Monday, February 28, 2011

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Grilled Pizza

Grilled Pizza
Alex has been dying to make pizzas on the grill. We made them a few months ago and they sucked. I don't even remember if I took pictures of them. The problem that time was the crust and how it didn't come together as expected. This time we tried a new recipe and it is a real winner and definitely a keeper. The dough was exactly what we expected out of a pizza made on the grill. It was delicious and crunchy. It also helped that it was topped with best sauce and cheese mix ever.We added pepperoni and chorizo to our pizza but you can either leave it plain or add whatever toppings you like best.
Grilled Pizza

Lean-and-Mean Pizza Crust
Source: Born to Grill by Cheryl and Bill Jamison
Yields two think 10- to 11-inch pizza crusts

1 envelope active dry yeast (about 2 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp sugar
2/3 cup lukewarm water, 105 to 115 degrees F
About 2 cups bread flour
1/4 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced

Combine the yeast and sugar with the water in a small bowl and let sit for a few minutes until foamy. In a stand mixer or food processor, mix the yeast with a scant 2 cups of flour and the rest of the dough ingredients for several minutes, until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead at least 2 or more minutes, adding another tablespoon or two of flour if needed to get a mass that is no longer sticky. Dough on the dry side is more challenging to work with, but yields a crisper crust. Form the dough into a ball, then place it in a greased bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Set the dough in a warm, draft-free spot and let rise until doubled in size, about one hour.

Punch the dough down on the floured surface and let it rest for 10 minutes. Roll out the dough into two thin disks, about 1/8 inch thick and 10 to 11 inches in diameter.

Stack the crusts on a baking sheet covered with waxed paper, with more waxed paper layered between the crusts.

If freezing, first chill the dough for 30 minutes to firm the dough, wrap, and then freeze. Bring crusts to room temperature before grilling.

Quick Tomato Sauce

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 cups canned tomato puree
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Salt to taste

Warm the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute about 1 minute. Stir in remaining ingredients, bring sauce to a simmer over high heat and cook for 5 minutes.

Cheese Topping

3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, at room temperature
1.5 tsp dried basil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 to 1 tsp crushed dried red hot chile
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Combine all ingredients.

Making the Pizzas

Fire up the grill to high heat. Place a baking sheet near the grill as the process for making the pizzas need to go quickly once you start cooking.

Place the crusts on the grill, laying them directly on the cooking grate. Grill uncovered over high heat for about two minutes, or until the crusts become firm yet still flexible.

Flip the crusts onto the baking sheet cooked side up. Spray with cooking oil and top with sauce, cheese, and any other toppings. Return to the grill, uncooked side down. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and crusts have the desired doneness.

Slice the pizza into wedges and serve immediately.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

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Styling C: 02.24.11 to 02.27.11

Thursday, 02.24.11
The Look: Baby Love
The Outfit: Heart red "love" onesie, Scrambled Girl pants

Friday, 02.25.11
The Look: Miami Casual
The Outfit: Carter's green floral dress/top, Old Navy jeans

Saturday, 02.26.11
The Look: Springtime Dressy
The Outfit: Bonnie Baby white and pink floral dress

Sunday, 02.27.11
The Look: Miami Casual
The Outfit: Carter's orange "daddy's little cupcake" top, Crazy8 white shorts
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This Week in Mommyhood

