Yummy! Old-Fashioned Strawberry Cake Roll

cakeroll8

It was devoured in record time; I didn’t even have the chance to take pics of a slice!

Full house to empty nest in the space of forty-eight hours.

It was a whirlwind visit from my Angel Boy; more like a pit stop, really.

The summer class he was teaching at Yale was over.

We picked him up from the airport Monday afternoon and he flew away Wednesday afternoon.

(Oh, and my tugboat man left Wednesday MORNING for a week or so — not too long to be upset about — just the right amount of time to clean and shop. Yes, I made two separate trips to the airport in one day.)

Except for the hours he was sleeping or surfing, my son’s number one activity was EATING.

That child of mine always had a wonderful appetite, but this was Olympic-level eating.

Chew, swallow, repeat.

A mom’s heaven.

I was a whirling dervish of a baker: Apple Pie, French Bread, Blueberry Banana Bread, Chard and Mushroom Lasagna plus his favorite Cake Roll. Sometimes I fill it with ice cream, but summer berries looked so beautiful at the farmer’s market so that’s what I did.

I bet he gained at least three pounds.

I’ve posted the recipe I always use from my mom’s 1940’s Betty Crocker cookbook.

Here’s a pictorial about how to create the roll. I did it outside on our deck because it’s kind of messy with the powdered sugar but if you don’t use it, the cake sticks to the cloth.

cakeroll1 This is how it should look, barely browned and still spongy. You can cut off the edges if they’re crispy.cakeroll2 Carefully turn it over onto a powdered sugar-covered cloth and peel away the parchment paper without destroying the cake (easier said than done!)cakeroll3 Roll it all up like a giant sushi roll and put in the freezer to cool off while youcakeroll4slice the gorgeous strawberries. Add only enough sugar to macerate (get juicy.)cakeroll6There is no excuse NOT to whip fresh cream. Nothing out of a can, thank you very much! It only takes a few minutes and it’s so yummy.
cakeroll5Unroll the cake, spread first with whipped cream, and then layer the strawberries.
cakeroll7

I used a LOT of strawberries and cream which made it hard to roll, but I wanted to fatten up my skinny child, so I didn’t care so much about the symmetry.

Bon appétit!
Trust me, it’s worth the effort!
cakeroll8


Old-Fashioned Strawberry Cake Roll w/Freshly Whipped Cream

3 eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

  • Heat oven to 375°F. Line 15x10x1 -inch pan with waxed paper, foil or cooking parchment paper; generously grease waxed paper or foil with shortening. (I used a cookie sheet with sides)
  • In medium bowl, beat eggs with electric mixer on high speed about 5 minutes or until very thick and lemon colored. Gradually beat in granulated sugar. Beat in water and vanilla on low speed. Gradually add flour, baking powder and salt, beating just until batter is smooth. Pour into pan, spreading to corners.
  • Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake. You should still hear some sizzle…Immediately loosen cake from sides of pan and turn upside down onto towel generously sprinkled with powdered sugar. Carefully remove paper. Trim off stiff edges of cake if necessary. While cake ¡s hot, carefully roll cake and towel from narrow end. Cool on cooling rack at least 30 minutes.
  • Unroll cake and remove towel.
  • Beat one small container with 2 or 3 tablespoons sugar until stiff peaks form.
  • Slice two cups of strawberries, sprinkle with 2 or three tablespoons of sugar. Stir and allow to macerate for a while. (Save a couple for garnish)
  • When cake is cool (hurry it up  by placing in freezer for 1/2 hour) spread evenly with whipped cream and place sliced strawberries evenly over the unrolled cake.
  • Roll up, sprinkle with powdered sugar, garnish with whole strawberries, and refrigerate.

P.S. Try my very best Apple Pie Recipe. Click here.

Red-Tailed Hawk in Eucalyptus Tree

I was so lucky to get close to this magnificent creature perched in our backyard eucalyptus tree.

The colors are so vibrant!

haawktree2I’m standing right underneath the branch.

Look at those talons!

It’s like he/she is saying, “I know I’m beautiful, hurry up and get the money shot!”

hawktree1

Keeping a close watch on the squirrels.

hawktree4Eyeballing tugboat man on the deck. Shhhh!hawktree5

How’s my profile? hawktree3

Build Your Running Body: Book Review

“This is so good. Honestly, I think this is the best running book ever.
–Bob Anderson, Founder of Runner’s World

Every so often I’ll accept an emailed request to read and review a book and it was that quote that caught my eye.

