Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Chocolate makes my clothes shrink...

My SINCERE apologies for the crazy time in between posts. Things have been crazy busy and I keep forgetting to bring my recipes to work so I can update my blog. I do all my interwebs stuff on my phone and it really sucks trying to update my blog, as well as adding pictures to it, via cell phone. So I have to bring the information to work and take care of it that way. I know, I need to get with the times and get some damn internet at home.. I just don't need any other expenses right now.

So, to update on the kids a bit: Falon is still loving school! She's doing so awesome and learning so much. I'm very proud of her and she comes home and impresses me with something new every day. She just had her birthday last Thursday, and she is officially a 6 year old. HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? Who knows, but time is flying by way too fast and I really need to find a way to stop my kids of growing. I'm not really liking it. Rhylon is doing great. Surgery hasn't had any affect on him whatsoever. We did have a flare up a couple of weeks ago, he was swollen and it was red, but it's gone down a lot and is doing much better. He's sitting up on his own now, however, he's very top heavy, so that massive noggin of his makes him fall over.. a lot. He's trying his damndest to crawl, too. He keeps trying to get up on his knees, gets halfway there and then just gives up and starts crying cause he's so pissed off. Slowly, but surely! His personality started to show a while back, but now he's starting to really be his own person. He crinkles his nose when he smiles and it's cutest thing in the world. He squeals when he laughs. He laughs when you toss him in the air. He likes it when you make kissing sounds, he scrunches his shoulders up and smirks. I just love having a baby in the house again!

So moving on, I have a recipe for a chocolate chip pound cake and it's so simple and delicious.. you'll find yourself coming to this recipe often for a quick dessert.

What you need:

1 Duncan Hines box of butter cake mix (I usually use the golden cake mix, though)
1 box (4oz) of instant milk chocolate pudding mix (I was told not use fudge, but I do so anyway)
3/4 c. of canola oil
1 c. buttermilk (if you only have milk - refer to my Red Velvet Cake post and you can make your own!)
4 eggs
1 6oz. package of semi-sweet chocolate chips (I have used milk chocolate and the swirls before - so I don't think this one matters much)

Preheat oven to 325º.

Pour cake mix and pudding mix into a large bowl- mix them together until there are no more lumps (can take up to 10 minutes). Add the remaining ingredients (except the chocolate chips) at once and beat thoroughly until mixed well. Mix the chocolate chips in by hand. You can use the flour trick so they don't sink to the bottom of the batter during baking, but I usually don't. The trick is just to lightly dust the chips with flour, get rid of an excess flour and fold them into the batter.

Butter/oil/spray (whichever it is that you do) your bundt pan and bake for 45-60 minutes. Rotate pan after 30 minutes. After 50 minutes, do the toothpick test. If not done, continue to bake and watch it carefully.

When done, let it cool for about 10 minutes before flipping it over onto a plate.. then let it cool and enjoy!

Here is a picture for your viewing pleasure (we might have ate a bit before I could get to it to take a picture.. haha):

Next week, if I can remember the recipe, will be a pie!! A very delicious pie!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Christmas in July! (or August in this case)

Yes, I know I have been slacking the past few weeks. It's kind of been crazy for me! Falon has started school and Rhylon's surgery has snuck up on us so quickly, I feel like I haven't even had time to breathe!

Christopher's Birthday was on the 15th.. the old man is now 33! LAWL. We went and spent the day in San Antonio and ended with dinner at the Green Mesquite, but not the original one so I imagine it wasn't as good. We stopped by the Bass Pro Shops and got some new stuff for the fam, it really was such a wonderful day. We don't get to do much anymore due to schedules being hectic and different, and the days that we have time, we relax (as best we can)! Speaking of birthdays, my great niece, Marlee Rae, turns 3 today! I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday. I can't believe she's growing up so quickly! I hate that we're missing her birthday party tomorrow :( but with the surgery being on Monday, the bottom line is we weren't able to afford driving out there. HOWEVER, we WILL be making it up to her in every way we can. Karah, if you're reading this, give my baby girl lots of love from her Emmi and Bubba, we miss and love you guys tons!

Falon has started school!! Today is her 5th day, and you would think she's been going for years! It was such a bittersweet moment, I tried my best not to cry when I left her, but I did tear up. As soon as we got there, she was quick to make us leave. "Okay, I'm here, you guys can go now!" She loves her desk, her teachers, and already knows a couple of students from the neighborhood. The first thing she told me when she got home from her first day of school was there was a boy named Preston in her class and that she likes him. Whaaaa? Good thing her daddy didn't hear that.. But, she does have a new BFF now, Morgan. Apparently they've already coordinated what they're gonna be wearing the next day so they can match. So cute. If we can do a birthday party for her this year, it'd be awesome to have her friends from school now. The other day, she told me that a lil girl cried in school because she missed her mom, and when I asked her, "Well, what about you?", her response was "Oh, I was fine, mom." *blinks* Wow.. such rejection. Despite me hating the fact that she's so independent (don't get me wrong, I love it, too), I really am very excited for her and so happy that she's excited, too!

