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Chocolate Chip Cookies That Come With Their Own Milk

31 Mar

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Isn’t that the loveliest picture you’ve ever seen on this blog? All credit goes to (who else?) MostFashionablePersonIKnowKef, who is always ready for an impromptu photoshoot. One day, we will convince her to live in DC full time and I will bribe her with sometimes-delicious treats to take all blog-related photos. Until then, you’re stuck with me.

On to the cookies– PILFKef, DO and #1KnicksFanKef are now 2for2 when it comes to creating insanely adorable children who teach MrKef’s cold American wife how to feel. PILFKef, DO and I were a little skeptical of reports that the right combination of strange ingredients in baked goods could increase milk supply for breastfeeding– so we did what any self-respecting healthcare professionals would do and decided to perform some real-life experimentation. This works in the interest of everyone, as I am only too happy to whip up things full of gluten and sugar as long as someone else is there to save me from myself and take them off my hands– so we can just go ahead and call PILFKef, DO the Margaret Mead of Mother’s Milk.

Listen– the limitations section of our analysis would read something like this: small sample size (n=1), no baseline data, no control group, and milk gains measured by texting pictures back and forth– but who the hell cares about level of evidence when the expert cookie monster over in Arlington said that the cookies were delicious and we have anecdotal evidence that they work? Sounds like a good reasons to eat some cookies right now, whether you’re feeding a small child or not.

For those who, like MrKef, are afraid these cookies might INDUCE lactation–rest assured, a whole party full of people ate them, and PILFKef, DO remains the only one of us producing enough milk to sustain human life. As far as I know, anyway….

I borrowed heavily from Epicurious’ recipe, but used less oatmeal, way more chocolate chips, and swapped vanilla paste for the extract–my recipe below. These cookies were AWESOME, and I highly recommend them even if breastfeeding ain’t your bag!

Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies that Anecdotally Increase Milk Supply

Ingredients

  • 1 c butter, softened
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 4 TBS water
  • 2 TBS flaxseed meal (no subs)
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 c rolled oats
  • 1 bag (12 oz) chocolate chips
  • 2 TBS brewers yeast (no substitutions)

Assembly

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Mix flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl, set aside 3-5 minutes.
  2. Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add eggs one at time until just combined. Stir flaxseed mix into butter mix, then add vanilla. Beat until well blended.
  3. Sift together dry ingredients, except oats and choc chips. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir in the oats and then the choc chips. Arrange on a parchment- or silicon-lined baking sheet about 1.5 inches apart. Bake 8-12 minutes (I made mine huge and they needed 14-15 minutes), or until set and just golden.

Some Wise Words From Other People

5 Jan

While the rest of the blogosphere is writing about goals and resolutions for the coming year, your girl Kef is just trying to keep her head above water. School, work, and self care are each their own full-time job, and I’ve been working overtime at each of them for the last year or so. I’m grateful to have a job I love, to be in the LAST SIX MONTHS of my NP program (#praiseHim!), and to be injury-free enough to run… but none of those wonderful truths make me want to rip my hair out any less on those days when I feel like I’m spinning my wheels (and not in the kicking-ass-on-a-seated-climb-to-your-college-playlist kind of way).

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Since my life is chock full milestones this year–finally being done with grad school, running my first full marathon, transitioning to a new role at work– I’m not stressing about goals set arbitrarily to the new calendar year. I love the idea some people have to choose a word and pursue it as the theme for the year, but we allllllll know I am a woman of many words and could never choose just ONE. So, instead, I’m choosing two phrases to get me through the tough 6 months I have ahead of me:

1) Goals are often simple, but never easy.

The tremendous Kelly Roberts wrote these words earlier this week on the Oiselle blog. I love this mostly because it is an elegant way to state the obvious: the difficult part isn’t figuring out what needs to be done, it’s actually breaking inertia and doing the work. The path to our desired result is pretty clear, if only we get out of our own way and do what we already know is required. Simple to say, never easy to do.

2) There is no secret. Keep going.nosecret

This is a tried-and-true Oiselle maxim I have always loved. It’s easy to feel like everyone else has a vat of the magic sauce that makes everything fall into place effortlessly–especially when they only post the clean-house/best-lighting/perfect-pace picture on social media. This phrase is a reminder that there is, actually, no secret, and that everybody else is in the same boat. As the good witch said, “you’ve had the power all along, my dear”–you just have to keep going.

