Mom of three preschoolers, 2 with allergies (one unknown). Having food restrictions led me to develop some of the tastiest cakes and treats I have EVER eaten, all dairy, egg, peanut, nut and sesame free! Juggling life with 3 kids and a serious baking addiction!
Well, Here goes, my whole experience, as promised.The week before the race I was watching the weather
very carefully dreading what it was saying.Hoping that every day it would change, and I guess it kind of did.A week before the race, the forecast was for
22 C and rainy (20-30mm), later in the week that changed a bit to add in
thunderstorms on that day (up until the day prior to the race actually).Humidity was supposed to make it feel like about
28 C.I wasn’t happy with rain, not
having the greatest balance in the world I was worried about my bike tires
slipping since they are old, and I really didn’t want to wipe out on the
course, and worse, I didn’t want to take out anyone with me.Friday was the registration and pre race
pickup, but since I had the kids I couldn’t make it to that pick-up and the open
water swim practice that they allowed.I
wasn’t too worried about that though, since we could also pick up our stuff the
day of the race, 2 hours before.
Triathlon seminar for beginners
They offer a beginners seminar run by Anastasia Polito for first
timers free of charge, which I signed up for early (I think in May) because it
was a first come first serve basis thing.This was held on the island Thursday afternoon.Having seen Anastasia Polito in the Ford
Ironman World Championship videos, it was pretty cool I thought that they were
offering a seminar lead by such an inspiring person.Thursday was a heck of a day.Not living in Montreal, I had to bring my
bike and my racing stuff with me into town, but to make everything that much
more interesting it also coincided with my first day of classes.My classes are on Tuesdays and Thursdays at
Concordia and I wasn’t going to miss my first classes, so I packed the bike and
my stuff into the car at 6:30 am and dumped the responsibility of dropping the
kids off at daycare on the hubby.I then
experienced the reason that I would be taking the train into town for the rest
of the semester.I pulled away from the
house at 7:00 am after running around for about 20 minutes remembering stuff
that I had forgotten, like my helmet, my class schedule and where the heck was
my bike pump!My first class started at
8:45 and I arrived at the university and parked at 8:35, made it into class 2
minutes before it started (whew).I had
classes run from 8:45-14:30 and I had forgotten one of the more important
things (a lunch).I was ravenous by the
time my classes were over (I only had 15 minutes to go between classes, no time
to run out).
Classes ended and I rushed out to subway to grab a
lunch/dinner sub and ate it at the student parent’s center while checking
e-mail.Headed off to the triathlon
seminar and got there just in time (yay).Took my bike out of the car, started pumping up my tires with my now
broken bike pump (ya, I need a new one very badly, it keeps falling apart),
clipped on my helmet and headed down to the bike racks they were setting up. I found the seminar quite helpful with info I
never would have though of (like counting the paces between the transition zone
entry to where my bike was racked, because when there are hundreds of bikes it’s
hard to find yours – more on that later), how to set up the gear for the
transition (more on that later) and other helpful tips, along with a
familiarization with the course and transition zone (very helpful).At the close of the seminar I thanked
Anastasia, asked her a few questions related to triathlon teams and the like and
then headed back to the car with my gear.The nerves subsided a bit, but not enough to cure me of the horrible
indigestion that had been plaguing me for a few days – just glad it wasn’t the
cold that all 3 kids and the hubby had though.Let’s just say Immodium was my friend.Home I went.I was exhausted at
that point haven woken up at 5:30 that morning and been go go go since
then.I got home just before 9:00 pm and
went straight to bed when I got in.
