Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies - Glutenfree

You know that feeling all too well - that moment when you look into the cupboard and realize, "uh-oh." Either the shelves are barren or that one key ingredient that ties the entire recipe together is missing. It's an opportunity: either you make the journey to the market... or you get wildly creative in the kitchen. There's always the third option of take out but who delivers cookies? 

Yup. The hubby and I wanted to bake chocolate cookies for his mom. The only issue was we were completely out of butter and flour. For seasoned gluten-free chefs, this would be a walk in the park. For me and Mike? This was a serious, "uh oh" moment. 

I searched for gluten-free chocolate cookies and somehow found this uber decadent recipe from Picklee. We're talking knock your socks off rich chocolate goodness. They are not for the faint of heart! I supervised as Mike mixed ingredients and mystified him whipping egg whites into a meringue consistency. It's the small things! These cookies are like mini-flourless cakes in terms of composition - all chocolate and egg. 

The really cool aspect of these cookies is their texture. They have this thin shell of crispiness on top but when you bite down, the center is fudge. These are similar to White on Rice Couple's, Dark Chocolate Crack cookies, but even richer. Mike found them too rich for his blood but he's more of a milk chocolate person. All the same, you definitely need a tall glass of milk to finish one of these bad boys. It takes a single serving to hit chocolate nirvana. 

For the recipe, check out Picklee's post for Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies!

Fluffy Pancakes

Hooray for snow days! From those of us in Northern Virginia, thank you mother nature for the extra day at home! Granted, I still had to work remotely but at least I got to spend time with the hubby + cats and stay in my cozy flannel pajamas. 

Whenever we work from home together, Mike and I make pancakes for lunch! I already had a list of recipes ready to go on Pinterest. As soon as I showed him the "Mexican Pancakes" and "Black Bean Chocolate Pancakes" he threw a flag on the play. For once, he wanted regular, old-fashioned pancakes. No oats, chia seeds, buckwheat, or coconut milk. He wanted something that Aunt Jemima would serve. 

I almost got him to change his mind with some heavenly tiramisu pancakes (*drool*). Eventually, we both managed to calm ourselves down from the thought of having tiramisu for breakfast and realized that it was...after all... tiramisu for breakfast. That's way too sweet to be an actual meal. Focus, people! Resist the seduction of beautiful, nutritionally-void food.

These pancakes were everything that Mike hoped and dreamed. They're light, fluffy, and simple. He slathered them with maple syrup and enjoyed a side of scrambled eggs with a link of toasted sausage. It doesn't get any more traditional than that! I love my American guy!

Meanwhile... I had to sneak in some bells and whistles. Woopsy. 

My stack of pancakes included slices of banana, toasted walnuts, a drizzle of honey, and a sprinkle of chia seeds on top. Yes, those damn chia seeds had to make their way in there! Mike eyed my plate and shook his head, resigning himself to his crazy wife's ways. 

This recipe yielded five, generously portioned pancakes. I could barely hold down two but that may be because of the additional toppings. They're super easy to make (combine wet, combine dry, mix - done) and would make your mama proud. 

For the recipe for these Fluffy Pancakes, check out this post on All Recipes! 

Foster Love: Slade the Daredevil Kitten

It was a calm afternoon at the Animal Welfare League with only a few visitors roaming the halls, the laundry machines loaded, and dishes almost done. While taking attendance in the cat-room, I noticed that one of the "trouble kitties" was not in their kennel. This meant that they were either adopted (hallelujah!), having a wellness visit, or in the retaining area receiving some TLC. On a whim, I decided to take a peek into the retaining area to see if my furry friend was doing okay.

As I glanced over the names on the kennel doors, I couldn't help but notice a six month old kitten listing. Come on people- who doesn't want to see a kitten? I crouched down to admire the little lady named "Slade." There she was, playing with a toy in the back of her cage without a care in the world. Her ears perked as she realized that she was being watched and turned to face the creeper at her door.

That's when I did a double take.

Slade's eyes were not.... doing so great. I will spare you the details but medically speaking she had severe conjunctivitis in both eyes. She had been brought it in by a good samiritan who found her in the middle of the road emaciated and sick. Aside from her painful looking ailment, she was just as spry, cute, and playful as any other kitten.  I broke protocol and offered her a treat which she gently ate from my hand. My heart melted in her paws. As soon as I got home, I told my husband all about my chance encounter with Slade.

A few days later, a call went out looking for a foster to watch over Slade post-surgery. The medical staff had made the recommendation to remove the source of her pain as the infection refused to subside after a month of treatment and monitoring. It was compromising her quality of life as she endured eye drops every day with no success.

I leaped at the opportunity to help the kitten who tugged my heart strings with such ease. What was supposed to be a two week recovery period in our home turned into a long-term foster situation. It has been quite the experience having a blind kitten in the house and we've shared some special milestones. Slade had to learn how to walk down the steps (going up wasn't the problem) and get down from the bed. The biggest conquest by far is pictured above - mastering the couch. This was a tedious exercise that required a pillow and a healthy dose of restraint. We shared a roller-coaster of frustration as she meowed for help while I had to fight the urge to do so.

Now, at about eight months, Slade is a lean mean kitty machine! She run laps around the living room and vaults the couch for fun. Her favorite place to play is the stairs and she loves to stalk and pounce from under the bed. Our greatest amusement is when she battles the invisible leprechauns- better known as her own tail.  She's still a kitten and we do our best to keep up with her active lifestyle.

Slade is an amazing creature who is happy, playful, and sweet. We currently divide our time between her and Autumn, our senior cat, who requires special care. It would be wonderful if Slade could get the full spot-light that she deserves. There have been a handful of potential adopters but nothing serious as of yet. We are keeping our fingers and paws crossed. Slade cannot wait to find her forever home!

If you or someone that you know would be interested in adopting Slade, please contact the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria.