Making a home
is a Labor of Love
For more than a month now, I have been laboring... Making sense of the space I am left with to convert it to a space that I belong in.. A place that will comfort me, envelop me in a warm, gooey bear hug... a nest where I can, once again, learn to fly out of and explore the world, knowing that the safety of it exists..
Living in a tiny, rented apartment in New York can be quite restricting in how much you can do to call it your own. Especially, on a miniscule budget! But, I have been fortunate to have a very understanding and lenient landlord and I have managed to make a huge difference with small changes in aesthetics, being creative with the usage of space... and, more importantly, bringing an open attitude! :)
It started with a random conversation on colors. I am, inherently, a person who loves bold, big colors. Color is warmth and personality. Color is passion. It is also the element of life. I speak in Red, Orange and Blue. My apartment, however, has been bleached white for a long while. An empty canvas! Perfect for individual expression that I proceeded to exercise!
Phase 1 of the makeover was Painting. I am now surrounded with colors that are so very mine. My choices were from the gut and some long standing desires. I realised later that they also spoke the different Chakras
! Who knew! I am thrilled by how much a splash of color can make a plain house into a home.
Phase 2 is ongoing. A re-do of the physical space layout. Furniture, storage, look and feel. Creating a larger visual space by opening out the layout and lifting items off the ground. A levitating experience in many ways.
I am home.
To celebrate, I did what I do best - Bake! Low Gluten Spiced Carrot Cupcakes with a Cream Cheese Frosting
. I also lit the traditional lamp that my mother had gifted me, years ago, that I had never before unpacked...... Yes, that's another story... :)
Low Gluten Spiced Carrot Cupcakes
(makes 12 cupcakes)
These cakes can be easily made to be vegan by substituting the small amount of butter with a fruity Olive Oil
2 cups spelt flour or all purpose flour (spelt is nuttier in flavor and I like using it for spiced cakes. It is also low in gluten and a very good source of fiber)
1/2 cup dark muscovado sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1-3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
1-1/2 tsp fresh ground cardamom
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 T almond oil
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup pureed carrots (recipe included)
1/3 cup grated carrot
1/4 cup raisins soaked in rum (optional)
I always have some raisins soaking in rum/brandy that are great in cakes or as ice cream toppings. If you don't warm up golden raisins in a little bit of water, just enough to rehydrate them. Add enough alcohol to just cover the raisins and let them sit for about 45 minutes to soak the nectar! The longer they sit, the better the flavor, of course.
Preheat the oven to 350F.
To make the carrot puree, boil carrots until they are very tender and then process into a smooth puree with two tablespoons of coconut milk.
Sift all the dry ingredients together. Whisk together the wet ingredients. Add the wet to dry and fold until incorporated. Fold in the grated carrot and raisins (if using) with the soaking liquid. Spoon out the batter into cupcake molds filling them to 2/3 level.
Bake cupcakes for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on rack to room temperature before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1/2 cup whipped cream cheese
3 T heavy cream
2 T whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
Whip all ingredients into a smooth frosting and refrigerate until ready to use. When the cupcakes are cool enough, pipe or spread the frosting in desired forms.