Monday, October 28, 2013

Honey Lavender Cupcakes...And A Toddler


Last week, my daughter turned one. Just a year ago, she was a little six and a half pound slip of a newborn. She couldn't roll over, lift her head, or say anything. Just cry and poop. Now? It's just incredible. She toddles! She says "kisses"! She climbs up shelves! She goes belly first down slides! She puts the lid on my water bottle! (I know recently I did a post on the overuse of exclamation points, but I think I'm justified in my usage here, being a first-time mom and all.)

We have a lavender theme with Evelyn. Her room is purple. She has a lavender sachet "sleep pillow" that is like a comfort object when she sleeps. I usually choose purple over bubble gum pink when it comes to clothes for her. So I thought, "Lavender in a dessert. How lovely." And did you know? Infants can eat honey when they turn one. Honey cake. Of course. Lavender honey cake.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Pretty Heirloom Squash + A Story

My dear mother-in-law is in town for about a week, which gives us the opportunity to catch up, cuddle with Evelyn, get stuff done around the house, and give me some baby-free exercise time. I went for a run yesterday, and it took a little while to get used to not pushing a stroller. Where do I put my hands? I wondered. It was like riding a bike without a helmet, or driving without a seat belt. The weather was perfect. Crisp air, warm sun, good pace. I was reminded of a little story I wrote a few years back when I first moved to Baltimore. This was written in 2007.

Last weekend I went running in the rain. Running in the rain, you say? Believe it or not, it can be the best time to run. The temperature was low 60's, a nice steady drizzle. Of course, initially I just wanted to get into my jim-jams and curl up with a good book, but once I got out there, it was amazing. The air in my lungs was humidified, my legs felt strong, and I easily fell into a good steady rhythm. The best part was that other hardcore runners passed by and gave me a nod of approval. A look of solidarity. As if to say, "We are the real runners. We don't just come out on the crisp fall days, but the rainy days, the snowy days, the freezing days." The passersby in their raincoats and umbrellas looked at us as if we were crazy, but that's alright. At the end of my run, I really felt like I accomplished something. I did it. 

Even though my run was not rainy, I had a similar sense of peacefulness about me. I am glad the air has finally turned cooler in Baltimore. I've been able to run without breaking into a dripping sweat. And I do love to wear cardigans and boots.

What has been cooking in your kitchen lately? Here is what I've been enjoying, plus a recipe for squash at the end.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Virtuous Food


Is there such a thing as virtuous food? Let me muse a bit. This morning I had oatmeal with raisins and walnuts and just a touch of brown sugar. It was delicious. I felt good eating it, it tasted good, and I felt good afterward. For lunch I heated leftover black beans, roasted butternut squash, and I made a tomato sandwich to accompany it. I was excited about it because it tasted good, filled me up, and felt good afterward. I even felt, dare I say, virtuous.

On the other hand, yesterday I had a little square of chewy date walnut cookie before noon. I ate it quickly, irreverently, and a little guiltily (it was not a dessert day). Later on, I discovered some highly processed chocolate toffee caramels in the bowels of my kitchen. I had a couple. Then a couple more. Oh, just a few more, why not. I did not feel happy eating them. They tasted good, but not wonderful. My gut did not feel happy later either.

Are sweets evil, and beans and legumes holy? Are homemade sweets less evil than processed sweets? How does the spectrum of "good" food vs. "bad" food line up with "virtuous" and "evil"?