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an ice box cake…does it get much better than that? all that whip cream… i love whip cream ! i mean love it. i also use to love fourth of july. it was my favorite holiday growing up, i suppose because as a family it was our most social one. it was an all day event. we hit the parade in our subdivision out in the cornfields and then drove into town to go to the town parade. one of us kids was often in it too. we would head back home, generally with heat exhaustion, take a swim in our pool, and eat good all american food.  at dusk we walked to the lake covering ourselves in bug spray, set out blankets, and watched the fireworks. when i was really young my sister’s and brother’s friends would come hang in our area. they were funny and goofy… and in high school, and i pretty much thought they were the coolest. at the end of the night we would head back home and set off our own fireworks on our neighborhood street. it seemed the whole neighborhood was outside, roaming around, and just having a good old time. as i grew into my teen years we were hitting up different parties, driving golf carts,crashing motor bikes, and other general shenanigan activities! my friends and i from my home town often reminisce about those 4th of july’s and are all in agreement that no one does it quite like crown point, indiana.

this is a super simple recipe that i use to make for this holiday. i put a spin on the concept, trying it as an ice box cake.  i generally made this cake in a regular 9×12 baking pan, i didn’t layer it, and also made an american flag on top with the blueberries and strawberries. you can make this into a trifle and add custard or pudding. you can add mascarpone to the whip cream to make it a bit more stiff. you can add almond extract too for some yummy flavor. to make it a traditional ice box cake you could use vanilla wafers, shortbread, or any cookie you please!!! the ingredients are so simple, there are so many ways to doctor it up!

i used a spring form pan, but to my dismay, when i was trying to take it out, the whole cake went flying into the air and landed on the floor. which is why i do not have a photo of the beautiful layers from the inside. :(  possibly, one of my worst kitchen disasters. however, a blessing in disguise because i probably would have eaten it all day long. none the less…hopefully your spring form pan has a little more give-way then mine. or just use a good old baking dish in case you are prone to error, like myself.

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these ingredients are so easy and the same ones i used long ago, except i used cool whip back then not homemade whip cream.

sara lee butter pound cake (i love this stuff) 1-2 packages depending on size of pan

homemade whip cream

strawberries and blueberries

cut the poundcake into thin pieces. begin to layer in the pan alternating with whip cream. you can also add in thin slices of strawberries or strawberry puree or strawberry jam. fill in the holes with broken pieces of pound cake. top the final layer with strawberries and blueberries in any design you like! let the cake refrigerate overnight! serve!

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pickled eggs. it sounds weird, but damn are they good. i have wanted to make these since i saw their beautiful color online somewhere. the first time i actually had one was at one of the famous french dip places in LA, Phillipe. i wasn’t disappointed. so, one snowy afternoon here on the Colorado homestead, i made some pickled eggs.

i love eggs. i love them in every way possible, except raw…i have never actually tried that, but for some reason the thought of drinking raw eggs reminds me of that rocky scene, where he does so.

i actually had some pickled beets in the fridge from a little mom and pop place down the street from my house, colorado cherry company. this place, nestled into the base of the big rocky mountains, sells anything pickled you could ever want. they also make a raspberry juice that is to die for, and pies. they make pies too! it is just one of the many little gems in my country neighborhood.

i used some bay leaves from the tree in my old backyard in LA. i meant to harvest more before i left…it just seems so silly to buy them now, but i suppose one day i will have to again. i might still be in denial i don’t live in that house anymore, that i don’t have that california backyard anymore. sigh.

i also used different herbs from my inside mini herb garden. these would have been even more perfect if i would have gotten eggs from my dog walker and her chickens.

the color of mine did not turn out as purple as i would have liked. let’s not call it a disappointment, let’s call it trial and error.

spring is upon us, even if we still get snow here. one day you wake up to 2 inches on the ground, and the next it is 60 degrees. i can see green grass starting to pop up across the lawn. it has been so long since i have witnessed a spring other than southern california’s…which i don’t think really counts much to the rest of the country.

these pickled eggs just might be the perfect treat for easter!

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recipe

6-7 eggs boiled and peeled

6-10 beets, depending on the size

1 cup of beet juice (pickled)

1 cup of apple cider vinegar

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 red onion

2 bay leaves

10 peppercorns

a few springs of dill and thyme

1/2 tsp of salt

boil your eggs and peel them. cut your onions.

combine all ingredients together, except onions and eggs and beets, into a saucepan and bring to a boil. simmer for ten minutes. place the eggs, onions, and beets together in a jar and pour the mixture over the eggs. place in the fridge for 48 hours. serve!

