Aria in Onederland

My Bug just turned one and let me tell you, what an event it was. I had the most fun celebrating her and with her. As a crafty, EXTRA, mom (I told ya’ll I’m very extra) I had to everything and do everything big. We are in Texas after all. So this post is dedicated to everything Aria… in Onederland.

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In Honor of National Cookie Day – Snickerdoodles

So today is National Cookie Day and we loooooove a good cookie. Here’s to an oldie but always a goodie… Snickerdoodles. This is how we make them:

Ingredients

For the cookie:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg, plus 1 yolk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 3/4 cups of flour

For the cinnamon sugar:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly coat cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
  2. In a mixer, mix butter, sugar, and light brown sugar together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add egg, yolk, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and cinnamon.
  4. Add flour and mix until just combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, make cinnamon sugar by mixing the cinnamon and sugar together until evenly combined.
  6. Using a mini ice cream scooper, scoop out cookie dough and roll into a dough ball. Then roll the ball around the cinnamon sugar mixture until coated.
  7. Place on cookie sheet 2 inches apart and bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden.
  8. Let cool for a couple of minutes (we like warm cookies in this house) and then…

…in the words of that smart guy Cookie Monster, “EAT COOOOOKIESSS!!! Nom. Nom. Nom.”

Enjoy.

Go Ahead and Have the Chocolate. You deserve it.

There’s ALWAYS room for dessert. Oh, don’t give me that “you can’t eat cupcakes because your diet” foolishness. You can eat this. And you should.

If you want a truly decadent chocolate cake or cupcake (however you feel like pouring the patter in the tin), this recipe is for you. And don’t worry about the calorie count. There are a lot of them. But everything in moderation. Don’t sit there and eat the whole batch. Share.

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°. Sift together all your dry ingredients – minus the sugar (flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder).
  2. Add bittersweet chocolate.
  3. Beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about five minutes.
  4. Beat in vanilla and then buttermilk.
  5. Add flour and beat until smooth.
  6. Bake in the oven for about 16 minutes (for cupcakes) and 30 minutes (for cakes) depending on your oven. Those baking times can vary. When your toothpick comes out clean, your cakes are ready.

This recipe yields about a dozen cupcakes or one 8″ round.

To garnish, I used strawberries because the red gives a really pretty contrast to the chocolate cake and buttercream.

(To make the chocolate buttercream blend a half cup of butter, with a half cup of shortening, three cups of confectioner’s sugar, a quarter cup of cocoa powder, and one tsp of vanilla. Pipe onto your finished cupcakes and decorate as you like.)

ChocStraw

Mouthwatering Hamburgers in 30 Minutes! Score one for Mom!

So at the Cook residence with a 2-month old and all the other obligations of the day, good food is something that my husband and I look forward to. Aria is still a little young for us to be toting in and out of restaurants, so we tend to bring the restaurant home. And since both my husband and I looooove to cook, making burger night special is kind of a homerun and no-brainer.

These burgers were so quick and easy and most importantly delicious that I just knew that I needed to share it with you. So busy moms – and dads – this one’s for you. Holy hamburger night, Batman! This is gonna be good. Check the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground sirloin
  • 1 diced jalapeño
  • 1 diced small yellow onion
  • 1 cup diced mushrooms
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, plus a pinch
  • hefty pinch dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus a pinch

Directions:

  1. Combine all the vegetables (jalapeño, mushrooms, onion) and sautée until tender. Season with the pinches of sea salt and pepper. DSC_0495
  2. Add seasoned vegetables to ground sirloin. Add additional spices and  blend well. DSC_0501
  3. Shape into 6 oz. hamburger patties.dsc_0512.jpg
  4. Grill to desired level of doneness. (Personally, I love a well-done burger, but if you’re a medium-well type of person – go for it!)
  5. Toast your bun and add your desired trimmings. snapseed-2

Here’s a little bonus too! What’s a good burger without delicious fries??? Those mouthwatering ones that are fresh cut with the skin on – oh my gosh, I might have to make some for lunch! This is easy too. All you need is a a few large russet potatoes, some vegetable oil and a fryer.

Directions for the fries:

  1. Slice the potatoes to resemble fries. Soak in cold water for about 10 minutes. Drain.DSC_0498DSC_0507
  2. The key to yummy, crispy french fries is to double fry them. Sounds crazy right? Trust me. Set your deep fryer to about 275°. Your first fry should be at this temperature for about 4 to 5 minutes. Just to quickly cook them. They shouldn’t have any color at all at this point. Drain the grease off the fries.DSC_0513
  3. Adjust your deep fryer to 300°. Now when you drop your fries, they’ll go until they get that beautiful golden color. Probably another 4 minutes.DSC_0514DSC_0515

I do hope you enjoy this as much as we do. Bon appetit.

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When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Cupcakes

img_6140.jpgWhat happens when life hands you a giant bowl of lemons? Well, you get in the kitchen. Kind of like, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. Ok, so I’m not a philosopher, but I can bake. I can bake my butt off. There goes that domestic goddess thing again.

