February 2, 2014

My Birthday Part 2

I like to pretend my birthday is something to celebrate for at least a week, which it is. This year, it took almost my whole birthday week to do everything I had hoped to accomplish in one day. My birthday supper, for example, was supposed to be spicy Italian beef, with an angel food cake for dessert. Neither of those happened on the 27th. After my spa day was over and Cole was fast asleep, this birthday girl had a small marathon of Supernatural (Josh got me the first 8 seasons on DVD!).

Honestly, I don't know what possessed me to try this spicy Italian beef recipe, I really don't care for spicy food. In any case, it wasn't too spicy (my husband will say it isn't spicy enough when I make it for him, once he gets back). If you are an adventurous eater, this recipe might be right up your alley:

^This photo is a bit of a lie, I added the pepperoncini for a more interesting photo, those suckers did NOT stay on my sandwich for long. Sorry for the deceit, friends.

This recipe comes from the Crock-Pot recipe collection
Spicy Italian Beef
1 boneless beef chuck roast (3-4 pounds)
1 jar (12oz.) pepperoncini
1 can (14 1/2 oz) beef broth
1 1/2 cups water (or beer)
1 onion, minced
2 tablespoons dried Italian seasoning
1 loaf French bread, cut into thick slices
provolone cheese (optional)

Trim any fat from beef and discard. Place chuck roast in crock-pot. Drain and pull off stem ends of pepperoncini. Add pepperoncini, broth, water/beer, onion and herb blend to crock. Do NOT stir. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Remove beef, shred and return to cooking liquid; mix well. Serve on French bread.

I think this would also be tasty on rice, if French bread isn't appealing to you.

I wanted to have a birthday cake that Cole could enjoy too, and I found out angel food cake is naturally dairy-free. Unfortunately, Cole couldn't have cared less about the cake. He was more interested in the strawberry sauce and "whipped cream" I served with my cake.

This recipe comes from About.com
Angel Food Cake:
12 large egg whites (or about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
2 t. vanilla extract
1 t. cream of tartar
1/4 t. salt
1 cup sugar
Strawberry sauce (recipe below)
Dairy-free "whipped cream" (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl, and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, sift together the confectioners' sugar in a medium-sized bowl until well combined. Set aside.

Add the vanilla extract, cream of tartar and salt to the egg whites. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the egg whites mixture on slow speed for 2 minutes. Turn up the speed to a medium speed setting and begin gradually adding the sugar, beating continuously until the sugar is dissolved and stiff peaks form. Turn off the mixer, and using a spatula, slowly fold in the flour-confectioners' sugar mixture into the egg whites.
Gently spoon the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the cake springs back when touched or a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake (between the outer wall and the inner wall of the pan) emerges clean. Invert the cake pan onto a cooling rack and allow the cake to cool for at least 1 hour before removing the cake from the pan.

Strawberry Sauce:
3 cups strawberries, chopped (I used frozen strawberries that I thawed slightly)
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. lime juice

In a medium saucepan, combine everything and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Once it begins to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, still stirring frequently. Remove from heat and serve warm or cold.

Dairy-free "Whipped Cream"
1 can of coconut milk

Chill coconut milk overnight. Spoon (not pour) coconut cream into bowl, add desired amount of vanilla and cinnamon and whip. Voila!

Tip: To know if it's a good coconut milk to use for whipped cream, rattle the can, if you hear nothing, add it to your cart. If you hear liquid sloshing around, it won't work for whipping. Also, now that I've told you to give the can a shake, before you place it in the fridge and after it's spent the night there, do not shake it. Basically, once it's in your home, leave it alone. Otherwise the cream combines with the coconut water and isn't worth whipping.

I could end this post another activity from my birthday week, instead I will leave you with this little nugget of information:

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