Monthly Archives: February 2013

Mini Vanilla Bean Scones and 40 1/2 weeks


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This whole due date thing was like a bad surprise birthday party, wasn’t it?

Just kinda came and went, just like that! Like I said, my patience was better than ever on Tuesday. Even Wednesday, I was pretty good. Thursday… well, Thursday was a day I’m not proud of. I may have spent most of the morning in tears and my pajamas watching ‘A Baby Story’. All this was after a night of not sleeping hardly at all- be glad you weren’t here!

My mom came over that day and made me take a nap to recharge and then we walked in our orchard for a while- it totally did the trick and I felt much better afterwards. Ever since Thursday, Joey, my mom, and my little sister have joked that they are ‘taking shifts’ with me to keep me distracted and happy 🙂

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Aaaanyways, each day since Thursday has been much more positive, and I’m trying to return to my ‘patient’ self. Actually, what’s pretty awesome is that our Bible study right now is the book of James, and I’m trying to memorize the first chapter right now and it’s all about perseverance! Thank you Lord! Hint taken.

Working on patience and perseverance is hard work guys- I’m sure you’ve all had your fair share of it. To help us have energy for that task, would you like a scone? They’re super good.

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Remember when we were making all the Starbucks goodies a few months ago? It’s back! This is the Mini Vanilla Bean Scone- I love these because they’re small and you don’t have to feel bad about having like, six of them because they’re mini. Six basically equals one. I was always a rockstar at math.

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They were a last minute decision to make, and took next to no time at all! They’re a lovely little accompaniment to a hot cuppa joe. Light, fluffy, and absolutely PACKED with vanilla flavor! They’ll pick you right up if you’re feeling overly pregnant a little down 🙂

Enjoy! I’m just going to assume that I’ll be sharing another pregnancy update with you this coming Tuesday. We shall see!

~M

P.S. I’m still feeling very good. Not sleeping quite as well, but I’m not sure if it’s due to being anxious about baby’s arrival or being large-o. Not too much has changed since my last update! I had been having contractions about 5-6 minutes apart earlier this week but those have come and gone. We’ll see if they come back!

 

Mini Vanilla Bean Scones

lightly adapted from The Art & Soul of Baking, simple cream scones

makes 16 small scones

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold & cut
1/2 cup nonfat vanilla greek yogurt
1 egg
1 vanilla bean (scrape 3/4 of the vanilla bean, save 1/4 for glaze)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Vanilla Bean Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1-2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 of the vanilla bean

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in food processor. Add butter and process until butter is combined and resembles coarse meal. In small bowl combine, egg, yogurt, vanilla extract, and 3/4 of the vanilla bean. Add to food processor and pulse until dough forms a ball. Remove to a lightly floured surface and divide dough into two balls. Pat each ball into a 3/4 inch thick circle. Cut each circle into 8 triangles, making a total of 16 mini scones. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper about 1 inch apart. Bake until lightly golden, about 10-12 minutes,. While scones are cooling make the glaze. Combine 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar with milk, vanilla extract, and remaining vanilla bean. You can use a spoon to spread on the tops of each scone or dip each scone to coat top.

Note: You can use vanilla bean paste as an alternative if you don’t have a vanilla bean on hand.

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Stopping to Smell the Roses

This past week has been such a whirlwind for me….and M too! I’m really trying to slow down just a little bit and remember to be thankful for those little moments that make me smile….(and also pray for patience!! I’m ready for a niece or nephew to arrive safely!!!!)

1. A husband and puppy who are happy to see me when I get home every night 🙂
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2. Some fresh eggs that my mother-in-law dropped off earlier this week….tested out a delicious recipe with these….

IMG_10773. Completed registration for a mandatory writing exam following a mini meltdown over the weekend.

4. Two sisters who….

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always help me keep things in perspective and amaze me every day with her wisdom (even though she’s just the middle sister 😉 )

IMG_0657and this one, who makes me laugh out loud in public places probably 2 times a week and also surprises me with her wisdom at the tender age of 17 and 3/4 going on 35.

5. This.

*sigh*

I’m discovering that it’s really really really important to take a minute, say a prayer, and take a deep breath before continuing with a hectic schedule.

Try it.

~K

 

 

 

 

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Still Comfortable… and Crockpot Beer French Dip

 

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We’re still here! Last week, I was hoping to write my last pregnancy update, but  40 weeks today, this baby still feels pretty comfortable in there. Despite my miles of walking, my vigorous cleaning, my rampant pineapple-eating, Target trips, spicy food, and countless other things, I am not holding our baby just yet.

