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Posts from — June 2011

PSA: Reverse Racism

I’m sure you all have things that just annoy the ever-loving crap out of you. I sure do! Tons. But few make me as angry as when people make serious comments about “groups”, ethnic or otherwise, because they themselves have at one point or another felt targeted, so they feel justified “getting back” or because they are related to someone who is OF the minority (I will occasionally jokingly say “retarded” and mention how my retarded aunt called me a retard, but I’m not serious, so don’t include me in the Pioneer Woman category, I beg you). For example, when a minority says, “All entitled white girls look the same.” First of all, bitter much? (Note: I am not a white girl.) Secondly, how would you feel if you were say, Korean, and someone from another ethnicity said you look just like every Japanese person they’ve ever met? Pretty insulted, I’m guessing, and there are a lot more “Asians” in this world than whiteys.

“Reverse racism” is never OK, especially not to teach someone a lesson in a passive way. How in the hell do you expect people who are lumping you into a category to reflect on their words/actions if you behave in exactly the same way instead of taking the high road?

My annoyance here, though, is that reverse racism doesn’t ACTUALLY exist. It’s just freaking RACISM, people.

*hops off soapbox to continue studying, humming that “The more you know!” tune*

June 29, 2011   2 Comments

My favorite day of the week: Caturday

It’s official: my brain is mush.

I’ve been doing so many memory exercises, studying so much vocabulary, and recording so much of my own voice doing consecutive translations that I am no longer a real human being. I am an interpreting robot. All I’ve had a real desire to do today is listen to music, play video games, and take pictures of our cats. A reasonable and responsible use of my time, right?

In my next life (let’s ignore the fact that I don’t believe in reincarnation for now, OK?) I would like to come back as a cat, please. Thank you.

June 18, 2011   3 Comments

Let them eat cake! And cupcakes!

Being gluten and casein free gets a little complicated around holidays/special occasions… particularly birthdays. And if you’re hosting a party and have a million things to do, and you’re starting to feel old and tired (I know that saying that while still in my 20s should be forbidden — sue me!), the last thing you want is to take a full day to make some elaborate dessert that you can actually enjoy on your own birthday… right before you yell at those damn kids to get off your lawn. ;-) That is why I am, once more, grateful for Silvana Nardone’s Cooking for Isaiah. I found a couple of recipes I fell in love with: chocolate cake (to please George) and strawberry cupcakes (in true “fresita” form!). The results were absolutely delicious, so I thought I’d share the recipes. (For full size pictures, click on the images!)

First, make sure you still have some of the same all-purpose flour blend from this entry. It works for every single recipe you can think of that uses normal flour, achieving a taste that is just as good (and sometimes better!) than regular wheat flour. Next…

Chocolate Birthday Cake with Whipped Chocolate Frosting
If you overwhip the chocolate frosting, just add water, a drizzle at a time, to make it glossy and smooth again.
SERVES 12 • PREP TIME 30 minutes (plus cooling) • BAKE TIME 30 minutes

Cake
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • ½ cup cold water
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups Silvana’s All-Purpose Flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
    Frosting
  • 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1½ cups water

    1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease two 9-inch (22.5cm) round cake pans with cooking spray; line the bottoms with parchment paper and grease the paper. To make the cake, in a small bowl, whisk together the espresso powder and boiling water; let cool slightly. Whisk in the cold water, vanilla, oil and eggs.

    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just combined; divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack.

    3. To make the frosting, in a large microwavable bowl, melt together the chocolate chops and water on high power, about 2 minutes; stir until smooth, and let cool to room temperature. With a handheld electric mixer, beat the chocolate mixture on medium-high speed until light and whipped, about 12 minutes. (Note: this has not worked for me either of the two times I’ve made this cake… but then, I live in Florida, so room temperature is pretty warm. I end up having to pop it in the fridge a few minutes before whipping.)

    4. Run a knife around the edges of the pans to release the layers. Invert one cake layer onto a cake plate, flat side facing up. Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread about 2 cups of the whipped chocolate frosting evenly on top. Invert the remaining cake layer, rounded side up, onto the frosting. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before slicing. (Another note: you can add sliced strawberries in that middle layer, and it will be amazing. I also had extra frosting left over, so I just piled it on the bottom of the cake plate, like a little cake skirt, and took advantage of it being strawberry season and decorated it with strawberries all around the cake. Delish!)

    5. Roll your eyes (or blush, maybe you’re a prude) as people make inappropriate noises while they enjoy this cake and exclaim how they can’t believe it’s GFCF.

    Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Frosting
    MAKES 12 cupcakes • PREP TIME 18 minutes • BAKE TIME 20 minutes

    Cupcakes
  • 1½ cups Silvana’s All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup strawberry puree (about 5 ounces/150g strawberries)
  • ½ cup rice milk
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 drops red food coloring
  • ½ cup all-vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
    Frosting
  • 1 cup all-vegetable shortening, at room temperature
  • 2¾ confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • ½ cup strawberry puree (about 5 ounces/150g strawberries)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Sprinkles, for topping

    1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. To make the cupcakes, in a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

    2. In another small bowl, combine the strawberry puree, milk, vanilla and food coloring. (Note: I used fresh strawberries and lightly pureed them in the blender. This gave the cupcakes an incredibly fresh and real strawberry flavor.)

    3. In a large bowl and using a handheld electric mixer, beat the shortening on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. On medium speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined. Alternately add the flour mixture and the strawberry mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture and beating until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan until each cup is two thirds full. Bake until the cupcakes are springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack.

    4. To make the frosting, in a large bowl and using a handheld electric mixer, beat together the shortening, confectioners’ sugar, strawberry puree and salt on medium-high speed until fluffy. Pipe or spread over the cooled cupcakes; top with sprinkles.

    I’d recommend you make two batches of the strawberry cupcakes — if you want a chance to enjoy ANY of them before they’re devoured by everyone else!

  • June 11, 2011   4 Comments

    A rose by any other name would not smell like poopy paws

    We’re those kinds of people: the people that think up non-animal names for their animals. Leo Tolstoi. Spartacus. And… Princess? Well, Princess was a fluke. When we got her and Spartacus, they had coccidia, which involved finding her back paws covered in poop five minutes after every feeding. Appetizing, right? Anyway, we started jokingly calling her “Princess Poopy Paws” because we were still debating other names (Catherine the Great, and just “Cat” for short? Cleopatra, “Cleo Cat”? Etc.) and as usually happens when you don’t want a stupid nickname to stick, it stuck.

    The first time we took them to the vet, I registered her as Princess, too embarrassed to admit the full name we’d unintentionally baptized her with. But a few weeks ago, when I was messing around with their online animal profiles (our vet is high tech!) I changed it to Princess Poopy Paws on a whim, assuming no one ever actually checks those profiles.

    Until today.

    Today I had a little voicemail symbol on my Droid after I took a shower. I just checked it, and it was priceless to hear the prim and proper vet tech say, “Hello, this is _______ from _______ Animal Hospital, just calling to follow up on Spartacus and Princess Poopy Paws (a pause here, disbelief and slight giggling creeping into the message) after last week’s appointment… so, um, if you want to give us a call, well, please do so?”

    So worth it.

    June 3, 2011   6 Comments