9 February 13 • SCB

This week we celebrate the four year anniversary of 3191 Miles Apart. After collaborating on our A Year of Mornings and Evenings projects, we started this space in February of 2009 as a place to connect with each other every week and share a glimpse of the rhythm of our days with you all.

Like our previous projects, we didn’t plan out our posts or discuss them ahead of time. It felt equally surprising and expected that we would both post chocolate hearts that week (MAV’s first post and mine).

Much has changed in the ensuing years (I have a teenager now—gulp!), but more has stayed the same. 3191 Miles Apart remains a place of connection—with each other—and with the folks that visit here.

Thank you for gathering with us here. Here’s to many more years!! XO.

Notes on the photos:

1. Heart branch weaving. Branch weaving instructions can be found in Issue No. 8 of 3191 Quarterly. Please note: This issue will only be available for two more weeks!!

2. Some impromptu Valentine-decorating in our mud room.

3. A favorite heart-shaped wood plate.

4. Pomegranate fruit gels. I use the recipe on the Knox gelatin box and use this juice (I add no sugar).

5. Happy heart day. A good read on the history of the heart as symbol of love.

3 February 13 • MAV

Well, I’ll be honest, my weekend didn’t go exactly as planned. I had a different post in mind for this space. But, we had to say a sad goodbye to a family dog … I didn’t get a lot of time to myself … my “weekend” list still sits unfinished and this and that, blah blah. However, I did get to make a birthday cake and that is what I’ll share with you here!

I’ve been making this Carrot Cake for the last few years and it has been requested for many-a-birthday. Today is such an occasion. It’s a very simple recipe and I don’t use nuts or raisins. I like it plain and so do the folks I’ve been baking it for. I think you could easily add those things in though.

Today we are wishing a happy birthday to our dear friend Lynsey and I am wishing you happy baking of this delicious Carrot Cake!

Carrot Cake
adapted from Molly Wizenberg’s Carrot Cake recipe

1 C spelt flour
1 C all purpose flour
2 -1/2 t baking powder
2-1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
3/4 t ginger
3/4 C canola oil
3/4 C natural cane sugar
4  eggs
1 t vanilla
3/4 C unsweetened applesauce
3 1/2 C grated carrots

Preheat to 325°F/170°C. Butter either a 9-inch round pan or two 9-inch round pans if you want to make layers. (I have also used an 8-inch round pan which makes a lovely taller cake. It just bakes a bit longer to bake.) Combine dry ingredients in a bowl, whisk together well and set aside. Using a mixer beat the sugar and oil together until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each one. Add the vanilla and continue beating. Add the applesauce and beat well. The mixture should be a pale yellow color and have a silky texture. Add the flour mixture and mix in slowly. Fold in the carrots. Turn the cake batter out into your cake pan(s) and bake for 50–60 minutes (if you are using two 9-inch rounds it is half that time). Use a tester to make sure the cake is done in the center. On a few occasions I have under-baked this cake. Let cool completely in the cake pans and then turn out and frost. You can make the cake a day in advance and just store it with plastic wrap. I’ve found, actually, that making it a day ahead makes the taste even better. Enjoy!

For those of you who have 3191 Quarterly, Issue No. 6 you can use my Cream Cheese Frosting recipe from the Chocolate Stout Cake—that is what I used here. For those who don’t you should try Molly’s recipe because it is very good! I use mostly honey as a sweetener with very little sugar myself.

3 February 13 • SCB

So, it’s February. I quite love winter. I love the change to the landscape. I love the cozy, dark evenings. I love dressing in layers. I am not terribly bothered by cold or wet weather. However, I still find myself dragging a bit and my mood getting a little dark come February. I wanted to share some of my tips for making it through to springtime. I have done this before, but I thought we could all use a reminder (especially me!).

Get out. I know that some of you have quite extreme weather conditions, but most of us merely have inconvenient ones. Bundle up. Invest in boots that keep your feet dry and that you can wear year after year. Walk—around the block or for miles and miles—any little bit will help. When the sun does come out, make time to be in it, rearrange your schedule to spend the afternoon at the park or just take fifteen minutes to have your coffee on the front steps. When the sun is not out, when it is wet and cold and blustery, go out anyway; you will not regret it—I promise. It is not just about getting exercise (going to the gym doesn’t count), it is about being out in the world.

Take care. Drink water. I can easily pass the water glass up for a hot cup of coffee in the winter months which is why I drink hot infused water this time of year. Make sure your diet is full of fresh fruit and vegetables (this means buying produce that is not local for me, but it is worth it—frozen fruits and vegetables are great too). I eat a lot of grapefruit in the winter months (I really crave it!). I have it on its own or in a salad or smoothie (you can find my grapefruit smoothie recipe in 3191Q Issue No. 8).

Brighten things up. My favorite way to brighten my home is to bring in plants and flowers, but I like to brighten up my food a bit too. Winter cooking and vegetables can start to feel a little heavy, so I add fresh herbs (I buy potted ones which do double-duty). Lemon zest is the smell of happiness for me, and I find myself adding it to everything from my granola (before I bake it) to salad dressing to soups. The roasted potatoes above were tossed with lemon zest and rosemary.

Get things done. Take advantage of dark evening spent indoors. Put on a movie, podcast, or favorite album and get busy with a small project that you can complete successfully. Pick up a handiwork project (I am working on my next collection for the shop). Organize a drawer. Sort through paperwork for tax season. Write an overdue thank you note. When spring comes, you will have something to show for the dark days of winter.

Hope this helps. Happy February!