tastes so good when it hits your lips

I wish so badly I was talking about an ice cold beer, but alas, I’m still pregnant and sober, so for now, these will have to do.

And by “these will have to do” I really mean I may make them weekly until the baby comes because they were that damn good.

Frosty s’mores cups

frosty smores cups

I found this recipe on Pinterest (where else?) and decided to make them to complement a Friday evening pool and pizza date with our neighbors. They were easy to make and tasted ah-mazing.

Some notes that may or may not be of use to you…

I used a cupcake/muffin pan (as opposed to the mini cheesecake pan the author uses) and it worked just fine. I also used a sippy cup of Carter’s to flatten out the graham cracker crumb mixture on the bottom with much success.

As an added bonus, I had a ton of leftover pudding/milk/cool whip mixture, of which I enjoyed eating directly from the spoon.

If you’re into baking and/or sweet things, beware of easybaked’s blog. It is chocked full of deliciously sweet recipes that make my heart skip a beat just by oogling the pictures.

Enjoy!

a massive sweet tooth

Pregnancy number 2 has been different in a lot of ways, but none so poignant as my craving for sweets.

I’ve never been much of a baker. I was embarrassed at my attempt at a sugar-free carrot cake for Carter’s first birthday. Since then, I’ve made small strides by making some ugly although extremely delicious chocolate cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting for J’s birthday.

I’m also really awesome at breaking off the pre-cut cookie dough squares and putting them on a baking sheet. And busting open a box of Girl Scout cookies…

I don’t own a Kitchen Aid mixer and the other night when I went to bake some cookies I was actually out of flour. And brown sugar. And even eggs.

I don’t pride myself on my sweet concoctions, but thankfully I can put a mean dinner on the table for my family. I’ve always enjoyed cooking, not so much baking.

My currently baking daughter has prompted me to step out of that though and well, bake along with her.

Last night I made whole wheat applesauce muffins and chocolate chip cheesecake cookies. The cookie recipe I found on Pinterest and have been keeping in my back pocket for just such occasion; a random Sunday night + the Oscars.

cookies and muffins

I managed to eat oh…10 of them.

I woke up with a stomach ache, but there’s really nothing like tons of warm cookies and a glass of milk when you’re pregnant and watching skinny actresses in gorgeous dresses on TV, right?

Here are 6 other sweet treats currently sitting on my food-inspired Pinterest board that I’m dying to try. If these pictures didn’t make you drool on your keyboard, maybe the next few will:

Strawberry Yogurt Cake

strawberry yogurt cake

Chewy No-Bake Thin Mint Bars

chewy no-bake thin mint bars

Red Velvet Espresso and Cream Swirled Brownies

red velvet espresso and cream swirled brownies

Key Lime Swirl Cheesecake Bars

key lime swirl cheesecake bars

Lemon Blueberry Loaf

lemon blueberry loaf

Ice Cream Cookie Pie

ice cream cookie pie

Share with me your favorite dessert recipes! I’m always looking out for new things to flex my baking muscles out on!

a fresh start to the week

Ah, Monday.

Today C and I are being super lazy and recovering from a trip home from Virginia yesterday that involved 90 minutes of solid screaming, another 90 minutes of sporadic crying and general unhappiness, a severely cracked cell phone screen and torrential downpours. To say it was a stressful drive is putting it way mildly.

Needless to say, after two days of no napping, we put the source of my massive headache to bed by 6:30pm. There are some days where I am so happy to finally kiss those cheeks night night that I can’t begin to put that happiness into words. Last night, I cried. That’s how relieved I was.

We all have those days, I suppose.

We had trekked up to my hometown on Saturday morning for my niece’s 5th birthday party. It was a costume party, and while we were surrounded by pretty princesses, the prettiest of all had to be my Miss Olivia. I’ve never seen in Cinderella look more beautiful…

a beautiful 5 yr old Cinderella

There were crafts for the kids that made Pinterest very proud, a taco bar and more Mexican dips than should be allowed in one house.

My best friend and I weren’t about to show up to the shindig under dressed, so we sported some awesome Mickey and Minnie Mouse costumes.

Mickey and Minnie

My handsome boys obviously joined in on the fun, too.

C and J

That lion costume from Target has gotten worn at least 5x now, and even though it was too short in the legs and arms and the zipper busted mid-party, he still looked adorable. J’s scrubs were only a slightly painful reminder of my c-section, but I have to admit, he gives McDreamy a run for his money.

After a weekend of party food, takeout Chinese and way too many Girl Scout cookies for one person to ever consume in 24 hours, I decided to get my week started this morning with a delicious fruit smoothie.

