Seriously. This cake was delicious. Maybe even better than a regular chocolate cake. I haven't really jumped on the gluten-free train, we don't have any specific allergies to wheat or gluten, but I have really enjoyed that other grains (and other "not-grains" too, like quinoa. Did you know it's not a grain at all?) and recipes of how to use them are more readily available. Now, my father-in-law, does have a sensitivity to wheat. I think he'd mostly given up the idea of getting to eat cake on his birthday, so I set out to find a cake that would help him forget that he's had to give up so many of the bakery items he used to love. I mostly followed the recipe at Mel's Kitchen Café , and it turned out great. It was quite thin for the 9x13 cake pan I used, but if you use two pans to layer it like Mel did or if you used a square pan I think it'd be just right. I also insist on using duck eggs in baking, especially gluten-free baking. It holds things together and keeps it light and soft. As a note, when substituting duck eggs, it may take a bit longer to bake then the called for times, but otherwise just a 1:1 exchange works well.

Gluten-free, flourless Chocolate Cake
Ingredients
  • 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa*
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4  duck eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt



*Cooking quinoa: use 1/2 cups dry quinoa. Rinse in cool water, then pour in small pot with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then put on lid, turn off heat and let sit for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350* F. Grease your pan of choice (2 8" round cake pans or 1 9x9 square pan is what I recommend. Line the bottom with parchment paper for easier removal)
Combine milk, eggs and vanilla in a food processor (I used my VitaMix blender). Add the cooked quinoa and butter and blend until smooth.
In a large bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients, then add the wet ingredients from the blender and continue to whisk until smooth.
Pour batter into pan(s) and bake for 28-35 minutes, testing for doneness with a toothpick or knife until it comes out clean.

From there, choose a frosting. After consulting with William, we chose a basic cream-cheese frosting. To avoid pushing the frosting around the cake and catching lots of crumbs, I spooned the frosting into a gallon-size plastic bag, cut of the tip (making a 1/2 inch hole or so) and piped it on, then used a knife to simply even it out.
I'm sure this cake will be a hit at your house as well. As my almost 2 year old kept asking for more, I had a hard time deciding if I should say no, anything with quinoa is considered a health food, right?
 
 
Our journey building caskets in the Porter family began years ago, mostly providing caskets here and there for friends or family. Two weeks ago, a dear friend, Athelia Jensen, passed away. William spent his summers as well as every weekend helping her and her husband, Hal, on their cattle ranch nearby. Their children were grown and as he stepped in to help with the ranch work, they also opened their home and their hearts and he became a part of their family. We were asked to build her a red cedar casket. It was beautiful and I was reminded that Hal was buried in a matching one six years ago. At that time, my father-in-law wrote,

"When Hal passed on last week, his family asked for the red cedar pine casket. William and his wife made a fifteen hour trip, and we all went to the funeral. Athelia, Hal's widow, was so appreciative of the casket. It really reflected Hals life among the cedars and pines where he ran his cattle, grew alfalfa hay, and hunted during the season with his family. At the burial, it seemed so right that his casket was made of dark red cedar which practically glowed in the winter sunshine. It was a comfort to me that Hal's last resting place was warm wood and not cold metal. His kids shared that they felt the same."
 
I am grateful for Hal and Athelia's friendship, especially towards my husband in his teenage/young adult years.

See our caskets at "Just Put Me in a Pine Box Caskets"
 
 
We are just starting our business in building caskets ( "Just Put Me in a Pine Box Caskets" ). It's a different kind of business to be in and I have wondered how to properly give respect to the deceased person and their family while still carrying out a business transaction. I hope to always conduct myself in such a way that honors the life and example and memory of those who have gone before us.
At the same time that I was very caught up in the details of construction and inventory, websites and business cards, my grandpa, who has been on the decline for awhile, had a stroke. We arranged to build him a casket. Some years ago, my father, who always seems to have unique connections and ideas, saved the trunk of a black walnut tree that was cut down from the Manti Temple Hill. With the special story behind the wood itself, a beautiful black-walnut casket was built. It was stunning. As I worked on the lining and sewed the pillow I thought about Grandpa. And then it happened and my grandpa died on May 8th. His funeral was held this last weekend. It was such a privilege to be a part of the creation of this final resting place for his body, at the foot of the Manti temple.
I know a funeral isn't a place that many people want to ever be. And I can't say I want to be there often, but his funeral was amazing. I loved seeing so much family after so many years. I loved sharing memories about Grandpa and laughing together at just how much my own boys resemble those old pictures of Grandpa and his young family. I felt so strongly the love of a Heavenly Father who is watching over all of us and who promises that families have the potential to be reunited again after this life. I will miss my grandpa, but I left the funeral services with a new determination to live life fully, to love wholly, to work hard and to find joy in the small moments.
Grandpa's posterity, minus one missionary.
 
