I’ve been asked several times about what my diet looks like when I’m developing recipes, so today I thought I’d share a peek into that process.
(Pictured above are two recipes from my cookbook— Nut-free & Grain-free “Granola” Bars and Chocolate Cupcakes with Maple Buttercream)
When I first started this blog, recipe development fit naturally into my routine– if I was craving a new salad dressing, casserole, or dessert on a particular day, I’d make it and eat it, and if it was good, I’d share it. (Rarely is an experiment bad enough that we won’t eat it, even if it’s not perfect enough to share.) If a recipe wasn’t good, it wasn’t a big deal; I just wouldn’t post anything on the blog that week.
I still have that mentality to some extent, in the fact that I’d rather post no recipe than a mediocre recipe, but at this point in time I do aim to post at least one new recipe each week. Not only does this weekly goal keep my own family’s meals new and interesting, but I love sharing my new ideas with you all, too! The last thing healthy eating should be is boring.
But, some weeks are easier than others. Sometimes a recipe pops into my head, I immediately have a good idea of how I want to make it, and it turns out perfectly on the first or second try. Other times, however, I get an idea in my head and it takes ten or more attempts to get it right… and sometimes I even have to abandon an idea all together. (Or at the very least, I have to take a break from it for a while to avoid total recipe burn-out.)
This week has been one of those weeks. I’ve been determined to make an easy gluten-free, egg-free, and coconut-free brownie recipe for the past week or two, and I’ve made SO MANY BROWNIES. Seriously, more pans of brownies than I can count. Some attempts have been good enough to eat, and some haven’t. But, they’re still not good enough to share… and that’s frustrating. A few of my attempts have actually turned into a pretty tasty chocolate cake, so I might end up sharing a cake recipe soon, instead! (That’s how some of my favorite recipes have been created, actually, while trying to develop something else. My dairy-free Klondike Bar recipe was the result of a failed Cadbury Creme Egg attempt.)
But, on the brownie front, I’m getting to that burn-out point. So, below you’ll see what my last day of brownie experimentation looked like.
7:30 am: Ripe Banana. I wake up at 6am for work, but I usually don’t have an appetite for breakfast until an hour or two later. My son took two bites of this banana before deciding he didn’t want any more, so I finished the rest!
9:00 am: Chocolate Superfood Smoothie. (Recipe will be included in the preorder “bonus pack” for anyone who orders my cookbook) I love this shake and drink it often– it’s loaded with protein, fiber, and healthy fats, and it tastes like a chocolate frosty from Wendy’s… so I could drink it everyday.
Noon: Chicken & Avocado Salad. I keep my meals pretty simple when I know I’m going to be in the kitchen for most of the afternoon. I had a big salad with half Romaine/half spring mix, topped with Date Vinaigrette (recipe in the Winter Detox program), half of a large avocado, chopped bell pepper, and leftover roasted chicken from the night before.
3:30pm: Two brownies. My workday ends at 3pm, which is when I have the “free time” to play around with recipe development… while my son is at my feet making a mess of my pantry. I made one batch of brownies right away, and tasted one warm from the oven, and later I tried one at room temperature. (Because to me, it’s important that they taste good at both temperatures!)
4:30 pm: Brownie Batter. The first batch wasn’t good enough, so I immediately made another batch with a few tweaks… and the batter tasted so good that I licked the spoon and bowl! I had a quick taste of the second batch while they were warm, but saved a full taste-test until after dinner, since they are quite filling– they’re loaded with nut butter and healthy fats, so they’re not exactly low in calories. I was feeling pretty full at that point! (If you’ve been reading here for a while, you know that I don’t determine if a food is “healthy” by its calorie count; to me, it’s much more important to eat whole foods that your body can recognize and assimilate, so you don’t throw your hormones out of whack.)
5:00 pm: No-Bake Bar Sample. I quickly made a new no-bake snack bar recipe, because I realized the brownies aren’t going to be ready to post this week. (The batter is un-pictured… I forgot to take a photo with my phone.) They turned out really well, and will be Austin’s grab-and-go breakfast for the rest of the work week!
7:30 pm: Chicken Salad with Gorgonzola. Again, I keep my meals pretty simple when I’ve been on my feet in the kitchen (and chasing a toddler) all day. Austin requested salads for dinner, so that made things easy enough. I chopped up three heads of Romaine for the two of us, and topped mine with assorted raw veggies, leftover roasted chicken, a couple handfuls of gorgonzola cheese, and dressed it generously with Orange Basil Dressing. (I probably used 4-6 tablespoons of dressing… it was a really big salad.)
8-ish: Another Brownie. After dinner, I ate a brownie from the second round this afternoon. It was fine, but not “good enough” to post yet. Ugh.
So, if you ever wonder why I haven’t posted a recipe when you expect me to… that’s why. Sometimes recipe experiments don’t turn out well, and I’d rather post nothing than bore you with a mediocre post or recipe.
Reader Feedback: What are YOU eating this week? Have you ever been determined enough to work on a recipe several times in the same week? When I taste something at a restaurant that I want to re-create, I usually have to make it right away, and sometimes several times, before I forget what the original tastes like!