I've been feeling a little under the weather this week. I still haven't fully recovered from the cold that ripped through the household two weeks ago. Luckily, Cati is perfectly sick-free, but it sucks because I don't feel as energetic as I usually am. Usually I feel like I'm one step behind Cati but these week I've felt like I'm three. Talk about dragging foot.
Cati continues to impress me. She does the cutest things, like dancing by bouncing instead of just swaying. Or grabbing her bib and going to the rocking chair when she wants her milk. Or my personal favorite, going to the buffet table to get my keys, then trying to pick up my purse, and heading to the door so that we can go out. All I have to do is say "bye" and she knows exactly what we need to take with us for the outing. It's so amazing how quickly she picks up on these simple every day tasks. These aren't even the things I try to teach her to do; it's just the stuff she sees me do repeatedly.
I noticed a shift in Cati's eating this week. Breakfast and dinner are small meals while lunch is a huge meal. She eats so much during lunch that I'm impressed by her ability to eat as much as she does.
We dog sat Alex's co-worker's dogs this weekend and Cati was so in love with them. I love that we have raised a dog lover and that she's not afraid of dogs. As soon as she saw the dogs she squealed in excitement and then proceeded to pet and kiss the dogs.
Cati is such a big girl. She is constantly leaving me either speechless or grinning from ear to ear. Being a mother is so awesome. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

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Melissa d'Arabian: Chef and Mother

Yesterday I had the amazing opportunity of meeting and interviewing Food Network's Melissa d'Arabian for an Examiner piece. This woman is absolutely amazing and I think I'm smitten. She was so open, honest, down to earth, and fun. Oh boy, was she fun! I left the interview with extra bounce in my step because her energy and bubbly personality were so infectious. It's hard to be around her and not get happy yourself.

What I liked most about Melissa is how everything she does and every opinion she has is rooted in her personal life. She shared a few nuggets of motherhood wisdom with me and I wanted to pass them along to you:
  • Quality vs. Quantity time: Both are important. To get the quality time with your kids you need to put in the quantity because you never know when you are going to get those quality moments.
  • Always have dessert: Dessert is a part of the meal in her house; it isn't considered a treat.  She never announces what the dessert will be because she decides on the dessert depending on how well everyone ate at dinner. If everyone ate well then they get something like chocolate cake. If they didn't eat too well then they get something like yogurt.
  • Treat your child's special palette like you would treat a vegetarian: Have respect for the different palette and always offer something they can enjoy and eat. They may not like everything served but the point is to have something they can enjoy so they can participate in the greater dining experience.
  • It's ok to say no: For Melissa, it's important for her daughters to know they have an opinion that's valued. It's ok to say no in her house because it's more important for a person to have a positive relationship with food than to feel forced into eating something. 
  • Options: You can't control what your kids eat but you can control they options they get.
  • The importance of time apart from kids: Saying bye is hard but being away is a lifeline and connection to who you are as a person. 
I always stress out about how much Cati's eating so hearing Melissa's take on eating was really refreshing. Even at this age, I am worried about the body image issues Cati may face when she gets older; it didn't occur to me that those body images issues will also be connected to her relationship with food until this interview with Melissa. If I want Cati to respect herself and have confidence in her choices then it all starts with the small things, like mealtime. My goal as a mother is to create as loving and comfortable an environment as possible for Cati and mealtime is such a huge part of parenting. Bottom line, I love talking to other moms because it helps expand my view of motherhood.

Melissa is really a delight and she truly inspired me. I'm so glad I got to meet and get to know her. Now I'm looking forward to watching her "Dixie on a Dime" (buttermilk fried chicken and mashed potatoes!) episode on Sunday.

If you don't know about Melissa, you can check her out on Facebook and Twitter. I promise, she's worth following!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

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Chocolate Cupcake

Chocolate Cupcake
I recently discovered the best lighting in the house. The spot is perfect for flash-less pictures. Unfortunately, the spot happens to be in the family room, aka Cati's playroom. Usually she's distracted enough playing with her toys that she doesn't notice me, but this time she did. She was all about trying to get a piece of this chocolate cupcake. I don't blame her either. This is my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe because of how deeply chocolaty and incredibly moist it is. Because I have become an extreme chocolate lover in my adulthood I throw chocolate chips into the batter.
Chocolate Cupcake

One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes
Chocolate Cupcakes
Source: Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey
Yields 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Glaze
4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line one standard 12-cup cupcake tins with paper cup liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a 2-cup measuring cup, combine the boiling water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid ingredients. Stir together until smooth.

