Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I love me some donuts!!! Bacon Maple Donuts



Over Christmas Break my husband and I went out to California to visit family. While we were out there my sister and I got together and played for a day. She gets me into TONS of trouble! When we were on our way back to her house she insisted that we stop by a gourmet doughnut shop in Newport Beach called Sidecar Doughnuts & Coffee. http://www.sidecardoughnuts.com/ Oh my goodness!!! My world was changed. Ask any of my close friends, I LOVE learning how to do new things, especially in the kitchen. I had never made doughnuts before and after trying their Maple Bacon Doughnut, I was determined to learn how to make them for myself. When I got back to Arizona, I got to work. This is what I have found for a delicious yeast light and fluffy doughnut, tips and tricks included. They are DELICIOUS!!!

Donut Recipe
4 ½ tsp Yeast, I use Saf Yeast, It’s the best! You can find it here.
1/4c warm water (105-115 degrees Fahrenheit)
1 ½ c scaled and then cooled to lukewarm whole milk (speaking from experience, it is important that it is whole milk)
½ c sugar
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/3 c shortening
5 c all-purpose flour
Oil for frying

Scaled the milk, and set it aside to cool.
To scaled milk: Put milk in a saucepan and put on the stove over medium heat, do not stir. Let the milk heat until it forms a film on the top. Do not bring the milk to a boil. As soon as it forms a film on the top remove from the heat.
Stir together yeast and water, and let sit for 5 minutes to proof. Make sure your milk is cool enough to add to the yeast mixture. (You don’t want it to be too hot or it can kill the yeast) When you milk is cool enough, add the milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening and 2 cups of flour to the yeast. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Make sure you constantly scrape down the sides of the bowl. Occasionally scrapping down the sides of the bowl beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 3 cups of flour until the dough is smooth. (I like to mainly do this with my hands). Cover and put in a warm place to rise until the dough has doubled, about 1 hour. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Lightly sprinkle to coat it with flour. Gently roll the dough out with a floured rolling pin to be ½ inch thick. Cut with doughnut cutters (you can also to the cap to your oil bottle and a cup, depending on the sizes) Cover and let rise in a warm place for about 30-45 minutes. While the dough is rising heat the oil to be 350°F. After this rise, try to not touch the dough very much, they will be very fluffy. Slide the doughnuts into the hot oil with a wide spatula; I normally do 2-3 at a time. Cook for about 1 minute on each side. Turn and remove the doughnuts with a skewer or a chopstick, be careful to not puncture them with the skewer or chopstick. Drain on a plate with a cloth or paper towel. When they have cooled slightly dip in maple glaze. Right after you dip in the glaze sprinkle crumbled bacon on top so the glaze hasn’t cooled yet.

Maple Glaze
1c brown sugar
½c butter, room temp
¼ c whole milk
2c powdered sugar
2 tsp maple flavoring
In a saucepan, bring the brown sugar and butter to a boil. Add milk, and return to a boil stirring constantly(it helps it to be mixed together evenly). Remove from heat as soon as it starts to boil again, and stir in powdered sugar and flavoring. Stir until smooth. This sets VERY quickly. If it starts to set, stir. If it is too thick after it sets, put back on the stove and heat slightly and add a little milk. This can make it a little thinner than the original batch, but it tastes just as delicious.
You can get super creative with these. Next time I make them I want to make an orange glaze with candied orange peels. Then maybe some jelly feeling and a peanut butter icing. Or strawberry filling and a chocolate glaze. The possibilities are endless. I get super excited talking about doughnuts now days!!! They are delicious and SO fun to make. They take a while, but are oh so worth it!!! I hope you have just as much fun making them as I do!

P.S. Thanks for the several extra pounds sis!

What flavors do you think would be great?

What is your favorite doughnut?

What are you favorite things to cook/fry/bake/make?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Got Milk?!? Or Cookies?!?

So, with little I felt like my milk was getting low. I tried Fenugreek and it did awful things to my body. I tried Mother's Milk tea, loved it, but got tired of drinking it all the time. So I started to look into other options, and I came across lactation cookies. Don't worry, they don't call for breast milk, but, in my experience, you will have any abundance of breast milk after each a couple of them. They are delicious too. Be careful to not eat to many though. I have woken up a few times in the middle of the night completely engorged and completely covered in milk. I have a major sweet tooth and love these cookies. It's hard to just stop at one or two or three.....