As stated previously I had prepped all my gear on Friday
night, but still felt the need to go over everything I had packed like 3-4
times anyways in the morning.I was up before
the kids and the hubby came to see me off at the door after my (what I thought sufficient)
breakfast.No longer plagued by
indigestion (thanks Imodium), I got down to the island at 8:10.My start time was 10:50 and I knew I needed
to be there at 8:50 at the latest to pick up my race kit.I probably looked like the biggest newbie
there, I didn’t know where to go to pick up what and had generalnon-itchy hives on my legs and arms because
of nerves (ya, I kind of looked diseased) but at least they weren’t itching
(thanks to a last minute Reactine taken that AM).I got my race kit/t-shirt and swag bag and
timing chip and got marked (thanks for writing my age on my right leg of
course, so I can’t really hide it..).I
went to rack my bike and set up my spot as was shown in the seminar, made sure
my tire pressure was right and generally sat there nervously.45 minutes before my start I went down to the
wetsuit rental tent and picked up my glorious wetsuit that was supposed to save
the day for beginners.It looked huge
but I proved otherwise as I tried to put it on and proceeded to curse and
struggle with it for about 10 minutes, much to the amusement of a few people
around me.All in good fun, I was
starting to doubt my decision to rent a wetsuit.I didn’t like the cold, I get hives in cold
water and I was told it would help make me more buoyant during the swim
portion, which is why I rented it.After
putting it on and having help doing it up in the back, I grabbed my fancy pants
orange bathing cap and goggles, remembered the hint to put the goggles on
before the cap just in case they came off they wouldn’t get lost.Before I knew it they were briefing the women
and we were given the go ahead to get into the water for a quick warm up before
the starter buzzer.HA!Buoyant all right, I swam out in crawl a bit
then turned back and attempted breaststroke, but couldn’t make my butt sink
enough for that to work – way to go!I’ve
called myself bubble butt but that just took it a bit too far.I was hoping for some photos of me exiting
the water but that didn’t happen and nobody gets to witness the “XL sausage
stuffed into a M sized casing” look of this wetsuit.At this point I guess I should mention that
weather, it was temperate about 25 degrees it felt like and pretty humid, NOT
raining, greyish skies and VERY windy..The weather reports said gusts up to 20 km/hr which is a lot but
according to the guy running the briefing on the island they were gusting to
the 50 km/hr range.The rowing basin we
were dong our swim in had white caps – waves – NOT cool.All the women lined up at the start and
before I knew it they were calling out 30 seconds to start, I wished a few
women around me good luck (a lot of us were first/second timers) and then the
I had expected it to be hard, it being open water and then
with the added challenge of white caps, but what I wasn’t expecting was the fact
that the swim became a FULL contact sport.No holds barred on that one, also being used to doing my swims in a pool
with lane markers and a nice line on the bottom to follow I was disconcerted by
the murky water where you couldn’t see a foot until it kicked you in the face
and the icky lake weed all over (I guess I knew in principle that it would be
there, but I still think it’s gross).It
must have been trimmed though, because it was out of reach for the most part
except for one or two longer sprouts.I
was kicked in the face 3 times, kicked elsewhere too many times to count and
pushed and scraped.I couldn’t sight the
buoys because of the wave sin the water so I was forced to follow blindly and
hope the person in front of me was going the right way.The few times I tried to sight I got a mouth
full of water and ended up coughing a sputtering.I found that as much as the wetsuit helped
keep me nice and warm and helped me float it restricted my shoulder movement
and found it harder to get my arm out of the water so I was using much more
energy.We turned at the first buoy and
one of things that was mentioned in the seminar finally crystallized in my mind
– they said NEVER use the turn to do breaststroke and that’s exactly what the
person in front of me decided to do.Because everyone crams together to take the corner tight, you piss off
everybody behind you.I finally got
around her, after being kicked in the face once (because of course breaststroke
means you open your legs even wider to kick that many more people in the
face).Swam across the basin and turned
around the other buoy to head back to shore.This is where of course the field has thinned out a bit, so there was
really nobody to follow, and I slowed my pace a bit to catch my breath from the
few times I got a mouthful of water trying to sight the buoys.Now the waves were coming from behind us, so
it SHOULD have been easier to swim and sight the buoys expect that because of
the tightness of the wetsuit, I couldn’t get my head up enough in the waves to
do this.I ended up what I consider WAY
