Thursday, December 30, 2010
Today is December 30th. You are 2 and a half months old and getting more and more fun by the day! You are just becoming so alert and smiley all the time! When you wake up in the morning, you don't cry, you just sort of gurgle and grunt around until I wake up and I can tell you are ready for the day. As soon as I look at you, you get the biggest smile on your face! You just love to be awake!
I've never met anyone who fights sleep like you! It is the biggest struggle to get you to sleep. As soon as you start falling asleep, you pop your eyes open as if you are refusing to let in. Then, if we do actually get you to sleep, you usually sleep for about a half hour and then wake up. Then, if we try to get you back to sleep, you just give us a huge grin. It's the cutest thing in the world! The good news is, you usually aren't too grumpy, but sometimes you just get soooo tired from fighting your sleep that you just need a good cry. Those times are pretty few and far between though. We are quite blessed that you are such a good baby!
Here are some of my favorite things about this stage:
-One of my favorite things is watching you learn. Your eyes are so intelligent and you just take in the world as if you don't want to miss a thing. Two of your favorite things to stare at are the letters on the wall in your nursery that dad painted, and the wall-hang with the Celtic knots on it that Grandpa Lewis brought home from Wales.
-You are still my little cuddle bug. You just want to be held the whole day long. It's frustrating sometimes, but at the same time it's my favorite part of the day when I can just hold you. You love to be in your little baby sling, cuddled against my chest. When I need to walk Mayzie, I put you in that sling and put a hoodie around both of us and you love it. I could take you anywhere, as long as you are in the sling, you are happy! Sometimes when you are fighting sleep, I put you in the sling and just stand and read. It calms you down and you go right to sleep.
-Your chin is ticklish. Every time I kiss you or wipe spit-up off your chin, you think it's so funny! I would love to just tickle your chin the whole day to get smiles from you!
-You are just so happy! Sometimes when we are smiling and playing, you get so happy that you double over! It's the cutest thing!
-You have discovered your hands. You love to play with your fingers- especially while you are eating. Also, while you are being held, you usually will hold onto the neckline of the shirt of whoever is holding you.
I love you the most, my baby boy! I am so blessed that you're mine!
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
One of my favorite things about the holidays is making candy and doing all the holiday baking! When I was younger, my mom and grandma would do demonstrations at the Festival of Trees on how to make Christmas Candy, specifically making and dipping chocolates, and us young kids would be the hired help.
Last night I made two of my favorite holiday treats and sent some with Tom to his work and brought some in to my work. I had many people request the recipes because they are pretty much the most delicious things ever! The fudge recipe has been handed down from my great-grandpa, so you know it's good!
12 oz chocolate chips
1/2 lb butter or margarine
4 cups sugar
1 can evaporated milk
Put chocolate chips, butter, and nuts in a glass bowl. Set aside. Bring the sugar and canned milk to a boil, stirring constantly, until it reaches 242*. At the last minute, stir in the 30 marshmallows and continue to stir until melted. Pour into the first bowl until the chocolate chips and butter are melted. Pour the fudge into a buttered 9x13 pan and allow to set up.
Soda Cracker Toffee
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup REAL butter (if you use margarine, it will not be crunchy, it will be soft and won't be nearly as delightful)
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with non-stick spray. Put 1 layer of saltine crackers. Boil together the butter and brown sugar for 2 minutes. Spoon over the saltines. Bake at 350* for 5 minutes. Take out of oven and sprinkle chocolate chips over crackers. Let sit for 2 minutes and spread chocolate across the top. Allow to cool completely in fridge and break into pieces to serve.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Next week it will have been 6 months since my little Netty girl died. I still miss her so much. It's amazing how big a void such a small creature can create when they are gone.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
For the Vanilla Crème Patissiere (Half Batch)
1 cup (225 ml.) whole milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
6 Tbsp. (100 g.) sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. (30 g.) unsalted butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla
Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup of milk. Combine the remaining milk with the sugar in a saucepan; bring to boil; remove from heat.
Beat the whole egg, then the yolks into the cornstarch mixture. Pour 1/3 of boiling milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so that the eggs do not begin to cook.
Return the remaining milk to boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, continuing whisking.
Continue whisking (this is important – you do not want the eggs to solidify/cook) until the cream thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla.
Pour cream into a stainless steel/ceramic bowl. Press plastic wrap firmly against the surface. Chill immediately and until ready to use.
For Chocolate Pastry Cream (Half Batch Recipe):
Bring ¼ cup (about 50 cl.) milk to a boil in a small pan; remove from heat and add in 3 ounces (about 80 g.) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped, and mix until smooth. Whisk into pastry cream when you add the butter and vanilla.