Fill each cupcake cup 3/4 full of batter. Divide it evenly and use it all. Bake cupcakes until puffed and firm, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze. Combine all the ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and microwave on high for 45 seconds. Remove from microwave and stir until smooth. If the chocolate is not completed melted, continue to microwave for 20-second intervals and stir until smooth. Alternately, heat glaze ingredients in the top of a double boiler and stir until smooth.

Transfer the cupcakes in the pans to a wire rack and let cool completely. When cool, dip the top of each cupcake in the chocolate glaze (feel free to double dip). Let the excess glaze drip from the cupcakes for a few seconds and then place the cupcake right-side up on the wire rack until the glaze firms up before serving.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

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Dessert Table

I know, I know. Not only have I teased you with the table by only showing you bits and pieces at a time but I have also dedicated quite a few posts to the dessert table and none to the rest of the party. I promise there is a party post coming up filled with lots of pictures but seeing as baking and cooking have taken a back seat to Cati over this past year I wanted to get back to the roots of this blog for a little bit.

And now...I present you with the dessert table. The thing I obsessed over for weeks and weeks. The thing Alex laughed at me about because of all the drawings I made. I'm mighty proud of how it came out and am still shocked that I did it (with the help of Sarah, Shelley, Ivonne, and BJ's of course!). Before I show you the professional pictures of the table I have to show you my absolute favorite picture of the table that I got:

Can you see Cati in the left part of the picture looking out to the table? I hadn't even noticed her there until I started editing the picture. I love that I got a shot like this! Here are some of the professional pictures taken by Anthony W. Photography:
That's all folks! Thank you so much for hanging around as I shared my dessert table obsession with you. 
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Styling C: 02.21.11 to 02.23.11

Monday, 02.21.11
The Look: Springtime Baby
The Outfit: Jacadi pink romper, Gap jelly shoes

Tuesday, 02.22.11
The Look: Baby in Pink
The Outfit: Cherokee pink knit dress

Wednesday, 02.23.11
The Look: Miami Casual
The Outfit: Gymboree pink frog "pucker up" top, Old Navy light blue jeans

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

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TWD: Chocolate Oatmeal Drops

Chocolate Oatmeal Drops
I'm playing a little catch up this week with TWD. I really wanted to make the scones because I have never made them before but the main dessert eater in this house is not a fan of almonds. I thought of making them with pecans instead but that would have required a trip to the store and, still feeling sick, I wasn't up for the task. As a result, you are seeing last week's Chocolate Oatmeal Drops this week. These cookies were very good and slightly different because the oatmeal gives it an interesting texture and the cinnamon gives it an interesting flavor. If you want something brownie-like with a hint of otherness then these cookies are for you.
Chocolate Oatmeal Drops
Thanks to Caroline and Claire of Bake With Us for making this selection. I promise to be back on track next week. For now, my apologies to Mike of Living Out West for missing out on his Almond Scones selection this week. Make sure to stop by the TWD site to read what everyone else did this week.
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Dessert Table Sweets: The Rest of the Treats

There were five other desserts on the table I didn't make. One of the desserts was sugar cookies made by my friend and baker, Shelley. The week of the party she asked if she could make some cookies for the party and I said "of course!" I love the look of decorated sugar cookies, I just don't have the time or patience for them. Needless to say, I was really happy when she said she'd even make them in the party's colors of pink and aqua. Aren't they great?

Two of the desserts were cream-filled. I saw them at BJs and thought they would be perfect for the table because they were bite-sized. Plus, the cream puffs and eclairs fit into my pairs scheme for the table (two cookies, two pops, two chocolaty).

Last, but definitely not least, were the cupcakes and the cake. These, in my opinion, were the real show stoppers. Ivonne of by.Ivonne Cake.Love.Couture made the cupcakes and the cake and was extraordinarily helpful and excited about making these ballerina-themed sweet treats. I was beyond excited when I saw everything because we had been discussing the design for well over a month; it was nice to see the vision become a reality. The cake was made vanilla so Cati could eat some (she didn't because she fell asleep as we were cutting the cake!) and the cupcakes were red velvet. Just tell me they aren't breathtaking. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

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Going to Explode!