I’ve always wanted to run, but I don’t have great lung capacity. It’s no problem for me to hike ten miles and I regularly do high intensive boot camp-style training, but I don’t have the stamina for long distance running.

This easy-to-navigate book authored by Pete Magill, Thomas Schwartz, and Melissa Breyer, is full of valuable advice about training, healthy nutrition, and recipes.

I’m super motivated to start slowly and work my way up to at least a 5K.

Whether you’re a miler or an ultramarathoner, if you want a fit, fast, and injury-resistant running body, there’s a better way to train than relentlessly pursuing mileage.

This easy-to-use workout manual draws on the latest research in running physiology to target all the components that go into every stride—including muscles, connective tissue, cardiovascular fitness, energy production, the nervous system, hormones, and the brain.

With the breakthrough whole-body training program in Build Your Running Body, runners will improve their times, run longer and more comfortably, and reduce injury.

With more than 150 workouts—from weightlifting and cross-training to resistance exercises and plyometrics—fine-tuned to individual skill levels and performance goals.

buildyourrunningbody

Photographs © Diana Hernandez, 2014

• 393 photos that make it easy to follow every step of every workout
• 10 training programs to help runners of all levels integrate the total-body plan into their daily routines
• Interviews with leading runners, exercise scientists, and coaches—learn how elite runners train today
• Race strategy for the crucial weeks leading up to the competition and through to the finish line
• Exercises to prevent injury and rehabilitate common running ailments
• Seasoned insight on barefoot running, the pros and cons of stretching, and other hot-button topics
• Nutrition guidance on carbs, proteins, fats, and weight loss
• More than 30 recipes to speed recovery and cement fitness gains
• Beginners‘ guidelines every step of the way
• Valuable tips on proper apparel, tracking your progress, and more!


I give Build Your Running Body 5 out of 5 Louboutans

louboutin(Not running shoes LOL)

 

Credit line: Excerpt from Build Your Running Body: A Total-Body Fitness Plan for All Distance Runners, from Milers to Ultramarathoners—Run Farther, Faster, and Injury-Free © Pete Magill, Thomas Schwartz, and Melissa Breyer, 2014

 

 

A Simple Guide to Regrowing 5 Everyday Veggie Scraps

Originally posted on spiritandanimal.wordpress.com:

Romaine Lettuce

Romaine Lettuce

Step 1. Fill a small container with half an inch of water, and drop the unused bottom or stump of a head of lettuce inside.

Step 2. Place in a cool, bright spot.

Step 3. Wait a few days, replacing the water every other day, until the new lettuce grows.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Green Onion

Green Onion

Step 1. Place the ends of a few pieces of green onions, with the roots attached, in a glass of water.

Step 2. Wait a week for three to four inches of fresh growth on top.

(Photo: Getty Images)

Ginger

Ginger

Step 1. Pot a piece of ginger rhizome in soil—cover fully—with the small buds facing upward.

Step 2. Place in direct sunlight, and water regularly.

(Photo: Getty Images)

View original 278 more words

Zemanta is Back!

WordPress bloggers, were you as saddened as I was when Zemanta disappeared from our writing template sidebar?

I know I was super disappointed. :(

Zemanta was my FRIEND.

Zemanta

Zemanta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I loved the personal assistance with tags, related content, links, and photos.

I depended on Zemanta especially as a beginning blogger in 2012.

Zemanata was my writing guru — I like to think he’s sitting in the living room next to me as I type —  shirtless,  gently guiding my hand to choose correct tags while he performs his squats and lunges and pushups (oh wait, my fantasy intrudes, ha ha!) …and imparting  a lot of knowledge about the mysterious world of SEO in the process.

Well, it’s BACK like MAGIC!

Just go here to Zemanta and download the version that works for you.

Zemanta is awesome, just sayin’.

(Now take off your shirt, Z,  and show me those biceps..)
heart

P.S. This is NOT a sponsored post, totally my own opinion!

Alabaster Blooms

UPDATE:

I just found out that it’a Giant Spider Lily (Crinum asiaticum). 

I don’t low the name of this plant; it was here when we moved in twenty-five years ago, but it blooms every summer and the fragrance is strongest after the sun sets.

How about helping me solve the mystery — if anyone knows what it is, please let me know!

whiteflower1 whiteflower2

Lentil Cookies v2

My son-2Even though TECHNICALLY I’m defined as an “empty nester” because my son is on his own, married, and no longer resides at Casa de Enchanted Seashells, I don’t believe he’s ever further away than my heart.

