Sunday, October 31, 2010

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
I had been meaning to make these cookies for Cookie Carnival for the whole month of October. Isn't it annoying when you want to do something but for some reason or another you keep putting off? Then you do whatever it is and you wonder why the heck you put it off in the first place? Well, that's exactly what happened with me and these cookies. The cookies were beyond delicious: soft, chewy, sweet, spicy, pumpkin-y, and gooey with white chocolate.
 Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
Source: My Baking Addiction
yield | 48 cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter; softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup dried cherries; roughly chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line your baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
2. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy.
3. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract; mix well. Add flour mixture; combine until all ingredients are incorporated. Fold in white chocolate chips and dried cherries.
4. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets.
5. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Storage: Cookies store well in an airtight container for up to three days.

Notes: Get creative! Add in whatever strikes your fancy, I can imagine a variety of chocolates, nuts, and dried fruits will really make the flavors and textures of this cook truly amazing.
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This Week in Mommyhood

I am convinced Cati tooth is going to be breaking through any minute now. Cati has been consistently sleeping through the night since she was about 7.5 months old, but on Monday she woke up in the middle of the night and cried on and off for an 1.5 hour. Nothing I did soothed her and she eventually went back to sleep. Every night since has has woken up or spent it tossing and turning and whining. I feel exhausted because every little nose wakes me and is followed by a few minutes of blearily staring at the baby monitor to make sure she's ok. Since about 5 months you can white under her gums (as in you can see what looks like her teeth under her gums) and now the white is more pronounced and bulgy. It's just a waiting game I guess.
I don't know if it's because I have been trying to get things together for Cupcake Camp or if it's because Cati is possibly teething, but she has been very needy this week. Normally she is ok with playing on her own and crawling and discovering, but this week she has wanted nothing but to be close to and held by me. It's so sweet and, any other week I would love it, but this week it's been a hard juggling act.
The sweetest thing Cati did this week was lay down with me. We were in the family room and I was working on Cupcake Camp things and when I finished I laid down on her little play mat. Well, Cati put her toy down, crawled to me (and on me), and laid down right next to me. It's these moments I look forward to in the future; the moments where she shows and gives affection and knows that she is doing so.
The second sweetest thing she did involved Alex. We went to visit him at work on Thursday and Cati cried and reached out for him the moment I took her away from him. She wanted to be with her daddy and was upset with me! If Alex ever doubts how much his little girl loves and wants to be with him all he has to do is think of the day she reacted this way to him.
We took Cati trick-or-treating on Saturday and she got to wear her cupcake costume. She also got to sit next to the pumpkin Alex carved. I love thinking about all the family traditions we will be starting this year now that we have a baby.
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Styling C: 10.28.10 to 10.31.10

Thursday, 10.28.10
The Look: Crawling Comfort
The Outfit: Just One Year "I am cute" red onesie, Gap Jeans

Friday, 10.29.10
The Look: Little Gypsy
The Outfit: Carter's white bow and onesie, Crazy 8 striped skirt

Saturday, 10.30.10
The Look: Mod Flower
The Outfit: Gap floral dress

Sunday, 10.31.10
The Look: Happy Halloween!
The Outfit: Old Navy "my first Halloween" onesie, Gap orange leggings
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Happy Halloween!

Cati Halloween

Friday, October 29, 2010

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Pork Loin Wrapped in Pancetta

Pancetta Wrapped Pork Loin
I am not a huge pork fan. Ok, I lie. I like pork. I just don't like pork chops. Something about pork chops irks me and, as a result, I forget that I like any kind of pork because I always forget there are other types of pork cuts. Alex wanted to make a pork tenderloin and I pushed for him to make this one. Pork wrapped in pancetta? I don't know if it can get better than that. The pancetta added crispiness and saltiness to the pork loin. 
Pork loin wrapped in pancetta

Tenderloin Wrapped in Pancetta
Source: Weber's Big Book of Grilling
Serves: 4 to 6

For the rub:
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp minced fresh rosemary (we omitted)
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2 pork tenderloins, about 1 lb each
1/4 lb thinly sliced pancetta

In a small bowl combine the rub ingredients.

Trim any excess fat and silver skin from the tenderloin and spread rub evenly all over, pressing the spices into the meat. Cut six 12-inch pieces of cotton string, three for each tenderloin. Wrap the tenderloin with the slices of pancetta and secure the pancetta with string. (The tenderloins do not need to be completely covered.) Allow to stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before grilling.

