Tuesday, September 2, 2014

{Recipe Recap} Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend.  I did more socializing than planned and didn’t get the nap that I wanted, but I did get lots of cleaning done.  Even the dogs got baths, thanks to the McHusband.  In my defense, I was bathing the two-legged kid.

Now it’s Tuesday and I think it’s harder to be back at work today than if this were a Monday during a regular week.  We need more three-day weekends, that’s for sure.

I did some baking over the weekend: two kinds of bars and a batch of cookies.  I should’ve made something with the ripe (and getting riper) bananas on my counter, but I opted to make things harder on myself and make cookies.

DSC_2461

The recipe didn’t say anything about letting the browned butter cool before combining it with the sugars.  I thought about it, but I figured the recipe knew better than I did.  There wasn’t an issue with this first step, but later when I added the chocolate chips and the mixture was still warm, my chocolate melted somewhat into the dough.

DSC_2463

I used semi-sweet and milk chocolate chips and also threw in some toffee bits.  Luckily, the latter add-ins stayed crunchy.

DSC_2459

These cookies had a great texture.  Not cakey at all, but chewy with a  slightly crisp exterior.  For the texture alone, I would make them again.

DSC_2465

Oh, one other important thing I did differently, besides mix up my mix-ins, was to refrigerate the dough.  I just didn’t think starting with such a warm dough was a good idea as I figured the cookies would spread out way too much.

DSC_2466

I thought these were about the perfect thickness.

DSC_2458

My final deviance from the recipe, and something I think all chocolate chip cookies need, was to add a sprinkling of sea salt to the dough before baking.

DSC_2457

I thought these cookies had a good flavor, and I would make them again, but there are other recipes I prefer.  The McHusband thought they were terrific and said he thought they tasted malt-y, but there isn’t any malt in them.

DSC_2464

I would like to try this recipe once more but I’d wait for my butter to cool first so I can judge the recipe based on how the dough tastes when not flavored by the chocolate.  If I do so, I’ll be sure to come back and let you guys know what I think.  But don’t hold your breath because you know cookies don’t happen too often around here any more.  Cookie bars on the other hand…

{Recipe adapted from here}

Friday, August 29, 2014

Hey, hey, it’s FRIIIIIIDAY!

And better yet, it’s the Friday before a three-day weekend.

We are sticking close to home with a  few social plans along with a to-do list, which includes vegging.  Yes, it’s on my to-do list to make sure I don’t use all my free time too wisely this weekend.

I hope the rest of you do the same!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Six Months

Six months.  That’s half a year!  It’s pretty crazy that Connor’s been with us that long already.  It doesn’t necessarily feel like it was just yesterday that we brought him home, but I don’t know that it’s felt like the better part of 2014 either.

DSC_2345

We had Connor’s six-month check-up and shots on Friday the 15th.  What a way to celebrate a half-birthday, huh?  He cried, I cried…

DSC_2348

His stats: He weighed in at 19 lbs, 2.50z, but he’d eaten in the last half hour so I don’t think he truly weighed more than 19 lbs.  He was 27.5 inches long.  His weight and height put him in the 81st and 86th percentile respectively.

DSC_2344

Now, onto that noggin.  The nurse actually measured his head twice.  Maybe she thought that her first number couldn’t possibly be right because he’s in the 97th percentile for head size.  We tell ourselves it’s because it’s full of brains.  The doctor wasn’t worried about his big head because it tracks closely enough with his weight and height.

DSC_2356

What’s Connor up to these days?  He’s a pro at rolling over.  Back to front, front to back, he’s got it covered.  When we put him into his crib, we lay him on his back and he will almost always immediately roll at least onto his side, if not all the way over onto his belly.

DSC_2366

Connor hasn’t quite figured out sitting on his own yet, but he’s very close to checking that milestone off the list.  And it’s probably not his fault (although that big head may not help matters), it’s mainly ours for not doing more tummy time or having him on the floor more practicing his sitting.  It’s just hard with Monte around and we can’t always shoo Monte away or put him outside; it’s not fair to the dog to ban him from the room all the time since he’s a part of our family, too.

DSC_2375

Connor still loves his jumper and the activity chair and he likes the Bumbo more than he did a month ago.  He’s not as happy in the lounger that we’ve had on the kitchen table since the first night we brought him home.  He wants to sit up more, plus that’s where we tend to put him while he’s waiting for something else, like the jumper to be hung or a bottle to be made.  Patience may not be one of his virtues.

DSC_2394

He is making so much noise now!  From baby babbles to grunting to all-out screams.  The latter aren’t when he’s upset, it’s just a new noise he’s figured out and likes to practice.

DSC_2380

We started some solid food and as you might expect (see stats above), Connor likes eating.  He’s getting better at it but hasn’t perfected his technique so we’re trying to make a point to feed him a little at least once a day so he gets to practice that new skill.  I can’t tell you how happy I was that he liked my first attempt at making baby food.  We’re skipping rice cereal and going straight to the real food.

DSC_2374

Connor still likes bathtime and he LOVES his little blankies.  When he’s tired and we give him a bottle, his right arm automatically goes up by his ear, searching for that blanket.  Then he puts it to his face and grabs it with his left hand, over the bottle, and he will finish his bottle with the blanket over his eyes.

