Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Desserts.

Here's a few keepers from the last couple of months.

Strawberry Crumble. 
We went berry picking a couple of weekends ago, and the strawberries we brought back were absolutely the sweetest, ripest, juiciest berries I've ever eaten! I froze a bunch for smoothies, made this, my favorite jam, and strawberry shortcake. And we will probably be going back to the patch again because it was so incredibly delicious! 

Crumble:
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. oats
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick butter, melted

Filling:
2 c. strawberries, hulled and cut into quarters
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. lemon juice

Mix the first seven ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix strawberries, additional sugar and lemon juice. Press half of the oat mixture into the bottom of a greased 8x8 pan. pour strawberry mixture on top and finish with the remaining oat mix. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.


Strawberry Shortcake

Filling:
3 c. strawberries, halved
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. orange juice
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. lemon juice

Cakes:
1 1/4 c. flour
3 T sugar
1 t baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3 T chilled butter
1/2 c. buttermilk

Whipped cream

Combine strawberries, sugar, OJ, vanilla and lemon juice in a bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher. Refrigerate.

In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until crumbly. Add in buttermilk and stir until mixed. Turn dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll out and cut into squares. place 1" apart on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Bake at 425 for 10-12 minutes. Let cool.

Stack shortcakes, strawberries, and whipped cream in layers and serve.


Earl Grey Tea Cookies
These were a total surprise to me! They are SO good! I'm planning to make them for a baby shower in a couple of weeks. They can also be made vegan just by using vegan butter instead of regular!

2 c, all-purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. salt
2 T Earl Grey Tea (about 4 bags worth)
6 ounces butter/vegan butter
2 t vanilla
1 T vanilla soy milk

Mix dry ingredients together in a food processor (or by hand if you don't have one like me)! Add in butter, vanilla and milk and continue to process (ahem, stir) until dough becomes slightly sticky. Roll into a log and place in plastic or parchment. Chill for 30 minutes to an hour. Cut into cookies and bake at 375 for 10 minutes.


Texas Sheet Cake Cookies
The name pretty much says it all. 

Cookies:
1/2 c. butter
1/3 c. sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 c. flour
1/2 c. chocolate chips, melted

Icing:
1/2 c. butter
2 T cocoa
3 T milk
2 1/2 c. powdered sugar

Mix butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add in egg vanilla and combine. Mix flour, salt and powder together in a separate bowl and gradually add them into the wet mixture. Finally, add in the melted chocolate chips. Shape into cookies on an ungreased cookie tray and bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes.

While baking, make the icing by melting the butter and adding int he cocoa and milk. Stir in the powdered sugar until desired consistency is reached. When cookies are done, pour icing over cookies. Allow to cool before eating.


Brown Sugar Cookies
Holy Schnikes, I may never make regular sugar cookies again! 

2 c. flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c. butter, melted,
1 1/4 c. brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 c. granulated sugar (optional - for rolling)

Mix the first 5 ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Add in egg and vanilla, then slowly add in dry ingredients. Chill for 2 hours.

Roll cookies in sugar if desired, then bake at 325 for 8-9 minutes.


Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars
Possibly the most fattening, delicious thing I've ever put in my mouth. And SO simple to make!

1 stick butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 c. flour
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/4 c. heavy cream

Mix the butter, brown sugar and vanilla together. Alternate adding in the flour and sweetened condensed milk. When combined, add in 1 1/2 c. chocolate chips. Chill for 2 hours. In a microwave or on the stove, melt remaining cup of chocolate chips and heavy cream together. Pour ganache over bars and spread evenly. Let chill another 2 hours before serving.



Sunday, May 17, 2015

From the Mouths of Babes (Okay, just one babe).

I've been trying to write down the cute things that Samuel says and does lately. I haven't been super successful. I do have a few things though. I'm afraid part of the problem is that I just don't realize some of the cute things he does until he stops doing them.

