I'm back! Catching up and Carrot Cake Bites…..

I am finally back to writing after a week away!  Sorry about that.  Last week was my last week of the classroom part of culinary school.  It was busy!  We hosted a celebration party on Saturday for about 70 people.  Eight women planning an event like that was no easy task.  Everyone has their own ideas but fortunately we had assigned jobs to make it easier. My job was shared with another student and consisted of creating the communal shopping list, doing all the shopping, and managing the budget.  It wasn't bad, especially since Kristine and I get along well and made it fun.  I cooked two dishes for the party…raw carrot cake bites which I'll share today, and BBQ cauliflower. Before we cook, a little catching up….

Last week Spring finally came and I could get outside and walk a bit.  The time change means it is daylight long enough to walk after school got out. I love a nice walk outside and feel so much better when I get some exercise and fresh air.  Here are some photos…Can you see the turtle hidden in the branches?  

Unfortunately last week I took a bad fall at school.  I was loaded down with groceries and tripped in the parking lot on a spot where a sign had been cut off.  I couldn't think fast enough to let go of my bags and landed on my right shoulder and cheek bone.  I am lucky nothing broke except my glasses.  I sat there and cried for 30 minutes, sure I would have a black eye for the celebration, shocked from the fall, and embarrassed.  Falling is just the worst.  I won't share the photo of my face since my mom would flip out, but here is what I tripped on and my shoulder.  Fortunately all is healing quickly.  You almost can't see it in my party photos.   I also contacted the property management company to get the spot repaired and ask for compensation for my progressive lens glasses that I just got in December.  They were quite generous and have already sent a check that more than covers the glasses!  (No, I did't drop a lemon….Tom gave me the tip so I could show the size of the obstacle to the property managers.)

Here are some photos from the celebration event.  I was so happy.  Not only was I finished, but I had a great group of my friends come to cheer me on!   We had a little ceremony where we got a pin.  Once I finish my two externships I will be a full graduate.  So May 1 I should be all finished up and ready for the next adventure! 

On a completely random and unrelated note, my sister, mom and I all have wood peckers we are watching in our yards.  How odd is that?  Here is the beautiful red headed woodpecker that has been eating at my feeder….

And finally, yesterday I went to hear some music.  Austin is home to fabulous live music and this week was SouthxSouthwest.  I didn't attend any of the events but I did go to a local neighborhood listening room yesterday morning.  Every Sunday from 11 to 1 there is a great group of rotating musicians who play a free show of bluesy gospel music.  It was amazing.  Here's a photo and a You Tube clip so you can have a listen….not the same show but you'll get the idea!

The Purgatory Players

The Purgatory Players

So finally here is your recipe.  Thanks for reading through the randomness to get to the goodness.  This is a raw dessert that is made with with whole foods and is as nutritious as it is delicious.  It is vegan and gluten free. The cake is made with raw carrots and dates, and the icing is made with soaked cashews with some maple syrup and coconut oil.  It sounds kind of odd but it is so good.  Every single one was eaten at the event, and I think I made 164!  Like most raw desserts, this requires a food processor and a blender.  When you make the carrot cake part in the food processor, you have to  stop alot to scrape down the sides and mix it up.  It will eventually come together, just be patient and keep at it.  The cashew cream cheese part comes together quickly if you have a high speed blender. If not just let it run until it gets nice and creamy.  You will hear the sound change as it all gets blended together.  Be sure to freeze well before cutting. You can see in the picture below what happens if you cut them before they are solid.  They still taste good but they don't hold together well.  Don't be discouraged if this seems too weird or complicated. It is pretty easy and is well worth the effort.  Just remember, it is dessert and don't eat the whole pan!     

I have a day off today and am going to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.  I'll be back tomorrow with bluebonnet pictures!  Until then, make some carrot cake! 

Raw Carrot Cake Bites

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: none

Keywords: raw dessert gluten-free vegan vegetarian carrots dates nuts pecans

Ingredients (36 squares)

    For the “cake”
    • 1 cup raw pecans
    • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
    • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • pinch of salt
    • 2 1/2 cups shredded carrots (3-4 carrots)
    For the frosting
    • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
    • 1/4 water
    • 3 Tbsp grade A maple syrup
    • 2 tsp lemon juice (approximately ½ lemon)
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • pinch of salt
    • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
    • Garnish
    • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
    • orange zest

    Instructions

    For the cake:

    Line a 8x8 square pan with parchment paper so that the edges hang over the sides of the pan.

    In a food processor, blend pecans and dates until mostly smooth.

    Add coconut, spices, vanilla, and salt and blend together.

    Add the carrots and blend until well combined, scraping down the sides.

    Spread in prepared pan, smooth the top, and put in the refrigerator.

    For the cashew cream:

    Drain and rinse the cashews.

    In a blender, combine everything except the coconut oil. Blend very well, scraping down the sides often, until very smooth. This may take 10 minutes if you don’t have a high speed blender. Add melted coconut oil, and blend to combined. Spoon onto the chilled cake and smooth the top. Sprinkle the pecans over the top, and then sprinkle with orange zest. Freeze for at least 2 hours until soild, or overnight.

    To serve, remove from freezer. Using the edges of the parchment, remove the cake from the pan. (if your parchment tears don't worry. Use a knife to loosen cake from the edge of the pan. Flip pan upside down to remove and then quickly turn right side up. It is frozen so no harm done!) Let thaw 10 minutes. Dip a sharp knife in a glass of hot water. Dry quickly. Cut into 1.5 inch squares, wiping off the knife and re-dipping in the hot water as needed. If you are having a hard time cutting the frosting, just thaw a few more minutes until you can slice it easily. Let thaw an additional 15 minutes before serving. Alter-nately cut and return to the freezer and then let thaw 25 minutes before serving.

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