off course, because at one point I stopped to sight (which I had to do in
breaststroke to get my head high enough up) and I saw a dock in front of me,
not the shore.I wasn’t that far off the
line, maybe about 50 m away from where I was supposed to be, but had to swim
back before continuing in to the shore line, afraid of being DQ ed..That was a waste of time of course, and a
waste of energy.I took to heart the
suggestion that when you get to the end of the swim to stand up slowly (mentioned
in the seminar) because your HR increases about 25 bpm in that moment and you
can get pretty lightheaded if you stand up and dash out of the water right
away.I stood up, paused for maybe 5-7 seconds
and started walking quickly towards the stairs, feeling a bit weak, not used to
Transition (swim to bike)
Having found my legs, I dragged my wet self out of the water
and up and over the stairs towards the zone.Not being used to not wearing glasses and my heart rate increasing, I
was a bit unsure of depth and I was very careful on the stairs (they aren’t all
even either, just to piss us off).Even
though I had counted the light jog paces from the entry of the transition zone
to my bike rack, I was all off, my legs weren’t cooperating so I wasn’t taking
strides like I was supposed to I guess and ended up standing 2 racks away from
my bike saying to myself (crap – where’s my bike).Luckily the woman beside me called me over, she
happened to be there at that time prepping (thank goodness).Got to my bike to find someone had moved my
stuff over, causing everything I had carefully prepped to be lying everywhere.Under the wetsuit I was wearing my sports bra
and my running shorts, so I started to strip off the wetsuit beyond just the
down to the waist I had gotten it off while running.Dumped my cap and goggles on my towel and
tried to take off the wetsuit as we were shown.Got the arm off – great..Got it
past the center of my calves and then did what were shown, step on one leg of
the suit and pull up with your leg.BAD
move.I ended up with that pre-cramp Charlie
horse twinge in my calf and swore like crazy, dropped down on the ground and
started to stretch it out, ended up struggling with taking it off the slow way
while massaging my calf and cursing like a sailor yet again (nice to not have
the kids around for that of course).My
socks had fallen out of the shoes when the towel was moved and I couldn’t find
one.I took s a swig of Gatorade, dried
my feet, put on my socks and shoes and headed off slowly to the bike portion of
the run with my cycling gloves, helmet on and clipped (I remembered!) and my
sunglasses on (wasn’t very sunny but I was worried the sun would breakthrough
just to annoy me if I didn’t put them on) and rallied my legs to start
moving.Ran to the end of my row and
over to the bike start line.SLOWLY got
on my bike (didn’t want to look like an idiot falling all over myself) and
headed off (in the lowest gear of course – I remembered that too).
Quickly got up to speed and headed towards the course,
perhaps a tad overzealous and over-excited at having avoided the calf
cramp.Turned onto the course and
experienced the most dreadful feeling.The same wind that was crating the “waves” and white caps I the swimming
basin now became a 50km/hr headwind.I
couldn’t get out of 2-3rd gear, and if my heart hadn’t dropped
enough, it dropped even further when I realised getting to the western end of
the course that there was a slight uphill (I hate hills – hills hate me) and it
was relatively long, which in my mind is even worse.Pushed up the hill with the 50 km/hr headwind
and breathed a sigh of relief when we came to the downhill portion.This being a 5 km loop, I had to do it four
times.At the eastern end there is a
nice hairpin turn which is awesome because we’d gained the speed from the
downhill and that’s where everybody sits and cheers.I complete my first lap, the lap counter
beeps once, I do my hairpin turn (feeling like crap) and keep going.Not even 1 km later, I’m pulling over to the
side of the track and stopping.That
swig of Gatorade is NOT doing what it’s supposed to and feels like it’s about
to come out,and I’m feeling slightly dizzy.A volunteer came over to ma, asked if I was
okay, “fine” I say “just need a minute”.It should be mentioned also that because of my balance issues, drinking
on the bike is much harder for me, so I had serious hydration issues on the bike.The time I had to stop was longer than a
minute, about 10 if I had to guess (I had no watch) for the lightheaded/nauseous
feeling to pass.As I got back on my
bike my body went through its internal battle of “STOP” “Hell no!Keep going!”That lasted the next 15 km of the bike course, though on the last loop
at least I could say to my body “Shut up, it’s the last one..”After the uphill (I’m sure most people could
have walked it faster than I biked up it) I let my legs coast on the way down
ins6tead of gaining speed, went around the hairpin and cut across (I signalled)
to my exit point.Cycled to the line
where I had to get off my bike and stopped and SLOWLY got off my bike (thanks
to my balance issues, that is pretty slow) and set off back to my bike rack.
