Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Chocolate-Buttermilk Spice Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting

I am posting this recipe, because sometimes I get requests for the recipe. I often make this cake for special occasions and it is really really delicious! It is a recipe that I have adapted from a couple of other recipes.

Chocolate-Buttermilk Spice Cake : 
cooking time is for a bunting pan.  325 degrees for about 70 minutes.  This timing depends on your oven and your pan.  You may want to check it at 60 minutes to see if it might be done.  You can also adapt this to make cupcakes pretty easily..just check the timing of how long to make regular cupcakes and subsititue the temp and time.    (probably 350 degrees for about 15-17 minutes or so)

3 cups raw or white sugar
3 cups of unbleached white flour
3/4 cup of butter
3/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups water
3/8 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Directions:  (prepare the day before or many hours before to give the cake enough time to cool)
You will need 2 bowls and one sauce pan
  1. preheat oven to 325. grease and flour your pan (or put parchment paper on the bottom)--it can be hard to get this cake out of the pan and the paper might make a difference.
  2. sift sugar and flour together in one bowl
  3. in sauce pan, combine butter, oil, water, and cocoa, bring to a boil, remove from heat and add to dry ingredients
  4. dissolve baking soda in buttermilk; then add eggs, salt,cinnamon, and vanilla. Then mix this with the cocoa mixture 
  5. pour batter into pan and bake.
When the cake is done baking, set it aside and let it cool completely before trying to get the cake out of the pan.  I have destroyed this cake a couple of times trying to get it out too soon. you may need to loosen the cake or pat the sides and bottom to try not to break the cake before it comes out in one piece. If it does break, you can often mend it with the frosting.

Whipped Cream Frosting
prepare the day of the event as it is best fresh

1 package of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of raw or white sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups of heavy cream

  1. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth. 
  2. In another bowl, whip the cream until it stiff peaks form.
  3. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
Alltogether: Cover the cake with the frosting carefully:  using a rubber spatula works really well. It is often fun to let the kids add sprinkles and candles. 

As you can see, I have made this cake many many times now over the past few years for both my kids!  (-; 

Updated:  Now for all 3 of my kids!  (the above pictures are so old now!)  2013

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


In this time before Thanksgiving (Black Friday and Lots of Food) in light of having Gestational Diabetes, I am faced with the the ongoing challenge of RESTRAINT.. 

Black Friday has never been a temptation me for, but online shopping has at times..  (-; and in light of $$ restraint, my husband and I have started a system of checking in with each other each and every week to account ourselves to what we have spent money on and to align it with the reality of how much $$ is left in checking.  It was really hard to do this at first...(analyzing reality..and not judging ourselves on our splurges, but simply looking at and being accountable for what we have spent) But--it is becoming a wonderful tool and I know it helps keep me in line with "reality"  The book, Your Money or Your Life has really inspired me to do this in a non-judgemental way...tallying every cent that is spent to see just how that money is spent and on what, and to think about the life energy that was used with purchases..and to determine whether it was worth it or not, or if the purchase reflects values, etc..  Choosing Family over Frenzy (an article about Black Friday over consumption)

On the GD topic--I have now had one week of being on a very strict eating regimine of also recording everything I eat and tallying grams of carbs.  I have to eat 6 times a day and have a min/max carb intake combined with a fat/protein and I have to test my blood 4x/day.

So, this is what it looks like on a normal school day with an example of what I've been eating:

5:30 get up and test blood
6:30 (30 carb max/min)  (which is about 1/3 cup of oatmeal and some nuts and 1/2 cup of milk) no sugar
8:30 test blood
10:30 snack (15-30 carb)--perhaps an apple and PB
12-1 lunch (30 carb/max/min)  1 meat sandwich on sprouted wheat bread with a veggie.
3pm test blood
3pm snack (5-15 carb):  some cottage cheese and pomegranite
6pm dinner (30-45 carb)  chicken with 1/2 cup of quinoa or rice and a veggie
8pm test blood
10pm snack (5-15 carb)  about 10 tortilla chips and 2TB of salsa

It is pretty healthy and it is good to see what my blood sugar does with each thing I eat. For example: I've had a white flour food--like pizza and white bread twice and both times, my blood sugar spiked over normal, so I know I need to avoid white bread right now.  I can eat 2 slices of sprouted whole wheat/grain bread and do fine, but if it were white bread, I'd be out of norm. range.

My goal is to stay under 95 for first in the AM fasting sugar level, and under 120-2 hours after each meal.  So, far, I'm doing pretty well staying in that range..when I keep to the schedule..or get extra exercise.

Last night I had a bad dream, though, and I think it threw my numbers off-stress..feeling tired (maybe fighting a cold) and feeling discouraged...getting tired of the regimine..I miss the treats..  It isn't always easy using restraint all the time..restraint in eating and in spending $$...I guess I'm used to rewarding or comforting myself in those ways at times, and I can't allow myself to resort to those patterns when I'm feeling blue..  so I am left with feeling bummed out about it.. 

