Thursday, February 26, 2009

National Pancake Week

Did you know that this week is National Pancake Week? Well, now you do!

To celebrate, we made some Whole Wheat Applesauce Pancakes for dinner and served them with Marionberry Rhubarb syrup (courtesy of a relative), bacon, and eggs for some of us. Mmmmm...Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so any excuse to have it for dinner is OK in my book!

Nana came to spend the day with us too, so we also took a walk, collected some foliage, made a collage, baked cookies, played Hullabaloo and Elefun over and over and over, and engaged in general silliness.

Pancakes for dinner?! Word.

Syrup in the hair...that's how we roll...

The best part of baking cookies:

Obviously, Ava put a few cookie dough balls in her mouth while she was rolling them...

Whole Wheat Applesauce Pancakes

2 eggs

2 cups whole wheat flour, sifted

1 cup milk (1/3 cup powdered, 7/8 cup water)

1 cup natural applesauce

1 tsp salt

2 T baking powder

4 T melted butter

Combine all the ingredients, mixing until smooth. Cook on a hot griddle or skillet. Makes about 16 pancakes. Serves 4.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

the recipe

Yes, I forgot. Sorry.

Here's the recipe I used for my red beans and rice:

Red Beans and Rice

2 T olive oil
2 small onions, diced
1 large green pepper, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
8 oz andouille sausage, diced (optional)
2 T chili powder
1 t paprika
3 cups cooked red beans (I used canned last night, but it tastes better when you cook your own)
1 1/2 c tomato sauce (I used Newman's Own Sockarooni)
1/2 cup water
as much Tabasco as you can handle

Hot cooked rice

In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, pepper, and garlic, saute until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add sausage, saute several minutes. Add chili powder and paprika, saute 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients, bring to boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Serve over hot cooked rice with Tabasco on the side. Mmmmmm...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras Party!

A few years ago, Mardi Gras meant bar hopping and *ahem* collecting beads downtown. Tonight, it meant throwing together some red beans and rice and a cheater's King Cake (aka Monkey Bread), turning on the Mardi Gras channel on Pandora, wearing our masks and necklaces, and dancing like loons. Even Joel was a good sport and joined in the fun!

Saturday, February 21, 2009


If you've met Joel, you know he's as geeky as they get. Cars, computers, video games, and Star Wars. Funnily enough, he sticks his nose up at D & D. He's been trying to make Ava into a fellow geek since day one. Well, really day 4.

As she's gotten older, Ava has been able to help Daddy rotate tires, change out brake pads, play Star Wars Legos on the Wii, and build computers. This afternoon Joel had to do something that he tried to explain to me but of course my eyes glazed over involving a mother board, and Ava got to help him. She already knows how to work a screwdriver and apply thermal glue.

Joel says that he wants to make Ava into a geek to scare the boys off. My guess is that they'll be knocking down our door once they find out that there is a cute girl out there who knows how to build her own motherboard and change out her own brake pads.

Friday, February 20, 2009


I've officially become the mom who makes every holiday into a party. I really tried not to be this mom, but it's just too much fun! I'm embarrassed to admit...I like themes. I like crafts. I like cooking and baking. Getting to do crafts and cooking with a theme...PARTY!

Mardi Gras is this coming Tuesday, and I honestly have never given it much thought outside of a few years of *ahem* fun going to various bars and once, Vegas, in my wild youth. My, how times have changed.

I found this template for some cute masks, so this afternoon the girls and I decorated our masks. I found a recipe for King Cake that I might attempt to make on Tuesday (although I might cheat and make monkey bread instead), and we're going to have some dirty rice or jambalaya for dinner. Yum! I say that any holiday that is just an excuse for cocktails, Cajun or Creole food, and masks is welcome any time!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

By popular demand!

Virtual Cupcake! I made a few of these to take to tonight's MOMS Club board meeting. The cake is moist and fluffy, the icing is chocolatey goodness. Of course, you get to enjoy the fat and calorie free version :)

Here's to you, Aviva!

