Thursday, August 26, 2010

Easy Pillow Refashion

Sometimes you just need a quick, easy project to make you feel like you've accomplished something. That's what I needed today. Hence, the pillow slipcover. I've been working on this quilt and somehow ended up with an extra block (I'm not great at following patterns so this isn't unusual for me). I added some borders, a little machine quilting, an ugly thrift store pillow and, using this excellent tutorial , I now have a cute new slip-covered pillow. And when I grow tired of this pillow, the cover is easily removable and can be replaced with something else.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Healthy Chocolate Cake AKA Beet Cake

My husband and I decided to join a CSA this year. For those of you who are not familiar with CSA's, it's kind of like a farm co-op. Basically, the farm does all of the planting, growing, weeding, watering, harvesting, etc. (all things I hate) and then once a week you go to a designated location and pick up your share of the weekly harvest (which I love). All the benefits of fresh, organic, local produce without the work!!! I'd love to think of myself as a gardener because I really love to cook and I love using fresh ingredients but after many years of half-hearted efforts, I've come to realize that I really just don't like the gardening aspect of gardening - all of the work that goes into it!! So, for a small price, a CSA is the next best thing. And it supports local farmers which I also love. For more information on CSA's check out this website:

The one challenge with CSA's though is you never know what you will get in your weekly share. As this is our first year doing this, I've had to learn to cook with ingredients I've never used before - beets for one. Prior to joining the CSA, I had never in my life cooked a beet and really had no idea what to do with them. Come to find out, beets make delicious, healthy, chocolate cake. Who knew? This cake recipe has now become one of my family's favorites and I don't feel guilty about making it once a week!

First, you need to roast your beets - enough to make about 2 c. of pureed beets. Wash, remove stems and leaves, and place in a roasting pan. Cover with foil, and roast at 425 for 1-1 1/2 hours or until soft. Let cool and then peel the skins off.

Puree beets plus 1/2 c. of applesauce in blender or food processor.

In large bowl, combine the following:

1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. plain yogurt
3 eggs

Beat for 2 minutes. Add 1/2 c. baking cocoa, `1 1/2 tsp vanilla, and the pureed beat mixture and mix well.

Mix in the following:

1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Pour 1/2 of batter into greased bundt pan. Sprinkle with 1-2 c. chocolate chips, depending on how chocolaty you want it. I personally like Ghiradelli brand 60% cocoa dark chocolate chips for a nice dark chocolate flavor.

Pour remaining batter over the top.

Bake at 350 for 50-60 min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool, invert onto cake pan, and dust with powdered sugar. Delicious chocolate cake you don't have to feel (too) guilty about eating!!