Rhylon just hit the 5 month age mark a couple of days ago.. how the crap did that happen?? What have I done in the last 5 months, I can't even remember because it's passed by so quickly. I'm super nervous about his surgery on Monday, but it needs to be done. I know it's routine, I just HATE to put my baby boy through something like this. Work isn't going to let me take off more than a week, so I'm hoping he's in the home stretch the second week of healing. I hate to leave him when he needs me, but I also gotta keep a roof over his head. I'm hoping the next 2 weeks go by just as fast as the last 5 months have! This is not a part of his life that I want to remember!

So next month, a friend is having her birthday party and to say that I'm super stoked about it would be a total understatement. We're totally gonna have a blast, we're gonna get some new tats, have some drinks! I will be posting pictures to my FB as soon as I can!!

Alright, let's move on..

*Drumroll, please* Aaaaaand, the Crinkles recipe! This is Christopher's favorite cookie, it's not necessarily a Christmas cookie, but Christopher's mom always made it for Christmas and that's the only time he ate them. He says they don't taste right any other time of the year. However, I love these cookies, and so do pretty much every one at work, so I showed off my baking skills and brought them and shared the glory!

What you need:

2 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of canola oil
2 tsp of vanilla
4 oz. of melted unsweetened chocolate squares
4 eggs
2 cups of AP flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1 cup of powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the sugar, oil, vanilla and melted chocolate until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, then finish with the flour, baking powder and salt. This is a pretty thick mixture, so mix it for a while for good measure. Refrigerate the dough for AT LEAST 4 hours or overnight (I find the cookies turn out better if left overnight), or if you're in a bind, in the freezer for at least an hour.

Get yourself a cookie sheet, and make sure it's heavily greased. I'm not talking a light coating, but don't get all crazy. You might need to make this recipe a few times before you figure out how thick a layer you want. I will use shortening and spread it on with a baking brush. If you don't put enough, the cookies will stick and not turn out right.. if you put too much, the powdered sugar will soak it all up and ruin the cookie.

Put the cup of powdered sugar in a small bowl or a plate. Now roll the dough into 1" balls and cover completely in the sugar, you want a thick layer of the powdered sugar on them. Then place on the cookie sheet about 2" apart.

Bake about 10 minutes (my oven requires 11.5 minutes - no joke, it's that precise), and DO NOT over bake. I wouldn't recommend going over 12 minutes, and that's even pushing it. These cookies are VERY sensitive and you will soon know why I only make these a couple times a year. As the cookies bake, the powdered sugar will crack on the top; be sure to immediately remove them from the oven and onto a cooling sheet. Cover in an airtight container cause these suckers will dry out quick.

These are some messy cookies, and some might say that the powdered sugar isn't REALLY powdered sugar cause they are SOOOO addicting and amazing, and delicious. Imagine a thick brownie cookie covered in powdered sugar. There are no words.

Enjoy the awesomeness that is a Crinkle below! (These had just come out of the oven and currently cooling off, they're teasing me!)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This will leave you Inspi(red)!

Alright, kiddies, this post has one of the best recipes I have in my book. And frankly, one of my specialties. It only took me 3-4 times to master it, but it was well worth it. This is Christopher's ultimate favorite cake and I make it for him every year for his birthday. (Sometimes he even gets two because his mama will make one as well!) Stay tuned...

Things are starting to get better with the boy, he's sleeping much better at night now, and just a lil bit longer each time. However, he seems to like to fight eating. He'll push the bottle away and scream at you and when I try to nurse him, he'll eat until it's no longer pouring out of me and then just looks at me like I'm crazy for making him eat more.. which only lasts maybe 10 minutes. But he doesn't act hungry.. he just wants to hang out and stare at you. We have an appointment tomorrow and I'll mention it.. I'm not sure what to do! His surgery is scheduled for the end of the month and I can't believe it's so soon, but it should have also happened a lil over 4 months ago. So I guess the fact that they can do it, is great.. but still makes me uneasy. I suppose I wouldn't be a good mom if I wasn't worried about surgery on my munchkin.

Falon is doing great.. she's such an awesome big sister! Always wanting to help.. she holds him, burps him, helps him sit up, feeds him, etc. Now, if I can just get her to change his diaper, I won't need a babysitter anymore! (I think she's scared of Ye Old Faithful spouting!)

Christopher got his truck appraised for the hail damage from the storm back in May.. we almost had to get rid of the truck considering the damage was almost more than what the truck was worth. But, things went our way, we get to keep the truck (which is very important because it was his dads) and they're gonna cut us a check for the damage. Yay! All we need to do now is find a money tree.. that way I can take a sledgehammer to my car and blow it up (for super reals, how effing fun would that be?) and get a new one!

