Thursday, July 14, 2016

White Chocolate Cranberry Walnut Oat cookies

Being a mom is an emotional roller coaster.

A few weeks ago I felt like I had a clingy baby and couldn't do anything without having to hold him in the process.  Many days he would only sleep if I was holding him.  He was waking up on average 2-3 times a night.  I was often frustrated about this.

Then one day he decided to grow up.

Just like that.  He turned 4 months old and became an adult baby who doesn't need his mama as much anymore : (  He rolls over, sucks his thumb, puts himself to sleep, won't sleep if I'm holding him, and is basically a professional baby now.  Now this frustrates me too, but at least he still needs me to feed and change him!

Haha...sometimes you just can't win!

I am proud of my little guy, and every time another developmental light bulb goes off in his head it makes me so happy.  The days go by quickly and I am really making a conscience effort to not get frustrated when the house needs to be cleaned, or my to-do list is getting neglected.  To me, the most important thing is to really savor these precious moments with our little guy, and to take as many opportunities as possible to play with him, to watch him, to cuddle him and to love him.  I know that in a blink of an eye he will be graduating college, and I just want to enjoy this special time with him.  Mama and Charlie one-on-one heart is full : )

When super baby is napping I'm usually in the kitchen making something.

When I'm in the kitchen I'm usually making cookies.

When I make cookies they are usually fattening but delicious.

I was in the mood for a non typical cookie and decided to try a new recipe out.  I found this one on all recipes, but altered it a bit to my liking and to my pantry.

White Chocolate Cranberry Walnut Oat cookies

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

In mixing bowl cream together butter, brown sugar and sugar.  Beat until smooth and creamy.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla.  Scrape bowl and beat again.

In separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Whisk to combine.  Then add the oats, cranberries, white chocolate chips, and walnuts.  Stir to combine.

Add dry ingredients to the wet and beat until combined.  Scrape bowl and beat again.

Using a small ice cream scoop or TBS. drop onto parchment lined baking pan pretty close together.  freeze for 1-2 hours.  remove from freezer and space out more on pan.  Bake in 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.  DO NOT OVER BAKE unless you want a dry crispy cookie.  If you don't plan on eating all of these cookies at once you can scoop the batter onto parchment and freeze, once hardened place in ziploc bags and bake directly from the freezer as needed.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Husband Pancakes

I remember when my hubby and I were just friends and there was some issue that we totally saw eye to eye on.  It kind of took me by surprise and I remember looking at him differently after that.  One of the reasons that we started dating was that we found that we saw eye to eye on lots of other things as well.  Up until meeting him there was no one that I had ever been so in sync with was such a nice feeling when we both realized we were two puzzle pieces that had finally been matched together.  All was right in the world. : )

The husband and I still agree on a lot of things, most importantly the big things.

One thing we do not agree on however, is the thickness of our Sunday morning pancakes...

He likes thick pancakes, I like thin ones.  This is his go to recipe and he loves making these pancakes.  He found the recipe somewhere online and always wants to make them.  They come together quickly and really are delicious...that is for thicker pancakes : )

 Husband Pancakes

1 1/2 cups of milk or milk alternative such as almond milk
4 TBS vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
6 TBS sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
4 TBS melted butter
2 tsp vanilla

Combine the milk and vinegar together in a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
In smaller bowl whisk the milk/vinegar, egg and melted butter together.
Mix the dry and wet ingredients together in a bowl until just mixed, a few lumps is okay, don't over mix.
Let the batter sit for about 10 minutes.
Grease pan or griddle, pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan or griddle.  Cook until bubbles appear on top of the pancakes then flip to brown on the other side.  Serve with REAL maple syrup : )

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Super Green Smoothie

Green smoothies? Yuck.

That is my general response to most green smoothies I have tasted.

This however, this I like.

Now that I am a nursing Momma I snack ALL THE TIME!  I'm not kidding folks...ALL THE TIME!

I usually have a smoothie at least once a day and usually in the afternoons around 4 to hold me over until dinner.  My go to smoothie is my banana chocolate almond smoothie, but this one is definitely going to be made a few times a week now.  Plus, its green, so that means it extra okay to eat it right? : )

I found this smoothie recipe on the barre3 website...which is my favorite go to for most of my workouts.  If you are looking for a great exercise program this one is pretty great, not too expensive (they usually have groupon or living social promos every once in a while - my subscription ends up being about $6/month), and no jumping : )  I always feel great when I stick to their workouts on a regular basis, great for toning!

Now that summer is here you need to make this recipe and help cool down on these hot summer days!

