Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Peekaboo..

While yesterday it felt like spring….
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Today, it was a white awakening.
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It happens. It is April. The sun is out again and melts away the snow. The clusters of black and red-bellied birds are hopping in the white lawn in front of the house, which delights V. who is looking out from her cat throne while taking a sunbath, and worries me that I might have grubby snacks under the lawn.

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Oh winter. You are not going easy this year.

On a more interesting note:
If that does not make your day, maybe this time-lapse video of Lotte from age 0 to 14 will.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring has arrived

My heart was pounding.

Sweaty palms.

I breathed heavily and my stomach cramped up.

Then, I walked into the bedroom, scooped up V., placed her in the un-mounted cat carrier, placed the top back on while holding her in place, and clipped the safety locks shut. She was too surprised to protest and claw her way out again. The worst was over. Then, we drove to the vet for her annual exam. I had tried other ways of getting her into the carrier before, like stuffing her in through the open top door. We were both battered and clawed after that, she won and I had to maneuver her out from under the bed again. I wonder how long the surprise scoop will work in the future.

All signs these days point to Easter and Passover. Recipes for deviled eggs abound. Or baking an easter bunny.

Painting Easter eggs.

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Or crocheting little daisies for the table d├ęcor.

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The weather decided it needs a little bit more winter, and it will snow tomorrow morning. The weather in April is known to be undecided. The lawns look like lawns in California at the end of summer: sandy brown. The first mint, chives and the rhubarb are bursting through the ground. The bicycle is pumped up and waiting as new transportation to work.

Spring has officially arrived. Mostly.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring smoothies

It is time for spring cleaning, and not just the house and the garden. The fast way for an physical energy jump? A smoothie.

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The vegan smoothies:

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An arugula  smoothie with seedless grapes.

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A classic baby spinach greek yogurt smoothie, a gentle introduction to green smoothies for everyone!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Lemon Almond Teacakes (GF)

Within 2 weeks we went from 4 feet of snow and freezing temperature to summer. Yesterday it was so warm, people had lunch at the tables on the sidewalk. I put the patio chairs and the first umbrella on the deck, and cleared out the garden from winter debris, uncovering the first herbs. It was so warm it was time to wear shorts. Life is good.

For the first patio Saturday afternoon coffee and cake get-together, I made individualized GF lemon almond cakes and coconut rum cakes.

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The first cakes were inspired by the still ripening Meyer Lemons. One of them I had used in a wonderful lemon asparagus risotto. The zest would be wonderful in these tea cakes to infuse them with lemon aroma.

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The second batch was inspired by coconut and rum --- a similar base dough but with different flavors. The texture of both is wonderful fluffy, not too sweet and slightly caramelized on the outside.

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Individual cakes are a really good idea because not all of the cake might be eaten with a small group of friends, and the rest can easily be frozen for another time. Perfect to partition. The slightly bigger cakes are great to share for 2 people.

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Lemon Almond Tea Cakes (glutenfree)

special equipment: Nordic Ware Garland bundt pan

  • 5 TB softened unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup blond cane sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon
  • zest of 1 organic Meyer Lemon
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 2/3 cup glutenfree all-purpose flour (King Arthur)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Fleur de sel

Preheat your oven at 350 F. Spray your mold generously with a baking spray.

In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and Fleur de sel; and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one after the other, incorporated well before adding the second egg. Add the lemon zest, the lemon juice, and the almond milk.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until homogeneous.

Fill the molds 3/4 full and bake the teacakes for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out dry. Let cool for 10 minutes before unmolding (important! they are kind of soft and will fall apart otherwise), leaving them to completely cool on a rack.

Coconut Rum Tea Mini Cakes (glutenfree)

special equipment: Nordicware rosebud platinum pan

  • 5 TB softened unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup blond cane sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 TB almond milk
  • 3 TB dried unsweetended coconut
  • 1/4 ts of coconut extract
  • 1/4 ts of rum extract
  • 1/3 cup almond meal
  • 1/3 cup glutenfree all-purpose flour (King Arthur)
  • 1/3 cup quinoa flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Fleur de sel

Preheat your oven at 350 F. Spray your mold generously with a baking spray.

In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and Fleur de sel; and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one after the other, incorporated well before adding the second egg. Add the almond milk, extracts, and coconut, and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients and mix until homogeneous.

Fill the molds 3/4 full and bake the teacakes for about 30 minutes, or until the toothpick inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out dry. Let cool for 10 minutes before unmolding (important! they are kind of soft and will fall apart otherwise), leaving them to completely cool on a rack.