I start my new schedule at work next week, and I'm actually pretty excited. I have Sundays/Mondays off, which guarantees me Christmas and New Year's off AND the day after my birthday (which I plan on doing a crawfish boil for, oh yeah)! So this week will be rather short for me. It's a 4 day work week, and I only work a half day tomorrow because of the boy's doctor's appointment. Yay! Also, I am super stoked about a fellow bloggers birthday party next month! Don't worry, there will be pictures!

Now, on to the good stuff! This issue has a recipe for a Red Velvet Cake, and it is GLORIOUS. This also comes with it's own special icing recipe. Most people use a cream cheese icing, and while I LOVE cream cheese icing, I think the sweetness of it takes too much away from the slight chocolate flavor of the actual cake. So this is just a sweet butter and milk icing.. NOT to be confused with buttermilk.

What you'll need:

2 oz red food coloring
2 heaping tsp of cocoa
1/2 cup of shortening
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 eggs
1 cup of buttermilk (if you don't have this, I have a trick for making some that makes no difference in the taste/texture of the cake!)
1 tsp of vanilla
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp of vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Secondly, mix together the cocoa and red food coloring.. this is important because it won't splash in the batter and get it all over that pretty face of yours when you start mixing. Set it aside and in your mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and and sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Now add the red cocoa and mix thoroughly. Pour the vanilla into your cup of buttermilk and set aside. [[Pro tip: if you don't have buttermilk, and I never do.. you can take a tablespoon of vinegar and add regular milk to that until you reach a cup. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes. The milk will look curdled and nasty and the smell will make you want to shoot yourself, but it's fine, I promise! This is equivalent to buttermilk and will not alter the cake in any way!]] Sift together the flour and salt. This next step is VERY important, otherwise, you won't get a smooth batter and the cake will turn out dry. Alternate additions between the buttermilk/vanilla and flour mixtures. Start with the liquid and end with the liquid. How little or how much doesn't matter. As long as you alternate and start and stop with the buttermilk/vanilla. Beat JUST until it's mixed. If you over mix it, you're done for. Take the baking soda and pour into the tablespoon of vinegar, let it bubble up (like a volcano!) and make sure all the baking soda has dissolved.. FOLD this into the cake batter until just mixed in. This will make the cake light and fluffy!

Divide the batter into two round 9" pans and cook at a preheated 350 degree over for 25-30 minutes, or until it passes the toothpick test. When done, set aside on a cooling rack and let the cakes cool completely. Leave them in the pans though, if you take them out, they'll dry out fast.

While the cakes are cooking/cooling, you can start on the icing. Since that needs to cool as well.

What you'll need for the icing:

3 tbsp of flour
1 cup of milk
1 cup of room temperature butter
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla

Cook the flour and milk in a small sauce pot until thick. Don't leave this alone, you have to constantly mix it so there are no lumps. Set aside and let cool completely. When everything is said and done and cooled off.. in your mixer, blend the butter, sugar and vanilla together. Add the milk/flour concoction and beat until it's a whipped cream texture.

Cut the two cakes in half and stack on each other with a layer of the icing in between. Now ice the whole cake down and dig your face in! Enjoy! It's awesome. I tell no lies.

The finished product!

And a slice for your eyes.

Now, go to HEB, and get your red food coloring (since you prolly have everything else in your pantry) and get to baking!!

And you're welcome in advance.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Heaven in the form of Chocolate!

Oh yeah, this post has a recipe for a Chocolate Pie, from the brilliant mind of our Aunt Linda. This woman is a genius in the kitchen, she just threw this together one day and is now a staple in the family!

But before getting to that, I need to brag about my kids, because that's what I do.

Actually, nothing's really changed. Falon is still sassy as can be (she gets it pretty honest, I won't lie), and talks about going to school every day. I don't think I ever remember being excited about school, and now that I think about it, I would go back in a heartbeat. It wasn't school that I liked, but seeing all my friends daily. These days, I'm so busy with work and the kids that I don't keep up with all my friends like I should. Even a random text saying "How have you been?" would be nice, but I just don't think about it. I was telling Christopher the other day how I wish we could just go out, have fun and make fools of ourselves and do it every weekend. I didn't realize how lame we were! Haha. We need to go out and do something crazy. Any suggestions?

Baby Rhy is growing up so quickly! Does anyone know how I can stop it? I had a dream the other night that he started walking, like RIGHT NOW.. as in at 4 months old. I woke up freaking out, what a nightmare! If you haven't already, go check out the videos on my Facebook page, there's a video of him rolling over. Afterwards, he's out of breath, but holds his head up like he's so proud of himself. "Look what I just did!" I just love it. He's trying really hard to sit up on his own, too. It's more he's just leaning forward and plays with his feet, so not really straight up, but getting there! He's also teething already as well. He's behind Falon though! Falon got her first two teeth at 4 months old, so Rhy isn't trying to grow up as fast as she is. We haven't gone to his 4 month well check yet, schedules kept conflicting so we will be going next week to see how big he's gotten since his 2 month checkup! Next thing, he'll be eating on his own.. which reminds me, I think we need to start feeding him solids. My milk just isn't enough for him these days! I'm so depressed!

