Sunday, January 31, 2010

Photo Finish!

It is January 31st! Another month almost gone. We are ending January with another snow day. Church was cancelled because of the snow so we are enjoying playing hooky. It is a beautiful sunshine filled day. Max and Mia are loving crunching around in the snow.
Max was feeling brave and ventured out to sled all by himself. I quickly sent Ty out after him. Mia soon joined them as well.
Our apartment is warm and we are happy to be together for one more day before Ty heads back to work for the week. This afternoon we will be making some muddy buddies and I am hoping to read the new Ensign. Magazines are my idea of fun on a snowy day!
January has been a wonderful month! I will leave you with a thought from Nigella Lawson:
"No matter what the question; Trifle is always the answer!"


Saturday, January 30, 2010

A New Twist

I have often heard the phrase : Death by chocolate.
Kind of a sad way to go don't you think? Something so wonderful turned deadly.
I was recently reading a post on thepioneerwoman.com
It read : Life by chocolate.
A much better phrase I think.

Mo' Snow :)

We ended up getting a little more snow than I had hoped for!
Ty got up this morning and took the kids outside for some winter games. There was lots of sledding and track making. When the cold set in they all came in for waffles. Saturday snow days are the best! We are happy to be home together to enjoy it! We are going to keep warm with some cocoa and watch some movies. Later I have plans to make the famous Baked brownie! It should be a great day!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Little People

Isn't the back of Zackary's head adorable?

Bubble Wrap

Last night we introduced Mia to bubble wrap. It was a big hit! She especially enjoyed jumping on the wrap for extra loud pops :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Apartments and Dreams

We have enjoyed our little apartment here in Tennessee. When we finally arrived almost 2 years ago we had spent 6 months living at my parents house and the apartment seemed huge and spacious! Since adding an additional person to the family and being stuck indoors because of the cold it does not seem so large anymore! We have one main living area apart from the bedrooms. It is one room and it consists of our dining room.....
....our home theater....
....rec. room and seating for visitors.....
...Home gym and fitness center.....

....A small library....
....and a mudroom.
I try to keep this room clean so that unannounced visitors will not be horrified, but it is difficult when the room serves so many purposes!
I do dream of one day owning a house with one of those sitting rooms at the front that always stays clean and you only use for visiting and home teachers.
And while I'm dreaming....I'd like a pony!

Baked Day #2

After my previous post about fitness I thought I had better make something a bit better for me than chocolate cake :)
"Baked" has a great breakfast section and I wanted to try their granola recipe. I have only one other recipe for granola and it is a chocolate peanut butter granola. As you can see I have a problem. This recipe was for a basic cinnamon and nut granola. It was easy and turned out really great!
I put some granola in a bowl and topped it with banana slices. I am not a big fan of dried fruit in my granola but I like to top it with fresh fruit when I eat it.
This next step is not for amateurs. I poured a little heavy cream over everything. It was mighty fine!

The Shred

I have been incorporating the Shred into my workout routine for a few weeks now and thought it was time for a review!
I think Jillian is awesome! She pushes you and makes you want to work harder. I think the strength training parts of the workout have been really good for me. I wasn't doing much strength at all before. The cardio, however, is on the whimpy side. I still feel the need to hop on my treadmill after the workout for a good run.
For me I think I will continue to use the Shred for strength training in addition to some of my own cardio.
As always I am a big believer that when it comes to exercise, something is better than nothing. It is important to find what works for you :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Smiles!

There is something so sweet about little babies. I so appreciate Zackary. When Max and Mia are fighting or running around like crazy people Zackary just looks at me and smiles. Today he sat on my lap while I read aloud to him from "The Last Treasure". He is the best little friend and I love him Tons!

