Friday, March 20, 2009

Treats! (or - Probably Why My Pants are Tight)

That's what we call sugary goodness in my house, treats. As in - "we don't have any treats in this house" followed by "why don't you go get us some treats?". I have already professed my love for Ben & Jerry's or any kind of ice cream really. My other love is chocolate, of course.

When we first got together my husband informed me that he does not like chocolate and in addition to that, sweets are not "his thing" . WHAT? or more accurately, WTF? This cannot be possible. So I set out to change his mind because I couldn't go through life eating treats all by myself. It took several years but I finally broke him and I can proudly proclaim that he especially loves Snickers and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. He also loves any kind of fruity treat and when I do have to "go get us some treats" I ask what he wants and he says, "something fruity and tasty".

I usually buy cookie dough, frozen cake or mixes if we want baked goods. I do sometimes make homemade treats but not often. If we have no treats and don't want to go to the store I make something I learned from my grandma, my Mom's Mom. She would take leftover pie crust and spread it with butter, sugar and cinnamon, cut it into strips and roll it. Bake up and eat; nom nom nom. Pie crust is easy to make fast and I can whip it up in no time.

Since reading In Defense of Food We have decided to do better eating real food. Our CSA was a good start but we can still cut processed food, white flour, High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) and the like. Real food takes more time and effort. Real food is sometime hard to find. Try going to the grocery store and not purchasing anything with HFCS . It's hard. We are learning so much. While organic crackers seem more expensive than 100 calorie snack packs they are actually not when portioned into 100 calorie packs of their own and they have less packaging. Also, organic ketchup is soooo much better than the regular kind.

This brings me back to our treats problem. Unfortunately we cannot at this time live without treats but we no longer want processed crap. So, I decided to learn to bake more. Baking is a challenge because I can't use real butter or milk (for Mark) and we are trying to use whole wheat flour which has a very particular taste and density. It requires some experimentation as to creating good recipes. I take my work seriously and have done the required research. I began with cake.

RESULTS: Worst cake ever: peanut butter cake with chocolate frosting - the peanut flavor highlighted the wheat flavor and the cake was too dry and heavy. Best non-chocolate cake: carrot cake from Betty Crocker with vegan vanilla
sour cream frosting from somewhere on the Internets - the spices covered the wheat flavor and the density worked well with the carrots and nuts. Best chocolate cake: this vegan chocolate cake with cocoa frosting from Betty Crocker. The recipe was for 12 cupcakes so I doubled it and made a cake. It is the perfect chocolate flavor and it is the lightest, melt-in-your-mouth texture ever, even with whole wheat flour. It is almost too dangerous to have in the house. And the frosting is definitely the best I have made; better than using baking chocolate or even vegan cream cheese frosting.

Monday is Mark's B-day so this weekend I am making his B-day cake. When I asked him he immediately requested the carrot cake but then he saw this recipe from Fat Free Vegan and has decided he wants that. It looks fruity and tasty. I hope its not also wheat-y.

On another note, have you heard of this thing they call "March Madness"? It annoys me and ruins perfectly good television. But Fug Madness is awesome!

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