Friday, March 13, 2015

Milk Maid

It's all about the boobs once again in the Bean household. 

Nursing Jude was an amazing journey, one that I am still immensely proud of, but one that wasn't always simple. We had our early struggles, but finding Boobie Group was my saving grace. Those 12 ladies are my Jersey fam, and without them I would certainly not be where I am now. Nursing Eden has been smooth sailing so far, so I only popped into a group meeting once for the Valentine's Day party, and then only because my badass doula would be there. That woman is the BOMB. Anywho, I started off on the right foot nursing partly because I never had any supply issues this time around. One of the main reasons is that I knew how much extra water I had to drink, knew what foods to avoid and increase, and also (and best!) because I had Boobie Cookies. My friend Amy makes the. best. lactation cookies, and she brought a dozen over when we brought Eden home. One a day and I was good to go. Little lady is a satisfied babe. However. a cookie a day, no matter how much it supports milk production, is still a cookie a day. Full of butter, sugar, and chocolate, those bad boys weren't going to get me into skinny jeans any quicker.

I needed to find a substitute and fast. I stumbled upon a delicious looking oatmeal muffin recipe from Vintage Kids, Modern World, and got to baking. I wanted to add in the go to ingredients for milk production (brewer's yeast, flax seed, and fenugreek) and take it another step. I added carrots and walnuts for an an extra boost, used honey for sweetness and swapped in coconut oil for a healthier fat (visit Healthful Mama for explanations about this list!). The result is a hearty, healthy muffin that is lightly sweet and super effective for increasing your supply. With no guilt. Promise.

Carrot Cake Oatmeal Boobie Muffins (to promote healthy lactation)
makes 1 dozen muffins

1 c. rolled oats
1 c. whole wheat flour
4 Tbls. flax seed meal
4 Tbls. Brewers yeast
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
1 egg
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. shredded carrot (about two medium carrots)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 c. golden raisins
1/2 c. dried pineapple, chopped

Whisk flour and oats together in a medium bowl and pour buttermilk over. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease or line muffin tin. Add all ingredients except carrot, nuts, and raisins and blend until well combined. Fold in carrots, nuts, and raisins. Divide evenly among muffin tins and bake 12 -15 minutes or until just golden. Cool on a wire rack. Freeze any muffins you will not consume in a day or two!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Lucky Treats

Yikes. So you remember that cereal milk buttercream frosting I made for E's birthday cake? Well, as big as the cake was, I still had at least a full cup of sticky goodness left over after frosting it. You know how much I hate to waste things. I just couldn't throw it away, and while I'm not above putting frosting on... oh, maybe a waffle at breakfast, or even (gasp!) stirring a spoonful into a hot cup of coffee, enough was enough. It had to go. Of course, there was also an almost full box of Lucky Charms sitting waiting for someone to liberate it. See, as much as E loved them as a kid, after his birthday breakfast was over they went into the cabinet of shame next to the Oreos. I've been doing a 40 Bags in 40 Days challenge for Lent, and the kitchen pantry is one of the areas that needed unloading. Any half boxes of anything, any past expiration date cans, anything I bought thinking it would be useful (or worse, because it was on sale!) went out! I donated a bag to the food pantry at church and a bunch went straight into the trash. That big box of marshmallow ick? Into cookies. Where else? I used my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe for the base and went from there. And even if these cookies are the size of my hand, I just had to sandwich them together with a big shmear of cereal milk buttercream. And then I gave them all away. 

Lucky Charms Sandwich Cookies
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups Bob's Red Mill White Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract 
2 cups Lucky Charms cereal

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale. Add egg and almond extract and beat until just combined. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt and add to the mixer at low speed. Scrape the bowl and mix until just combined. Fold in cereal. Drop dough by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool for five minutes on the sheet before transferring to wire racks. Smear cookies with a generous tablespoon (or two!) of buttercream and sandwich together.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Happy Birthday, Daddy-o!

