It’s been pretty quiet here on Pixelated Crumb over the past several months, but I assure you, it has not been quiet in my home. The last recipe I shared with you was written at the end of March. Exactly one week after I shared my favorite pizza recipe with you, my daughter was born. My life turned inside out, the world seemed to spin simultaneously faster and slower, and sleep became elusive. Days and nights ran together. I spent my days pinned to a chair feeding Melanie, the only steps on my Fitbit coming from pacing around the apartment, rocking her, desperately trying to quiet her cries and lull her to sleep. I never expected motherhood to be easy, but nothing prepared me for the reality of being so depended upon. Who knew such a tiny little thing could be so incredibly demanding? Who knew a baby could cry for hours on end? Only every parent before me, I suppose. How did everyone make it look so easy?
I think Emily at Five and Spice described the “utter bliss combined with total desperation” of being a new mom so perfectly. Being a mom is hard. Honestly, much harder than I ever could have imagined. But to look at your child – this tiny little human being that you made – is unparalleled. There are times when I’m utterly exhausted with so much to do, but I still find myself just sitting there looking at Melanie sleep. It’s like a campfire that you just can’t look away from. She makes this sucking noise when she’s sleeping that is music to my ears. I love that sound just as much as her shrieks of laughter. And her smile is like an ocean that swallows me whole. One flash of that gummy smile and I almost forget the hours that I was up with her in the middle of the night the night before. Almost.
In the early weeks after Melanie was born, I often wondered how I had managed to eat all week without either my husband or I cooking (answer: lots of wonderful food from my mother-in-law and frozen Tikka Masala from Trader Joes). Melanie will be eight months in just over a week and we still haven’t resumed our old life of cooking. Our meals are simple and prepared as quickly as possible. We make lots of panini, quesadillas, and homemade pizza. Anything that requires minimal prep and cooking time. My baking has been limited to a few batches of banana muffins and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. I miss cooking and especially baking so much, but we never seem to have enough time and our new apartment has maddeningly little counter space (oh yes, did I forget to mention that just a few months after having a baby we moved 400 miles away to Maryland for Joseph’s new job?).
When my sister and brother-in-law first moved to Athens, OH a few years ago for my sister’s new job, they were less than thrilled about the dining options in town. But while the food options were somewhat limited and the number of non-chain restaurants were even more limited, they managed to find some really great gems in town ranging from an awesome hotdog dive to a great Middle Eastern restaurant. My favorite though, is Avalanche Pizza.
Avalanche sells bread at the farmer’s market on Saturdays in the summer that makes me want to cry it’s so good. As great as their bread is, it’s no surprise that their real focus, pizza, is no disappointment. The first time I visited, my brother-in-law pulled out their menu and we all gathered around to pick out a couple of pizzas. They were excited about the pesto chicken pizza, which they had had and really liked, but frankly it sounded a little weird to me because it had cashews. They really wanted to get it though, and I wasn’t going to get in the way of my hosts getting what they wanted, so we ordered the pesto chicken pizza and they let me pick another one. I have no memory of what the other one – the one I picked – was. My skepticism of the pesto chicken pizza vanished the second I took a bite. After that, all other pizzas paled in comparison.
I’ve got a growing number of chocolate peanut butter treats appearing on this site and there is one primary reason for that: my husband. Now, I’m in no way saying that I don’t love the combination of chocolate and peanut butter, but whenever I want to do something nice for Joseph, I tend to think towards the chocolate and peanut butter spectrum because he loves this combo.
Joseph was recently out of town for a few days for a conference and I wanted to have something nice for him when he returned, and these peanut butter brownie bites seemed like the perfect thing. They’re easy to make and they certainly met the chocolate and peanut butter criteria. I made sure I had all the ingredients I needed and was all set to make them. But then we were walloped by a huge snow storm.
I was just a few weeks into my third trimester in all it’s glory (oh, the back pain!!), and our neighbor, knowing I was home alone, did all of the shoveling and even cleared our car off for me. I was so overwhelmed by her generosity that I headed straight to the kitchen and made her one of my very favorite cookies, the perfect chocolate cookies from Cook’s Illustrated. Now, I try to be a nice wife, but frankly, that was the only baking I was up for that day, so I just made sure to save a couple of cookies for Joseph. He didn’t complain, but I was still eager to try the peanut butter brownie bites. Continue reading
One of my very favorite Christmas cookies is a meringue – the Forgotten Meringue, a vanilla meringue with chocolate chips – and I was excited to try another recipe out this Christmas. I figured I really couldn’t go wrong with chocolate, almonds, and a Dorie Greenspan recipe.