Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bean and Cheese Burritos with Cilantro Lime Rice and Avocado Cream

I don't think I'll ever get sick of a two year old's way of finding even the most mundane thing super exciting.  They are experiencing so many things for the first time and what is old-hat for us is like an amusement park for them.  Like driving under an overpass.  Super exciting for at least my little two year old.  And every bus, ambulance, fire truck, tractor, dump truck, etc. must be exclaimed over

I love having a two year old.  While I don't love the crying, tantrums, and growing need for discipline, I love two year olds. 

Maybe it's the fact that their excitement makes me see the world through younger, less jaded eyes.  I find myself getting excited when I hear the hiss of the bus's air brakes as it stops just outside my house every afternoon.  Both me and the kid run to the window yelling "bus, bus, bus!"

Monday, February 18, 2013

Momo (i.e. Nepali Dumplings)

Mmmmm....I want some mo' momo!  At least that is what my husband always says.  He's so punny!

I once spent a summer in San Francisco.  It was the summer after my freshman year of college.  And it was amazing!  I credit that summer with making me much of who I am today.  I spent a lot of time wandering the city and soul searching.  Spending most of my free time alone or with my 6 month old niece (who I was a nanny too).  I think I wrote lots of poetry sitting on the beach.  You know, being artsy and all that.

But you know what was the most life changing part of that summer?

Learning how to make momo!

My brother-in-law is from Nepal.  Much of the food we ate that summer was rice and dahl (lentils).  He also had an amazing ability to make the most delicious vegetable pasta dishes--I'm not sure where that come from.  But one day we went to some friends' house for momo.  I had no idea what a treat I was in for.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Turkey, Avocado and Hummus Wrap

I'm back!

Yeah, so it seems I took a temporary hiatus from food blogging for a while.  I vow to be better.  

First of all, the winter is a difficult time to food blog when you mostly blog about dinners.  Food photographs best when fresh and with natural light.  When it gets dark shortly before five...well, you see the problem.  Of course there are ways around that for someone who is really excited about food.  But...unfortunately (or fortunately...yeah...) I am not all that excited about food right now.

You see, I'm 14 weeks pregnant with baby #2.  For me, this means food is about the last thing I want to think about.  I tried.  For you, I tried.  I got a couple of recipes up after the morning sickness started (at 3 weeks!!!  I didn't even know you COULD get sick that early) but I just couldn't do it anymore.  If it makes you feel any better, our dinner table has been less exciting than this blog has.  Although, if that made you feel better than I'll give you the side eye for a while....

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Fluffiest Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon-Nut Syrup

Yes, another pumpkin recipe.  

I admit it, I have a problem.

I can rationalize it because I'm putting squash in my breakfast.  Yes, I may be drenching it with sugary cinnamon syrup...but...

There is no other way I could convince the kid to eat squash, for breakfast of otherwise.  Getting any vegetable into him (other than sweet potatoes and spinach--in these) has been a challenge lately.  He's been coming down with illness after illness.  Cold, followed by unexplained fever followed by another cold.  The poor kids been miserable.  He's been eating very little (although he's normally such a big eater that it's hard to tell).  And sleeping a ton.  

Of course, as soon as he went into a dry spell from his sickness I get the flu, followed by a cold.  We're just waiting for the husband to get his turn.  Of course, he's taken such good care of us he probably deserves a free pass.  

So, I've decided that pumpkin pancakes for breakfast is a very, very good thing.

This recipe produces insanely fluffy pancakes.  Paired with homemade cinnamon syrup with a handful of walnuts for crunch...these are amazing.  Add a dollop of homemade whipped cream and you upgrade these to absolutely wicked.  Like I'll-probably-never-get-pumpkin-pancakes-from-IHOP-again good.  For me, that's REALLY good.

Fluffiest Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Nut Syrup
makes 16 pancakes
pancake recipe adapted from January 2007 Better Homes and Gardens

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons. packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 3/4 cups milk
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 tsp vanilla

1. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients. In a second bowl combine eggs and remaining ingredients. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture until slightly lumpy.
2. Heat a lightly greased griddle or heavy skillet over medium heat. For each pancake pour 1 quarter cup batter onto griddle. Cook until golden; turn when tops are bubbly and edges are slightly dry (1 to 2 minutes per side). 

