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.