I woke up on Saturday to read this email from my Angel Boy, which is the reason why I baked cookies early this morning and sent a package off to him while they were still warm:

angelboyemail

Not ALL is perpetually enchanted in the life of Princess Rosebud; It’s still difficult to think about or talk about my son’s recent emergency life-saving surgery  — I can’t even GO there to that place of “what if” — BUT the worst diid NOT occur and he’s making a full recovery.

Briefly, here’s what happened.

He had an obstruction due to a congenital defect we never knew he had, Meckel’s diverticulum. During his surgery, 24 inches of small intestines were removed because they were necrotic, along with 8 inches of ascending colon, his appendix, and lots of other small valves and little parts.

It all came about with no warning. Crazy, right?

Here’s that “if” again. IF my DIL had not fought the ER and been his best assertive advocate to insist they take a more proactive approach to diagnosis his pain (she just would NOT GIVE UP) and IF we had not had such an amazing surgical team led by Dr. Todd Stafford  –  well, let’s just say that we are all very grateful that he had such a dedicated team of doctors. Nuff said.

He lost about twenty pounds during his ordeal, and at six feet and 160 pounds on a GOOD day, that much weight loss made this normally fit and healthy young man look emaciated.

During his post-surgical recovery, his diet was limited to low fiber and low residue foods; a lot of Cream of Wheat, mashed potatoes, and chicken noodle soup. No vegetables, no fruit, nothing that would interfere with the healing of multiple incisions and re-joining of internal organs.

I’m happy to report that three months after the surgery, he’s defied the odds and is back to eating pretty much everything he wants, with only minor digestive upsets.

He went back to work, teaching a summer course at Yale, and I’ve been sending him healthy cookies and high protein bars on a weekly basis —  and as requested, he’ll receive the lentil cookies on Wednesday, and that should keep him supplied until he’s here next week for a short visit. Yay!

You can be sure that I’ll be cooking and baking nonstop. I’m so HAPPY to have my Angel Boy here, surfing with tugboat man and best of all, close enough to touch and hug and play Scrabble and Bananagrams.

Every minute of every day, I’m grateful to be one of the luckiest moms in the world.

To read all about Angel Boy’s surgery, click on the following links: 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A while back, I posted Alton Brown’s Lentil Cookie recipe that I discovered on Food Network’s website.

This time, I experimented and created a version that’s a bit more intensely nutritious.

LENTIL COOKIESAngel Boy’s Lentil Cookies

They are quite dense, full of protein and energy,  and would make a great snack for hiking.

  •  2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup protein powder
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup smooth unsalted peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 cup brown sugar (If you use honey/agave, adjust the flour to accommodate the additional liquid)
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 egg (or not if vegan)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups lentil puree, recipe follows
  • 1 cup dried fruit, I used a mixture of blueberries, strawberries, cherries, cranberries, raisins, apricots.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine egg, oil, vanilla, yogurt, brown sugar. Whisk briefly to incorporate. Add peanut butter and lentil puree and mix thoroughly. In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, protein powder, ground flaxseed, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice.  Add the flour mixture. Use a wooden spoon or a hand mixer to combine. use hands to mix. Stir in dried fruit. If it seems a little dry, add yogurt. Form the dough into balls about 2 teaspoons in size and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper Bake for 13 to 17 minutes, depending on your oven’s personality.

Lentil Puree:

  • 1 cup lentils, rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups water

In a small pot over medium heat, combine the lentils and the water. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, or until lentils are tender. Remove from the heat and puree. If using immediately, let cool.


 

A Quietly Enchanting Rainy Day in Southern California

A rainy morning…RAIN! YAY!

Cleaning up after tugboat man’s all time favorite.breakfast, buckwheat pancakes with blueberries.

Isn’t this perfect?

Of course I embellished it with shells.

enchantedmermaidIt’s on metal, that’s why there’s a bit of a glare.
I got it from my new favorite online store:
California Seashell Company

One Is The Loneliest Number #BlogHer14

BEFORE I arrived Thursday afternoon, I had been SO excited to be a part of a gathering of women bloggers…but the sad reality is that I never felt more alone in my entire life than I did in the midst of 2,500 women.

One really is the loneliest number, just like in Three Dog Night’s lyrics.

#blogher14thursday

And two can be as bad as one if they both jump in the car and sneak away from BlogHer 2014 off to Carmel-by-the Sea to enjoy a lovely, romantic, magical weekend.

‘Cos that’s what me and my tugboat man did.


 *Another BlogHer 2014 Experience Analysis*

The feeling of Feeling All Alone is not a happy feeling.

NOT sour grapes.

TRUTH.

