Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Kick Ass Brownies (GF)

Today is cool and rainy, the air perfumed with warm brownies that just came out of my oven. I wish my house smelled like this always. Or Rosemary's head after I give her a bath. Or buttered popcorn. Or... wait what were we talking about again?

These brownies are the definition of simple and uncomplicated dessert, easy to stir together with one hand while you hold a baby in the other. These brownies also happen to kick ass- the perfect balance of cakey and fudgy.

Did I mention these brownies are gluten free? Hipsters rejoice!

Gimme that crackle.

Gluten Free Brownies

1 c chocolate chips
1/2 c (8 Tablespoons) salted butter**
3 eggs
1 c sugar 
1 c almond meal
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons vanilla
** If you only have unsalted butter add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- - -
1. Pre-heat oven to 350F; line an 8 x 8 square baking dish with parchment paper and mist with baking spray
2. Over a double boiler, melt together chocolate and butter, stirring gently until smooth; set aside to cool for five minutes
3. In a medium bowl whisk together almond meal, salt, cocoa, and baking powder; set aside
4. In a large bowl whisk together eggs, sugar and vanilla
5. Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the egg mixture, whisking until combined
6. Fold in dry ingredients to the chocolate/egg mixture
7. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes
8. Cool brownies completely before slicing and enjoying!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Life with Rose: 3 Months In

This month went by at super speed. Jeff and I have opposite days off which makes the weeks fly by! We are adjusting to our new schedule but I miss Rosemary so much when I am at work. She is such a sweet baby. She is always happy (unless she needs to be fed, wonder where she gets that?) When she wakes up in the morning she is all smiles and coos.

Food: I am still getting after big salads for dinner and also smoothie bowls when it is too hot for me to cook anything. I bought a big bag of frozen fruit and it has been my saving grace most evenings when Jeff is working. I top my smoothie with some cereal and more sliced fruit. It is pretty much dessert for dinner. I found these pumpkin spice granola bars that I am snacking on at work (I know it isn't even September but it sounded good!) My schedule changed at work and I now have Sunday/Monday off which means BRUNCH! Jeff and I like to go to this diner near our house. Their green eggs (pesto) and ham is the best.

Drinks: All of the coffee. Some good beer. Gallons of water (sparkling and regular.)

Growth: Rosemary is maxing out her 3 month clothes and so we have moved her up to the 6 month outfits. They fit her length wise (maybe she will be tall...) but they are a little baggy still. I am currently obsessed with her little thighs... rolls for days.We love our little chunk.

Activity: Rosemary is so active, I love it! She is constantly kicking her legs and trying to stand while being held. She recognizes me and Jeff now and smiles and laughs at us all the time. She also makes all sorts of noises, trying to communicate with us. We make the noises back to her and she lights up. It is pretty wonderful. We are trying to give her time to play by herself on her mat and she is still obsessed with her stuffed fox.

Above: helping mama make no-bake cookies.

Sleep: Baby girl sleeps like a champ most nights. Of course there was that one night she woke me up at two AM to eat and I then I set my alarm wrong. I woke up in a panic, late and had to drive rather than ferry to work. Most nights she will sleep 7-9 hours in a single stretch, wake to eat then sleep for a few more hours before getting up for the day.

That upper lip though...

Workouts: I am running a half marathon in October so I have started running more. Each week I try to do one track workout, one long run and a casual jog. It is a slow process but I am really enjoying it. Not having much time makes me appreciate when I can carve out part of an evening to run. Jeff is so great, he knows I am happier when I run and will take Rose and kick me out of the house.On days I am not running I will typically do a quick yoga podcast. Or I will cuddle Rosemary. If cuddling were a sport, I would have a gold medal.

Seeing this girl is the best part of my day, hands down.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Life with Rose: 2 months in

Two months, BOOM! Rosemary has grown so much in these eight weeks. Jeff and I truly can't get enough of her, she is just the best thing to happen to us. I went back to work this week and it was both tough and wonderful. I only cried once right as I was saying goodbye to her the first morning. I miss her all day when I am working but it is nice to be back at my job and to have some of my independence back. It makes my evenings and days off with her and Jeff all the more special. Below: Rose the day she was born and Rose at 8 weeks!

Food: I have been really into gigantic salads for dinner. I cook off a bunch of chicken and quinoa at the beginning of the week and then toss it together with greens, sliced veggies and dressing. It is the perfect quick meal for when I am watching the babe. Bonus: I don't have to heat up the house with the stove or oven. I also made a big batch of these cookies. Can't/won't stop. Breakfast is oatmeal with almond butter. I try to make breakfast and dinner big meals because my days are busy at work. I have never been one of those people who forgets to eat but the hours seem to fly by when I am at work. I snack, but need to work on getting more to eat during the day.

Drinks: I am all about infused water these days. My dad's girlfriend got me this great bottle with a built in infuser! My favorite: a tie between lemon or cucumber. I also tried maple water. I was skeptical at first, but then I tasted it... it is so much more refreshing than the coconut water I have been chugging all summer! It is going into the beverage rotation for sure. Funny story, so the other night after Rose went to sleep I had two glasses of wine (something that would normally not be a big deal) but I woke up the next morning after five hours of sleep and my first thoughts were never again. I am officially old.


