Lettuce Eat Local: Oh baby, we’ve bean busy

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Amanda Miller
Columnist
Lettuce Eat Local

How do you start writing an article about a baby that’s not born yet?
I guess something like this.
This is officially my “baby back-up article,” the one I’m wrote a week ahead — although I ended up having plenty of time. But since you’re reading it, it means Miller Baby #2/Mini-Wheat has been born!
Unfortunately, that’s all I can tell you at this point. Fortunately, I have a feeling I’ll at least mention it in the future….
But for now, we wait in anticipation. I’m in no rush; I’m not due until November 7, another two days at the time I’m writing this (but it has come and gone by the time I’m submitting it). Benson was a week late, and so I learned not to watch the calendar with bated breath — I have all sorts of things penciled in as options, unless of course I’m having a baby. Benson was also a traumatic labor, birth, and after-birth, so I’m emotionally in no rush either.
Not that the baby really takes into much account how I’m feeling about things; it’ll come when it comes. If the amount of contractions I’ve been having the past couple days are any indication, it won’t be terribly long, but then again we know babies have a mind of their own. My current goal is to pray for joy instead of anxiety when things really kick into action, and to let my body rest in the meantime.
And what better way to cultivate joy than eat chocolate cake? The birthing center where we hope to deliver actually bakes a cake in celebration of the baby’s arrival, which I love so much — except I don’t love cake. I know, that doesn’t match with what I just said. I’m just picky about my cake. It has to be chocolate, and it can’t be messing around: it really has to be deep dark chocolate.
Which is why one of my favorite cakes is bean cake. Sounds amazing, doesn’t it? But don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. Chocolate bean cakes tend to be heavy, moist, and super chocolatey, but also oddly healthy, so good news for people who choose to nosh on it at any point in the day from pre-breakfast bite to bedtime snack. Hypothetically, of course.
I had someone ask me last week if I could handle coffee and chocolate now, as she couldn’t for her entire pregnancies. While they were both thoroughly banned for my first trimester, and coffee is a little sketchy still, chocolate has one hundred percent made it back into my life. I would say my consumption has reached excessive levels, but then again, I’m nine months pregnant, so I figure I can do what I want.
Saying I want chocolate bean cake, however, doesn’t mean it’s another one of those odd hormonal cravings. It’s not like I’m dumping a can of pinto beans on a slice of cake and drizzling chocolate sauce on it — in fact, the beans get so blended and incorporated into the cake that you would never know they’re there if I weren’t telling you. They add protein and fiber, yes, but also an unexpected richness and brownie-esque factor.
Having this kind of cake around also brings me a sweet (pun intended) nostalgia, as I haven’t made it much, if at all, since Benson’s birth. I had made a peppermint-spiked batch right before he was born, and coming home from the NICU a week later to find cake in the fridge was a gift to my sore, tired, hungry self.
This time I’m getting a head start on enjoying it, because why wait? I think I’ve made four batches in as many weeks, freezing some each time in preparation for the days to come. Benson also revels in eating cake at random times, and I’m sure we’ll continue as we celebrate the arrival of his little sibling.

 

Chocolate Brownie Bean Cake

Y ou might want to frost this cake, or you might not. Choose your favorite frosting (almost any flavor will do!), or simply drizzle on melted chocolate or warmed peanut butter.
Prep tips: I’m usually picky about cooking beans from dried instead of using canned, but since they get blended into oblivion here, it really doesn’t matter either way. And let’s be honest, I just had a baby, so I’m going the convenience route for now.

1 ½ cups [1 15-oz can] cooked black beans, drained
4 eggs
½ cup honey
½ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup almond butter

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
a splash of vanilla
½ cup sour cream or ricotta ½ cup chopped dark chocolate

Blend up everything except chocolate chips until completely smooth. Transfer to a greased 8” or 9” baking pan, and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes, until center is firmed. Chill completely before slicing or frosting. Pop the whole thing into the freezer, covered with plastic wrap and foil; or slice and freeze in slices in an airtight container or wrapped individually in plastic wrap. Or just eat.

 

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