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i have a lot of food posts pending right now. sometimes, i get a bug up my butt and make a bunch of stuff all at once. this past weekend was no exception. i finally got out of the house on friday night, and i realize how much i miss having a social life. saturday, i was suppose to have another outing, but had to turn around because my dog ate a bunch of plastic from the trash and i was worried about him. it was either my frustration at home or my anxiety away. i choose my frustration. i was so disappointed to have to spend another day at the house, since that is pretty much what i do all the time. it was a beautiful weekend. while LA was having 80 degrees, we here in colorado were happy with our 60 degrees!  i was almost half way (which is an hour) to my friends house, when i got off the phone with the vet and decided to go home. on the way back, i decided to stop at this cheese store in longmont (where my bro use to live). i pass right by on 287 and i have been in such desire for good food. and boy did, i treat myself. pastries, cheese, bread, meats. i went nuts. i decided, since i rarely go out to eat anymore, i was going to give myself the excuse to totally spoil myself! or as a psychologist might call it, emotional eating. ha! i was totally okay with it too.

of course, wylie got into the trash again. i am still watching him.

 sunday morning, i woke up and was craving a brunch out with friends so bad. i decided i would bring restaurant brunch here. i was inspired by rachel khoo’s eggs in pots. i used a triple cream brie i had bought instead of creme fraiche. you could use any of these or cream cheese or another kind of melting cheese. i put the cheese into a ramekin and layered it with two eggs, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and dill. i served it with the crusty baguette from the day before. this was simply divine!!!! i kind of want it right now!

i also wanted something sweet. i thought about pancakes, but i had no syrup. so, i opted for a dutch pancake, which might just be better anyway! i am perfectly happy eating this with a little powdered sugar and jam and as my friend donna suggested and the tradition, lemon juice. you can find any old dutch pancake recipe online. i didn’t make this up, so i will just give you a link here!

i hope you had a good weekend! next weekend, be sure to treat yourself to something divine!

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with all that snow last week, i have been craving hearty and hot food. i have also been eating ice cream every night….sooooo, i am not sure what that is about. i had some ground pork in the freezer and was trying to figure out what i could do with it. green chile stew was an easy pick since i had a jar in the cupboard and a can of pinto beans too! i try to keep things on hand like canned goods and chicken stock so when i have  few leftover ingredients in the fridge i can make something up!  i also generally always have carrots and celery…definitely onions!the green chile was something i bought back on that new mexico trip. i bought the hot kind, and it sure was hot. i didn’t realize this until after i took my first bite. guess i should have left out the red pepper flakes! i am kind of a pansy when it comes to spicy!

i made a small batch because it’s just little old me. you could double the recipe if you like.

1/2 lb of ground pork

2 carrots

2 stalks of celery

1/2 white onion

1 garlic clove

1 tomato chopped

2 cups of chicken broth

1 jar of green chile

1 can of pinto beans

1 bay leaf

1 tbsp of cumin

1 tsp of mexican oregano

red pepper flakes if you like spicy

salt and pepper to taste

saute your pork in a pot with olive oil. once cooked remove from the pan. add in your onions and let cook for a minute. add in your carrots and celery. once they have cooked down a bit, add your garlic. you don’t want the garlic to burn, so only cook for a few minutes. add the chicken stock and scrap up all those juicy bits. next add the beans and spices. cook for a few minutes. add the green chile, pork,and tomatoes. let everything simmer for about 10-15 minutes.

serve it up with some feta, sour cream or greek yogurt, and scallions! yum!

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first off, i have to admit that i am listening to Beyonce while typing this, which is pretty much out of character for me. did anybody else watch her documentary on HBO this past weekend? i had to try out one of her albums, which is a first for me, besides her radio hits. i am quite enjoying the change of pace- the girl has got some spunk! and run the world might just be one of the all time best music videos! i kind of think she is whitney houston/madonna/ and hilary clinton in one. i would probably vote for her. i am also obsessed with her choreography, not to mention her costumes. it’s just so good. ok, i am done talking about my girl crush.

moving on to this grapefruit and rosemary almond cake. which, i might say could possibly be one of my favorite things i have ever made. it is moist and light and yummy!!!! i could probably eat a piece every day. since, i can never NOT over do it when it comes to food and entertaining, i decided to make this cake a few weeks ago for my visiting friends just to have around. i told you we would be talking about that weekend for a while. i still have like 3 posts pending on it.

