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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Recipe: Gluten Free White Cake

Someone has his 3rd birthday approaching! Since the whole idea of cake is now not so simple, I knew I wanted to experiment with a cake recipe in hopes that I wouldn't have to buy a $76 cake at a bakery somewhere!

Instead of searching specifically for a gluten free cake recipe, I decided to modify my normal "simple white cake" recipe and see how it turned out. 

The original recipe includes regular flour, sugar, eggs, butter, vanilla extract, and milk.  I love the simplicity of it, and the fact that there's no oil or shortening in it.  All I did in terms of modifying it was subbing gluten free flours and adding xanthan gum.

First, you add all of your dry ingredients in one bowl and whisk them together. 

In a separate bowl, cream your butter and sugar. 


Then, add the eggs, vanilla, and milk. Mix until smooth. 


Pour wet ingredients onto the dry ones and mix until well-blended. 




Pour into an 8x8 baking pan. Isn't mine so classy and lovely? (Hey, it's well used.)


Bake for approximately 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 



To frost this bad boy, I laid it upside down on a plate, and just used some simple Betty Crocker whipped vanilla frosting. I might make my own frosting for the actual birthday event, but to get an idea of how this cake was going to turn out, pre-made and pre-canned frosting worked just fine. 


This cake stood about 1 inch tall. Haha! for Jameson's birthday, I'll make two and layer them. 



The verdict?? 

Tasty. 

I wouldn't call it the best cake I've ever had, but it WAS tasty. I let the boys try it after dinner that night and their plates were clean in about 2 minutes flat, so I'd call it a success with them!




Interested in making this cake? You can find the original recipe here.

For my GF flour blend, I used 40% brown rice flour, 40% white rice flour, and 20% tapioca flour. The tapioca flour is Bob's Red Mill, and I grind my own rice flour - Great Value brand rice if you must know.  Haha.

Let me know your thoughts if you do make this cake!

Do you eat gluten free?

Do you have a go-to GF cake recipe?

Any special celebrations in the coming weeks in your family or circle of loved ones?

Have a GREAT Memorial Day weekend, and a huge THANK YOU to all those who have served or are currently doing so!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Black Hills Bucket List: Falling Rock

After eleven million months of cold, blah weather (or so it has seemed), we had a beautiful day on Sunday!

Matt had to work in the morning, so I took the kiddos to the park for some energy-burning fun, then we went home for lunch and a nap.



After naptime, we wanted to get outside and enjoy the weather, so we headed west on Highway 44 out of Rapid City with the intention of looking for a couple of geocaches.

We went to an area called Falling Rock.  This area wasn't originally on my Black Hills Bucket List, but had I known about it before Sunday, it would have been! This area is well known around here for being very dangerous.  In fact, a rock climber died at this location just a few weeks ago.

Obviously, we didn't head out here to do anything dangerous, I just really wanted to see the area.  In fact, once we realized where one of the geocaches that we were searching for was hidden, we quickly decided today wasn't the day to find that cache due to the steep decline we'd have to climb down to find it.  Definitely not with the kids in tow!

So, we decided to just meander through the area and came across a trail.  We started on the trail and could feel that we were ascending.

The views got better the further along the trail we went.  There were ravines all over the place, and tons of trees and rocks!  It was very quiet, aside from all the natural noise: birds, crickets, wind.....






The hills looked pretty sweet through the tree line.


Climbing, climbing, climbing.


At this point, we could tell that the view was going to be pretty awesome, simply based on the fact that we had been ascending for about 10 minutes.


Well, it was.



I look cool, calm, and collected in the picture below.

What you don't see is my pounding heart and sweaty palms, not from the physical response to the climbing, but from the mental response to my fear of heights.


Insane.

The cliff we were on stopped at this.

This picture is a terrible representation of what it was, but it was the coolest thing.  There is literally a hole in the rocks that goes all the way to the bottom of this "canyon."  Probably a couple hundred feet down.



Matt and I both took turns inching out towards the ledge, laying on our bellies looking down while the other of us held onto the boys for dear life for fear that they would dart somewhere in their excitement.

There was a memorial at the top of this cliff, and I paid it no mind at first.  Then I looked closer and learned that an 8 year old boy perished here in 2005.  This made my already irrational fears kick into high gear, and we enjoyed the beautiful scenery a few moments more (without ever letting go of the boys), then headed back down.

I definitely have a respect for this place after our unplanned trip here.  There have been several people stating on social media that it needs to be shut down to the public, since it has the potential to be so dangerous.  But my thought is that going for a run has the potential to be dangerous, as well as lifting weights, flying on an airplane, eating at a restaurant, etc.  It's very important to use safety pre-cautions in situations such as rock climbing, but I see no reason that people should stop doing things like that all together.  Nature is out there, it's beautiful, and it should be experienced.

I'm sure glad we got to experience the beauty of Falling Rock in the Black Hills this past weekend.