Yellow Cupcakes with Shiny Chocolate Icing
from The Pioneer Woman Cooks


2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup (plus a tad more) whole milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt.
With an electric mixer, mix butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl and mix for a few more seconds.
Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
Add vanilla. Mix to combine.
Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk in three batches, mixing for a few seconds after each addition.
Scrape sides of bowl, then mix one final time.

Fill paper-lined muffin tins 3/4 full with batter. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until poufy but not brown. Cool before icing.

Sticky Chocolate Icing

3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
2 tablespoons butter

Mix ingredients together in a small/medium saucepan. Melt ingredients over medium low heat, stirring gently. Icing is ready when all ingredients are melted and combined.

Spoon warm icing over warm cupcakes, stirring icing to smooth after every third cupcake or so.

Allow iced cupcakes to sit at least ten minutes before serving.

Makes 12 cupcakes


Monday, February 16, 2009

it's only Wednesday?

It's already been a crazy week...organizing, deep cleaning, trying out new recipes, babysitting swaps, play dates, school...and it's only Wednesday! No time for soaps and bonbons, that's for sure!

I've reorganized the girls' art supplies, along with my crafting supplies (and finished a needlepoint project that I started a year ago! WOOHOO!), so now of course I need to make a to do list of projects I want to do for myself, projects I want to do with the girls, think about upcoming holidays and birthdays...

This evening I've got my MOMS Club board meeting and I am honestly happy to say that there are only a few left until my term as president is over. I'm not burned out exactly, but I'm ready to be done. I took on the role because I really didn't like the direction our chapter was going in the past few years and I have to say that I am really happy with what we've done this year. I would never presume to take all (or even most) of the credit, as there are 4 other board members who work very hard with me. It's been fun steering this ship and I can't wait to pass on the gavel. I know that I would be completely lost as a stay at home mom without the support of my fellow MOMS members, and I hope that they are as happy with the chapter as I am right now.

Finally, here's a recipe that I tested this week and really liked. It was easy, healthy, and you could modify it to suit any taste:

Zucchini Pizza Casserole



4 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese, divided

1 pound ground beef

1/2 cup chopped onion

1 can (15 ounces) Italian tomato sauce

1 medium green pepper, chopped


Place zucchini in strainer; sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 10 minutes. Squeeze out moisture.

Combine zucchini with the eggs, Parmesan and half of the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses. Press into greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.

Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add tomato sauce; spoon over zucchini mixture.

Sprinkle with remaining cheeses; add green pepper. Bake 20 minutes longer or until heated through. Yield: 6-8 servings.

***NOTES*** You could definitely substitute any kind of ground meat you have on hand - turkey, pork, chicken. Anything would work. You could also change up the toppings. I felt that *gasp* this was too cheesy...I'd only use about 1 cup total for the topping.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

adventures in dining

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and it was quite possibly the perfect day. Well, aside from the massive hangover that I was nursing, thanks to the coffee and Bailey's I started drinking early on Friday and then wine night with some girlfriends...

It started off with Joel making the girls and I eggs in a nest for breakfast, then we headed out for a bit of shopping (the girls got to pick out a treat each at a toy store that was having a massive sale). We came home for lunch, cleaned up our toddler ransacked office (how does one childproof an office?!?! Suggestions, please!), and then headed out to an early dinner at a great pub down the street. When we got the girls to bed, Joel and I got some TV watching in and then had an early bedtime. There was even a trip to Dutch to satisfy my craving/cure my hangover. Good times.