i found a recipe for a lemon/rosemary/creme fraiche cake and it was so pretty i wanted to try and recreate it. i did a spin on it though and changed a few things around with ingredients and flavors. the original recipe called for instant polenta, but i am not always the biggest fan of corn products, so i substituted this for more almond flour, which i am a big fan of. i also forgot to get creme fraiche at the store, kind of a main ingredient…but i had some honey greek gods yogurt and substituted this in the cake and the icing! instead of lemon, i obviously did grapefruit and kept the rosemary in there, which was my favorite part of the flavor. i added in some blood orange for color and just because i had one around. obviously, i took inspiration from the cake i did for the marie antoinette party. i have been wanting to do more fun decorated cakes like this…just another excuse to eat something. i loved this combo so much that i  did a twist on my baked donuts with a grapefruit/rosemary  for the job i did last week and they were a big hit! i will probably put herbs in all my desserts now.

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ingredients

cake

1 stick of melted butter/cooled

1 1/2 c of almond flour

1 1/3 c of flour

1 tbsp of baking powder

1 tbsp of grated grapefruit

1/2 tsp of salt

4 eggs at room temp

1/2 c of sugar

3/4 cup of creme fraiche or yogurt

1-2 tbsp of chopped rosemary

syrup

1/2 c of water

1/2 c sugar

1 tbsp grapefruit juice

glaze

1/2 c of powdered sugar

3 tbsp of creme fraiche or yogurt

1 tbsp of grapefruit juice

combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. beat the room temp and eggs for 10 minutes. add the creme fraiche or yogurt after the ten minutes and then the melted butter, which should be cool. fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients in 3 batches. bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

while the cake bakes, make the syrup. combine the water and sugar and simmer until the sugar dissolves. add the grapefruit juice and pour over the cake while the cake is still hot. yum!

combine the ingredients for the glaze. you can add more powdered sugar or juice for required consistency. you can also add a little vanilla for flavor if you like. add the glaze to the cake when it has cooled.

i used a mandolin to slice my grapefruit and blood orange. i then sliced them in half and decorated around the cake. a few springs of rosemary garnish the middle.

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IMG_3792 even though i just did a food post ( i try to space them out for variety) i am surrendering to doing another…BECAUSE, i am so excited about my new Canon eF 50mm f/1.8 II camera lens . i used one of those nifty gift cards from christmas over at amazon to buy this little gem. i have been wanting to expand my horizons on a new lens, and since i am currently poor…this price was just right. now…i am still learning, so you must bear with me, as i figure out how to get it to focus!  it has been fun to do food posts in this new house because i get way more natural light in the kitchen then i did at my place in LA.

things are starting to look up compared to my previous post. i am going to fully blame that on hormones. sorry, dudes, those of you may read my blog…but it is part of life. i actually got this new iphone app that gives you a daily reading of those little friends whom seem to rule our female lives. so, far it has been spot on. currently, it explains i am ready to take on the world… and i feel just that. it also helps to me to justify that my body is changing on a daily basis and i am not completely insane. phew!

i am definitely a far cry from what i was bitching about in my last post. i took a few little adventures this week and started to embrace this experience again. you know, the one i totally thought was the answer to all my problems. well, it may not be that, but it is an experience like none other. i have rid myself of that deep sorrow for LA and am embracing the beauty that surrounds me.  i can always go back to LA, i can always go somewhere else. for now, i am here and i need to be in the moment. that was the whole point. if i don’t do it now, when will i?

besides making pavlova’s, i have some new creative projects on the horizon, i got a one day wardrobe gig next week in denver, and some of my dearest dearest friends are coming for a visit next weekend. i have some plans for some new hopeful business adventures. one of which, is a new blog. i contemplated switching over this blog so that i could start to collect small advertisers, and a more in depth template, but it just seems too complicated. this blog has become a personal journey, but had kind of always hoped for a more magazine approach, that just never happened. i decided to try and start a whole new space for thirty-something ladies with a simplistic and natural approach to life. i want to include other bloggers contributing to a variety of topics like food,fashion, beauty, interiors, lifestyle, helpful tips, political and social info, music, DIY’s,kinship, etc. i would love to help my network of online friends by asking others to contribute! i will still post on here and also link over to the new site when applicable. of course, i may be jumping the gun on letting the cat out of the bag…as this will take some time to get set up!!!! i hope i haven’t jinxed it. i would love to hear your thoughts on this new idea, if you think you would be a reader, or if you would like to contribute. if so, you can email me at roc.anne@gmail.com. i will post updates as well.

