Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Learning from Kids and their Art

When you work with kids, you start seeing things in a brand new perspective. You start seeing how amazing the world is, how fascinating the creative mind works, and just how brilliant sentience can be. The kids I work with range from going into kindergarten all the way to entering middle school, and all of the artwork they’ve created thus far is simply too beautiful for words. 

In the working environment I find myself in this summer, with its amazing staff and equally amazing kids, I come home so energized and inspired to make the next day even more spectacular. They’re bringing out the best in me as I hope I do the same in leaving a positive mark in their lives.

As I work with these kids, it is phenomenal how effortless being yourself actually is. They keep me on my toes, sure, because each child needs something different from me, but I strive for that sort of life. Whether it’s how I teach, what art project I have them do for the day, or working with what kind of day they’re having, I feel limitless in my abilities to be that person for them.

If it is one thing I’ve learned so far, it’s this: if there are no mistakes in a child’s artwork, then there are no mistakes in my own growth and progression. Why should my inner critic talk so loudly over something that can only get better over time? If I find children’s art so amazing – with their perceptions of reality shown in shaky albeit heavy marker lines, large words and figures out of proportion – and their imagination so incredibly infinite in their tiny finite bodies, then I should realize how far I’ve come and far I’m going.

To celebrate my first forty-hour workweek in my life, I made a cake. It’s a sticky, moist, apple cake that tastes amazing warm from the oven to sitting in the fridge for a few days. It isn’t too sweet, but life is sweet while you eat it.
“While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.”

~ Angela Schwindt 

Sticky Apple Cake

240 ml Sparkling water
2 Large eggs, yolks and whites separated
60 g Unsweetened applesauce
42 g Honey
1 Apple (I used a Pink Lady, but whatever you have is fine), grated
1/2 tsp. Bourbon vanilla extract
120 g Buckwheat flour
90 g Mesquite flour
30 g Blanched almond flour
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Sea salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Ground ginger
1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
80 g Apple butter
Walnuts, optional

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
In a medium-sized bowl, blend together the sparkling water, egg yolks, applesauce, honey, grated apple, and vanilla, and set aside.
In another bowl, mix the flours, spices, and leavening agent thoroughly before integrating the wet ingredients with the dry.
With a hand blender or a whisk, form the egg whites into stiff peaks and gently fold them in with the batter.
Pour the mixture into a greased (I used coconut oil to keep it dairy-free) 9-inch pie pan.
Using a small silicon spatula, place the apple butter on the top and form a swirl indentation to create a marbled appearance.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the center is thoroughly cooked through.
Remove from the oven and let it cool for fifteen minutes on the counter before cutting into the cake and serving.
Smear your choice of nut butter, creamed cheese, or whipped cream, and serve warm or chilled with coffee, ice cream, or whatever you’re in the mood for.

Makes 1 cake, or 8 servings.

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