For example, the couple of times I did approach groups, I felt a distinct chill in the air. There was no kumbaya moment, no jumping in the air to greet me — no invitation to sit down, join the group, and take a smiley selfie.

I got the message. I left.

I mean, what would YOU do when you feel awkward and you don’t seem to fit in anywhere? blogher2

And that’s about it.

There were some bright moments…

It was beyond FUN meeting My Life As Lucille and A Mother Life.

And Not a Supermom Anna Parrs was an unexpected surprise; lovely and warm.

I never hooked up with my Buddy, so I can’t determine if she would have helped to more successfully guide my BlogHer journey.

Sponsorship-wise, I connected with three brands, so there’s that.

Ursula and Rhonda from Garden of Life are awesome representatives of a great company that makes ethical, organic vitamins and supplements.

gardenoflifeblogherpic

Wandering around and around the Expo, so many of the sponsors were geared to the still menstruating female with a working uterus, and well, um —  THAT ship has already sailed for me, if you know what I mean. (TMI, I know, I know.)

In a former life, I organized large events; expos, career fairs, trade shows  –  I understand how hard it is to secure sponsorship and funding –  and retain them year after year. For every sponsor we saw, there were probably ten that declined to participate. It’s hard work and I appreciate all the effort to bring in dollars to underwrite an event – but I would have liked to have seen companies that reflected more relevance to my demographic.

Social conscience, anyone?

I was disappointed not to see any booths or representatives of women’s advocacy groups…domestic violence, child abuse, human rights — or any animal rights groups that defend and protect animals against abuse, neglect, and abandonment.

I would have expected this conference to be a perfect forum for purposeful discussions and subsequent actions to build a solid platform for collective change.

As women, we ARE powerful, and our VOICES can be loud and purposeful, not only to push me out of the way to grab more swag, but to help those less fortunate and effect positive transformations.

About McDonalds…

Had I known prior to purchasing my ticket that McDonalds was not only a main sponsor but the provider of food for the closing party, that alone would have told me that this event was not right for me. I’m not a perfect vegan or a perfect human, but this is sort of non-negotiable. A deal breaker, as it were.

You probably don’t want to see this, and I can’t blame you, but there are many videos and undercover reports all over the internet about the abuse of animals that end up in your not-so-Happy Meal. This is one of them: http://www.mcdonaldscruelty.com

Most of all, I’m sorry that I didn’t have the same kinds of experiences I’ve been wistfully reading about.

Thank goodness my tugboat man was there to whisk me away to Carmel-by-the-Sea.

#BlogHer2014 was my first blogging conference.
And probably my last.


Did you know that Clint Eastwood was a former mayor of Carmel?

We found a room at the adorable, quaint, and very clean Normandy Inn. NormandyINN

In the evening, walking around the village, we heard a beautiful voice singing the kind of big band music we love from the 1940’s, and followed it to the Cypress Inn, owned by the AMAZING Doris Day!

Not only is Doris an accomplished vocalist and actor, she is one of the original animal rescuers and defenders. Her passion for saving abandoned, abused, and neglected animals is legendary. Click here to learn more about her foundation.

The lounge was full of well dressed senior citizens and a few tourists. Everyone had their dogs with them. Not only is the Cypress Inn dog-friendly; to our utter delight, so is the entire city of Carmel!

The lounge was standing room only. Vocalist Debbie Davis was amazing. She walked to the outskirts of the crowd in her sparkly dress and asked if we were celebrating anything special. I pointed to my tugboat man and told her it was his birthday. She located two chairs for us and serenaded him and everyone applauded and wished him a happy one. We both agree that Carmel has a great vibe and and we’ll definitely return.

The next day we drove down the coast looking for a place to camp. Big Sur was beautiful albeit shrouded in a heavy fog bank, but every so often the sun broke through. The views are incredible.bigsur1We never make reservations at campgrounds because we’ve always had good luck finding a spot, but not on this trip. This is what we found EVERYWHERE. NorCal tripAll the hotels were booked up too, so we drove straight home, which wasn’t as bad as it could have been, ‘cos everything’s better when my tugboat man’s around.

I’ll post more pics of our drive down California’s coast another time.

Burning Down the House–The Story of My Tugboat Man and Fire Drills

pier-1-scented-seashell-candlesI love candles. I have candles covering virtually every surface in every room of our home.

I don’t light candles while my tugboat man is gone.

Not anymore.

There’s a very good reason for this.

I almost burned our house down and my husband’s firefighting training was the only impediment to potential disaster.

