When It Just Doesn’t Work, Add Chocolate

Some days it just doesn’t work. Okay, some weeks it just doesn’t work. Here at Lake Ouch My Head, we’ve had a week that really hasn’t worked. The twins have brought home the first bug of the season and while it’s relatively mild in actual symptoms (aside from the headache), it has had all of us feeling very tired, dopey and more than a little cranky. Cooking adventures have been poorly planned, poorly executed, and largely underwhelming. The lesson for me as home chef this week has been one of Lazarus meals – a quick resurrection in order to avoid wasting the ingredients and in order to avoid having to eat out because things have gone so far awry….

Looks like tofu, right? Chickpea flour, salt, water… go figure.

Earlier in the week I attempted some chickpea flatbread and while making it a little voice told me that the batter was too thin. THIS is the moment when things went wrong. I should have listened to the little voice. It was, in fact, too thin and the pan I cooked it in was too small. The end result?

Looked like tofu, cooked like tofu.

A VERY strange custard-like consistency that I managed to re-fashion like tofu for a lunch for me and Mr. Little Sis the following day. The children, having heard me dub it a mistake, would have none of it.

Another flub was less dramatic in its outcome, and in fact it wasn’t a flub, it was just a “meh” kind of dish. I made mid-week pancakes (we usually only have fresh pancakes on weekends, I make plenty, we freeze the rest for M-F) because the children had a day off from school. They roundly rejected the idea of pumpkin pancakes (that I’ve been drooling over everywhere on the blogoshpere) and so I thought I would attempt yet another homemade syrup substitute (insert dead horse for children to beat here). Remembering the date cream that Big Sis made and that I enjoyed so much, I rifled through the dried fruit in the pantry and came up with figs and cherries. That sounded pretty darned good to me. So I blended them together (1/2 c figs, 1/3 c cherries, approximately 1 c water, a squeeze of lemon juice, and a squirt of vanilla). I ended up with a fruit butter consistency with a, well fig and cherry flavor. It was yummy, but it didn’t knock my socks off. When I put it on my pepita pancakes (like my pecan pancakes, but with pepitas because that’s what I had), it was good, but not necessarily post-worthy if you get my drift. No major revelation here. Annoyed by yet another waste or at least poor use of ingredients, I racked my brain for a way to use this fig cherry butter. I ate a piece of fig cherry butter on toast while I considered my options. It was very good, but not stunning. And then it struck me. Fruit butter, a dwindling supply of baked goods in the house… cherries… chocolate. Oh yes.

Chocolate Cherry Bombdies (GF, V)

  • 3/4 c cherry fig butter
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (I used flax)
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 2 T oil
  • 1 1/4 c buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 c oat bran
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3 c oats
  • 1/4 c chopped dried cherries
  • 1/2 c choc chips (I used semi-sweet)

Serious five year old whisking.

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix wet ingredients in large bowl.  Combine dry ingredients in another bowl.  Enlist a small person who needs something to do to whisk the dry ingredients (they really like whisks) and take really weird pictures while they do.  Add dry to wet and stir or use mixer until well combined.  Scoop into ungreased 9×13  baking pan and spread out.  Mine did not cover the entire pan.  If you like a thicker bombdie, use a square cake pan.  If your children are not watching, add nuts.  Mine were helping, so we went nutless, ahem.  Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes.  Mine were in for 25 and are crisp on top and a little chewy in a good way.  My oven is admittedly a little wonky, so I suggest you keep an eye on yours starting at 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, cool in pan.  Cut into blondie sized bars and enjoy.  Resurrected baked goods.  Delish!

Not-So-Sweets for the Sweeties

I have a confession.  I love cake and chocolate and ice cream and whipped cream and and and and….  While there are people who have more insatiable sweet cravings than I, I really can do a great job in the dessert eating department.  And truth to tell, there have been moments of pure joy in my life that included something like a pain au chocolat with friends in Montreal or red velvet cake with my husband, the first taste of cream cheese icing with my stepmom.  I would not trade those moments; I do not wish to stop having them.   They are SPECIAL times, and that’s part of the point, isn’t it?  They are special times, with foods we don’t have all the time.  At least, this is the sad reality I have come to understand… this is an understanding my husband and I reluctantly came to after he took the pastry class at a pretty swank cooking school. While my cravings have diminished since we cut back on sugar and processed foods, I can still respond to that siren call as evidenced by some VERY fine chocolate covered pretzels the Easter bunny brought (Thanks, Mom).

The thing about sugar is that it tastes good.  It tastes REALLY good.  These are flavors that are supposed to taste good to us, and if you are accustomed to a lot of it on a regular basis, you may find it very difficult to suddenly cut back considerably.  You might also simply find such a choice a little, well, draconian and no fun.  I have found that keeping our house on a low sugar path depends to some degree on my ability and willingness to occasionally provide something that is sweet enough, that is yummy and feels a little like something you don’t get to eat all the time.  Fruit, while we serve it often as snack or desert or whatever, does not always cut it in this department, particularly for my two young children who live in a world with other young children who get to have Ho-Ho’s at snack time.  We are constantly on the lookout for the middle ground on sweet snacks.  A treat sort of taste with much less sugar and none of the additives (food colorings, stabilizers, solvents that are present in those crinkly little packages of waxy chocolate covered pillow stuffing).   After a great deal of experimentation based on the Lemon-Kissed Cashew Hemp Bars, my children and I met in the middle with these lovely bits…

Pre-Freezer, Pre-Cut, Still Delish!

AWESOME OATIE BARS

  • 1/2 c cashews
  • 1/2 c almonds
  • 1 c dried dates
  • 1/3 c pumpkin seeds
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 c peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 1 c raw oatmeal (approximately to taste)
  • 2 T chocolate chips (just enough to make it a treat)

Put nuts in food processor and run until fine.  Add pumpkin seeds, dates, lemon juice and peanut butter.  Process until dough forms a large sticky ball (if ball isn’t forming, add another splash of lemon or a tiny bit more nut butter).

Ball of Yummy

Remove ball and place in large bowl.  Add oats a little at a time (I did 1/3 c scoops) and mix into dough.  I found bare hands to be the easiest (albeit messiest) way to do this.  I used a cup of oats, but you may prefer a little more for less stickiness or less for more fruitiness.  Mix in chocolate chips.   Place plastic wrap in the bottom of a small baking dish (mine was square) and pat down until evenly distributed.  Place in freezer for at least 1/2 hour.  Cut into squares or bars depending on the size of snack you prefer to have available.  We cut our square baking pan full into 16 pieces.  Not too big for the kids, small enough to be negligible for the adults.  The name of the dish comes from my son.  “What do you think we should call them, buddy?”  “Awesome Bars.”  I added the “oatie” to be marginally descriptive.  Delish!

Pssst….. if you missed it earlier today, be sure to pop by our earlier post to read about our Sunshine Award. 🙂