So that’s my story for the next little while, and I’m sticking to it, whether I like it or not. What are your goals/resolutions/words/phrases for 2017?

 

5 For Friday: A Day in the Life

13 Mar

Alrighty, Keftanis– this Friday finds us in a MUCH better position than last week, when DC was still a snowy mess. BEST OF LUCK to everyone running one of the RnR DC races this weekend–I truly hope the weather gods are with you!

So it’s Friday and I’m linking up with the DC Trifecta- Mar, Cynthia, and Courtney– for a fun “day in the life” post.

photo(1)1- The Alarm – My day usually starts pretty early– I’m either hurrying to not be late for the 7:00 start of a 12-hour shift (wooo nurses!), heading over to spend a fun day with the most wonderful baby in Arlington, or getting ready for an early work out. As you can see, sometimes I get up on the first try, and sometimes I need a couple extra Zzzs. I like to leave myself little reminders of things I have to do that day– and if you don’t know yet, November Project is an awesome group of people who provide, a tough, FREE workout (plus free hug high fives) every Mon/Wed/Fri in DC. #TheTribeIsStrong Not pictured: the 5 times in between my alarms that MrKef’s buzzer goes off, which wakes me up and not him.

2- The Breakfast– I have eaten a Cherry Pie Larabar for breakfast everyday for the past 2 years or so (…seriously, I even bring them to FERRAGOSTO). I do not even want to think about doing the math to know how much that cost me–but I love that something with only three ingredients can be so filling. Not pictured: the 2 cups of coffee I drink before considering myself fit for human interaction.

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3. The Afternoon– Starting at about 2:30 when BabyKef gets out of school, I usually spend a very large portion of the afternoon talking to my family. The call log here is pretty illustrative–I no sooner get off the phone with one before I’m calling the other. We’re either figuring out details for one of the three (3!) weddings we have this year, getting the high school gossip from our mom (who rules the place with an iron fist), or entertaining one another as somebody walks somewhere and is bored. Not pictured: the 12 calls to and from BabyKef and GrandmaKef in the mix.

4. The Evening Workout– I used to sneak in a  swim before work, but would get flustered because the pool 5831695848_d3036f8ba1_zdoesn’t open til 6 (and I have to be at work at 7), so I didn’t have time to be even a couple minutes late. Now I swim after work (unless it’s Wednesday when I go to the very best Yoga District class) and it’s amazing how much more I enjoy my swim workouts when they are not a mad dash to clock in on time! Not pictured: me with goggle rings around my eyes trying to convince people that they should let me take care of their newborn!

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5-Catching Up With MrKef– After the hustle and bustle of the day, it’s so reassuring to know I’m coming home to my two loves, pictured here: MrKef and Oliver Tambo. Sometimes MrKef and I cook something together, other times he just watches Oliver play around with the laser pointer while I cook us something (okay… most time that is what happens). We both work with the “general public,” as he likes to call it, so we almost always have some stories to tell about the crazy things people said or did during the day. Usually, he’s drinks a Hot Toddy and I eat blueberries until I am blue in the face (har har) as we catch each other up on what went down that day. Not pictured: the video I have of him giggling like a schoolboy as he plays with Oliver and the laser pointer–but trust and believe, it will make for excellent material at his retirement party one day.

How to Have an Awesome Month in Ten Easy Steps

5 Jan

Everyone else got in their year-in-reviews last week but, per usual, I’m tardy to the party. Since this post is already past its blog-by date, I’ll keep my best of 2014 focused to the final 31 days. Ten steps to an awesome month:

1. Have a sensational best friend who is turning 30 (nb: I think that adjective is gonna stick). Scour Etsy for party favors and make sure there is photo evidence of your respective fiancees enjoying said favors (check out this awesome shop for lots of fun glittery goods and these guys for the perfect cake topper… oh and here, too!).photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 42. Watch your brother live out a lifelong dream. See here for more details.photo 13. Rent a private karaoke room for one of your oldest friend’s birthdays. Sing and dance your little hearts out. Bonus points if it’s country.photo 34. Set up your Christmas tree. Smother your amazing FianceKef with thanks for arranging to have your mom ship all your childhood ornaments to your house!

photo 3 4a. Wake up to find the first fatality of Christmas, courtesy of your cat.photo 55. Go out for game-filled night with nearly all your favorite people.photo 4

and maybe even buy a fancy frock for an upcoming event!photo 2

6. Rally with some really righteous people, including this Grandma (who is only a shade less stylish than your own.)

photo 1

7. Make your first pot roast for your Fiance’s first annual law firm dinner. Worry that it’s not actually done and have no idea if it’s good or not because, you know, you don’t actually eat meat.photo 4

8. Go home to the beautiful Hudson Valley for another legendary Christmas by MamaKef.

photo 58a. Receive a selfie stick. Proceed to run amok with said device and realize that true Christmas joy can be yours for a mere $8.

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I can’t decide whether or not those should get captions… so let’s just say they’re available upon request.

9. Bring your beloved out to what he refers to as a “Townie Bar” and watch him make friends with everyone in the room, even if they graduated from your high school in… 2011. (Optional: have small crisis about the fact that people who graduated from high school in 2011 can drink legally.)

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10. Celebrate the following Christmas miracles:

spanakopita, which should always be treated as a gift from Godphoto 5

the fact that this Facetime session between MamaKef and GoesDarkKef really and truly did happen
photo 2

and the discovery that gluten-free baklava is out there, and it’s ChampagneOnlyKef-approved! photo 1

Finally: ring in a New Year with the most lovable guy around.

photo 4

Protein-Packed Costco Meal in 10 Minutes or Less!

19 Aug

Costco- truly the land of plenty. I try to stick to one simple rule when shopping there: if we don’t already consume it in the Kef household, we don’t need to give it a whirl in bulk proportions. Seems reasonable right? Well- I broke that rule big time yesterday with the help of MarymountKef and am now the proud owner of three new pairs of running gloves (which should come in handy tonight during my 86F run), 400 thread-count sheets, and a lot of apple cinnamon chips. But the fun didn’t end there–I also bought new bean-based noodles and frozen quinoa. Why is that crazy? Well, I don’t really eat beans or quinoa, and I usually am not that into things with noodles or frozen food that isn’t ice cream. So basically, I looked at a HUGE amount of a new item and said, “Meh, I’m not really into any of the components of this, but I’ll see how I feel about 11 servings of it without so much as tasting it.” Twice. Luckily, the gamble paid off and I now have two new products worth sharing!

The first– black bean spaghetti.

mainimage__52508_1405393272_1280_1280I have no real reason for not eating beans often, but they’re not paleo and I feel way bloated after eating them, so I’ve been avoiding them. But when I saw that, unlike most gluten-free noodles, these guys have no weird stuff in them– 92% beans, 8% water–  it seemed like a thing to try.

The second–frozen quinoa and kale.

quinoakale

Note: not my nicely-manicured thumb nail.

Again–quinoa is not totally my thing for no particular reason (unless you count the destruction of Peru’s agricultural system particular), but I figured this is would be a great alternative to rice for BFKef, who can’t stand the idea of a meal without a grain. The Costco package comes with four steamable bags with 3-4 servings in each, so I am hoping BFKef will microwave one of these guys on Sundays and use it for his lunch all week. A girl can dream.

So what did I do with these the massive amount of things I don’t eat all that often? Well, I put them all together to make one huge meal, of course. And it was delicious.

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On the blog today: billions of things I don’t eat with a side of condos for sale.

This meal was laughably easy– I threw the noodles in boiling water, microwaved the quinoa/kale, and then threw in some edamame (because there wasn’t nearly enough protein already between the beans and the quinoa) to the already-boiling noodle water in the last minute or so of cooking. I added sriracha to BFKef’s and sesame oil/tamari to mine and called it a meal.

I was impressed by the texture of the noodles –they really had a spaghetti-like consistency. The quinoa and kale was YUMMY and perfectly spiced. BFKef liked it as well–the true test will be whether he makes it for himself or not.  If I ever have to buy a year’s worth of stuff I don’t eat again, I’ll start here.

 

 

Lemongrass Coconut Cauliflower (or, what I eat for lunch every day)

9 Jul

 

 

Greetings from paradise- I’m about to jitney back to reality, but for now, enjoy the view in Montauk:photo-98

By this time tomorrow I’ll be elbow-deep in newborn babies, so I figured it appropriate to make today’s recipe my tried-and-true work lunch recipe. This is more a method than a recipe, so you can swap out flavors and ingredients as you’d like–though I never stray too far from Thai-ish flavors.

