Baby Caitlin

Baby Caitlin

Life has just gotten more beautiful!

Our new little daughter, Caitlin, is such a charmer. She is definitely keeping us on our toes, but every time she flashes that ear-to-ear smile (yes, I know it’s a reflex, but it’s just so cute!) she melts our hearts.

Life as a family of four has been very sweet so far! We feel so blessed as we get to know our newest little one!

Happy Family

Fluffy Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Fluffy Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I can remember the first time my mother ever added chocolate chips to pancake batter. It was basically the best thing that ever happened to Sunday morning breakfast, as far as I was concerned!

In the intervening years, I have eaten more than my fair share of chocolate chip pancakes, and my conclusion is that nothing competes with homemade! Homemade pancakes land on my plate when they are just warm enough to melt the whipped cream, of which there is never a shortage (I will try not to judge you if you are crazy enough to put maple syrup on chocolate pancakes, but I am all about the sweet cream), and the pancakes are always just chocolatey enough to satisfy my sweet tooth without sending me into a sugar coma. Basically perfection.

Pancakes have been one of my major cravings during this pregnancy, so it seemed fitting to share a delicious pancake recipe with you during the final days before my little daughter is born!

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Easter Egg Nest Chocolate Cupcakes

Easter Egg Nest Chocolate Cupcakes

It’s almost Easter!

For several months now, Jake’s favorite “book” has been a Wilton cupcake decorating magazine. He found it on the cookbook shelf and immediately started asking me to “read” it to him, naming and describing all of the cupcakes from bubble-gum machines to bouncing babies to Christmas penguins. Now the poor cupcake magazine is more dog-eared than any other book in the house.

(In case you don’t know, I have never been a fan of fondant. Or extravagantly decorating desserts purely for visual effect. I am a firm believer that food should be primarily tasty, and that efforts that don’t affect the flavor are a waste of time.)

This cupcake book is entirely to blame for the fact that Jake has become obsessed with Easter eggs. Begging daily to do an Easter egg hunt (an event that he has never actually experienced…).

Because of this cupcake book, I am slowly realizing that I will have to let go of my ambivalence toward cute foods in favor of having fun with my kid.

Spring certainly does present a lot of fun (food) craft opportunities for little ones, so this week we decided to embrace the chocolate malt Easter egg and do a delicious art project! Jake had a blast decorating these cupcakes! Not only were these cupcakes cute and festive (perfect for a party!), but every part of them was tasty.

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Overnight Oats with Coconut, Honey Almonds, and Chocolate

Overnight Oats with Coconut, Honey Almonds, and Chocolate

Can you believe it has been FOUR YEARS since Smells Like Brownies was born? Four years of delicious treats and meals (and some disasters), four years of learning to take food photos and learning new tricks in the kitchen. Time flies.

Now, as many of you may know, I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of our little daughter! As I am waddling around after my 2-year-old ball of energy, praying that the baby will stop kicking me in the kidneys, I have started to picture what life may look like with an infant in our lives.

(Mostly it looks like chaos. That is realistic, right?)

I remember life after Jake arrived with some trepidation. It was wonderful and scary at the same time, and it totally turned my world upside down. There was no such thing as “getting ready in the morning,” because time all blurred together into one enormously long day in which every two hours I had to feed a baby, regardless of silly things like my own sleep rhythms.

So…here we go again! But, of course, now I have a toddler who expects me to maintain his regular schedule and probably won’t think it’s cute if I delay his breakfast until noon.

Enter overnight oats.

I am fairly confident that overnight oats are going to save my life after this baby comes. Not only are they super healthy (whole grains! raw food! protein! omega-3s!), but after what are sure to be some tired, sleep-deprived nights, I will be able to “make breakfast” simply by opening a container! What could be better?

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Butternut Squash Lasagna

Butternut Squash Lasagna

I am so excited about Spring, aren’t you? Spring flowers and warm weather and kicking a soccer ball around with my son in our backyard…

But sometimes I just have a hard time saying goodbye to Winter. Especially this year, when I basically avoided my kitchen all Winter unless company came over or I had a hankering for dessert.

So today, on the very last day of Winter, I just can’t resist sharing one final amazing dish with you: butternut squash lasagna.

This baby is so delicious, and so worth the effort! And because it is full of sweet squash instead of greasy meat and spicy tomato sauce, you could even get away with eating it in Spring. I’m just saying.

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Colcannon

Colcannon

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day! So I made you colcannon.

Normally, I am not a huge fan of potatoes, but I definitely must make an exception for colcannon. This was incredibly easy to make, and with the addition of leafy greens I actually felt like I was giving my body something nutritious along with all that starch and butter. Mmmm.

Apparently I unwittingly made a more “traditional” version of colcannon (which is one of the many Irish variations on mashed potatoes) when I decided that kale was a better choice than cabbage.

At least, that’s what Darina Allen tells me.

I had never seen colcannon with anything other than green cabbage mixed in, but when I stumbled across a recipe that used kale, I knew it was the one for me. Later, after gobbling down a huge mountain of buttery mashed potatoes speckled with dark green kale, I looked up colcannon in my Irish cooking bible and discovered that I had not, as I feared, completely abandoned the spirit of the Irish dish.

So. Happy St. Patty’s day! Make some potatoes. Make them with kale. Your mouth and your stomach will thank you.

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Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

It’s Pi Day again!

But this year, I thought I would do something a little unusual and make a savory pie. (Let’s face it: I do not need another reason to eat dessert at this stage in my pregnancy.)

Shepherd’s pie is a classic ground meat dish. It’s as meat and potatoes as you can get. But thank goodness for the Moosewood Restaurant in New York, where Mollie Katzen dreamed up a way to make a delicious meatless version! I actually think this veggie-friendly shepherd’s pie does a great job of mimicking its meatier friend by using shredded tofu, mushrooms, and soy sauce to build umami beneath a delightful layer of mashed potatoes.

So it’s not quite a pie. Let’s celebrate Pi Day anyway!

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