Time has a funny way of speeding up while simultaneously slowing down when you’re at home with a kiddo. I can’t believe the last time I wrote a blog post was 6 months ago. That feels like a million years ago in some ways, five minutes in others! The leaves are falling, the weather is cooling, and my baby is talking up a storm (new favorite word: cucumber!).
Change is inevitable, whether time goes slowly or not. And so here we are, in another season, another year, but we’re still the same people. My passion for healthy food never goes away, and neither does my husband’s excitement for his work. Finn is still my little lovebug, despite the odd mess or meltdown!
And I’ll tell you what else doesn’t change: my love of brownies.
These brownies are delicious, loaded with healthy ingredients, and just in time for Fall. They’re also gluten-free, if you’re so inclined (but the flour is easily substituted out for whichever you prefer). Make them while the winter squash is sweet and tasty, before the ground freezes!
And I’ll do my best to be back sooner rather than later.
- 1½ lbs winter squash (butternut, delicata, acorn, etc.), peeled, diced, and steamed
- 5 oz plain dark chocolate, broken into small chunks (or use dark chocolate chips)
- 11 tbsp diced organic butter
- 4 organic eggs, beaten
- 2 cups organic sugar
- 1½ tsp vanilla powder
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 1½ cups brown rice flour (or any flour you choose)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a 9"x13" baking pan.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
- Mash the squash until smooth (or use a blender or food processor to puree).
- Combine the sugar, vanilla, salt, flour, and baking powder in a large bowl.
- Stir in the squash, melted chocolate and butter, and eggs.
- Pour into the baking pan and place in the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, or until cooked through (check with a toothpick through the center).
Guaranteed to make you giggle!
Since having Finn in July, I’ve gotten to know many other new mamas in the past year. And all of a sudden, those babies are turning ONE! It’s hard to believe how quickly a first year goes by (and yet, how very slow it feels in the moment). I’m attending my first FIRST birthday party this weekend and decided to bring along these delectable cookies in celebration of my dear friend’s baby girl. The recipe comes from the LEON Baking & Desserts cookbook, one of my personal faves from England, along with the other Leon cookbooks available. All are terrific.
These cookies are gluten-free, egg-free, and contain no processed sugars. Plenty of butter though, which gives them the perfect gooey cookie middle.
Make these if you feel like celebrating along with me!
- 2¼ cups gluten-free oat flour
- 2 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 cup maple syrup
- ½ cup organic unsalted butter, melted
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Sea salt for sprinkling (optional)
- Heat the oven to 350F. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Mix together all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl (including the chocolate chips).
- Mix together all the wet ingredients in a small bowl.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until they are well combined, but do not over-mix.
- Drop spoonfuls of the cookie dough on to the prepared baking tray. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt if desired.
- Bake in the oven for 12 minutes, and allow the cookies to cool on the tray for 1 minute before transferring to a cooling rack.
We’re back in Boston after a wonderful warm week away in Florida. Seriously, that trip couldn’t have come at a better time. This winter has been brutal, particularly since Finn and I are both getting major cabin fever! But spring is just around the corner, so I’m trying to think about my favorite foods of the colder months and look on the (snowy) bright side. Something I haven’t made all winter: BAKED POTATO. Why not? I guess when I think about making potatoes, I usually jump to sweet potatoes and roast them up with some fish. I also associate baked potatoes with long cooking times (which is true – they take about an hour in the oven) but it’s not like it’s a labor-intensive hour. You poke a few holes in them, throw them in the oven, and leave them alone. My son can’t be left alone to play longer than 10 minutes, so you might say a baked potato is easier than a 7-month-old. But that would be a pretty weak analogy.
It’s pretty easy to make a meal out of a baked potato. In England, “jacket potatoes” are a familiar vehicle for all manner of toppings that make a tasty and filling lunch. It’s not just sour cream and chives over there. Baked beans and cheese, for example. Or tuna and cottage cheese (woof).
Last night, as Phil and I embraced the fact that winter isn’t over, we settled in for a really satisfying and comforting dinner: baked potatoes with tomato sauce, cheese, and spinach, topped with a fried egg. Sounds simple? That’s because it is. And I’m totally having it again for dinner before the warm weather sets in (so hopefully not more than once…?)
The following recipe is loosely based on an article from the always fabulous, always miniature, Everyday Food magazine.
