Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lyla Bean Burrito

We are eating out of the freezer, pantry, and anything our family and friends bring us. I'm not cooking because we have this little one to take care of.

My daughter Lyla was born on Saturday, November 20th and she is now the most important thing in our world.

I'm up at all hours for feeding and diaper changes. I insist on giving her the very best I can, so Lyla ('Lie-la') is a 100% breastfed baby. It's the hardest thing ever, but also the most rewarding.

We already have several nicknames for her and funny enough, the best are food related~
bean, Lyla bean burrito, peanut, and pumpkin

Little burrito :-) Will she be interested in food and baking too? We certainly hope so!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Apple Butter

I have a bit of a relationship with pancakes. Everybody has one brunch dish they gravitate to over and over. I don't eat pancakes on regular days; if I want to make a special breakfast, or am dining out, I always choose pancakes.

This love was born with the pancakes from Mom's kitchen when I was a kid. They were made plain with no sugar added because the toppings are so sweet. Real maple syrup was a favorite for all of us, and when we had it I liked to spread a thin layer of ricotta cheese before drizzling the syrup.

Recently I've been reminded of another favorite topping: store bought apple butter.

I emphasize the store bought because, while I've had some amazing homemade apple butter, this store bought version is important for this combination. It has a flavor that is unmistakeable. I spied this jar at Target by random chance and to my delight it's precisely what I remember.

It's dark, luscious, and very sweet. The sugar content is a little obscene for something that's should just be fruit, but this is what it should be.

After sticking my spoon directly in the jar a few times, I had to make some pancakes for a little trip down memory lane.

I made myself one colossal pancake and slathered it with the apple butter. The steaming pancake warms and melts the butter a little.

Try this.


Sunday, November 7, 2010


I've been asked about the desire for certain foods a lot lately. Everybody gets cravings, but the cultural stereotype for them during this time in a woman's life is strong and well known. It is assumed one should be eating a chicken leg with raspberry jam, peanut butter and tuna, or the ever popular ice cream topped with pickles. There are looks of disappointment when I can't claim any of these weirdo combinations. My plate held peanut butter, oats, tomatoes, soup, pizza, and frozen yogurt as often then as it does now.
The last few weeks, I have felt the need to make and consume more foods a la minute. This has led to impromptu trips to Whole Foods for pints of thick chicken noodle soup (must need to hydrate), salads from Trader Joe's embellished with sardines (must need calcium), and beef shanks from Lunardi's cooked up in the crockpot (must need iron).
This weekend, while I'm sad to be missing out on this year's Foodbuzz Blogger Festival (by choice, but still), I did satisfy an impromptu craving for some chocolate pudding.
Not just any pudding. I wanted one that is rich and chocolatey, but wouldn't break the calorie bank. It's a rare recipe that provides this kind of pleasure as well as protein, calcium, and almost no effort. Definitely not calorie-free but compare this vegan recipe to a traditional one made with cream and you'd have double the trouble, with a sore tummy too.
Pulled from the bottom of my recipe folder, my Mom first made this recipe when I was in high school. It's pretty versatile depending on how much soymilk you use to thin it- a pudding (thin), a mousse (thick), or even a really great cupcake icing (thickest). I flavored mine with almond extract and served with fresh raspberries. Leave it plain or try something else that pairs well with chocolate.

I'm not sure which gave me more pleasure- slowly making my way to the bottom of the bowl, or Ray's astonishment at how delicious a dessert made with tofu and soymilk can be.

Tofu Chocolate Pudding
makes 4-6 servings

1 10-ounce bag vegan chocolate chips (I used Tropical Source), or regular semisweet chocolate chips
1 12-ounce package of soft silken tofu (I used Mori-Nu Silken Soft Tofu), smooshed in the package
1/2- 2/3 cup chocolate soy milk (I used Silk Chocolate soymilk)
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional), or flavoring of your choice

In a large microwave safe glass bowl, heat chocolate chips on half power for several minutes, stirring occasionally as the chips melt. The length of time is different with every microwave, just babysit them and stop when the chips have melted.

In another microwave safe glass bowl, heat 1/2 cup soymilk until just steaming. Add the hot soymilk and smooshed tofu to the chocolate chips. Blend with a stick blender until completely smooth. If you don't have a stick blender, you could transfer everything to a food processor and blend there. Add the almond extract to the mixture and stir. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours. The mixture will thicken considerably as it cools, and if you'd like a thinner consistency you can fold in additional soymilk with a spatula, to your taste.

Serve garnished with fresh berries, mint, shaved chocolate, or plain. Store in the fridge for several days.

With 6 servings, each portion contains about 256 calories and 4 grams of protein.