peanut butter


i’m so excited to share this recipe with you today, it’s delicious and subtle, and the perfect thing to break up frigid winter days. i think i’m preaching to the choir when i say that peanut butter is pretty good at doing that! the first time i was acquainted with mochi was in the form of ice cream at the grocery store when frank and i were dating. frank was a big fan, so that night we went home with a box of bubbies mochi ice cream. the mochi was a smooth dough that enveloped the entire hunk of ice cream, making it the ultimate ice cream sandwich - it was such a treat! from that point on i was hooked, but i had never seen many recipes utilizing mochi until i opened the beautiful pages of cynthia’s book.

again, i’m probably preaching to the choir, when i express to you how undeniably lovely cynthia’s work is. i became a big admirer of her blog, two red bowls, back in the day (circa 2014 maybe?). we were both living not too far from each other in brooklyn, and i remember just diving in to her beautiful world. i still continue to find myself mesmerized by her ability to weave food, photography, culture, and most importantly human connection into everything she does. it’s something so rare to be able to do with such honesty.

cynthia’s book, much like her blog, is beautifully woven with recipes that pull from her chinese heritage as well as her upbringing in the south. you’ll find recipes from all sections of her book that intertwine and honor her culture. most notably (at least to me) her cheddar-scallion biscuits (which i made for thanksgiving and are out of this world delicious), a traditional swirl bread with matcha glaze, mochi pancakes (!!), kimchi quesadillas, shoyu poke, and i’m still troubleshooting a gluten-free version of her black sesame chocolate loaf!

but let’s talk peanut mochi cake because i’ve been wondering why the heck i’ve never baked with sweet rice flour until now. it’s naturally gluten-free and gives you the most springy soft texture - win, win! and this recipe couldn’t be easier to make. while cynthia mentioned a few different fillings, i went with peanut butter. when i was flipping through her book, what drew me in the most to this recipe was the perfect little dollops of peanut butter filling. the peanut butter mixture is dolloped across half the batter, then topped with the remaining batter. so when it’s all said and done, you get delightful mochi squares filled with creamy peanut butter. a dream situation, really. they’re the ideal dessert, that is satisfying, yet doesn’t leave you feeling like you’re on a sugar high. this, like every other recipe i’ve made from cynthia’s book, will leave you feeling just plain happy.

xo, friends!

peanut butter mochi cake | gf (with a dairy-free option*)

from: A Common Table, by: Cynthia Chen McTernan

| makes one 8-inch square cake |

  • 6 tablespoons peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)

  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

  • 1 1/2 cups (225 grams) sweet rice flour, like mochiko blue star

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or other neutral oil

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts

*dairy-free option:

  • replace the 1 cup of whole milk with full-fat coconut milk


  1. preheat the oven to 350°F and line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. in a small bowl, whisk together the peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. set aside.

  2. in a medium bowl, combine the the sweet rice flour, milk, sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla, and whisk until smooth. you don’t need to worry about overworking the batter and making the cake dense, because sweet rice flour doesn’t contain gluten - mochi cake is dense to begin with! small lumps will appear in the batter at first, but they will dissipate as you whisk.

  3. pour half the batter into the prepared baking dish. drop small spoonfuls of the peanut butter filling evenly across the batter, then pour the remaining batter over the peanut butter filling. bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.

  4. while the mochi is baking, place the peanuts in a food processor or blender and pulse until crumbly. remove the mochi from the oven, and sprinkle the crushed peanuts across the top, then return the cake to the oven and bake until the center bounces back when pressed, an additional 15-20 minutes. enjoy warm or at room temperature. the mochi will slice much more cleanly when cooled, but there’s nothing like enjoying a piece warm from the oven.

