In addition to these cookies, I also made chipotle cornbread and my favorite chocolate chip scones.
Monthly Archives: April 2012
We often make baked fries when we have burgers at home. However, since the black bean burgers we make are healthy, I feel like it’s okay to splurge on the fries. That makes sense, right? ;) This recipe is different in that Spike uses Red Bliss potatoes. Most fry recipes I’ve seen call for Russets or some other type of starchy potato, but I like this version because the skin can be left on the potatoes, making them tastier and easier to prep. We’ve made these several times and have often just used regular red potatoes. This time, we used a blend of small red, yellow and purple potatoes. Like any good fry recipe, these require a double fry in the oil. This leaves the fries with a slightly crispy exterior and a wonderfully soft and potato-y interior. The herb mixture elevates these to almost gourmet status. If you’re looking for a fry recipe to indulge in occasionally, this is it.
Since Earth Day is this weekend, I want to share a few of our eco-friendly habits with all of you. Being green is important to us. We’ve reduced our garbage to only one bag a week because we recycle everything we can. Now that we own our own home, we’re hoping to reduce our waste even more by composting. We’ve got plans to set up a rain barrel soon, which will hopefully provide enough water for our garden. We’re also hoping to grow even more produce this year, possibly in a raised bed garden. Also, when the season is right, we try to buy local foods whenever possible. Virginia is rich with agriculture, which means we have easy access to local produce, dairy, meat, etc. There are so many small things that each of us can do to reduce our impact on the planet. Perhaps the biggest change we’ve made this year is to use cloth diapers and wipes on Clara. It’s been fantastic, and she looks darn cute with her fluffy bum. (You may have seen a few pictures of her in them if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram.) I won’t go into the details here; this is a food blog after all. But if you ever want to know about our experience, feel free to send me an email or a message on Facebook. We’re also into refurbishing old furniture and giving new life to things so that they don’t end up in a landfill. Check out this before and after of Clara’s dresser:
One easy way to make a difference is to eat less meat. Eric and I have significantly reduced our meat consumption over the past few years. We used to have meat with almost every meal, now the opposite is true. At first, our meatless meals were mostly pasta dishes, but this changed as our tastes and skills developed. We’ve got several vegetarian recipes in our repertoire now, but these burgers are my favorite. I posted a recipe for black bean burgers a couple years ago, and that was my go-to recipe until now. Those are delicious but probably work better for lunch. These burgers are thick and hearty, making them perfect for a meatless dinner. They’re moist and flavorful, just like any burger (even a meatless one!) should be. Not only are they delicious, but they’re healthy to boot! Bonus: they can be made ahead of time and cooked later. This recipe just wins all around. I made a batch of these to freeze before Clara was born, and they reheated wonderfully in the oven. I haven’t tried letting them thaw and cooking them in the skillet, but I’ll update this post if I do.
The first three weeks of her life, I was worried about all kinds of things – if kids will make fun of her when she goes to school, if she’ll be able to open a jar, if she’ll be angry with us when she grows up because of what we decide to do with her hand. Eric kept telling me we would do whatever was necessary to ensure that she has the best life possible, and that we would raise her to be strong and confident. There were even a few “her last name is Champion, so she already wins at everything” jokes in there. Because we wanted to enjoy every second with her, without people constantly asking what we were going to do about her thumb and without minimizing how great she was doing otherwise, we only told a couple family members at first. Out of those, my sister and brother-in-law were the only ones who knew about the seriousness of the situation. I also had friends to lean on, and they provided a source of strength that only they could. While Christa, Zack and my wonderful friends helped keep me strong, time in the kitchen helped keep me sane.
That’s where this cake comes in. I’ve found myself doing quite a bit of late night baking the past several weeks. Nighttime, when things start settling down, is the time I most need a distraction. Since 10 pm isn’t really the best time to start something involved, I looked for simple treats that could be made with pantry staples. Eric had to make a late night run to the store the night I made the key lime pie bars, and he did it without hesitation because he knew just how much I needed to bake something. Thankfully, I had everything I needed the night I decided to make this cake. It’s simple in execution and can be eaten fairly soon after baking, a double win when baking late at night. It’s moist and luscious, with a rich chocolate flavor. The coffee acts as a way to intensify the chocolate flavor but can still be tasted in the background. This cake is exactly what the name says – a snack cake. It’s not fancy, but it is delicious and comforting. It doesn’t need frosting or a dusting of powdered sugar. It’s perfect as is and would be fantastic with a hot cup of coffee or a cold glass of milk.
I know I’ve got plenty more late nights of baking ahead of me as Eric and I decide what to do about Clara’s hand. And I know that, in the future, there will be times that I stay up late to bake because I’m worried about her for silly reasons. As she sleeps peacefully in my lap, I realize there will even be times we bake together because she needs a distraction from something upsetting. I can promise, though, that it will never be because she’s upset about her hand. Eric was right – we are going to raise her to be strong and confident, and she’ll grow up knowing she can accomplish whatever she wants to. If she ever forgets that, we’ll be there (with something yummy, of course) to remind her.
I have a new fondness for bar desserts. They’re easy to make and easy to eat. I’ve been looking for a recipe to match the lemon blueberry bars I made last year, and this is it. The typical graham cracker crust is elevated by sweetened coconut. It gets slightly toasted when the crust bakes and adds a chewy texture and extra layer of flavor to the bars. I was concerned that the filling might be too sweet, but it had the perfect balance of sweet and tart. These bars are fresh and bright, everything I want in a springtime dessert. When topped with whipped cream and toasted coconut, these turn into a portable version of key lime pie, no fork needed.