This week marks the ..
eighth anniversary here at The Veggies.
It's also the eighth anniversary of knowing my husband. We married a year later, and on Groundhog's Day, we'll celebrate seven years of marriage.
My husband and I found each other later in life, after our kids were grown, careers established, and (one could hope) our major kinks had been worked out.
There are times I look at him and wish we'd met during the years when the cookie sheets were still shiny and the bed didn't sag ever-so-slightly in the middle. The years when we were young, tan, and overly analytical.
Over a nightcap, we sometimes reminisce that there's nothing fair about life, and there's nothing fair about love. There is no magical formula for happiness, except to choose, each and every day, to allow yourself the circumstances you are offered. To welcome them, and feel them, and search for their beauty.
Eight years is long enough to let go of the idea that you have the rest of your life to slowly and surely change someone else. Instead, accepting (and embracing) the changes your spouse has created in you.
Eight years is long enough to own your contribution to the pair. Learning to care for yourself, while a the same time, learning to care for another. It's seeking responsibility for your joy, your fulfillment, your being. It is understanding that the goal of two is to become stronger than one
“Happy Anniversary, Sweetie .. I love you.”
As we get ready to celebrate our anniversary, this little blog officially becomes a third-grader. It's still hard to imagine I've written 770 posts and shown up in this humble space for eight full years. Can you believe it?
It feels like yesterday, the night we cooked the first two recipes I featured on the blog: Giant White Beans and Kale Salad with Wheatberries. It was one of our first dates, and I started dinner while he unboxed my new camera. How we'd made a special road trip to Trader Joe's that cold January afternoon to buy all of the ingredients.
The years when we still had our pugs, Wally and Z. And Lucy the kitty cat.
— — —
Looking back at old posts is always a little cringe-worthy (please, don't look at the photos), and at the same time a reminder that, like marriage, everything in life is a work in progress. There's a lot to be said for showing up day in and day out.
The Veggies was born with somewhat of a murky focus. I knew I wanted to write and to write about food. Over these past years, I've written, read, and learned a tremendous amount about what matters to me; in food, writing, and everyday life.
Most importantly, I discovered that the posts I love most are those that tell stories
“I don't care how eloquent your phrasing. Unless you're a storyteller, you're not a writer” ~ Isaac Bashevis Singer
A quote I carry with me all of the time. It's what I want this site to be
Admittedly, there are days I think about going back through the archives and tidying up the old, not-so rambly posts (the proverbial ghosts of yore); but I always manage to stop myself. Remembering that good or bad, they're all part of the journey
As we inch ever so closer to the weekend, I wanted to take a minute to say thank-you
Thank you for being here. Thank you for reading and cooking alongside. I mean that most sincerely. I'm really so grateful for you, and I'm thankful for this space.
Thank you for being here through all of the unfortunate photos, the typos, and all of life's ups and downs. Nevertheless, she persisted; you and me both.
For such a celebration, there's nothing better than cake.
The chocolate chip factor is deep and strong. The cake itself is rich, moist, and tender. It's exactly what you want when you're craving a homemade cookie cake – an ace in that regard.
I love a beautiful, frosted, homemade cake like no one else, but only bake them now-and-then. Because cake. If it's there, I have such a hard time staying away. More often than not, I throw together quick and easy loaf cakes (like this, this, and this) and call it a day. But a cake like this one is special. And worth the extra effort!
And because we're celebrating, I pulled my favorite mixing bowl from the shelf and picked up powdered sugar from the corner grocery. If a chocolate chip cookie cake was meant to be, I had all of the ingredients on hand, and shy of the powdered sugar, I bet you probably do too.
The frosting is Giada's. It's billowy, sweet, vanilla-flecked, and a compelling alternative to buttercream. You'll want to put it on the cake, and everything else edible in your life. It's a frosting that pairs beautifully with lots of different cakes. I also found myself dipping berries into it, and orange segments, and my fingers
A few notes about the recipe:
This is a great make-ahead cake. It keeps really well for a couple of days. Ideally, you'll want to bake it the night before you want to fill it, giving the crumb a chance to settle
Similarly, it's best to chill each of the layers for at least 12 hours, overnight, if you're able. It's so much easier to frost because it will be far less crumbly.
The cake pictured here was baked in three 6″ x 3″ pans, but whatever pan size you choose, I wouldn't fill them more than 2/3 full with batter.
If you're reducing your sugar intake, I've also successfully replaced the cup of natural sugar with monkfruit sweetener.
~ Cake adapted from Ambitious Kitchen
~ Frosting adapted from Food Network
Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake
- 4 eggs (large or XL)
- 1 cup natural sugar (Sugar in the Raw or Turbinado)
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¾ cup almond butter
- ½ cup coconut oil, melted but not hot (or melted butter)
- ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups superfine blanched almond flour
- ½ cup coconut flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp fine grain sea salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips (i love Lily’s), plus more for decorating
- ½ cup coconut oil melted but not hot (or melted butter at room temp)
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup almond milk, at room temperature (any milk will be great)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Oil three 6" round cake pans, and line the bottoms with parchment rounds.
- In a large bowl, whisk together all of the wet ingredients until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet a little at a time until fully combined, and the batter is smooth. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Divide the batter evenly between the 3 pans, using your spatula to smooth the tops. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Remove cakes and set them on a cooling rack. Once they're cool, wrap them tightly in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours (or overnight).
- The day of, frost cake one layer at a time. Then lightly frost the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate until 1 hour before serving.
- In a medium bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat the butter until light and smooth. Beat in the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth and creamy.