Friday, March 28, 2014

14 weeks - Enter the Second Trimester

I was 14 weeks yesterday.  Thankfully I continue to do well.  Two days ago, K said "Look, Mama, your baby is growing." I'm not really sure what she saw that made her think that but...ok.  Despite what she thinks, I haven't really started showing yet though I did buy several maternity clothes at a local consignment sale last week.  I also got a Vera Bradley diaper bag for $15! WOW!  Super excited about that. 

Due Date: September 25, 2014
How Far Along: 14 weeks, Hello second trimester
Fruit/Veggie: Lemon/Beet, about 3.5 inches long, 1.5 ounces
Gender: we don't know yet, should be about 5 weeks.  I haven't had many symptoms and HR was 160-170 last week.  Take that as you will...I'm waiting for the sonogram!
Exercise: Still doing my normal routine but feel slower than usual. I can't "run" the step as fast as usual

Aversions: coffee, raw spinach

Cravings: sausage biscuits

Symptoms: fatigue (mild)...and the cold that David gave me this week, increased thirst

What I miss: Enjoying Coffee

What I love: K's excitement!  She reminds us "mama's pregnant" everyday and prays for the baby most days.  The daycare we've applied for: It just seems great and they have a great curriculum for preschool as baby grows.  The afterschool will be great for K as well!

What I'm looking forward to: Finding out the gender, loving this baby

What I'm thankful for: David's support for me, encouragement to me to rest and nap even though I know I really should be doing things around the house, our families' excitement, ...the blessing of this baby!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Peanut Butter Nougat

After the past few Daring Baker challenges have been bread, it was kind of nice to have one that I didn't have to modify for David to be able to eat.  However, I wasn't sure if it would be his "cup of tea."  The March 2014 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Rebecca of BakeNQuilt. She challenged us to learn to make classic nougat and to make it our own with our choice of flavors and add-ins.  This month just sped by.  We had K back for two weeks then she went off to see grandparents (the other side this time!) again.  Then when she came back we had an exciting announcement and all of a sudden it was this week and the challenge was due!  Yikes.  Thankfully, despite being a little involved and requiring attention, it was quick.  I decided to do a peanut butter version. 
You see, I LOVE Payday bars.  So, I found a peanut butter nougat recipe and then added honey roasted peanuts to the top of half and chocolate chips (for my sweet love!) to the other half.  David said it tasted like Snickers, which would make sense as Snickers is chocolate, peanut, and nougat! 
I took some to my office today and they were GONE in about 5 minutes...with many requests for the recipe.  I'd say this challenge was a success! And thought it was simple, I probably would have used a "cheaters" version otherwise.  So, thanks, Rebecca, for this fun challenge!

Peanut Butter Nougat from Wilde in the Kitchen
1 large egg white
3 oz corn syrup
1 tbsp vanilla extract

2 cups (1 lb) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (6 oz) water
1 cup (12 oz) corn syrup
1/2 cup (6 oz) molasses

3/4 cup (2 oz) dried milk powder (mine says "Instant Non-fat Dry Milk" on the box)
1/2 cup (2 oz) powdered sugar
1 cup (9 oz) creamy peanut butter

Coat1 9x13-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl (or the bowl of your stand mixer), combine egg white, corn syrup and vanilla and set aside.

In a 4 quart pot, combine sugar, water, corn syrup and molasses.  Stir to combine and place over medium heat.  Place the lid over and bring to a boil.  Allow the sugar syrup to boil for 2 minutes then remove the lid.  Now, place candy thermometer in the mixture and clip on the side of the pot.  Watch your syrup and once it reaches 233 F, begin whipping the egg white.  Whip until shiny and fluffy.  This will whip much faster than you think, so you really don't have to start whipping until this temperature.

Once the syrup reaches 255 F, remove from the heat and slowly pour into the meringue mixture as you continue to whip.  Be sure to pour in an even stream, into the meringue.  Do not pour it onto the side of the bowl or onto the whip, aim right for the meringue!