Cinnamon-Nut Syrup
Makes about 2 cups
syrup recipe adapted from For the Love of Cooking

1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup water
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Stir the sugars, flour and cinnamon together in a small saucepan. Whisk in the water and heat over medium high heat until boiling, stirring frequently. 
2. Let it boil for a 1-2 minutes until thickened, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat, stir in vanilla and set aside until needed.

What the Husband thinks:  He wasn't as swept away by these as I was but agrees they are probably the best pumpkin pancakes I've made.  In full discloser, the confession may have been made under duress.  

What the kid ate: Squash!  In pancake form.  And it's something I'm going to celebrate.  We didn't give him any syrup.  He is yet unaware of its existence.  But he enjoyed using whipped cream as a dip.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Cook once, eat twice: Kale Pesto

Having a newborn is rough.  The kid is now 21 months old and I already find myself forgetting how difficult it can be to have a brand new baby.  Having your first kid especially rocks your world.  I felt like my life turned upside down after the kid was born.  It took me over a year to really get my feet back under me. 

It's certainly a wild ride.  But one that is well worth it. 

We visited some friends today and their tiny 1 week old.  They look so tired and a little stunned.  I wanted to tell them that it gets better fast.  That life goes on a little bit at a time.  You have to learn to walk and talk again, but you keep moving forward.  And it gets so fun.  

But I don't think they could have understood.  They are too busy becoming the great parents they are going to be.  I think we all are.  

Those first few months feel like you are drowning.  And then it is wonderful (with periodic moments where you begin to drown again).

Parenthood is amazing!  I wouldn't go back if I could.  

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

I have a mild obsession with pumpkin.

There, I admit it.

I see anything "pumpkin" and I must have it.

I think that is why I love fall so much.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chocolate (Veggie) Bread

Something AMAZING happened today. 

The kid woke up from his nap happy.  I means babbling, giggling happy.  When I heard his happy noises over the baby monitor I nearly choked on my water. 

His whole life he's been a grumpy nap waker.  I'm talking takes-a-half-hour-or-more-to-get-him-to-stop-screaming grumpy.  It's something I've adjusted my life around.  It's not great but it's manageable. 

This is why his behavior today was such a shock.  He stayed happy when I went in to get him, asked me a few questions (all  "What's this?"), let me change his diaper without a fuss...amazing.  Right now he is watching the screen saver on our desktop, munching on raisins.  It's the little things, people.

So, I thought I'd take this opportunity, since the house is clean and the kid is occupied, to share a recipe with you.

Chocolate Veggie Bread!

I know...genius. 

It's a sweet, quick bread loaded with veggies--a wonderful way to sneak vegetables to your kids without them even knowing.  In addition to spinach, zucchini, and carrots--this bread also includes garbanzo beans--adding an extra boost of protein and fiber. 

While you may be tempted to serve this bread warm, don't.  Cooling allows the flavor of the spinach to become less dominate.  You can still taste it slightly in the finished bread, but it is delicious with a cold glass of milk.

Maybe I'll make some more today to celebrate the kids mood...

Chocolate (Veggie) Bread
makes 1 loaf
a balancing the table original

1 3/4 cups flour 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1  teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (23 g)
1 ripe banana
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2-3 cups fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups garbanzo beans (drained and rinsed)
1 carrot, shredded
1 small zucchini, shredded
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon flour 

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Spray a large loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.  In a medium bowl combine the 1 3/4 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and cocoa powder and mix well.
2. In a food processor or blender combine the banana, sugar, eggs, spinach, and beans.  Process until the spinach is finely pureed.  Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the carrot, zucchini and vanilla.
3. Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
4. In a small bowl toss the chocolate chips with the remaining tablespoon of flour (this keeps the chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom during baking.  Fold chocolate chips into the batter.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (you may want to check in a few places to make sure you didn't hit a chocolate chip the first time).  6. Allow to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes then carefully remove from pan.  Allow to finish cooling completely before serving.

What the husband thinks: He liked it.  He may have whined a little about the slight metallic taste that the spinach adds to it.  But that didn't keep him from eating his far share.

What the kid ate: As much of this as he could get his hands on.  I didn't let him go too crazy because of the high amount of sugar, but he would have eaten the whole loaf had I let him.