Spiced Coconut Lentil Soup

Spiced coconut lentil soup

Dear lord it’s COLD. I know, it’s January, it’s supposed to be cold. But listen, last year, we had virtually no winter; one freak October snowstorm and we were done. That was followed up by the mildest, most beautiful spring and then the most blisteringly hot summer in recent memory. In short, it’s been a year-plus straight of some pretty obvious global warming, and I am just not ready for wind that makes your cold-induced tears freeze to your face.

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Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

I’ve always been a pretty good student. Well, that may actually be a slight understatement. I am. such. a. nerd. I mean, I have a PhD in molecular biology for God’s sake. I learned pretty early on that schoolwork was something I just got. Trigonometry? No worries. Advanced American History? Check. In high school, I was in Science Olympiad AND History Bowl. In college, I only stopped calculus when they somehow worked in a 4th dimension (that insanity does NOT make sense). But for everyone, there’s something. There’s some achilles heel. For me, it wasn’t organic chemistry or P-chem (yes it was. P-chem is not okay); it was spelling.

Now, please keep in mind that I WRITE FOR A LIVING (I’m a medical writer), but spelling man, it’s rough. Alphabetical order made me cry in 3rd grade–no, really, I cried AND my teacher sent a note home to tell my parents I’d had a rough day. I still to this day remember how I WANTED alphabetical order to work and still contend that there was logic behind my method. Know what I still can’t spell? Rabbit. Is there 1 “b” and 2 “t”s, or the other way around? I before E, I will never get you right. Also, pumpkin. There should be no “p” in the middle of that word. Pumkin. So much cuter. Totally wrong.

Luckily, the inability to spell the name of food does not preclude me from eating it. Now don’t freak out, I know what you’re thinking − pumpkin and chocolate? Who does that? Well, I do and you should too, because…it’s way way better than I thought it was going to be.

Sometimes I doubt myself. Sometimes, when Im slapping things together in the kitchen, I’m giggling at how ridiculous I am. This will never work, Cali. What a waste of chocolate…and pumpkin. But more often than not, it does. Although a good 20 years after figuring out I was a bona fide nerd, I’ve now learned that baking skills, I have; it’s still spelling skills that I do not.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies

Inspired by Smitten Kitchen. Brownie recipe here.

Brownies
2 sticks butter, melted
1 c granulated sugar
1 c brown sugar
3/4 c cocoa powder
3 lg eggs
1 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1 c walnuts (optional; I always leave them out)

Pumpkin Cheesecake
6 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1 c canned pumpkin
1 egg
1/4 t cinnamon
pinch salt

  • Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″x13″ pan

Make the brownie layer:

  • In a large bowl, combine the melted butter, sugars and cocoa powder
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl and mix to combine
  • Stir in the vanilla and mix well

Make the cheesecake layer:

  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy
  • Add the sugar and beat until combined
  • Add the pumpkin and vanilla and beat until combined
  • Add the egg, cinnamon, and salt and beat until smooth

Assemble and bake the brownies:

  • Pour the brownie batter into the bottom of the pan and smooth with a knife or spatula
  • Dollop the pumpkin cheesecake batter over the top of the brownies; the majority of the brownies will be covered
  • Using a knife, swirl the brownies and cheesecake together so that some of the brownie shows through
  • Bake ~35-40 min or until the cheesecake in the middle of the pan is just set; a toothpick inserted into the middle will still have crumbs

Caramel Apple Bread

Let’s be all cliche tonight and talk about how awesome fall is, shall we? Just when you feel like you can’t take another steamy, sweaty, late-summer day, in swoops fall, all shiny and new and brisk. The mornings are cool and bright and require blazers! and scarves!! and boots!!! All which can be shed under the warm afternoon sun…well, except maybe the boots, you should keep those on.

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Coconut-Vanilla Cupcakes

I totally missed it. Right there, in the midst of a crazy workweek: August 15th. My 2-year anniversary of this blog. Things have definitely changed since year one. For starters, my posts have slowed down; you may have noticed….or maybe you didn’t. At any rate, I clocked in at 100 posts for year one, but only 75 for year two. It’s okay with me though. Part of it is that I don’t have as much time for cooking now-jobs and life and all that jazz. The other part is that I realized that it takes all the fun away if I’m stressed about making food…for the blog. I should never be making food for the blog. I should be making food for me and for you and if it’s good enough, then I can share it. And so that’s what I’ve been doing, and what I’ll continue to do into year three.

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White Peach and Ginger Galette

Usually, my New York life is a flurry of overcrowded subways, and long work days, and glasses of rosé on the couch; too much shopping, and empty bank accounts, and delivery sushi; tv watching, and sweaty apartments, and nights with my cats. But sometimes, my New York life is a little more spectacular. Sometimes I’m reminded where I live. Sometimes it’s more like this:

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