When you have added all of the syrup, continue whipping for an additional 2 minutes.  Mix powdered milk and powdered sugar together in a bowl and add to the whipped stuff.  Fold in with a rubber spatula.  Add peanut butter and mix in with your rubber spatula.  It's hard to get mixed in evenly but just do your best and  try not to deflate the candy while stirring.

Pour candy into the prepared pan and allow to sit for 4 hours.  I put mine in the refrigerator and it was definitely too hard.  Just leave it out at room temperature.  If you need to leave it overnight be sure to cover with plastic wrap.  Once set, remove candy from the pan and cut into 1-inch squares.  Top with your desired toppings.  I used honey roasted peanuts and chocolate chips.  Enjoy!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

We've Been Baking

We've been doing lots of baking around here, so I have a lot of posts to put together.  K and I usually bake at least one thing a week that is gluten free for David.  Sometimes, I just have to do something "regular" because I get tired to feeling like I have to do something special for the gluten free aspect.  Somehow, I was very productive 2 weeks ago and got blog posts set up ahead of time; thus, the full WEEK of posts.  I will try to be more consistent with that.  But I've been doing more baking than that.  I've actually been baking every day!  It's the best baking I've done so far.  Here is K's announcement:

We're expecting a baby!  The baby is due on September 25 and am 13 weeks along now.  I found out at about 5 weeks and then had to wait 4 LONG weeks until I went to my doctor.  It seemed like forever.  Then we got to see that sweet little baby.
I started giggle-crying when I saw it on the monitor.  The baby even wiggled a little for us. :-)  That weekend we went to see my parents for Daddy's birthday.  We waited until the end to tell them.  Then we told David's parents.  But everyone was sworn to secrecy.  Four LONG weeks after that I had another doctor's appointment.  Heart rate looked great at 160-170.  So far I've felt really good.  I haven't really had any sickness.  I've just felt tired and actually took some 2-3 hour naps...and I do NOT nap!  I have also gotten used to a bedtime snack, which I'm trying not to get too used to but you gotta do what you gotta do.  :-)
I haven't taken a pictures besides this one on my phone.  I'll try to get better about that.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Cauliflower Crust

Last month I found a recipe for cauliflower pizza crust.  I figured it would be a good thing to try since David likes pizza but we're trying to do gluten free (and succeeding pretty well...until this week when we HAD to eat our wedding cake.  BTW, it froze GREAT!).  It was quite the interesting process getting the cauliflower ready.  First you have to chop into TINY pieces the uncooked cauliflower then cook in the microwave...cauli-rice as she called it.
Then you SQEEEEEE-EEEEEZE all the water out of the cauliflower.  Don't I look like I'm having fun?! 
There was so much water!  Then you mix up the cauliflower with egg and cheese.  Um, yum!  I just topped it with our normal pizza stuff.  SO GOOD!  K liked it...
and David said he got used to it. 
Don't let that fool you.  He still took it to work for lunch later that week.  I don't think it bothered him too much.  Though I know he enjoyed the "regular" gluten free crust better.  Despite that, I still want to try the cheesy "bread" sticks recipe I found.  Lots of cheese on top....yes and yum!
Cauliflower Crust Pizza from Cook Lisa Cook
 1 head of cauliflower
Make Cauli-rice as below:
Remove the leaves and hard center core of the cauliflower.  Cut into florets.  Wash and then allow the cauliflower to dry completely.  (You want the cauliflower completely dry and you will NOT be adding any water when cooking, this helps to cut down on the boiled cauliflower taste and smell.)  Once dry, fill the bowl of a food processor about half full and using the chopping blade and the pulse action, process the cauliflower until it looks like the size of grains of rice.  Add the processed cauliflower to a microwave safe bowl and repeat with the remaining cauliflower.  Once all the Cauliflower has been processed and added to the microwave safe bowl, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or a lid.  Microwave on high for 7 minutes. 

1 egg
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella (I used part skimmed)

1 TBS. parsley
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. fresh ground pepper
Toppings of your choice, tomato, pesto or Alfredo sauce, cheese, precooked meats* & precooked veggies*

Preheat oven to 450F.  Line a baking sheet with either a Silpat or parchment paper.
Place the cooked Cauli-Rice into a tea towel and squeeze all the water out of the Cauli-Rice.  It is important to get the rice as dry as possible so that there won’t be extra moisture in the crust which will prevent it from crisping up properly.