For Coffee Pastry Cream (Half Batch recipe)
Dissolve 1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso powder in 1 ½ teaspoons boiling water. Whisk into pastry cream with butter and vanilla.
Pate a Choux (Yield: About 28)
¾ cup (175 ml.) water
6 Tbsp. (85 g.) unsalted butter
¼ Tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup (125 g.) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
For Egg Wash: 1 egg and pinch of salt
Pre-heat oven to 425◦F/220◦C degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. At boil, remove from heat and sift in the flour, stirring to combine completely.
Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon 1 minute to cool slightly.
Add 1 egg. The batter will appear loose and shiny.
As you stir, the batter will become dry-looking like lightly buttered mashed potatoes.
It is at this point that you will add in the next egg. Repeat until you have incorporated all the eggs.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip (I piped directly from the bag opening without a tip). Pipe choux about 1 inch-part in the baking sheets. Choux should be about 1 inch high about 1 inch wide.
Using a clean finger dipped in hot water, gently press down on any tips that have formed on the top of choux when piping. You want them to retain their ball shape, but be smoothly curved on top.
Brush tops with egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with pinch of salt).
Bake the choux at 425◦F/220◦C degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 350◦F/180◦C degrees and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 20 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool.
Can be stored in a airtight box overnight.
When you are ready to assemble your piece montée, using a plain pastry tip, pierce the bottom of each choux. Fill the choux with pastry cream using either the same tip or a star tip, and place on a paper-lined sheet. Choux can be refrigerated briefly at this point while you make your glaze.
Use one of these to top your choux and assemble your piece montée.
8 ounces/200 g. finely chopped chocolate (use the finest quality you can afford as the taste will be quite pronounced; I recommend semi-sweet)
Melt chocolate in microwave or double boiler. Stir at regular intervals to avoid burning. Use the best quality chocolate you can afford. Use immediately.
Hard Caramel Glaze:
1 cup (225 g.) sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice
Combine sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan with a metal kitchen spoon stirring until the sugar resembles wet sand. Place on medium heat; heat without stirring until sugar starts to melt around the sides of the pan and the center begins to smoke. Begin to stir sugar. Continue heating, stirring occasionally until the sugar is a clear, amber color. Remove from heat immediately; place bottom of pan in ice water to stop the cooking. Use immediately.
Assembly of your Piece Montée:
You may want to lay out your unfilled, unglazed choux in a practice design to get a feel for how to assemble the final dessert. For example, if making a conical shape, trace a circle (no bigger than 8 inches) on a piece of parchment to use as a pattern. Then take some of the larger choux and assemble them in the circle for the bottom layer. Practice seeing which pieces fit together best.
Once you are ready to assemble your piece montée, dip the top of each choux in your glaze (careful it may be still hot!), and start assembling on your cake board/plate/sheet. Continue dipping and adding choux in levels using the glaze to hold them together as you build up. (You may want to use toothpicks to hold them in place – see video #4 below).
When you have finished the design of your piece montée, you may drizzle with remaining glaze or use ribbons, sugar cookie cut-outs, almonds, flowers, etc. to decorate. Have fun and enjoy! Bon appétit!
Monday, May 24, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Cinnabon Cinnamon Rolls
Recipe from Top Secret Recipes by Todd Wilbur
1 package active dry yeast (¼ oz size)
1 cup warm milk (105-110° F)
½ cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup margarine
1 tsp salt
4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 ½ Tbl cinnamon
1/3 cup margarine, softened
8 Tbl margarine, softened
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
¼ cup (2 oz) cream cheese
½ tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt
1. For the rolls, dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl.
2. Mix together the sugar, margarine, salt and eggs. Add flour, and mix well.
3. Knead the dough into a large ball, using your hands dusted lightly with flour. Put in a bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place about 1 hour, or until dough has doubled in size.
4. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough flat until it is approximately 21 inches long and 16 inches wide. It should be about ¼ inch thick.
5. Preheat oven to 400°F.
6. For the filling, combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Spread the softened margarine evenly over the surface of the dough, and then sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar evenly over the surface.
7. Working carefully from the top (a 21-inch side), roll the dough down to the bottom edge.
8. Cut the rolled dough into 1 ¾ inch slices and place 6 at a time evenly spaced, in a lightly greased baking pan. Let the rolls rise again until double in size (about 30 minutes). Bake for 10 minutes, or until light brown on top.
9. While the rolls bake, combine the icing ingredients. Beat well with an electric mixer until fluffy. When the rolls come out of the oven, coat each generously with icing.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
In November, my extremely talented roommate from my freshman year of college took some pictures of Tom and I. We hadn't had any professional pictures of us since our wedding and wanted some to show off how damn good-looking we are!!!! :) She is amazing and did such a great job! Here are some of my favorites that she took. Thanks again Bekah!