The excitement is just too much to bear. I don't know why I haven't shared this before. Oh yeah, the party took up a lot of mental space. This Saturday is going to be an "all about me" day! A few weeks back I got tickets for my friend Jeselyn and myself to go to Kohl's Fun and Fit as a Family featuring Kellogg's Kidz Kitchen. On Saturday there will be presentations given by Rachael Ray (Jeselyn's favorite), Rocco DiSpirito (such a cutie!), and Giada De Laurentiis (my favorite). At first I was going to take Cati seeing as the event is all about educating parents and kids about healthy lifestyle options, but I was really apprehensive about being out all day with Cati. We would have to leave before her morning nap and we would be getting home after her afternoon nap so she would have to nap somewhere in between and I am almost positive that nap would be preceded by a meltdown of sorts. What if she decides to breakdown during Giada's presentation and I have to leave to console her and out of respect for everyone else at the event? That would suck and I would never ask a friend to help me take care of a fussy, crying baby. The main reason she was going to go was because Alex wanted to catch up on yard work and, obviously, wouldn't be able to get things done if he was watching her all day.

But then, the stars aligned. There is an art show this weekend that he wants to go and he's going to go with his parents because I'll be out and his dad was planning on coming by to help with the yard work anyway, so that leaves my mother-in-law open and available to spend a day with Cati. This will be the first time EVER that I will have been away from Cati for a whole day. I won't put her down for a single nap and the only meal I will be giving her is breakfast. I know she'll survive because she's going to be with very capable hands, but will I? Is it silly to hope there will be alcohol at the event to prevent any sort of meltdown on my part??

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First Annual Thoughts on Motherhood

A month ago I decided I wanted to do a post on my thoughts on my first year of motherhood. I jotted things down every time I thought of something so my thoughts are a little scattered. Motherhood has been the craziest, scariest, happiest, and most thrilling roller coaster ride of my life. There are downs (lots and lots of them) but the ups are so magnificent you realize you will gladly experience the downs of sleepless nights in exchange for the ups hearing mama come out of that sweet baby mouth. Without further ado, here are the First Annual Thoughts on Motherhood:

  • I hate to sound egotistical but I think this past year has been harder for me than it has been for Cati. She went from a crying blob of a baby to an active form of a little person. I did everything for her and suffered so much that I don't think I will be able to forgot how much certain periods of time with her hurt. She's lucky in that she won't remember any of the cries or the bumps or the mistakes. 
  • I wish I could get a snapshot of how she saw her life this past year in a "Look Who's Talking" sort of way. I know she's happy because she is a happy baby. I know it was good for her because she has grown and developed beautifully. It would still be fun to see the world through her eyes, though.
  • The worry is probably the worst part about the first year of motherhood. I have never had so much self doubt and internal debate. I've never felt so un-confident and have never taken so many things personally.
  • While Cati was becoming a whole new person I had to learn how to incorporate this new role into my person. I was used to being independent, coming and going when I wanted, sleeping in, etc. Once Cati was born her needs had to be met before my own and it's been a struggle to balance out the nurturing mother role with the "I'm still me" role. 
  • Motherhood is the best work out. The jumping and bouncing and dancing I've had to do to keep Cati entertained have been enough to leave me panting and sore.
  • Motherhood is kind of like those Cirque du Soleil contortionists. I had to learn how to do some many things while carrying a baby. Using the bathroom and all that entails while holding a crying baby tops my list.
  • Room temperature food is my best friend. There are still plenty of meals I don't get to eat hot because it's at the precise moment where food is set in front of me that Cati chooses to have a meltdown. I can't stand to hear Cati cry so I will pick her up and entertain her until someone else can grab hold of her so I can eat. You know who else is my best friend? The need to savor food in quick bites. I love food but sometimes I can't enjoy it for as long as I'd like so I've gotten used to eating quickly and savoring as much as I can in a short amount of time.
  • Who needs an alarm clock when your baby wakes up at the same time every day?
  • Cati started sleeping through the night at 7 months. I haven't slept through the night since I was pregnant. Even though she sleeps all the way through I still wake up when I hear her making noises. 
  • Motherhood has made me really appreciate ALL mothers out there. Every time I see a mother struggling with her child I wish I could give her a cupcake and congratulate her on doing an awesome job despite the frustration. 
  • Motherhood can be so divisive. I shudder at the thought of the one woman who told me I needed to get Cati on the breast because she wasn't going to bond with me as long as I gave her a bottle. I shudder to think about my friends who have encountered women who told them they "should have held out longer" instead of getting a c-section. Why can't we just support one another and call it a day?
  • I still have trouble seeing how Cati came into the world as a birth. I know I gave birth to her but it's so weird to think that layers upon layers of me had to be cut in order for her to come out; this was medicine doing the work and not nature (why did my body fail?). This only applies to me and how I've struggled to process Cati's birth so please don't take this to mean that I don't think c-sections are real births.
  • Motherhood can be so isolating. Regardless of the help and people around you, there are still some things that only you can do and only you feel.
  • I love that Cati was able to have breast milk for as long as she did but I hated pumping. The Pump and I had a great relationship but I do not want to renew it next time around. I have already stated multiple times that I will tape the baby's face to my breast if that's what it takes to get it on the breast. Just kidding. Kind of. 
  • Now I see why people keep having kids. When Cati was an infant I told Alex I thought she was going to be an only child. I hated the first three months of life with her. I started to really enjoy and like motherhood after that and at about six months I started to love it. Cati has become such a fun baby over time that it's helped ease the pain of those first few months. Plus, she doesn't stop growing! She's so delicious right now that I wish I could freeze time and keep her this small. 
  • However, I only want one more child. Silly me wanted three before I had kids. Of course, I wanted three! I had no clue what it was like to have one! I feel sufficiently traumatized from Cati's first few months to know that I can only go through that one more time. Alex likes to say that our next child will be so easy going that I will want a third, but I like to think I am very firm on this. 
  • The simple truth is this: I have no idea what I'm doing. Forget the books I read and all the advice from older moms, my daughter is an individual and she doesn't follow the rules. I have to make them up as I go along and I pray that I'm doing a good job. I think that's the key to motherhood: don't give the advice of others too much weight and listen to your gut because only you know your child.
  • I've been a mother for a year now and I still feel like I'm playing make-believe. Alex and I are just pretending to be parents and Cati is pretending to be a baby that is our child. I can't believe this is really my life. 
  • I've learned to be content with having only one room in the house completely cleaned at a time. The minute I clean one room, Cati goes to another and litters it with her books and toys.
  • Who needs toys? On many occasions Cati has chosen to play with things like the remote control and my make-up back over her toys; 85% of the time Cati chooses these household items over her toys.
  • But with those toys, make sure there is an "off" button before buying. Cati's Mickey airplane has no off button that I can find and hearing a Mickey remix at 8am because Cati is in a -push-that-button-over-and-over-again phase is not always the best way to start the day.