 
Running or starting a business isn't something I ever thought I'd actually do. Of course, I always liked the idea though. When I was 8 years old, my dad took the leap, quit his job and started his own business as a mechanical engineer doing consulting. I know, I know, I don't REALLY know what that means either, but I do know that it gave him freedom to more or less set his own schedule, get paid for his work without going through the company middle-man, and work from a home office. He traveled here and there, but he was also at home and available when I needed him. My parents always encouraged me to work and earn the money I needed for the things I wanted. I did some odd jobs for my dad and his new business, but my first real venture was baking bread and selling it around the neighborhood. I did it consistently, paid my mom for supplies and knew that every Thursday morning, that's what I would be doing. (Did I mention that I was home-schooled? It certainly opened up some time to be able to do this kind of thing).
Fast-forward 10 years and I found myself marrying a man who also had a dream of being his own boss and having the freedom to do the things he wanted to do. We spent 5 years working hard, saving up, and learning what we could about entrepreneurship. I highly recommend podcasts with Dave Ramsey's Entreleadership, 48 Days to the Work You Love (Dan Miller), This is Your Life with Michael Hyatt.
And then, the opportunity came up and we jumped. We bought some land, moved in with my in-laws, and started our own businesses. They are still young and we are figuring things out as we go, but there are a few things that I've learned along the way.
First, have confidence in your product. Do the research and know where your market will be, but then do your job with pride. At first I found myself saying, "Well, we have some ducks and are trying to sell eggs...." or "It's kinda strange, but my husband has an uncle who's a cabinet-maker and he's building caskets for us that we finish and line....". It makes conversation, but it doesn't show anyone that you are excited about what you are doing or that you have something that they might want. Be confident.
Second, just jump in. I don't know how you would ever measure the moment when you are truly "ready" and there's no reason to lose time trying to get there. In fact, being in the middle of it is where you'll learn the quickest. So start. Start small and you'll figure things out. For example, this website. It's not fancy, it's not perfect and I go through and change things around a bit sometimes, but if I had doubted that I was ready, I'd still be watching you-tube videos or visiting other's websites or wishing we could just hire somebody to do it for us.
Third, stay inspired. If I find myself feeling down about it or not sure what I'm doing, I turn on a podcast or read a blog. Sometimes I find specific things I can do better, sometimes I just get excited that there are other people out there who are finding success and that I can too.
Fourth, sit down and get to work. For a long time I kept putting off the actual business licensing. I mean, how are you supposed to know how to do all that? I'm still hoping it's all been done correctly, but at least in Utah, they have a One Stop Business Resource ( osbr.utah.gov )where you can apply for licenses and find out what you need to to legally get started.

So there you go. Have an idea and get started. Get your website and licensing in order. And then you can focus on production and marketing and improving from there. If you are a business owner, what advice do you have for someone just getting started? I'll keep you posted as I continue to learn.
 
 
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When we first show people our quail eggs, they first comment on how small they are and then ask how we use them. Well, just like a chicken egg, basically! Quail eggs do have a thicker membrane just under the shell that don't split very easily, so when cracking them open they actually have special "scissors" ( can be bought a number of places, including amazon.com ). They are pretty slick when working with quail eggs, but you can also simply crack the shell, then use kitchen shears to clip them open in a pinch. With an abundance of quail eggs, we've been enjoying them for breakfast! They make cute little fried eggs and the other morning, my husband whipped up a bunch of these cute miniature "Eggs in a Hole".


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You first melt butter in a frying pan. While it's heating over medium heat, cut small, quarter-size circles out of small slices of bread (we also quartered the slices of bread). Place the bread on the pan and break a quail egg into each center. Add salt and pepper and after about a minute, flip over and cook on the other side for another 30-90 seconds or until it's done to your preference. Serve and enjoy!

 
 
As part of the Porter Family Farm, we also run a business called "Just Put Me in a Pine Box Caskets". You've heard the conversation before. Grandpa is getting older, maybe he's sick and he knows his time on earth is coming up. In his stubborn way, he insists that his family not spend tens of thousands of dollars on his funeral. "Just put me in a pine box", he says.
On the other side of the conversation, the family members who are mourning a loved one want something beautiful, something that is worthy of the life their loved one led, a proper resting place.
This is where we come in. We build quality wooden caskets available in pine, mahogony, red cedar and black walnut. They are beautifully finished and highly praised. We believe in the beauty of hardwood and good craftsmanship. And then they are sold directly to the buyer, saving you money. They fit in a standard sized vault and the mortuary you choose must, by law, honor your choice of casket to use, even if it's not bought through them. Really, it's a win-win situation.  We are sure you will be pleased with a purchase from 'Just Put Me in a Pine Box' Casekts.