Patience is a virtue! Strangely enough… I am more patient this week than I was 4 weeks ago. I don’t know how to explain that one, but it’s true.

I’m still feeling good, my back is more achy and I get tired a lot faster than previously- but from what I’ve deduced from other momma’s, I don’t feel…”done” yet. So maybe I’ll need to stay busy for a little while longer….

OR we can just sit and enjoy this ah-mazing crockpot French Dip together and dream of babies?!? Deal.

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Last week I went into a bit of a food-prep frenzy with my mom- we browned over 6 pounds of ground turkey/beef, made enough chili to feed 30 people (or Joey and I), and made 4 different crockpot meals, as well as prepared shredded pork tenderloin and beef. Basically, we are set with the proteins in our meals for the next couple months.

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I had set out a big ol’ chuck roast to thaw overnight, and after preparing about a million pounds of other meat, it was all I could do to toss this baby into the crockpot. I tossed some beef broth in there, with some salt & pepper… and then I saw an old lonely can of Coors Light way in the back of our fridge and decided to toss that in there too.

Best decision EVER.

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Seriously- I’ve made French Dip before, but this one was over the top juicy and fabulous. I put it in the crockpot overnight on low, and it’s the weirdest thing to wake up to the smell of French Dip. It’s even weirder to have it for breakfast. Don’t judge.

Well, my little baby has treated me so well these past 40 weeks and now it’s time to go to the doc and see if he/she is thinking about meeting us in person yet. Most people are betting on this weekend- which would be hilarious because since high school, there has always been a reason I can’t make it to the Almond Blossom Parade. Mock Trial competitions, gone at college, you name it. Maybe the newest reason will be our first baby!

Fine by me.

~M

P.S. Thanks for all the prayers and sweet texts about Baby VS- maybe that’s why I’m more patient, knowing that God has already chosen the time that we’ll get to meet our baby and it’s not up to me to rush it! I’m fine with whatever, as long as Baby Judah is healthy and happy.

P.P.S. Having said that… PLEASE LET THIS BE THE LAST UPDATE!!!!!

 

Crockpot Beer French Dip

1 beef chuck roast

1 cup water + 2 beef boullion cubes dissolved

1 can any type of beer

Salt and Pepper

directions

Let roast thaw as much as possible before setting in crockpot. Mine was partially still frozen- the only thing you’ll need to adjust is the amount of time in the pot before it shreds easily.

Dissolve two boullion in 1 cup water, add to crockpot. Generously salt and pepper the roast, and place in pot, along with one can of beer.

Set crockpot timer to 8 hours on low- if you are doing this overnight and the timing isn’t just right, your crockpot will switch to ‘warm’ after the cooktime and keep the meat at a safe temp. until you are able to unplug it.

Shred with forks, and enjoy on toasted Hoagie buns! Joey and I love to dip the sandwiches in the juice (Au jus) of the meat that is left in the crockpot. 🙂

 

 

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Lemon Butter Salmon

So I get a text from my hubby on Valentine’s Day-

Hubby: There’s a big seafood sale going on today….do you want me to get some?

Me: Um…..YEAH

Hubby: Ok, what do you want?

Me: Whatever sounds good to you!

…….

Hubby: I got some salmon.

At this point I’m wondering what kind of trickery is going on. This guy sees shrimp as an appetizer and just barely tolerates fish when I serve it for dinner- what made him choose salmon?

I still don’t know. I just decided to take the salmon and run with it before Curtis changed his mind and went back for red meat.

😉

love salmon. It’s extremely healthy, delicious, and still very filling! I have never made it before in my own home, however, so this recipe was very simple and came from what I had in the fridge.

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A lemon, some bay leaves, a little garlic, S&P, and butter and we are good to go!

Curtis is completely converted, by the way.

Especially since dinner for two on Valentine’s Day was only $4.99!!

😉

~K

P.S. I’m holding out for a baby to come TODAY!!! Fingers crossed!!!!

Lemon Butter Salmon

ingredients:

– a salmon fillet

– 2 lemons, sliced

– 2 TBSP butter, sliced

– S&P to taste

– 1 TBSP garlic

– 5 Bay leaves

instructions:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. On a cookie sheet, lay out enough tin foil to completely wrap all the ingredients. Lay the sliced lemons first, then sprinkle the garlic and lay the bay leaves on top of that. Rest the salmon on top skin-side down and add the S&P. Finally, lay each slice of butter on the top of the salmon. Wrap all this tightly in the tin foil and bake for about 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of your salmon fillet. Mine was 1 pound, for about 35 minutes.

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Valentine’s Day Red Velvet Nutella S’more’s

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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I hope today is a lovely day for you regardless of whether you are ‘with someone’ or not! Whichever field you fall in, makes no matter with these s’mores. They’ll love you either way.

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I really did make these for my sweetheart of a husband, but there is a litttle bit of me that feels selfish because… well, I just love s’mores so much it’s kind of a gift for both of us. Really, between s’mores and jelly bellies the past two days,  I think I may need an intervention. Baby VS, come take these sweets away from your momma!! But seriously… you can come anytime.

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I’m totally in love with how these little treats look! It’s like the cute wife of the big, boxy, brown normal s’more. She’s all chic with Nutella instead of milk chocolate and she’s got that womanly heart-shape of a bod. Mr. Normal S’more didn’t stand a chance! They fell in love and got married. On Valentine’s Day. It’s a true love story of the s’more.

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Oh yum. Side note: Excuse the blue band-aid there… totally chopped my thumb the other day when I was making enough chili to feed 30 people with my mom. Colored band-aids have been proven to help owwies heal faster, that’s why I wear them. 🙂

These don’t take long to make at all, in fact it could be a fun little project for little ones to cut out the heart shapes with you! Otherwise, they’re a totally sweet little gift to bring a friend to remind them how much you love them!

Everyone deserves a red velvet nutella s’more.

~M

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Red Velvet Nutella S’mores

Adapted from: Something Swanky

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup brown sugar packed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla
  • 7 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 5 tablespoons buttermilk (or 5 TBSP milk mixed with vinegar or lemon juice)
  • 1 tsp red food coloring
  • Nutella for spreading
  • Marshmallows for roasting (approximately 12)

Instructions

    1. Mix together the dry ingredients in a stand mixer bowl.
    2. Mix in the butter cubes, until crumbly.
    3. Mix together the honey, buttermilk, and red food coloring. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms.
    4. Roll the dough out onto a well floured surface until it’s about 1/8″ thick. Try to keep the thickness of the dough consistent throughout.
    5. Cut into squares or use a cookie cutter to cut out shapes. Bake at 350 on a lined cookie sheet for 6-8 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack until hardened (like a normal graham cracker). *** I had to leave mine in for about 10 minutes to get them not so ‘cookie-like’. I also popped them back in the oven at 170 degrees for 30 minutes to crisp them up- they’re definitely more graham cracker-like the next day!
For the S’mores:
  1. Spread Nutella on one cracker and proceed to roast a marshmallow and assemble S’more like normal.

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Filed under Cookies/Bars, Dessert, Favorite Things, Food Stuffs., Holiday, Holiday Baking

Book Review: The Giver

I needed a quick read this past weekend, something to sit down with and just relax and not get sucked into. So I re-read The Giver, by Lois Lowry. If you never had to read it in high school, I highly suggest it! It’s another of my favorites.

 

 

The Giver Photo

It’s a story about a community where there is no color, no sense of love or family, and there are no memories of a world where there they had any of those things. By choosing ‘sameness’, this community believes they can avoid strife completely- family ‘units’ are selected by a committee, live in a dwelling together, and separate when the children grow and are selected for their own family units. Career paths are chosen for each person by another committee who judge each person’s aptitude. All aspects of life are viewed on a basis of usefulness and efficiency rather than emotions and personal choices. The story follows a boy named Jonas who, when it is his turn to be chosen for a career path, is selected to be the community’s next Receiver of Memory- a rare selection. The Receiver of Memory holds all past memories of the world- love and hate, war and famine, colors and music, none of which is known by anyone but the Receiver. He is a part of the community only to hold these memories in order to aid the committees with his wisdom of past times when they come across a problem they do not know how to solve. This story deals with Jonas discovering that his utopian world is actually dystopian- and coming to realize that he will have to choose his path on his own for the first time in his life. 

It’s quite a short book, and perfect for a little bit of light reading with some really amazing insights to living an imperfect world.

Enjoy!

~K

P.S. Goes really well with a good cup of coffee and some of M’s Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies…..

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The Final Countdown- 39 weeks

Well good morning to you too!

