I’ve gained new appreciation for lots of things I’d never before considered before I became a walking dairy cow mom. Showers, for instance. I didn’t know I was such a proponent. (In fact, I am pretty sure I was on the low end of the shower bell curve.) No longer, my friends. I am PSYCHED when I get to shower. Ramps are another biggie – our first bout of activism: lobbying our condo board association to reinstall a lobby ramp. Chairs with arm rests – helpful to have something to push off of when trying to stand up. My friends, who brought us lunches and dinners and sent me funny Bitmojis and fruit to the hospital. My mom. Oh, my mom. My mom was everything those first few weeks. Cook, grocery shopper, house cleaner, baby changer, bottle washer, life giver. At one (let’s be honest, very low) point, I found myself breastfeeding my baby in a Wendy’s parking lot, my mom spoon-feeding me a Frosty, and I realized: this is motherhood, and it is NEVER. GOING. TO. END.
I also have a new appreciation for one-handed meals. And a fast and loose definition of what “meals” entail – these cookies, for instance.
Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, brought to room temperature
1 super ripe banana
splash vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1-2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 – 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
optional – pecans, almonds, your preferred nut.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl. Slowly beat in the egg, banana and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda and fluff it all through with a fork; slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar mixture.
As a last step, stir in chocolate chips, coconut & (optional) nuts.
Use an ice cream scoop to measure out about half a scoopful onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 9-12 minutes, depending on your oven.
Goodness these are delicious and I am pretty sure that’s not just because I am always ravenous. Fluffy and light, they don’t keep longer than a day or two before they start to lose their texture…which wasn’t a problem around here.
Just a few weeks ago, I wrote about the epic bridal shower my mom threw for one of her BFF’s daughters. She made lobster paella and smoked salmon canapes. We drank champagne and rose. I left home feeling happy, full, and totally in awe.
So, it was sort of a hubris-filled idea to host a bridal shower for one of my BFFs this past weekend. You will note from the picture below what was not on the menu: lobster paella or smoked salmon canapes. (Obvi on the champagne and rose, though).
For everyone’s benefit (and so that I’d actually have something to feed 15 people), I stuck to some tried and true standards. These are truly the go-tos in our house: I realized as I was posting this that every single item is something I’ve already posted about here. Which tells you I’m either really uncreative, or just totally confident in these recipes. Probably both.
(I think) it turned out beautifully. And most important, my friend Sasha seemed really touched.
I hope everyone went home happy and full. Unfortunately, I was already home, which means I was also in charge of cleaning up.
Good thing I had lots of leftover champagne and rose. And basil vodka lemonade. (Main idea: create a basil-infused simple syrup by boiling 1 part water, 1 part sugar and 1 big handful basil. Add to lemonade, another handful basil and a big old splash of vodka. Start showering/TPing the bride/asking the embarrassing “how well do you know your future spouse” questions.)
I’m no baker. All that measuring and sifting and waiting for the butter to get to just the right temperature…give me a recipe I can muck around in, any day.
It is insanely, insanely good. AND since I made it, hard to mess up.
Smitten Kitchen’s Flourless Chocolate Cake
6 tablespoons butter (doesn’t matter the temperature!)
4 oz semisweet chocolate
3 eggs, yolks separated from whites
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch ground cinnamon
topping: a pinch powdered sugar, berries, and homemade whipping cream – about 1/3 cup whipping cream whipped with a tablespoon or so powdered sugar,
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a small round pan (6 or 8 inches) with a circle of parchment paper and grease with butter or canola oil, generously.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate, melting it as well. Set aside and let cool until lukewarm.
Beat egg yolks, brown sugar and vanilla together with an electric mixer until the mixture thickens (it’ll be a gross yellow color). Slowly add in the cooled chocolate/butter combo and mix thoroughly, until very thick.
Wash and clean the beaters, and in a separate bowl, beat egg whites and salt until peaks form – add a pinch cinnamon if you like. Stir about 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, and then slowly and gently fold the rest in. The batter should be nice and light. Pour into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes if using an 8 inch pan and about 25 if using a 6 inch pan. The center will be nice and puffy…and will quickly deflate when you remove it from the oven.
Let the cake cool sufficiently and then flip it out on to another plate. Sprinkle a tiny amount of powdered sugar over the top and serve with whipped cream and berries – and maybe a pinch of cracked salt. Consider yourself a culinary genius.
Well, now everyone knows what they’re getting on their birthday from me.
For me, the best part about getting married was the incredible sense of warmth and connection I felt throughout the process – not only with my (now) husband, but with our larger community…especially the women. A few weeks before the wedding, my (now) mother and sister-in-law threw me an amazing bridal shower that joined their family and friends with my family and friends. They invited all of the women who attended to contribute a special recipe, which my mother and sister-in-law bound in a small book. It’s pretty incredible.
One of the recipes in that book came from my mother-in-law’s close friend Beth, who makes unbelievable cookies. You could call them ridiculously good. I’m certainly no baker, having no skill with exact measurements. But if I can do it, anyone can!
Beth’s Ridiculously Good Chewy Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
1 package Duncan Hines Chewy Brownie Mix
1 cup quick oats
½ cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons water
1 cup chocolate chips
Optional: crushed walnut bits
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine brownie mix, oatmeal, oil, eggs and water. Stir until combined (dough will be a bit stiff). Stir in chocolate chips.
Heap spoonfuls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheets (I found this made about three trays of about 12 cookies; the last tray I mixed in some walnuts to jazz it up.)
Bake between 10-12 minutes or just until barely set in the middle.
Let cookies cool for a minute or two…and enjoy!
These are so rich, so chocolate-y, so delicious. I especially loved the ones with walnuts – they temper a bit of the sweetness while adding a somewhat salty nutty flavor. YUM.