Today Matt, my husband, turns 31! In the past five years my love for celebrating people and events has consistently grown. There is so much struggle, difficulty and bad days that people go through, so why not make a big deal when a loved one is year older or something great happens, celebrating even ‘small’ achievements or events?? When I look back on my life, I think these are the things I will want to remember.
Birthdays are a common one to celebrate, but what else in your life, or even better, the lives of the people you love, can you celebrate today? Starting a new job? Doing really well on an exam? Losing your first 5lbs after starting to eat better and exercise? Completing a big project? Running your first 5k? Celebrate these milestones! Life is a journey, not a destination.
I remember in the spring when I was going through a difficult time, my girlfriends planned a ‘Celebrate Daria’s Europe trip’ dinner behind my back. I showed up to what I thought was just a regular girls night, but instead they had themed it all around celebrating me and my upcoming trip to Europe with Matt. So simple yet so meaningful and kind. We have so much in life to be thankful for and celebrate, so my challenge to you this week is to celebrate someone you love by doing any random act of kindness for them. I’m sure, from my experience, that it will mean so much to them.
This weekend, at Matt’s little birthday celebration, I made a gluten-free/ low sugar Carrot cake and promised the recipe to a few people. It’s actually adapted from Cathy Palmers awesome carrot cake recipe so I can’t take much credit for it, I just made it a little healthier.
3/4 lb. raw organic carrots (about 2 1/2 cups finely grated);
2 cups gluten free all purpose baking flour (if it’ doesn’t already have any xanthan gum in it, add 1-2tsp);
1 tsp baking soda;
1 1/2 tsp baking powder;
1/2 tsp salt;
2 tsp ground cinnamon (you could put 1 1/2 tsp, but I really like cinnamon!);
4 large eggs;
1 cup coconut sugar/ 1/3 cup raw organic sugar;
1 cup coconut oil;
2 tsp pure vanilla extract;
3/4 cup crushed pineapple
FROSTING 1/4 cup butter, room temp; 1 8oz pkg cream cheese, room temp; 2 cups icing sugar; 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 and place rack in center of oven. Butter or spray two 9 x 2 ince cake pans (or one large rectangular pan).
CAKE: Peel and finely grate the carrots. Set aside. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Set aside. In bowl of electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs until frothy (about 1 minute). Gradually add the sugar and beat until the batter is thick and light coloured (about 3-4 minutes). Add the oil in a steady stream and then beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Add the grated carrots and crushed pineapple. Pour batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake 25 to 30 mins or until toothpick etc. etc. Remove from the oven and let cool on wire rack and then after 5-10 mins take out of pan(s) and cool completely before frosting.
FROSTING: In bowl of electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and butter on low speed until very smooth with no lumps. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat on low speed until fully incorporated and smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract.