October 4, 2015

September 2015 iPhonetography

It has somehow been an entire month since the last time I shared a recipe.  I'd say I don't know where the time went, but I know exactly where it went... to work, to the gym, to caring for a baby.  This working mom gig is hard.  I smugly thought I had it all down while I was home on maternity leave.  Once I was over my raging infection and back on my feet, I felt like the most with-it parent.  Ryan and I went on long walks with the dog every day.  I managed to keep the house tidy and do all the laundry.  When my husband came home from work, I was in the kitchen working on dinner.  I shared multiple new recipes per week, written during nap time while wearing the baby or after he went to sleep for the night.   Caring for a baby - piece of cake!

And then I went back to work... ha. Ha ha. Ha ha ha.  I quickly realized I had nothing down when it came to fitting it all in.  The blog posts I used to write during nap time?  Well, there is no nap time at work... I spend my days doing experiments.  Writing after Ryan goes to sleep?  I'm so exhausted, I can barely finish the little things I have to do around the house after he goes to bed, like shower and make bottles and pack my lunch.  I go to the gym 4-5 days a week after work so I usually don't get home until 7:30 or so... I immediately start to make dinner, we eat dinner, I spend a little time playing with Ryan, he goes to bed around 9:45-10pm (having a nanny gives us the luxury of keeping him up later at night so I can actually spend time with him since he can sleep in as late as he wants).  Literally everything else has fallen by the wayside - I can't remember the last time I picked up knitting needles, or turned on the TV, or apparently, had time to blog.  I used to try to work on it at 4am when I am up pumping every morning, but I had such a hard time falling back to sleep afterward that I decided to cut out electronics during my pumping sessions.  Now I just sit in the dark, bored out of my mind, from 4-4:30am every day... and still can't fall back to sleep.  Grumble.

But!  I did manage two fun ventures this month -- a trip to Texas to visit my childhood best friend and help with some tasks for her wedding, and an evening wandering around a totally empty downtown Philadelphia during the Popecalypse. And in a week, I have a week of vacation -- an annual off-season trip to the shore with our DC friends -- and I'm hoping to take advantage of the week off of work to write up some recipe posts.  Hopefully things will be back in action soon!

As usual, here’s a roundup in pictures of how we spent the past month.  Many of these come from my private Instagram account, but you can follow along on my public account here or my food-only account here.

September 2015

1) The very hungry caterpillar, and four of his closest friends, absolutely demolished an entire parsley plant in my little garden.  As much as I enjoy wildlife and insects, I was planning on making tabbouleh the next day, so I was less than pleased.
2) We had our annual block progressive dinner party over Labor Day weekend.  I, of course, hosted the dessert course, and offered up a chocolate chocolate chip oreo cake and a strawberry shortcake trifle.  Both were big hits!
3) Ryan's first flight - I think my husband thought I was crazy to take an almost-5 month old halfway across the country by myself, but he did great on the plane.  Added bonus: the pilots loved his little plane pajamas.
4) We did a tiny bit of sightseeing over the weekend -- here we are the Houston Water Wall.
5) Babywearing: the key to getting a baby, a suitcase, a carseat, a carseat stroller frame, a diaper bag, and a travel boppy all on a plane by yourself without checking anything. 
6) Ryan discovered his feet this month.  The perfect toy - they're always with you!
7) Friends flew down from Maine for a weekend and we spent a low-key evening with them, ordering in pizza.  This peanut butter cup ganache cake was my contribution to the evening.
8) Dog and baby tandem napping.
9) Smile!
10) Tiny narcissist loves looking at himself on the iPhone screen.  Five months old and addicted to selfies.
11) If I fits, I sits!  Dreidel has discovered that her backside fits just perfectly in the opening of the boppy.
12) Pope-prep -- the entire downtown area of Philadelphia turned into row upon row of port-o-potties in preparation for the pope masses.  Insert obligatory "holy shit!" joke here.
13) At 5 months old, Ryan finally fits into the 0-3 month sized outfit he wore home from the hospital.  Tiny baby problems -- at his 4 month visit, he was 37th percentile for height and just 4th percentile for weight.
14) Between the amazingness that was a car-free center city with the pope visit and this beautiful sunrise, I think everyone here fell back in love with Philly last weekend.
15) This kid and his cheesy grins, all day every day.
16) Broad Street... totally empty.  Let's do a car free weekend again soon, mmmkay Philly?

September 26, 2015

CSA 2015: Week 10

Pope weekend -- aka the Popepocalypse -- is affecting everything around here, right down to CSA pickup days!  We're moving into fall produce now (even though it has yet to really feel like fall outside), with squash and apples and pears starting to make appearances.  So many apples and pears this week... looks like I'll be doing some baking while the rest of the city shuts down for the Pope visit!

This week we received:

  • 1 bunch komatsuna greens
  • 1 bunch radishes
  • 1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes
  • 2 pounds sweet onions
  • 1.5 pounds Macintosh apples
  • 2 pounds Bartlett pears
  • 1 head of cabbage
  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 Pequea Valley blueberry yogurts

Untitled(Photo from Greensgrow)

Last week we received the following, and this is how we used it:

  • 1 bag baby red kale: served in a salmon and quinoa salad
  • 2 pounds heirloom plum tomatoes: chopped and added to the aforementioned salmon and quinoa salad
  • 1 head broccoli: sauteed and served with roasted sweet potatoes topped with pulled pork
  • 1 quart "Yummy Peppers": sauteed and added to pork burrito bowls
  • 1 1/2 quarts Niagara and Concord grapes: still sitting in the fridge... grapes were undoubtedly my strongest craving during pregnancy and I went through 2-3 bags a week.  I must have out-graped myself, because I haven't wanted to touch them since giving birth.
  • 3 pounds heirloom white potatoes: worked into various side dishes during the week, roasted, grilled, and hot-crashed
  • 2 Pequea Valley blueberry yogurts: consumed for dessert (seriously, full fat yogurt is such a treat, it really is dessert)

September 12, 2015

CSA 2015: Week 9

Another week, another CSA box.  Not a particularly exciting box this week, if we're going to be honest, but it's all solid produce that we will absolutely use.  This week we received:

  • 1 bag baby red kale
  • 2 pounds plum tomatoes
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 quart "Yummy Peppers"
  • 1 1/2 quarts Niagara and Concord grapes
  • 3 pounds heirloom white potatoes
  • 2 Pequea Valley blueberry yogurts


Untitled1(Photo from Greensgrow)

Last we week received the following, and this is how we used it:

  • 1 pint red ace plums: consumed raw, packed in my lunch
  • 1 1/2 pounds bounty peaches: another grilled peach and prosciutto pizza made when my best friend came to visit; fried peaches served on pound cake for a Labor Day dessert
  • 1 bunch black kale: went into a baked gnocchi dish with kale and hot Italian sausage
  • 2 pounds slicer tomatoes: made my one annual tomato pie -- summer complete
  • 2 pounds red onions: used in a variety of dishes throughout the week, along with this roasted balsamic onion salad
  • 4 ears of corn: used to make a corn pesto, which was tossed with fresh pasta (recipe forthcoming)
  • 1 1/2 pounds heirloom zephyr squash: zephyr squash and heirloom cherry tomato salad (recipe forthcoming)
  • 1 sharp cheddar cheese from Leraysville Cheese Factory
  • 1 container of Micahel’s Savory Seitan: seitan gyros served with sweet potato fries

September 3, 2015

Blueberry Peach Coffee Cake

Another summer fruit dessert?  I know, I know.  But I just can't help myself with all this amazing ripe produce, especially when my CSA keeps giving it to me.  Spoiler alert: this is probably not the last stone fruit dessert, either (there's a whole bunch of plums sitting in my refrigerator at home...).  In a few weeks, when apples and grapes and not much else take over the grocery store and farmers markets, we'll be back to those heavy chocolate and peanut butter based desserts (much to my husband's delight), but if you just can't wait, I'll go ahead and leave a few suggestions from the Bunsen Burner Bakery archives -- like this extremely decadent peanut butter cup ganache cake or a chocolate peanut butter torte.  Perhaps this chocolate bubble ring is more up your ally, or we can go all the way back to the very first post on this blog -- a dark chocolate cheesecake.

blueberry peach coffee cake IMG_2187

But this post is not about chocolate or peanut butter or cheesecake... it's about perfectly ripe CSA peaches and juicy blueberries.  Two weeks ago, I shared a nectarine upside-down yogurt cake -- this is a similar idea, but the fruit goes on top of the batter, rather than underneath.  What's the difference?  When the fruit is on the bottom, the heat releases steam which is trapped under the batter, essentially steaming the fruit -- it gets quite soft (and delicious).  When the fruit is on the top, it's more of a traditional baking process -- the fruit is still soft inside, but has a little more texture (and also delicious).  Of course, when you bake with fruit on top, the cake itself tends to rise up around the fruit a bit, so it's not quite as pretty coming out of the oven (photo below) as it is when the cake goes into the oven (photo above), but it's so good that I promise, no one will mind if it doesn't look quite so stunning.

blueberry peach coffee cake IMG_2224

I'm calling this a coffee cake -- that all-encompassing title that implies that something is perfectly acceptable for breakfast, dessert, or a mid-day snack.  We chose to treat this as dessert, slicing away at it after dinner for a few days (and delivering some to our neighbor to ensure we didn't eat the whole thing...), but it would be equally at home on your breakfast or bunch table.  It's sweet, but the lack of any sort of frosting or crumble topping prevents it from being too sweet to enjoy in the morning.  When we host weekend guests, I always like to offer up some sort of quick bread or breakfast cake in the morning, and this fits the bill perfectly -- a little something to nosh on before actual breakfast.  It's light, fresh, and perfectly summery -- hurry up and make it while fresh fruit is still abundant!

blueberry peach coffee cake IMG_2227

Blueberry Peach Coffee Cake
Adapted from Southern Living


  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large peaches, sliced
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat butter at medium speed until light and fluffy.  Slowly add in granulated sugar, beating well.  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined.
  3. Combine together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.  Beat at low speed after each addition until just combined.  Stir in vanilla.
  4. Pour batter into the prepared springform pan, topping with sliced peaches and blueberries. 
  5. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes, or until the center of the cake is set and a tester comes out with moist crumbs.  Cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack before unmolding cake; serve at room temperature.
blueberry peach coffee cake

September 2, 2015

August 2015 iPhonetography

I can’t believe August is already over.  As much as I am looking forward to fall and cooler weather (which doesn’t look like it will be anytime soon – all 90s in the predicted 10 day forecast, sigh), there’s no denying that summer on a university campus is the best.  No lectures, no talks, no classes, minimal undergrads – it’s almost like a “summer break” for us post-docs, too.  It was also lovely to ease my way in after maternity leave… now it’s time to juggle experiments, pumping, the class I’m auditing, weekly lectures by visiting professors, weekly talks within our own department, etc.  Exhausting!

As usual, here’s a roundup in pictures of how we spent the past month.  Many of these come from my private Instagram account, but you can follow along on my public account here or my food-only account here.

August 2015

1) We’ve reached the jewelry clutching phase, even in his sleep.
2) 15 weeks old and already nailing the wedding photobooth.
3) We spent the weekend in DC for a wedding and had a great time – we even brought Ryan along (as indicated by the previous photo) and he was a total hit.  As was the DIY photobooth I set up for our friends.
4) Ryan is an excellent little road trip companion.
5) My favorite corner of the nursery – not every dog has painted portraits hung in their house!
6) Four months old!
7) Cute baby in doggie pajamas.
8) Speaking of doggies…. this one steals my spot in bed every night when I get up at 3:30am to pump and doesn’t let me back in.
9) We live in the most beautiful neighborhood in Philadelphia.  I feel so lucky.
10) Happy dog in the grass after a trip to the farmer’s market!
11) Smile!
12) Considering Dreidel was returned from her first family for aggression towards children (aggression, mind you, brought on from the fact that they pulled her tail and ears and tried to ride her like a horse, and rather than teach the children not to pull on the dog, the family just dumped her at a shelter), she is extremely tolerant of Ryan.  They definitely aren’t best buds, but I think she’ll warm up to him a whole lot more once he starts eating and drops food down to her.
13) This face makes the lack of sleep totally worth it.
14) Olive oil and vinegar tasting at Cardenas Taproom in the Italian Market.  I came home with peach white balsamic vinegar, black walnut vinegar, and some white truffle oil.  Next time I stop by, I think I’m bringing home the blackberry balsamic vinegar and blood orange olive oil.
15) It’s official: he’s ours.  We’re both big craft beer fans, so we expect nothing else from our little guy.
16) Baby’s first fantasy football draft!  Much like being a beer fan, we also expect Ryan to grow up to dominate all his fantasy football leagues – after all, his father and I battle it out for the title in the championship game nearly every year. ;)

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