For instance, my friend Mary Claire pointed out a few weeks ago that he calls cookies "tookies." She and her husband thought that was HILARIOUS. I was totally oblivious! And now his hard "c" sound has developed a lot in the last few weeks, and he's not even doing it anymore. It's kind of a bummer.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite things Samuel does right now:

Songs.
He LOVES to sing to himself,often songs I'm unfamiliar with that he's either
a) made up,
b) learned at preschool or
c) heard on the cd that plays at the Y.
Last night Eric and I spent most of dinner trying to figure out what in the world he was singing. It sounded like a song about a bunny, but then he started screaming, "fire! fire! fire! fire!" in the middle. We finally figured it out it was:

Something's burning! Something's burning!
Watch out! Watch out!
Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!
Pour the Water! Pour the Water!

Haha.

He also told me one day that Barney is a dinosaur. He learned that at preschool. I asked his teachers. They did listen to a Barney soundtrack one day. I thought it was crazy that he remembered that!

Other favorites are the alphabet, the "months of the year" song, "Jesus Loves Me," B-I-N-G-O and the Bob the Builder Theme Song.

Thoughts on Family
We've been discussing a lot lately about how Samuel is a boy, mommy's a girl, etc. etc. When asked about daddy, though, he informed me, "Daddy a MAN!"

Glad we're clear. ;-)

Also, "Mommy, you a bear. I a lion. You grr. I ROAR!!!"

I asked him one day how old everyone in our family was. "Seem-yule 2, Daddy 3, Mommy 21!"

I don't know whether to be honored or offended.

Also, Samuel typically gives me a big hug every morning when I go get him from his room. Eric had a nice month in April where he didn't go to work until 8, so he and Samuel got to see each other every morning. By the end of the month, I'd walk into his room and he would run past me and say, "No hug mommy! HUG DADDDY!!!"

I probably should be offended by that one, but, let's be for real, it was just too darn cute!

Sassiness and Such
Or whatever the boy version of sassiness is. Let it be known this does not work on us one bit. But it IS funny. ;-)

We are constantly getting told, "Hey! You come back hee-uh!"

His favorite response to questions: "Of course."

His favorite question: "Whah-chyoo doin hee-uh?"

And, of course, "Seem-yul duh boss." Nope, sorry kid.

"Mommy, I hungry. You go get food?" Sometimes he asks (demands?) this when there is food in his mouth/hand.

And, my favorite, "You give kisses! More hugs! More noses! More eyes! (he likes us to put our foreheads together -- I don't know where he got that from!!)" He usually wins on that one (except when he's just really fighting bedtime. ;-)

Pastimes

Samuel is all about collecting rocks and sticks right now. It's not uncommon for us to bring 5+ of each home anytime we go on a walk/go to the playground. And that's just what I allow. He'd bring the whole park back if I let him.  REALLY big sticks get held over his head and called, "umbrellas."

We're into wearing sandals a lot now since it's warm out. He sometimes calls them sandals, but, when he gets lazy, he just calls them his, "toodles."

We love to go. Sometimes Samuel wants to skip a step and he just comes out of his room in the morning with his shoes on over his PJs. Too bad we can't all run around like that.

Other Cute Things

We also have a lot of bumble bees around our house these days. They are affectionately known as, "buzzy bees." Always.

Samuel LOVES his little toy dog that sings and plays music. One night, I went to go tuck him in, and he said, "Mommy, duh dog need new batte-wees please!!" How can I say no to that one?

He's also getting really interactive with our cat (much to the cat's dismay). He's always tattling on the cat to me, ("He on duh cown-tuh mommy!") or running up to him and saying, "Connuh! Wha you do-in? You wants to play with me?"

Of course, everything is also "mines" right now. Particularly Eric's brown recliner. We mostly let him sit there, but every now and then he just doesn't get his way. Like earlier this week when I was in the chair. He said, "I sit in mommy's lap?" Well, of course. Then he started kicking me a little. I told him he needed to get down if he was going to kick. He said, "Or mommy move to couch."

Stinker.

