I'm all about attempting balance in my life these days. If that statement has the whiff of the broad-swath, take-no-prisoners, tomorrow-I-start-a-new-life New Year's resolution about it, you've caught me out: January 1st, 2010, four and a half months after the birth of my second child, slightly nauseous from the lack of sleep and the things I was constantly putting in my mouth to compensate, I decided it might be time to take things in hand a little, or at least attempt it.
Order from chaos might be asking a bit much of my life these days, but a little balance? That seemed like a pretty reasonable goal for the new decade.
Six weeks in I'm nowhere close to achieving it, of course, but I'm taking refuge in the little things: I balance the fact that I am only drinking wine on the weekends with eating chocolate nearly every day. In deference to the fact that I'm breastfeeding, I've managed to resign myself to drinking decaf coffee and avoiding all things dairy - and that includes butter, yowch! - but I can handle that, because there is always goat cheese.
And if all else fails, I have engaged a running coach, ostensibly to help me shed some post-baby flab, but mostly because I feel that any amount of overindulgence can in theory be balanced out by lots and lots of cardio.
Recently, my friend Alysa came by on a Tuesday night, and we shared a bottle of wine after all of our kids went to bed. Alysa is the kind of person who really knows how to make things happen, whereas I tend to fantasize about things happening while flipping through cookbooks.
Alysa cooks food that her husband sometimes calls "too healthy to be tasty;" I cook food that causes my husband to murmur wonderingly that we've managed to exceed our daily recommended fat intake in a single serving.
About two thirds of the way through our bottle, we both confessed to a secret desire to start a blog.
Our divergent approaches notwithstanding, both of us love food and believe that there is no better place for friends and family to gather than in the kitchen, or around the table; and so, by the time we had finished our wine, Alysa and I had decided we'd start a blog together.
As in elsewhere in our lives, despite our differences, the hope is that some kind of balance will prevail - and if not, a little chaos in the kitchen never hurt anyone, did it?
Chocolate Cookies for Balance
My daughter and I made these together the other day to calm a craving - so yes, they've got chocolate in them, but also whole wheat flour (healthy!), brown sugar (unrefined!) and dried cranberries (antioxidant!) so fit the balance requirement nicely - or at least that what I'm telling myself...
1 stick (1/2 c) soft unsalted butter
1 c lightly packed brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 c + 2 tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 c chocolate chips
3/4 c dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment.
Cream together butter and sugar (I use my Kitchenaid fitted with the paddle attachment) until fluffy. Beat in vanilla and egg.
Combine flour, cocoa, and baking powder in a separate bowl and stir into butter mixture in three additions until blended. Stir in chocolate chips and cranberries.
Drop batter by tablespoonsful onto prepared pans - I got a dozen cookies per pan.
Bake 12-14 minutes, until cookies are slightly dry around the edges. Cool 5 minutes or so on pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Makes about 24 cookies, depending on the generosity of your spoonfuls.