Grill the tenderloins over indirect medium heat (about 350 degrees F) until the centers are barely pink and the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees F, 25-30 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time. Move the tenderloins over direct medium heat for the last 3 minutes if you want to crisp the pancetta. Allow the tenderloins to rest for 3-5 minutes, then snip the strings with scissors and remove them. Cut the tenderloin in thin slices on the bias and serve warm.
Pancetta Wrapped Pork Loin

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

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Please Pardon the Interruption

I'm so sorry posting has sucked around here. Cupcake Camp Miami is next week and that has consumed all my time. I'll say it now like I've said it before, but doing things with a baby takes 3 times longer than if you were doing it without a baby. Cati is at that stage where everything is interesting and up for grabs. I turned my back on her for a minute and when I looked at her she had the flyers of one of the bakers in her mouth. OOPS! I'm trying to do as much as I can now so that I don't feel rushed next week. It's all coming together better than I could have ever imagined and I really, really hope the event is a huge success.

I have been cooking every night but I haven't baked a thing other than chocolate chip cookies. I can't even say that I've done things and just haven't blogged about them because that would be a big fat lie. I need to set a good example for Cati just in case she comes across this blog when she's old enough to know what a lie is.

So in the meantime, I apologize for the lack of recipes and the lack of posts. I feel like I'm back at those first few weeks of life with Cati where there was little sleep and a lot to keep me busy.

For now I leave you with a picture of one of my projects:
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Styling C: 10.25.10 to 10.27.10

Monday, 10.25.10
The Look: Crawling Comfort
The Outfit: Gymboree white fish onesie, Gap orange pants


Tuesday, 10.26.10
The Look: Red Sweetie
The Outfit: Gymboree white watermelon top, Gap red jeans

Wednesday, 10.27.10
The Look: Baby in Pink
The Outfit: Gap striped pink jumpsuit



Monday, October 25, 2010

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Examiner This Week

I wrote two articles for this past week. Here are my articles:

Baking Basics: Baking Secrets: Baking tips and tricks.

To Box or Not Box: Musings on the pros and cons of baking from a box and baking from scratch.

As always, here's my Examiner Baking page.
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Pan-Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken

Pan Fried Lemon Chicken
Stop reading and start cooking. You absolutely must make this chicken dish. It is, by far, one of the best chicken dishes I have ever made. I've tried making lemon chicken before but somewhere along the cooking process the lemon flavor gets lost. Not with this dish. The lemon flavor is subtle but the chicken breathes the lemon flavor.

PS I'm sorry for sucking on the posting lately. I promise I'll be back to normal after next Wednesday!
Pan Fried Lemon Chicken

Pan-Roasted Garlic and Lemon Chicken
Source: Elly Says Opa!
Serves 2

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 fat cloves garlic, peeled and slightly smashed
1 lemon, halved
1 egg
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp. romano or parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. chopped rosemary
2 chicken breast halves, pounded to about 1/3 – 1/2″ thickness

Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat and add the oil. Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and soft, about 7 minutes. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon, and keep the oil in the pan.

Zest half the lemon into a dish or bowl, and to it add the breadcrumbs, cheese, rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste.

Crush the browned garlic cloves and whisk in a separate shallow bowl/dish along with the egg and juice from half the lemon.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, and then dredge into the breadcrumb mixture.

Heat the garlic oil over medium heat and once hot, add the chicken. Cook until done, about 2.5 minutes per side. Serve with slices or wedges of the remaining half lemon.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

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Styling C: 10.21.10 to 10.24.10

Thursday, 10.21.10
The Look: Polka Dot Cutie
The Outfit:Target pink bow, Carter's white polka dot dress

Friday, 10.22.10
The Look: Floral Cutie
The Outfit: Target yellow bow, Carter's white floral dress

Saturday, 10.23.10
The Look: Cati's Look
The Outfit: Mommy Made It Creations' "Cati" romper

Sunday, 10.24.10
The Look: Grandpa Love
The Outfit:The Children's Place blue "Grandpa's lil' angel top,"
Crazy 8 white shorts
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This Week in Mommyhood