Christopher is still hating work, but we do what we need to keep the family going. I'm hoping he has some good news soon for a new store that will be opening up and he can transfer. Get him to a place where he can excel and have the opportunity to start an actual career. Send us hope and love, we need it!

Alright, I suppose I could get to the good stuff now. This pie is waiting at home for me.. at least I hope so. Between Christopher and Falon, not too sure if anything will be left. We'll just have to see..

Like I mentioned in the beginning, this recipe was created by our Aunt Linda, who I could imagine can make even tree bark delicious. This is one of Christopher's favorite and is so easy, a caveman could do it. Har har har. This is usually made with a homemade crust (also another one of Aunt Linda's) and homemade whipped cream.. BUT, I couldn't find my crust recipe (and I'm going to tear my kitchen apart to do so) and we decided to go super easy and got some Reddi-Whip. Yes, the cowardice way to go, but I really wanted a chocolate pie and didn't want to have to work any harder to do so.

This is what you need:

3 egg yolks (if you want to top with meringue, save the egg whites!)
2 cups of milk
1 tsp of vanilla
1 cup of sugar
2 heaping Tbs of cocoa
1/2 cup of AP flour

1 stick of butter
1 crust (I'll find my homemade crust recipe SOON!)

Thoroughly stir the egg yolks, milk and vanilla into a homogenous mixture. In a non stick pot, sift together the sugar, cocoa and flour. Slowly add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients while mixing to avoid lumps. Cut up the butter into tablespoons and add into the pot. Now stick the pot on the stove over medium heat. You have to constantly stir the mixture, a whisk works best, for almost 15 minutes, because it'll get thick and you don't want a lumpy pie! Get it to the consistency of pudding.. but you can make it as thick as you want, just keep cooking it.

Once you've gotten it to your desired consistency, pour in the crust and let sit for about 30 minutes to cool off. Cover with plastic wrap or with a pie cover and stick it in the fridge and chill it for at least 4 hours. The colder, the better, obviously.

You can top this pie with whatever you want. Christopher is a big whipped cream fan, so that's what I usually put on it. If you want to top with meringue, go to this blog: Adventures in my Kitchen, as Susan just posted a meringue recipe!

Get to it! You have all the ingredients (except for maybe the crust, but can be easily solved) to make this, so why are you wasting time??

It was very difficult to take a picture of this first and THEN eat it. But here it is! This was made with the premade Chocolate Graham Crack Crust and a healthy helping of Reddi-Whip! Nom nom nom!

Friday, July 15, 2011

You'll need magic and love for this one..

Look at me, keeping up with the blog like I'm supposed to! The way I see it is.. if I don't post, Google won't pay me.. so.. I guess my mind is made up.

I have THE best news.. at least for me. Baby boy slept last night for 7.5 hours. Oh em gee, you say? Oh yes, I speak the truth. Now, he went to sleep at 10, meaning he woke up at 5:30, which kinda stinks cause I usually wake up at 6 to get ready for work. We all know how crucial that 30 minutes can be, so while I may have been dragging ass today for being up so early.. I felt like I actually got some rest in over a year, which felt good. Now, I just need to catch up.. that could take some time.. Otherwise, baby boy has been doing good.. except I can't seem to keep up with him as far as milk goes. I certainly wish I could produce more for him, but he's just growing so fast.. I'm afraid I'm gonna have to go straight to pumping, which totally kills me and makes me want to cry. I'm going to hold out for as long as I can, think I can do it?

Falon is super excited about starting school this fall, she won't stop talking about it! This morning, she asked if she can have an alarm clock to put in her room so she can get up for school on time. If you ask me, she's so excited, I'm afraid she won't even be able to sleep the night before. The trick is, how do I let her have an alarm clock without her destroying it? She gets destructive when she gets bored.. doesn't every kid? Anyways, she can't wait till the middle of August rolls around so we can enroll her. I am absolutely terrified of her first day of school.. it just means that my baby girl is growing up, and if I put her in school, then I'll have to admit that she is. I'm not sure I'm ready for that yet. Or if I ever will be.

Christopher informed me that there might be a potential change coming up in our lives, and I'm really hoping for it to pan out, because we sure could use some luck. The "joys" of adulthood have really caught up to us and we're in pretty shallow waters. However, we're making it work as best as we can.. after all, we did have a baby when I was 19 years old.. if we can handle that, we can handle anything. And I must say, Falon has turned out to be quite a kid. I don't want to jinx ourselves or anyone else so I'm being very vague about it but if you're really wanting to know, you got my number!

