Friday Food : Carrot Cake

I have to be honest, I’ve never really understood carrot cake. Is it supposed to be healthy or a treat? I suppose it’s like the red-headed step child to the banana bread family? Along with black bean brownies and such? The redeeming quality for me was always the fact it came topped with cream cheese frosting. Ooooh I drool even thinking about it! Since it is Easter  I decided talking about carrot cake would be seasonal. I was going to be all “Let’s eat healthy” and then I said “Or not”.

Carrot Cake

Carrot Cake Recipe

What you need:

Cake

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup buttermilk (to make buttermilk substitute you can add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to a 1 cup measuring cup. Fill the rest with milk. Mix and you have your substitute!
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2¼ cups wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

Frosting

  • 8 oz of cream cheese (softened)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Spray pan with nonstick cooking spray or use a non-stick pan such as stoneware (suggestions, use a 9×5 loaf pan or 12×17 sheet cake pan)
  3. Cream together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, slowly pour in the buttermilk, then stir in the shredded carrots and raisins
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg
  5. Blend in the wet ingredients and mix until just combined
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour if using a loaf pan or 20-25 if using a sheet cake pan

Let cake cool completely before frosting

  1. To make the cream cheese icing: beat together the softened cream cheese and remaining butter
  2. Add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy
  3. Spread frosting over the top of the cooled carrot cake loaf or for extra fancy points, slice the sheet cake in half, frost the top of one piece, place the other half on top and frost again for a layered cake!
  4. Decorate with orange and green icing or sprinkles as desired!

Comments & Photos:

Here is what my cake looks like at a side view to see the layers. In the future I would use a little more frosting between the layers. I decorated on the side of caution because I didn’t want to have any bald spots on top.

Layered Carrot Cake

Here is another fun link section. People who are far more into the “Carrot Cake” thing than I ever knew was possible:

Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth created Carrot Cake Smoothies

Something Swanky made Carrot Cake Monkey Bread

My Recipes has a post for making your own Carrot Cake Jam

Kiran Srivastava guests posts on Katherine Martinelli’s site to share Carrot Cake Oatmeal <— I HAVE to try this for myself!

Cookie and Kate has Carrot Cake Pancakes

Inside BruCrew Life has Carrot Cake Cookies annnnnd Carrot Cake Fudge

Oh and for those who like to pin images without words. Here is the main image again:

Carrot Cake

What do you think? Any tempting ideas? Did I miss one you’re dying to share with me? Post away in the comments section. Again have a happy, safe, and healthy holiday!

Hopping Down the Bunny Trail

Last night I ran in my 3rd Crooked River Trail Runners (CRTR) Easter Egg Hunt event. Mom came with me the other years and we had a wonderful time!

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Egg Run 2012

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Egg run 2011

This year her knee was bothering her so she wasn’t able to attend. It’s a good move because despite advertising it as a family friendly event, IMHO the routes are very challenging and the mileage is usually a tad off, meaning your kids better be mini badasses.

Last night we all gathered at the Brandywine Golf Course Country Club. I’ve never been inside before and it was beautiful. My sister went with me and we milled about and I introduced her to a few friends.

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Around 630 we all gathered outside to get instructions on the route options (5 or 3 mile distances) and a little background on CRTR. We also learned about helping out CSB and other local children’s sources where kids often arrive in care without socks or underwear. Donations were taken up for the evening to help their cause. Soon the runners were off and there was no looking back.

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The route itself wasn’t too eventful. I knew the course fairly well. We took the Valley trail up to the road of “Initiation Hill” and then returned on the Buckeye. My calculations put us at 3.9 miles at the end. I taught Becky some fun facts about the blue blazes and we generally just hiked/ran/stumbled through mud and had a great time. Of course Becky kept wondering where the eggs would be…and I told her very close to the end. Sure enough they showed up around mile 3 or beyond. She kept saying how she didn’t want a raffle ticket as much as she wanted the thrill of finding an egg in the woods. Jim (leader) had said not to worry if they run out raffle tickets would be at the door. I was VERY pleased we managed to find some eggs.

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Afterward there is a raffle. Some people brought food to share. Sadly, we walked away empty handed, but that’s luck sometimes!

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If you’re local and you’ve never been to a big CRTR event, it’s a must try. If you’re not local I suggest looking into your own local options, because group training can be a great experience.

Happy Friday all and make sure you stop back later today or soon after when I’ll be posting a GREAT collection of Carrot Cake recipes!

#OHBlogging Volunteer Night at #MedWish

Last Tuesday I was given the wonderful opportunity to learn about a local organization changing saving many lives and improving the quality of life for everyone. MedWish International is located in Cleveland, less than an hour drive from where I live. Tucked away in a building complex shared with the Cleveland Clinic, those simply driving by may never know the magic they are passing.

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Photo respectfully borrowed from Poise in Parma

Luckily the Ohio Blogging Association was given the chance to learn about the organization and volunteer.  So along with the following people I now know about the magic.

