Tag Archives: I <3 Jack LaLanne

The Cake Comes First (Easter, Part I)

April 2012

Around these parts, dessert is a priority, so when it comes to planning a meal, the finale very often comes first! Thus Easter scheming began with this friendly carrot face and a bright orange cakeventure!

I have a love affair with the color orange (as does Pantone this year!), especially when orange comes undiluted from nature.  Easter was the perfect occasion to use my juicing powers for good [cake coloring]!

Easter inspired the carrots.  My chocolate cravings inspired the chocolate.  The beautifully rendered video for Snap inspired the blackstrap molasses, and lastly, the special occasion inspired the layers! There you have it…

Chocolate Gingerbread Carrot Cake!

Chocolate Gingerbread Carrot Cake
w/ Snappy Frosting 

Ingredients

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamum
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup turbinado sugar
5 large eggs (local/free-range)

3/4 cup organic frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup unsulphured blackstrap molasses
3/4 cup organic sour cream
1/2 cup olive oil

2 cups carrot pulp from juicing (or shredded carrot)

1/2 cup all natural, unsweetened raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Filling

Chopped walnuts, to taste

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Butter and line a 13x9x2-inch glass baking pan.

Combine cup whole-wheat pastry flour, almond meal, baking powder, unsweetened cocoa powder, ground cinnamon, ground cardamum, ground cloves, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl; whisk to blend.

Use an electric mixer to beat the turbinado sugar and eggs until thick and creamy, about 3 minutes.

Add the orange juice concentrate, honey, molasses, sour cream and olive oil in large bowl until smooth.

Beat in dry ingredients.

Stir in carrots, raisins, walnuts and chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

Cool cake completely in pan.

Snappy Frosting

1 8-ounce package Neufchatel cheese, at room temperature
1 cup (2 stick) organic unsalted butter, room temperature

1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup honey
4 Tablespoons AITA Snap
1/4 cup fresh carrot juice
1/4 cup organic powdered sugar

For the Frosting

Use an electric mixer to whip the Neufchatel cheese and butter until creamy. Add the vanilla, honey, Snap, carrot juice and powdered sugar. Continue to beat until all blended and creamy.  *If you want to have a similar two toned cake, reserve some frosting before adding the carrot juice.

Top with a natural sour gummy from your local Whole Foods or natural grocer.

Stay tuned for the rest of the Easter fête!

Post Patty’s Brunch (Frittata & French Toast)

March 2012

While Pittsburgh beer enthusiasts and/or the local “Irish” were clumping into green colored herds to commence daytime drinking and revelry, I was clad in red and very soberly intent on avoiding them. Am I against the holiday?  No, I just have a hard time relating to festivities that revolve solely around intoxication.  Thus I came to celebrate in my own way, which meant a green inspired Post Patty’s Day brunch.  Though there was plenty of Jameson, our holiday acknowledgement notably lacked the debauchery of the previous night’s full fledged festivities.

On the menu for the celebration…

Irish Coffee Baked French Toast
Cheddar & Greens Frittata
Cake in the case of the Birthday Girl
Kiwi & Lime Bellinis (Kiliminis?)

Irish Coffee French Toast

Ingredients

multi-grain baguette
organic challah rolls (4)
1/2 cup organic sour cream
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 cup Bourbon Berries
2 cups organic buttermilk
1 cup Organic Valley hazelnut half & half
1 cup brewed and cooled (such as One Village Coffee)
2 eggs (local/free-range)
2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons Jameson whiskey
2 Tablespoons organic brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
ground cinnamon
ground nutmeg
ground ginger

Directions

Butter a 9×13 glass baking dish.

Use slices of the challah rolls to create a single layer on the bottom of the pan. Use pieces of the multigrain baguette to fill in any spaces.

In a pourable, glass measuring bowl, combine the sour cream, ricotta cheese and maple syrup.

Pour the mixture over the bread layer.

Spread the bourbon berries over the cheese layer and follow with another layer of challah and more multigrain bread chunks as needed.

In a mixing bowl, combine the buttermilk, half & half, coffee, eggs, vanilla, Jameson, brown sugar and salt. Pour the mixture over the bread, making sure to saturate the top layer.

Sprinkle with the spices. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cover with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes, until top is golden brown.

Serve with Irish Whipped Cream and pure maple syrup.

Irish Whipped Cream

Ingredients

1 cup organic heavy whipping cream
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2-3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup, to taste
4-5 Tablespoons Jameson Irish Whiskey, to taste
2-3 Tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream, to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a chilled bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat until stiff peaks form.