Cati has truly been my buddy this week. In the beginning I felt Cati was more of a newly formed appendage; always with me and slightly awkward. Now, Cati feels more like my little friend. We play together, laugh at each other, talk to one another, we eat our meals together. A lot of it has to do with Cati being older, less independent, and more interactive. She's just such a little person.
Cati was such a trooper this week as we went out nearly everyday in search of donations for the cupcake event. She played by herself long enough to let me make phone calls and she was as sweet as can be when I actually met with people.
In very exciting news Cati has begun to cruise! She'll only do it when she wants something and it's obviously very wobbly but it's still amazing to see this progression in her development. She's also begun to test out standing on her own. She can only hold it for a few seconds but it's still impressive. I feel like I've won the lottery every time Cati does something developmentally new because it makes me feel like I'm doing something right.
In mommy related news, I cut out my midday pump. I made up a pumping elimination schedule but that schedule had me pumping until the end of November; I want to be done pumping before Thanksgiving so I can enjoy the holiday without excusing myself, especially since Thanksgiving will be at our house this year. So I moved up the schedule and I'm going on day two of pumping twice a day. I didn't think I'd ever get to this point and I just hope the end of my pumping days is a smooth transition.
Some days I feel as if being a mother is the most natural thing. Most days I can't believe I am actually a mother and doing the whole mom thing.

Friday, October 22, 2010

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Now and Then


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Cupcake Camp Update

A lot has been going on with Cupcake Camp Miami. Or at least I've been doing a lot to help the event become a success. Donations started off slow but things really kicked into gear this week. The donations are amazing and with each new one I get I feel elated and excited. The event is going to be a success in part because of the donations for the silent auction I have received from these businesses:

*A Cake in a Cup
*Bikram Hot Yoga Miami
*Breathtaking Memories
*by.Ivonne Cake.Love.Couture
*Contenti Cupcakes
*Cookies by Design
*Dharma Studio
*In Focus Studios
*Joanna's Marketplace
*Miami Children's Museum
*Simply Captivating
*Victoria's Design

There are a few more but I don't want to post about them until I've posted them on the Cupcake Camp Miami site first.

I am so happy with the response I have gotten from all the bakers. Everyone participating is incredibly nice and big proponents of spreading cupcake love. I can't get over the generosity of everyone involved. All the bakers have been incredibly patient with me as I put everything together. As much as I want the event to be a success for my own personal reasons, I want the event to be a success for everyone participating. All these professional bakers are participating in one way or another:

*2 Girls and a Cupcake
*A Cake in a Cup
*by.Ivonne Cake.Love.Couture
*Clarabelle's Cupcakes
*Contenti Cupcakes
*Cupcakes by Hilda
*Klassy Kakes
*Love Bites
*Sweetness Bakeshop & Cafe
*Sweet P Cupcakes
*The Cupcake Diva

I've learned so much from planning this event. I've learned a lot about myself, my city, and the baking community. To say that I am a surprised when it comes to certain aspects of the planning process is an understatement. I'm still trying to decide whether I even want to go into the specifics of things. If I do, who will I upset? Will I burn bridges or make new ones? Will people even care what I have to say?

There's a lot riding on the success of this year's event. Not only will its success mean good things for the charity, but it will also mean good things for the future of Cupcake Camp Miami.

Cupcake Camp Miami is in 12 days. Everything is coming together but there is still so much to do.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

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The Blair Baby Project

For the longest time I had the camera for the monitor propped up on the crib. Cati was completely oblivious to it, which was great. That is until recently. She discovered the camera and was fascinated by it. I've moved the camera but now that she knows where it is she is constantly trying to grab it. In what is perhaps the shortest video of Cati, here she is in her rendition of "The Blair Witch Project":
I would have loved to have gotten a longer video of her but I was afraid she'd somehow break the monitor.
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Pumpkin Goat Cheese Pasta

Pumpkin Goat Cheese Pasta
The pumpkin kick continues except now it is combined with my other obsession, goat cheese. This pasta is the perfect marriage of pumpkin and goat cheese as the goat cheese hits the tongue first but pumpkin is the flavor that lingers. 
 Pumpkin Goat Cheese Pasta

Pumpkin Goat Cheese Pasta
Makes 2-3 servings

1 3/4 cups dried pasta shells
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup pumpkin purée
6 oz goat cheese
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp flour (or more)

In a large pot, bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions.

In a saucepan over medium heat bring the heavy cream to a boil.  Reduce heat, whisk in the pumpkin and goat cheese and whisk until the goat cheese is melted. Add nutmeg and flour, continuing to whisk until the sauce thickens. If the sauce is still too thin, whisk in another 1/2 Tbsp of flour. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour sauce over pasta and let cool for 5 minutes. Sauce will continue to thicken as it cools. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

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Styling C: 10.18.10 to 10.20.10

Monday, 10.18.10
The Look: Floral Sweet
The Outfit: Carter green floral dress

Tuesday, 10.19.10
The Look: Baby Blues
The Outfit: My old white and blue knit top, Gap white ruffle bloomers

Wednesday, 10.20.10
The Look: Crawling Comfort
The Outfit: The Children's Place yellow smiley face shirt, Gap pink capri pants