Thursday, September 30, 2010

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Lime Chili Rubbed Steaks

Lime-Chili Rubbed Steak
One of the perks of having Alex home for the week is that he has been very eager about making us dinner and using the grill. He found this recipe and was so happy we had all the ingredients on hand. The steak was beyond delicious and extremely tender. The steak was flavorful and you picked up on the lime more than the chili so don't avoid this recipe because you think it will be spicy. Another thing I loved about this recipe is how understated the cumin was; you couldn't even taste it but you know that it added another flavor dynamic to the rub. The meat is good on its own or in tacos like we ate it.
 Lime-Chili Rubbed Steak

Lime-Chili Steak Rub
Source: Our Best Bites (here)

1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp oregano
1/8- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper*
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
*If you have chipotle chili powder, you can substitute it for the cayenne or just add a little in addition

1 lime (about 2 T lime juice)
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 lbs flank steak, or other good grilling cut (tenderloin, NY strip, and tri-tip all work well)

Juice the lime into a small bowl. Add spices and oil and stir to combine. Some limes have more juice than others, so sometimes the mixture will be more liquid-y and sometimes it will be more pasty.

Place the steak in a shallow dish and pour the spice mixture on top. Use your hands to massage it in there.

Let it sit for 15 minutes. During that time preheat your grill.

Place meat on hot grill (bbq is best, but an indoor grill pan or broiler will work just fine too). If you're using flank steak it should take about 5-7 minutes on each side

When steak is finished, remove from grill and let sit for 5 minutes before cutting into it. Slice in strips against the grain.
 Lime-Chili Rubbed Steak

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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Styling C: 09.27.10 to 09.29.10

Monday, 09.27.10
The Look: Casual Wear
The Outfit: Carter's pink striped flower onesie, Gap red jeans

Tuesday, 09.28.10
The Look: Funky Baby
The Outfit: Junk Food "Ms Giggles" onesie, Gymboree blue elephant pants

Wednesday, 09.29.10
The Look: Preppy Baby
The Outfit: Wal-Mart headband and bow, Carter's white 
polka dot cardigan and onesie, Gap jeans


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Gooey Caramel Butter Bars

I don't think you can ever go wrong with a shortbread cookie. I also don't think you could even go wrong with a caramel sauce so just imagine how right it must be to combine the two. This bar is not messy by any means but it is definitely sticky, chewy, and especially gooey. I'm a huge fan of adding whiskey to my caramel sauce because it gives the caramel a smoky flavor that lingers. I also like the addition of nuts but the bars can do without them if nuts aren't your thing. The bottom line is having a bar with a good buttery crumble and an ooey gooey, ultra sweet caramel filling. 

Gooey Caramel Butter BarsSource: Jill O'Connor's Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey
Makes 12-2x2 squares

1 stick butter (8 Tbsp), at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4cup plus 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Caramel sauce (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cover half of a 9x13 baking pan with aluminum foil and coat with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Beat until creamy. Add vanilla and salt and combine. Add flour and beat on low speed until combined (dough will be sandy).

Press about 1/2 the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust. Place the remaining dough in the refrigerator.

Bake until firm and the edges are a pale golden color, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, make the caramel sauce.Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes.

Top with half of caramel sauce and then top with rest of dough. Return to oven and bake until shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

Lifting foil, remove bars, place on a flat surface, and cut into even squares using a sharp knife.


Storage: 1 week tightly covered at room temperature; 1 month in freezer.

Whiskey-Pecan Caramel Sauce
Makes 1 cup

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup whiskey
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 cup heave cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Combine the sugar, whiskey, and lemon juice in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat. Cook, gently swirling the pan occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and starts to turn color. Increase the heat to high and boil until the syrup turns a deep amber color, 4 to 5 minutes. Watch carefully, as it can burn quickly.

Immediately remove the pan from the heat and pour in the cream and salt. Carefully stir in cream, as caramel has a tendency to hiss and splash as the cold cream hits it. Place pan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until caramel thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. The mixture should be the consistency of thick cream. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and pecans.

Let cool.

Storage: Cover and refrigerate. Good up to a week.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

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Eating Sticks

The vegetable love affair continues. Cati tried asparagus for the first time over the weekend and she really liked it. I'm so proud of how well she is reacting to veggies and I can only hope it continues the older she gets.