Transition (bike to run)
Running was yet again not easy, it probably looked like a
slightly pained saunter.Not much
changing was required here, since I don’t have fancy bike shoes or anything,
just my running shoes so I racked my bike, took off my helmet, bike gloves and
grabbed my running cap.At the start as
a part of the swag bag they had given us one of those energy gels and at this
point I figured I could use all the help I could get and ripped open the packet
and sucked it in preparing for a gross taste (I’d heard rumors) but nOTHING
like I experienced.. I guess you are supposed to “shake” it first or massage
the package or something because the sugar was still kind of crystallized and I
probably got about 2/3 of the packet in my mouth, swallowed, followed it with a
swig of Gatorade and surprisingly managed to keep it down.Quick inventory of my body told me that my
short were still wet, so was my bra and so heat wasn’t an issue and I headed
off to the “run” portion.
I got out of transition zone barely managing a light
jog.I knew I was done, I wasn’t
expecting to have THAT hard of a time on the bike thanks to the stupid
headwinds I had, and the cramp in my calf was periodically reminding me that it
was still waiting to happen.My tank was
empty, I was hurting, I felt my sock chaffing against the back of my foot
because I guess I hadn’t dried off as well as I should have.I knew my race was “done”.Knowing I was going into this as a newbie, I
didn’t expect to place high or anything, but was let down from the get go at
the beginning of the swim when it was so violent and my breathing was impacted
by the waves.I was thankful at this
point I hadn’t had to break out my asthma inhaler at any point so far, and had
it in my shirt pocket “just in case”.My
5 km run was destined to be a walk/jog.I missed my music a bit as motivation and was surprised at the amount of
times that insidious “I’m sexy and I know it” song came into my head.I kept saying “why the hell did I do this,
this sucks..”I never thought that this
could be that hard – It didn’t sound it at the beginning.I had experienced this a few times on the
bike, but this is what rallied me and made my LOVE what I was doing.The other racers, other age groupers like me
(mostly the later male heats because I had been passed by most of the women at
this point) and even a few of the Pros (you can tell by the Triathlon suits
with CAN and their names posted on the back) shouting encouragement as they
passed me on the track.Periodic “Lachez-pas,
t’est capable” (Don’t give up, you can do it) and “Go go go, t’est la
meilleure!”(Go go go, you’re the best!) warmed my heart.One of the things I loved about the idea of
triathlons is that everyone runs the same course, Pro or beginner and everyone
is encouraging, there is no malicious intent (mostly) that I can tell.I jogged less than half of that 5km, and it
was barely what you’d call a jog (I can walk faster on a regular day), my quads
were calling it quits and periodically sending the I’m about to cramp signal to
my brain.At one point on the home
stretch I gave my legs a talking to and sped up a bit, but one of my quads sent
the “what the hell are you doing” signal to my brain causing me to pull up on
that leg, hop about two paces and limp for a few more.The racer passing me turned around and yelled
to me if I needed his to get me help.Hell no, I was finishing this if it killed me.Close to the finish line, there are LOTS of
people waiting for their loved one/friend to come close, but the great thing is
they cheer everybody on, and it pumped me a bit, got me moving a bit
faster.I saw the finish line in sight
and a stupid grin plastered itself on my face (though in the photos it’s more
like a wince) and I crossed, tried to slow down and my quad was like “what?”
and almost sent me flying face first into the pavement.Hopping yet again a bit, I stopped so they
could take off my timing chip and headed off to find MY loved ones.