My First Frittata Ever…

Cheddar & Greens Frittata

Ingredients

7 large eggs (local/free-range)
2 Tablespoons organic heavy cream

Olive oil
1 medium sized red onion, chopped
1 organic parsnip, sliced
4-5 brussels sprouts, sliced
1 small organic leek, sliced
Freshly ground smoked black pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon Yakima Applewood Smoked Sea Salt
organic spinach (eye it)
1/2 cup Irish Cheddar, grated
Danish blue cheese, crumbled

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a pourable measuring bowl, mix the eggs and heavy cream. Set aside.

Pour a few Tablespoons of olive oil into a 10-inch skillet, over medium-high heat. As the oil starts to shimmer, add the chopped onion.

Once the onion has softened (about 2-3 minutes), add the sliced parsnip and brussels sprouts. Stir frequently.

Once the brussels sprouts have begun to brown slightly, add the sliced leek, and continue to stir.

Add the salt and pepper, and continue to stir. Once the vegetables are stir fried (still slightly crisp), remove the skillet from heat.

Stir in spinach leaves to your liking. The remaining heat will be sufficient to wilt the greens slightly. Add the cheese, and stir to combine.

Pour the egg and cream mixture over the vegetables in the skillet.

Cover the skillet with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 minutes more.

Slice and serve directly from the skillet, warm or at room temperature.

It didn’t dawn on me fully until this Post Patty’s Sunday, but there is a place where I can find inspiration, creativity, humor, craziness, encouragement, passion, advice, knowledge, exploration, activism, insight and so much more!  It’s the brunching table!

Over glasses of green juices and plates of food, Dana commended Nina for her actualization of the venue Dana had once wanted to create.  Assemble is a place where one can engage his or her intrigue through hands on activities about art and technology, through film screenings, happenings, workshops, lectures, and community activities.

Meanwhile, Dana was inspiring both of us with the story of channeling her own powerful cancer survival story into fighting for environmental initiatives and anti-fracking campaigns.  These environmental discussions circled back to a need for more educational programs a la Nina’s involvement with this amazing program to promote girls in math and science.

Those accomplishments certainly merited another toast!

Dana’s response to my request for something green to drink:
Fresh Pressed Kiwi Juice + Lime Juice + Simple syrup (from pure cane sugar) + Prosseco

Nina’s garnish addition:
Green grapes + Fresh Mint

Go team!

Another Nina brunch plate interpretation.  It looks like an army tank?!?  Knowing Nina’s artistic inclinations, it’s probably something on the phallic side of the sculptural world.

Turn a good cup of coffee into an even better cup of coffee with a dollop of the Irish Whipped Cream (recipe above).  Even the coffee cup will be smiling when the coffee is gone.

Nina zipped away in her greenest display of the day- her new mini!  I’m still waiting for my inaugural ride!

As I took a moment to take in the remains of the table, the true power and potential of these friends of mine hit me in the most marvelous way, and I felt truly honored to have brought them together!

Never underestimate the power of brunch!

Be Brief. Be Bright. Be Gone.

February 2012

I spend a lot of time in a Bikram Yoga Hot Room, learning how to breathe. I very specifically say learning, as in the present participle, because the reeducation of the body is a lifelong commitment. I was reminded of just how ongoing this learning process is when my new boss started at my day job.  Here was a woman who was enthusiastic, optimistic and ready to face the great challenges ahead of us!  Here was a woman who believed I would be a tremendous asset! Here was a woman who saw how underutilized I had been, how many ideas were pent inside me, how ready I was to prove myself, and she was ready to embrace and encourage my role!  I took the deepest, longest, most rejuvenating breath I had taken in such a long, tolling time!

As a starting point, my boss began analyzing our team using the DISC assessment.  My scientifically grounded beau might be skeptical, but I’m on board with the use of these behavioral studies as one of the many tools for better understanding myself and how people can function together more harmoniously.  My initial reaction to my analysis was, “these results are pretty sassy.”  To which my boss told me, “no, it’s you who is sassy!”  Well then…

Not too surprisingly, the graphs, charts and texts pointed to my aesthetic drivers.  I seek beauty and harmony and experience.  I am people focused.  I want to relate to people in order to sell them on my ideas, but I may need to contextualize my ideas in terms of money and value if I am to convince others who are driven by different factors.

In return, when people are dealing with me, the assessment suggested, “Be brief.  Be Bright.  Be Gone.”  How about that sass?!?

Orange-Carrot-Ginger

I may not be brief in writing, but when it comes to freshly pressed juice, I am very brief, bright and gone!  Behold the hydrating, recharging, nutrient rich powers of the juicer’s bounty!  I couldn’t resist sharing nature’s orange hue set against the bluest of Pittsburgh skies!

Juicing is no science for yours truly, so go ahead and play with your palate and your palette.  On this particularly sunny morn, my body was craving carrots, citrus and the spicier kick of fresh ginger.