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Shelly's Chilled Peanut Noodles by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

it's hard to believe that july is at its mid point already.  it seems like forever ago that frank and i were thinking about a little summer getaway, and here we are!  later on this week we're driving to palm springs for a long weekend with my brother, sis-in-law, and their (almost 1-year old!) son, nico.  the last "vacation" we took was when we were living in NYC, amesy was 3 months old, and we thought it was a good idea to fly to california.  big mistake.  if you remember a few of my posts from then, you'll remember that that trip was an epic disaster in many respects.  that preeeetty much scared the crap out of us, so the idea of driving or flying anywhere for an extended period of time was definitely out of the question this time around. and while we are more beach-y kind of people, the idea of staying contained in a house, and having a pool right outside our door seemed very much our speed at this moment in life.  

i'm not sure about you, but the abundance of beautiful cookbooks coming out this summer is everything i need to get me out of my creative rut and get cooking.  i'm sure you know shelly from the blog, vegetarian ventures.  her debut cookbook, vegetarian heartland came out last month and plain and simple, it's a beauty.  it's centered around something i know little about: the midwest.  at first glance the book is vibrant and inviting; shelly's photography is totally stunning. but the book is more than beautiful photography.  it's divided by seasons of the year and in that, things like: campfire recipes (and a how-to on building one!), cozy snow day recipes, and picnic recipes.  i have so many recipes dogeared for times in the future when we feel more ready to take weekend jaunts camping or have a proper picnic.  the book is vegetarian, there are some gluten free recipes, and some vegan ones, but i can imagine that you could adapt many of them as well :)

wishing you all sweet summer adventures! xo

chilled peanut noodles 

recipe from Vegetarian Heartland, by Shelly Westerhausen

i used 100% buckwheat soba noodles here.  they tend to stick to each other a bit more after the chilling period, but they taste just as good ;)  i also subbed green beans for snap peas, and added roughly 3/4 teaspoon salt to the peanut sauce since the recipe doesn't have any.  

| serves 4 |

  • 8oz (230g) soba noodles or whole wheat spaghetti
  • 1 cup (100g) snap peas
  • 1/2 cup (130g) peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons hot chile sauce (such as sriracha)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) water
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and thinly sliced
  • 1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 cup (140g) peanuts, chopped, for garnish
  • fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish


  1. bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.  add the soba and cook until almost al dente, 7 to 10 minutes.  add the snap peas and let boil for 1 minute more.  drain the soba and snap peas and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. in a high-speed blender, combine the peanut butter, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, garlic, honey, chile sauce, lime juice,  and water and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds.  pour over the soba, add the bell pepper and carrots, and toss until everything is completely coated in peanut sauce.  transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator or a small portable cooler for up to 4 hours.  just before serving, garnish with peanuts and cilantro.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

amesy is at the point where he's emerging from that infant-baby stage into what seems like an older baby stage.  he'll be 8 months old this saturday, and while i definitely cannot say the time has flown by (by any means), i've certainly felt a very noticeable shift.  he's in an interesting in-between where he needs us wholeheartedly for most everything, but he's also becoming a bit more autonomous in his physical actions and emotions.  he's been crawling now for a few days and has pretty much gotten it down!  he kind of does this plank/downward dog/crawl thing and it's really too cute.  i love that he's exploring a whole new world, i can see his intense curiosity behind his big brown eyes.  it hits me from time to time that there will be a moment when he doesn't need me to feed him, or will no longer look for my hands to help him up, and that he won't bury his face in chest when he gets bashful.  i can tear up at a moments notice about these things, which is silly, i know. he will need me for other things as he gets older.  our relationship will manifest in different ways, i suppose.  but for now i'm already living in the nostalgia of yesterday.

there's no smooth transition here, but i'm  sure your inbox and instagram feed may be flooded with a ton of great picnic-ready recipes for the long weekend - pasta salads, leafy greens in a bowl, things to cook on a bbq.  and maybe there's a recipe for a light and airy yellow cake intricately decorated with whipped cream and fresh berries.  maybe it's just me, but sometimes an overabundance of recipes options have me feeling significantly overwhelmed to the point where i retreat back to the recipes that i've made time and time again. they're like a good pair of jeans that way: forgiving, reliable, and comfy.  they usually include a guacamole or hummus freestyle, a green salad with a creamy dressing, maybe a hearty pasta salad or frittata depending on the season/occasion, and a simple cake that could please (hopefully) anyone.  