I sometimes associate “smoothie” with “way too much work for breakfast.” In all honesty, it’s not really that much work to throw a bunch of crap in a blender and mix it up. I made this for breakfast this morning in less than 5 minutes…

Does it look gross? Absolutely.

Does it taste amazing? You bet.

Here’s the recipe I used:

1 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 banana
1 Dannon Oikos strawberry Greek yogurt
1 cup orange juice
a few shakes of the bag of frozen spinach
1/3 cup (approx) of milk
a few ice cubes

Blend it up and share half with your significant other/child or store it in the fridge for later/breakfast tomorrow. Carter loves smoothies and responds to every drink/bite with an extra enthusiastic “mmmmm!”

The spinach is what makes it look so nasty, but I promise you can’t even taste it. All you taste is fruity goodness, and you’ve managed to get a serving of veggies in before 9am (or 8am in my case…).

Feel free to mix up the fruit a little bit or add more greens. Add pineapple, mandarin orange or spinach leaves. My husband likes to mix in protein powder to his for an extra boost of protein.

How do you make your smoothies at home? What are your go-to’s for a quick, healthy breakfast?

a procrastinated (as usual…) happy new year

It’s a new year! Filled with opportunity, hope and crowded gyms.

Now that we’re a week into 2012 and I’ve had some time to reflect on the things I hope to accomplish this year, I have come to the conclusion that I am both cautiously optimistic and completely out of my mind.

By that I mean in 2012 I have plans to do things like:

  • finish the bonus room renovations – potentially by Jason’s 30th birthday celebration in early February
  • actually have a completed nursery prior to the arrival of our baking baby (how odd does that sound…)
  • to accomplish the above, finish Carter’s new big boy room before the arrival of his sister/brother
  • ¬†solidify a chore chart by the end of January and finally get my household to-do’s on a weekly schedule
  • more green cleaning – less chemicals in the house
  • run another half marathon pregnant
  • gain less than 63llbs with this baby – maybe even keep my weight at a number that begins with a “1″
  • NOT lose my mind raising a toddler and question daily our decision to have another baby so close in age to C
  • don’t get pregnant…because if I’m ringing in 2013 with a baby in my belly you can guarantee I will be certifiably insane
  • reach out to out of town friends more frequently
  • volunteer
  • truly love my home, my body, my child(ren) and my husband – flaws and all

They say you should write down your goals, so there mine are. Don’t hold any of them against me, but do feel free to hold me accountable, especially on that last one.

The first week of 2012 got started slooooowly. After having my family cycling in and out of my house for a week and deciding to cook an array of Pinterest-inspired appetizers* for an NYE celebration and another array of Pinterest-inspired breakfast dishes* for new year’s morning, January 2nd arrived and my pregnant ass CRASHED. I spent all day long in and out of naps that failed to reinvigorate me. I made it 30 minutes at work before I left to come home and go right back to bed.

Come January 3rd though, I was back at it.

You’d think all my experience keeping up with those krazy Kardashians would have made me more than qualified to keep up with one krazy Karter (too many K’s?). Alas, that certainly isn’t true. My 16-month old son challenges me every. single. day. He’s getting smarter, manipulative, cunning and active as hell. He climbs, jumps, hides from me and picks and chooses when he wants to understand what I’m asking and pay me any sort of attention.

I thought that this type of behavior would wait until he was a little older, which proves once again how little I know about children and how ridiculous it is that god saw me fit to raise one, much less two. I trust that I won’t be challenged with anything I can’t handle, but lord help me if there’s another baby with a penis growing inside of me right now.

I desperately cling to the notion that girls are easier than boys and the chance still exists that this new baby could be female, but, with my luck, my little lady will be just as crazy as her brother and I’ll once again be kicking myself for assuming anything at all about children.

I’m maintaining my cautious optimism though, because I think, despite the craziness that ensues on a daily basis, this is going to be a great year. A year filled with more awareness, education, activity, family and love. A year that will challenge me, drop me on my ass a few times and, ultimately, help me grow.

I wish the same to each of you.

 

*I can officially endorse the following delicious recipes from my Pinterest board:

Kahlua-Pecan Brown Sugar Baked Brie

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Crescent Poppers (wrapped one batch in bacon and was a HUGE hit!)

Buffalo Chicken Bites

Artichoke Bread

Chewy No-Bake Cookies and Cream Treat

Overnight Blueberry French Toast

Cream Cheese Sausage Balls

Cinnamon French Toast Bake

just another manic monday

Yesterday was Sunday, and rather than posting about what’s for dinner, I was pretty consumed with preparing a meal for 10. An entire meal, including dessert, for ten people. Not that that should be too big of a deal, but I’m not certain I’ve done that too many times and I was only a little bit freaking out all week.