  • There will be no shortage of opinions and judgments from random women. I wish there was a mute button in those instances.
  • Yes my daughter looks like my husband. Yes she looks like his mother. Please, please, please don't say that my daughter is really my mother-in-law's daughter and I just carried her. Not funny then, not funny now, not funny ever.
  • I knew Cati would change a lot during the first year but I didn't expect her to look like a completely different baby. I know I shouldn't but sometimes I look at her newborn photos and wonder how I could have considered her so cute when she's so much cuter now. Love is so blind!
  • Speaking of cuteness, babies are lucky they are cute because I don't know how they would survive some of the things they do if it weren't for their cuteness factor. "Oh gross! You spat up on me. But wait! Look at that smile you just gave me! Awww!" That doesn't work with an adult.
  • I would love to shove the "nap while they nap" words down the throat of the person who originated them. Am I the only one that found it nearly impossible to do this in the first few months? Is it because I had to do a lot on my own so nap time was really catch-up-on-everything-else time? 
  • There are moments where I really hate Alex (how can he sleep through the cries?!) and there are moments where I really love him (hide-and-seek are best with him). Motherhood has simultaneously made me appreciate and expect more of him. It has also showed me that I need to be very specific and vocal with my wants and needs.
  • I never knew baby clothes could be so cute and addictive. I love to shop for Cati and sometimes I wish I could magnify her clothes so it can fit me. Downside? I would rather shop for her than myself so while Cati is always stylish and put together I'm almost always a mess. I need to learn to invest a little bit more in myself.
  • Thank God there are no allergies in the family because I sucked with the 3-day rule.
  • One of the biggest issues has been understanding that while Cati is my daughter she is also very important to others whether it be because she is the first granddaughter or first niece. Her firsts are firsts for everyone too.
  • I'm so sensitive as a mother. I cry so easily that I'm afraid my tear ducts are broken. Part of what makes me emotional is lamenting bringing such a wonderful little human into a world that contains people capable of causing such devastating harm.
  • Motherhood means trusting yourself, trusting the instincts of your baby, and letting go. You have to trust that you know best, trust that your baby knows what it does or doesn't want, and let go of that need to control every little thing.
  • The farther away from being pregnant and giving birth I am, the more confident and comfortable I feel as a woman. I created life, carried and sustained it, and, once out of me, have nurtured it. It's hard work, empowering, and utterly amazing.  
  • No matter how much alone time I have spent with Cati there are still days where I'm scared of it being just the two of us.
  • Are you sure this baby isn't on loan?
  • I'm still amazed the hospital let me bring this perfect creature home. They never saw any credentials. Didn't they know I had no experience?
  • I didn't think I'd survive and I did. I didn't think Cati would and she did. The reality is I am a lot stronger than I thought and Cati isn't as fragile as I assumed her to be.
  • Never has the saying "the days are long but the years are short" been so true.
  • They say it take nine months to gain the weight and nine months to lose it. I think a more accurate statement is "it takes nine months to grow a baby and nine months to rediscover yourself after the baby is born." Granted, my nine months after coincided with the end of my breastfeeding journey, but it was at this time that I started feeling more like myself and more like a person that is more than just "Cati's mom."
  • Which leads to daily proclamations of "Oh my God, I'm somebody's mother" and when I'm feeling particularly jolly "I'm somebody's baby momma" and "I got a baby daddy!"
  • I was not one of those women who was instantly in love with motherhood and that's ok. I loved my daughter from the beginning and it was that love that kept me moving but I didn't start to truly and enjoy motherhood until much later.
  • There is nothing wrong with walking away from a crying baby when you need a minute or two to compose yourself so you don't lose your temper. 
  • You know you're a mom...when you've been pooped, spat, peed, thrown up, and drooled on. When you put more pressure on yourself to be the "right" type of mom when all that matters is being the "best" kind to your specific child. When you feel guilty over not breast feeding, making baby food, etc. When you worry 24/7 about every single little thing, even things you can't control. When taking a shower seems like a huge accomplishment. When you have 10 pictures of almost the same thing and then proceed to show every one of them to anyone willing to see them. When poop becomes a normal topic of conversation. When you can pick boogies without flinching. When you try foods you never liked all for the sake of knowing what foods you were giving your baby. When you would rather spend money on the baby even though you desperately need new bras, clothes, hair cut, highlights, etc. When you look at your child and see yourself in him or her and realize that you have played a huge role in helping him or her develop into a little human being. When you are finally willing to give your life for another person. When you love someone at first sight without knowing what kind of person he or she will be. When you love someone unconditionally even if he or she doesn't let you sleep and does all sorts of bodily functions on you. Most importantly, you know you're a mom when a little person out there calls out "mama" and means you.
Now it's your turn: how did you know you were a mother?
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    Dessert Table Sweet: Brownies