Work is still, well, work. Nothing's changed except the fact that my having a baby really affected where I stand in the department. Sort of depressing that they'd rather give me no credit than any credit at all.. I only have 3 weeks of data for them to pull from, which just so happens to be my first 3 weeks back, so I was still getting into the groove of things. I'm trying not to let it get to me, but I just expected more I suppose. How could I think such a thing? Although, it is a business.. que sera sera.

Now that I've depressed myself, let's get on with the delicious part, I need something to wallow with. You can thank this recipe to one of the cutest people I know, Mr. Eyan Hempler. This recipe is super easy and slap yo mama delicious!

What you'll need for Eyan's Magical Peanut Butter Pie:

3/4 cup of smooth peanut butter (maybe a lil extra to lick off the spoon..)
1.5 cups of heavy cream
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla
One premade Graham Cracker Crust (or your favorite recipe - which I have one of my own, but I'll save that for another blog!)

Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla and whip your lil hearts content out of it until soft peaks form. Fold the peanut butter with half of the now whipped cream gently with a spatula. Add the rest of the whipped cream and beat until just incorporated, no more than that or it'll lose it's fluffiness! Pour into the graham cracker crust and you can top it with whatever you like, or just eat it like so.  What I do is make more whipped cream with just regular sugar and vanilla and top it with chocolate shavings -- below is a picture of one that Eyan made for work: drizzled with melted Hershey's kisses and mini Reese's cups. You can't go wrong with whatever you want on it, just as long as you don't forget the magic and love! ;) [Best served cold!]


Enjoy this decadent dessert and be sure to send love vibes towards Eyan for this one, cause after I had a bite of this, I almost kissed him! No lie..

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The brownie goes blonde!

I am so slacking on this, it's not even funny. I won't lie, I try to post at work, cause typing on that tiny lil keyboard on my phone makes me cringe.

So, trying to sum up the last 2 weeks in a nutshell, as not to bore everyone -- as I mentioned in the last post, Christopher and I celebrated 4 years of (I would say blissful, but who are we kidding?) marriage! The wedding in Louisiana was a freaking blast. I don't have a lot of fun at weddings, to be honest, but THAT. Was incredible. Them crazy coonasses have some AMAZING food. I'm talking pulled pork jambalaya, boudain bites, nacigdoches meat pies, etc. My only regret was that we couldn't stay longer cause we had quite a drive back to Bridge City ahead of us. We're going to head back that way for my great niece's birthday party, who will be a whopping 3 years old, and soon after, baby boy will be having his surgery. (If you don't already know about it and would like to, text me if you feel so inclined to.)

Moving along, while in Bridge City, I got to see said great niece, Marlee Rae. This girl, I love her as though she was my own. That girl is too sweet and cute and I swear, makes me cry every time I see her. When she left us to go home that night, I told her that I love her forever and ever, to which she repeated the same thing to me. And then after her mama asked how much she loves me, she responded with "the sky, the moon and the stars" *cue the tear* For super reals. It melted my heart. Then when Christopher (whom she calls Bubba) went to love on her, she told him that, "I love you punkin (actually pumpkin)" -- I don't see Christopher get emotional very often, but he just can't help it with that sweet child. A few days later, I talked to her mama, Karah, and she told me that Marlee Rae was ready to come see her "punkin" and "emmi" (which if you haven't already figured it out, is what she calls me.) I'm hoping things work out for them and they get to move as soon as possible. I need that lil girl in my life at all times, just like I have Falon.

Work has been.. well, work. It's still super hard to leave the kids every day, but it gets easier, I guess. I'm always ready to go home and love on my babies. And still no change with baby boy, he's still not sleeping through the night. But he's sleeping a lil bit longer every time, so slowly but surely! His sister spoiled me so bad, she slept through the night at 2 weeks old. *sigh*

Enough with the sappy stuff. Let's move on to the "Blonde Brownie" -- yes, the ever so popular brownie we all know and love got a highlight for the Summer (and beyond) and is absolutely divine. It actually tastes just like a chocolate chip cookie, but chewier and in brownie form. Yes, even through the computer, I saw just a lil bit of drool come out of your mouth.

After you're finished wiping your face off, head to the grocery store for these items (if you don't already have them handy in your pantry!):

2 1/4 c.of AP flour
2 1/2 tsp. of baking powder
1/2 tsp. of salt
1 3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. softened or melted butter
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. of chocolate chips (semi-sweet is best, but any will work)

Preheat over to 350º

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Beat together the brown sugar and butter until it's creamy, or as creamy as it looks like it's gonna get. Beat in eggs one at a time, add the vanilla, then add the dry ingredients slowly. Spread into a 9x13 pan and bake 20-25 minutes. Now.. my oven took about 32 minutes to bake, so check it at 20 minutes, then 25 minutes. Do the toothpick test and what you are looking for is a slightly covered toothpick tip. You don't want a clean one, at that point, it's overcooked. You don't want a batter looking like tip, almost like sticky crumbles on it. When you take it out, it will continue to bake but will stay soft and chewy.

Try it. Love it. Thank me later. And come back (hopefully in a week) for the next shameful indulgence! <3

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Snickerdoodles? Yes, please...

