Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Mommy Shoe

So I know EVERY little kid does this at some point, but it doesn't make it any less cute when it's your firstborn. I heard him repeating "A mommy shoe" and found him walking to me in the kitchen like this:

He's so sweet. I'm so proud of him. He's talking so well, he's tries pretty hard to be a good "friend", he loves to sing and knows an uncanny amount of animal names. Ordinary toddler things, but I think he's pretty great.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pumpkin-Orange Cake

I never really intended to put recipes on my blog, but I've been cooking and baking a lot lately and Weston loves to help, so here we are. This cake, however, I made by myself while he napped because, well...let's be honest, it's easier that way!

But I do love that cooking and baking ingredients are a familiar part of his vocabulary and it's fun to talk with him as we add things to the bowl. A few days ago he was helping me make lasagna for dinner and I was talking with him about the day and how I had gone to the doctor that morning. After mentioning "the doctor" several times, he looked up at me and said "No mo monkeys jumpin' on a bed." Yep, that is exactly what the doctor said!

I digress, so here is the recipe for this VERY yummy Pumpkin-Orange Cake. I am giving you the recipe as the "light" version, because it is from Cooking Light, but I will tell you that I tend to use the real deal ingredients. Sometimes life seems a little too short for low fat dessert...

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softned
1 can pumpkin
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 cup cake flour (I've always adhered to this, but next time I'm going to use whole wheat pastry flour and see what happens...)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
(but feel free to spice things up a bit more!)
12 oz. can fat-free evaporated milk


3 cups sifted powdered sugar (sifted shmifted)
3/4 cup (6 oz.) 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1 tsp.grated orange rind ( not leave out)
2 cups mandarin oranges in light syrup, drained
1 cup pomegranate seeds

1. Beat sugar and butter. Add pumpkin. Add egg and vanilla. Beat the heck out of it.
2. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients. Add flour mixture alternately with evaporated milk to the butter mixture. Pour batter into two 9 inch cake pans (coated with cooking spray, of course)
3. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack.
4. Beat 1 cup of powdered sugar with cream cheese. Add rest of powdered sugar and orange rind. Beat until fluffy.
5. Spread 2/3 of frosting in between cakes and the rest on top. Arrange mandarin slices and pomegranate seeds all pretty on the top :)

This is a great recipe for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. In fact, I had the ingredients for it because I was supposed to bring it for Christmas. But I was recovering from stomach virus 2009, so my mama let me off the hook. I made it later, but then it's hard because you have a whole cake just sitting in your house with not as many people to eat it. And then your husband starts making comments about how quickly it's disappearing...hey, it takes A LOT of energy to sustain life in the womb...many pieces of cake are needed (especially when baby is seemingly getting old enough to eat cake herself!). With that said, I don't know what I'm going to post about next, so this little girl better get a move on!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

If you Give a Mouse a Cookie...

Most parents are familiar with the "If you give a _______ a ___________" books. We're a big fan of them around here, but actually did not own any of the books until Christmas. One of the books Weston received came with the stuffed animal. His sweet cousin Leah decided that the cookie-frenzied mouse's name was "Taco", so Weston has been calling him that ever since.

Our Parents As Teachers program had a "If you Give a Mouse a Cookie" night last week, so of course we had to go. During the storytime, Weston shouted "TACO!" "TACO!" "TACO!". Perhaps people thought he was mistaking cookies for tacos, but he was just excited to see his little mouse friend in the story.

They made little mouse puppets (And Weston decided to pose like he's in Kindergarten. What?! When did he stop looking like a baby?!)...

"I'm pretty sure this is just a bag with nothing in it.", he's thinking.

And, of course, they had to have cookies too...

The other great thing is that they always give you free books at these things, so we came home with a few new books. WINNER!

On the homefront, we're hanging in there. I think Weston definitely senses something is going down. I pray for his sweet little spirit to handle the transition well. I know he will love her, but it's going to be hard too. He's been giving her many hugs and kisses and is trying really hard to pronounce her (secret) name.

Maybe next time folks...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bread Pudding

No baby girl yet. But we did have some Bread Pudding, which is not as exciting, but still very good.

Bread Pudding has been a staple in my life as long as I can remember. If you look in a cookbook, you will find it in the "dessert" section, probably under some class of custards. However, when I grew up Bread Pudding was indeed a BREAKFAST food (as were cake and pie occasionally, but that's a whole different post). Mama Doo would whip up some B.P for breakfast faster than...well, I can't think of a good idiom, but pretty fast.

The great thing about bread pudding is that you feel called to make it when you have a hunk of bread that is not going to go to good use. So I make it about twice a month, not necessarily because I'm craving it, but because a crusty piece of bread is calling me.

So here's my little helper assisting in some stirring/splattering milk everywhere (I realize he looks dangerously close to the edge of the table, but please know everything was under calls to DFS, please)

And here's my "go to" recipe that I loosely follow (I definitely add more spice, I usually ignore how much bread it calls for to just use up what I have and I never put raisins in it because my crazy husband dislikes them). If you like things sweet, I would add more sugar, especially if you use more bread than the recipe asks. But I like to leave an allowance for ice cream or maple syrup on it, so I usually keep the sugar low.

2-1/4 c. milk
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
5 c. (3-day old) bread, use crust
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. brown sugar

Most people have all of these ingredients on hand anyway and it's a piece of cake to make...I mean, pudding.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Five Minutes for Christmas

I've given myself five minutes to blog...which really has turned into 20 because somehow I started and my post got erased...AHHHH! After my 36 week appointment yesterday, Baby girl is predicted to come early and at any time, which I know really means nothing. She will come when she wants and in the Lord's time, however, I cannot help but freak out a little that we are not packed nor is her car seat installed. There just seems to be a lot of loose ends hanging out there still. It's okay. Whatever. Right?

So the very abridged commentary on Christmas 2009 is; after all of us recovered from a stomach virus we had a grand time with family. Christmas Eve (minus myself) at Kurt's sister Julie's house, Christmas Day at my parents and Christmas with Kurt's Dad and Stevie the weekend after New Years'. Since there was much talk about "poo poo" while he had the stomach bug, Weston thoroughly enjoyed having everyone in his new Little People dollhouse go on the potty...over and over.

And here is the photographic evidence of Christmas festivities:

Here is our tree on Christmas morn...

Clearly I still was not well Christmas morning...I love how Kurt captured me on the phone with my mom in the background, "Yes mom, I will still be coming this afternoon despite the tragic past 24 hours..."

Sweet Face Jesse...

Weston enjoys a German hippo cookie from Grammy and Grampy...

Alright...I'm off to pack. Next post may or may not be of a sweet faced little newborn!