Fried Egg Baked Potato
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 1 hour
Ingredients (serves 2)
- 2 baking potatoes
- 2 tbsp butter or Earth Balance spread
- 4 tbsp tomato sauce (we used a simple jarred pizza sauce that we had in the fridge already)
- handful of organic baby spinach leaves
- 1/3 cup grated manchego cheese
- 2 organic eggs, gently fried
- ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 425F. Poke the potatoes a couple of times each with a sharp knife and rub the skins with olive oil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake in the oven for about an hour, or until you can easily pierce the potatoes with a fork.
Everything else can be prepared when the potatoes are about 5 minutes from being done.
Once cooked, place the potatoes on 2 plates and slice open down the middle. Let the butter melt inside before sprinkling on the cheese, spooning on some sauce, stuffing in the spinach, and topping with the fried egg and some grated black pepper.
Cooking when you’ve just had a baby sometimes feels like the very last thing you want to think about. And here I am, with a 7-month-old baby, and still struggling to get dinner on the table most nights! So Phil and I stick with the dinners we feel comfortable making, week in and week out. Eventually there will be room for creativity in the kitchen once again. But for right now, we’ve found what works for us. It’s funny, but the idea of dishes you make over and over again, recipes you know by heart, is something I always envisioned I’d do when I became a Mom. It might be a far cry from the way I cooked before, but hey – most things change when you have a kid!
One such dinner we’ve got memorized is a delicious Peanut Sesame Noodle Salad that is slightly adapted from Mollie Katzen’s Enchanted Broccoli Forest. We have probably made this for dinner once a week for the past 4 months. It’s that good. And that EASY.
And its ease is precisely why it’s the perfect dinner for new parents. It only requires a few ingredients, takes about 15-20 minutes to make, and gives you plenty for dinner and leftovers for lunch the next day (which we always enjoy).
The adaptations we made to Mollie’s original recipe:
- Added grated ginger to the sauce
- Used wide rice noodles rather than vermicelli-style
- Added red bell pepper
- Cooked tofu
Are there any go-to dinners you make every week?
Peanut Sesame Noodle Salad
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Keywords: saute boil salad entree gluten-free vegan vegetarian wheat free
Ingredients (serves 4)
- 1 cup organic peanut butter (smooth or chunky, your choice)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 4 tbsp brown rice vinegar
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 1 inch ginger, grated
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp tamari or Bragg’s liquid aminos
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 4 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 14 oz extra firm tofu, cut into bitesize blocks
- 1 lb wide rice noodles
- 1 cucumber, cut into thin strips
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
- 6 scallions, finely sliced
- 3/4 cup peanuts, roughly chopped
- handful fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Cook the rice noodles according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Make the sauce: combine the peanut butter, boiling water, vinegar, garlic, ginger, honey, tamari/braggs, crushed red pepper flakes and sesame oil in a small bowl. Whisk well and pour over the noodles.
Toss the cucumber, pepper, and scallions in with the noodles and sauce.
In a large frying pan, heat some coconut or sesame oil and cook the tofu for a few minutes until lightly browned.
Serve the noodles with a few cubes of tofu and a generous sprinkle of peanuts and cilantro.
Keeps well in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Yep, I’m still pregnant. I really really hope I don’t have to say this for too much longer! For now, though, the little one is staying put. We were sort of hoping Phil could celebrate Father’s Day on Sunday as a new dad, but junior has other plans.
So, to distract ourselves from the waiting and watching and wondering, we baked a delicious dessert using beautiful fruit from the weekend farmer’s market.
I’ve used strawberry and rhubarb before to make a truly delicious raw dessert. This, however, is something different, but with very similar flavors. It’s best enjoyed with a dollop of something creamy. Yogurt? Ice cream? (Speaking of ice cream, I cannot wait to try this vegan ice cream place in Boston! A pregnant friend of mine has been raving about it!)
Anyway, here’s a tasty crumble to tide you over, whether like me you’re waiting for an imminent arrival, or you’re just in the mood for something summery and sweet.
Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Crumble
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 40 mins
Keywords: bake dessert gluten-free soy-free vegan vegetarian wheat free summer
Ingredients (serves 6-8)
For the Filling:
- 3-4 stalks rhubarb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped into bite-size pieces
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
- 1/4 cup corn starch or arrowroot starch
For the Topping:
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Combine all filling ingredients and spread out in a baking dish.
Combine all topping ingredients and mix until coated in coconut oil. Sprinkle over the fruit filling in the baking dish.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, until fruit is bubbling and topping is browned slightly.
Serve warm with a dollop of yogurt or ice cream. Or leave to cool and keep in the fridge for a cool sweet treat!