Work in Progress Wednesday

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As I type, it is still Wednesday in Portland, so this ought to count as a W.I.P. post, right? Right. For the past several years, I have been very into making my own cards to give away to family and friends. This post is dedicated to the art of card making (briefly and quickly).

The essential tools:

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Stacks of colored and patterned paper

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Pens, pencils, crayons, markers, paintbrushes, scissors, glue, and paints

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A good quality pencil sharpener

The above tools are helpful in creating stuff like this:

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Hoots on a branch

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Fishies

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Santa Whale

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Christmas Birdy

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Chirpy Birds

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More birds

That’s the joy of card making!

The Cake Takes Control

Sometimes the end result in a baking adventure isn’t how you imagined it would be. Tim’s birthday cake was a perfect example. I set to work on his cake Saturday morning and never sensed that the cake wasn’t in the mood to cooperate. I was trying out a new cake pan I received for Christmas and I had every last detail planned for how the cake would look when completed. I used my most favorite chocolate cake recipe (the Wacky Cake recipe from this book), filled the pan, put it in the oven, and set my timer.

Once the cake came out of the oven, it was a test of my patience waiting for it to cool. I was so eager to assemble the cake… I waited, and waited, went on a bike ride, and waited some more… And then, it was time to remove the cake from the pan. This is when the trouble started. The cake simply refused to release itself. I tapped, knocked, pounded, and even dropped (on the floor, gasp!!!) the pan trying to encourage the cake to come out. Nothing. I let it sit longer on the counter. Nothing. Finally my inner rage took over and I really pounded on the bottom of the pan, I mean really pounded. Exactly half of the cake plopped out and landed on the parchment paper circle I had waiting on the counter. The other half didn’t budge. I ended up gently removing it with a spatula, but some cake remained in the fluted nooks of the pan. Tim took care of that by dipping his fingers in and sweeping wads of cake into his mouth. Birthday greed?!

So, what was supposed to be one round cake with a mousse-filled cavity ended up being half of a two layer cake with a mousse-filled layer in between. Baking failures always upset me and some level of mopiness ensues (I can’t be the only one, right?). The final cake (which is still pretty):

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The components: Two layers of chocolate wacky cake with a peanut butter mousse in between, drizzled with chocolate ganache, and topped with granulated agave-sweetened peanuts (the mousse, ganache, and nuts are all test recipes for Celine and Joni’s cookbook).  The cake is delicious regardless of the misfortune along the way. Maybe the cake knew what was best?

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Not a photo, but a scanned image of the birthday card I made for Tim. I love elephants (purple ones especially!), and we both love birds, so that was the inspiration behind this particular card.

Tim and I also enjoyed homemade tofu jerky over the weekend:

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Smoky Peppered Tofu Jerky – We made this in our food dehydrator (using an adapted recipe from How it All Vegan). Making jerky takes a long time, but the results are worth it. This small batch lasted less than a day.

Lastly, another test recipe for the cookbook:

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Homemade tofu mayo! I was never a huge mayo fan before going vegan, but this was so simple to make. I used it in the Tofu Dill Salad Sandwich recipe from Vegan with A Vengeance and it worked beautifully.