I normally get about 3 dozen cookies from this recipe:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
Mix together in a bowl. Set aside.

3/4 c almond butter or peanut butter
1/2 c butter, salted, softened
1 c flax meal
3 T brewer's yeast
1/3 c water
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
2 tsp plus a splash vanilla, a good vanilla
In a large bowl, beat all of these ingredients together until they are creamy. Mix in 2 eggs. Gradually mix in the flour mixture.

Mix in 1/2 cup of chopped nuts of your choice, 1/2 cup of raisins, and 2 cups (12oz.) of chocolate chips or carob chips. Slowly add in 1 3/4 cups of oats (not steel cut or instant).

Roll out balls of dough and place onto baking sheets and press down each ball with a fork.

Bake for 12 minutes.

These are great frozen too! Little loves to steal them from me too. They wont make someone create milk, they should just help someone already lactating to increase their milk volume. Just a note, most moms don't have a problem with their milk supply. Also, the ingredients that may help increase the milk supply are the flax meal, brewer's yeast, and oats. You don't have to use the brands in the hyper links, those are just so you can see what they are because I hate seeing something in a recipe that I have never used before and not knowing what to look for when I go to the store.

Have you heard of any foods that may increase milk supply?

What are some of your favorites?

Have any worked for you?

Feeding my babies

So, my oldest is two(almost), and when I had her I was completely oblivious to what being a mommy entailed. I read blogs, articles, listened to advice from family and friends, but it is completely different when you are actually a mom. Any of the advice you get or read about is REALLY hard to remember when you are completely sleep deprived. For some reason I didn't believe anyone when they told me I would be sleep deprived. It was bad, really bad. That sweet girl wouldn't sleep for more than two hours at a time EVER. It was hard, really hard, but I/we got through it. Anyways, probably the most difficult thing for me was breastfeeding. I didn't want to give up on it because formula is expensive, I knew breastfeeding is what was best for my baby, and I had the ability to do it. The lactation consultant in the hospital came in a few times and tried to help me when I would call them in. They said my latch was great and every thing looked perfect. They also told me I could only feed her every two hours for 20 minutes on each side. Not knowing any better, that's what I did. I crackled, bled, bruised, cried, and repeated A LOT! I think that's why she and I had so many problems.

On a visit to California to see my parents, before they became our neighbors, I met a girl who helped me tremendously, by that point little was a month old and I had finally gotten the hang of the whole breastfeeding thing. She was so encouraging and told me about a program where I could become a lactation educator counselor and help other people in their journey through breastfeeding. My hubs and I talked about it, and we decided that I should do it. I did, and it has changed everything for me. I now teach breastfeeding classes and counsel clients individually. If you are looking for a breastfeeding class, I can do them via the internet, and I can counsel over the phone, or if you are in Arizona I can come to you. I don't want anyone to go through what I went through with breastfeeding. So, if I can help make your journey easier I would love to help!

I am grateful that I stuck with it! I am grateful for the knowledge I have gained from a tough experience. I am grateful for breastfeeding. I LOVE it! It is definitely a bonding experience for me and my babies, let alone all of the health benefits to me and my cuties. It is truly a blessing in my life!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Pop Pop is awesome!

I was going through pictures on my phone and am shocked that I don't have pictures of my dad with my girls on my phone. They love him and spend so much time with him. Little asks to see pop pop all the time. Today I'm incredibly grateful for him.

He is the best dad I could have ever had! When I was little he was working several jobs to support our family and worked on his masters. When he finished his masters he when on to work on and finish his doctorate as well. Smart dude! And the entire time he worked like crazy to provide so well for us. On the weekends he would work in his honey do list that my mom had for him. Many weekends were spent with my on the flat bed cart riding around Home Depot. Or riding on a rototiller around our yard. I'm sure I slowed him down always following him around, but he always took the time to just hang out with me and show me how to do whatever he was doing.
 
He does the same thing with my kiddos. I love it! While I was trying to find someone to watch my girls today so I could go to an appointment that they couldn't come to, he offered to do it even though he was already running my 95 year old grandma around to several appointments as well. He took a huge weight off of my shoulders by doing it, and he's willing to do it most any time for us too. 