Super Green Smoothie
adapted from the Barre3 website, serves 2

1 frozen banana (you can also use non-frozen)
1 pink lady apple, cored and chopped, skin on
1 cup kale, raw, stems removed
1 Tbs. flaxseeds, ground
2 Tbs. sunflower butter (or almond or peanut butter)
1 Tbs. pure maple syrup
1 cup almond milk, unsweetened, or your favorite milk or milk alternative
Blend all ingredients until smooth, add ice and blend until desired texture is achieved.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Pie

Are you ready for summer?  I'm not.  It is looking like it is going to be a wicked hot summer here in Texas...and I have never been a fan of the extreme heat. : )  Summer looses its allure when you are no longer a student and you don't get the long break filled with summer camps, swimming all day, sleepovers, and adventures.  Sooner then later we will be having adventurous summers with our Charlie boo. : )

Now that I am a stay at home Mommy I find myself wanting to try new recipes for dinner all the time.  This one was a winner!  I have long loved spaghetti squash and was happy to find a new way to cook with it.  I plan on adding this one to our regular rotation of dinner options.

Spaghetti Squash Pizza Pie
Adapted from the Paleo OMG blog

1 large spaghetti squash
1 pound ground Italian sausage
1 yellow onion, diced
3 large handfuls of fresh spinach
1 cup red spaghetti sauce of choice (I like Newman's sauce)
1 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper, to taste
3 eggs, whisked
(optional: add anything you like with pizza: pepperoni, veggies, basil, even cheese if you want)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Place spaghetti squash cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the skin of the squash gives when you press on it. Then reduce oven heat to 350 degrees.

Once squash is done cooking, remove threads and place in an 9x13 greased baking dish.

Place a large pan over medium heat. Add Italian sausage and onion. Cook until pink no longer remains in the sausage and it is broken up into pieces.

Add red sauce, spinach, dried basil and salt and pepper to the pan and mix well.

Add sausage mixture to the dish and mix well with spaghetti squash threads.

Lastly, add whisked eggs to the baking dish and mix everything together until you can no longer see the eggs.

Place in oven and bake for 50 minutes or until the top of the mixture forms a slight crust that doesn't give when you press on it in the middle of the dish. Top with pepperoni and bake another 10 minutes.

Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.  Makes great leftovers!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

White Chocolate Brownie Cookies and Serving each other

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small 

things with great love.- Mother Teresa

We were with some friends this weekend and one of the guys was joking with his wife and said something like, "Woman, get me a beer"...this was all in good fun and we started talking about spouses demanding things like this from each other.  When you demand things from your spouse or anybody they are less likely to do it, and will probably make them angry.

While we were discussing this topic I was reminded of a conversation I had a few years ago with a woman who had been happily married for about 40 years.  I asked her what was the secret to their marriage?  She responded with this: "Every morning when we wake up he takes a shower and I make him a cup of coffee.  When he gets out of the shower the hot cup of coffee is waiting for him.  He starts his day knowing that he is loved and cherished by me, and I start my day knowing that I am needed and appreciated.  Then at the end of the day I take my shower and when I get out a hot cup of tea is waiting on my night stand for me.  So, I end my day knowing I am loved and cherished and he ends his day knowing he is needed and appreciated.  This simple act of serving and taking care of each other really gave them both the right attitude towards each other in their marriage.

Now I know I am no expert in marriage, seeing as I have been married less then a whopping 2 years...but we are definitely happier when we are making an effort to serve and help each other.  While I am nursing baby he asks what he can do to help me, when he gets home I try to have dinner ready for him, when I am low on gas in my car he makes a quick trip to fill up my car, when he has work parties I make his cookies to bring.  At the end of the day everyone wants to feel loved, appreciated, and needed - and this is truly a key to a happy marriage.  Instead of saying "woman, get me a beer" or "husband empty the trash" - maybe we should all be looking for ways we can serve our spouses before they have to ask?

This doesn't just apply to marriages, but to all relationships...if we keep asking ourselves how can we serve others and make them feel loved, appreciated and amazing would that be?

One of the ways I make my husband happy is by making him cookies...way too many cookies...these cookies are our new favorites and we indulge in them a few times a week.  Like all my cookie recipes I make a batch, scoop them, freeze the dough raw, and then pop a few into our oven or toaster oven when we need some dessert...which happens to be every darn night in our household...we are seriously cookies addicts up in here!  If you over bake these cookies you will be disappointed...take them out of the oven even if they don't look me on this. : )

White Chocolate Brownie Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 stick unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup white chocolate chips*

Melt butter and unsweetened chocolate together — you can do this on the stove over very low heat, stirring constantly until almost melted. Take this off the heat, stir until completely melted and stirred together.

Whisk sugars into melted butter and chocolate, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Whisk in baking soda and salt. Add cocoa powder and stir to combine. Then add flour and stir until just combined. Allow batter to cool 5-10 minutes. Then add white chocolate chips and stir until combined.

Scoop cookies out using a 1 TBS ice cream scoop onto parchment paper and place in freezer for at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350°F 

While oven is preheating remove cookies from freezer and place a few inches apart from each other onto a parchment lined baking sheet...they don't spread that much.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, at which point they will still definitely look under baked, but you should take them out if a fudgy-centered cookie is your goal...which it should be : ) 

*Milk, semi-sweet, dark or peanut butter chips also work well in this recipe.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Teriyaki Bowls

When I got married my heart was so full and I didn't think I could be any happier...then I became a Mamma. : )  I love my little guy so much...I mean look at this face, how could you not love him? : )

Oh, did I mention I had a baby!  Life changing is an understatement.

