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Life is too short to eat bad food! Sharing great recipes, farm life, stories and photography from our Northern California dairy farm.

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April 2, 2010

The Art of Easter Eggs & Healthier Carrot Cake

Since my post a couple of days ago on Easter egg safety, I've recieved some requests on how the Easter egg in the photo was created. So today, I'll share a few different ideas on coloring Easter eggs. I hope you enjoy them! I also found this delicious carrot cake recipe that's healthier than your typical carrot cake....less calories but all of the flavor.

Light Bulb Sleeve Technique




Coat the ridged side of a flattened cardboard light bulb sleeve with acrylic paint, then roll your egg across it. Allow the paint to dry then add more colors if you like.






Aluminum Foil Technique


1. First crumple and uncrumple a piece of aluminum foil, then coat foil with acrylic paint.
2. Set the egg in the center of the foil and loosely wrap it. Gently press the foil against the egg, then remove the egg and let it dry. Repeat with other colors if you like.





Sticker Stencil Technique


You can use letters or stickers in other shapes.
Stick the sticker to the egg. Dye in your choice of dye. Remove and let dry before removing the sticker.




Rubber Band Technique


1. Wrap your egg with rubber bands before placing in a container of dye.
2. Remove it when it reaches the shade you like and let dry. Remove the rubber bands.
3. Or give your egg a few different shades, remove a few of the rubber bands and dye your egg in a second color.




Marblized Eggs


1. Lightly stir 1 T vegetable oil into a container of dye. Immediately dip the egg into the liquid.
Or stand the egg in a small cup and slowly spoon the oil and water and dye mixture over it.
2. When the egg dries, repeat the step with another color.

Fancy Feathered Friends

Supplies:
egg carton (paper works best with paint)
acrylic paint
paint brush
tacky glue
colored feathers
small, black seed beads
dyed eggs

1. For each egg holder, cut the egg carton as shown.
2. Paint the cup inside and out, let dry. Then paint on the beak.
3. Glue on the tail feathers and bead eyes and put a dyed egg in the cup.







A Healthier Carrot Cake

Photo by EatingWell
Carrots give carrot cake the impression that it's healthy—some people think it's health food, but it's usually very high in fat and calories. This version has about 40 percent less calories and 50 percent less fat than most. Which is great news for me because I LOVE carrot cake. There's less oil in this batter. The butter is skipped in the frosting (don't worry, it's still light and smooth). To ensure the cake is moist, nonfat buttermilk and crushed pineapple is included in the recipe.
This cake is SO good, it's a MUST try if you love carrot cake :)

Cake
1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour, (see Ingredient Note)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup nonfat buttermilk, (see Tip)
1/2 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots, (4-6 medium)
1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted (see Tip) and you can always leave these out.

Frosting
12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons coconut chips, (see Ingredient Note) or flaked coconut, toasted


Preparation
1.To prepare cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

2.Drain pineapple in a sieve set over a bowl, pressing on the solids. Reserve the drained pineapple and 1/4 cup of the juice.

3.Whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk eggs, sugar, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and the 1/4 cup pineapple juice in a large bowl until blended. Stir in pineapple, carrots and 1/4 cup coconut. Add the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until blended. Stir in the nuts. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.

4.Bake the cake until the top springs back when touched lightly and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

5.To prepare frosting and finish cake: Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake. Sprinkle with toasted coconut.

Tips & Notes
Ingredient Notes: Whole-wheat pastry flour, lower in protein than regular whole-wheat flour, has less gluten-forming potential, making it a better choice for tender baked goods. You can find it in the natural-foods section of large super markets and natural-foods stores. Store in the freezer.

Large thin flakes of dried coconut called coconut chips make attractive garnishes. Find them in the produce section of large supermarkets.


Tips: No buttermilk? You can use buttermilk powder prepared according to package directions. Or make “sour milk”: mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar to 1 cup milk.

To toast chopped walnuts and coconut chips, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 5 minutes.

NutritionPer serving: 342 calories; 17 g fat (5 g sat, 7 g mono); 56 mg cholesterol; 43 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein; 3 g fiber; 349 mg sodium; 150 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (40% daily value), Fiber (12% dv).


Enjoy!

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