Chocolate Please, Hold the Frankenfood

The main goal in my kitchen is to serve food made from local, whole ingredients.

When my son asked for store bought yogurt tubes, I blended yogurt and fruit and froze them into pops.

When my partner asked for sausage gravy, I learned to make a rue and drop biscuits then voila! Sausage gravy that had his co-workers drooling.

When my step son goes on pizza only binges, we make gluten free pizza at home and picky as he is he *usually* eats it!

SO when the Drummer Dad and I crave chocolate and peanut butter for a late night snack, there is little exception to the rule (I say little, because there are still some things I have not figured out yet and frankly I am not ready to give up those orange wrapped delicious demons)! Hence my newest kitchen experiment: the mug cake.

I went through quite a few not-so-palatable recipes before I settled down with this one, which I have made at least a dozen times with a really good success rate. It is flexible, so I have made this a few different ways, and it is delicious every time!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Mug Cake by The Locavore's Lunchbox

Peanut Butter Chocolate Mug Cake by The Locavore’s Lunchbox

The Basic Formula

In a small bowl, whisk:
1/4 C All Purpose Flour
3 TBSP Brown Sugar
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt

In a second small bowl, combine:
1/4 C milk
2 TBSP melted butter
1/8 tsp vanilla

Add bowl 2 to bowl 1 (wet into dry) and mix until combined. Pour into microwave safe mug and pop in the microwave for 60-75 seconds (my microwave usually requires the higher setting, but I think that is due to add-ins like chocolate chips, so be sure to pay attention until you have a rhythm with your specific microwave).

Add-ins:
To make it chocolate, I add 2 TBSP Raw Cacao powder. To make it like a Lava Cake, I add a scoop of peanut butter (just glop it on top of the batter, no need to stir) and to make it like a cookie, I add dark chocolate chips. Next I am going to try throwing in some fresh fruit preserves– maybe strawberry or blueberry– I will report back when I do.

So why not just make a whole cake? My honest answer for that is will power + forced portion control. These mug cakes make a similar mess and nearly the same amount of dishes as when baking a full cake, which ensures that I will eat only my single serving.

Why not buy pre-packed, single serve cakes? Hmmm… maybe you are new here! 😉 With these lovely little single serving cakes, I have full control over what goes into them! I choose to use organic flour, cultured butter, Himalayan pink salt, 60+% dark cocoa and raw cacao powder, so while this is NOT a healthy snack, I was able to add some important nutrients in to an otherwise worthless, sugary treat.

I have not tried this in a gluten free version, but that is next on my list– as is figuring out oven cook time, since the microwave is my least favorite kitchen appliance!

So now you know how I get my chocolate fix. How do you get yours?

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What is Enough?

“So little to do and so much time! Strike that. Reverse it.” ~ A quote from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and my basic state of being right now– tasks many, but minutes few.

And yet I’m trying to justify taking HC to the free Splintered Sunlight show at Levitt Pavilion tonight by way of getting enough work projects and housework done before we would have to leave at 7pm.

But I have a big problem: what is enough, exactly?

I have my to-do lists out, one for work tasks and one for home tasks, which leaves me with something like 37 tasks (37!?) that feel like they should have been done yesterday (In a row!?!). Talk about daunting.

So what is enough? How do you gauge when you can tuck work away and take some time to play? I know to start with items that are time sensitive (from the work list) and interrupt our flow (from the home list), but I could use some further guidance! Any other WAHM out there have that are maybe a bit more seasoned than me?

Interested in the show? Get the details here. *Hopefully* we will see you there!

Sugar So Sweet

The Hungry Caterpillar is a great eater. He loves most fruit and a huge assortment of vegetables, drinks water by choice and doesn’t require more than a drizzle of honey to sweeten plain yogurt or rolled oats—in short, he is every parent’s dream when it comes to food: easy like Sunday morning. So when Sunday morning rolls around and he asks to visit Karri at the Emmaus Farmer’s Market, I gladly oblige (especially when Irish Cream Latte is one the flavors this week)!

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Karri is the owner/ operator (and of course baker) at Sugar So Sweet, the cupcake and sweets cart that you can find all over the Lehigh Valley (check on facebook for where she will be next, or even schedule a visit from the Sweets Cart for an event!)

What do we love about Sugar So Sweet? Well, HC loves the cupcakes, of course! I love that Karri is a one woman show—she had a dream and she chased it. She makes her cupcake mix from scratch, and sources ingredients from local farmers when she can (look out folks, strawberry season is coming!) and well, you can taste the difference.  The Hungry Caterpillar gives this small, local business ‘5 Bites, No Stomach Ache’

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Overdue

2 years.

That’s how long it has been since I took the first step and started this blog. And for 2 years it sat. I wish I could say I have been so busy with things bigger than a blog about food and a kid and his hippie mom. But I can’t, and I wouldn’t give ‘busy’ that glory anyway.  What I will be is honest.

So here’s the truth. I wrote some posts that never saw the light of the printer. I started a Facebook page and built a bit of a following. I blogged for other people to ‘get my name out there’ all the while neglecting my own blog. I started a job I enjoy managing other people’s business Facebook pages and subsequently started neglecting my own business Facebook page. I made excuses that everyone bought but me, but since I often tend to be an outlier, I just went with the popular opinion.

2 years.

That’s how long I have been frozen with fear. That’s how long I have been popping in and out of different experiences to avoid committing to the only thing I have ever felt good at—writing.

Because, shit… what if I am wrong? What if Dr. Segal was wrong? And Henry Marchand? And my classmates and friends and all the other writers I have met in workshops over the years; my aunt, who edited for John Steinbeck—what if they have all been wrong? Because when I wasn’t even trying someone told me I was a good writer. It took me so long to believe it, that when it felt true I stopped, not wanting to ruin this great treasure I had unearthed in myself.

But everyone knows that to be a writer you have to write, a slave to your craft—your curse, I would joke (but not really, because creative gifts can be consuming in a way other professions never will be).

This fear induced paralysis did, however, force me to look at myself from an angle that was less than comfortable. I saw my compromises and regrets shaping me into a person I didn’t relate to, so I started digging around, reading and connecting to ideas that I could relate to. Which leads me back to why you are probably reading this in the first place: healthy cooking, local food, and getting your kids involved in the whole process.

I have to confess: when I stopped writing, I lost my dedication to what I had been so focused on writing about—my experience as a locavore. I stopped going out of my way to stop at local farms, ate out more than I want to admit and took short cuts instead of making things from scratch whenever possible. I stopped walking my talk. I got lazy. Drenched in fear, I set myself up for failure.

So I decided not to fail this time. I mean, it’s my choice right?

other side of fear