Asparagus Pureè
Makes ~1 cup pureè

1 lb asparagus, cut in half with woody ends snapped off
1.5 cups water
Breast milk, formula, or cooking water
1/4 tsp basil (optional)

In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook 5-6 minutes or until the asparagus is easily forked. Drain asparagus (reserve 1/2 cup of cooking water if you are going to use water to thin out the purée), place in food processor, and purée. Add basil and fluid until the pureè reaches the best consistency for eating.

Storage: Good for 3 days in the fridge in an airtight container or up to 3 months in the freezer.

Note: I made the pureè pretty liquidy and added about 2 oz of breast milk. Cati's favorite combination was asparagus and squash.

The players. 
The pureè.
The baby. 

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TWD: Tarte Fine

Tarte Fine
I absolutely loved this dessert. It was so quick and easy to put together. I did things a little differently although I stuck to the basic elements: apple and puff pastry. I chopped up the apples and cooked them in a butter-brown sugar-cinnamon-whiskey mixture and placed them on small sheets of puff pastry. I wanted the dessert to be quicker than the 30-35 minutes Dorie allocated for it so I figured cooking the apples while the oven preheated would save time. And sure enough it did; it took less than 20 minutes for this whole dessert to come together and we each had a mini apple pizza with a scoop of ice cream. (Note: I also didn't use any egg or heavy cream)
Thanks to Leslie of Lethally Delicious for this week's selection. Don't forget to stop by the TWD site to see how everyone else approached this dessert.
Tarte Fine

Monday, September 27, 2010

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This {Last} Week in Mommyhood

Oftentimes, Alex looks at me like I have lost my mind. I am excited about all of Cati's firsts, from the cute ones like first smiles to the proud ones like feeling like she recognizes me for the first time to the impressive ones like pulling herself up for the first time to the gross ones like first big person poop. It's this last first that has gotten me the most recent "are you out of your mind?" look. Alex doesn't understand why I was so anxious for the first big girl poop and honestly sometimes I wonder how it's even possible for me to be so excited about something as gross as poop. But I am. I find everything Cati does or produces cute. She had had one or two big people poops before last week but for the first time all her poops were big people poops. I think I was anxious for that because not only does it make changing diapers a million times easier but also because it's just another sign that she is growing and developing well. Her little infant body and organs are growing and becoming more efficient and mature and more big person-like. Call me silly and think I'm crazy for dedicating a whole paragraph to poop but I can't help but be impressed with the fact that Cati started off as two cells and is now a real little person.
Cati is still climbing on everything and she is feeling more comfortable with crawling on all fours. I noticed something interesting this week though: she will only pull herself to standing if she's holding onto your hands. She will reach for things and pull herself onto her knees but it's as if she doesn't feel secure enough to pull herself up until she's standing. I am constantly trying to figure out what's going on in her brain and it's cool to be able to see how something such as pulling to standing is processed in her head based on whether she feels comfortable with whatever she's using as support.
I don't know if it's teething or not but Cati has been ravenous when it comes to her hands. I have to fight with her hands when it comes to eating and she almost always has a hand or finger in her mouth. Her preferred finger? Her thumb. This has led to lots of laughs at Alex's expense because he was a notorious thumb sucker as a kid. Like father, like daughter.
Cati is still babbling away and sounds so much like Donald Duck. I love the sound of her little voice and I love repeating the sounds back to her. I was finally able to get a video of her but only because she didn't know I was recording. The girl can be babbling away energetically, but the minute I pull out the camera she completely shuts down. Leave it to her to be camera shy when I don't want her to be!
Cati has become so much fun because of how interactive she is but this week she took it to a whole new level when she actually started imitating! Alex's family likes to play a little game where the adult says "topi topi topi" (pronounced "toh-pee") while moving his/her head toward Cati until their foreheads touch. Well, as soon as Cati hears "topi" and sees the other person moving his/her head toward her she moves her head down toward them too! She looks so cute playing this game and, again, I am so impressed with her development and how far she has come.
Cati is officially a waking-up-only-once-overnight baby! If she's in bed and asleep by 7:30pm she will make it to 4am before waking up to eat. However, if she's not asleep by 7:30pm then she wakes up closer to 2am to eat. In both instances, she goes back to sleep and then doesn't wake up again until 7am but I still prefer the 7:30pm-4am stretch. I didn't think we'd get to this point and I am so happy we have. While I'm still tired 85% of the time, I am a more rested person.
On the mommy front I did something bad this week. I mean, it wasn't really bad but I felt horrible. I guess I was extremely tired one particular night and completely disoriented with time. Cati woke up a few times and cried throughout the night. I didn't go into her room each time she woke up because I like to give Cati about 10 minutes to get herself back to sleep (if she's still crying after 10 minutes then I will go in and feed her). The next thing I know it's morning and Cati did not eat a single thing overnight! I felt so bad that I didn't go into her room one of the times she woke up and cried. Even though I know she mustn't have been too hungry because she didn't cry long enough for me to get out of bed I still feel like I neglected her. I try to look at the positives (she can go a whole night without eating which means she can potentially go a whole night without waking!) but I still feel like I'm not on top of my mommy game as I should be.
Mommyhood is so hard. We are our own biggest supporters and challengers. I'm so proud of everything that Cati's accomplishing and I know she is accomplishing as much as she is because of the care she is getting but then something like not going in to feed her overnight completely blows my mommy self-esteem. All of sudden, I'm not as vigilant or caring all because of one isolated incident. I want so bad to do everything right that I don't cut myself any slack when something goes wrong or not as right as I think it should.
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Styling C: 09.23.10 to 09.26.10