I know a lot of write-ups focus on official stats and press releases, I have even written this way before. Not this time. Over the past week I have told nearly everyone I come in contact with about the volunteer night.  While I may not be a memorized the sales pitch, I think my fascination and passion are more than any marketing campaign can provide. However, I will share from their website, the official mission statement, value statement and core values.

Mission Statement

MedWish International is a not-for-profit organization committed to repurposing medical supplies and equipment discarded by the healthcare industry with the objectives of providing humanitarian aid in developing countries to save lives andreducing waste to save our environment.

Value Statement

MedWish International provides donated medical supplies to individuals and organizations dedicated to providing care that directly lessens the burden of suffering people in under-served areas regardless of religious or political affiliation. Medical supplies and equipment provided by MedWish International may not be sold.

Core Values

MedWish will conduct itself adhering to the following core values:

  • Humanitarian Focus – we are dedicated to providing medical aid to lessen the burden of suffering people regardless of religious or political affiliation.
  • Environmental Consciousness – we will look for every opportunity to recover, recycle and redistribute all in-kind donations.
  • Community Benefit – we give back to the community through the use of local services, employment and partnerships.
  • Integrity – we will “do the right thing” operationally, financially and socially.
  • Respect for Our Employees, Volunteers and Partners – we will support an environment of respect, collaboration and safety.

We began our evening after introductions with a tour of the facility. We stopped in a beautifully painted hallway highlighting the many areas of the world MedWish has provided supplies. One of our tour guides told a story about one of the founders (I believe) who witnessed (or heard about?) a young woman who was in an accident. The medical staff was able to stabilize her and it seemed with proper care she would pull through. Unfortunately, there was a tube missing from the ventilator and it would have been impossible to get one in time. A piece of equipment probably tosses aside in excess countless times from our programs, could have saved this woman’s life.

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Needless to say this impacted me. Especially since I spent the day in the ER only 2 hours before arriving on site. A story for another day. We continued to walk through and saw where deliveries are dropped off, various sorting stations, and racks with prepared equipment ready to move on to their new homes.

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If you have only skimmed so far, let me break it down to you how this program works. In a standard hospital lots of things come in kits. When you go for a gallbladder removal, or heart procedure or whatever the tools come in a large kit where everything in wrapped on its own and then sealed together for easy grab-an-go access. When the “heart kit” for example is opened maybe only 3 of the 10 tools are used. What happens the other other 7? Despite being individually wrapped, they are no longer considered sterile. It is cheaper to throw them out then it is to put them through a re-sterilization process. (UNBELIEVABLE!)

MedWish collects these items and sends them to other countries where such supplies may not normally be available. Those who receive the supplies are aware they items may or may not be sealed in a protective way. Sometimes where they go there is no electricity or running water. Our standards can’t be pushed onto them, as difficult as it may be to accept. IMHO I’d rather them attempt to do some good with a tool boiled to clean it, then to not have the tool at all.

What about expired items? Well, if MedWish finds items no longer safe for use with humans there are two possible alternatives. First, the items may be donated to another agency with non-human functions. Rubber gloves may be “expired” based on their casing, but they’re still safe to use for clean up. Those may find a home at a local animal shelter. There’s also the option for the public to come and claim supplies. As long as you agree the use is non-human and non-medical. MedWish has had Girl Scout troops collect items to be used in art projects.

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Can you even grasp the social, economic and environmental impact?

How are recipients chosen? Well, good question. MedWish works solely on a process of having people ask for their help. They do not partner with anyone exclusively and they do not seek out recipients. In their minds it doesn’t do any good to send 10 new ultrasound machines to a hospital without working power, right? Also, they don’t pay for these items as they’ve all been donated. The only cost is to pay for shipping. We were told a story where one hospital received a package they paid $40 in shipping coats to receive. When they itemized the contents it would have normally cost $27,000. Try to wrap your head around that information.

What did OBA do to help? We put together medical kits. Our small, but might force formed an assembly line and built “medical burritos”.  Well, we called them medical burritos due to the way they were wrapped. Really they were standard medical kits. Inside were gauze patches, tweezers, various sized/shape scissors, cleaning treatments and other things.

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We were very proud of our contributions and I know personally, it feels great to give back. This was an organization where I can’t imagine anyone having an issue with what they do or who they help. I have every intention of following up and returning to volunteer on my own. Any locals want to coordinate with me and go together?

Need more information on MedWish? Check them out on Facebook and on Twitter. Also, their big Band Aid Bash is coming up on Saturday, April 27 at the non-profit’s warehouse.

What’s the next Ohio Blogging Association meetup? I’m glad you asked. RSVP by April 8 at the Facebook event page for our meetup at the Cleveland Museum of Art on Wednesday, April 17. Learn all about the Last days of Pompeii. Bloggers, blog readers, tweeters… everyone is invited!