his coffee, but just freaking cream, CRE-EEE-AM.  It took a day to learn to ask for milk, but that was a broken man, with no half-and-half to start the day off right.  We were appalled, just appalled at the butter on every single sandwich, but could totally get into eating fries (or chips) right out of brown wrapping paper on the curb.  The mysticism of the Hill of Tara was a little ruined by the necessity of avoiding copious amounts of sheep droppings, but ‘free’ pints of Guinness in a 360 degree room overlooking Dublin in a hail storm (complete with Lucky Charms rainbows!) kinda made up for it.  That was a good trip. 

Last year, I spent my birthday in Colonial Williamsburg and, once again, did not get any cake.

Let’s cut the no cake crap, huh?

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