I was sweaty, I had lake weed in my bra, my legs were barely
listening to me, my face was beet red and I was hurting but I was so
proud.I spotted the hubby and 3 kids a
way away from the finish (it was too crowded for him to get the stroller close
to the finish line) and he greeted me with a huge smile and a “you did it” and
all I could say was “I didn’t die!I don’t
think..”Here is the funny thing.Right about until the last 500m, I pretty
much hated it, except for some really nice people that were encouraging and
made me want to go faster.If you had
asked me at any point during the race except those last 500m I would have said
there is NO way I’m doing that again, but after crossing the finish line,
tired, hurting and sweating – I wanted to sign up for another one next week
(well, I know it’s a bad idea, don’t plan on actually doing it).The kids were happy to see me, but they have
no idea what I just did, they don’t get it yet.I came in last in my age category, but I don’t really care about that
because I don’t feel like I measure up to other people in my category, after
all, how many 25-29 year olds have 3 kids and are full time students are doing
the race?I guess none.The baby wasn’t even 11 months old, I pushed
my body really hard and got it to this point, now my quest is to improve on
that.I know what I need to work on now,
I have a good idea of what it takes to do this, and respect anyone that does
it.Overall there were 4 people in all
age groups that came in after me, but I’m still happy, because when I went into
this all I wanted to do was finish..It
wasn’t pretty, but I did it, and plan on doing it again.
The day after
I went to bed the night of, exhausted.I ate only a light dinner because I wasn’t
hungry at all, was in bed before 9pm and slept until about 8 am (well, the baby
was up every 2 hours, so that didn’t help) and woke up with only my calf
hurting like hell.I had issues straightening
my leg, it took me a bit to get out of bed.A hot bath was had before breakfast, so Advil was taken, and it felt
better.I figured I was pretty lucky to
abuse my body that much and just end up with that as an ache forgetting it
usually takes 24-30 hours for the pain to start.Around midday, the muscles around my ribs and
my lower abs were killing me, more advil was taken, a mid day nap was had with
kids.I’m SO tired now, I have a lot of
energy to replenish from what I burned.Overall no injuries, just aches and pains, the worst is the calf that
takes me 30 seconds or so to straighten my leg when I stand up, but once I get
going it’s fine.I’m stretching it
gently several times a day.Laughing
hurts thanks to the abs and muscles around my ribs.I wore my event shirt all afternoon Saturday,
Sunday and even this morning when I smelled it and tossed it in the wash.I’ll probably be wearing it for a while.I’m overall very happy with the experience,
and will do it again, I’ll train for more next year, either more than 1 sprint
or maybe an Olympic, but I WON’T underestimate how hard it is to just do the
sprint.After 3 kids, my body isn’t the
same as it used to be, and not getting a full nights sleep doesn’t help, but it’s
what I can do to encourage my kids to get up and be active WITH me, so I don’t
have to sit by the sidelines eating a snickers bar.
Now this week I’m in recovery and next week I’m in prep for
the Army Run in Ottawa, which should be fun.It’s only a 5 km run, so I’m going to prove to my body that it CAN run
that 5 km..Even if it is slow, this
season has been a good one, and only PBs have been set.
Some really nice Cakes recently, which is nice, I like orders where I have some basic guidelines, but no very strict thing, so I can embellish a bit. Not a huge post because school starts up again this week and my triathlon is on saturday, so i'm busy busy, but here are my recent cakes!
A busy weekend party called for 5 dozen cupcakes and 3 dozen of my fancy butterfly cookies!
On the same weekend for a little girls birthday party:
This is a cake that I accepted the order for by phone but was naive enough to not take a deposit. Needless to say, a no show, which was really too bad because it was very nice..
Having learned my lesson and really pissed off about being screwed out of the money, I took it to the fire station with a flyer and got a call and an order for this cake.
Then next came the cake for a big Stephen King fan:
And last but not least, a flower pot cake for a woman who loves flowers:
And this is obviously what happens when I don't update my blog enough, they all come in in one shot. If you are interested in staying up to date with my cakes AS I make them and for more information on how to contact me, please visit my facebook page and all my info is available there as well as periodic updates and promotions offered. I promise a nice long post next week about the torture I am submitting to this weekend, and since it's supposed to rain, that makes the whole experience all that much more interesting and most likely hillarity will ensue.
