Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spring, Is That You?

It was Easter.  There was still snow on the ground, but Easter was here!  This is not a health food picture here, but on special occasions I love to enjoy a home made dessert from scratch.  I dusted off an old baking book I picked up at a flea market years ago and got to baking. 
The cake I made is called a Bonnie Butter Cake (I told you this is not a health food shot!).  Basically, a vanilla cake with fresh whipped cream filling, vanilla buttercream frosting but none of the chemicals found in most commercially processed desserts :)  That's what I love about baking- I can pronounce and recognize all of the ingredients...butter, eggs, vanilla, flour, sugar etc.  There isn't the time to do it for every occasion but it's great when I can.  One problem I seem to keep running into since switching from baking from pre-packaged cake mixes to baking from scratch is that the cake seems dense.  I used to use whole wheat flour for these desserts and I thought that was the problem.  This time around I bought an organic all-purpose flour but I still felt like the cake was dense.  Hmmmm......I need to figure this one out!  Any ideas?

Also, I am sure you have been hearing about the recent petition and attention on Kraft foods to remove chemical food dyes from their products.  There was a recent food investigation by Food Babe that revealed that European countries have banned many of such chemicals and large companies, such as Kraft, make their products for the European markets without these harmful additives.  Note the Cadbury mini-eggs on the cake.  My folks recently returned from a trip to see family in Ireland and our house was spoiled with some imported Cadbury mini-eggs.  When I looked at the ingredients, I noticed that the coloring comes from beetroot and paprika!  I bought a bag from a grocery store here in the U.S. and the coloring is from chemical dyes....argh.   Can we please get this right??

Since Easter, we have seen signs of spring!  Although I am sure we are off to a late start, we finally got going on seedlings for our garden this year.  We have plans for corn, tomatoes, spinach, green beans, potatoes and some herbs. 
Standing proudly next to her seedlings....
We have some rearranging in the yard to do in order to keep the chickens from pulling up the seeds!  They are cute, but it was very frustrating last year when I came home to my herbs all pulled up and a flock of chickens "dirt and sun bathing" in my raised garden boxes.

Speaking of the chickens, their strike is over! Woohoo!  Despite using a heat lamp and extending daylight with artificial light all winter, they just were not producing.   My husband began talking about chicken stew.  There was a temporary stop on the strike and we collected one or two eggs (I swear they heard him), but then it quickly resumed again.  I pleaded to give it until spring and see what happens.  Warmer temperatures over the last week or so and another cleaning of the coop seems to have done the trick! They are back in business.

Even with plans for the garden in the works here, I decided to go back to a local farm and also sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share.  We bought one 2 years ago, but last year I decided to try to use farmers' markets instead.  The share worked out better for us as our local market is really small.  We plan on taking our first shot at preserving/canning if our garden produces well this year and there is an abundance of produce from the share. addition to veggies, I also just connected with a farm about a meat share.  I am very excited about this.  It has been on my "want to do" list for a while.  I will be taking a trip out to the farm soon and have some more news hopefully! 

On the fitness front, the last 2 weeks have been a bust.  I caught the viral chest cold/cough that everyone seems to be sharing and couldn't shake it.  I never get chest colds...I'm spoiled, but this one knocked me down pretty good. Not being able to take anything due to expecting didn't help, but I'm feeling back to myself this weekend and looking forward to getting back to some cardio.  32 weeks along! Almost. There.

Any spring plans or progress going on for you?

Have a great week and good luck to all those Boston Marathoners out there!  I know some runners in this year's race and I can't wait to hear about their experience!

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