While You Were Sleeping…

After her daughter was born in late 2007, Kelsey Banfield didn’t
want to trade cooking for caretaking. Like all new parents, Banfield found
herself too exhausted to make the gourmet meals she used to relish preparing.
But once her daughter settled into a more predictable routine, she realized
that she could do the bulk of meal preparation during her daughter’s naps, and
that she could create dishes to satisfy parents and children alike. With this
goal in mind, Banfield declared herself “The Naptime Chef” in 2009 and launched
a cooking blog for parents who want to share meals with their children.

Building on the success of her popular blog, Banfield is a
contributor to New York Family’s Yummy Delicious blog and a columnist for
Babble’s food blog as well. Her first cookbook is due to release next spring
from Running Press and is chock-full of sophisticated meals for the whole
family to enjoy.

How did having a child change your approach to cooking?

When I was mourning the loss of time in the kitchen, people
were telling me I’d learn how to cook new foods. But I didn’t want to cook new
food. It’s not that the food I make is different, it’s how it’s made. I didn’t
want to give up the “good stuff” and I didn’t want to compromise taste for

What inspired you to come up with the idea for “The Naptime

My whole life, I’ve always loved cooking and baking and I
used to cook all the time before having my kid. Once I started to realize I
could cook during naptime it brought a sense of normalcy and routine back into
my life. I was joking around with a friend and called myself The Naptime Chef. In
my previous career at Sloan-Kettering (in Development), I worked on a
charitable cookbook and really enjoyed it. I wanted to get back into that
world. I did some research and there was nothing out there at the time like this
idea. I love cooking and I love the fact that I can share that with everyone.

What can your readers expect to find in your forthcoming

In the book there are 125 recipes and 100 of them have never
been published. I did want to include some of the readers’ favorites like
pulled pork in a Dutch oven and artichoke lasagna.
Every single one of the recipes could be made
during naptime, or when the kids are at school or soccer.

You recently moved from New
York City
to Connecticut. What
did you like about being a mom in the city and how does it compare to your life

I loved being in the city, I loved walking everywhere. I’m
happiest in
Connecticut on the
days I don’t have to start my car. If I had nothing to do when we lived in the
city, I would just go outside for a walk with my daughter. People spend more
time at home in the suburbs.

For more information, visit thenaptimechef.com.

Photo: “Naptime Chef” Kelsey Banfield with her daughter Daphne, 3.

The Naptime Chef’s Butterscotch Chocolate Chunk BlondiesBrownie_Photo_For_Sidebar.JPG

2 sticks unsalted
butter, melted

2 cups light brown
sugar, finely packed
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 large eggs
2 tablespoons vanilla
2 tablespoons light corn
1 large pinch kosher
12 ounces semisweet
chocolate chunks

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x13
baking dish and set aside.

2. In a double boiler or glass bowl placed over simmering water, add the butter
and sugar. Allow the butter to melt slowly and whisk until completely blended.
Remove from heat and allow to cool.

3. While butter mixture is cooling, whisk
together flour and baking soda in a small bowl or measuring cup.

4. When the butter mixture has cooled, whisk in
the eggs, vanilla, corn syrup and salt. Fold in the flour mixture with a wooden
spoon until completely combined. Add the chocolate chunks, but don’t overmix.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-42 minutes, or until
cake tester comes out clean and edges of the blondies are slightly pulled away
from the sides of the pan. Cool completely, then cut into bars and serve.