Hope can be a great motivator and that’s what resolutions are all about. The hope to be the best version of YOURSELF. That’s the trick: staying true to yourself while growing and changing at the same time. It can be tricky and it’s so easy to fall in to these perfectionist traps.
Trust me, I used to be the queen of new-me-resolutions. I’d make unreasonable and overwhelmingly ridiculous resolutions, ultimately setting myself up for failure. My main problem was that I was trying to be somebody else, and we all know how that goes! What I was trying to do was unhealthy and borderline dumb because if you aren’t satisfied with yourself RIGHT at this moment, then what makes you think you will be happy as this perfect person you’ve created in your mind? It’s chasing a pipe dream folks, and life is too short to try and win that race.
I should’ve focused more on finding ways to be happy with my current self, while looking ahead to the future. That’s why this year, I told myself that I will focus more on the present, and am determined to make 2009 the year all about being happy with myself, with my life, with my friends, with work. This doesn’t mean waking up with a crazy, cultish grin; it means being appreciative for what I have right now.
But I know that many of you out there are looking for new ways to revamp yourselves. From diet pills, books, fasts, the first couple of weeks are filled with new diet marketing tactics that promise to reveal a better you. And if that is your cup of tea, then go right ahead. Who am I to knock anyone’s attempts at being the best that they can be? If you feel that you want to turn your life around, I applaud your determination and strength and wish you the best. Seriously, make it happen, but do it in a way that nurishes your body AND soul.
There is something to be said about moderation, though. You can have your whole wheat cake, and EAT it too, right? In my eyes, there is no room for deprivation because why would you deny yourself something that you get pleasure from? That would be like denying myself makeup or books or shoes. It would be nuts and would defintely not be good the soul. But, I know that purchasing 12 pairs of shoes makes no sense, so instead I compromise and buy one cheap pair and rock ‘em like nobody’s business. You should do the same thing with your healthy resolutions.
So the motto for 2009 should be: Exercise, eat well, and live. A simple motto that should be tattooed on all our brains.
So what does this have to do with that gingerbread in the picture? Well, for one, it doesn’t try to be anything but what it is. Chockfull of whole grains with a subtle nutty flavor underneath. Not overly sweet but with enough sugar to keep it moist and tasty. It ain’t the things sugar dreams are made of, but I think it’s a good way to kick off this new year. No matter what, when you snag a piece of this, you feel satisfied that you are eating something nutritious while at the same time snacking on something homemade. It’s a guilt-free go-getter, and should be made ASAP.
I think this cake tastes the best fresh out of the oven, when it is warm and your kitchen is filled with it’s aroma. But I also enjoyed it the next day with a fresh cup of tea. King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking recommends topping it with whipped cream or fruit but it stands out on its own too. The original recipe calls for 2 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour and in my experience, using a combination of both works the best. The book suggests that with whole wheat pastry flour, you get a more brownielike cake while whole wheat flour produces a cakelike product. I decided to do 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour and 1 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour. I got the perfect light but firm texture that I prefer but do what you want depending on your tastes.
I didn’t have any fresh ginger on hand and I bet that’s why I didn’t get the full ginger kick that I wanted, but it didn’t matter. The cake was still flavorful. It lasted pretty long too, which is always a plus because it’s hard to get through a whole 9×9 cake in less than three days in my household. Also, feel free to add in some mix-ins if you life. Walnuts or pecans would be good in this cake, and next time I make it, I will go that route.
*ps: if I’ve offended anyone with my brief resolution soapbox, I apologize. I wanted to simply address the notion of creating this new you as it’s something I’ve dealt with in the past. I truly wish you nothing but the best in 2009, no matter how you choose to live your life in 2009!
Whole Wheat Gingerbread
Origin: King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking
Yield: 16 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 15 minutes
● 2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour (I used a combination of both)
● 1 tsp baking soda
● 1/2 tsp salt
● 1 tsp ground ginger
● 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
● 1/4 cup granulated sugar
● 2 tbsp brown sugar corn syrup
● 1 large egg
● 3/4 cup molasses
● 1 cup buttermilk
● 1/2 cup minced crystallized ginger
Preheat oven to 350 ℉. Grease and flour a 9-inch square pan.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and ginger in a medium bowl. Stir together the butter, sugar, corn syrup, egg, molasses, and buttermilk in a large mixing bowl. Sir in the flour mixture until the batter is evenly moistened. Stir in the crystallized ginger. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake until the center is set, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Serve warm, with whipped cream, if desired.