Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Black Bean Brownies

Rose has developed a taste for sprinkles. I will admit this is entirely my own fault. I made her fairy bread (aka heavily sprinkled toast) and that was that. Every night she asks for a snack and says "how about sprinkles?"

Lucky for her there is an entire sprinkle shelf in our kitchen. Yes, we have a tiny one bedroom apartment and I reserved an entire shelf for sprinkles... priorities!

The other night I figured we would sprinkle something other than peanut butter toast. Brownies (with peanut butter frosting... for protein?)

I have heard of recipes that add black beans to brownie batter and always scoffed at the idea. After recently trying a chickpea blondie and loving it, I decided to give it a go. Plus I was low on flour and had a surplus of back beans thanks to a recent Costco run, so the decision was made for me.

Guys, these are actually really good.

They err on the fudge-like side of the brownie spectrum and have a velvety texture I can only attribute to the black beans. Or maybe it is the peanut butter whipped cream frosting. Either way, these brownies lasted less than 24 hours in our apartment.

Whip up a batch of these brownies in your blender or food processor ASAP. I am pretty sure that they count as a vegetable, right?

Black Bean Brownies
makes an 8x8 pan

for the brownies
1 (15 oz) black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
pinch salt
1/2 c maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 oz bakers chocolate (unsweetened)
3 Tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 c chocolate chips (I used peanut butter chips... go with it!)

for the frosting
2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter
3/4 c Cool Whip (or homemade whipped cream)

sprinkles for decorating
- - -
1. Pre-heat oven to 350F and line an 8x8 pan with foil and mist lightly with baking spray
2. Over a double broiler melt together the baking chocolate and butter, allow to cool slightly
3. In a blender or food processor, place beans, eggs, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, espresso powder and cooled butter/chocolate mixture
4. Blend on high until no lumps remain and a smooth batter forms (it will be pretty runny)
5. Pour the batter into your prepared pan and sprinkle with the chips of your choosing
6. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean)
7. Cool completely
8. Make your frosting by literally just folding the peanut butter into the whipped topping until fully combined
9. Frost your brownies and add sprinkles
10. Store in the refrigerator for up to four days

Sunday, August 6, 2017

We Can Do Hard Things

I have debated whether or not to write this post for a while. It is personal, but because this blog is all about life and the sweet (and not so sweet) moments that fill the days, here I am. Some days I write about frosting, my favorite places to run or what crazy things Rose has been up to. Today I am writing about the loss of our second baby.

This blog post was originally titled "First Trimester Recap." I started writing it about two and a half months ago in the anticipation of baby Kaune #2 due to be born in early February of next year. It chronicled our waiting, the positive tests, the morning sickness and the fatigue.

I stopped writing around week seven. I stopped having morning sickness, I never had to pee and I had no aversions.

When I was almost eleven weeks along (closing in on the first trimester) I began to miscarry. I found out our baby had stopped growing at around six weeks. I went from pregnant to not in the two minutes it took the ultrasound technician to see that our baby had no heartbeat. A family of four to three.

Miscarriage is something I never learned much about. In my head it wasn't an option. I mean, I had a totally uncomplicated first pregnancy and a willful toddler to prove it. But there I was, half naked and crying on a chair being consoled by the (amazing) ultrasound technician. There was no heartbeat. There was no baby.

There are few words to describe how I felt (or feel.) Miscarriage presents both emotional and physical challenges both of which I am grappling with as best I can surrounded by my wonderful friends and family.

It has been a rough couple of weeks, friends.

The hardest part for me, so far, has been having to go about my days "business as usual," while at the same time processing the loss and healing physically. I had some complications with my miscarriage and so the healing process has a taken a while. What has been most helpful to me is taking time in the evenings to be with Rose and love on her (even though she is constantly on the move and has little interest in snuggling.) It makes me feel so much better. I really want her to have a sibling to grow up with and I know eventually she will.

