Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Monday

Tasty, tasty Easter grapes.
We spent the morning with Izzy and Nick, Holly and Rich. My Mommy is staying with us, after her stay in Pasadena helping her sister and mom, so she came too. Holly and Rich are exceptional hosts. I am having yet another giggle at my own expense... thinking of what a full house they had with neighbors, friends and family over for brunch and an egg hunt. I have to remind myself that we make it a crowd when we arrive with 7 people!

Earlier, the children went in to our backyard to wish Joe, the rabbit, a Happy Easter and that's when they found their baskets. Baskets with Legos and a little chocolate bunny and the traditional pack of underwear. Such a thoughtful E. Bunny. Maria's basket had "Goodnight Gorilla."

For a few years I have been aware of how shy and elusive Nick can be when I come around with my camera, so I was pleased to catch him unaware. He was enjoying a quiet moment during the party.

I heard Rich telling friends about Izzy's passion for chocolate. I think her appetite was well satisfied, and you can see she is still enjoying a last smack of chocolate goodness.

Speaking of goodness, this carrot cake came out pretty good. Max thinks I need to work on my carrot decorations... true, but I thought they were pretty convincing. The best part is that we have food dye that is derived from real life edible plants and not petroleum junk. Thank you Seelect. Many years ago I fell in love with a carrot cake, Janice's carrot cake. Oh, it was so yummy and good. To compensate for not decorating for Easter, for not holding my arms wide open to welcome Spring in to our house, I got it in to my head to bake The Carrot Cake. Janice kindly shared the recipe and we agreed it is slightly rich. (rich = full of fat and sugar) So, I got cocky. (cocky = I can adapt the recipe and make it healthier) Being cocky in the kitchen, with a dish intended to be shared at an Easter brunch, is very risky. No one wants a dry, tasteless cake... a too healthy cake, during a holiday extravaganza, may not be too satisfying.

I only modified 2 parts, and next time I am going to take it a step further and reduce the oil to just 1 cup. The results were very well received, and the real test was that I liked it a lot. I am sure it isn't a recipe that falls under the heading of Health Food, but it is delicious.

Janice and Natalie's Carrot Cake

3 cups grated carrots
2 cups sugar
1.5 1.25 cups of oil
4 eggs

Stir these ingredients together. And I am thinking that next time I may go to 1 cup of oil and maybe add more carrot or even some zucchini.

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup of oatmeal (I like the old fashioned kind)

Sift the dry ingredients together and then mix in the nuts. The oatmeal was something I added. I love oatmeal. Next time I will probably make it a full cup, especially if I increase the carrots. Start adding the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir 'em up. I did this by hand, since I did not want to over-mix the batter.

Choose a favorite cake pan, and I lightly oiled mine, and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. A cook time would be helpful, I know, but I don't have one. Expect it to take more than half an hour... it will smell good and an inserted knife will come out clean... you'll know when it's done.

I am not capable of following directions. Something in me must resist. So even though Janice gave me her perfectly tasty recipe, by the time I was ready to frost the cake, I just made it up.

1 stick of butter
8 oz of cream cheese + a healthy scoop of some leftover whipped cream cheese we had leftover from breakfast
a largish, perhaps 2, teaspoons of vanilla
powdered sugar... more than you want to admit, less than a box... I did not make it very sweet.

I whipped all of this together, and set some aside to turn orange and then frost the cool cake. The carrots looked even less like carrots until I topped them with celery greens!

Well, that was our Easter. Enjoying a beautiful day, laughing with family, making new friends. We came home for a quiet evening and we watched Live From Lincoln Center, "Madama Butterfly." Now it is Easter Monday, a warm day with a blue sky and errands to run and chores to complete. How was your Easter?


calamitykim said...

The last carrot cake I made was from The Joy of Cooking and it was wonderful! They are my son, Troy's favorite cake! So Carrot cake always makes me think of him. :) I am glad you had more family fun! Did you make any chicks yet? I am making some tote bags for Picasso's Moon Yarn Shop today as Knit & B*Tch is tomorrow- I am almost done with the shawl- it has been an all month project, it seems! I can't do anything simple or small. anyway- Happy Tuesday! I love you, xxxooo calamity kim

nikkipolani said...

What a delightful post, Natalie! Every company birthday cake around here is a super sugary sweet carrot cake with an inch of frosting. So I've been avoiding carrot cake lately. But I like your adjustable recipe and may give it a try (albeit skipping the decorating part since I'm abysmally bad at cake dec).

village mama said...

carrot cake is heaven. love your pic!