Monthly Archives: March 2015

Fluffiest Carrot Cake EVER

Looking for the perfect dessert this Easter? This carrot cake differs from most in that it’s light, fluffy and kid-friendly—from the making to the eating! Not only can they help by harvesting and shredding the carrots, they’ll love to decorate this spring treat (bunnies, anyone?).

light and fluffy slice

While this recipe calls for cream cheese frosting, a bit tangy for some youngsters, it would also be great with a creamy white/vanilla frosting, too.

Fluffiest Carrot Cake

2 cups self-rising flour

2 tsp cinnamon

1 ½ cups vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

3 cups freshly grated carrots

½ cup raisins (optional)

½ cup walnuts, finely chopped (optional)

pre-made fondant for decorations

Preheat oven to 350°F. 

Grease or butter 9 x 13 or 2 8-inch round pans. In a large bowl, combine oil, eggs and sugar and beat well. In a separate bowl, combine flour and cinnamon and mix together until creamy smooth. Add dry ingredients to wet and blend well. Fold in grated carrots, followed by any optional items of your liking!

Pour batter into pan and bake for about 35-45 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. Serve with cream cheese frosting (even plain, this cake is so good).

Approximately 1 large or 2 8-inch cakes.

 bunny cake

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese, refrigerated

2 TBSP unsalted butter, softened (at room temperature)

1 ½ – 2 cups powdered sugar (depending on how thick you like your frosting!)

1 tsp vanilla extract

dash of grated orange zest (optional)

Combine cream cheese, butter and vanilla extract in blender until well-blended and smooth. Add sugar gradually, 1/2 cup at a time, beating until blended. Stop when you have reached your desired consistency. For stiffer frosting, use more sugar. For creamy frosting, use less. Stir in optional flavorings at end. Spread (or drizzle) frosting over cake and enjoy!

You can purchase packages of pre-made fondant at most major craft stores (Joann’s Fabrics, Michael’s…) and forming your figures is easy. We used a tube of green cake decorating color for the greens on our carrots—for a more feathery effect. Don’t forget the pre-made flowers and sprinkles—talk about EASY! You’ll have a stylin’ cake in no time!

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For more great recipes, be sure to mark your calendar and join my 4th Annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop where authors and bloggers share their favorite recipes and gardening tips plus offering a host of GREAT prizes, including a brand new ereader of your choice (up to $200 value). Fun begins April 8th-April 17th.

Happy Spring!

Mother Nature, can we talk?

IMG_0223It’s March 27th, and it still feels like winter in Amsterdam. Wind. Rain. Biting cold. Take all that and multiply it by ten when you’re on a bike. I know these are completely normal temperatures for this time of year, but still. Could we maybe get a little taste of spring?

I know, I know, when we moved to Atlanta all those years ago, the Dutchman and I swore we would never complain about the heat. That first summer, we were those crazy new neighbors who soaked up the sun in the dead of August. I’m pretty sure we lived outside for months. It took us that long to thaw out our frozen bones.

But the heat eventually got to us, just like the cold and wet does here, and it chased us inside. Before long, we were like everyone else in Atlanta, complaining about the heat, the humidity, the blazing hot sun. And when spring came, instead of throwing open the doors and running outside, we complained about the pollen.

So here I am, back where my promise all started, in the Netherlands, freezing and wishing for spring. Like everybody else on this sodden piece of land, I study the weather report like a religion and run outside when the skies stop dumping. I huddle on terraces under heaters and behind wind screens, my face pointed to the sun. I don’t care that it’s still freezing; I’m thrilled to just be outside, even if only for a few minutes.

And when Spring finally gets here, I promise to enjoy every single second. And this time, I promise it will last.

My Tuesday Dad

In a couple of months, my dad will have been gone for five years.

The sting of his passing still strikes fresh, on those days I selfishly wish he could be here, when I want to pick his brain about life, get his opinions and advice. Have him on my team.

But also, same as the very morning we lost him, I am thankful for his release.

My dad was kind-hearted and he talked with his hands and there were certain deficiencies with some of his abilities. He dealt for so long with severe health conditions.

The same can be said of this man I see at my workplace every Tuesday morning. Oh, there are enough prominent differences that I see his individuality, but there’s also a little of my dad in there somewhere. The heart, the hands, the conditions.

Some mornings, when he says, “Hi, young lady,” in the same tone my dad would have, I reply quickly and rush off, before he can notice my watery eyes. Other mornings, we talk about the weather or about his family, and I am grateful for those occasional times I can pull away from my introversion for chit-chatting.

No exchange is profound. There is never a strong undercurrent of my dad himself. It’s just that the similarities bring me some small comfort, a glimpse of who my dad was—and still is in my heart—and that makes me happy.

On Tuesdays.

A Goodbye Gift

Spring At LastSince the 2011 inception of the Women Unplugged blog, I’ve met so many amazing people on this site, and learned so much from my fellow Women Unplugged bloggers. And now I’m sad to tell you that this will be my last regular post on the site.

THE END (for me) made me remember THE BEGINNING, so I went back through the archives and pulled out a few of my very favorite posts. These are posts that gave me a glimpse into the lives—and hearts— of the amazing women I’ve been fortunate to share this time with. I hope you enjoy their words as much as I did (for the first or second time, depending on how long you’ve been here with us).

It’s Not Selfish To Do What You Love by Andrea Wenger

Overcoming Obstacles To Get My Game On by Tracy Solheim

Batter Up by Christy Hayes

AAA – Animals Against Anxiety by Patricia Yager Delagrange

Where I’m From by Sharla Lovelace

Scene of the Day by Janna Donn

My First Book Signing by Dianne Venetta

Trusting the Process by Kimberly S Bell

Wishing you all much good health, happiness, and the joy of reading!

No More Shopping!

I’m going on vacation! I’m exhausted from packing, exhausted from the lead up, and all I can think about is sleeping on the plane and eventually seeing the sun. We’ve had a rainy stretch these last few days and I’m over it.9398206391_06effde0cf

As I packed my suitcase, filling it with the sundry of new purchases I’d made for the trip, I realized how many clothes I have that I never wear. I work from home and I like to be comfortable. For me, that means workout wear and tennis shoes most days (and not particularly nice workout wear). So why did I go out and buy more new clothes I’ll barely wear?

Good question.

The good news is that I’m a bargain shopper so nothing was terribly expensive. The bad news is it’s time to clean out my closet and give some clothes to charity.

The moral of this post is more a reminder to myself: instead of buying new clothes I probably don’t need, I should shop in my closet for all the hardly worn treasures I once thought I couldn’t live without.

Happy Spring!

photo credit: Heavy bag via photopin (license)

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