Of New Babies and Chickpea Fritters

This blog is about running.  This blog is about cooking really good vegetarian food that helps you with running.

It’s only about my life to the extent that these things are part of it.  So while an open letter to my unborn baby about whether or not we’d raise him vegetarian was sort of appropriate, and so might be a jogging stroller review one day, a full-on baby report probably isn’t of interest to all that many of you.

That said, it would be sort of weird (and some of you might get mad) if I didn’t at least write a little bit about my brand new son.  So that’s what the next section is for.  If you’re not interested in that, feel free to scroll past it to get to a great new recipe from Clean Food and to where I announce the winners of two recent giveaways.

Presenting Holden Matthew

Last Friday morning, three days before the official due date (which happened to be the day of the Boston Marathon), Erin decided she’d go for a walk at the trail.  I had planned to run easy that day, and my dad met us there to run with me.

But something told me I should walk with Erin on this day, and I’m glad that I did.  Near the end of the two-mile walk, Erin noticed some discomfort unlike any she’d had before.  She was hesitant to call them contractions, but as they started to occur regularly, it became clear that this was it.

The rest of the day went pretty much as I had imagined.  While I tied up loose ends, gathered our things and prepared to unplug for a few days, family members came over to be with Erin and soak in those magic moments before all hell broke loose.

And break loose hell did.

Actually, it wasn’t that bad.  (From my end, anyway. Erin might tell the story differently.)  The contractions got stronger and closer together, and around 6 p.m. we decided it was time to go to the hospital.  In my dad’s motorhome, no less.

And just like the rest of the pregnancy, the delivery went smoothly.  At 2:44 on Saturday morning, out came a beautiful, healthy, little boy, weighing in at 8 pounds, 6 ounces.  (Ok, not exactly little.  That’s veggie power for you, I guess.)

We had chosen not to find out the sex of the baby in advance, and we hadn’t even completely decided on a name, figuring we’d wait to see our baby before we finalized what we’d call him or her.  Within five minutes or so, we had decided on Holden Matthew.

In his first five days of life, little Holden has been an absolute joy.  It’s been amazing for me to watch Erin love him; he’s one lucky baby to have her for a mother.  And he’s been flooded with the love of his grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

The youngest Boston runner?

As you know (assuming my April Fool’s joke didn’t go over your head), I missed the Boston Marathon for this little guy’s birth.  It was a bummer that the due date and Patriots’ Day coincided, but there was never any doubt about which was more important.

But now I get an unexpected gift: My friend Steve informed me that the day Holden turns 18 will be the day of the 2028 Boston Marathon, meaning Holden could be the youngest runner in it, if he so desires (and qualifies).

Who knows if he’ll even be a runner.  But as a brand new dad, I now have my first unreasonable expectation to keep in the back of my mind.  Maybe I’ll inform him of the opportunity when he’s about 10.

Thank you all for the congratulatory comments you’ve written.  And special thanks to Caitlin, Gena, Billy, and Jamie for giving you something to read while I took some time to just enjoy being a dad.

Chickpea Fritters from ‘Clean Food’

How do you segue from a baby to a recipe?  Like this.

In anticipation of the lack of time that a new baby brings to his parents, Erin and I have been making meals that can be easily doubled and frozen for use in a pinch later on, say when Holden has decided that nobody in the house needs to sleep after about 3 a.m.

The millet patties from Clean Food were perfect for this—we made two batches and froze a good 12 or 15 patties for later.  And we found another that works just as well: Chickpea Fritters.

When I first saw the name, I expected glorified falafel.  They turned out to be so much more interesting than that.  These chickpea fritters, we discovered, are a nearly perfect vegan substitute for eggs.

Yes, eggs.  I’ve never been a big egg-eater; the taste and smell turn me off.  Which is a shame, because omelets always look so appealing with all their fresh ingredients.  And savory breakfast just seems so good.

We ate them for dinner, but now that I know what they’re like, I have a new breakfast food for special occasions.  The turned out nice and fluffy like eggs, but without that egg smell that grosses me out.  And they’re not unborn chickens, which is cool by me.

I hope you give these a try.  They take a little advance planning, since they’re required to chill for 2 hours.  Other than that, it’s a pretty simple recipe.

