Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Cake

It is 11:30pm and I am awake because I am too full to fall asleep.
Tonight, we ate the birthday cake. Yes, the one and only-- the best birthday cake.

Making it was quite the adventure. Not too difficult- but probably would have been easier if I had:
1) a sifter
2) more counter space, and
3) larger mixing bowls

But, alas, I survived! The cake got rave reviews from all consumers and even the people walking by me on the street as I carried the cake to the car commented how pretty it was :)

I will not repost the entire recipe here, because I actually followed it to the letter! This strict adherence, required a trip upstairs to my neighbors apartment, because I ran out of vanilla extract. I obtained said extract, a glass of wine, and returned to my baking (in my new apron, courtesy of my wonderful little sister!).
If this were any other recipe, I probably would have substituted the 1tsp of vanilla that I was short, for something I did have; coconut or almond extract. I am sure the result would have been quite different so I am glad I stuck to the recipe.
I was considering making a different icing. I made everything last night, so I "tested" the scraps of cake left after leveling with the icing Deb recommends, and I was not sure. It had a wonderful, rich chocolate flavor- but with the sour cream... it was a bit sour. I was worried it would be off-putting to my friends. But my mom gave me some good advice to "be a purist and stick to the recipe."

I did Mom, and thank you-- everyone loved it. (I also did not have time tonight to make a new icing...) :)
So without further delay: the pictures!
The finished product:
The cupcakes I made--- OK, I did not follow the recipe to the letter... I made 2 8in round cakes, and 6 cupcakes... you caught me :) But I needed to bring my upstairs neighbors a treat for saving me on the vanilla front!
The cake in action! Lovely!
A happy birthday girl!
The inside of the cake: Next time I will also level the top layer and the sides... it does make a difference!

And that is it! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!! :)

New Ideas

I am starting to freak out that I only have 6 months of this study left.

I know- look back- who would have ever thought I would not want this study to be finished?!

CALERIE has become such a huge part of my life: the monitoring, the study researchers/dietitians, the FOOD, everything... what will happen when it is just me?

I am at a point now that I feel great-- I have learned so much about myself and about basic nutrition (even though I thought I was already very well versed in both before the study started)-- but this anxiety about not being able to maintain is threatening my last precious months.

So I decided to spend the next 6mo writing about diet tips that I have learned along the way that should help me maintain after February, 2010. Confidence builders. Yep.

And if I need help and support from the CALERIE staff, I still have it-- not that I think they will be changing their email addresses and phone numbers once I finish :)! So stay tuned for the upcoming new and improved adventures!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Soul Food

I was going through my computer and realized I have some meals that I have not blogged about yet- so here we go!

My ultimate easy-happy meal is pasta with meat sauce. I like beef but really after 7 years of being a vegetarian-- I would be happy eating no beef other than ground beef. I know it is the worst- but I do not care if it is 95%lean- I love it as much as 80%.... maybe...

My favorite part of this meal is the sauce. The noodles are really just a vehicle for sauce.
The diet has taught me that 2oz of pasta is a very small amount-- to get around this, I just add whatever greens I have on hand to bulk up my meal. In this dinner I used petite Brussels sprouts. But anything would work- asparagus, broccoli, green beans.... anything.

Here is the recipe:

Pasta, Veggies and Meat Sauce

1lb 95% lean ground beef
Victoria brand marinara sauce (my personal favorite, feel free to use any variety)
1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
Hot pepper flakes to taste

2oz Pasta (Barilla Plus or Ronzoni Smart Taste are my favorites) per serving
1c green veggie per serving

Brown meat in large pan, drain fat
Add sauce, diced tomatoes and salt and pepper to taste
Cook until hot

Cook pasta according to directions, at the last 3-5min of cooking pasta- add the green veggie

Serve with 1c of sauce and 1oz of shredded Parmesan cheese!