Monday, May 26, 2014

Hey strangers...

Hi, dear readers. Did you miss me? I haven't blogged in a few months...almost four big, long months. It's not that I've been particularly busy or that my life hasn't been exciting or anything (because it totally has), I just haven't felt the need to express myself with the written word for some reason.

I mean really, what do I have to say that is so important that I have to express it in print for anyone with internet access to see...ever? Or maybe what any of us has to say doesn't necessarily have to be deemed important to anyone except ourselves. Maybe all we need is to be able to write what we feel behind the anonymity of the internet what we can't say out loud to any other human being in person. Maybe the world of computers, smart phones, email and texting has finally stunted humanity's communication skills. I blog because it's cathartic. I get to write amateur prose, share recipes I've created and ramble on about things that will never make the evening news and I don't have to worry what anyone else will think of me for it because I have the power to ignore comments from internet trolls and go on with my other life (the one that doesn't occur in The Cloud) as though this one is utterly and completely private...even though it's not. Not even close. Nothing on the internet is private, kids.

But enough of that malarkey. Here's what's up, amigos: I am moving this coming Saturday. We are buying a lovely Victorian style townhouse about two miles from where we currently live. The property managers were going to raise our rent, once again, and unless they planned on doing some major upgrades to our appliances, the building and the property, that was completely unacceptable for this 700 square foot ground level apartment. We could either keep paying the man or we could start paying a mortgage and invest in ourselves.

The new place is almost twice the square footage, has two large bedrooms with their own bathrooms, plus a half bath downstairs. It also has a small back patio with room for a garden and a recently remodeled kitchen about four times larger than our current galley style kitchen. Plus, we won't have to share three washers and dryers with about fifty strangers. Oh, happy fucking day!

The last three weeks have been spent window shopping for washers, dryers and couches, and prepping and packing for our move next week. Lord help me; five more days until we move and start the unpacking. It's amazing how much crap a person can accumulate in six years. Live minimally, people. You will be happier when you have to move and you'll save a lot of money on all of that shit you don't really need and will never use anyway.

All of that said, I promise I will make an effort to blog more often. Really. I'll try.

Until then,

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I came across this little gem on Facebook yesterday when a friend of mine posted it on her wall with a call for volunteers to participate with her. I'm a sucker for shit like that so I took a running leap onto that train and registered pretty much right away.

I'm on day 2 and more than a couple of people have already asked me how I can expect to be happy for 100 days in a row....well, I can't, but that's okay because I don't really have to. I just have to notice things that make me happy. Even when I'm being a ginormous, grumpy bitch...and that's a lot lately because I have first world problems and stuff.

When I notice these happy things I should take a picture of them or something that represents them and then publicly post them on my chosen social media platform (Facebook for me, but there are other options) with my designated hashtags, #100happydays and #gingercooke. I do this once a day for 100 days in a row and voila! Coolness.

Why would anyone do this? Let me count the ways: 1) I like fru-fru shit like this, 2) I like taking and posting pictures of stuff anyway, 3) Noticing things that make me happy is not a bad thing, 4) It's positive and sometimes the world needs a bit of that.

Want to see my pictures? If you go to Facebook and search for #gingercooke you will find them. Searching for #100happydays will show you other people's pictures with that tag as well. I also tag with the day if you want to get super specific though: e.g. #Day1 or #Day75.

So first, visit and sign up if you are so inclined. Then come visit me and we will have so much fun together. Yay!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Walnut Glaze

Happy Thanksgiving! I did not eat turkey today...NOPE! I had a beautiful frittata and pancakes for breakfast with my mother (that I did not photograph - sorry) and then I made this incredible cake just because I wanted something pumpkinny because it's Thanksgiving and stuff. Turns out that I am the Queen of Cakes or some shit because it was deeeeelicious!

Pumpkin Spice Cake

½ cup of unsalted butter, softened
1¼ cups of agave nectar
2 eggs, room temperature
¾ cup of buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1¼ cups of all-purpose flour (plus 1 tbsp for high altitude)
1¼ cups of white whole wheat flour (plus 1 tbsp for high altitude)
1 tbsp of cocoa powder
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of baking powder
½ tsp of salt
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1 tsp of ground allspice
½ tsp of ground nutmeg
¼ tsp of ground mace
¼ tsp of ground cloves
¼ tsp of ground ginger

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lightly grease and flour or spray a bundt pan with baking spray.
In a large bowl: mix the butter and agave with a mixer until mostly smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly blended. Then mix in the buttermilk and vanilla.
Into a smaller bowl: sift the flours, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and all of the spices.
With the mixer on a low speed, add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients in two additions, scraping the sides of the bowl between additions. Do not over mix the batter or the cake will be tough.
Fold the batter into the bundt pan and spread it evenly.
Bake at 325 for 45-50 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center of the cake will come out clean and the sides will spring back slightly from the edges of the pan.
Let the cake cool for about 15 minutes before removing it to cool completely on a cooling rack.
Top with cream cheese walnut glaze once it is completely cooled.

Cream Cheese Walnut Glaze

4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp of agave nectar or pure maple syrup
1 tsp of vanilla extract
½ tsp of almond extract
1-2 tbsp of milk, if needed for thinning
¼ tsp of raw, unsalted walnuts, chopped

Preheat a skillet over medium high and add the chopped walnuts. Stir them around the pan now and then to evenly toast them. When they start to turn golden and you can smell them, remove them from the heat and set them aside to cool. This should only take a couple of minutes so do not walk away from that pan.
Mix the cream cheese, agave, vanilla and almond extracts until smooth. Add the milk, 1 tbsp at a time, until it is the desired texture.
Stir in the walnuts while they’re still a little warm.
Spoon over the cake when it is completely cooled.