Thanks everybody for your continued support. If I get the photos of me in the triathlon, I will certainly post a few of the more hillarious ones, since they will all most likely be hillarious with horrible grimaces of pain and discomfort on my face. A good time will be had by all!
It's beencrazy here recently with school, kids and work and the heat of summer. I've been writing papers and trying to fit workouts in at every possible moment (not so easy). Fallen behind on my triathlon training sadly, but trying my best to keep up. I have been doing cakes, trying to get word out and expand my base a bit, so since I need to go do my paper, this will be brief.
After my first sweaty "wedding" cake with bad quilting on the base, I had to do it again to make sure I could do it. Since I had learned some lessons, I got to a different one and tried some new techniques on it. Worked well I think.
Also, going on the trying something new theme, I wanted to try a buttercream exterior cake. This cake is a "safe" cake, but the icing isn't (I used butter). Since this cake was going out with me to a friends house while the kids were at daycare, I didn't have to worry about allergens in it, which was a nice change.. For one thing I missed real icing [insert feelings of guilt here] and also the "safe" buttercream isn't the greatest for the roses, which turned out okay for a first try on this cake.
Finally, I was pretty nervous about this one because it was a special order cake for someone that wasn't friedn or family. Good news is that it went over super well and shocked her. The tricky part was all the detail on the side, since she wanted it to look like the company logo (for an employee of that company). It was really small too, which meant that all the details were done by toothpick, because even a tiny paintbrush was too big (it was a 6 portion cake).
So those are my latest creations.. I'm pretty proud of them. Since i'm trying to bring in some spare money to pay for supplies for my triathlon, if I get a few more cake orders, i'll be able to buy myself some of those nice bike shoes and pedals which would come in handy!
Now I drag myself reluctantly back to study Tennyson..
Getting started making cakes is a tricky thing. Getting my name out there has proven to be more difficult than I thought. With me in school full time and trying to keep a semblance of order in the house, I've really fallen behind on the "getting my name out there" thing. One of the walls I'm running up against is that vegan cakes are kind of a niche market (along with allergy friendly cakes of course) and I'm having trouble marketing my "dairy-free, egg-free" cakes to the regular population because somehow people think that cakes without eggs and milk/cream taste like cardboard - which is untrue if they are done properly.
Another issue of course is that when I say I bake cakes, people like to see examples of cakes I have made, and it's hard for me to say - well, I've only made about 20 cakes, but I assure you I can do what you want from me.
In comes the wedding cake. People REALLY want to see some examples of wedding cakes. It is a very special day for people and I understand that they want it to be perfect, so they don't want to risk getting an ugly cake that tastes bad (my husband says he's been to his fair share of weddings where the cake looked amazing,but tasted horrible). This brought me to a conclusion.. I had to make a wedding cake to show a bit of what I can do. I'd done a tiered cake (2 tier) before (not this big though), so that wasn't new, but I'm using a new fondant and I was going to try the quilting technique along with my first gumpaste flower arrangement on the cake. This meant of course that the cake would NOT be safe (gumpaste has egg-whites) and I wasn't going to risk just cutting a piece from the side without the flowers, so something had to be made to make the girls happy (I wasn't going to give cake to one and not the other, so they both got cupcakes). Also I tried marble cake for the first time and was happy with the results.
So new things that I tried:
-Larger 2 tier (5" round on an 8" round, both 4" high - 30 regular servings)
-Beading (where the quilting meets)
Now the gumpaste flowers were FUN. Some people hate doing it, but I had a blast, I just put in a movie and went at it, doing roses, cherry blossoms and some random flower I made up (looked a touch like a poppy I guess, but white). The other fun thing about these was that they can be made WEEKS or even MONTHS in advance, as long as they are stored in a cool dry place in sealed containers. I obviously didn't do them that far in advance, because I needed a specific colour scheme..
