An unfamiliar hum resonates between my ears, berating my senses as I stare questioningly over the gaming floor. The combined ringing and whirling becomes little more than a confusing cloud of noise and I find separating the components into unique entities not only impossible, but pointless. Streaming fluidly from the displays, the sounds pool thickly around my feet, edging up my calves and straining for my pockets. Dictated by flashing lights and spinning reels, a number of navigable aisles lay before me. Mom is captain for the night, so I check out and simply train my eyes on her heels as she leads through the fog.
Depositing a crisp twenty into the slot machine wasn’t easy. The bill was quickly swallowed whole as if it had slipped into a vending machine, but I knew I’d receive no chips or candy in return. Still, worn buttons displaying the words “one credit,” “two credits” and “max credits” lay winking below my hesitant fingers. Their show was overtly seductive, and successfully so; by the end of the night their cheap charm and alluring call would draw fifty dollars from my tightly-buttoned green clutch.
Just a few hours later, I examined the empty space in my wallet and thumbed through the remaining bills. As I considered the night’s decisions, I found that I couldn’t free my pockets of the guilt sewn deeply inside. With every bill I had relinquished that night, I had thought not of winning, but instead of the things I could have bought instead. And the thoughts weren’t fleeting; visions of chocolates and pans and nuts and fruits and extracts danced in my mind, and on top of that was the general bad feeling I have whenever I spend money on something frivolous, because that money really should have gone toward tuition.
I had fun spending time with my mom and Grandma that evening, but I don’t want to go back. I always think very seriously about spending money, so I guess that just means that the casino’s not really my cup of tea! What do you think? Do you like to gamble? Ever win big
Anyway, I always make carrot cake for Easter because my Grandma (HI!) requested it once and… Well, I guess I just never quit making it. But it’s tasty, you know, so no one complains! That said, for every nickel and dime that went into the slot machine, I was hoping and praying more and more that I would have all of the ingredients at home to make these! Luckily I did!
Happy Easter! I hope you all have an amazing weekend!
$50 Carrot Cake from Cooks.com
I halved this and got 16 cupcakes. They’re delicious, but I had an issue with them sinking! Nearly half of them caved in. This always happens to me with oil-based cakes, the exception being these. Anyone know what’s up with that? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
2 c (250 g) flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
2 c (400 g) sugar
1 1/4 c (295 ml) vegetable oil
4 eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp maple flavoring (I replaced this with about 2 tablespoons of maple syrup)
2 c (about two large carrots, I think) grated carrots
1 (8 1/2 oz or 250 ml) can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 c (55 g) chopped pecans
1/4 c (20 g) flaked coconut
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 3 cupcake pans with liners or grease and line one 9″x13″ pan or three 9″ pans.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar in a large bowl. Mix well to combine and set aside.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, vanilla and maple flavoring (or syrup). Add to the dry ingredients and mix just slightly. You should still see streaks of flour. Add the remaining ingredients and fold gently to thoroughly incorporate all of the ingredients. Pour into pans and bake:
Cupcakes: 20-25 minutes, or until they spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pans 5 minutes, then set on a rack to cool completely.
9 inch pans: 50-60 minutes, or until they spring back when lightly touched (but to me this seems a little long. Be sure to check it often). Cool on a rack for ten minutes, then loosen the edges with a butter knife and turn onto racks to cool.
9″x13″ pan: 50-60 minutes, or until they spring back when lightly touched (but to me this seems a little long. Be sure to check it often). Cool on a rack until room temp.
Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8-oz or 226 g) package of cream cheese, room temp
1 stick (120 g) butter, room temp
2 c (312 g) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbls maple syrup
Beat together the cream cheese and butter. Sift in the powdered sugar in 1/2 c increments, beating slowly at first so the powdered sugar stays in the bowl and scraping the sides often. After all of the powdered sugar incorporated, add the vanilla and maple syrup, then beat for five minutes until lightened.
Top cupcakes with a generous spoonful of cream cheese frosting and spread evenly. Toll edges in chopped pecans. I topped mine with some gumpaste carrots that I made yesterday evening.