Sunday, May 15, 2011

Free Spirit: Creating hope for a new generation

The willingness to share does not make one charitable;
it makes one free
. -- Robert Brault

Call  me: Elaine
Decade born: 1920’s
Favorite cupcake: Free Spirit
Making a difference: Providing care for Native American children

Elaine remembers the little Oklahoma railroad town where she was born. Many of her neighbors were members of the Choctaw tribe. They were descendants of the first Native Americans who traveled the Trail of Tears into exile from their homelands.

Throughout America’s history, the Choctaws had a generous reputation of providing humanitarian aid to needy Europeans. But Elaine recalls seeing these now-obscure people living in horrendous poverty.

“One day, my sister and I accompanied our mother to deliver some clothing and a sack of apples to a poor Choctaw family,” Elaine recalls. “The parents and two little girls were living in a dugout – a sort of cave carved out of the side of a hill. When we gave the girls the apples we brought, they didn’t know what to do with them. They had never eaten an apple before, so we showed them how.”

It broke Elaine’s heart to think that these children were so poor, hungry and neglected despite their praiseworthy, self-sacrificing heritage. “So when I found out about St. Joseph’s Indian School and how they were changing lives by providing education and other essential care for needy or orphaned Native American children, I knew I wanted to be part of it.”

A true friend is someone who sees your trouble and frees your spirit, carving out a road of possibilities for your future. The Free Spirit cupcake (gluten-free, sugar-free and lactose-free)  is perfect for Elaine -- a precious friend of Native American children.

Make “Free Spirit” cupcakes:

Start by whisking up a gluten-free carrot cake recipe. Try Sandra Ramacher’s easy recipe in Healing Foods or find one online that you like. Divide batter into muffin pans lined with cupcake papers. Fill only half way, or you’ll have trouble getting them out of the pan in one piece.

The icing is easy, but takes some patience (see instructional video below), or just follow these simple steps:

1.     Whip 4 egg whites till frothy, then add a half teaspoon of cream of tartar and continue whipping till stiff peaks form
2.     Drizzle in a cup of honey, which you have boiled for about 10 minutes
3.     Whip until the meringue comes to room temperature (hint: place a cold compress on the sides of the bowl to speed up the cooling process)
4.      With the mixer running, add 3 cubes of butter, one tablespoon at a time, and whip till fluffy

Your icing may work out perfectly the first time you try, but if the texture is soupy, it means the icing was too warm when you added the butter. If it’s lumpy like cottage cheese, it got too cold. Just keep whipping and it will behave eventually!

Frost the cupcakes, and sprinkle with zested orange rind. If you want a little more sweetness, drizzle a spiral of (room temperature) honey boiled 10 minutes with orange zest and 2 tablespoons of orange juice. Use the leftovers for almond-flour pancake syrup!

PS: Here’s a little known fact: Many people associate Code Talking with the Navajo Nation, but this way of transmitting secret messages was actually pioneered by the Choctaw Indians who served in the U.S. Army during World War I.

Video instructions:

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