Crispy Chickpea Fritters

(posted with permission, copyright CLEAN FOOD, copyright 2009, Terry Walters, Sterling Publishing, Co, Inc.)

  • 2 cups chickpea flour
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 red onion, minced
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Grapeseed or extra virgin olive oil for frying

In a large pot over no heat, combine chickpea flour, water, salt, onion, carrot, rosemary and olive oil.  Whisking continuously, turn heat to medium and continue to whisk until mixture becomes quite thick (about 15 minutes).  Remove from heat and either whisk by hand or with a handheld blender to smooth out any lumps.

Oil 9 x 12-inch glass casserole and spread mixture evenly across the bottom.  Cool slightly, cover and refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours).  Remove from refrigerator, cut into thin strips and gently remove strips from casserole.

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Heat large saute pan (cast-iron gives a nice crispy outer crust), cover the bottom in oil and fry fritters 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove from heat and place on paper towels to absorb excess oil.  Keep fritters warm in the oven while you fry up the remaining strips.  Serve immediately.

Serves 6-8.

Snubbr.com and CEP Compression Sock giveaway winners

To close out this long post, I believe I owe you two giveaway winners.

The first is for the Snubbr.com contest, where you were asked to select a favorite vegan cookbook you’d like to win.  The winner is Brittney, who selected Veganomicon.  Can’t fault her for that choice.

The second giveaway was my biggest yet, a pair of awesome compression socks from CEP.  The winner is Katy, one of few women who didn’t choose pink.  She went with black compression socks, and perhaps for that reason, the gods of randomness smiled on Katy.

Congratulations to the winners, and big thanks for Snubbr.com and CEP Sportswear for hosting these great giveaways.



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  1. oh my goodness!!! he’s absolutely perfect 🙂 congratulations to you and your beautiful wife!

  2. He’s gorgeous! (as is your wife) Congratulations! Enjoy every blessed second.

  3. Congrats to you and mom!
    .-= Bryan´s last blog ..DailyMile Virtual Training Group =-.

  4. Congrats again to you all! I can’t wait to see you run next April. And, maybe even before that in Scranton.

    Off to see if I can find chickpea flour somewhere.
    .-= Nicki´s last blog ..Takes a Village … =-.

  5. Holden is adorable! Congratulations! And I love the name!

  6. Your little one is a sweetie!! He’s adorable. I love that you waited to find out the sex until he was born- I feel like we live in a world with no surprises, and that’s a wonderful surprise to have!
    .-= Heather @ Side of Sneakers´s last blog ..Being Green =-.

  7. I definitely would have been one of those to be angry when you didn’t share. I love the name you chose, congratulations! I’d love regular updates and pictures, but I suppose that doesn’t necessarily fit with your blog. Maybe aunt Christine can sneak a few of those in for a sweet-tooth post 🙂
    .-= Caroline´s last blog ..An awesome weekend, all around! =-.

  8. Congrats Matt! Boston will be there next year for you.
    .-= Brett´s last blog ..Tapering – Every Runner’s Best Friend and Worst Enemy =-.

  9. Too adorable for words! Huge congratulations to you and Erin. How amazing will it be if he runs Boston on this 18th birthday — I am sure you will run with him 😉
    .-= Whitney @ Lettuce Love´s last blog ..Why Do You Bother? =-.

  10. i personally will LOVE to see pics of this lil’ guy as he gets older. soooo happy for you and erin – i can tell he is well-loved and primed for boston 2028 🙂
    .-= holly (the healthy everythingtarian)´s last blog ..Crazy =-.

  11. What great pictures! You all look so happy, congrats!

  12. awwwwwwww Holden is so cute! And Erin looks fantastic! Congrats again. So glad things are going well. You better keep giving us updates or yes, I will be mad 😉

    Those chickpea fritters look of this world. I need to get my hands on some chickpea flour stat! Have a good rest of the week with your little bundle of joy
    .-= Erica´s last blog ..Body Step 79 Launch & Pizza Pot Pie (Vegetarian & Chicken) =-.

  13. congrats!! what a beautiful family!
    .-= RunToTheFinish´s last blog ..3 Changes Challenge Check-In #1 =-.

  14. “first unreasonable expectation”… bwahahaha… that made me laugh! Beautiful healthy baby, glowing mama, proud daddy, delicious chickpea fritters, who could want more? Congratulations!

