4am Not so Bad, Happy Mother’s Day {recipe: healthyish organic carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting}

8 May

The day before last Mother’s day we had a baby shower for Erika. She was on her way to becoming a mother. We sat in a room with her sister and her own mother and talked about babies and all of the things that were to come.

The day after last mother’s day I took a pregnancy test and saw that extra line and cried and got excited all at the same time while having the selfish thought that I should wear my tiniest jeans to work that day because it might be the last time I wear them. Ever.

But sandwiched between a day celebrating two new motherhood experiences, was a day for my own mom. Mother’s day. I surely have a mother worth celebrating. She would stop whatever she was doing to talk to me. She had supersonic ears and would show up at my bedroom door if I woke up sick in the middle of the night, even though I was upstairs and across the hall…she knew. She let me use her as an excuse, which probably kept me out of a lot of trouble. If you are ever in a situation that you don’t want to be in, if there’s a party that’s going to a second location that you don’t think is right, you can always blame it on me. Tell them you would go, but your mom is so lame, she won’t let you stay out that late, and then call me. I will pick you up wherever you are, whatever time it is…I used that so many times. My mom stuck with me and took the heat during the awkward teenage years when I wasn’t yet strong enough to stand up on my own two feet and needed an out. She was patient while I gained my self-confidence.

On my birthday this year I wondered why we even have mothers day at all and why our own birthdays aren’t days where we solely celebrate our mothers, for enduring another year with us. Taking care of us. Loving us through spilled bowls of cereal and wayward decisions. But that doesnt happen. On birthdays our mothers celebrate us. Because there is something about being a mother that makes you want to celebrate your kid. Regardless of what they do, or even if they don’t do anything.

Shilah has been getting up at 4am for no real reason. She’s wide awake. She’s ready to start the day. I get frustrated for a minute when I think, five hours of sleep? Really, that’s it? But then its her and my little secret that I don’t mind the 4am getup. She eats and then I lay her on the floor and try to hold the pacifier back in her mouth so that she will go to sleep but the pacifier won’t stay in because her mouth is open so wide in an all-out smile, that the pacifier falls out. By that time it’s only 4:30am and while the rest of the city is sleeping, we are awake, smiling. It’s cute and I love it. I am honored to be her mother.

And, I am honored to have a mother of my own who I know has felt the same things about me, times 100. Literally. Shilah is three months old and I am 25. Which means my mom has 100 times more experience with me than I do with my baby girl. I won’t run the calculations on grandma, but she has more than both of us.

Four generations of Weirauch ladies.  Love you, mom. Thank you.

How did we manage to cover the entire spectrum of hair color? Don’t genes mean anything?

Healthyish organic carrot cake with maple cream cheese frosting

adapted from Whole Foods

  • 1 cup rolled or quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup dried currants
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly butter a (9-inch) square baking pan and set it aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mix oats and walnuts. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt and mix well.
  3. In a second large bowl, combine carrots, maple syrup, currants, coconut and vanilla.
  4. Add carrot mixture to flour mixture and stir until completely incorporated.
  5. Transfer to prepared pan and bake until cooked through and deep golden brown, about 1 hour. Set aside to let cool before cutting into squares.

Frosting

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  1. Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, and additional maple syrup until creamy, Dollop on top of carrot cake.

Don’t Go Off-Recipe When You Can’t Taste {recipe: teriyaki chicken with broccoli rice stir fry}

15 Apr

So I am feeling a little under the weather and I decided to try a new recipe last night. In an effort to stretch our grocery budget, I am looking outside of my typical recipe ingredients for new recipes that are good and cheap.

[Enter dark meat]

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are healthy and wonderful, but they are also the most expensive cut of chicken, so when I saw a recipe for teriyaki chicken legs, I thought I would try it out. Five pretty large chicken legs cost less than $3 at Sprouts.

So I made the chicken legs and decided I would spruce up the white rice called for in the recipe. I added all sorts of stuff…soy sauce, orange juice, ginger…and I kept tasting it, and it tasted like nothing…just bland rice. I was confused at how all of that flavor was just soaking into the rice.

It wasn’t. I have a cold and I couldn’t taste anything. I realized that once we were eating and I said, “I marinated this chicken in teriyaki sauce all day and I can’t even tell….oh, wait.”

