Happy New Year, Wake Up Ami is Back!

2014 is Going to be Better

Like many people, my 2013 was a roller coaster, and I’m not talking about the fun “that was fun, let’s do it again” thrill ride kind. I’m talking about something more akin to a runaway mine car plunging into dark tunnels full of jagged rocks and scary mine creatures.

Speaking of tracks, I know that some of you may have noticed that I most definitely fell off track on my resolution list for last year.

2013 was a year of big changes in my life, serious transformations occurred in almost all aspects: social, mental, physical, financial and more. What occurred in my life last year was far more than I could have ever put down in a list for myself, and thus, a few months in I decided to see where the year would take me instead of working off of a list. While goals are great, sometimes it’s just best to go with the flow and see where life takes you.

That being said, though, by the end of the year that seemingly endless roller coaster finally started to slow and delivered me to a far more stable (and happy!) place, and on the eve of the new year I decided…I think I’ll celebrate the feat of making it through 2013 alive with a 2014 full of fun and excitement.

I’m back, and more awake than ever. Here’s the resolution list for 2014. Happy New Year!

1. Paint a painting–without brushes
2. Find treasure in a geocache
3. Get some fancy pajamas
4. Invest
5. Go camping
6. Fund a Kickstarter campaign
7. Stay in a hostel
8. Grow and eat my own vegetables
7. Redecorate or paint a room
8. Write a short story
9. Host a holiday dinner at my place
10. Pay for the person behind me in line
11. Pull a prank
12. Start a YouTube channel
13. Sing karaoke
14. Finish P90X
15. Plant a tree
16. Watch an eclipse
17. Make my own costume for faire / a con
18. Learn how to do make-up…well
19. Get a hammock
20. Marathon an awesome movie series (Star Wars, LOTR, James Bond)
21. Fill up a Moleskine
22. Create a sculpture
23. Crash a party
24. Go a week without social media
25. Cook dinner over an open fire
26. Go sledding
27. Learn something from my mom
28. Make a short film
29. Participate in an open mic night
30. Go ghost hunting in a haunted place
31. Visit an abandoned place
32. Learn another language
33. Drive to another state
34. Go out and take photos of beautiful strangers
35. Tell 50 people how they’ve positively affected my life
36. Get a prison pen pal
37. Make art out of something old
38. Go through my high school journals and see how I’ve changed
39. Do something that feels like flying (sky dive, bungee jump, zip line)
40. Build a cat tree
41. Shop for a week’s groceries using only the farmer’s market
42. Try arco yoga
43. Go see a band I love in another city
44. Win something on the radio
45. Go to Burning Man/Flipside
46. Play in a MTG draft
47. Pay off at least one credit card
48. Travel somewhere by train
49. Create self-portrait every month
50. Create a meditation area
51. Take my nephew out for a day of fun
52. Take my family out to dinner and pay the bill
53. Visit an old teacher
54. Make my own infused alcohol
55. Drastically change my hair
56. Buy a wig
57. Do the 21-day meditation challenge
58. Throw a Gatsby party
59. Write a letter to my future self
60. Learn to play a song on guitar
61. Touch a wild animal
62. Have a tea party
63. Take a foreign cooking class
64. Face a fear
65. Find a good hangout spot
66. Celebrate a non-american holiday
67. Start a tradition
68. Do something to help organize my life
69. Fix my car…before it breaks
70. Do something I remember doing as a kid
71. Hand-make a gift for someone’s birthday or a holiday
72. Get new glasses
73. Find another way to get around short distances
74. Go to a city during an event it’s known for (i.e. Mardis Gras in New Orléans)
75. Learn to read tarot cards without a guide-book
76. Go on a night hike at Wild Basin
77. Learn to drive a motorcycle
78. Start going to local coffee shops instead of Starbucks
79. Take a class at a community college
80. Take a trip into the country
81. Find an interesting opportunity on Craigslist
82. Go a week without make-up
83. Explore a very old or big library
84. Go to a religious service for a religion I don’t know much about
85. Cook a delicious vegan meal
86. Play an indie game
87. Reach out to someone I admire
88. Write an article for a website or publication I like
89. Try a water sport
90. Play tennis
91. Go yard sale hopping on a Saturday morning
92. Go tour a really expensive apt/condo or home that I can not afford
93. Personalize my desk at work
94. Go somewhere I learned about on TV (travel channel, discovery, food network)
95. Make a scrapbook for the year by printing iPhone and FB pictures
96. Read a classic novel
97. Create a wish tree in a park
98. Get a Groupon for something I’ve never done, and do it
99. Go to a sporting event
100. Do charity work on a holiday
101. Do something recommended to me by someone else

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[Resolution] #34 Make a “Raw” Dessert

This has been on my want-to-do list for a while (out of sheer curiosity about how it works), and there have been two things deterring me.  First, nuts and dates are expensive. Far more expensive than flour and eggs, and nuts and dates are the flour and eggs of raw cooking, you can’t do it without them.  And second, do you KNOW how much fat is in a walnut? Well, it’s a lot.  And if you substitute walnuts for flour, then add frosting made of avocado you get…the equivalent of eating half a stick of butter just for fun.  But, the difference is, they are “good fats” and that’s how I justified it.

After searching and scouring the internet for a raw dessert that sounded appropriately appetizing, I landed on a recipe for Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake. Not only was it chocolate, but it included raw “home-style” chocolate frosting too, which makes it a winner in my book.

What I learned: Raw cake will never be light and fluffy like regular cake, but that doesn’t mean it can’t taste damn good.

It’s not super sweet like the cake I’ve been surviving on my whole life, but the chocolate really shines, something like it does when you’re eating a very dark chocolate bar. But, then there’s the frosting.  Let me tell you what, when convenience is not a factor, I will be making this frosting for all of my cakes whether they are raw or not.  Good GOD it’s good. I’m making a double batch next time just so I can use half for the cake, and eat the other half like pudding. Seriously, even if you have no interest in raw food, make this frosting.

The recipe goes a little something like this:

Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake

adapted from Ani’s Raw Food Desserts via Raw Epicurean

Servings: About 10 mini cakes (as pictured), can also be made as a layer cake

Fudge Cake
3 cups dry unsalted walnuts
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I prefer dutch process)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup pitted Medjool dates

Frosting
1/3 cup pitted Medjool dates
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup ripe avocado flesh
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Topping
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

To create the cakes, add the walnuts, cocoa and salt to a food processor and pulse until coarsely mixed. Don’t over process of you’ll end up with nut butter. Add the dates and continue to process until mixed well, about 20 seconds.

Press the mixture into a mold of your choice. We just used the 1/4 cup measuring cup and ended up with 10 cakes exactly. Make sure you really pack it in there or the cakes just won’t hold up. Place the cakes on a plate and set aside, or in the fridge to firm, while you make the frosting.

Clean out the food processor to remove any crumbs, then add the remaining dates and the agave.  Process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Add the avocado and process again until smooth. Finally, add the remaining cocoa powder and process one more time, about 10-15 more seconds. Scrape the sides as needed. Voila! Home-style frosting.  Go on, take a taste.

See what I mean?

Just before serving , frost the cakes on all sides, then top with raspberries.  If making a layer cake, raspberries can also be used as filling. Just frost the top of the bottom layer, cover with raspberries, then top with the second layer and frost.  Keep the finished cakes in the fridge for up to three days.