These past couple of days have been hectic: my dad was in Boulder from Sunday to Friday and I left to Seattle yesterday. Lauren and I arrived last night and I couldn't be happier to be here with my mom, Lizzie, and Ellen. My mom made sure the fridge was stocked with my favorite Washington beers, Chateau St. Michelle wine, and fresh wild salmon for dinner. She loves me and together we love food. Today for lunch she took me to a new vegan-organic restaurant that recently opened up here in West Seattle: Chaco Canyon Cafe. I got the ginger sesame bowl with zucchini, spinach, and kelp noodles, 100% raw and delicious.  When it couldn't get any better, we leave to Maui tomorrow morning. I've been waiting for this for what seems like an eternity (since January). Well here are some pictures of our dinner tonight.

 Ellen had a blast making real life Veggie Tales characters out of our fresh organic produce

This vegetarian definitely knows how to handle her beef

Dungeness crab stuffed portobella mushrooms
My moms out-of-this-world pot roast with carrots and potatoes, and steamed broccoli in the background

My moist, delicious, and successful carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting!

Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Epicurious
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups sugar (I used a smidgen less)
  • 1 1/4 cups canola oil (I used 3/4 cup oil & 1/2 cup apple sauce)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups grated peeled carrots
  • 1 1/4 cups coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger
  • 10 ounces cream cheese (such as Philadelphia), room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
*** I completely eye-balled the icing, I used about 8oz cream cheese, 2 tbsp smart balance butter, 2 cups powdered sugar, little less than 1/4 cup syrup. It was a good amount for the cake, and not too sweet. Just right. 
For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch-diameter cake pans. Line bottom of pans with waxed paper. Butter and flour paper; tap out excess flour. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in medium bowl to blend. Whisk sugar and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Add flour mixture and stir until blended. Stir in carrots, walnuts and ginger. Divide batter between prepared pans.
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks. Peel off waxed paper; cool cakes completely.
For icing:
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and beat at low speed until well blended. Beat in maple syrup. Chill until just firm enough to spread, 30 minutes. 
Spread icing on single layer, then top with the second layer and garnish to your hearts desire!

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