Samuel is an amazing counter. He can easily count to 30 without help and we've gotten as high as 75 with him asking me for help at 40/50/60 etc. (He just got bored or I think he would have gone to 100). He gets the concept, though. Now he's really into counting backwards, except for some reason he always skips 7. "10, 9, 8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1." His 13 also sounds a lot like 15. I'm not correcting him any time soon. ;-)

Okay, one last story and I'm done. I just know it will probably be 2 more months before I get any of this down.

I got Samuel these cute PJs with bugs all over them. He was really excited about them, so we wore them the first night we took them home. About 30 minutes after I put him to bed, he started crying and would NOT stop. I went in to check on him and asked him what was wrong. He said, "Mommy! THE BUGS!!! NO MORE BUGS!!" Haha. Poor baby. We changed jammies and he went right to sleep. So now I guess I'll be selling those brand new PJs...


There's probably still a ton I'm forgetting. He's just growing so stinkin fast! He says and does so much now I often forget things soon after they happen. Anyway, at least I'm getting something down. I know I'll be grateful later on!

Friday, May 1, 2015

It's May/Beach Trip in March

Did I even post anything in April? Probably not. The laptop I usually post from is on its last leg... or maybe last 1/8th of a leg. Seriously, it's done-zo. And once it dies, we will have not one, not two, but THREE dead laptops hanging around our house that my husband doesn't want to get rid of. Le sigh.

Anyway, I can hardly believe that it's MAY! I feel like 2015 is just flying by! I'm super behind here, but I thought I'd post a quick blurb about our beach trip in March. It was an adventure all its own.

Eric had two weeks of vacation, so we spent the last 6 days at Kiawah Island, SC, about 45 minutes outside of Charleston. Eric's parents and sister and brother in law came out for the last few days of it, so we stayed in this super nice house about a mile from the beach. The island had tons of bike/running trails and a cute little shopping area. It totally felt like a place you could come stay for the whole summer like they do in the movies.

Unfortunately, we only got to go to the beach one day of our six. The other days were rainy and cold. Which was fine, since we had our amazing house to stay in and Charleston not too far away. We had a lot of fun watching March Madness and playing pool. At least until our dear sweet son decided to stop sleeping...


That's when things got a little (a LOT) not-vacationy. The first day was fine. On Day 2, Samuel decided napping was lame and climbed out of the pack and play repeatedly until we finally gave in and let him skip his nap. On day 3, we went to Charleston and didn't even bother with the nap. He crawled out of the pack and play at night a couple of times, but still went to sleep,

He skipped his nap again on Day 4. This happened around 3 pm. 



But then the rest of the family got there, and he REALLY didn't want to go to sleep. Day 4 meant not going down until close to 10 pm, and then a little nose in my face at 6 am the next morning. "Mommy, watch Peppa Pig?" And it all would have been well and good if he would have actually just WATCHED Peppa Pig,but he wanted to run and jump and kick me a bunch. Oh my.

And of course he still didn't nap.

Sleeping in the car on the way home.

By the last night, Eric and I were sleeping in a big bed with him... We fell asleep at 11 pm, I don't know when he went out. And we were up at 6 again doing nothing. As you can imagine, it turned out to be a very grouchy week. We were still so thankful we were able to go, though. We got to visit with family, go to the aquarium, eat some yummy food, and see some more of God's beautiful creation!

When we got home, Samuel decided that, since he could crawl out of the pack and play, he should just crawl out of his crib too. So he did. Three days later, we moved his mattress onto the floor, rearranged his room, and put him in his "big boy bed" for the first time. It's been an adjustment and he still isn't sleeping as much as he needs to, but he at least stays in his room all night.




Hopefully our next "relaxing" beach "vacation" will be a little less adventurous. ;-)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Winter Made Me Do It - Part 3

I mentioned in my first post that Samuel had been super trying lately.

Because of course, the day it starts snowing, setting off a chain of relentless preschool cancellations and child care closings, IS the day my child would decide to:
a) learn how to climb over the baby gate
b) learn how to open the refrigerator
c) decide that napping is for losers (thankfully THAT only lasted 4 days. whew).