In a medium bowl combine the dry Cauli-Rice, egg, 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella, fennel seeds, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper and mix to combine well.  Press the cauliflower mixture into an even thickness on the prepared pan, either into a round or rectangular shaped pizza. 
Bake for 15-20 minutes until the crust is firm and golden brown.  Remove the pan from the oven.  Top the cooked crust with sauce, cheese and toppings of your choice.  Place back in the oven and bake until cheese is melted and starting to brown. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Stuffed Potatoes - Fresh and Freezer

At the beginning of January, my best friend had her second baby.  She was working up until the day before she delivered and made freezer meals the weekend before.  Wow! 
I insisted that she let me make something for her.  One thing I did was stuffed twice baked potatoes.  They turned out really good.  K even liked them and she doesn't really eat potatoes (except as fries...blows my mind!).
 I made a lot of chicken and broccoli potatoes and a few with mushrooms and broccoli for me.  Both versions were really good.  To add creaminess I used some Greek yogurt and then topped with cheddar cheese.  YUM!  Try these out!

Twice Baked Stuffed Potatoes
Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
cooked broccoli pieces
cooked chicken (I used Tyson grilled strips)

Bake potatoes by this recipe.  It is THE BEST!  You could stop here and have delicious potatoes but continue on for the stuffed version...

Let potatoes cool.  Preheat oven to 350.  Cut in half and scoop out the inside of potatoes leaving a small rim so that potatoes will hold up and retain shape.  Place the insides in a bowl and place the potato shells on a baking sheet. 
Mash the potato insides with a fork.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in Greek yogurt until creamy (1/3-2/3 cup...or more depending on the amount of potatoes you have!).  Cut chicken into small cubes.  Stir chicken and broccoli into the potato mixture. 
Scoop back into the shells.  Top with cheese.  Place back into the oven and bake until cheese melts.  You can enjoy now or allow to cool, wrap in aluminum foil and freeze.  Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

Mystery Muffins - Cooking by Letter

We've fallen behind on the Cooking by Letter. I don't know if we've done anything recently.  The last one we did was "M."  The topic that day was "Mystery Muffins."
K had a lot of fun doing it and even made some with Allie when she was visiting them.  We used blueberries, pumpkin kisses,
chocolate chips, and peanut butter. 
The blueberries were my favorite and chocolate chips David's.
The peanut butter didn't work so well.  Not sure why. 
Basically, you just make a basic muffin and "hide" whatever filling you want in the middle. Tada!

Mystery Muffins
5 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
Chosen "Mystery" ingredients

Preheat oven to 350.
1. In a large bowl, blend the butter, sugar, and egg.
2. Stir together dry ingredients in a small bowl.
3. Add flour to butter mixture in stages, alternating with the milk.  (We did flour, milk, flour, milk, flour)
4. Mix batter until well combined.
5. Line muffin tin with paper muffin cups.  Then fill the cups halfway with batter.  Add a teaspoon of your mystery ingredient then cover with more batter.  Do not fill more than 2/3 full.
*6. Place tin in oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.
7. Enjoy!
*Adult step

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The End of 2013 Christmas Celebrations

We celebrated Christmas with my family the weekend after.  My brother and his wife came to see her parents, so we set aside Saturday morning for our celebration.
We haven't really had any specific traditions.  We actually have had different dinners over the past few years from lamb to plov (a yummy Russian rice dish) to fish.  This year, we decided to have brunch.  It was perfect!  I think we all decided that this is our new tradition.  Everyone arrived around 10 and we chatted while I fixed the food.  Kenna even painted K's toenails.
Sylin' huh?
  We had waffles, fruit, sausage balls, and eggs.
Then we opened presents.  K got the first there was no hiding it!
I asked my dad to make her a dress-up storage center.  I found one on Amazon and he copied it.  It turned out PRECIOUS!
Then, after she figured out what was going on, K was so sweet in giving "Doc" a hug.
 After that, we all hunkered down in the den and started opening presents.  K got some fun stuff.  Can't forget Princess Ana.
  Kenna gave me a really cute monogrammed chevron scarf.
Loved it!  K gave Philip and MS State keychain...he was a little dramatic
but it led to some CUTE pictures!
I think K liked watching everyone open their presents just as much as opening her own.
We got a measuring stick that we need to hang and mark K on before she starts growing more. 
Philip and Kenna ended up staying until 2, much longer than we thought.  So thankful for family and getting to celebrate with them!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fajita Casserole