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He’s my lil baby dog- all our dogs have this strange habit of loving to sleep on chairs. Even when they are slightly too large to be doing so. I think it’s funny though, so I’ll allow it!

Well here we are at 39 weeks!

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I am so ready to go. (Thanks for putting up with all these selfies and toilet-in-the-background-pictures, we’re almost done, promise!) I just can’t believe that in the next week or so, Joey and I will finally be holding our baby! The excitement in this house is totally palpable- boy or girl?? Will he/she look more like me or dad?? Hair? Countless other questions as well, but regardless of what the answers are- we are so incredibly grateful to God that we have been so blessed with this gift of a baby and we already love this kiddo almost more than we can stand it!

I was planning on getting Joey a baby for Valentine’s Day, but I have this nagging feeling that baby wants to cook a little more first… so maybe I’ll make him these instead?

Anyways, I’m hoping this is the last update before we have some big news for you all, so here goes!

How far along now? 39 weeks

Boy or girl? We’re kind of convinced it’s a boy now…

Maternity clothes? Yes, but mostly just athletic comfy clothes. Yoga pants are the best.

Stretch marks? Woohoo! Still clear!

Sleeping well? Pretty well! I wake up at 4:30 or 5 most mornings now because I just can’t sleep anymore- sometimes due to baby practicing gymnastics, sometimes just because that’s when my body decided to be awake.

Movement? Lots of it- it’s pretty amazing how many different shapes my belly can assume.

Still working? Nope, I am done working until I decide to return to work after baby is born. The first few days off work were confusing to me- I wasn’t sure what to do, but now I have found my rhythm and have been keeping quite busy. On the plus side, this house has never been cleaner!

Still exercising? Yup, still walking lots. Occasionally I jog part of each mile I walk, but that totally depends on how I feel that day. Walking is pretty much it though- does cleaning count? Or prepping freezer meals?

Getting nervous for delivery? I have some moments where I let my mind go crazy with all the things that could go wrong, but then I remember that God is in control, and no matter how much I worry- it won’t change that He’s got us in His hand. I look around and think, every person I see had to be born, so I’m sure I can handle whatever situation occurs. Especially with Joey right there with me. (That being said, I’m not opposed to an epidural. Like, at all.)

What are you most looking forward to after baby is born, besides the baby (obviously)? You know, nothing has been too hard to give up food-wise during pregnancy.. I do miss having a glass of wine with Joey or friends on occasion, as well as full- caff coffee every morning. And full-fledged workouts… but I’ve also really enjoyed being at home more and the gym not as much. So, some changes I had to make might be here to stay! I am probably most looking forward to not constantly worrying if what I ate/drank/how I moved affected the baby without me realizing.

What will you miss about being pregnant? I know holding our baby will be infinitely more amazing than feeling the kicks and movement inside, but wow. Nothing has been more amazing so far than knowing God created women to bear children and equipped their bodies to nourish and grow another human life… feeling that life everyday has been life-changing.

Well I’m off to my doctor’s appointment in a little bit here… hoping for some good news! Maybe delivery is closer than I think?…

~M

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Impatient Auntie K

I’m ready for a baby to be born….this post is basically just to vent some of my super amplified excitement and impatience. I know M is SO ready to be a mommy- cleaning and walking and cooking like a crazy lady! I am so excited to meet this little person! For the record, I think it’s a boy. I have no basis in fact, this is purely conjecture.

Folding 200 pounds (not joking) of baby clothes at work on Friday nearly pushed me over the edge and had me melting with every tiny sock I found a partner for.

SO CUTE AND TEENY!!

SO CUTE AND TEENY!!

Tiny story about baby socks. I don’t know if it’s their teeny tiny-ness or what, but I could be having a pretty bad day and if you whip one of these things out and wave it in front of me, it will make me smile. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine framed a baby sock for me and gave it to me when I moved out of town…..

:)

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Makes ya smile, don’t it? Don’t lie, you know it’s cute.

As cute as baby socks are though, babies are cuter and I’m ready to see one. A very specific one.

~ Auntie K!!!!

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Lightened Up Spaghetti Carbonara

Joey and I had ourselves a little date night last night, in-home style. It wasn’t planned that way, but then I mentioned this recipe I found for his all-time favorite ‘restaurant’ dish in one of my magazines- Spaghetti Carbonara. Joey immediately perked up at the sound of that for dinner, and it turned into a pretty fun little cooking date! This guy loves him some carbonara…although I’m a little suspicious that he was only the kitchen to make sure I got the recipe right.

