Archive for February, 2008

The Midwife and Her Apprentice Came

February 14, 2008

Yesterday the midwife came and brought along her apprentice whom I had never met before.  I would say we hit it off pretty good.  They were here for an hour and 45 minutes.  I told her to bring her children the next time she came.

Even though I am only 13 weeks along we still managed to hear the heartbeat twice for just a few seconds.  All day yesterday I heard the children, at different times saying, “I’m so glad the baby is still alive.”  Only about 27 more weeks to go!

5 Minutes Before…

February 12, 2008

…we had to leave for Mass on Sunday, James tells me that Charlotte put toothpaste on her forehead.  Well, it was not only on her forehead, but in her hair as well.  Ugh!  If we weren’t trying to get somewhere on time, perhaps I would have found it funny and taken a picture.

Christina Pirello’s Chocolate Red Velvet Cake

February 12, 2008

There have been two requests to post this recipe.  I was hesitant since it was in her new book, but then I searched her website a bit and found it there.  If you goto the Christina Cooks website, look under menus.  You can download Series 9 PBS recipes and find it in there.  I highly recommend that you look there if you are interested in wonderful, tasty, healthy recipes.

Chocolate Red Velvet Cake

1 1/2 cups chopped beets

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup semolina flour

5 tablespoons cocoa powder

Generous pinch sea salt

3 teaspoons baking powder

3 tablespoons beet powder

1 1/2 cups spring or filtered water (preferably from boiling beets)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup avocado oil

1 1/2 cups brown rice syrup

2 teaspoons brown rice vinegar


3/4 cup non-dairy, grain-sweetened chocolate chips

1/2 cup vegetarian butter spread (like Earth Balance)

1/2 cup soymilk

2 tablespoons brown rice syrup

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place beets in a pot with several cups of water and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain beets, reserving 2 cups of cooking water. Cook this water over medium heat until it has reduced to 1 1/2 cups (needed for recipe).

Preheat oven to 350o and lightly oil and flour 2 8-inch spring form pans.

Whisk together flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and beet powder. Place cooked beets and beet water in a food processor and puree until smooth. Whisk together, in a separate bowl, vanilla, oil, rice syrup and vinegar. Mix beets and wet ingredients into flour mixture to create a smooth batter. Spoon batter evenly into the 2 prepared pans and bake on the center rack for 50 minutes, until the tops of the cakes spring back to the touch or an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before releasing cakes from pans. Cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting while the cakes bake. Place chocolate in a double boiler (or in a glass bowl over a pot of boiling water) and whisk until smooth. Mix in butter spread and whisk until smooth. Whisk in soymilk, rice syrup and vanilla until smooth.  Transfer to a glass bowl, cover and chill completely. Whisk briskly to loosen before using.

When you are ready to frost the cake, shave the top of one of the cakes to create a flat surface. Place on a platter and spread frosting over the top of the layer. Place remaining cake on top of the frosting and frost the entire cake. Makes 8-10 servings.

MaryEllen’s 5th Birthday

February 9, 2008

MaryEllen celebrated her 5th birthday! 


We had a little play date here on that day with some cake.  Siena, Bearach, & Erin were here to play. 

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A few days before that, a package from Aunt Mary Lou came.  That was fun!

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I cannot believe that my first baby girl is 5!


Now, a word about the cake.  It is a chocolate red velvet cake from Christina Pirello’s new book, the updated and revised version of “Cooking the Whole Foods Way.”  (Everyone should run right out and get that book!)  The cake (and icing) had absolutely NO sugar or dairy in it and the children loved it, even my most picky eater and my husband.   It was also loaded with vitamins because there were beets in it, yet it really tasted good, very moist and delicious.  Most importantly, MaryEllen really liked it.

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A Picture Perfect Childhood

February 5, 2008

Yesterday in the mail there was a book!  Books in the mail are always get us excited around here.  This new book is called A Picture Perfect Childhood by Cay Gibson and can be found here.  Cay Gibson is fast becoming one of my favorite authors and I have yet to be disappointed with any of her books so far.  This book is no exception.  I read through the first half in one sitting and went on to scan the rest of the booklists.  Cay shows us how we can give our children a rich literary experience using pictures books for 15 minutes a day!  The booklists seem endless!  There is a booklist for every month of the year, for many subjects, and even a picture book list of authors, plus more.  A few years ago Cay was then leading a picture book author list that had an author a week.  We found some of our favorite authors that way.  With this book I know we will find more treasures and a trip to the big city library is being planned very soon.  I cannot say enough about this book and I know it is a book that will be used over and over again for many years to come.  I’m so glad I splurged and ordered this treasure.

A Tennessee Winter

February 4, 2008

It is winter, isn’t it?   We had strong thunderstorms this morning starting around 5 am and lasting all through the morning.  I really had no intention of going outside today excpet to feed the critters.  My husband came in wearing a quilted flannel shirt and told me it really wasn’t very cold out.  This afternoon I put on a light jacket, went out, and had to take the jacket off!  It has been cloudy and overcast all day, so it looks like it should be cold.  While waiting for the horses to finish their oats so I could clean out thier stall, Joe came down and we went for a little walk.  Southern Tennessee has had the worst drout in recorded history last year.  Well, today we took a little walk to see all of the creeks flowing once again the little waterfalls running.  I only wished the camera was nearby.   I even saw the first frog of the year jump into a little pool.  It is so refreshing to see that water flowing again.  We have had several really good, soaking rains and this morning just helped it along all the more.  I am thinking gardening once again and planning out where my watermelons, general, and winter squash gardens will go this year. 

 In other news, since the kittens were so good to us and took off, the birds have been back.  For Christmas the boys got kits to make birdhouses.  There is a pileated woodpecker that really likes James’s house.  Today Kevin yelled for us to look out the window and watch James’s house.  There was a Carolina Chickadee coming out of the little hole.  Kevin exclaimed, “Where’s James?  I need to tell him that he has a Carolina Chickadee on his line!”  Perhaps this is some kind of new fishing?

On Sunday we were going to go to the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament for Mass.  Well, we thought we gave ourselves enough time, but we were about 20 minutes short.  So, we ended up going to Mass at Sacred Heart Church in Cullman.  If you love old, beautiful, traditional Catholic churches, this one is not to be missed!  It is breathtaking.  I would love, love, love to attend a high Latin Mass there someday.  It would be a little piece of Heaven.  They even blessed throats for the feast of St. Blaise.  We were very pleased they were doing that. 

Back to the weather… tomorrow is suppose to be a high of 74!!!  Then they are calling for thunderstorms and strong winds.   High expected for Wednesday?  47!  Ack!!!  Winter in Tennessee is certainly different than Virginia.