In addition to having a secret connection to Mount Holyoke (commercial Valentines were invented by an alumna), today also memorializes one of my favorite 30 Rock episodes – Anna Howard Shaw Day! I’m also grateful to have been able to spend part of the day with T, even if the day ends with a late night at work. At least there are plenty of baked goods around the office!

Speaking of baking, February has been a particularly good food month for me. I’ve put myself on a recipe “diet,” and have temporarily stopped following the blogs/Tweets/emails of all the sources of recipes in my life. It’s been hard, but I have so many cookbooks and printed and recommended recipes I haven’t tried, I needed a break! I had a few excuses to try new recipes, or revisit some old classics. The old classics include whole-wheat banana bread, with 1/4 cup nuts and 1/4 cup chocolate chips instead of 1/2 cup nuts, and a recently-discovered favorite, morning glory muffins:

Morning Glory Muffins
Two regular and two mini!

As you can see, I had batter (but not liners) left over from my dozen muffins, and made a half pan of mini-muffins to finish off the batter. I added unsweetened shredded coconut (hard to find!) and substituted about 1/3 of the white flour with whole wheat. I’m pretty pleased with the results, but they’re all gone now! I have a quiet weekend coming up, and am planning a batch of brown sugar pecan muffins, which are sweet and rich but still quite satisfying.

I also tried some new recipes, or at least new to me. I went to a great Superbowl/Deep fry themed party on the 5th, and had reason to try making my own jalapeno poppers as well as a belated birthday cake for a good friend.

Bowl of Jalapenos
Jalapenos, ready to go.

The jalapeno poppers were quite a diversion from my usual repertoire, but the recipe (from A Cozy Kitchen) came across my eyes at just the right moment. I’m not normally a spicy food person, but they seemed perfect for the party. I’m disappointed that I didn’t take pictures of the stuffed and breaded jalapenos, or after frying. I ran out of panko and replaced it with regular breadcrumbs halfway through the breading process, and I liked the effect of the regular breadcrumbs better. The coating was more even and survived transport better, and the post-fry browning was deeper, too. I was smart enough to use gloves when cutting and seeding the jalapenos, but still ended up with some oil in my eye. Poor me.

Leon's Favorite Chocolate Cake
Leon's Favorite Chocolate Cake

This cake, a sour cream and chocolate Bundt cake, was recommended to me a while back by the friend whose birthday was being celebrated. It turned out great, and was enjoyed with some extra creamy Reddi-Whip. I forgot to get a picture of the turned-out cake, but I’m sure you can imagine. So far these have all been successes, and I’m looking forward to more experimentation, especially with pizza dough!