The second hardest part is the waiting aspect of it all. The days are filled with waiting. At first it was waiting for symptoms, a heartbeat and now it is waiting to heal and return to "normal." It is a weird road, one that I never expected to be on.

I have been filling my days with time outside in the sun, playing with Rose, running when I feel up to it and putting my feet up often. I haven't been in my kitchen. I am sure soon I will feel like baking and taking pictures and writing funny memories. But for now I am still coming to terms with the loss of our baby, reminding myself daily, hourly of the fact that that we can do hard things.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Strawberry Cobbler

Last week we took Rose strawberry picking. She had a ball, ate her body weight in fresh berries and we left with about seven pounds of berries to play with. 

Some were eaten, others frozen, and a good amount went into making this dreamy strawberry cobbler.

I am a cobbler-er. Not to be confused with a cobbler that makes shoes. A cobbler-er, I have decided, is someone who enjoys making and eating copious amounts of cobbler. It is a skilled trade I have honed over almost thirty (gah!) years of life.

I like my cobbler to have an equal ratio of topping to fruit. I also like it to be covered with ice cream (for dessert) or tangy Greek yogurt (for breakfasting.)

This cobbler is reminiscent of a warm, roasted strawberry shortcake. It tastes like summer and will make your home smell like a strawberry field!

Strawberry Cobbler
from www.howsweeteats.com
makes a 9x13 pan

4 c fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced in half (small berries can be left whole)
1 Tablespoon corn starch
1/3 c granulated sugar

1 1/3 c AP flour
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten
1/2 c whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

vanilla ice cream for serving
- - -
1. Pre-heat oven to 350F and mist a 9x13 pan with baking spray
2. In the prepared pan stir together berries, corn starch and sugar, set aside
3. In a medium bowl sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon
4. Using your hands, two knives or a pastry cutter, incorporate the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal/sand
5. In a small bowl whisk together the milk, vanilla and egg
6. Add the milk mixture to the flour/butter mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms
7. Dot dough mixture on top of berries
8. Bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes (you want the biscuits to be cooked through and golden brown on top)
9. Serve warm with ice cream!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Energy Bites

I am someone who needs-needs-needs a mid-morning snack. Somewhere around 9 am, my stomach begins talking to me and I know if I wait until lunch I will become a hangry beast.

Enter the energy bite.

I have taken to making a batch of these every week and popping a couple when mid-morning hunger strikes.

I think they look like something a bird would eat. But this just goes to show you that you can't judge a book by its cover. Because while they may look like bird food, these bites taste like a no-bake cookie with layers of oats, peanut butter and dark chocolate. Truth be told, I rolled them in chia seeds to deter Jeff from eating them (to say he hates chia seeds is an understatement.)

Happy snacking!

Energy Bites
makes 10-12

125g dates (about 15)
90 g rolled oats (about 1 c)
3 Tablespoons coca powder
3 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon peanut butter
chia seeds (to coat)
- - -
1. Combine all ingredients except chia seeds in a food processor
2. Mix until a dough forms (about 1 minute)
3. Portion the dough using a small cookie scoop, rolling each scoop between your palms to form a smooth "bite"
4. Roll each bite in chia seeds to coat the outside
5. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy within a week!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

a trip to the beach

Jeff, Rose and I just got back from a little vacation on the Oregon coast. It was such a great, relaxing and much needed trip. We started off in Portland for Mother's Day and then spent the rest of our trip in Cannon Beach. I am already missing the sunny beach and our midday trips to Sleepy Monk for coffee and donuts! Here are some pictures!

flight/pretty downtown Portland/peek!/Mother's Day coffee walk/donuts...the orange olive oil one was my favorite/post-donut fit/post-fit crash

love at first sight/classic/straight for the water!

another flight (love Pelican!)/jellies/sunset/all of the pizza, please/these two...

baby wet suit/morning cocoa and cereal/relaxing/running/my happy place/beach yoga

berry beer/fire light/fish&chips/can you tell we like beer?/my two goofs/one last gander at the ocean/post-trip detox

All in all, a successful vacation!