which is why i'm so grateful when i come across a recipe like these peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.  kathyrne, from cookie + kate, just came out with a brilliant new book, love real food, and i received a copy few weeks ago.  amesy happened to be napping, so i got to thumb through the pages and landed on this recipe. it's one of those go-to recipes that has a short list of pantry ingredients, and is a one bowl kind of situation.  i was thrilled at its straight forward nature, and simple technique (stirring, scooping, baking - done!), plus nothing bad ever comes out of pairing chocolate and peanut butter. the best part is that the last batch had finished cooking just as amesy was waking up.  it really couldn't have worked any better.  and it's definitely one of those reliable recipes that will be used over and over.  

but kathryne's book is filled with beautiful, accessible recipes that make you feel like you can get it all done and have a nourishing meal all at the same time.  as someone who can overcomplicate things at times, i'm really thankful for attainable recipes that are composed of readily available ingredients.  the book is organized by breakfast items, salads, soups, a happy hour chapter (yes!), entrees, desserts, and extras.  most recipes come with instructions on how to substitute ingredients to make the recipe gluten free, dairy free, or vegan at times.  you'll also get to see more pictures of her super cute pup, cookie, and a really wonderful intro that talks about kate's journey to eating real food, and how everyone can achieve a balanced, more nourished, outlook on home cooking. 

wishing everyone a beautiful weekend! xo 

peanut butter chocolate chip cookies | gf (with a vegan option)

recipe from: Love Real Food by Kathryne Taylor.  reprinted with permission.

i didn't have a cookie scoop, so i used a tablespoon measure to scoop the dough which worked perfectly but made less cookies (about 26). to make these dairy-free, i used this chocolate and chopped it up to make chips.  kathryne gives some notes on how to make these vegan which are included below.

| makes 42 small cookies |

  • 2 cups lightly packed coconut sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) creamy peanut butter (1 3/4 cups)*
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, preferably 60% cacao 

*kathryne's notes:

  • natural peanut butter works well here.  she notes to use standard salted peanut butter.  if you are using unsalted peanut butter add an additional 1/4 teaspoon to the recipe.  almond butter and sunflower butter work too, although she prefers the peanut version.
  • make these vegan by using vegan chocolate chips and omitting the eggs. she notes that egg free cookies will be lighter and be more meringue-like in texture and will be slightly gritty.


  1. preheat the oven 350°F. line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. in a medium bowl, combine the coconut sugar and eggs and whisk until smooth (the eggs might resist incorporating into the sugar at first, but keep whisking!). whisk in the vanilla and salt until blended.
  3. add the peanut butter and whisk until the dough is smooth and the peanut butter has completely blended into the batter (you might need to switch to a big spoon toward the end, which you'll need for mixing in the chocolate chips anyway).  add the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate chips are evenly incorporated.
  4. for cookies that stay perfectly mounded, chill the dough for 15 mintues before proceeding (if you're in a hurry, skip the chilling step).  use a 1-tablespoon cookie dough scoop or two spoons to scoop heaping tablespoons of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1 to 2 inches of space between each one.  chill any remaining dough while you make the first batch.
  5. bake until the cookies are golden at the edges but still just a little underdone in the center 11 to 13 minutes.  let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 2 minutes before transferring them with a metal spatula to a cooling rack to cool completely.  repeat with the remaining dough. (if your first round was a little too doughy, bake this round for 1 minute longer, or if they were done past your liking, bake for 1 minute less -make note of this time, because you'll probably want to make these cookies again!)
  6. these cookies keep well at room temperature for about 4 days, and freeze well for up to 3 months. 

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