  15. What a wonderful child – (and great parents too!)
    Thanks for sharing : )
    I love his name!
    .-= kara´s last blog ..Earth Day is Everyday =-.

  16. Congratulations on a perfect baby boy! So glad to hear everything went well and that y’all are happy and healthy. And personally, I do not mind the occasional baby update in the slightest, so don’t be shy, Holden!
    .-= Chrissy´s last blog ..every day is earth day. seriously. =-.

  17. Congratulations! Best wishes for your new family. Love how you slipped in a recipe post with Holden’s introduction to the blog world. 🙂
    .-= Lori´s last blog ..Granola Pancakes =-.

  18. I, for one would have been extremely disappointed if there wasn’t at least a little Holden-update. Thanks so much for posting the pictures! He is beautiful (and so is Erin :)). Hope to be able to periodically hear about his training — I mean growth! 😉
    .-= Lauren (Health on the Run)´s last blog ..An Ode To My Water Bottle =-.

  19. Holden is so beautiful and so adorable! Congratulations to both you and Erin! I’m glad to hear that mom and baby are both doing well! Hooray! 🙂
    .-= Aimee (I Tri To Be Me)´s last blog ..1st Masters Swim – wow! =-.

  20. Holden is beautiful! Congratulations Matt and Erin! And welcome to the world, little buddy! :o)

  21. congratulations!! what a beautiful baby boy!
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Love for my Mother Earth =-.

  22. Oh I’m so glad you DID write a piece! I would have been one of the angry ones if you didn’t:)

    I’m so glad everything went well and I couldn’t help but tear up a little at how beautiful it is to become a parent.

    I’ll be honest, that could have been because I myself am pregnant with my own baby boy and soooo excited to have a son.

    • Diana, I keep forgetting to congratulate you on your pregnancy. I didn’t realize you knew it was a boy already! So neat. Always good to know more babies with health-conscious parents are coming into the world. 🙂 You have lots to look forward to, these first few days after his birth have been magical.

  23. AHHHH I clicked through as soon as I saw baby pictures and chickpeas — what a great combo 🙂 — then I saw that I…yes me…won the sock giveaway!!!!

    So excited…what information do you need from me?
    .-= Katy´s last blog ..When Life Hands You Fail Whales… =-.

  24. i have been waiting for a full-on baby report for days, actually, so thank you! and many congratulations!

  25. congrats – beautiful post and beautiful baby/mom!
    .-= Sonal Modisette´s last blog ..out of the box – track workout =-.

  26. He’s so precious… and your words about Holden’s birth were perfect. They were great in this context without being too much “off topic” or neglecting all of us that cared to hear about him! Congratulations to you and Erin on your new addition.

    PS – I’m making those millet patties for dinner tonight. Hope my husband doesn’t revolt for giving him 3 vegetarian meals this week so far! 😉
    .-= Jill Will Run´s last blog ..Relay for Life 2010 =-.

  27. AWWWWWW, omg he is adorable, and I am sure one day you will run Boston.
    And those chickpea things look really really nice, I have to attempt them, they seem like a cool version of polenta to me.
    I agree, eggs are odd.

  28. I know I’m a little late in saying this but CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I got a little teary looking at those pics. I don’t even *really* know you but I’m just like in awe of anyone who is a parent.

  29. I’m am so glad that Erin’s pregnancy and labour went as smoothly as could be expected- thumbs up for vegetarian power! Holden looks such a lovely, sleepy baby- I hope he continues to keep sociable hours 😉 Is Holden a traditional American name? Forgive my enquiry- this little Brit has never come across it before- lovely though! I’m surprised that the chickpea fritter recipe made it into the cookbook without a nod to the French or Italian origin of the dish- its basically an exact duplicate of panisse! Still quick and delicious however, it has saved me many, many times after a long shift at the hospital 😉

    • Laura, just looked up the origin of Holden; it’s actually English! I figured it was German.

      Very interesting that the dish is a copy of panisse. I’ll look that up! Is the original vegan?

      • Ooops, it seems I am letting my country down then! I know it is a fairly uncommon surname, but I like it far better how you and your wife have used it! Yes, the original panisse is vegan- something to look out for if you ever travel in France, or Northern Italy, as is socca!

