Saturday, October 17, 2009


Our good friends Brian and Cheri live in Memphis, and when they invited us to join them on their family vacation in Orlando we jumped on the opportunity. We went to the Magic Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom, and spent a lot of time at our vacation home rental swimming and relaxing (relaxing!). Gwen did so well and was such a trooper. It was super HOT- in the 90's with humidity making it feel like 100. The Animal Kingdom was probably our favorite- there was an animal safari that was really cool and a petting zoo. Gwen was amazing on the flights and I think it was because we had a stopover and the flight times were pretty much during her nap time (perfect!). We had a great time visiting with our friends and can't wait to see them all again.
Brian and Cheri's daughter Amber (5yrs old) was so cute- we hadn't seen her since she was around 2 yrs old. My favorite part of the trip was one morning when Gwen had just gotten up and I was nursing her in bed, Spencer was still sleeping. I hear a little knock on the door and I tell her she can come in. Amber crawls right up on the bed between me and Spencer and snuggles in next to Gwen who is still nursing. We had the sweetest conversation about how she was hungry and what we should make for breakfast and why babies drink Mama's milk. she told me Mama's need to drink lots of milk to make Mama's milk. So sweet!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gwen's Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe

I modified a recipe from May All Be Fed: A Diet for New World, by John Robbins. The actual recipe is for Ginger Carrot Cake with Orange Glaze. I thought the orange made it taste reminiscent of a nasty fruit cake so I used lemon to brighten the flavors. And since this was for Gwen I didn't use fresh Ginger since I was going for a more mild flavor. Since this was a Birthday Cake I made a real cream cheese frosting, making the final product not vegan.

Gwen's Vegan Carrot Cake Recipe
3/4 cup unfiltered apple juice
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 cups golden raisins
1/2 cup maple syrup
zest of one lemon
1 1/2 cups carrots
2 cups flour (original recipe calls for whole wheat pastry four)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger (powdered) (original recipe calls for 2 tsp fresh ginger)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
(original recipe 1 cup chopped walnuts)
  • Preheat oven to 350. Lightly oil and powder with flour 8 inch cake pan
  • Put apple juice, oil and raisins, maple syrup, and lemon zest in a blender and blend until smooth
  • Add carrots and blend to desired texture (I blended real smooth).
  • In a large bowl mix dry ingredients.
  • Add the wet mixture and mix until blended (use as few strokes as possible).
  • Fold in nuts if using them.
  • Put batter in pan and use spatula to spread evenly.
  • Bake until toothpick comes out clean, about 35-45 minutes.
*Note about raisins. Original recipe calls for regular raisins, but I found the golden raisins blend in better to produce a more cake like result. Also, it calls for setting aside 1/2 cup of the raisins to fold in with the nuts, but again, I think blending them calls for a more cake like result.

From The Tassajara Bread Book:

Cream Cheese Icing
8 oz cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup sweet butter at room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Cream together cream cheese and butter.
  • Slowly sift in powdered sugar (I don't bother with sifting :-)
  • Beat until mixture has no lumps.
  • Stir in lemon and vanilla.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Celebrating One!

We had an amazing birthday party last Sunday for Gwen. Thanks to all our family and friends that were able to join us. Gwen had a great time (I know because she took a 3 hour nap afterwards!). I made her a 'smash' cake, but she was satisfied eating her cake with a fork (now that she is a big girl she wants to feed herself). I am super proud of the cake (vegan no sugar added carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting). Her Uncle Arin made a video of Gwen's 1st year- more of a photo montage including our car accident and photos of Gwen and her Great Grandfather Jim who passed away so it is a real tear jerker. As soon as he posts it on youtube we will post the link. Thanks again for joining us celebrating Gwen!