I’ve searched far and wide for pre-made curry pastes that don’t use sugar and found these two that I love. I’ve written before about how easy this red curry paste makes life and was thrilled to find a lemongrass paste with no sugar or gluten. I defer to you as to whether, like me, you can overlook a chemical shit storm for convenience when you need to be at work at 7am.

lemongrass

These are $2 each at Whole Foods!

Lemongrass Coconut Cauliflower

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Ingredients

  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
  • 8 oz frozen spinach
  • 1/2 can diced tomatoes (seriously–just get fire roasted)
  • 2 packets lemongrass packets
  • 1 can coconut milk

Assembly

1. Heat olive oil and spices over medium heat. Add chopped cauliflower and spinach and combine well. Cook until spinach is thawed and beginning to dry–about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and lemongrass paste, stir well, and cook for another 5 minutes.

2. Add coconut milk, stir very well, and bring entire mixture to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until cauliflower is your desired texture–I like it to be very soft and to let most of the coconut milk be absorbed, which takes another 12 minutes or so.

3. Enjoy and try not to make your coworkers too jealous 🙂

 

Greek Easter 2014: Part II

23 Apr

Previously, on Cooking Up Kefi…

JetSet and I were at Grandpa Joe’s house, and the situation was this:

The kitchen was a disaster

IMG_0110My brother and I were getting into all kinds of nose-picking-selfie shenanigans

IMG_0115the Mets were losing, and Grandpa Joe was napping. So… it was pretty much business as usual.           IMG_0120 Somehow, all of this pulled itself together and some Easter miracles occured. Namely:

the spanakopita (recipe later this week), which is always the very first thing we make,

IMG_0117some new lamb keftedes WITH DRIED APRICOTS (recipe also coming this week),

IMG_0121 - Copythe gluten-free picnic pie that was so good I ate it with my non-driving hand the whole way home,

IMG_0122JetSet’s painstaking, time consuming labor of love: eggplant keftedes-cum-casserole,

IMG_0119gluten-free/sugar-free koulourakia,

IMG_0124tsoureki that didn’t quite make it through MixMonster Kef’s crash course + eggs made by my Godmother,

2014-04-20 13.17.47the beet salad to end all beet salads (and finally pictured half-way decently here!),

2014-04-20 13.17.53Francesca’s Orange-Dijon potatoes,

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and Paulatimi’s Five-Ingredient Wonder.2014-04-20 12.58.50

Not bad for two days work, eh?

MamaKef put the finishing touches on her salad

2014-04-20 13.03.34while JetSet poured us mugs of wine.

2014-04-20 13.42.01And then ANOTHER Easter miracle happened– my Aunt said that JetSet “always looks like Justin Timberlake.” Indeed, he has risen.

2014-04-20 13.51.07AND I STILL HAVEN’T TOLD YOU ABOUT THE BAKLAVA!

2014-04-19 17.58.08  IMG_0130Okay so baklava is pretty much always good–it’s flaky dough painted with butter and butter and butter (and then some more butter) and layered with sugar, spices and nuts. How is it possible to improve on such a good thing?

2014-04-20 14.38.52Well, if you use this awesome, creamy honey and finally heed the advice of every Greek on the face of the planet, your results will improve. What advice, you ask? The hot-to-cold principle, which states that if you have hot baklava you must have cold syrup, or vice versa. We did cold syrup to hot baklava (instead of hot syrup AND hot baklava) and the results were stupendous.

How good, you ask?

In case that testimonial isn’t good enough for you, my phenomenal Grandma Rita put it best:

2014-04-20 14.59.52“That’s baklava so good you have to eat the crumbs off your boob!” I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: just TRY and tell me your grandma is better than mine. You’re fighting a losing battle there.

We had a stupendous meal full of the two major food groups: laughs and carbs. Grandma Rita made stuffed peppers (very sadly not pictured here) and Aunt Tina supplied the hardboiled eggs. A GREAT time was had by all.

No family gathering is complete with out a selfie– Ellen, you and Lupita have nothing on us!

IMG_0132 - CopySadly, the weekend had to end and I had to leave the la-la land of my family’s loving glow.

JetSet and I took one last photo (this one remiss of spinach and flour) and then I headed off into the sunset.

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This is a record-setting post, so I’ll cut it off here– I had the most delightful weekend with my family. Our Greekness is so very, very much your weakness.

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