July 4th came and went like any other holiday: family and food, laughing and loving, planning and remembering. I meant to write about it, because I had a recipe I was particularly proud of to share, but it was put to a screeching halt when I found out a person in my life had passed away.
This person has never been mentioned on this blog before, so I want to take a moment to mention that all of the usual folk (i.e., the cats, Mama Dazz, Daddy-O, the Burt-man, Grandpa B, Grandma D, the family in general, friends aforementioned, and the boyfriend) are fine and well. Regardless, his death was a blow to my core, and the next few days after the Red, White, and Blue Grill day were spent in mourning.
I learned a lot about myself in that moment, how much we came together as a community to celebrate the life of someone we cherished, how to make the day count with hearts wide open, and how family and children both can help with the pain in different ways.
|Making art with kids...|
|... is the best kind of healing.|
The children at camp are pure energy. They feel completely and act accordingly, taking you along for the ride. For two days I forgot my sorrow as I watched “The Lorax” with the rising kindergarteners, took photos of the various hustle and bustle throughout the camp, and told a group of kids to “go crazy” with the paint on the recycling bins. But after I left the kids, I remembered my sadness, and I felt it throughout my body. But I learned from it, and have been telling everyone in my life how much they mean to me since then. Life's too amazing and precious to be angry, stressed out, or focusing on the small stuff. Value everything, even if times are hard, because often times it does get better.
Independence Day is a holiday that honors what every day should be about: celebration of life, remembering the fallen in how they changed us, and looking to the future with a bang (fireworks included). I’m not afraid of living anymore, and like him I will walk tall, speak and think honestly, and be the change I wish to see.
Angel Food Cupcakes (adapted from Ruhlman’s recipe in Ratio)
380 g (roughly 10) Egg whites
175 g Coconut sugar (from the palm blossom)
185 g Maple sugar
120 g Rice flour
1/2 tsp. Sea salt
1/2 tsp. Cream of tartar
15 ml (1 lemon) Lemon juice
1 tsp. Bourbon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Measure out the egg whites in the mixing bowl and place in the mixer using the whisk attachment.
Combine the coconut sugar and the flour in a food processor (I would use a spice grinder for the sugar first), and set aside.
Beat the egg whites on medium for a minute or so, then add the salt, cream of tartar, lemon juice, and vanilla and increase the speed to medium-high.
Once the foam has been established and the mixture is opaque, begin drizzling in the maple sugar.
Continue mixing until the maple sugar is incorporated and the foam just passes the pourable stage (it will hold a weak peak).
Pulse the coconut sugar-rice flour two or three times to aerate it, and sprinkle over the meringue as you fold the meringue with a rubber spatula.
Continue to sprinkle and gently fold the mixture over itself until all the remaining sugar-flour has been incorporated.
Using an ice cream scooper (or 1/2 c. measuring cup), dollop the batter into 24 paper-lined muffin tins and bake for 25 minutes (it’s done when a skewer or a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).
Allow the cupcakes to cool for thirty minutes to an hour before removing from the tins, and serve with berries and whipped cream on top.
Makes 2 dozen cupcakes, or 24 servings.