I am not going to tell you what I put in the rice. You don’t want it. There is enough soy sauce in it to give you hypertension with just one bite. Just make the white rice like the recipe says.

Teriyaki Chicken with Broccoli Rice Stir Fry

adapted from Rachael Ray

serves two

  • 4 chicken leg drummers
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) teriyaki sauce
  • Coarse black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 3/8 cup water
  • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 bunch broccoli, trimmed and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 2 large cloves garlic, very thinly sliced
  • 1 inch ginger, grated or minced
  1. Place chicken drummers in a resealable plastic bag with the teriyaki sauce and let marinate 4 hours or overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 400
  3. Arrange chicken legs on a roasting pan and season chicken liberally with coarse black pepper.
  4. Cover chicken legs with foil and roast 20 minutes.
  5. Turn legs over and roast 10 minutes more.
  6. Remove foil and roast an additional 5-8 minutes to darken and crisp.
  7. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  8. While the chicken cooks, bring stock and water with 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil to a boil over high heat. Add rice and stir, bring back up to a boil then reduce heat and cover pot. Simmer 18 minutes then fluff with fork.
  9. While chicken roasts the last 10 minutes, bring a few inches of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook 2-3 minutes, then drain. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet. When oil is hot, add blanched broccolini. Stir-fry 2 minutes, add garlic and ginger, and stir-fry 1 minute more. Serve chicken legs with stir-fried broccoli and rice alongside.

Easy, Hearty Dinner {recipe: taco chili}

14 Apr

We eat a lot of tex-mex food. It is easy, delicious, and you can use the same ingredients over and over. This recipe originally came from another food blog. I made it once and loved it, then went to make it a few months when I was pregnant. I figured I would make enough to freeze some for post-pregnancy, so I doubled the recipe. I forgot that the recipe already serves about 8. So, with my crockpot filled to the brim, I was making Taco Chili for 16. We just finally finished it.

Lesson learned – the recipe freezes well and it’s one of those dishes, like many soups and chilis, that seems to get better with leftovers, the flavors all have a chance to meld together.

Make a big batch when you’re expecting the whole family in town, or when you need to stock your freezer for busy weeks ahead!

Taco Chili

Adapted from Rebecca Crump (EzraPoundCake.com)

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 diced onions
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans RO*TEL® diced tomatoes and green chilies
  • 3 (15-ounce) cans black beans
  • 1 (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 (1-ounce) envelope taco seasoning
  • 1 (1-ounce) envelope ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix
  • Garnishes: Tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, cilantro, sliced avocados
  • 1. In a large skillet, cook beef and onions over medium heat until beef is no longer pink. Drain, using a slotted spoon, as you transfer browned beef and onions to a Dutch oven, stockpot or slow cooker.

    2. Add tomatoes, black beans, and corn. Stir in the taco seasoning and ranch salad dressing mix.

    3. If you’re cooking on the stovetop, cover the pot and simmer soup over low heat for 30 minutes up to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If you’re using a slow cooker, cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours.

    4. Garnish individual servings with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, hot sauce, and cilantro, if desired.

    original post: https://saltimbocca.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/taco-chili-2

    Cooking for Eight {recipe: green chile chicken enchiladas}

    8 Apr

    A lot of the recipes on here are sweet. But, let’s get practical. We’re all making regular dinner meals way more than we’re baking flourless chocolate cakes, whether we want to or not.

    With a baby and just the two of us grown-ups, here is my secret for eating home-cooked meals every night: cook for eight. That will give you enough for dinner and then lunch the next day, and another dinner+lunch meal to throw in the freezer. It also breaks up the monotony of sandwiches for lunch.

    I freeze everything now. Most recipes are freezeable if you just freeze them before the last few steps of the recipe are complete. You don’t want to put the finishing touches on a meal and cook it to its fullest, then freeze it, thaw it, and end up cooking it more when you reheat it.

    Also we got rid of our microwave because it just didn’t fit in the kitchen, so we reheat stuff in the oven. Do that. Food is heated much more thoroughly in the oven, and you can cover your meal with foil (don’t use that in the microwave) and it actually just gets heated, and not cooked/dried out more.

    These enchiladas are great, easy, and they freeze well. Serve them up with a side of queso.

    Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

    • 2 T butter
    • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
    • 1 can green chiles (I used medium)
    • 2 T flour
    • 2 cups chicken broth
    • 1 cups sour cream
    • 16 oz jar tomatillo/green salsa
    • 1 t cumin
    • 1/4 t cayenne
    • 1/2 t salt
    • 1/2 t pepper
    • 4 cups cooked, shredded chicken (cook your own chicken breasts, use leftover chicken from something else, or grab a rotisserie chicken)
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    • 12 flour tortillas, small size
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar
    • 1 cup shredded Pepper Jack
    • 1/2 red onion, diced

    Preheat the oven to 350.

    Melt butter in a large saucepanover medium heat. Drain chiles and put in butter pan with the garlic, let cook about a minute. Stir in the flour and let cook another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in chicken broth until smooth, let cook until the mixture bobbles. Stir in sour cream, salsa, cumin, cayenne, salt, pepper, and cilantro until the sauce is smooth. Remove from heat.

    Butter a 9×13 baking dish*. Add 1 cup of sauce to the bottom of the pan. Add chicken, cheddar cheese, and chopped onion to the center of each tortilla and roll, placing seam-side down in the dish. Pour the sauce over the enchiladas, top with leftover cheese, and bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until top is brown and bubbling.

    For two people, split the recipe between two 8×8 pans and freeze the second one.

    To freeze: Cook the sauce and cool completely. Store in a freezer bag. Store your pepper jack cheese in another freezer bag. Assemble the enchiladas without the sauce in portion-friendly dishes and wrap well with plastic wrap or foil. When you’re ready to cook them, thaw the sauce at room temperature, pour over the top and top with shredded cheese. To cook thawed, bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes (or to an internal temperature of 165). To cook straight from the freezer, increase the baking time to 45-55 minutes.


    Original post: https://saltimbocca.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/green-chile-chicken-enchiladas/

    How to Renovate Your Wardrobe for Free {recipe: maple walnut shortbread}

    1 Apr

    So I have learned some things at work that are completely not work-related. Like how to tie a good scarf knot and how to make stellar cake balls and how to plant a container garden. And how to have a Clothes Swap.

    Let’s face it. I just had a baby and those once-tight jeans are now too-tight jeans that would look great on you and the flowy top that you wore twice and now hate? It would look great with my baby-feeders. So, get all your lady friends together, bring the stuff from your closet that you don’t wear anymore, spread it our in a giant room and get your friends to do the same. And then shop. For free. Donate what’s left and go home happy!

    Here are the rules for a Clothes Swap that go in an Evite. Just copy and paste them, and send to your own friends!

    CLOTHES SWAP RULES:
    Bring your old clothes and an appetizer or a dessert or something to drink to the swap, along with a bag or two so that you can haul away your new goodies.

    HOW IT WORKS
    1. Clean out all of the Clothes, Shoes, Jewelry, Purses and other Accessories you don’t want (all of those things that you need to get rid of because no matter how many times you try them on, they will always be too small/too big/too tight-in-the-wrong-place/the wrong color/wrong material, or just plain ugly);

    2. Come to the swap and take new-to-you clothes that you do want (free shopping!); and

    3. laugh at what is just plain ugly.

    AGENDA
    4:00 – Show up and grab a drink and some appetizers while you sort your clothes. We’ll have all items divided into different categories of clothing in different rooms of the house.

    4:30 – Go time. Start bagging what you want, try things on, solicit feedback from your peers (ask questions like, “does this make me look fat?” and get told you look fabulous).

    5:00 – Have another snack and laugh at what is ugly (perhaps an award will be given for the worst piece?).

    Later – Go home. Brag to husband/fiancee/roommate/mother how you just got bags of fantastic clothing and accessories for free, AND got rid of the crap in your closet.

    Great, huh? Now go do it with your friends!

    You can make these for your snack. They are quick and tasty. Eat the leftovers with coffee on a groggy Saturday morning.

    Maple Walnut Shortbread

    from Real Simple

    • 1 cup unsalted butter
    • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup maple syrup
    • 1 egg, separated
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

    Heat oven to 300° F. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and egg yolk until smooth. Stir in the flour, cinnamon, and salt until combined.
    Spread the dough into an ungreased 15 1/2-by-10 1/2-inch jelly-roll pan or cookie sheet with sides.