So, since Eric's month of nights is over (he still has 2 more weeks coming, but I'm in denial about that), and Samuel has officially made himself allowed upstairs, we converted our guest room into a full-fledged playroom.

This has simultaneously been my best and worst decision of the winter. At least 28 times a day I hear, "Upstairs, mommy!" And, after we are up there for 8.5 seconds, "Downstairs! Take TRACTOR downstairs!" Oh, don't worry, he wants tractor back upstairs within 5 minutes.

There's also no good way to block the playroom off from the cat's litter box and food, Eric's computer and other office supplies, or the bathroom. That's led to a lot of Samuel's stuffed animals "eating cat food" and "going potty (both in the toilet and the litter box)," multiple re-sets of Eric's desktop, and lots lots LOTS of time outs and various other punishments.

Le sigh.

At least he's been pretty funny.

Like when he told me that "Daddy eats cat food." Hmm. He's also been informing us that "Daddy too big!" (to play with his toys).

Or how he wants to say happy birthday to his puzzles, elmo, his books, and, of course, himself ("Now cake!") Except he just says "Happy to you!" That's pretty cute. (Really, it's for any holiday, because at Valentine's he said, "Happy to you valentines!!")

We did make it to a birthday party last week a few hours before snow storm #3. I felt kind of bad for him, because his little face lit up SO much when everyone started singing Happy Birthday, and it got SO sad when he realized it was not for him. It's tough being 2.

We've been asking Samuel who to pray for at night. Usually it's his preschool teachers. Sometimes he throws in Elmo, his playroom, trains, and baby Moses. We make it work. ;-)

Today in the car, Teddy was "praying" - for Grammy, Pappy and the BEACH!

Samuel also told me that Teddy was his best friend. And Thomas the Tank Engine. And Percy. (He finally listed some real people too. But NOT mommy and daddy. We're the mommy and daddy).

Eric asked Samuel what show he wanted to watch on TV. Samuel told him, "NOT Friends!!"

He's also taken to calling Eric whatever I call him. Lately that's been, "Baby," "Honey," and just plain "ERRRRICCC!" Haha.

Everytime he realizes there's snow on the ground, he goes, "Ooh! Snowflake time!" Never "snow." Always "snowflakes." I love it.

After the latest snow storm, we decided to build a real snowman (much larger than our previous 10-inch tall one, "Olaf.") I asked Samuel what to name him. "Olaf 2!!"

He's gotten pretty good at counting, until fourteen, that is -- then it goes "sev-uh-teen, fi-teen, TWENNNY!"

And today, driving home, he started singing. I'm pretty sure this isn't what he said, but it definitely sounded like: "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, How I want to eat you -- ARR!" Haha.

I feel like he's way funnier in person than when I write things down. Maybe it's because I've lost it from being trapped inside for 2 weeks? ;-) Whatever the case, trying as he may be, I'm REALLY glad he's around!! He makes me laugh every day!

Winter Made Me Do It - Part 2

1100 Miles, baby.

Eric correctly pointed out that that is pretty much the equivalent of running to Dallas. I countered that it took me a whole flippin' year, so that's really not that impressive.

It is a lot of miles, I suppose. An average of just over 3 a day for the last year.

I like that running is something that's steady in my life.

February did not make it easy on me. I never ran more than 6 miles at a time and the darn snow tried to keep me away. It was too slippery and cold to run outside, the gym child care kept closing early, and my nose and lungs made breathing particularly hard (who am I kidding? I'm still sitting here sniffling and coughing as I type). I'm not going to pretend like I enjoyed it last month.

I definitely enjoyed meeting a GOAL though. I'm way too goal-focused. But maybe that's not the worst thing in the world. I think I also felt like if I did this in spite of the dumb winter, in spite of the laziness I felt, that it would really be a victory, not just a goal achieved.