We don’t host many dinner parties here – being the class acts that J and I are, our “parties” are more like a lot of wine and beer and making smores over the fire pit with a few appetizers. Everyone ends the night drunk, full and happy. Perfect party, right?

Luckily, those 10 people were family and could care less about what dishes I used or if everything was ready in time, but I still wanted things to go smoothly and everyone to have a good time.

I feel like I take jabs about my inability to be a domestic goddess quite often, but the reality is, I still kinda suck at all this home stuff. It’s been 5.5 months since I’ve been a stay-at-home mom, and every time I feel like I’m getting in a groove I decide it’s time to start exercising more, or cleaning more, or blogging more, or getting out of the house more and then my routine goes out the window. More more more. I feel like I’m constantly trying to do something better, more efficiently, faster.

I was nervous I might get bored being home all the time, but just like when I worked in an office, there’s always something to learn more about and become better at. Pretty much I’m just as frazzled, stressed, and driven to get better as I used to be, and with the help of Pinterest and mom/DIY/home decor/funny women I love blogs, feeling completely incapable of ever catching up.

My sister-in-law is my inspiration – she holds it down at home with two kids while my brother saves the world and I feel like she’s always cool, calm and collected with a clean, well-decorated house, a newly completed DIY project and some yummy dessert in the oven. We have our meltdown moments together, for sure, but she’s an incredible mom and wife and I hope to one day reach her level of bad ass. I’ll get there (hopefully…) – you know, when Carter’s 5 and I don’t have to change his diaper and he actually listens to me (do they even listen at 5? I don’t even know…).

Dinner ended up going well. I made my mom’s broccoli casserole, I cooked my first roast (super tough, sear on both sides and throw it in the crock pot for hours…), made some homemade mashed potatoes and cooked some ah-mazing pumpkin bars.

The roast cooked all day with a ton of onions and balsamic vinegar and was so flavorful! It was so easy to prepare and if I had had time to post a “what’s for dinner?” post yesterday, it definitely would have made the cut.

Carter was the hit of the night, per usual, and J and I enjoyed spending some time with his side of the family since we head to Virginia every Thanksgiving to be with my side. It wouldn’t be T-giving without a serving of crazy, so we are already counting down the days (9…) till we head up.

As another nap quickly comes to a close and I’ve yet to do the one thing on the computer that I’ve been neglecting all weekend (our budget, sadly, not my Google Reader…), I’ll leave you with a few fun things I found while procrastinating on the internets:

Pinterest party picture – all I have to say is, how can I have one and who would come craft/bake with me?

How to dress for your holiday pictures – this blog is all sorts of awesome, as is it’s author. Great ideas for dressing your family for upcoming photos!

You’re a worse parent than you think – good for a laugh

Cute ideas for a baby shower – the pennant, the poofs, the diaper towel – lots of clever crafts for the next shower you host

Happy Monday!

what’s for dinner?

It’s Sunday…and in the interest of full disclosure, there’s nothing I love more on Sundays in the fall then doing a whole lotta’ nothing with my favorite boys and smelling chili cooking in the crock pot all day long.

Lounging around the house, taking long walks outside, pretending I’m going to actually put away the laundry that’s been folded in the laundry basket all week long but knowing I’ll continue pulling what I need and ignoring the rest (I know I’m not the only one…).

I love fall.

And chili.

I’ve been told I make a mean pot of chili when I don’t open the wrong side of the red pepper flake lid and pour half the container in, so I’ve decided to share my recipe. Get the crock pot going early and thank me by lunch for how amazing your house smells.

unexpectedly delicious chili – prepared in the slow cooker (aka the world’s best invention. ever.)

Ingredients:

  • 1lb of cooked shredded chicken or cooked ground beef/turkey (if you want to make it vegetarian, scrap this, obviously…we’ve made it all three ways and, as of lately, are really digging it with chicken)
  • 1 chopped green pepper
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 1 chopped jalapeno
  • 1 can of light red kidney beans – drained
  • 1 can of dark red kidney beans – drained
  • 1 can of black beans – drained
  • 1 can of chili ready beans
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with green chilies
  • 1 can of fiesta corn
  • 2 heaping scoops of garlic
  • chili powder
  • red pepper flakes
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • cumin

Stir it all together – set on low for 8 hours.

All the spices are to taste. We like it hot in this house (ow ow…), so I have a heavy hand when adding the chili powder and red pepper flakes. I usually bake corn bread and top the chili with crumbled corn bread, sour cream and cheddar cheese.

Amazeballs.

It packs a lot of protein and flavor and is garbage-carb free if you skip the corn bread. If you are trying to make it healthier, scrap the sour cream and cheese, too. It’ll be plenty flavorful without it.

Happy Sunday!