He is awesome for so many more reasons! But that would make this post forever long. I sure do love him!

Who are you grateful for?

Doctors, pain, and trials

I was crazy busy yesterday and upset for part of the day so I didn't write a post, but I definitely had one in mind. I've been struggling with some pain since I had Holland. So, I was on the phone with doctors a good portion of the day, and trying to figure out who could watch my girls while I went to an appointment today.

A couple of weeks, maybe a month after I had Holli I started to have extreme pain in my face. I've been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia. With many different tests, we still aren't sure why. But I'm so grateful for doctors who keep trying to find out why. I feel like they genuinely care about me and my well being. I have seen a few specialists and they are all working together to help me out. They are seriously the best!!!

With that, I'm so grateful for the health I do have. I may be in pain, but I can still go about my daily life and be happy. Yesterday, was a tough day for me because I was frustrated. But those days are few and far between. I'm so glad that I can get up each day and play with my girls. 

There are so many people who don't have the health that I have, and I'm sure there are people who would trade me the pain I have for their ailments. I just have to laugh most days. Sometimes I feel like I'm falling apart, but I have faith that this will pass. In the meantime, I'm grateful for my circumstances. I'm definitely growing and am grateful for this trial and the opportunity it is giving me to grow.

What are you grateful for today?

Saturday, January 31, 2015

He's The Best

It's the weekend, and my husband is a teacher, normally he's home all weekend(with the exception of mountain biking with the guys every once and a while) Yesterday he had a training so he was gone all day, and I never realized how much I look forward to the weekend to hang out with him. It kind of stinks when my other best buddy has to work on a day he normally has off, but I am so grateful for him! He does SO much. He leaves for work early in the morning and gets home late at night, but always in time to put our oldest little to bed. Daddy LOVES putting her to bed. Even though it normally involves a lot, a whole lot, of crying at first, from her not him. He makes time to go swimming with her, and hang out with all of us. It doesn't matter what we are doing, we always have to much fun together. 

He truly is my best friend. 

Here is a small list of some things I love about him: 
Devin is one of the most positive individuals in know. He's always looking on the bright side. 
He has a way of always making me happy. When I feel as though things are hopeless, he always shows me the hope. 
He and I have different senses if humor, but he always laughs at my jokes even when he just thinks in a nerd.
He reads with such great enthusiasm. I love it. (Voices and everything. It's awesome!)
He is getting so much better about seeing when something is needing to be done and doing it. 
He loves our little girl so much, and makes such an effort to spend time and bond with them. It melts my heart. 

He loves vacuuming and I'm grateful for it. 
When he puts his mind to something he gets it done. I.e. Painting our eaves. 
We have the best spontaneous dance parties.
I love talking and he hates it, but he will sit there and listen to me go on forever about things. Poor guy, but it's so sweet of him to do. 

He truly is my better half! I'm better with him than I ever was without him, and he makes me want to be better and helps me get there. I'm lucky to be able to keep him forever!!!

My favorite girls!!! Day 1



I started this blog to document all of the fun crafts I was doing, especially since most of them revolved around sewing things for my closet at the time. Through the years my priorities have changed. I think much differently than I did 1 year ago, let alone 5 years ago. I haven’t been great at blogging in general, but I want to be better about it. 1. Because I want to note many of the wonderful things I’m thankful for every day, and 2. I’ve used this in the past to document a couple of recipes that I've tried and liked, and it is easy for me to come back to those quickly since they are on here. I might do crafty stuff too, who knows? It's whatever the girls and I feel like doing. Selfish, I know. But this is my blog so I do what I want.

We like to be matchy matchy sometimes.

The past couple of days have been full of constantly screaming kids cleaning a messy house. A little one who will be two next week has been on a small eating strike unless she gets cookies and ice cream. She caves first, don’t worry, but it involves a lot of screaming!!! As I have been reflecting on life and how much it has changed, I have become incredibly grateful for the ways it has changed. 
 