E and I are now both officially in our mid thirties. I know. That isn't old. But just saying "mid thirties" feels older. Like maybe I should stop saying "totes" and give away all of my mini skirts.

Not like anyone who bakes and eats cake like this has any right to be wearing mini skirts anyway. This delicious monstrosity is a straight to the hips, thighs, and butt cheeks delight. It was that goooood.

Jude is pretty adorable (just look at the grin!), but he's also pretty darn sweet. When we started talking about E's birthday, he said he wanted to bake a cake.

"What kind?" I asked.

"Cereal and Milk Cake. With bananas!"

Hmm. Ok, kiddo. At least he didn't say, "with sardines."

I did a little thinking and decided we would bake a roasted banana layer cake and make some Momofuku cereal milk for the frosting. It still needed something extra to put it into special birthday terrotory though. The next morning Jude asked E what his favorite cereal was when he was a kid. Cocoa Pebbles and Lucky Charms. Ick. In our house growing up, Honey Nut Cheerios were a big treat.

Jude took his first trip down the sugary cereal aisle of the
grocery store that afternoon, and he was astounded.
He had no idea what anything was. I had to answer way too many questions about cartoon Tigers and Vampires for
one day. He was so excited about the Lucky Charms
marshmallows that he could hardly keep still in the cart.
That box we wrapped up for E's birthday breakfast, but the Cocoa Pebbles were the perfect last detail for the cake.
It was crunchy and crumbly on the outside and gooey and sweet inside. The best birthday cake ever, and it was all the boy's idea.

Roasted Banana Birthday Cake with Cereal Milk Buttercream

For the Cereal Milk (from Momofuku Milk Bar)
2 3/4 c. cornflakes
33/4 c. cold milk
2 Tbls. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Spread cornflakes on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer. Bake 15 minutes until toasted. Cool completely.
Pour cooled cornflakes into a large pitcher. Pour milk over and stir well. Allow to soak at room temperature for 20 minutes.
Strain through a fine seive, whisk in brown sugar and salt.

For the Buttercream:
1/4 cup cereal milk
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 c. vegetable shortening
1 lb. powdered sugar

In a large bowl, beat butter and shortening until fluffy. Add 1 cup of sugar and 2 Tbls. of cereal milk and beat again, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add another cup of sugar and 2 Tbls or cereal milk and beat. Continue these additions until the buttercream reaches the desired consistency, you may not use all of the milk or sugar! I like it a bit stiff, so I use almost all of it:)

For the Cake:
2 ripe bananas
2 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 1/2 c. raw sugar
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. vegetable oil (or coconut oil)
Extra Cereal Milk
2-3 c.Cocoa Pebbles

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place whole bananas on a baking sheet and roast until blackened, 15-20 minutes. Peel and cool.

Reduce oven heat to 350. Grease two 9 inch round cake pans. Sift flour, salt, soda, and powder into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add bananas, oil, extract, and beat until just combined. Add eggs one at a time, beating between additions. Add 1/3 flour mixture and mix until just combined, then mix in 1/2 buttermilk. Continue mixing and add next 1/3 of flour mixture, the rest of the buttermilk, then the rest of the flour mixture. Pour evenly into pans and bake 20-30 minutes or until golden. Tester should come out with crumbs stuck to it and cake should not be dry. Let cool 5 minutes in the pans and then turn onto a rack to cool completely.

Place each cooled cake layer onto a rimmed dish. Pour half of the remaining cereal milk over each cake layer and refrigerate for an hour.

To assemble, fold 1/2 cup of Cocoa Pebbles into 1/2 c. room temperature buttercream. Place one of the chilled cake layers onto a plate. Spread buttercream mixture over this layer and top with second layer. If the cake is too soft to lift, stick it in the freezer for half an hour before continuing! Spread a thin crumb coat of room temperature buttercream over the cake and return to the fridge for half an hour. Frost with remaining buttercream and cover sides with remaining Cocoa Pebbles.