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Either way, the end result was fab. Fab-ola. Fabuloso. Fantabulistic. Fabulous. You get the point.

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This recipe is from a magazine subscription that my mom got for K and I for Christmas two years back called Cooks Illustrated- I would highly recommend (if you are into reading magazines about food) subscribing to this because they basically research all the issues associated with certain recipes, and then tweak things until they come up with ‘The Perfect Version’ ! Basically, they do the work and we readers benefit and save tons of frustration.

Works for me!

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I love this recipe because I LOVE pasta, but lots of times the creamy sauce and bacon just puts me in a food coma afterwards. This way, I get the delicious food with a few tweaks that make it fool-proof AND just a tad healthier! ** I should add that Joey definitely liked this dish, but he did miss the creamy factor a little. And didn’t like the whole wheat pasta substitution as much as just regular pasta. Win some, ya learn some! Either way, we will make it again and I always enjoy making dinner with Joe 🙂

Joey would like to add that he’d highly recommend a glass of Merlot to accompany this pasta- you’ll have to take his word for it!


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Enjoy!

~M

P.S. sorry ’bout the pictures- You basically get to enjoy the same three pictures of the pasta taken at different angles because we were so focused on perfecting the timing of the recipe that we didn’t pause for photo-ops! Maybe you’ll forgive me when you taste the food? 🙂

Better, Lighter Spaghetti Carbonara

serves 4

Ingredients

8 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1/2 cup water

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 1/2 ounces Percorino Romano, grated (1 1/4 cups)

3 large eggs plus 1 large yolk

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 pound spaghetti

Directions

Bring bacon and water to simmer in 10 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat; cook until water evaporates and bacon begins to sizzle, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until fat renders and bacon browns, about 5-8 minutes longer. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Strain bacon mixture through fine mesh strainer set in bowl. Set aside bacon mixture. Measure out 1 TBSP of fat and place in medium bowl. Whisk Pecorino, eggs and yolk, and pepper into fat until combined.

Meanwhile, bring two quarts water to boil in Dutch oven. Set Colander in large bowl. Add spaghetti and salt to pot; cook, stirring frequently, until al dente. Drain spaghetti in colander set in bowl, reserve cooking water. Pour 1 cup cooking water into liquid measuring cup and discard remainder. Return spaghetti to now-empty bowl.

Slowly whisk 1/2 cup reserved cooking water into Pecorino mixture. Gradually pour Pecorino mixture over spaghetti, tossing to coat. Add bacon mixture and toss to combine. Let spaghetti rest, tossing frequently, until sauce has thickened slightly and coats spaghetti, 2-4 minutes, adjusting consistency with remaining reserved cooking water if needed. Serve immediately!

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Coconut Flour Pancakes

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Guys!! Did you know it was national Pancake Day on February 5? I am so late to this game.

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Apparently we could have had a free shortstack at IHOP… I have got to start paying attention to these national, er, holidays.

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Well, I shall celebrate in style on my own time and with my favorite new recipe then! A while back I got coconut flour because it looked like fun, and I got to thinking that pancakes might just be the way to use the stuff. These pancakes are sooo good- they are a little more dense, and slightly grittier texture than regular old pancakes, but not in a bad way. In a very, very good way. And the ‘barely there’ coconut flavor will have you making very weird, satisfied sighs as you take each bite. You’ll know what I mean as soon as you make these.

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Who needs IHOP when you can have these?

 

~M

P.S. I walked 4 miles today, washed my car inside and out, and did some gardening in the backyard today… This little baby doesn’t seem to be going anywhere for a while!! I’ll give you another week or so, little one. Mom and Dad are dying to meet you! And coconut flour pancakes are only going to distract me for so long….

 

Coconut Flour Pancakes

makes about 10 pancakes

3/4 cup AP flour

3/4 cup coconut flour

3 TBSP sugar

1 TBSP baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

2 TBSP ground flax seed

6 TBSP water

1 1/2 cup milk

1/2 TBSP vanilla

3 TBSP coconut oil

Directions

First, add the ground flax to the 6 T water and let set until they turn into a gel (this will be your egg)

Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg – set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine milk, vanilla, oil, and the flax egg.

Add the wet to the dry and stir until just combined. Pour the batter onto a hot griddle/pan by ¼ cup, let cook for 1-2 minutes and flip. These are very fluffy, very thick pancakes. They won’t look cooked through – but they will be. And they will knock your socks off.

 

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