This summer I will be turning 40. I’m not someone who frets over birthdays much, but this one has created a need for pause, for reflection.

Several of my friends are celebrating this milestone in 2012. One decided she needed to celebrate lavishly in Paris. One is planning a blow out event. Another friend of mine would prefer to slip into the night quietly and unnoticed, and another feels she would like to treat herself to a large-scale shopping blitz. While these are all amazing celebratory acknowledgments I find myself in a different place.

In dealing with some medical issues I’ve had to put any intense exercise regimen on hold. I mean really on hold, for the better part of year. I take walks, enjoy the occasional yoga class and certainly stay active but it’s been really hard to hold myself back from being more physical. Since I’ve gotten the ok from my Dr. recently to get back in the game I’ve decided to set a goal. I am going to run a 1/2 marathon this July 4th on Sauvie Island, right before my 40th birthday (ok, let’s say jog.) That would be 13 miles people. I could practically faint just telling you about it! A long-distance runner, I am not…more like terrified and humbled but I figure what the heck? If there is a time the time is now. Not because I need to prove to myself that my body can perform the way it did when I was 20 or even 30, but to re-engage a level of focus and dedication to myself, period. If I’m standing on the launchpad to the second half of my life then I’ll go forth with moxie. In the end, this goal will help me maintain discipline to train and so I share this countdown with you. My goal is not to win, it’s to finish and have fun. If I run 5 miles then walk 2 and repeat, so be it. I’m excited, God help me!

Tonight I had some basic greens for dinner but I made a popular cake from a recipe that was given to me by my friend Karen. I make it a lot on the weekends for a breakfast, especially during the fall when we’ve all got pumpkin on the brain. This is a winner I am telling you! It’s super-moist, packed with vitamins A and E and is great any time of the year.

I am usually not one to buy much at all of the canned or processed variety, but pumpkin, as in NOT PUMPKIN PIE FILLING is actually a great value. To learn more click here.

Pumpkin Cake
4 eggs
1 c canola oil
1 15 oz can of pumpkin
⅔ c granulated sugar
2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

With an electric mixer, combine the eggs, oil, pumpkin and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.

Put into an ungreased 13×9″ pan, or you could split it into 2 rounds.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

I split the batter into 2 rounds instead of using one 13×9″ pan because I am giving one away, and keeping one for us to nibble on. If you use the 13×9″ pan you’ll end up with a cake that has more rise than what you see in the photo. I liked the smaller rise just as much! This batter is super flexible. It’s delicious enough to have just plain but a sprinkling of powdered sugar is really nice. Since you’re all a wild and crazy bunch, you may opt for cream cheese frosting. Here’s a recipe for that if you’re up for it:

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 (3 oz) packages of softened cream cheese, room temp
1 c butter, room temp
2 tsp vanilla
3 ¾ c powdered sugar

Mix all ingredients with a hand mixer and enjoy.

Have a fantastic day!


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