  30. Your son is adorable! Congrats!!!

  31. donna (greatest aunt) says:

    He is wonderful – just like his parents.

  32. What an angel baby! He is so lucky to have you and your beautiful wife as parents. Best wishes to you and your lovely family. My daughter is 14yo (vegan for life btw) now – and I can remember her birth day like it was yesterday. Cherish the moments – it is trite, but they do speed by!

  33. He’s absolutely beautiful! So glad labor and delivery went well and your newest family member is home safe and sound with his two wonderful parents.
    .-= Katherine´s last blog ..New and Improved! =-.

  34. CONGRATS!!! he’s adorable 🙂 glad you’ve been enjoying him, and hope you’ve gotten some sleep!
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..Newton Running Weeks 3+4 =-.

  35. Absolutely gorgeous!! Congratulations! I know you will make great parents! You two already have the nutrition and exercise part down. I’m so happy for you! That is wonderful! Enjoy your time with your son!
    .-= Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete´s last blog ..Something Has To Change =-.

  36. i’m so sorry you missed your race, but i can see you know where your heart lies.
    congrats on a gorgeous new addition!
    .-= rebekah (clarity in creation.)´s last blog ..this is not about food. =-.

  37. Holden is absolutely beautiful! Great name too.
    And Erin looks wonderful! Congrats to you both, hope you are enjoying this time to the fullest. As a parent whose babies turned 18 just last week, I can honestly say the time goes by much too fast, so make the most of every minute!
    .-= meatlessmama´s last blog ..What’s Growing On =-.

  38. Congratulations…Holden is absolutely adorable!!! I hope you and your lovely wife are enjoying yourselves with the new addition to the family!! =]
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..Boston Marathon: Part 3 =-.

  39. Oh he’s just lovely. Congrats! Savour every moment with him – it’s insane how quickly they grow and change!
    .-= Christine @ Grub, Sweat and Cheers´s last blog ..Read, read, read… =-.

  40. Congratulations! I’m so glad you’re still writing, even though you must be so busy with your new baby! You motivated me to start my own blog too; even though I’ve only written a couple of entries so far! It’s at http://theyear4kindness.blogspot.com/

    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..Why I decided to become a vegetarian =-.

  41. Love it – I am obsessed with all things chickpea related. I’ve also been trying to figure out what to do with all of the extra chickpea flour I impulsively bought at an exotic foods market, so this is perfect. The new little guy is adorable!! Fingers crossed for Boston 2028… hopefully I’ll still be running it by then too (I re-qualified this Monday for 2011)!
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..Heal the world (and my legs!) =-.

    • Congrats on requalifying, Catherine. I wonder if I’ll be able to do that when I run Boston. If I could barely qualify on a much easier course, I’d have to be in pretty good shape to do it again at Boston.

      Either way, I’ll be there next year. Maybe we’ll see each other!

  42. Congratulations! Holden is adorable. Enjoy every minute, it flies!
    .-= N.D.´s last blog ..WINNER – CEP socks! and florida =-.

  43. Aww! He’s adorable! And the product of two veggie parents…CONGRATulations!! 🙂

    You give me new confidence that one day when I have a child as a vegetarian he or she will turn out just fine…and not green with seeds hahahaha!

  44. He’s adorable!! Congrats to your family!
    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Boston Marathon Recap – MARATHON MONDAY!! =-.

  45. Congrats on the birth of your son.
    .-= AndrewENZ´s last blog ..My best long run yet =-.

  46. Congratulations!! Holden in beautiful 😀
    .-= Danielle (Coffee Run)´s last blog ..Scatterbrained post =-.

  47. Congrats Matt and Erin! Welcome baby Holden! I was just thinking about you guys today and that Erin’s due date was last week, I’m so glad I peeked in! So glad to hear L&D went well, hope you are enjoying your babymoon! Congrats again!

  48. Congratulations on your beautiful family!!!!

    These chickpea fritters look so good, I’m really hoping I can make them. They seem right up my alley.

    I’ve linked to this recipe with my Favorite Top Ten Recipes of last week list!

    ~Aubree Cherie
    .-= Aubree Cherie´s last blog ..Tangy Split Pea Soup =-.

  49. CONGRATS! so happy for you and your family! he is just PERFECT 🙂

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