Look at me, I'm already slacking. I said I would try to post every week and it's almost been two.. oops! Sorry all, hopefully you didn't go through any sugar withdrawals, because have no fear, it's back with a vengence.

First of all, I would like to say that there is not much out there that is more beautiful than a nursing baby. Rhy is eating right now and if I could take a snapshot of him, I would. He won't stop grinning ear to ear towards me and it just makes every struggle we're going through go away. My children are happy and healthy and that's all I need to know.

Just to catch up on the last week and a half.. not too much has really happened. Baby boy is still not sleeping through the night, so I'm still exhausted all the time! I have to work tomorrow and then go out of town for our FOUR year wedding anniversary. Yes sirs and ma'ams, that's right.. FOUR years. Going to Bridge City to be with family and spending Saturday in Louisiana for a good friends wedding. I'm so excited!

Oooh, you know what? We DID do something rather fun last week! Christopher and I watched Addison, daughter to close friend, Mr. Adam Young. While my house is rather boring, I suggested we go check out the new splash park in Leander. (It's more Cedar Park, but what do I know?) At $1 per person/day, how could entertainment get any cheaper?? The girls had a BLAST and baby Rhy got some sun and actually enjoyed himself, as well. If you haven't gone yet and have been thinking about it.. do it! It's located at Williamson County Regional Park - 305 CR 175, right near the Parmer/1431 intersection. Be sure to bring cash and snacks and/or lunches. The payment system doesn't accept credit cards yet, and while they have sno-cones.. the food selection there isn't great. Nachos, hot dogs and such. Stuff that will make the kids lethargic in this ridiculous heat, so bring food! Also, bring sand toys as they have a huge sand pit on one side.

Okay, maybe I lied and we did do some stuff and more happened than I remember. My cousin, Barbara, has been in Texas visiting from California for the last few days. I haven"t seen her in almost 7 years, so it was great to catch up. Barbara and I were never close, as she was always close with my brother.. but I've grown up. Gone and still going through life experiences that any typical 25 year old wouldn't have yet. We had lunch yesterday and I think it was real good for the both of us. She wouldn't stop saying how proud she is of me and the woman I've become, which means a lot to me. Before Falon, my whole life, I was never accused of being mature. I was almost a joke in the family because I wasn't like everyone else.. I've been through a lot as far as my immediate family goes and knowing where I am today.. I am a much stronger and independent person because of it. Anyway, she's going through her own struggles and feels she has a lot to learn from me. ME?! I was shocked, but I understood. I regret not keeping in touch with that side of the family (my mom sister and her 7, or is it 8, kids) and I hope I keep up with them from this point on. Nothing is more important than family.  That's enough for now before I get too emotional!

My cousin, Barbara, with Falon

So, now to get on to the good stuff! My snickerdoodle recipe! Well, not mine, personally.. but one I found online. I looked for this recipe because almost every other dessert recipe I have calls for 2 sticks of butter. At the time, I didn't have 2 sticks, just the one. Now, don't be fooled! This is in no way, shape or form any healthier cause it needs shortening as well Lol!

What you need:
2 3/4 cups of AP flour
1 tsp of baking soda (not powder!)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup of shortening
1 stick of softened, unsalted butter
1 1/2 sugar
2 eggs

And for the coating: In a separate bowl, mix together 3 tbs of sugar with 1 tbs of cinnamon. Personally, I use about 1/2 to 3/4. tbs of cinnamon since we don't like a strong cinnamon flavor.
Preheat the over to 350 degrees.

For the shortening, I use this SUPER handy Adjust-A-Measure cup.  It doesn't look exactly like this one, but this thing is amazing! Think of it working like a "Push Pop" the candy. You should invest if you like to bake! (I can't get the damn picture to work, so you get a link. Deal.) Adjust-A-Measure Cup

Beat together the shortening and butter until well mixed. Add the 1 1/2 cups of sugar and continue to mix until light and fluffy.. at least 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour, baking soda and salt.

Roll about 1 to 1.5 inch balls by hand and roll around in the separate cinnamon sugar coating. Flatten the balls onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, about 1/2 inch thick. Bake until light brown, about 12 minutes, 13 at most but that could be pushing it. Now they're going to look undercooked and still very pliable when they come out, that's how you want them to look.. DO NOT KEEP BAKING! These can be overcooked very easily. Set them on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes and then tightly seal them. They'll stay super chewy and soft, but dry out quickly.

Enjoy!! This is one of my favorites! And if done right, these are WAY better than the Pepperidge Farm Soft-baked cookies. I tell you no lies!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.. and can also be the yummiest!

Hello all!

Well, the fam and I had another pool day with Danielle after the boy's doctor's appointment.. I so need a pool at my house, I had too much fun. (Although, if you've seen my backyard, it wouldn't be very big.) Falon swam on her own for the first time, doggy paddling, of course! She cried bloody murder the whole time, but that's a minor detail. She SWAM! With no floaties! (I'll be surprised if she ever wants to get in another pool, she was so terrified!)