A Messy Success

I stopped by the library today to pick up my copy of : Baked, New Frontiers in Baking.
I have been wanting to sneak a peek at this book for a long time. It is written by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito who own Baked bakery in New York. Their brownie recipe made Oprah's list so they must be amazing. I have many recipes to write down and try. Today I decided to make the Sweet and Salty Cake. I have been way into the whole sweet and salty combination lately so I thought this sounded fab!
It is a basic chocolate cake that is layered with salted caramel and whipped caramel ganache frosting. Pretty delish! This cake was a lot of work for me. I am usually a cookie baking kind of girl and cakes have always been my nemesis but I am determined to get better! I followed the recipe and came out with a great cake in spite of a few small disasters!
The recipe is copyrighted so you will have to go out and get the book yourself :)
It will be well worth it!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Anticipation

I have requested the "Baked" cookbook from the library and I am hoping that I will be able to pick it up tomorrow. There is going to be a lot of baking going on here!
I apologize in advance for the amounts butter I might use :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Friends

Little Miss Mia sat on a pillow with her good friend Desire'e...
We babysat for some friends tonight. Mia had a great time reading and playing with her friend from nursery.
Max loves having company to entertain and show off for. He read his friend Maya a story. (We read this book enough that he knows it from memory, but it is very cute to watch!)

Apple Cinnamon Loaf Cake

This is a simple cake to make. It would be perfect for a snack or even breakfast.

2 apples (peeled and cut into small chunks)
1/2 cup butter (melted)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon honey
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 cup flour

cinnamon sugar (for apples)
powdered sugar (for dusting)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Toss apples with cinnamon sugar and set aside.
3. Whisk melted butter together with the sugar. Mix in the water, honey, eggs, salt, and vanilla.
4. Combine the flour with the baking powder and add to the butter mixture.
5. Stir in the cinnamon sugar dusted apples. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake 40-45 minutes.

Dust with powdered sugar :)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pretty Smiles!

Today Max and Mia had their very first dentist visit! They both did great. No cavities! The dentist was very generous with the goody bags and filled them with Dora and Diego toothbrushes and stickers. The kids are actually looking forward to the next visit and I am so glad that this one went well :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Chilly.....

....weather calls for Chili! Chili and cornbread to be precise. My cornbread recipe comes from my mom and it is the best, and easiest cornbread recipe ever!

Cornbread

1 box butter recipe yellow cake mix
2 boxes jiffy corn muffin mix

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Pour mixes into a large mixing bowl and stir in all of the additional ingredients called for. (this usually ends up being 1 stick butter, 5 eggs, 2/3 cup milk, and 1 cup water, but it may be different depending on the brands you use.)
3. Pour cornbread into a greased 9x13 and bake for 35 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Serve this with honey butter and it will be better than cupcakes :)
Mia wore her chef's hat that Aunt Stephanie sent her for Christmas.
Max offered to do the dishes. What a great helper!

The Rain Took Us....

.....to the Library! We were in great need of new reading material and some new movies for Max. Max selected, "The New Adventures of Superman". It really isn't new anymore, but perfect for a 4 year old who loves superheroes!
I got some fun stuff too! I found this new brunch cookbook by Gale Gand. It has a recipe for some chocolate waffles that I think will be perfect with strawberries and whipped cream!
I am hoping this one will be a fun read. It is a novel written by a serious foodie, caterer, entertainer type person and it includes messes, successes, and some recipes. After the library we had a cozy lunch at Panera. The kids shared some mac and cheese and I had my most favorite tomato soup. Tomato soup has always been my favorite since I was little. I think it always will be :)


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Making Mia's Day

Mia is always very sad when we drop Max off for preschool. She wants to stay and play too! I try to make our time together special and fun so she does not feel so left out. Today, after taking Max to school, she got to pick out a doughnut. She loved that it had pink sprinkles and kept telling me how pretty it was!

