Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Carrot Cake with Coconut Banana Ice Cream

Every time I've had the opportunity to be with Superman first thing in the morning, I've always remarked on his surprising lack of morning breath.  When we were together last week, he said that I don't have any either.  I didn't completely believe him; I thought perhaps it was just love talking.

Last night, I went to my friend's house for fresh sourdough bread.  That seemed like a good reason to "break Paleo", as Ballerina and I call it.  It wasn't so much that I fell off the wagon...I was just...walking next to it.  Sort of.  Anyhow, the hot bread came out of the oven, and we sliced into it.  I spread real butter on my slice, and smeared lovely Marion Blackberry jam all over it.  Delicious.  So delicious, in fact, that I ate four pieces.  And then I felt a little paste-y in my mouth and stomach.  It was late, so I thanked her, said my goodbyes, and drove home.

This morning, I awoke to an unfamiliar sensation.  My mouth tasted sour.  Coated.  Then I remembered...this is what morning breath tastes like.  My mouth hasn't felt like this for over a month.

Okay, I'm not saying this will be everyone's experience.  But it most certainly was mine.  Grains and sugars at night led to a profoundly distasteful morning mouth.  And then, I started pondering.  With my experiment to re-integrate a few grains, I've been having my homemade granola for breakfast each morning.  And my profound lack of constipation has...not been quite so profound this week.  My arms have been itching with eczema - which seemed to start the day or so after eating that cheesecake - and they'd been problem-free during the 30 Day Challenge.  My amazingly clear skin has been troubled with a few blemishes over the last week.

Mere coincidence?  Perhaps.  I'm not superstitious, after all.  But it is possible that there is a correlation.  I mean, I used to think that constipation and eczema were things that always occurred when I was stressed out.  But maybe, just maybe, it wasn't stress that triggered those things, but the way I used to eat when I was stressed.  The bottom line is that the sugars and grains don't seem to be doing my body any favors.  And truthfully, I haven't enjoyed my granola like I thought I would.

Special occasions might be a reason to have something really decadent, but I'm finding more and more that I'm simply happier and healthier when I stay away from sugars and grains.  I don't know yet about dairy or legumes.  I might give them a shot and report how they affect me.

Tonight, to celebrate Easter, I made a flourless Carrot Cake.  We had coconut-banana Paleo ice cream with it.  Everyone loved it.

Flourless Carrot Cake
inspired by this recipe

(When I made this, I cut the recipe in half, and used a round cake pan instead of a springform pan.  It worked very well!  Sometimes there's no need to make a huge amount of dessert.)

8 oz. almond flour
¼ c. date powder
1/8 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
½ t. nutmeg
2 t. lemon zest

4 eggs
1/4 c. honey
1 t. vanilla
2 c. finely grated carrots

Heat oven to 350.

Oil a springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Lightly oil the parchment paper.

Combine first six ingredients.

Beat eggs until thick.  Add honey and beat until mixture is thick and forms a ribbon when lifted from the bowl with a spatula.  Beat in vanilla.

Add carrots and almond mixture in three alternating additions, slowly beating or folding after each.

Scrape batter into prepared pan.  Bake one hour until firm to the touch and beginning to pull away from the pan.  A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.  Cool ten minutes on a rack, then remove from pan.  Cool completely, then wrap tightly (or, you know, just eat it).

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