Hopefully I can keep up with last year's mileage for the next few months to maintain 1100. I want to try some new classes and diversify my work outs though. I also need to work on that eating healthier thing. ;-) If only brownies weren't so good!

Winter Made Me Do It.

It snowed some more. And we all got a cold. Samuel has been testing us a TON -I think, because he is bored and tired of being trapped inside (just like his momma!). So all in all, not our favorite week ever.

Some good has come of it though. We've tried some new recipes, Samuel has said some funny things, and I did accomplish a fitness goal. I'll dedicate this post to recipes. ;-)

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
Easy and yummy!

1 lb. ground chicken
1/2 c. Italian bread crumbs
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1/2 T. garlic powder
1 egg
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
(the recipe also calls for some lemon zest, but I omitted that).

Mix ingredients together, roll into balls, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Chocolate Molten Cake
Gnam Gnam. 

3/4 c. butter
12 oz. chocolate chips
1/2 c. heavy cream
5 eggs
3/4 c. sugar
2/3 c. flour

Melt butter, cream and chocolate chips together until smooth when stirred. Add in eggs, then sugar and flour. Pour into greased (buttered) cupcake pan and let cool for one hour, up to one day.

Bake at 450 for 8-10 minutes, until the outsides are set. The inside should still be a little runny. Let cool 3-5 minutes before serving.

Eggless Pancakes
For the days you plan to make fish, but the grocery store doesn't get any in since it snowed. So your husband requests pancakes, but you have no pancake mix. Or eggs. Or even bananas (which seem to be a popular pancake base). Man, I am thankful for Pinterest!

1 1/4 c. flour
1 T baking powder
1 T sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. milk
2 T. vegetable oil
2 T. water

Mix it up... Make pancakes. ;-)

I've also made multiple attempts at the perfect brownie. I've made some pretty darn good ones, but still nothing that lines up with the Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate boxed mix. I *will* figure out their secret one day (artifical flavors?).

I also made granola, some more banana bread, a few batches of banana oatmeal (my favorite breakfast!), and some homemade chicken alfredo and a sausage and rice casserole - they were both good, basically just meat and veggies in a white sauce, so nothing I can't come up with again.

There were also a few batches of Cowboy cookies and no-bake cookies in there....

Can you tell I have a cooking/baking problem?


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Snow (ish)

I'm not going to pretend that I understand what it's like to live somewhere really cold. I've got Texas blood, after all. But even this born-and-raised-in-the-south gal thinks it is really really crazy how life totally stops when we get the teeniest bit of snow around here. Like, an inch or two and everything shuts down all. week. long.

I'm not saying I blame them for closing schools - I don't want 5 year olds waiting for the bus in -10 degree windchills, nor do I want 16 year olds driving on black ice to try and make it to school on time. I get why they put school on hold. But, good golly, everything seems to close early or stop completely. Like the pharmacy - closed early all week. A consignment sale I tried to go to today 5 days after it snowed? Closed "for inclement weather." ?!?!?!

And somehow it makes my child super duper extra intense. He's pretty much always 100% on or off, but this week it's been like 500%. And the emotions - oh, my! He just needs to go run outside. He needs it.

He did enjoy the snow when we were out in it, though. He kept telling me (over and over over), "Mommy, snowflake time! Snowflake time!" He never just says "Snow," it's always "Snowflake!" That's pretty cute.

We built a snowman ("Olaf"). And when he sees snow melting now, he says, "Oh, poor poor Olaf!!!" I chuckle at that, too.

And he does look pretty cute in his snow boots (that he refuses to take off) and hat and coat. Getting all that stuff on and off adds an extra 15 minutes to our coming and going though.

So, you get the point, it made for some cute pictures, but I'm over the "snow" (aka, the few patches of ice that are left lying around). See ya next year, winter. Bring on the heat!




Throwing snow in his own face. Goofball. 


"Olaf."

The sun was really bright reflecting off the snow, so all week he has been yelling, "GO AWAY SUN! NOOO SUN! AHHH!" until he gets his sunglasses on. Drama King. 

Hard working man.