During January, I bought a rotisserie chicken on clearance at the grocery store.  Nothing on my "menu" used chicken but I decided to alter for frugality sake.  I decided to do a Mexican fajita casserole. 
At first I was going to use tortillas on the top and bottom, but once I got into making it, decided that it only needed the bottom layer.  I think I was correct.  I used tomatillo salsa, refried beans, sauteed onions and peppers, and cheese.  It turned out GREAT!  I will definitely make this again!  I think my little taste tester enjoyed, too!

Chicken Fajita Casserole by me!
4 corn tortillas
refried beans
rotisserie chicken, meat pulled off the bone
tomatillo salsa
1 onion
1 pepper
cheese, shredded (variety of your choice though I'd do cheddar or monterey jack)
salsa (If desired)

Cut peppers and onions into long pieces.  Saute until translucent; place in a bowl and set aside.  Pull chicken meat off the bone.  Warm in saute pan along with enough tomatillo salsa to coat the chicken. 

Preheat oven to 350.  In a casserole pan (11x8 or 13 x9), pour a small amount of tomatillo salsa.  Place the tortillas over the bottom of the pan.  Spread refried beans over the tortillas.  You may need to warm the beans slightly.  Place chicken over the beans.  Place the vegetables on top of the chicken.  Cover with cheese.  If you want some traditional salsa you can place some over the cheese.  Place the casserole in the over and bake until cheese is bubbly, about 20 minutes.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Christmas Day - SO behind!

Yes, I know!  It's March...we've "sprung" forward...and I'm still posting about Christmas.  I just had a bad February blog-wise.  Every time I would thing about doing a post I just ended up doing something else.  I needed time with David and we were busy getting our floor redone.  But, no more excuses - here it comes.
Christmas Eve, we went over to a friend's house for supper.  We made snowman pizzas for the kids and then they made sugar cookies.  It was super fun!  Then K got a present from "Sweet Love" (her secret angel).  It was a movie and some new pajamas.  We then read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" and set out cookies for Santa!  She was really excited.  Then, because her room is by the living room and she has to walk through to get to us, we told her to either just go to the bathroom and go back to bed or come straight to get us.  Do you think that worked?!!
The next morning at 830 (WOW!) we heard a knock on our door.  Now, I had been tossing and turning for about an hour already.  When she came in the room, the first thing K said was "Santa brought me a BIKE!" She hadn't touched or opened anything but she had DEFINITELY looked!  Oh well!  We still had fun!  And we were able to extend the whole morning.
First we opened Santa presents and stockings.  K then rode her bike in the kitchen before we at a fun breakfast of Rudolph pancakes.  I'm not sure if we'll start a specific breakfast tradition, but these were super fun for this year!

Then we went and opened a few more presents before heading outside for our FIRST bike ride of the day!  K did great! 
We totaled three miles that day and it was COLD!  We did have to have a few talks about stopping at street crossings, steering, watching where you are going and staying to the side of the road...
but all in all she was great.  She is now quite expert and thinks she is cool because sometimes "I stand up when I ride."  She's even learned to coast down the hills.  Big girl!
While I fixed lunch, K and David played "Don't Spill the Beans."  We had pecan crusted trout, beans, potatoes. 
Then for dessert we had whoopie pies...which we put a candle in to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus. 
In all the fun of parties, presents, and food, it is SO important to remember that the reason we even celebrate at all is because Jesus was given to us as the solution to a problem called sin.  He would live a sinless life, show us a new way to live, and then sacrifice Himself, so that we can be redeemed and live with God for eternity.  What great reason to celebrate the birth of someone than that!  So, Merry Christmas (2.5 months late!)!