Sleep: Guys, Rosemary slept for eight hours the other night. Yes, eight hours. Like a normal human! I am not naive enough to think it will be a consistent thing, but man it was wonderful. She routinely sleeps 6-7 hours at night in her crib so overall still doing great sleep wise.

Growth: At her two month appointment she is 23" tall and weighs 11 pounds 10 oz... up over 4 pounds since birth. She is our little chunk.

Activity: Rosemary still loves her mat! She can now roll over from her back to her stomach and lifts up her head during tummy time. Every time I see her start to roll over I sing to her "they see me rollin'... they hatin'... patrollin' tryin' to catch me ridin' dirty." Because I am the coolest mom ever...

Workouts: When I get home from work I don't want to leave and go to the gym for an hour or so. Doing yoga in my living room while Rose doses in her swing is ideal, or if Jeff is home I will head out for a quick run. I am going to start training soon for a fall half marathon. I think I can train for it running only 3 days a week. While I love running and exercise, I love time with Rosemary and Jeff more so I am trying to find a good balance.

Rose has officially fallen in love with Jeff... it is so sweet. She smiles at him all the time and looks for him when he isn't holding her.

Below: outfit by Papa.

These two make me so happy it is a bit ridiculous. Things are settling down and we are getting a little more used to this whole "being parents" thing. I am going to switch from weekly to monthly Rosemary updates, though rest assured I will post plenty of photos in between!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Ultimate Oatmeal Cookies (especially for mamas)

Did you know it is world breastfeeding week? Because every occasion deserves a special dessert, I made cookies! Truth be told, I have been making batches of these cookies since I had Rosemary. These cookies are full of good things for breastfeeding mamas but you don't need to be one to enjoy their oatmeal chocolate chip goodness. Trust me- these cookies are damn tasty.

Key ingredients in these lactation cookies: oats, brewer's yeast, flax meal, and coconut oil. Yes these cookies are full of things that can boost milk production. No, these cookies will not spontaneously cause you lactate. Glad we cleared that up.

My personal record for number of these cookies eaten in a single day is five. Every time I eat one of these cookies I justify it by saying I am doing it for Rosemary. But let's be honest, I just needed another excuse to eat cookies all day, every day. 

Ultimate Oatmeal Cookies 
makes about 2 dozen

3 c old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 c AP flour
5 tablespoons brewers yeast
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 tablespoons coconut oil
1 1/2 c sugar
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 c dark chocolate chips/chunks
- - -
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream together butter and coconut oil; add sugar and mix on medium-high until fluffy
2. Add in egg, yolk and vanilla
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, powder, cinnamon, salt, brewers yeast and flax; add to mixing bowl and mix on low until combined
4. Scrape down the bottom and sides of mixing bowl
5. Add oats and mix on low until evenly distributed
6. Scrape down bottom and sides of mixing bowl
7. Add chocolate and mix for about 30 seconds on low

If freezing: Line a large baking sheet with foil; using a large cookie scoop, portion out dough and place the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet 1/4" apart; freeze for at least 2 hours before transferring dough to a ziplock freezer safe bag. To bake from frozen, pre-heat oven to 350F, place cookie dough 2" apart on a lined baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes.

If baking right away: Pre-heat oven to 350F; scoop dough onto a lined baking sheet 2" apart and bake for 10-14 minutes

Sunday, August 2, 2015

My Favorite Carrot Cake

 Let's get right into it shall we?

Shredded carrots, cinnamon spiced batter, coconut and pineapple make this cake one of my favorite desserts. Extra cream cheese frosting and NO RAISINS. Just, no. Don't even think about it.

Fun fact about me: I have a tattoo of a cupcake on my arm. It is pretty generic looking and could be any flavor, but in my head it has always been this carrot cake, with cream cheese frosting and a cherry on top. That is how much I love this cake.   

Carrot Cake
makes 24 cupcakes or an 8" layer cake **

2 c AP flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 eggs
1 1/4 c vegetable oil
2 c sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 c shredded carrots
1/4 c crushed pineapple
1/4 c shredded coconut, plus more toasted coconut for garnish
- - -
1. Pre-heat oven to 350F and line 2 muffin tins (for 24 cupcakes)
2. In a medium bowl stir togther flour, spices, salt and baking soda, set aside
3. In a large bowl whisk together oil and sugar; add eggs one at a time followed by the vanilla extract
4. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and stir until fully combined
5. Fold in shredded carrots, coconut and crushed pineapple
6. Divide batter between the muffin tins and bake at 350F for 14-16 minutes
7. Cool completely before frosting with cream cheese icing (recipe follows) and garnishing with toasted coconut

** To make an 8" layer cake: divide prepared batter equally between two 8" round cake pans that have been lined with parchment, misted with baking spray and dusted with flour. Bake at 350F for 25-35 minutes (check center with a toothpick to see if it is baked through.) Cool cakes in pan for 15 minutes then invert onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Fill and frost!

Cream Cheese Icing
makes enough to frost an 8" layer cake or 24 cupcakes

8oz cream cheese, softened
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
pinch salt
2 c powdered sugar, sifted
- - -
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment combine the cream cheese and butter until smooth
2. Scrape down the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl then add salt and sugar; mix on low until fully combined
3. Scrape down bottom and sides of bowl again then mix on medium-high until fluffy
4. Store icing in refrigerator