    Beat the egg white in a small bowl with a fork until foamy. Spread evenly over the dough.

    Sprinkle on the nuts and press them gently into the dough.

    Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until the shortbread shrinks slightly from the sides of the pan. Do not overcook; you want them to be a little chewy. Cut diagonally into 3-by-1 1/2-inch bars.

    What no one Told me About Babies {recipe: classic crumb cake}

    19 Mar

    *There is only one piece of this cake left because we ate it all before I took a picture. It is that good. It is that good because it is full of butter.

    Halfway through pregnancy, I let you know about everything I had experienced but not expected.

    Well, now the baby is here and there is more. I will share them with you, in case you have babies sometime you can’t say no one told you…

    1. Sleep is a series of naps. People told me when I was pregnant “oh, get your sleep now because you won’t get any when that baby comes.” Now, I know that not getting any must be an exaggeration, so I discredited that warning entirely. I can also think of times where I have been really busy and gone for a week getting four to five hours a night, and I survive. I get sleep, it will just be a series of naps. two hours here, three hours there, the occasional four hours…all with breaks of feeding and diapering in between. Naps are not the same as regular sleep. If I add all of my naps together for the day and get 10 hours, that is not the same as sleeping ten hours at night. It is like my brain doesn’t rest correctly or something.

    2. I lost my keys at Target. I guess that it what happens when my brain doesn’t rest. I couldn’t find them in my bag, or in my pockets, and as a feeling of “oh crap” came over me, all I could think was, “At least I didn’t misplace the baby.” Some kind person had turned them into Guest Services.

    3. You can’t make up for sleep with pots of coffee. This is where life with a baby differs greatly from life without a baby. I used to make up for a ton of lost sleep with coffee and Diet Coke. Some coffee is fine, but they baby probably shouldn’t be hopped up on the stuff. Also the definition of “full night” has changed. Full night=11pm-5am.

    4. There are weird sicknesses that can come post-childbirth. One of my lymph nodes swelled up to the size of half a Twinkie for a few days. Turns out it was from antibiotics. I got mastitis. That is a less awkward term for “breast infection.” It was the most sick I have ever been and I will say made me feel worse than childbirth. My fever got to 104 and I passed out in an elevator. And to all of the men I have talked to post-infection…not to worry, you cannot catch a breast infection. Yours are safe.

    5. I wear two shirts. Most days when I get dressed, I wear two shirts. I put the one I like the best on the bottom. When I get spit up on, I dont have to change, i just take the top shirt off like it was my art smock during finger-painting time and say, Thank you, baby, now I get to wear the shirt I actually like.

    6. Two days ago I “showered” by wiping myself off with a baby wipe. I am yet to take a real shower since. If I have time while I am not holding a baby, I would rather catch up on emails or make some cookies. Today will have to be a real shower day. This has gone too far.

    7. I used to think you were crazy, but now I am pretty sure it is me. If you cut me off driving, it was your fault. If you told me I forgot something, I am pretty sure that you forgot to tell me to bring it, not that I forgot to do it. Now I am pretty sure that it was me in the car, and me who dropped the ball. Something I say at least twice a day? I lost my list. Have you seen my list?

    8. I am never sure what the date is. Enough said.

    9. Don’t try on old clothes. They don’t fit. Yet. Even though you think you have gotten smaller. This will only end in tears. Put. Them. Down.

    10. This is really cute.

    This crumb cake is awesome. I halved the recipe and made it in a 9-inch springform pan, which worked well. I served it to a group of people last week, and before cutting into it, someone asked what flavor it was. I thought for a minute and answered, “Butter.” It tastes like butter. It tastes delicious as it melts in your mouth.

    Classic Crumb Cake

    from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

    makes one 9×13 cake.

    10 tablespoons butter, softened

    2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 cup sugar

    3 large eggs

    1 & 1/4 cups sour cream

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Crumb Topping (recipe below)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9″x13″ pan and set aside.

    Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

    Beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after adding each one. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture and sour cream. Mix just until blended.

    Spread batter evenly into pan. Top with crumb topping. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Turn the pan once during baking. Cool on a wire rack.

    Crumb Topping

    3 cups all-purpose flour

    1 cup packed light brown sugar

    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

    1  1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

    1  3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened

    Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or a fork. When well mixed, the mixture should form large, moist clumps.