In March we had a perfect little boy, weighing in at 5 pounds 4 ounces...he was a little early, but in the end it all worked out.  This is the reason posts have been so sparse!  Now that I am back to eating all foods again I have been cooking and trying new recipes more recipes to come soon!

I was really worried about transitioning into being a stay at home mom, but so far it just feels so I was born to do this! : )  I look at my 2 guys and am just so grateful to have them in my life!  I have decided that if  given the chance everyone should get married and have babies, it is a very good thing for your heart. : ) 

This is a new recipe I have made a few times in the last few weeks.  It is a great way to use up some random veggies you have lying around your fridge.  Feel free to be creative with the veggies and meat. My sister suggested cooking the rice in coconut milk instead of water, and was good!  Be creative with the grain too: rice, brown rice, quinoa, rice noodles, etc.  The first time I made the sauce I followed the recipe and used sugar, the second time I used honey instead...both turned out yummy dinners, so do what you prefer.

Teriyaki Rice Bowls

  • ½ cup Soy Sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar or 1/8 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons warm water

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 pound Ground Turkey, ground chicken, or chicken breasts cut up into chunks
  • 2 cups finely chopped combo of any of these: broccoli, zucchini, snow peas, snap peas, mushrooms, red/yellow/orange peppers, bok choy, any veggie you like in stir frys
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced small
  • 2 green onions, diced, for garnish, optional

Mix soy sauce, water, red wine vinegar, sugars or honey, garlic and ginger in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir with a whisk until sugar is dissolved.

In a small bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons warm water and cornstarch until cornstarch is completely dissolved.

Heat sauce over medium high heat. Slowly whisk in cornstarch mixture and simmer until thickened. Remove from heat and set aside.

Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and cook until soft.

Crumble ground turkey or chicken and garlic into the pan and cook until meat is about half cooked. Add carrots and chopped veggies and continue to cook until meat is no longer pink.

Pour teriyaki sauce over cooked turkey and vegetable mixture and stir. Simmer for about five minutes to combine the flavors.

Spoon meat over rice or noodles. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Flaky Almond Milk Biscuits

Is there such a thing as "Daddy Nesting" before baby arrives? : )  Andrew has been on super accomplish things mode, and has really been rocking it to prepare for baby.  I on the other hand am in slow mode as my belly and feet increase in size and my mobility is quickly slowing down these feet seriously look like giant hobbit is quite funny Mom and Andrew have had quite a few laughs over the hilarity of their size. : )  Thank goodness my belly is also growing - so soon I won't even be able to see my feet!

Anyways, please note from the pictures the lovely yellow walls that my husband painted for us, and the grey end tables I finally found to complete the furniture in our TV room!  Yeah for baby steps!  We have gone a bit paint crazy and have only a few rooms left to paint - can't wait for it all to come together!  My goal is to at least get curtains up before baby arrives in a few weeks...too ambitious?

I guess we should focus on more important things like coming up with a name for "Baby".  So much pressure and responsibility it is to name a human being...seriously, I don't want to screw this up! : )  I love names so much, and having a good name is so important to me.  I think I wrote a million papers in college about the importance of a name, and how it identified some intrinsic thing in each person.  Andrew and I can't seem to agree on any names though, so I'm not too sure how this is going to end up : )  We keep revisiting our name list and then crossing things off and giving up.  "Benjamin" was the only boys name we agreed on, but then realized our kid would be called "Benjamin Moore" which is a paint there goes that idea : )  Maybe we will just wait for Baby to grow up and he/she can name themselves instead!

At least we can agree on our love of breakfast food!  : ) Hubby and I usually have a nice breakfast at least once on the weekend...a nice change from our weekday smoothie or oatmeal.  Usually we have pancakes or waffles, but this time I realized all the lovely jams and honey options in our cabinet and decided they needed a vehicle to get into our bellies.  These were super simple to throw together and were flaky and delicious indeed!  Added bonus I used almond milk to make them - but if you have regular milk on hand - by all means use that instead!

Flaky Almond Milk Biscuits
adapted from the Sunlight Cafe cookbook

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 TBS sugar
6 TBS cold unsalted butter
2/3 cup cold almond milk and 1 tsp vinegar (mixed together)*

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the flour, salt, baking powder and soda in a food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse a few times to combine.  Cut the butter into diced pieces and add to food processor - pulse a few times until mixture is a coarse meal.  With the food processor running pour the almond milk/vinegar into the processor - pulse 3-4 times until mixture comes together.  DO NOT OVERMIX!  Pour out dough onto very lightly floured surface - roll into a ball and pat into a flat 8" circle.  Using a 2.5" diameter drinking glass cut out 8 biscuits.  Place onto parchment lined baking sheet a few inches apart.  Bake 12-15 minutes until slightly golden.  Enjoy with salty butter, honey, and an assortment of jams and jellies...or make into a breakfast egg sandwich.

*If you have regular cow's milk use that here instead, or omit the vinegar and use buttermilk.
* also if you don't have a food processor you can also make this in a stand mixer or by hand.