So that was the flowers, done.. Now for the cake. The first Marble cake I ruined, mostly because I forgot it in the oven and it was overcooked.. Go me.. Second one was perfect (good thing, because I hate wasting food). My huge issue was the day it was ready to be iced and decorated in fondant, it was almost 40 degrees with the humidity (which was very high) and fondant doesn't like heat OR humidity. In retrospect I should have set up all my gear in our bedroom, the only room with AC, but alas, I thought I could get away with it. It was not the case.. I learned lots of things doing this cake though, I rolled out my fondant a bit too thin (probably a lot too thin depending on some peoples standards), I NEED A/C when working a larger cake with fondant. This is of course because I iced it and it was gorgeous. I rolled out my fondant and that was okay too but when it went on the cake, after working with it for a few minutes (and you never want to rush fondant) I noticed the icing underneath start to loosen up (get warmer) and it started melting a bit underneath the fondant, making my cake look droopy (BOO!).. I was really disappointed.. Being somewhat of a perfectionist I have a hard time looking at these things and saying "It's okay - I learned a LOT doing this cake", I usually end up upset that it wasn't 100% what I wanted it to be. The end result was okay, even after the icing melted under the fondant, it was just not as uniform as it should have been. At least after going back in the fridge for the night, it looked better, it wasn't as shiny (what they call "sweaty"). I'd love to put it out there and say "look at this gorgeous wedding cake I made - I can do one for you too" but I cringe at the thought, because it wasn't perfect.. It was nice, but not perfect and I NEED it to be perfect. Maybe in a few weeks I'll make another one, but I'll have to have people over to help me eat it because I brought it to my Dad's for dinner on Saturday (we were 4 eating it there), I left him 1/4 of the cake, gave a big slice to his neighbours, came home, gave a 1/4 of the bottom to my downstairs neighbours and a 1/4 to my next door neighbours (they'd better not blame me for getting fat), and we still had a ton to eat (we finished it last night, averaging 2 slices EACH per day). That's a lot of cake. This is one of those times I wish I had the capital to start a business, because I could do this all day - not practical though..
Okay, onto the conciliatory cupcakes. I wanted something cute, and my oldest had being going on about duckies for a while (who knows why). Since one of the batches I did for the big cake had leftover batter, I used it for 3 cupcakes, iced them with light blue icing and made little fondant duckies to go on them. I loved it because they were pretty easy to make, appealed to kids and of course were 100% edible. The duckies got eaten first, then the icing licked off, then the cupcake partially eaten, then of course we had 2 kids that were tired but on a sugar rush.. Great fun, but I still love watching them enjoy! My oldest proclaimed today that the baby was hungry and wanted birthday cake.. Perhaps she is overhearing me wonder out loud frequently about what she will have for her birthday cake this year.. I haven't decided yet.. Here are the cupcakes:
Since my chocolate cake recipe is a bit touchy (if it is undermixed it's no good, if it is overmixed, it's not good either) I decided to do a video of the whole process. It's my first one, probably not great, but it'll have to do. Took me a while to set it up, and since I was solo in the kitchen, getting my tiny camear to the right angle to take a shot of it was tricky since I didn't have a tripod or anythign that fit that camera.
I'm editing the video now on youtube, going through the whole process of cutting out the long boring bits. It is a rather long video, but I guess you can skip to the interesting part if you'd like. If the video goes over well, I'll make more eventually. The time is a serious factor.
Also, please keep in mind that if you are using my videos for allergy safe baking, it is imperative that you verify all the ingredients with the manufacturer to ensure they don't contain any of the allergens you are avoiding. The lack of a "may contain" warning doesn't mean they are safe and I accept no liability for an allergic reaction (it is the reason I will not put brand names that I use on the site, because they may be safe in one country and not another due to packaging facilities).
Even when I bake cakes from home, I cannot 100% guarantee that there will be no issue, because I DO have these allergens in my house, but I bake everything as if it were for my own daughter, and take the utmost precautions to ensure that no cross contamination occurs.
Here is the video on me making the batter.. The recipe is included in the video, I hope it helps!
Happy cake making! Keep in mind that allergy safe baking is harder than it seems due to cross contamination, which is why my cupcakes and cakes are available to order from my allergy safe kitchen. You can contact me for details any time.