Thursday, 09.23.10
The Look: Tickled Pink
The Outfit: Wal-mart black polka dot bow and headband, Crazy 8 pink 
and black striped shirt, Gap gray pants

Friday, 09.24.10
The Look: Sports Fan
The Outfit: Gymboree red and white polka dot headband, Old Navy Red Sox shirt, Gap jeans


Saturday, 09.25.10
The Look: Pretty in Pink
The Outfit: Carter's pink bow, First Impressions pink rosette dress

Sunday, 09.26.10
The Look: Striped Cutie
The Outfit: Greendog cream top, Gap black and gray striped pants


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Cookies & Cream Cupcakes

Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes
To make up for being gone over the weekend I bring you the most delicious cupcakes you will ever have. Well, they are the most delicious cupcakes if you are into Oreos and cheesecake. These cupcakes are incredibly addictive, which proves to be problematic because they are so incredibly easy to make. Needless to say, the cupcakes were a hit and I'll confess to eating 3 of them for dessert. I quartered the recipe and got 12 cupcakes.
Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

Cookies and Cream Cupcakes
Source: Martha Stewart's Cupcakes

42 cream-filled sandwich cookies, such as Oreos, 30 left whole, and 12 coarsely chopped
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.

With an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.

Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.

Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.
Oreo Cheesecake Cupcakes

Friday, September 24, 2010

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Happy Weekend!

Alex is officially on vacation (paaaaaaaaarrrrtttttyyyyyy time!) and I promised to severely limit my computer time so we could spend some much needed time together. I won't be posting again until Monday (can I do it? Can I?). Don't miss me too much! I hope everyone has a great weekend. I have some yummy recipes to post next week so stay tuned!
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Cupcake Camp Update

Cupcake Camp Miami is moving along. Here's a recap of the progress made this week:

Name and Logo changes: I had to change the logo because I didn't know there already was a Cupcakes for a Cause campaign. Big oops! I think the new name and logo are cuter anyway. So now the event will be called Cupcakes for a Wish * Cupcake Camp Miami.
Two participating bakeries: I tried visiting one bakery last week and was a little discouraged by the reception I got so I decided instead to send out "feeler" emails with the information on the event and a request for a good time to either call or visit the bakery to speak to someone in person.
*A Cake in a Cup (Baker Spotlight)
*Sweetness Bakeshop and Cafe (Baker Spotlight)

That's all there is so far! Don't forget to check up on the blog and Facebook page for more updates!
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She IS My Daughter!

I don't like when people ask me who I think Cati looks like. I think she's too beautiful to look like either of us. The interesting thing is that I can see Alex's features in her but I can't see myself in her. Maybe my brain couldn't make the connection because everyone and their mother said Cati looked just like her daddy. It wasn't until recently that more people started to say she looked like me. I still didn't see it. You should see all the goofy pictures I take of us; I try to see what they see and I can't. THEN I finally saw what people were talking about. Now I do think Cati looks like me and I would have never thought this if I didn't go through my baby/toddler pictures (she is such a mix!). Alex and I both agree that Cati looks like Alex did as a baby while Cati looks like me as a toddler. Here's Cati now:


Here's me as a toddler:


When I look at Cati I still don't see it but when I look at her pictures next to mine I do. It's good to know that my genes were passed on to her physicality because if something like my temper was, oh boy, I'm in for trouble.