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Curious baby "baking" cookiesCurious baby "baking" cookies

I first made these cookies (and froze a huge batch) while I was waiting for Baby to make her appearance. I was already on maternity leave, but she was “late,”  taking her time, getting ready for the world. Once she was here, they provided me with nourishment in the middle of the night while I was providing her with hers; breastfeeding builds up an appetite.

More recently I made them with Baby in the carrier. She’s so curious, looking from the mixer button to the bowl, watching the beater turn. Soon enough she’ll be taking her first bites and eventually be able to eat one of these cookies herself. And we’ll continue to bake them together. I look forward to that day!

I wanted to name these cookies after my baby. But to preserve our privacy, I opted for “6A” instead. 6 As like in her complete name. 6 As like all the good ingredients in these cookies. Tasty little nuggets of nourishment.

Recipe: 6A Cookies: Oatmeal, Dark Chocolate, Pear (or Cranberry) and Walnut Cookies

6A Cookie: Oatmeal, Dark Chocolate, Pear (or Cranberry) and Walnut CookieThis recipe is adapted from the Bon Appétit cookbook’s Oatmeal cookies with raisins, dates, and walnuts. They freeze well. Makes approx. 30 cookies.

1 cup flour (I use a combination of spelt and whole spelt flours)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
25 mL honey (liquid)
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup dried pear cut into small pieces or dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.

Using a standing or hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and make sure everything is well combined. Incorporate egg on low speed, then beat in honey and vanilla and continue beating until light and fluffy.

Add flour mixture and beat on low speed until combined. Finally, mix in oats, chocolate chips, walnuts and pear pieces/dried cranberries.

Drop batter by tablespoonful onto prepared cookie sheets. Moisten fingertips and flatten cookies slightly. Bake approx. 10 minutes until golden brown.

Baby reaching for cookie

Sorry Baby, I shouldn't have tempted you, but you'll get to eat one soon enough.

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Baby Chef

Pursuing one of my favourite pastimes with Baby.

Since Baby arrived my priorities, aside from taking care of her, have been getting exercise and fresh air and eating right. Just like Baby, I get grumpy and tired if I don’t eat regularly and properly. Also, it’s no secret that I love to eat and cooking is one of my favourite activities.

No surprise then that before having Baby, I was already thinking about how to nourish myself once she arrived, knowing that I’d be regularly occupied with her and, for a while at least, less mobile. The arrangement we came up with worked well and we’ve continued to prepare and enjoy satisfying meals!

For the first three weeks after her birth, the deal was that David, who was off from work, was responsible for food and making sure I ate properly. He did the cooking and didn’t even use any of the meals we’d prepared in advance. Then my mom visited for two weeks and took over the kitchen. She spoiled us with her excellent cooking and baking. She actually added to our freezer stores.

We’ve even tried some new recipes, all of which are keepers:

Last week, we started our new routine of weekly menus. It starts with a meal plan – a tried and tested tool! – using what we have on hand. We cook at least one weekday meal on Sunday, making sure there’s enough for at least two lunches (a hearty soup is easiest). Then we dip into our freezer stores for one meal per week and gratefully accept grandmaman’s offer to cook dinner on Thursdays.

The days we cook fresh, the meal is prepared bit-by-bit whenever I have a moment throughout the day.  By the time David gets home from work, it’s ready to cook. Often I’ll do the cooking myself, because it gives me a break from Baby – as much as I love her, I welcome a break by that time of day! – and the satisfaction of doing something I enjoy. We’re not cooking superheros though, and have also resorted to take-out several times in the last seven weeks.

Last night this tart, a fall favourite,  followed a meal of homemade soup. Making it was a three-day affair: I made the dough and lined the cake pan the first day, blind baked it the second, and finished the tart on the third. That’s not unusual these days – whatever it takes to get it done!

Recipe: Alsatian Apple Cream Tart

Alsatian Apple Cream Tart1 recipe pastry dough
4 apples, peeled, cored and cut into eighths (use apples that will hold their form during baking; I used Cortlands)
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 tbsp sugar
1 cup cream (either 15% or 35%; the latter will give a richer, creamier result)
3 egg yolks (I’ve also made it with 2 whole eggs; using yolks will give a richer, creamier result)
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup raisins
1 pinch salt

Heat oven to 375°F. Grease a 9″ cake pan.

Prepare the pastry dough. Roll it out to 1/4″ thick and line the cake pan. Weigh it down and blind bake it for 10-15 minutes. Remove weights and continue baking for another 10 minutes until lightly coloured. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F.

In a bowl, toss apple slices with lemon juice and two tablespoons of the sugar. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine cream, egg (yolks), vanilla, raisins, the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and salt.

Arrange apple slices on tart shell. Pour cream mixture over apples. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until apples are done. Allow to cool slightly before removing from cake pan.

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Locally Grown

Locally grown: baby and vegetables

Homegrown vegetables for my midwife and my little sprout.

My baby girl was born just over a week ago, at the same time as a generous harvest of tomatoes, zucchini, beans, kale and Swiss chard from our garden. That means my midwife has been getting “bonus pay” in vegetables!

At the end of every house call — there were three in the first five days after birth — my midwife would leave our house with a bag full of fresh garden goodies. One day she even forgot her baby check-up bag in our living room, leaving instead with just the bag of vegetables!

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