Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy Harvest

This Friday, the 23rd, is the first day of Autumn.  I will be celebrating with a mini bonfire and some mead.  Over the weekend, I want to make potato soup using thyme from my herb garden and chicken with home-grown rosemary.  Harvest carrot cake is also on the menu, though all the ingredients will be coming from the store. ;)  It will be sad to say goodbye to Summer, but I'm looking forward to my first try at overwintering herbs and veggies.  Over the summer I grew rosemary, mint and lemon thyme so I will clip some to grow indoors.  I also started lettuce, thai basil, cucumbers and peppers in a container garden and those will be brought indoors before the first frost, usually mid-September in northern Nevada. 
Fall is also a good time to turn your thoughts inward and make plans for Winter, to assess where you are and where you want to be, to ask what you need more of in your life and what needs to go.  I want to quilt something to finally post on my Etsy site.  I want to get back on track with a yoga routine and meditation.
When it comes to letting go, I recently took a leap of faith by quitting my job of over 20 years.  Between the office politics and the pay cuts, I knew it was time to go.  After a lifetime making decisions based on fear, it was a sea change for me to just trust and let go.  It's been 3 months now and I marvel at how happy and at peace I am.  Instead of finding the full-time job I expected, I have a part-time job in retail, another one teaching knitting, and the occasional sale of my gently used books on amazon.  None of these are things I planned on doing, and I'm learning not to spend all my energy worrying about how things will happen, but rather to be grateful and open to whatever comes my way.  And now I'm sending the recipe for harvest carrot cake your way.  Let me know how yours turns out!

Harvest Carrot Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (to make your own spice, mix together 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger and 1/8 tsp cloves. Use 1 tsp in this recipe, save the rest to sprinkle over oatmeal)
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/3 cup buttermilk (or add 1 tsp white vinegar to 1/3 cup milk)
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
Preheat oven to 350 F.  Lightly grease an 8" square or 9" round pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment paper or greased wax paper.  Lightly coat with flour.
In medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
In large mixing bowl combine sugars, pumpkin, eggs and oil.  Stir in carrot and buttermilk.  Gradually beat in dry mixture from medium bowl.  Fold in walnuts. 
Pour batter into pan and bake 30-35 minutes or until knife or toothpick inserted into center of cake comes out clean.  Cool pan on wire rack for 15 minutes.  Remove cake from pan and let cool completely.
Though you can frost the cake with a cream cheese or buttercream frosting, I think it tastes really good with a skillet fruit topping. 

Skillet fruit topping
3 T butter
2 T sugar
3-4 pears or apples, cored and sliced
1/2 cup fresh or 1/4 cup dried cranberries
Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat.  Stir in sugar and fruit.  Cook, occasionally stirring gently, until fruit is tender.  Remove from heat and let stand about 10 minutes before spooning onto cake.
Blessed be!

1 comment:

  1. I love this post, you are a sweet, courageous soul! =)