Nov 23 2014

red wine and fig cranberry sauce

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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?

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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.

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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?).

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Dec 23 2013

chocolate almond meringues

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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.

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Dec 21 2013

dark chocolate almond thumbprint cookies with fleur de sel

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By far the most popular recipe on the site is the one for chocolate turtle cookies (with very good reason – it’s one of my favorites too!) and I thought it was about time for another thumbprint cookie recipe. This one comes by way of Food52 and is such a great, easy cookie to add to your holiday repertoire. Just look at the ingredient list – only 9 ingredients, and one of them is optional! I even happened to have everything on hand already, including exactly 3/4 cup of almond meal, left over from making some chocolate almond meringues (recipe coming soon!).

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Dec 15 2013

chocolaty dulce de leche duos

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I had never had dulce de leche before I spent a summer in Santa Cruz, Bolivia over 10 years ago. In fact, I’m not sure I had even heard of it before then. But one taste of the sweet, sticky, caramelly spread and I was instantly hooked. I was in Santa Cruz volunteering as a supervisor for Amigos de las Americas and was often in a rush to get out of the door in the morning, but not without having my bread and dulce de leche. It always seemed like an indulgent breakfast – I was essentially starting the day off with dessert – but hey, do as the locals do, right? It certainly gave me something to look forward to when my alarm when off in the morning!

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When I came back to the States after 3 months of bread slathered with dulce de leche, I went into a bit of withdrawal. It’s probably better that I didn’t know then how easy dulce de leche is to make, or I would have eaten it by the gallon. Ok, I confess, I still haven’t made it myself, but it’s basically just sweetened condensed milk that’s heated up slowly until it becomes thick and creamy. Sounds easy enough, right? But these days it’s much more accessible in grocery stores (often in the international aisle), making these chocolaty dulce de leche duos even easier to make. Continue reading

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