Friday, December 3, 2010

Food For Thought

When it comes to eating veggies, we have a limited number of items that all my kids will eat voluntarily.  Aaron and Norah are a little more willing to eat the "green guys" off their plate, but the girls?  Not so much.  For this reason, I've been known to hide veggies in a variety of foods.  This is a great way to get the good stuff in my kids without enduring the "Eat your veggies, please!" wrestling match.   Especially when veggies are so good for you!  Here is an excerpt that I read on the packaging of some baby carrots I bought a few weeks ago:

Did you know?
The nutrients in carrots:

  • Help support your immune system
  • Help maintain healthy skin
  • Help regulate metabolism
  • Help maintain optimum health

Carrots have a high Vitamin A content and are loaded with fiber!

Well ... I think we need to eat more carrots!  I especially like the part about metabolism.  How many carrots do you think I'd have to eat to offset the cinnamon roll I had for breakfast? :)

But ... how many recipes do you know of that highlight carrots?  Very, very few.  That's why we typically eat our carrots with a side of ranch dip ... or maybe it's ranch dip with a side of carrots.  Ummm ... yeah, probably more like that last one. :)

Even while I was looking for other recipes to include in this week's Food For Thought, I was a bit stumped.  Carrot salads ... cooked carrots ... carrot muffins ... not terribly exciting.

Oh well ... the good news is that today's recipe is good* for you and I can almost guarantee that your family and friends will love it!  I mean ... who doesn't love cake?!?

* (Now by "good" for you, I mean the ingredients individually could be good for you and the act of treating yourself to something yummy is always good for you!)

Grandma Ruthie's Pineapple Carrot Cake
(This recipe is from my mom's grandma ... I made it for Lydia's 2nd birthday.)

One of my favorite Pampered Chef gadgets ...
my nifty nut chopper!
3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
2 cups grated carrots (about 8 oz  of baby carrots run through the food processor)
4 oz can crushed pineapple
2 t. vanilla
1 cup nuts, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
3 cups flour (I used half wheat and half white)
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
2 T. cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a 9x13 inch cake pan.  First coat the pan with shortening and then sprinkle 2 T flour in the pan and shake it around until well coated.  Tap the leftover flour out in the sink.  Set the pan aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine eggs, oil and sugar.  Stir in carrots, pineapple (juice included), vanilla, nuts and raisins.  In another bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.  Stir into carrot mixture and blend thoroughly.

Those are the wholesome ingredients I was taking about!

Notice the flour on the edge ...
helps ensure that the cake will come out!

Bake the cake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let cool for about 10 minutes before turning it out on a cooling rack.

For this particular birthday, I decided to make an ice cream cake.  Here is a brief tutorial on that little adventure!  Be sure to plan ahead if you want to make an ice cream cake ... it takes several days.

Let the cake cool completely on the cooling rack.  Then transfer the cake to serving platter.  Simply invert the platter on the top of the cake and turn the cooling rack, cake and platter over.  Voila!

Using a long, serrated knife (I used a bread knife) slice along the middle of the cake, horizontally.  Don't try to move the top layer.  It will fall to pieces.  Instead, take a long sheet of waxed paper and carefully work the paper between the layers.  This took me a few minutes of minute, gentle lifting, readjusting the paper and helping the paper along.  This waxed paper will act as a barrier between the slices of cake while it's freezing.

Feel free to munch on the crumbs ... they are good for you!

Next I wrapped the platter and cake in plastic wrap and stuck the whole thing in the freezer.

The next day it was time to add the ice cream.  I pulled the 1/2 gallon of ice cream out about 10 minutes before the cake to allow time for the ice cream to soften a bit.  Gently life the top layer of the cake off using the waxed paper edges.  Set this aside.  Using a spatula, scoop the ice cream onto the bottom layer and smooth it out a bit.

The "not-so-good for you" part of the cake ... but, oh so good!

When the ice cream is evenly distributed, replace the top layer of cake.  Press it down a bit to make sure that it is level and smooth out any ice cream that might squoosh out the sides.  Re-wrap the cake in plastic wrap and pop it back in the freezer.

Once the ice cream is set again, it's time to ice.  I think I waited until the next day ... hence the need to play ahead!

I used 2 tubs of store bought cream cheese icing to cover the cake and add the decorations.

When it was time to serve the cake, we pulled it out about 15 minutes before cutting into it.  It was delish!!

Carrot Cake

Ice Cream Cake

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