Monthly Archives: August 2013

Back when I was a nanny, I often said to myself, “I will NEVER do {insert things employers did that annoyed me here}!” One of those things was, “I will NEVER hide vegetables to get my kid to eat them! S/he will just…EAT VEGETABLES!”

That worked for awhile when my baby was excited to have anything other than formula and donor milk in her face. She was all up on the beets, green beans, and green pepper strip with a fierceness I’d only seen while watching her daddy eat peanut butter pancakes.

Then she turned into a toddler, and toddlers are jerks. Big ol’ adorable veggie-striking jerks. I’m lucky if I can get her to eat a half cup of veggies a week on her own. FYI I accidentally typed “vaggies” at first because that’s what happens after I check my search terms and then do an entry. Anyway.

So. Since the first rule of parenting is “learn to eat your words” and the second rule of parenting is “make sure your kids eat their veggies,” I’ve started hiding vegetables. First up, chocolate beet muffins.  These are a sometimes food because of the chocolate.

I adapted this recipe from one I found on Cake Student. You can check out the original (with MUCH better photos) here.

My version:

1 10 oz bag of bittersweet chocolate chips, divided
1/3 stick unsalted butter
2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour (I used Arrowhead Mills)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup beet puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (I used The Greek Gods full fat this time but would normally use Straus)
1/4 cup milk

I’ve made these with three types of beets: small, organic beets from my CSA box, already peeled and steamed from the store, and big ol’ conventional beets from our local market. The ones made from the CSA box beets were a deeper red and a bit sweeter. If you don’t mind some extra peeling, look for lil baby organic beets!

1. Preheat your oven to 375F. Line muffin tin with liners or spray with cooking spray (I ran out of liners and did a mix of both; they turned out fine both ways).

2. Peel, steam, and puree your beets. I steamed until they were fork tender and pureed using my stick blender.

Mmm, beets.

Mmm, beets.

3. Melt together butter and 2/3c chocolate chips over low heat. Whisk until smooth and set aside.

4. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients.

5. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Stir in the melted chocolate.

6.  Combine wet and dry ingredients, stirring gently until combined. Some floury spots are ok. You will get a big bowl of weird pink fluffy stuff. Yum!

Pink mess

Pink mess.

7. Spoon into prepared muffin tins, right up to the top. I doubled the recipe and got 29. Bake 15-18 minutes. Muffins are done when you gently push the tops and they bounce back.

8. Let cool and shove in picky toddler’s face. Watch in horror as s/he gets chocolatey muffin everywhere.

These muffins are toddler-approved.

These muffins are toddler-approved.



Thirteen years ago, a series of events big and small lead me to cower in my closet maybe once or twice a week for about six months. I went to sleep around 5am every morning, woke at 1 or 2 in the afternoon, and spent the majority of my awake time in my bedroom. I left the house so infrequently that my eyes burned in the sun on the short walk to the mailbox. I left a few times – once or twice to go to the grocery store with my mother, once to go to the record store to order the latest from Kill Rock Stars, and once to shop at a used book store down the street.

I timed my day so that I only had to leave my room when my family was away or sleeping. I learned every crack in the floor so that I could tiptoe through the house without making a noise. I developed a hyper-vigilance that allowed me to hear the tiniest turn of a key, click of a lock, feet slipping into or out of shoes, so that I could slip away before anyone entered the apartment or the room.

My room was the safest place in the world, but there were times when those four walls weren’t safe enough, when I was overwhelmed by depression and anxiety. There were nights when I felt as though my body was coming apart, floating away, space between every cell with electricity shooting between. It hurt. It physically hurt. I felt raw, exposed, and most of all, scared. On those nights, I went into my tiny closet, took all of the fabric out of my sewing box, and piled it on top of me to make my body stop floating away. I sat there under pounds of velvet, flannel, and cotton and waited patiently with my eyes closed for the feelings to be drowned.

That’s where I was when I wrote and posted my last entry, and it’s why it’s been so long in between. I had no safe place, no closet to hide in, I didn’t have the luxury of irresponsibility, I had a baby (now a toddler!) and a boyfriend (now a husband!) and I had to be there. I had to put raising our child first and in the process, I had to let my body float away, feel that electricity, get overwhelmed by that fear.

There were a few times when I didn’t want to be alive anymore. I didn’t want to kill myself – that would take too much effort – I just wanted to be gone. To go to sleep and not wake up or to wake up numb or, I don’t know, something. Anything but waking up to literal and figurative open wounds.

There’s a pretty big gap between how I felt then and where I am now, and I don’t know how to narrate that. There wasn’t really a solution, no defining moment of clarity, just me very slowly trying to climb up from the bottom of a very deep hole without a whole lot of places to turn. I know I’m leaving a lot out, but I just want to put something here to bridge the gap between January and tomorrow.

So, that’s it. That’s what I’ve not been saying for eight months. I’m mostly better now. There are residual physical and mental quirks here and there – adhesions that pull, a dimple in my scar, an occasional moment of anxiety – but it’s all in check. I feel safe and happy and capable again.