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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Impulses (Not all vegans are skinny waifs)

Impulses bug me. Not because I am a person prone to many of them, or none too frequently, but when a strong impulse hits me I lack control to withstand it. This bothers me. Impulses have hit me hard - in my wallet, in my personal relationships, in emotions and especially - food. I can say that one impulse that I could not resist when I stumbled across a WW ad quite by accident, was the impulse to join again. WW saved me after my second pregnancy and brought me back to my pre-marriage weight about a year after my daughter was born. And then over the last 15 years I have watched my weight creep up - after job changes, medical issues, physical injuries resulting in surgery that kept me inactive for many years and a whole host of other things that are called "life."
I became a vegan 6 years ago for health reasons surrounding stomach issues - a virus that knocked me on my butt for 6 weeks, thyroid problems, etc. I have not once ever regretted that decision and since then I have opened my palate to dozens and dozens of new foods so far outside of the S.A.D (standard American diet) that I could never go back to that way of eating. But that said, let me say this - NOT ALL VEGANS ARE SKINNY. I am a foodie, I love food - all kinds of food. And I am a baker, I specialize in baking vegan delicacies and treats, but I also bake your standard fare for carnivores. No amount of baking is healthy when large amounts of sugar are involved and I will be the first one to indulge.
Impulses. I have a love hate relationship with food that rivals no one. And if there is vegan junk food out there, I for sure have found it. Oreos, sour patch kids, Swedish fish, unfrosted strawberry Pop Tarts, bagels, my own baked goods, and the list goes on and on. My food choices have become unwise and I have paid the price in my waistline.
I am not obese by any means, and comparatively speaking, my weight loss goal of 15 pounds might seem small to some. I am considered overweight for my height at just 5'2". Now this might not seem like a very big weight loss goal for many folks, but 15 pounds on my small frame is huge.
Impulses. My inability to resist sugary treat impulses has lead me here today. I am a broken food addict. My goal is not only to lose this weight, but to also relieve some pain in my legs and joints that I know are caused by the excess weight I have been carrying. My overall health is top notch- my cholesterol is low, I am not anemic, my vitamin D is perfect, B12 - perfect, and every other test comes back exactly where it should be- normal. 
As I am aging and gravity is taking over, it is time to take back control. This is an impulse that I hope will result in some good health in the very near future.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Birthday cake with cascading flowers

My daughter's best friend had a birthday this week and wanted to make her a small cake. She looked at pics all over the internet and decided a square cake with some kind of flowers and other design would be like. So we baked a cake and set to decorating work.



While I was setting up she decided she wanted to help so I showed her how to make a rose and she got right down to practicing with the white butter cream icing. She picked up the technique right away and as I was making the purple roses we decided to add the white ones to the cake as well and they were really pretty. To make them we used a 104 tip with a stiff consistency buttercream.


I used a 104 tip to make the ruffle around the top edge of the cake. I filled a small parchment bag with black to make the design on top. I have watched a lot of videos of professionals who do this intricate work and noticed they all used very small parchment bags that fit in the palms of their hands - to provide more control. I will need practice on this but I am happy with my first go round. I used a number 10 tip for the bead border on the bottom.

For the color, I used Wilton gels - violet, just a small amount for the light purple then a bit more to make the darker purple. I would totally make this cake for myself since purple is my favorite color.

For a final touch my daughter wanted to add some edible pearls so she used tweezers to randomly apply them. Last - she dusted the flowers and borders with silver luster dust for a nice shimmer.

We had a lot of fun decorating this cake together. I see a future back up job in her future :D