So in this issue (sounds like a magazine), I will be sharing an Overnight French Toast recipe. Now, I know I said this was going to be about baking, and it still is! We're not talking JUST desserts, people! Even though that's my forte, but this bakes in the oven, too!! Even works the same way as a dessert, use a toothpick to make sure it comes out clean!

These recipes could rival fellow blogger, Susan's, recipes -- hers are all about being healthy and whatnot! ;) Love ya girl! Here is her blog, and it's got awesome info! Adventures in my Kitchen - by Susan Dikeman

This recipe is quite easy, and just like the name of it states, you have to start it the night before. It's really good for when you have company over as it makes a lot.

You will need:

- 2 cups of brown sugar
 - 1 cup of butter (don't use margarine, it's not as wonderful as the fat of butter! For real - channeling my inner Paula Deen here!)
- 2 tsp. of cinnamon
- 18 (or so) 1/2 inch slices of Italian or French bread - they don't have to be perfect. I found the best bread to use, in my opinion, is the HEB French bread from the bakery. It comes with two loaves and I use all of it.
- 3 cups of milk
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla

Melt the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon in the microwave, make sure to stir it well to make a homogenous mixture. Lay some bread slices in the bottom of a well-greased 13x9 pan, it doesn't have to be a flat layer, they can overlap each other a bit. If you have holes between the slices, no big. Drizzle 1/3 of the butter mixture over the bread. Rinse and repeat ending with the drizzle, you should end up with 3 layers. (Okay, maybe not rinse.. but repeat for sure!)

Now mix together the milk, eggs, and sugar and pour the custard mixture all over the bread.

Cover with foil that has been sprayed with Pam so it doesn't stick to the french toast and refrigerate overnight.

Next morning, place the dish in a COLD oven, with the foil still on. Place some foil underneath if you don't have a deep dish, as it will bubble over. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, and then uncover and bake another 15 minutes to get a bit of a crust. Check to see if it's done with a toothpick (I've used a butter knife before too), it should have puffed up and if it hasn't, bake for another 15 minutes. It's supposed to be moist - not dry looking at all.

DO IT. It's awesome, and even good cold or heated up! Enjoy!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nobody's Gonna Lay a Finger on my Butterfinger

On Thursday last week, the family and I spent the day with Danielle at her mom's house and had a pool day. We had fajitas, which were amazing and just played and/or relaxed. It honestly could not have been a more perfect day. Falon enjoyed herself immensely, Christopher looked like he didn't have a worry in the world, I got to see my best friend, and the boy just slept all day after spending just a few minutes in the pool (what a life!).

He had his 2 month checkup the same day, and he has gained 3lbs since he was born, and grown 2 inches. It feels like he's bigger than that, but at the same time.. he needs to stop growing! He had his shots as well, which is more than likely why he slept cause we drugged him up on medicine for the fever he had gotten. Good times!

Moving along, Danielle and I got to talk like we used to back in the old days and I was telling her about this blog and why I started it. I would love to start working from home to spend more time with kids, but I still need to get paid, so I start this Google Adsense adventure and hopefully more people will click on the ads and pay me! [Seriously, you don't need to do anything but push the button on your mouse over one (or more, preferably) of the ads, it's not like you don't do so ALL the time while Facebooking, right? ;) ]

However, I don't want to just blog about my life, as exciting as it is, it's also a bit boring, too. It would probably get repetitive and eventually no one would really care. So while I will still update a lil on the kids and what has happened since the post prior, I wanted an actual topic to write about, something I love to do and would like to share with everyone. As we were talking about it, we were enjoying the homemade brownies I had brought and we both realized that I'm not too bad in the kitchen, baking-wise. I can actually cook, too, but I just enjoy baking so much.

So it's decided. I will blog about baking! I will share recipes, tips, etc. ANYONE can bake, it just takes time and practice and someone willing to try your sweets, how hard can it be? :)

The first thing I'll let you in on is this amazing Butterfinger Trifle recipe that I got from Christopher's mom. Hence, the title. ;) This is so super easy, you can do it with your eyes closed, although I do not recommend it, it might get a lil messy.

This is what you need:

- Your favorite plain chocolate cake recipe -- anything will work as long as it's chocolate of course: German Chocolate cake, Red Velvet cake, Hershey's Chocolate cake, fudge cake - use your imagination! (I make the Duncan Hines German Chocolate Cake box for a few reasons: one of Christopher's favorite cakes is German Chocolate, I haven't found a made from scratch German Chocolate cake recipe that I like yet, and even if it's boxed, it's still delicious) - I've also used my homemade Red Velvet cake recipe and it's incredible in it. I don't usually do this, since Christopher likes the icing that comes with the cake recipe, and it's just not the same otherwise.
- A can of sweetened condensed milk
- The big tub of cool whip (kept in the fridge, so it's easy to spread)
- And a lot of butterfingers, crushed up! I get the bag of mini butterfingers, throw them in a chopper and crush them up. However, if you want to get more for snacking, then by all means!