I read from the book, Your Money or Your Life that frugality is not about denying yourself--the orginal definition is  frugality is being happy with less.  I really really jive with liberating it would be to be HAPPY with LESS..It is completely the opposite of what we are fed by the media every day--You need more to live in more luxury to make you have less work to do at home..(but you have to work more to have more of those conveniences)  What if it really is easier and better to live without that find you don't need it afterall..  don't really need a 2nd in turn don't need as much money going out to pay for the car or fixing/replacing cheaply made dishwasher..  What if there are many many more of those things we could learn to live "without"--how much more liberating that could be!!   

(I'm speaking as my own pep-coach)---as I am on this journey...but not very far into it yet..  Step by step..  So, it also seems that restraint must be what I practice right unfun as it feels right now..  because I would love to have a slice of apple pie right now..or a gingerbread latte to help boost the feeling of being bummed right now.. (but I absolutely can't right now)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gestational Diabetes

Drama yesterday and didn't sleep well last night because of it. 

Last Thursday I took the 3 hour glucose test after having an abnormal 1 hour test.  I had dreaded it and even considered not taking it.  My feeling lately has been that modern medicine is so fear mongering and highly invasive..I have been determined to not live in anxiety during this pregnancy.  I have noticed that even my favorite pregnancy book is filled with the really nice images of a baby's growth every week, but then the rest of each chapter is all about all that can go wrong!  Not really helpful..since stress and worry can cause even more problems.  I'm highly prone to worry, so I'm just trying to think positively and it made me resentful that I had to take 100grams of glucose which I knew would make me feel sick for a whole day and make me worry...I had been feeling mentally/emotionally really good my pregnancy and then this..   And I think attitude can be sooo important..Sometimes these excessive tests simply lead to more stress and money spent.  On the other hand, they can catch some important problems too, so I'm not totally against them.  (ie, I did take the test ultimately)

It took a week for them to get back to me. I thought, "no news is good news, I hope" Still, I worried.  Then yesterday at the worst possible time, I found the message from the clinic, when I had just brought my son home from school..a very tired and upset child who had yet again, had a bad "silly band" experience..  (had taken the chance and let him bring some to school) and he again gave away more than he had wanted to..  I got the message to call..and tried to call and talk to the nurse, but my son was not going to be calmed enough to really be able to do anything about getting the info I needed at that moment.  My 3 hour came back abnormal..  which I guess means I have gestational diabetes.  I didn't really think I'd fail it.  I've only gained 12 pounds and I'm 30 weeks..  But I'm not surprised I have issues with processing does make me feel tired..and I do feel sensitive to it.. (and I've been having too much of it lately with the Halloween candy hanging around)--occasionally I also have a big bowl of spaghetti for lunch, or a bowl of popcorn at night..and I know those have been splurges.  And we often have a mix of whole grain bread, but also have some white ciabatta bread occasionally too..  But, I do eat really good meals with proteins and whole grains and fresh veggies..and avoid processed foods most of the time.. 

I am hoping that (the splurges aside)  I have been keeping my blood sugars managed through how I eat..although I bet I could exercise more.  It has been increasingly difficult to get to the gym.. But I do walk back and forth between home and school quite a bit and do lots of chores around the house, etc.. 

I know what I can do better..But, perhaps, I'm okay because I have been fairly moderate in my eating..(for the most part)...and maybe don't need to worry too much.  My son was 7#2oz, 7 years ago, and my daughter was 7#8oz almost 6 years ago...not big babies..  so hopefully this baby will be fine too.  probably a little bigger, though, since she is the 3rd..  Although I do remember my son's blood sugar dropping a lot the first couple of days after birth..  The pediatrician said it was because he was 2 weeks late..but perhaps I had had some glucose issues then too.  (I did fail the 1 hour test that pregnancy too, but I passed the 3 hour)

I am thinking that just because I passed the 3 hour, didn't mean I didn't have issues I could have been mindful about...I was also tested the beginning of this pregnancy and I failed the one-hour and passed the 3 hour.  I am thinking I could have been less quick to dismiss that I had passed if I had realized that I might have have been borderline..could have been more mindful all this time..  I don't think the result is so black and white..  So, I resent the fear-mongering..  (my last doc appt when we didn't know the result yet, my doc made a comment about measuring a little bigger than norm)--and mentioned the possibility of ultrasound to see if it is the baby or amniotic fluid..  (but I seem to remember that I measure a little little big because I am soo small...the baby has nowhere to go, but out since I have a short waist/etc..)  Just the suggestion, made me feel angry at implanting the worry in my mind that didn't seem necessary (yet)--And I didn't like that she told me some "scary stories" to try to convince me to get the flu shot...She has no idea the research and agonizing I have already gone through in making that decision (last year).. Fear mongering...I'm really vulnerable to it, so I really resent the does not help me to make good decisions.  (and doesn't help me sleep at night!)

I remember watching..what was that movie..can't remember but it addressed how much fear American live in, because of the media, etc..  We are often manipulated by that fear mentality..  and I now feel really sensitized to it when someone uses that tactic...Even in the natural medicine side of things too..I respect Dr. Mercola's information, but his website is filled with sensationalism and fear mongering and conspiracy theory, etc..  It is on both sides..  I believe it is called "pathos"--the persuasion of our emotions.  Logos-persuasion to our minds, and ethos-persuasion to our ethics??  (It's been a long time since I learned those terms..)


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