Friday, May 27, 2011

Cake for Health and Happiness

It's been a busy cake week for me.  Wednesday night I brought a "healthy" carrot cake to a party celebrating the formal end of our 16-week exercise study experience at Skidmore College (though we just found out there is funding to continue for another 16 weeks!).  Under the guidance of Dr. Paul Arciero, Chair of the Exercise Science Department, we have improved our health in remarkable measure.  We all lost weight, some alot, some less, but more impressive (to me) is that all other health markers improved dramatically - HDL, LDL, triglycerides, blood pressure, fat/muscle ratio, strength, endurance...everything.  It feels good to know that I am doing everything I can to become a healthier person heading toward my 60s, and I am grateful for the study because I have trouble motivating myself just for me.  I like the accountability that Paul's research and students' theses are dependent upon a high level of compliance of the participants.  That's not to say I don't cave and have a burger now and then - I do - but we try to follow the 15% rule - we can have anything we want 15% of the time as long as we keep the other 85% really healthy!  Getting up at 5:30 a.m. four days a week is hard (I hate it, actually), but once I'm out of bed and on my way, it's not so bad...  Besides, now I can jump rope like a 3rd-grader, and do a plank for a minute.  That was NOT the case 16 weeks ago!

Dr. Paul Arciero and our student trainers!

At that dinner, a friend Doris asked if I could make a cake for her family to take on their trip to Cape Cod this weekend.  I said sure.  Then yesterday, another friend, Pat, called and asked if I could make a cake for his wife's birthday - today! - and I did it.  There's another cake on order for Sunday.  (I could almost stop working my day job and bake all the time, but there are those things like benefits and a regular paycheck that keep me tied to the nine-to-five!) I was up late last night and up again very early this morning before I went to work, and still hadn't finished.  I had to rush home from work to finish Beth's birthday cake, but I don't think it shows any signs of rushing.  I played with fondant and tried my hand at calla lilies again.  I think they came out nice.  Henry came up later and I gave him some remnants of fondant and he played for a long time.  It's just like play-dough and it kept him creatively engaged for quite a while, so much so that he never asked for a popsicle and the TV stayed off. 

Beth's birthday cake

My apprentice?

It sounds strange, but I have to clean up my kitchen so I can start baking again.  I can't just dig in after a project.  I have to start with everything in order and start the process all over again, which is what I am about to do right now.  I was ready to start making a coffee cake and realized I had NO sugar!  My son-in-law Bill was heading to Stewart's and offered to bring back sugar.  He has, and here I go again!

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