Tomato Basil Cous Cous Soup

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What is it about being sick that makes soup so appealing? When I start getting sick, I deny it for as long as possible. “It’s allergies,” I’ll say, or “My throat’s a bit scratchy; it must be dry in here,” etc. Once I come to terms with my situation, however, I have no shame. My parents taught me to totally and completely baby my sick self: sleep, TV, tea, and (this part is crucial) soup.

Last week, the Beast and I came down with matching illnesses. It was super cute (/disgusting). His sickness appeared 12 hours before mine, so I had the fortune of viewing my future ailments before they hit. Once I made the connection that my runny nose and my sore throat were directly correlated with the Beast’s symptoms, I lived in constant fear of my impending discomfort.

Cous Cous tomato soup

Over the weekend, our lackluster immune systems kept us indoors for far, FAR too long. Desperate to get out of the house, we ventured across the street for lunch on Saturday afternoon. Halfway through our jaunt, we had to huff and puff up two flights of stairs, and nearly turned around out of exhaustion. Instead, we stuffed our faces as quickly as possible, and then promptly returned home for a 3 hour nap.

I apparently didn’t learn my lesson, because on Sunday I ventured out yet again for lunch with my family. This outing made for the fourth day in a row when someone told me, in the kindest way possible and only out of concern, that I looked like hell.

Tomato Cous Cous Soup

I decided that Sunday night had to be as cozy and rejuvenating as possible. This, of course, meant that I needed to bring out the big guns and make the hearty tomato soup that my mom made me as a kid. Although most soup is comforting, it seems that childhood soups really hunker down in your soul and make you feel better, even when you feel like poo.

Tomato Cous Cous Soup

After searching through the chaotic cookbook cabinet, my mom sadly decided that she had thrown out the recipe in recent years. I ended up winging it, yet with some mom advice I created something almost identical to my childhood soup remedy, and quicker than any sick girl with an energy deficiency could hope for.
… 

Read More »

Banana Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bananas always end up in my cart at the grocery store. While walking through the produce section I think, “I’ll make smoothies this week,” or “Maybe I’ll remember to bring one to work for an afternoon snack,” or “I should chop one up and put it in my yogurt…that’s a healthy idea.” Despite my best intentions, the bananas nearly always end up either thrown in the freezer right before they hit the inedible over-ripe stage, or begging to be made into some baked goodness ASAP.

banana muffins with cream cheese frosting liners

When my bananas hit that scary-brown stage, I usually try to make some variety of banana bread or banana muffins. It’s my knee-jerk reaction, because I used to help my mom turn rotten bananas into a fun breakfast treat. After college, my roommate (the same one who introduced me to carrot cake) taught me that bananas can be made into so much more than bread or muffins; they can be straight-up dessert awesomeness. When we lived together, she would often return from a visit to her parent’s house with a pan full of frosted banana bars. I’d rejoice and then faceplant into them. They’re intoxicatingly good.

banana muffins with cream cheese frosting liners

Last week, when I inevitably found myself with nearly-rotten bananas on my counter (this seems to happen every week), my roommate’s recipe catapulted to the top of my mind. I usually try to healthily my banana baked goods, but messing with these banana bars would be insulting. Also, since I wanted to share the sweets with my mom for her birthday, I had no choice but to stick to real butter, white sugar, and white flour. She never trusts me when I begin playing with whole wheat flour and applesauce in baked goods.


banana muffins with cream cheese frosting liners

This is the kind of dessert that satisfies without leaving you with the dreaded “I overdid it” feeling. The cake is light and fluffy, while the cream cheese frosting helps to balance the banana’s sweetness. It feels almost delicate…or at least as delicate as something smothered with cream cheese frosting can feel.
… 

Read More »