IMG_3779  now, on to pavlovas. i have a weird obsession with whipping egg whites. their thick, glossy, and creamy texture makes me want to dance around in circles. i just find it so beautiful. i often find myself thinking about the magic of eggs. were chicken eggs intended for such greatness? because, i love them. basically, i wanted to just make something and i had the ingredients to make this dish…plus, it is fairly easy. i made a low fat pastry cream to go on top as well as a blueberry and lavender sauce.

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6 egg whites- room temp

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch

1/2 tsp cream of tartar or white vinegar

 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

pinch of salt

preheat your oven to 275 degrees, you will drop the temperature to 250 degrees when the pavlovas go in the oven. in a mixer, or by hand, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and salt. slowly, add in the sugar and then the vanilla. whip until stiff, lovely, glossy peaks form. line a baking sheet with parchment paper. you can draw out one big circle or small ones for individual servings. i just plopped em on or you can spread the mixture using the circles as a guideline (be sure to turn your paper over after drawing on it!) bake for 50 minutes!

low fat pastry cream

2 1/2 cups of low fat milk

1/2 vanilla bean

2 eggs at room temp

2 egg yolks room temp (use from leftovers of pavlovas)

2/3 cup of sugar

1/3 cup of corn starch

in a saucepan mix the milk and vanilla bean until it simmers. scrape the the vanilla bean into the milk. in a mixer combine eggs, yolks, and sugar until smooth and then add the corn starch until smooth again. when the milk is done add a bit to the egg mixture to temper it to avoid scrambled eggs, whisking constantly. once tempered combine all together in sauce pan and cook over medium heat until thick…about 5 minutes. strain through a sieve and cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.

blueberry/lavender sauce

1 cup of bluberries

1 tbsp lavender

1 cup of sugar

3 tbsps of water

bring all ingredients together in a saucepan on medium heat until sugar melts. lower the heat and simmer until the mixture becomes a sauce.

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no fear, you can have your donut and eat it too. thanks to the donut baking pan.  i actually made these donuts a while back, but just never posted about them.  the photos have been sitting on my computer and luckily go along with my new found inspiration for healthy habits -as it is the new year. one of the hardest parts is restraining from watching cooking shows…those generally inspire me to cook and eat all the time. sorry, barefoot…i will have to abandon you on my dvr for a while.

i have had a donut pan for sometime now and have been waiting for the inspiration to make some. i finally came up with a tasty idea using saffron and orange as flavor with an olive oil base in the cake. this was also my first time baking a high altitude here in colorado. i followed some simple instructions for high altitude baking:

Reduce baking powder: for each teaspoon, decrease 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon.

Reduce sugar: for each cup, decrease 0 to 2 tablespoons.
Increase liquid: for each cup, add 2 to 4 tablespoons.

Increase oven temperature by 25 degrees F.

 

however, i will give you the regular recipe and you can adjust to your own altitude if needed. i found this website to be helpful, but there are many out there.

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1 cup of flour

1 cup of cake flour

3/4 cup of sugar

2 tsps of baking powder

1/4 tsp of nutmeg

zest of 1 orange

2 large eggs

1 cup of milk

4 tbsp of olive oil

glaze

juice of one orange

2 cups of powdered sugar

1/2 tsp of vanilla

1 tsp of saffron

combine flour, cake flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt together in bowl and mix. add the wet ingredients: eggs, milk, olive oil,  and zest. mix all together. pour into donut pan and bake at 350 degrees for 9-12 minutes.

for the glaze, combine the juice of the orange, powdered sugar, vanilla, and saffron together and mix. let the donuts cool and pour the glaze on top!

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i thought i would leave you with another post this week…because next week i am headed to colorado to look for a place to live!!!!!! holy moly…i am doing this! i have so many emotions about this move, mostly good ones…a few holy shit ones! so, much that i keep typing things out and erasing them, it’s like i can’t talk about it. instead, let’s just talk about food. what better form of therapy is there? too bad it can give you double chins.

on my trip to Ojai last week, i bought some concord grapes. these guys originated in concord, massachusetts, hence the name. they just looked so pretty in that cute little white bag and smelled so good in the produce section of the tiny market, i couldn’t resist. now, i probably only ate like two grapes the whole time i was there, typical, but luckily i could drive em home and make some concord grape jam with these scrumptious purple gems. i mean, they really do taste like the juice, or the gum. it is like none other flavor i have ever encountered. just eat them, seeds and all.