When I started this I was working as a marketing specialist for one of the largest charter school districts in Arizona. My career was SO important to me. I put it ahead of to many things. Then I had my sweet oldest baby, and my husband and I decided we didn’t want anyone else raising our children. So I became a stay at home mommy. Best decision ever!!! At the time, I struggled greatly with leaving my job, they had become like family, and they offered me a part time work from home position. Like I always did, I let work become more important than it should have been though, and I was staying up much to late coming up with new ideas for marketing the schools to increase enrollment or open new schools. I decided to be done, and I was devastated. (They created such a HUGE sense of loyalty while you work for them. It can become hard to leave.) Once I fully committed to being a stay at home mom, playing with my baby all day, along with all of my other mommy and homemaker duties, my post-partum depression (which was awful) started to go away. I started to feel happier about being a mom, my hair started to slow down in the falling out process, breastfeeding became easier, I noticed, even more than I had before, the incredible man I had married.

A super cute kiddo, just for kicks and giggles.
Choosing my family, for me, was the best decision for me and my family. I am so grateful that my husband goes to work every day to provide for our family so I can stay home with my girls (we have two beautiful girls now days). It is the best to be a stay at home mommy. Hanging out with my two little buddies is something irreplaceable. Especially on those extra screaming days. They may give me an awful headache, but I’d take them over anything else any day because the laughs I get from them heavily outweigh those screams. The dance parties aren’t bad either. 

What are you grateful for today?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Two Fall Soup Recipes

Tis the season for soup! While my hubs and I were dating he decided he wanted to perfect soup! He only had one dud, but the rest of his soups have been incredible! My mom makes the best chicken soup. So, I decided I need to jump on the band wagon. With the weather changing and getting a little cooler, finally 61 degrees here in Arizona, we have had soup two nights in a row. Wednesday night was Butternut Squash and Apple Soup and tonight was a Chicken Vegetable Soup. The Butternut Squash Soup was adapted from the Barefoot Contessa’s recipe, but the Chicken Vege soup is thrown together. I hardly ever measure when I cook, so make sure to add things to taste.
Butternut squash tends to be sweet. Apples are definitely sweet. My hubs isn’t the biggest fan of sweet things. SO WEIRD!!!! I’m a sugar fiend. So… for him, I cut some of the sweet down a little in the recipe below.

Butternut Squash Apple Soup


2T unsalted butter
2T olive oil(I like Sam’s Club EVOO)
1 large yellow onion chopped
Just a little less than 1T curry powder(I use McCormick’s yellow curry)
5 pounds butternut squash(She says 2 large. I had one that was 5 pounds)
3 medium sweet apples(I used honeycrisp because I love them and I’m not a huge fan of apples. The textures are weird.)
1 tsp kosher salt
Black pepper to taste
2 cups water
1 ½ cup apple cider or juice

Heat butter, olive oil, and curry powder and sauté onions in a large stock pot uncovered, until onions are tender. Stir occasionally scraping the bottom of the pot. Peel the squash and apples. Scrape seeds out of the squash and core the apples. Then cut them into chunks, small chucks are nice because they cook faster. Add squash and apples to sautéed onion mixture. Your house will smell incredible right now. Pour the water over the top of the squash and apples. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cover and cook over medium heat until apples and squash are tender. Once they are tender you can pour into a food processor and puree, I used and immersion blender and blended it in the pot, less dishes to wash and works just as well. Once it is pureed, if you poured into a food processor pour back into stockpot, add apple cider/juice into pot. You can add water to make it whatever consistency you would like. Check to see if it needs any salt and pepper, and then you are ready to eat.

I made rosemary bread and breaded chicken to have with it. INCREDIBLE!!!!

Chicken Vegetable Soup


4 boneless skinless chicken breasts shredded chicken
3 quarts water
3 ½ T Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base(I LOVE this stuff. I use it WAY more than chicken stock.)
3 large carrots, peeled and chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
4 turnips peeled and cubed(Weird vege, I know, but my mom introduced me to it and I love it now. In my soups it tastes a lot like potatoes)
2 zucchinis cubed
1 yellow neck squash, cubed
1-2 T butter
1 onion chopped
About ½ tsp garlic
About ½ cup – 1 cup of Wild Rice (Devin says this makes the soup)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Kickin’ Chicken Seasoning to taste(Optional)

If you want to make your own shredded chicken, here is how I do it:
Heat 1-2T olive oil over medium high heat in a skillet with a lid, add chicken breast side down. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, until breast side is browned, turn over and add ½ c chicken stock and ¼ cup water, you could use ¾ cup water or chicken stock. This is what I had this time so it is what I used.) Cover and cook for 7-10 minutes or until chicken is cooked all the way through (160 degrees Fahrenheit). Make sure to not overcook or meat can get tough. Remove from heat and wait for chicken to cool slightly. Shred with two forks.

