Thursday, January 31, 2013

Baby Boot Camp

The calm before the storm...
When your baby is born, the first month is a magical time filled with love, joy, and sweet new baby smells. It's also filled with massive amounts of crying, an absurd lack of sleep, and the overwhelming fear accompanied by the  realization that you are now in charge of another human being's entire life. My husband and I refer to the first month with a newborn as "Baby Boot Camp".  Honestly, it makes the Navy Seals training look like a breeze. Sleep deprivation? Check. Being screamed at for hours? Check. Carrying around a 30 pound load  (baby + diaper bag + car seat) while going through obstacles (grocery store, restroom, doctor's office)? Check. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Vegan Fudge Brownies

Before I had children and settled down, I had a list of vices the length of my arm. Since becoming pregnant with my daughter, that list has shortened considerably.  One of my remaining vices is my complete and utter lack of self-control for cookies and brownies.  If they are left unguarded in my house, I will eat them until I feel sick. And I don't regret it! Because of this problem, I'm always on the look-out for healthy cookie and brownie recipes.  As expected, Chocolate Covered Katie's recipe for  Healthy Chocolate Brownies was a huge success.  That girl is a healthy dessert culinary genius. These brownies are so ridiculously gooey that you have to eat it with a spoon.  *swoon*

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Perfect Red Velvet Cake

My husband's all-time favorite cake is a Red Velvet Cake. I usually just order a Red Velvet cake from our amazing local cake-maker, Cecilia's, but this past birthday I decided to make him one from scratch. Since I'm not much of a baker, I spent weeks researching cake-making tips and I scoured the internet for the best way to make a Red Velvet. My husband is such an amazing, generous, wonderful person; he deserved the best cake ever. So that's what he got! It really is the most perfect Red Velvet Cake I have ever eaten.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tamale Casserole

I have always been a huge fan of casseroles.  Not only are casseroles  inherently comforting, they provide the beauty of a one-dish meal.  I love being able to avoid having to make a side dish along with my entree.  Yup, I'm actually a pretty lazy cook!  A few weeks ago, while perusing Pinterest, I stumbled upon a  recipe from a blog called Nutmeg Notebook for Tamale Pie.  Unlike actual tamales, this recipe looked both easy to make and diet friendly.  I altered the recipe to my own tastes, and in effort to make it a more well-rounded meal, I added Swiss chard to the dish.  The result was a delicious, healthy, incredibly simple casserole that your whole family will enjoy.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Whipped Sweet Carrots

I'm sure I'm not the first parent to declare this, but my toddler is the pickiest eater ever.  It's been a struggle trying to get her to eat anything.  My child even hates chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. What kid can hate those? Mine, apparently.  However, during the holidays, I let her try some of my Sweet Potato Souffle, and she could not get enough of it.  So I brainstormed about how I could make this work for other vegetables too.  I played around in the kitchen, and came up with the perfect recipe: Whipped Sweet Carrots.  It was simple to make, and my daughter literally shoveled it into her mouth with both hands. I've even been able to hide pureed spinach in it, with her being none the wiser.  It really is the perfect toddler food.  The only problem?  It is the perfect adult food too, and I struggle not to grab her spoon and steal a bite when she's eating it.  Due to its deliciousness, Whipped Sweet Carrots have become a grown-up side dish in our house now too.  As an added bonus, it is diet friendly, yet tastes so decadent it could pass as dessert.  

Hearty & Healthy Chili

I am so happy that it is finally chili season! My recipe for chili was probably the easiest of all my old recipes to make diet friendly.  After all, like most tomato based stews, chili is already pretty low in calories.  To make my chili even healthier, I swapped out the beef for lean ground turkey, and then doubled the amount of all the vegetables.  I even added in some new vegetables, like mushrooms and corn, to increase the nutrients and to make it as hearty as possible.  I promise that despite all my healthy tweaking, my Hearty & Healthy Chili does not taste lean or bland: it even passed the "Man Test", and got grunts of approval from my husband and brother. I highly recommend that you serve each bowl with a pile of diced avocado and a squeeze of lime: it elevates the dish immensely.

Saturday, January 12, 2013


During the Winter Break, my husband and I took advantage of the temporary decrease in student population, and ventured downtown for dinner.  We decided on Clocked, a small diner with funky decor and adventurous burgers.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Split Pea Soup

Around every New Year, I take the leftover Christmas Ham and spend an entire day making my Split Pea Soup.  Unlike most things I make, this recipe takes a lot of time, but oh man, is it worth it.  I've served it to even the most anti-pea people out there, and even they love this dish.  Case in point: I have a dear friend who gets ragey at even the sight of a single pea on her plate, yet will drop all her plans to come over once I announce that it's "Split Pea Night".  It's that good.