    Original post: https://saltimbocca.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/classic-crumb-cake

    What no one Told me About Babies {recipe: classic crumb cake}

    19 Mar

    *There is only one piece of this cake left because we ate it all before I took a picture. It is that good. It is that good because it is full of butter.

    Halfway through pregnancy, I let you know about everything I had experienced but not expected.

    Well, now the baby is here and there is more. I will share them with you, in case you have babies sometime you can’t say no one told you…

    1. Sleep is a series of naps. People told me when I was pregnant “oh, get your sleep now because you won’t get any when that baby comes.” Now, I know that not getting any must be an exaggeration, so I discredited that warning entirely. I can also think of times where I have been really busy and gone for a week getting four to five hours a night, and I survive. I get sleep, it will just be a series of naps. two hours here, three hours there, the occasional four hours…all with breaks of feeding and diapering in between. Naps are not the same as regular sleep. If I add all of my naps together for the day and get 10 hours, that is not the same as sleeping ten hours at night. It is like my brain doesn’t rest correctly or something.

    2. I lost my keys at Target. I guess that it what happens when my brain doesn’t rest. I couldn’t find them in my bag, or in my pockets, and as a feeling of “oh crap” came over me, all I could think was, “At least I didn’t misplace the baby.” Some kind person had turned them into Guest Services.

    3. You can’t make up for sleep with pots of coffee. This is where life with a baby differs greatly from life without a baby. I used to make up for a ton of lost sleep with coffee and Diet Coke. Some coffee is fine, but they baby probably shouldn’t be hopped up on the stuff. Also the definition of “full night” has changed. Full night=11pm-5am.

    4. There are weird sicknesses that can come post-childbirth. One of my lymph nodes swelled up to the size of half a Twinkie for a few days. Turns out it was from antibiotics. I got mastitis. That is a less awkward term for “breast infection.” It was the most sick I have ever been and I will say made me feel worse than childbirth. My fever got to 104 and I passed out in an elevator. And to all of the men I have talked to post-infection…not to worry, you cannot catch a breast infection. Yours are safe.

    5. I wear two shirts. Most days when I get dressed, I wear two shirts. I put the one I like the best on the bottom. When I get spit up on, I dont have to change, i just take the top shirt off like it was my art smock during finger-painting time and say, Thank you, baby, now I get to wear the shirt I actually like.

    6. Two days ago I “showered” by wiping myself off with a baby wipe. I am yet to take a real shower since. If I have time while I am not holding a baby, I would rather catch up on emails or make some cookies. Today will have to be a real shower day. This has gone too far.

    7. I used to think you were crazy, but now I am pretty sure it is me. If you cut me off driving, it was your fault. If you told me I forgot something, I am pretty sure that you forgot to tell me to bring it, not that I forgot to do it. Now I am pretty sure that it was me in the car, and me who dropped the ball. Something I say at least twice a day? I lost my list. Have you seen my list?

    8. I am never sure what the date is. Enough said.

    9. Don’t try on your old clothes. They don’t fit. Yet. Even though you think you have gotten smaller. This will only end in tears. Put. Them. Down.

    10. This is really cute.


    This crumb cake is awesome. I halved the recipe and made it in a 9-inch springform pan, which worked well. I served it to a group of people last week, and before cutting into it, someone asked what flavor it was. I thought for a minute and answered, “Butter.” It tastes like butter. It tastes delicious as it melts in your mouth.

    Classic Crumb Cake

    from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

    makes one 9×13 cake.

    10 tablespoons butter, softened

    2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

    1 teaspoon baking powder

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    1/2 teaspoon salt

    1 cup sugar

    3 large eggs

    1 & 1/4 cups sour cream

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Crumb Topping (recipe below)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9″x13″ pan and set aside.

    Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

    Beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after adding each one. Add vanilla. Add flour mixture and sour cream. Mix just until blended.

    Spread batter evenly into pan. Top with crumb topping. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Turn the pan once during baking. Cool on a wire rack.

    Crumb Topping

    3 cups all-purpose flour

    1 cup packed light brown sugar

    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

    1  1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

    1  3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened

    Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or a fork. When well mixed, the mixture should form large, moist clumps.

    Original post: https://saltimbocca.wordpress.com/2010/03/19/classic-crumb-cake