I love basil.
I'm one of those scary people that can eat whole basil leafs. I remember my mom always cooking with it. She would roll up a handful of the leaves and cut them into those cool tiny strings of basil (with dull knives, I might add). My 12 year old self used to wish I could master chef like that someday. And now I do it! With sharpened knives. Sorry, Mom.
Pairing the peach with basil just works. I don't know how. Just follow my instructions blindly on this one, it wont disappoint, I promise. Basil must be one of my truest truths so I am sticking with it.
This week I wanted to make an affirmation cake. That should really be a thing, you guys. What says "I care about you" more than baking someone a homemade cake and writing some nice words on top? Lets be positive people! And show some love.
But I learned about something much more important than cake this week. A seriously inspiring and revolutionary movement that I read about this week was something called the Crisis Text Line. And yes, I found this on another podcast. Opps. (I'll link the podcast and TedTalk video down below).
Nancy Lublin is the CEO of DoSomething.org. DoSomething a non profit for young people. Through this non profit Lublin used texting as a platform to create a movement. By sending texts to the younger generation they would collect food for food drives and collect Valentines Day cards for senior citizens without families. But every time they sent out these messages, there would be a dozen responses that had nothing to do with DoSomething. They would be cries for help.
Text messages about being bullied, or having an addiction. Even a young girl texting back that she was being raped by her father. "He told me not to tell. Are you there?"
Ya know, the kind of stuff that gives you the chills.
So in response to this, Lublin started Crisis Text Line. Essentially you can text this phone number (741741) and there's a counselor on the other line waiting to respond to you.
Texting has become their platform for communicating with young people who are in pain: struggling with anxiety, substance abuse, bullying, depression, eating disorders. You name it, they've heard it.
This started small. They launched in Chicago and El Paso, Texas. And within a few months they had spread faster than Facebook. What a testament to the number of young people struggling and looking for help.
One of the most amazing parts about her TedTalk was when she talked about the mass amounts of data that they've now collected from CTL. If someone texts in certain key words, the computer is able to make a match to a problem that this person is struggling with. For example, if you were to text in the words "M" and "G" or "rubber bands" there is a 99% match that you would be struggling with substance abuse. Computer science is way over my head, but that is some cool shit.
That means that the computer can now prompt the counselor with a message saying "99% match to substance abuse. Here are 4 questions that you can start out asking." Like, come on. That is seriously incredible.
And that's not even the coolest part yet, people. They have collected so much data that they now know facts such as, Monday is the worst day for eating disorders. 5 a.m. is the worst time of the day for substance abuse. That Montana has the highest rates of suicidal ideation. And they've put all this information in a free website for public access called https://crisistrends.org/.
With public access to this data the hope is that schools and governments and other influencers will use this information to create change and new policies. Lublin uses the example of having extra guidance counselors for eating disorders available on Mondays and making families more aware of times for substance abuse.
Guys, this is the coolest way I can think to use technology. The most incredible way to promote help and change. I really hope that you guys listen to her talk and spread the word about Crisis Text Line, because I think it's freaking amazing. I'll link everything right here!
Crisis Text Line website:
Thanks for reading guys!
1/2 cup unsalted butter (room temp.)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups A.P. flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup peach jam
1/4 cup minced basil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup unsalted butter
4 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons peach jam
3 tablespoons minced basil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare two 9 inch cake tins with butter and parchment paper at the bottom. Set aside.
Place 2 peaches in a food processor until smooth. Place through a sieve to remove and leftover pulp or skin. Place the processed peaches in a saucepan. Add honey and sugar. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly. Bring to a simmer for 20-30 min until thick making sure to stir occasionally. Set aside to cool.
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. About 5 min. Add in eggs. Mix for 30 sec after each addition. Add vanilla.
Sift together dry ingredients. Add to mixer all at once and begin mixing on low speed. Gradually increase until just combined. Add buttermilk, jam and basil. Mix until just combined.
Pour batter into cake tins. Bake for 25-30 min until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
While the cakes are in the oven begin the buttercream. Place the softened butter in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat until pale and fluffy. 3 to 5 min. Add in half of sifted powdered sugar. Beat for 5 min, making sure to scrape down the side of the bowl after each addition. Add the rest and beat for another 5 min. Add vanilla, jam, and basil.
Remove cakes from oven and let cool completely. Assemble cake as desired.