One very tranquil evening last spring after dinner, I lit every candle in the bathroom adjoining our bedroom and proceeded to take a leisurely shower. There were candles on the countertop, candles on the bamboo shelf above the toilet, and candles on another floor shelf unit.

Normally I extinguish them when I’m finished, but this time I didn’t because the room looked and smelled so lovely.

Wearing a black silk kimono and feeling quite frisky (if you know what I mean) I went out to the family room and snuggled up on the sofa to watch the Daily Show with a glass of merlot and hubs.

After a bit, he took the remote and muted the sound.

He cocked his head like he was listening for something (he looked very puppy-like and cute LOL) and said,

“Do you hear that?”

Me: “Hear what?”

Him: “I think I hear something in the bedroom, or wait, did you leave the water on?”

Me: “No, I didn’t. What do you hear?”

Him: “You’re not making popcorn, are you? Do you smell anything?”

Me: “Nooo….no popcorn, I can’t really smell –wait, I do kinda hear something, I wonder what… ”

Suddenly, he takes off running toward the bathroom and I stand up but I swear, I’m totally paralyzed, I can’t move a muscle to follow him or anything.  (I’m not a real take charge kind of girl in any emergency. I’m the one whose limbs turn to stone. I don’t react. Don’t count on me.)

So…the next thing I hear is a lot of “Oh sh***t” and “F**k F***K F***K F***K!!” and things crashing, and for a split second I think someone broke in and they’re fighting.

It was soooo crazy.

I’m still standing two rooms away and my feet are like in cement; I mean I know I should DO something, but I just can’t. I can’t even move to the phone to call 911 or anything.

Then I heard the sound of the shower being turned on and sizzling sounds. I was finally able to triumph over my fears and pry my feet loose, and tiptoed toward the bathroom.

OH -EM-GEE.

What I saw was a disaster. The bathroom was filled with smoke; smoke was beginning to fill the house (later we figured out that the smoke alarm’s battery had died.)

My personal fireman hero was soaking wet — apparently the noise I heard were his huge biceps ripping the engulfed in flames bamboo shelf off the wall and tossed in the shower. What a hero! He had the presence of mind, not to mention the strength, to prevent a major tragedy.

As you might imagine, fires on boats are a potential catastrophe, and professional mariners constantly train and drill in the event of a fire in the engine room or anywhere else on board. I know that my mariner takes it very seriously, and I am SO glad.

Watching him in action was very reassuring (and VERY sexy).

Here’s what happened…

One of the candles was on the bottom shelf of the bamboo unit above the toilet and next to the shower. The heat from the flame ignited the shelf right above it, which also had a candle going, and that in turn ignited the shelf above that and finally the whole thing was ablaze with foot-high flames, searing the ceiling, coating it in a horrible black smoky sooty mess. The ceiling stayed too hot to touch for hours, and it was just plain luck that the attic didn’t explode in flames; it was that hot.

The burning bamboo set off little flaming arrows of fire all over the bathroom, burning the floor, the rug, and everything it touched. Cleaning the bathroom was a nightmare. There was congealed candle wax covering every surface, including the shower and the countertop, the sink, the mirror, and even the ceiling. It took forever to scrape it off.

The burnt bamboo shelf

burned shelf

This wasn’t my first brush with a candle-related disaster, however.

We have an entertainment unit in the family room that has beautiful glass shelves.

entertainment unit

I lit a candle on the bottom shelf (déjà vu, right?) and left the room (déjà vu again, right?) and we heard a sound like an explosion, ran in, and found shattered glass everywhere. The shelf must have heated up and cracked. Wow.  Everything on the shelf crashed and broke, too.

The replacement shelf had to be custom-made, and the expensive lesson learned that time was not to light any candles under glass shelves.

But I guess I didn’t learn the ENTIRE lesson or I surely wouldn’t have walked away from a roomful of candles!

I am ever so grateful that hubs did not bring up the previous incident as I felt bad enough without being reminded of my carelessness.

So…it’s no surprise that I avoid any candle lighting until my personal fireman is here.

Before he leaves to go out to sea, he forces me to perform –fire drills. (Head OUT of the gutter, people!) I think it’s more to make him feel better about leaving and hoping that I have the tools and knowledge to act appropriately  in an emergency.

Well, that’s probably not going to happen.

The fire extinguisher is in the garage, and I know he’s shown me a zillion times how to make it work, but I don’t remember a single thing he says. Considering that my response time isn’t so good, the darn thing is heavy and unwieldy and it’ll be next to impossible to react at all when my feet are pinned to the floor, unable to move — I guess I’ll have to be content with a picture of a candle until he comes home.

candle