Saute onion and garlic in butter in a large stockpot. Once onions are tender add water and bring to a boil. Once water is boiling, add Better Than Bouillon and stir until dissolved. Add carrots, celery, turnips, zucchini, squash, wild rice, and shredded chicken to pot, cook over medium heat until rice, turnips and carrots are cooked. About 20-30 minutes. While the veges are cooking, add a little salt, pepper and kickin’ chicken seasoning. Once they are cooked check to see if you need any additional salt, pepper, or kickin’ chicken seasoning. Enjoy!

***Be careful not to burn your tongue! The hubs and I always do with this soup. Don’t worry, little miss didn't, we made sure all of her food was cool enough before she oinked it down.

 This soup makes a lot, obviously, but it disappears quickly. If you do have leftovers and you notice that there isn’t much liquid the next day, just add a little more chicken stock to it. Also, feel free to add whatever other vegetables you would like. I generally add potatoes, bell peppers, lettuce, spinach, whatever I have in the fridge I want to get rid of soon. It makes it fun and delicious! I should have made rolls to go with it, but I got lazy and didn’t. I have chocolate baklava, banana bread, and whipped body butter to make in the next day or two and people are coming over tomorrow, so rolls just seemed like to many extra dishes to deal with tonight. Also, little miss was in a please hold me mommy or I just might have a break down, kind of night. So, snuggle time took WAY higher priority than delicious rolls.


I hope you enjoy our soups as much as we do!

What is your favorite food in the fall?

What is your favorite soup?

Did anything take priority in  your life over dinner tonight?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fast and Easy Caramel Corn


Anyone who knows my husband knows that popcorn in a main staple of his diet. He’s not much of a sweets person. Crazy, since I can’t live without my sweets.  Well, while we were on our two month escapade in California my mom made him caramel corn several times and he LOVED it. It was something she made for us, her cute little children, often when we were kids. Generally in fall because what goes better with fall than caramel corn. 
Ok, maybe anything pumpkin, but caramel corn is a close second. I tried to find a good recipe like my mom’s, but they all took forever to make. I know, I know, all good things come to those that wait, but I have a very active baby that rolls around the room in no time flat so I’d prefer to not have to cook the caramel corn for an hour and having to stir it every 15 minutes. So, I finally broke down and called my mom for the recipe. Best idea I have had all week! It had the entire thing done in 15 minutes and we were onto eating caramel corn and watching Hocus Pocus. Beware! It is VERY addicting! Half of it is already gone.
Here is what you’ll need:
6 quarts of popped popcorn
½ cup butter
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
Pam Cooking Spray (I haven’t used cooking spray in a long time so I use olive oil)
Big Brown paper bag
1.5 quart glass bowl
Two large cookie sheets

Spray the inside of the brown paper bag with your cooking spray. (I just poured some olive oil in the bottom of the bag and made sure to spread it up the sides of the bag, about half way) Put your popped popcorn in the bag and set aside for a minute. Put the butter, light corn syrup, brown sugar, and salt in the glass bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. Remove from the microwave and stir well. Microwave for 2 more minutes. Remove and add baking soda and stir really well. Now pour the mixture on top of the popcorn. Fold the top of the bag over on itself and shake the bag A LOT to try to get all of the popcorn coated. Put the popcorn in the microwave, bag and all , and microwave for 1 ½ minutes. Remove the bag from the microwave and shake well. Microwave for another 1 ½ minutes and then remove and shake well. Microwave for 45 seconds. Remove and pour popcorn onto 2 large cookie sheets to cool. 

Mine is always cool enough by the time I get it all poured out to touch it. Make sure to try to break all of the pieces apart as soon as it is cool enough for you to touch. Then enjoy! If you happen to have any leftovers, make sure to store them in an air tight container.