Time

I have been talking to friends a lot lately about "finding the time". Finding the time to exercise, clean, read, cook, and the list goes on. Where do we find this time we are looking for? This morning I thought I had found it. I woke up at 5:45 ready to get my "Shred" on with Jillian. Not 10 minutes into my workout routine Zac was up and in need of entertainment. I made him comfortable and happy on the couch and finished my workout. Not as much fun with an audience, but I was pleased. I decided to finish off my morning routine with a 10 minute run on the treadmill. Just as I was starting Max came out and needed a granola bar right away. I opened the granola bar and hopped back on the treadmill. I finished my run and then took Zac into the shower with me. It has been a while since I have showered alone. I don't know that "finding the time", at least that ideal time, for anything is a possibility right now. I am doing the most that I can in the time that I have with whoever happens to be there.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hand - Me - Downs

We just love hand-me-downs and Zackary loves sitting in his little pink bumbo chair :)

Spice is Nice




For years I have used the same chocolate chip cookie recipe. It has been a great one, but I am ready for something a little different, and maybe a little bit better.
I have read several recipes that use sea salt to enhance the cookie's flavor.
I decided to give it a try and this is what I came up with:

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt

1 stick butter
1/4 cup + 1/8 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup + 1/8 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 generous cup flour
Chocolate Chips
sea salt for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream the butter with the sugars. Add the sea salt, and the baking soda.
3. Mix in the egg yolk and the vanilla.
4. Stir in the flour and chocolate chips. (I also added pecans to mine)
5. Roll dough into balls and place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle cookie dough balls with sea salt.
6. Bake for 9 minutes.


Tiny Tumblers

Our day began with a foggy drive to the Hendersonville My Gym. On the way there I made a quick stop at Starbucks. I have heard that the soymilk used at Starbucks is especially rich and creamy. I put it to the test and ordered a hot chocolate made with soy. It was super creamy and delicious. I don't think I will go back to the regular stuff! After my happy little indulgence it was on to the gym!
Max had a great time! I loved seeing him climb the rock wall.
Mia was a little hesitant at first and played a little basketball all by herself.
The big hit of the day was the ball pit. Max jumped right in. Eventually Mia jumped in too and she spent most of the time in their with the balls!
video
It was a great way to burn off a little energy and have some fun! Zac and I enjoyed watching the kids play and I felt very trendy with my to go hot chocolate from Starbucks. It was a very happy morning!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Ty!

Ty is 29 today! It has been a busy Sunday. Ty had early morning meetings before church and more meetings after, but when he finally made it home for the day we had a great lunch ready for him. I made a roast chicken and potatoes au gratin. A little clean up and it was time for the main event - CAKE!
We had some friends over to celebrate with us. We sang Happy Birthday and served up the peanut butter cup cake. It was a cake that needed to be served with generous amounts of milk. It was awesome!
Ty got a toolbox, socks, and snickers bars for his birthday present this year. Kind of random, but all needed :)
Here he is, the 29 year old love of my life.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ty's Birthday Cake

Tomorrow is Ty's 29th birthday! We are busy getting ready for the celebration :)
I searched far and wide for an appropriate cake for such an occasion. I found this one at bakerella.com and knew it was the one!

Peanut Butter Cup ~ Cake
AKA: Ty's b-day cake!

1 box Devil's Food Cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (I didn't have any, so I substituted enough sour cream, chocolate syrup, and regular milk to equal one cup)
1/2 cup butter
2 cups chopped peanut butter cups ( plus more for decoration)

In a large bowl mix the cake mix with the eggs, milk, and butter.
Gently stir in the chopped peanut butter cups.
Bake cake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes (depending on size of pan. I used 2 rectangular brownie pans and cooked the cakes for 20 minutes)

Allow the cake to cool completely

Ganache
8 oz. dark chocolate (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup peanut butter

Melt all ingredients together in a saucepan. The ganache will be thick.
Pour ganache over cake and top with excessive amounts of peanut butter cups.
Can't wait for tomorrow! Happy Birthday to me, I mean TY!

Friday, January 15, 2010

I Heart Apples

I love apples. I love apple crisp, apple pie, apples in my grilled cheese sandwiches and apple and onion stuffing!
My friend Annie sent me this great recipe for a caramel sauce that goes great on waffles or pancakes, but I think it is perfect for dipping apple slices!

CARAMEL DIPPING SAUCE ......for apples :)
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/2 C sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 C milk
2 tps vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt

Place butter in a saucepan and melt over medium heat. Add flour and cook for a minute or two. Stir in sugars and milk and cook until slightly thick (mixture will thicken much more as it cools.) Stir in vanilla and salt.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mia is....

A little ray of sunshine