    Here's the last of the desserts I made for the dessert table. Who doesn't love brownies? Especially ones as chocolaty and fudgy as these? This is my favorite brownie recipe because they have the right balance of crunchy topping and chewy everything else.. I promise you pictures of the entire table are coming up soon

    Other dessert tables sweets include Oreo Truffles, Apple Pie Pops, Chocolate Chip Cookies, S'mores Pops, and M&M Cookies.

    Chocolate Fudge Brownies
    Source: PheMom here

    6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
    6 ounces coarsely chopped good-quality bittersweet (or semisweet) chocolate
    1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
    3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 cups sugar
    2 large eggs
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a buttered 9x13-inch baking pan with foil, allowing 2 inches to hang over sides. Butter lining (excluding overhang); set pan aside.

    Put butter, chocolate, and cocoa in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until butter and chocolate are melted. Let cool slightly.

    Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; set aside.

    Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium speed until pale, about 4 minutes. Add chocolate mixture; beat until combined. Add flour mixture; beat, scraping down sides of bowl, until well incorporated.

    Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 35-40 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift out brownies; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

    Sunday, February 20, 2011

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    The Cake Slice: Coffee Heath Bar Crunch Cake

    This month's cake for The Cake Slice was an interesting cake. I think this is the first real “coffee cake" I have ever made with actual coffee in the batter. I usually omit or make recipes that don't call for coffee but this cake intrigued me because I wanted to know what flavor the combination of coffee and toffee created. The cake tasted like drinking a mocha with a caramel swirl. The cake was moist with a strong, but not overwhelming, coffee flavor and the toffee melted (after it sunk!!) into a delightful caramel surprise in the midst of coffe-flavored cake.

    Make sure to stop by the Blogroll to see all the other cakes baked up this month. 

    Coffee Heath Bar Crunch Cake
    Source: Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman

    For the Cake
    1½ cups all purpose flour
    1 tbsp instant espresso powder
    1½ tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp salt
    ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    1 cup packed light brown sugar
    1 egg
    1 egg yolk
    1½ tsp vanilla extract
    1 cup milk

    For the Streusel
    1 cup/4 Heath bars (1.4ounces each), chopped *(see below)
    2 tbsp light brown sugar
    2 tbsp all purpose flour
    1 tbsp butter, softened

    Method – Streusel
    Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9inch round springform pan.

    Combine the Heath bars, brown sugar, flour and butter in a medium mixing bowl. Work the mixture with your fingers until it resembles large crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.

    Method – Cake
    Combine the flour, espresso powder, baking powder and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

    Combine the butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

    With the mixer on low speed, add the egg, egg yolk and vanilla.

    With the mixer on low speed, add a third of the flour mixture and then half the milk, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Repeat, alternating the flour and milk, ending with the flour.

    Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer with a spatula. Scatter the streusel onto the batter, distributing it evenly over the cake.

    Bake the cake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Release the sides of the pan and use a large spatula to slide the cake from the pan bottom to onto a wire rack. Cool completely, cut into wedges and serve.

    Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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    Styling C: 02.17.11 to 02.20.11

    Thursday, 02.17.11
    The Look: Baby in Pink
    The Outfit: Gap striped pink jumper

    Friday, 02.18.11
    The Look: Pink and Chic
    The Outfit: First Impressions pink rosette dress and leggings

    Saturday, 02.19.11
    The Look: Ortho Baby
    The Outfit: "Peace Love Ortho" onesie, Cherokee khaki shorts, Payless pink shoes

    Sunday, 02.20.11
    The Look: Miami Casual
    The Outfit: Old Navy striped green top, Gap pink pants