1. separate the inside of the grape from the skin. to do so, just squeeze one end end and out pops the green yumminess. do this over a bowl to catch all the juice as well, and do not discard the skins, but place them in a separate bowl. this is a bit of a daunting task, but kind of therapeutic.

2. in a food processor, take the skins and 1/4 cup of date sugar and puree. you can use regular sugar as well. i used just a small amount to keep the sugar content down. add more if you like.

3. in a large pot, boil the skin mixture, green insides, and 3/4 cup of honey. honey, adds moisture which is why i added less then 1 cup. if you want to use white sugar add 1-2 cups of white sugar, depending on how many grapes you have. boil the mixture until the grapes have broken down and the seeds are popping out. these are large seeds, so beware.

5.using a strainer, strain the mixture into a bowl to discard all the seeds. i really went to town on mine to make sure i got every last drop…my hand kind of hurt.

6. can the jam! now, i generally just boil my jars, fill them, and let them sit until they have sealed (when the top of the mason jar no longer pops back and forth). i don’t use pectin in any of my jams, and i generally try to eat the jam quickly and give away as presents. if you have never jammed and canned before, i suggest reading some other blogs or books that are a bit more of a veteran then i am!  this is how i learned to do it.

i have been trying, trying, to strictly stick to “healthy”eating…meaning cutting out gluten, dairy, and sugar. well, honestly, i do this as much as possible. i just can’t seem to fully give everything up. man, it’s hard work. for the most part, i should get a B+, for effort and following through.   this weekend though, i wanted to indulge…and man did it feel good. all those emotional indulgent  feelings came rushing back like a good old addict. it was fun! ha!

you know…it’s the little things that can sometimes make a big difference. for example, yesterday i mopped my kitchen floor, which i admit was LONG overdue, suddenly my house felt spanking clean, and smelled great too! or when i actually stop and ask myself why something makes me angry, i can start to overcome the anger, just by simply asking, however, i have to ask myself a few times to get over it. or remembering that life is life, and if i want to indulge for weekend, by golly i am going to. i am not a hollywood actress trying to get parts, i am only looking for love… and if the extra meat on my ass is such an issue for someone, well then they don’t deserve to indulge with me in this life anyway! so, there…let’s eat!

saturday morning, i wanted to make something fun, without the gluten.  i find that to be the easiest thing to cut out. i bought some books based on a SCD diet, which basically cuts out all sugar, grain, starch, and processed foods. it is generally for people with intestinal issues, but i find it interesting, and honestly, the recipes sound pretty darn good! it has cured people of their digestive conditions and allows them to still enjoy very tasty foods.

needless to say, this recipe is not mine. i got it from the book, eat well feel well.  (to learn more about the diet get this book too!) i have tried a few recipes now, using nuts as the “flour” and they are always so tasty!!!! maple syrup is not allowed on the SCD diet, so i tried the honey…and it was delicious! i used honey i purchased from the nutrionist i saw a few weeks back. this honey, is truly raw and alive, where most “Raw” honeys on the market are actually heated in processing.

the recipe in the book is actually for waffles, but i don’t have a waffle iron so, i made them into pancakes! these pancake were so incredibly tasty. they were moist, light but hearty, and i honestly couldn’t tell they were made from pecans!

2 cups of unsalted raw pecans

4 large eggs

8 tbsps unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the skillet

1/4 cup of honey

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla

1/2 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

i added 1/4 tsp cinnamon

pulverize the pecans in a food processor until they are finely ground. add the eggs, melted butter, honey, vanilla, baking soda, and salt…blend well. add butter to the skillet and cook away!

drizzle honey over the top! yum!

i am off to colorado today. wylie and i are doing the drive in two days. i am really looking forward to jamming out to some tunes and the scenery along I-70.  gonna be a good trip…i can feel it!

so, many fun things happened this past week. went to see a nutritionist whom kicked my butt with some reality. my dear friends stacy and allan were married this past saturday. we spent the week doing lots of wedding things: a lingerie shower. a trip to glen ivy hot springs and spa where we covered ourselves in mudd and had lotion painted on with a paint brush to then only hang out in a fragile rock cave. helped with flowers and decorations for the wedding. went to the wedding and cried my eyes out watching these two amazing people share their love.  and now i am off to take a trip to inspire something…i am not sure how or what yet, kind of banking that it will just come to me!

for now, i will leave you with this salad.

mixed greens

bacon

hard boiled egg

avacado

radish

lemon juice and zest

dill

mint

olive oil

s+p

mix all ingredients together! enjoy!

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