It was beautiful. Just past the peak of autumn in Western Maine, the trees are half-naked and ground is a thick carpet of bright leaves. Only a few more weeks of this, so I’m glad I got to enjoy it today!
Chinese lanterns and hydrangeas made a beautiful wreath for our porch. I simply wove the stems into a grapevine wresth. Essy-peasy! I always love autumn decorating. The colors and textures of the season are so lovely in Maine – I don’t even mind all the leaves I’ll have to rake in another week or so!
I am not a cake person. Growing up, my mom always bought me a Sara Lee cheesecake for my birthday (Mom isn’t the baking type). However, I do love piece of homemade chocolate cake and every now and then. When my kids were younger I used to make a simple chocolate cake called Cemetery Cake. I’m not where the name came from, but I think it’s wonderfully poetic. Happy coincident, this recipe happens to be vegan – though I definitely am not.
This recipe is adapted from The Church Potluck Supper by Elaine Robinson. Since I hadn’t made this cake in several years, I thought I would try to clean it up a bit. I was a little overzealous in my efforts, swapping all the white flour for whole wheat (mistake number 1), cuting the sugar by half (mistake 2) and forgetting to add the vegetable oil (trifecta!). The result was a beautifully dense cake that tasted like chocolate cardboard. The boys were more forgiving, telling me it really wasn’t all that bad (but I think they were just being nice, since it was my birthday).
The redo was much improved. I used equal parts white and wheat flours, increased the sugar (though I still didn’t use as much as the original recipe called for) and substituted applesauce for the forgotten oil. I topped it off with homemade whipped coconut cream (also vegan, also a happy coincident).
1.5 cups whole wheat flour
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups white sugar
8 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspons vanilla
2/3 cup applesauce (or oil of your choice)
2 teaspoons of vinegar
2 cups cold water
Toss all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth. Bake at 350 degrees in 9″ x 13″ pan or two 9″ pans. Depending on your oven it will take between 35-45 minutes. I always test using a toothpick – if it comes out clean from the center of a cake, it’s done.
Homemade Whipped Coconut Cream
1 can coconut milk (found in the Asian foods section at the grocery store)
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Drain the clear liquid from the can of coconut milk. Mix the solid white milk with the powdered sugar and vanilla. Serve immediately or chill (it will have the same consistency as chilled butter).
Over the weekend I made this beautiful Quinoa Salad – it’s essentially an Asian-style coleslaw with quinoa mixed in. The sauce is an ginger-peanut dressing that I want to throw on everything. Bonus, I love the colors. Double Bonus, it’s cheap and easy to make, as well as good for you. I found the original recipe from Ambitious Kitchen.
Tip About Cooking Quinoa:
I have a hard time finding quinoa in bulk, so I usually end up buying 12 oz. boxes from Reny’s. This recipe calls for a cup (8 oz.) of cooked quinoa, which equates to half a cup dried. I find it annoying to cook little amounts of anything, so I just cook up the whole box and serve the plain quinoa with dinner over the next day or two or take it to work for lunch. It reheats well and is a good replacement for rice. I also like to cook quinoa with a little chicken stock for some extra flavor.
Hello! Welcome to my new blog! After seven years of writing for other websites I am excited to be working on my own project: Far From Perfect. A little over a year ago I bought a 1902 farmhouse, complete with chicken coop, greenhouse and gardens galore! The only problem: I had no idea how to raise chickens, use a greenhouse or care for gardens. But I have always wanted to learn. This blog chronicles my adventures (and misadventures) of life on my little farm on the hill.