Make your chocolate cake, and be sure that it has cooled. Take a fork and break it up into pieces, and by pieces, we're talking almost crumbs here, people!

Now take a big bowl, and I mean big, because this makes a LOT. You'll want a lot, though, because this.. is AMAZING. Pour 1/4 of your cake crumbles, spread evenly throughout the bottom of your bowl. Then a 1/4 of the whipped cream, and then a thick layer of crushed up butterfingers. Repeat, but with a twist: another 1/4 of the cake crumbles, NOW pour over 1/3 of the sweetened condensed milk, then whipped cream, then butterfingers again. The thinking behind this is the condensed milk will settle to the bottom of the bowl, and if you put it on the first layer, it will get all mushy and look gross. This way, that first layer of whipped cream will essentially "block" the milk from getting to the bottom of the bowl. Repeat these steps, including the condensed milk, until you have nothing left. You should end up with a layer of whipped cream topped with the butterfinger crushings at the top. Cover up with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least 4 hours, give everything a chance to get cold - it's most enjoyable this way.

After 4 hours or when you decide you can't wait any longer, rush back to your fridge, get yourself a big spoon (or a big bowl.. or both) and get you some!

You will NOT regret this, I promise you!

Enjoy and let me know what you think!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's been a week already??

I can't believe it's already been a week since I started this blogging adventure. So much as happened in the last 7 days, it's crazy!

Rhylon is doing awesome, getting used to Christopher.. which makes me so happy. He wasn't a big fan of daddy and while he made jokes about it, I think it hurt him just a lil bit, but it's all good now! The boy (which is what we usually call him) now has audible laughs and loves to smile, such a sweet boy. We have a doctor's appointment tomorrow for his 2 month well-check.. yes, it's been 2 months already! He's quite a healthy boy, he doesn't miss any meals, that's for sure.

The last couple of days have been nothing but busy, long and hopefully nothing we have to deal with again. On Sunday morning, Christopher's aunt, Jean, passed away. She had been going through rounds of chemo for the past few months and it was her time. She is no longer suffering and now we are hoping and praying that her husband, Christopher's Uncle Bud can fight off what he's been up against. The ride to Milam, which is right on Toledo Bend turned out to be a nightmare.. we were following Christopher's mom, 10 minutes east of Crockett, we had truck troubles. We noticed that the engine was having some issues running, and after 2 minutes, Christopher was no longer able to accelerate. Nevermind that it's somewhere around 90 degrees, we don't have much cell signal either. A cop pulled up to us and called us a tow truck, just to attempt to charge us $450 to tow us to Lufkin, about 30 minutes away. $450?!? Yes, ridiculous. The gentleman was very nice and called another guy who said he would tow us for $100. So after about 2 hours of being stranded (thank god mom was there, and we were able to get the kids in the air coniditioning), the guy finally came and we were towed to the Chevrolet dealership in Lufkin. It turned out to be the fuel pump and some other stuff, which I can't recall considering it sounded like German to me. Only $1350 dollars later did we get the truck back. What I wouldn't give to be home and in the vicinity of good friend and mechanic, David Gonzales. Who, by the way, owns Buddha's Garage at the 290/I-35 area.. and he's wonderful and the best deal you'll get! If you want an honest and knowledgeable mechanic, call him!! If you have money to blow, then by all means.. do so, otherwise.. he should be your guy. Back to the crappy car ride story.. we finally made it to Lufkin, but we still had another hour before getting to the funeral home for the visitation. I won't divulge any details as far as the funeral/visitation goes, however it was wonderful to be with family. Christopher plans on going back to Milam to go fishing with Uncle Bud, which is much needed. I would like to go back up there as well, Uncle Bud owns a restaurant up there called Bryce's Landing that I would LOVE to try out. The restuarant sits on the Toledo Bend Resevoir, with a pier at the back of the restaurant. Can't get any fresher seafood than that!

Moving along, we only stayed Monday night and came back late Tuesday night. Back at home counting down the days till I have to go back to work, which is 4 more. I'm so sad that I have to leave my kids, I'm enjoying my time off soooo much.

That's enough for now, my thumbs hurts from typing on such a tiny keyboard and I'm about to throw some porkchops on the stove, yum! Gotta get dinner done early, Christopher is working an overnight shift tonight. Tomorrow is a day of fun at the pool and BBQ with my best friend, Danielle at her mama's house, I am uber excited! It's much needed after the last couple of days we just had. PS. Christopher just told me that it's 99 degrees outside right now. NINETY-NINE! It's about to only be June, which means it's not even hot yet!

Okay, I'm done for real. So maybe not THAT much has happened in the last 7 days, but it's been very long. Next week kids! And hopefully I can post some pictures!