The pup we ate at is actually pretty kid friendly - they've got a nice play area and a large kid's menu. We ordered the girls' favorite, macaroni and cheese, but it came in the form of noodles in a very soupy sauce (that tasted wonderful, by the way). Emily decided that it was best eaten with the chips off my plate, as that made it easier to dribble sauce everywhere. And I mean everywhere. Luckily, the waiter loaned me his mop to clean the floor, table, and child up. Needless to say, we left a very nice tip.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

a hearty breakfast

Joel made his three favorite girls a nice breakfast this morning of eggs in a love nest and some bacon. Now that's love.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Feeling the LOVE

OK, I know, Valentine's Day is the brainchild of Hallmark, See's, and capitalism. Still, my domestic self is happy to have any excuse to bake and be crafty. And in case you are needing last minute ideas for sharing the love with school friends or family, here are a few cute ideas:

I downloaded these cherubs and let Ava paste them on some red crepe paper hearts for Valentines for our MOMS Club party (we're taking Valentine's crafts to a retirement community).

I'm planning on taking these whoopie pies to my girlfriend's house for cocktails on Friday night. Because cheap wine totally goes with red velvet cake. Mmmmmm...

I know I'd appreciate someone (ahem, *cough* JOEL *cough*) bringing me my morning tea all loved up using this great idea.

I've almost got enough sweaters gathered for one of these scarves. Personally, I think this is adorable any time of year!

These are pretty similar to the Valentines that Ava made for her playgroup party today. SO easy and fast.

I think we're crafted out for Valentine's Day, but I will definitely be trying this for St Patty's Day...this would make a cute teacher gift!

Anyone else have any cute ideas to share?

Monday, February 9, 2009

The best sugar cookies you will ever make. Really.

Yes, I'm weird...I've been in a long, long search for the perfect sugar cookie recipe, and I've finally found it. These cookies are moist, chewy, and light. The roll out very well and don't spread when you bake them...perfect for holiday cookie baking!

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies
via Allrecipes

1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely.

**NOTES** I usually make a half recipe and get about 20 cookies. If I do that, I use the whole teaspoon of vanilla. I've also been known to leave the vanilla out and add a teaspoon of lemon zest. Mmmmmm...lemony...but I digress...

Today, we made some heart shaped cookies and sprinkled them with (what else?!?) pink sanding sugar. Too bad the girls didn't eat all of their dinner. Oh well, more cookies for me!

Oh and for those of you who are's called working out. At a gym. And chasing two crazy children (and usually, some of their friends). So I'm eating all of the cookies I want. :P

WWE, baby style

This is what happens while I mop...

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Is there anything more adorable than little kids eating sushi? I think not!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

When life hands you lemons...

Make cake! Or you know, grab some Grey Goose and make a lemon drop. But, sad times call for financial spending to be reigned in. So...make cake. It's cheap and comforting. Especially when it's half cake and half pudding. mmmmmm...

This one goes out to Karli, who has had a crappy week. We share a love of many things...mothering, coffee, wine, reading, and lately, baking. I hope that she will bake this cake and feel better, if only temporarily.

It starts with grating some lemon zest...have I mentioned how much I love my Microplane?:

Ava likes to help me juice stuff:

We're all weird here and we like to eat our lemons. Plain. Sometimes with salt.

Stir the buttermilk, egg yolks, zest, and juice:

lightening the batter with some of the egg whites:

Ava likes to fold:

Lemon Buttermilk Pudding Cake
inspired by Marion Cunningham via the Fanny Farmer Cookbook

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs, separated
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8 inch square glass or ceramic dish. Fill a larger baking pan (I use my roasting dish) halfway up with water, place it in the oven while it heats.

Place egg whites in bowl and beat until soft peaks form.

Combine buttermilk, egg yolks, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth.

Combine sugar, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Make a well with your fingers, pour buttermilk mixture in. Stir to combine.

Add about a third of the egg whites to the mixture and stir to lighten. Fold the remaining egg whites in, careful not to overmix and deflate the batter. Pour into prepared 8 inch pan. Place 8 inch pan in water filled pan, bake 30-40 minutes.

Feel better? Yeah, me too.