So I’ve been having the average new mommy week. I’m tired as all get out. I just ended my maternity leave so I’m juggling home, baby, husband, and work. And I’ve been feeling a little bit inadequate about life. Just keeping it real. Those were my lemons. So I decided to channel that energy into something that I love to do. So into the kitchen I went.

Anything warm and homemade from the oven can send someone into a completely happy place so I decided to go “on vacation.” Haha  I strapped Aria into the Ergobaby and the tough got going. I took my lemons and and turned them into fluffy sunshine. So here we are. My bug and me zesting away. It gives it the most amazing lemony flavor. Sure it’s “extra,” but I did say that I was a non-practical parent didn’t I? It would make too much Mommy-sense for me to just grab some lemon juice from the store. Oh no. I have to zest and squeeze my own for that freshness. Yum. Ok. Back to the regularly scheduled program. img_6139.jpg

I also like to mix my zest with my sugar to make lemon sugar. I don’t know if that helps, but I like it. So I toss my zest and sugar in the food processor and blend, blend, blend.

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Then, we get going on the cake. Make the batter and bake away. If you want to give it a try, the recipe is below. By the way, sweet pea got bored on me and went to sleep. The benefits of wearing your baby! Ha! Hope the recipe makes your day a little sweeter. I know it did for me.

xoxo

Breastfeeding for Dummies… i.e. Me.

This is a chronicle of the (mis)adventures and mishaps of my milk making. Blah.

Right now, as I write this blog, I find myself on the floor of my bedroom, in the not quite middle of the night (10 pm), but to my exhausted and beaten body it feels like 3, pumping for my life – or should I say my tiny angel. Breastfeeding moms this one is for you, you’ll definitely feel me.

Now, as I was saying, I’m here in the floor – trying to be as quiet as possible, the entire house is fast asleep – even the two huskies – who snore lazily and look up at me as I reach for the lanolin, take a yawn that eerily sounds like “poor sucker” and go right back to sleep. I’m trying to be incognito because I promise if that baby wakes up, it’s just about enough to send me right over the edge. So shhhhhhhh…. please and thank you. Save your applause ’til the end.

Here’s what I’ve been trying to do. I’ve been trying to get a surplus of milk. And while some of you reading this may have a freezer chock full of Medela storage bags – well that’s not my story. You take your excess 300 ounces and shove ’em. (Do I sound bitter? It’s probably because I am…and jealous. Excuse me, it’s the middle of the night. Be nice to your milk bags. I’m sure they are very nice people.) I barely have 30 extra ounces. And that’s from like 2 weeks of pumping. That’s right, only that much. So moms out there that loooooove to give advice, both solicited and un-, this is your chance. Tell me what to do. Please.

I’ve read all the blogs. Tried all the tricks, looking at her, looking at pictures, holding a blanket to smell (at this point I might as well hold a diaper full of yellow seeds – if you get my drift), feeding her right after pumping, feeding her before pumping and waiting no time, 30 minutes, an hour… still… beans. I’m on the more milk supplements. I’m drinking the lactation tea, and if I see ONE MORE oatmeal cylinder, I’m going to vomit. (I hate oatmeal.) If I drink any more water I’m gonna have to come and pee at your house. It’s not working.

True, every now and again I might get a good haul. Then I think excited, “it’s working.” Then the next time… beans. Giant F word. Back to the drawing board I go. I know, I know. I have to stick with it. But between working for a living (my household is a two-income household), blogging for a living, taking care of the baby before, during (yes, I said during), and after work, trying to pump and get healthy food in me. Forget about it. You want me to shower and comb my hair too??? You’re asking too much. What’s the secret? I really, really need to know. Can I please get invited to the surplus milk supply club? It’s important.

Not for nothing though, there are a couple of things that I have tried that I can appreciate. So even though my supply isn’t where I want it to be, they definitely make the struggle more convenient.

  1. Willow Breast Pump – Shout out to the moms at Willow who knew the importance of being able to be mobile and pump at the same time. I know that there’s that bra that you can wear that lets you be “hands free,” but this little gem let’s me be hands free, plug free and whatever else free that I need to be. Imagine me going to celebrate someone’s birthday and excusing myself to the restroom for a quick install and right back to the group to keep the party going.fullsizerender-6
  2. Hakaa Silicone Pump – I call it the “Boob Sucker.” This little contraption let’s me pump on one boob while Aria snacks on the other. Never miss a let down. On a good day I can get about 2 ounces on it. Mostly I get about a half ounce. But I’ll take what I can get. Beggars can’t choosers.
  3. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Didn’t I say I hate oatmeal. There’s something about the texture that I can’t get with, so these cookies are a lifesaver. To spice it up I add white chocolate chips, cranberries, and toffee bits. I even throw in a little flaxseed meal for good measure… you know to help with the milk. They are soooo good. So if I must eat oatmeal, this is the way.bac496dc-037f-4e32-a965-c3e81b5cd193
  4. Fenugreek – These pills definitely help, but aren’t a silver bullet for me. I did take some moringa but those darn things dried me up so I had to kick those to the curb and get back to the ‘greek.acf8d4a8-d562-4d91-adb5-8289482e2508

Other than that, I don’t know what else to do. Like I said, I’m soliciting advice. So gimme what ya got. I’ll keep you posted on how things turn out.

xoxo