Figured I should switch it up a little. I don't only do cakes/cupcakes, I can do cookies too, and I have a nifty recipe for brown sugar cookies, so I whipped up a double batch on Saturday. Now, I can make cookies, but I've never been really good at decorating them, so I wanted to challenge myself. I'd heard about colour flow icing, but never tried it out myself until Saturday. I started off by making the cookies (long process because the dough needs to refrigerate for 2 hours before rolling). After the wait, the rolling out and cutting was done, they went in the oven. While they cooled I made my icing. That was the most unsure part of this process, because I'd made these cookies before and liked them, but the colour flow icing recipes I saw all used Wilton's color-flo icing mix, and there is meringue powder in that (egg whites) so I can't use it. I found a recipe that looked good and tried it out. On Saturday I made green, black and yellow icing. The results were okay, though I think the icing was a touch too thick, the cookies looked okay, but kind of amateurish, so I'm glad I had saved a dozen for tonight.
Saturdays cookies :
So armed with lessons learned on Saturday I sat down today, mixed up some orange, yellow, black and white.. The icing recipe was a bit too thin this time, so a bit runnier than it should have been, but it worked out okay.. I had learned a few things from playing around the first time (the best way to learn a technique in my opinion) and put those lessons into practise..
Here are today's cookies:
This one is my favourite of them all I think..
So I had fun again, I learned more again and realised how much I really want to be able to open a bakery(allergy friendly/vegan bakery). Just wish I had the means to do so.. *sigh*
My original goal when I set out to do the triathlon training was to get moving. I made the goal before I hopped onto a bike or swam a single lap. I had only been running a bit using C25k. I had a wonderful dream of crossing the finish line in glory (okay, I still have that goal). I started my pool training 10 visits ago, and already a distance of 1500m much easier for me, and the sprint triathlon only requires 750m.. After all, I used to swim a lot, having been a lifeguard AGES ago.. The biking, well, I used to bike a lot, I don't foresee that as being very brutal, since the course is flat.. The first time I headed out on the bike around here with slight ups and downs, I did over 5km.. The sprint triathlon distance is 20km bike.. The running is going well, just finished the 4th week of the C25k training. Today I ran 5 minutes non stop TWICE in the 30 minute workout, and what's even better is that my recovery time on my walk intervals was much faster, I caught my breath faster and didn't feel like dying at the end..
So the sprint distance triathlon goal is being updated. I have confirmed with the race that my distance can be upped to the Olympic distance triathlon, because if only for just the name change - it sounds SOOO much more bad ass. The distances are double that of the sprint, so 1.5 km swim, 40 km bike and 10 km run. I'm already training consistently at the pool doing the 1500m distance, and working on increasing my endurance by increasing resistance as opposed to distance to go beyond the 1500m eventually and to improve the endurance of my arm muscles so they are less tired at the end of the 1500m swim so the bike transition is smoother.
This week my training goes into block training. That is when I train 2 of the events in one day. For convenience factor only I've coupled the swim and run into a day, even though one wont follow the other during the event. My week will look like this (unless something is up with the kids):
Monday (done this AM already) - 1500m swim, 30 minute run/walk
Tuesday - Bike (distance unknown - ride out till I get tired, take a stretch break, snack then head back), Zumba
Wednesday - 1500 m swim, 30 minute run
Thursday - Bike (same as Tuesday - try to go a bit farther)
Friday - (pool closed - cry) 30 minute run, Karate (pm)
Saturday - rest day
Sunday - Zumba
Now I consider the Zumba to be more of a social thing, my heart rate goes up a bit, but not much, so I barely count it..
It`s going to be a pretty crazy summer, with trying to train when it`s coolest out and school and the kids, but i`ll make it work. I`m seeing results, and I LOVE that. Now I need to go study, because I`m behind on my class. That and I need a shower - it`s hot out and running in the heat is NO fun..
For anyone interested, I'm raising funds for Soldier On and the Military Families Fund. Donations can be made online. Tax receipts are issued for donations over 10$ (I think). Considering I have a cousin currently serving and my husband is former military, it's a cause that hits close to home (he will be running the race with me in September, which is 2 weeks after my triathlon).