IMAG0846

Connor still goes to bed between 6 and 6:30 and sleeps for 11 to 12 hours.  Always seems to be closer to 11 hours on the weekends, of course.  He takes two naps a day and those typically add up to between 3 and 4 hours of zzz’s.  He’s still taking five 6-oz bottles a day and we’ll adjust that as he takes in more real food.

DSC_2395

No teeth yet, but he wears his amber necklace every day to help with any pain he might have.  And he just looks cute with his bling on.

DSC_2352

Connor is generally happy unless he’s hungry or tired and even if he gets a little frustrated being in a position he doesn’t prefer, his mood is quick to bounce back.  The McHusband and I love him to pieces and have really enjoyed this past month (well, six weeks at this point; I’ll try to be more timely with the next update) with him.

DSC_2353

The end!

DSC_2401

PS  Happy Birthday to my dad!  And to Bronte, who turns 16 today.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

{Recipe Recap} Sweet Potato with Spinach and Peas

So this is a bit of a different food post for you guys.  Guess what?  I made baby food!  I’m pretty happy about it, too.  Breastfeeding was a challenge mostly because of supply issues, and I worked so hard to feed Connor as much and as long as I could.  So I’m thrilled that I can fairly easily whip up some healthy purees for him.  No worries about supply now!

The first thing I tried was a combo puree of sweet potato, spinach, and peas.  There was supposed to be some leek in it, but I didn’t have that.

PART_1409103042971_20140826_201445

I have two baby food-trays so I filled them up and stuck them in the freezer then I pull out a portion as I need it.

So, what did Connor think about his mom’s food?  He really liked it!  Heather and Bronte were over when I was making this, and we all taste-tested it and while it was fairly bland, none of us had any complaints.

PART_1409103040381_20140826_201436

This recipe came from Top 100 Baby Purees by Annabel Karmel.  It was 12 oz of sweet potato, half a cup of peas, and 3/4 cup of fresh baby spinach.  I sauteed the sweet potato in a tablespoon of butter, added some water and let that boil for about 10 minutes, then threw in the peas and spinach.  I pureed everything with extra water as needed and voila – baby food!

We have some great little containers that are working perfectly for the portion size that Connor needs right now.

PART_1409103018631_20140826_201637

I’m excited to try something else, but I know Connor’s supposed to eat the same thing for a while and I’d rather use this stuff when it’s fairly fresh and not in danger of being freezer burnt.  So he’ll eat this for the week and I’ll make up a batch of something new this weekend.  Potato, carrot, and corn puree, anyone?

{Sorry for the terrible phone pics.  I’ll try to do better with future foods.}

Hope everyone’s had a good week so far!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Party animals

Two weekends ago, we traveled to Matthews (just outside of Charlotte), then Clover, SC (just over the border), and finally ended up in Greenville, SC for a wedding reception.  All in the same day.  The McHusband’s cousin had gotten married in Cancun the previous weekend, and then he and his new bride had a local party to celebrate.

DSC_2255

We took the pack n play and put Connor down, but he didn’t stay that way and soon joined the fun with his cousins Leah and Chase.

IMG_1470

Family photo: the McHusband, me, and our kid, Deer Inthe Headlights.  But we call him Connor.

DSC_2239

Cousin Henley was a happy little party animal.

DSC_2244

While her mom and siblings broke it down on the dance floor.

DSC_2241

DSC_2252

Grammie even joined in the fun!

DSC_2259

Speaking of Grammie, let’s rewind to when we were less sweaty at the beginning of the part.  Jenny got some photos of Grammie with her grandkids.

image-5

IMG_1406

Leah wasn’t in the mood to smile, but check out this picture of her at the table when we were eating.  Gorgeous, right?

image-4

Okay, fast-fowarding back to later in the evening when we were all sweaty and overtired.

DSC_2261DSC_2262

Poor baby could barely keep his eyes open.

DSC_2265

We wrapped things up with a group shot…of tequila.

DSC_2279

DSC_2281

We headed back to Matthews that night.  We really appreciate the McDad driving us, and we were especially grateful that he stopped at that McDonald’s on the way so the McHusband and I could get cheeseburgers.  Best. Cheeseburgers. Ever.

Who says family fun can’t involve tequila?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Recent. Random.

Where do the days go?  The weekends used to fly by before we had a baby, but now, even though the days are longer because I’m getting up hours earlier, there really isn’t enough time in the day for everything.

I kicked off the weekend with some Friday-night backyard boot camp, went to my first Jamberry Nails party Saturday night, then ventured into baby food-making territory on Sunday.  I also managed to finally get Connor’s six-month pictures so that post’ll go up this week.

Oh, and did you see that I got a new-to-me car?

2968

The weather was iffy Saturday evening so I drove to my neighbor’s house for the Jamberry party.  My cup holders are very deep, as you can see.

PART_1408931267603_20140823_170239

I can’t let a Monday go by without telling you about some recent sweets: a lemon cookie cake, brownies with an Oreo cream filling frosting, and some peanut butter fudge bars with chocolate ganache.

PART_1408929495975_20140809_205456

PART_1408929480384_20140809_205643

I prefer those treats in the reverse order of how I listed them.

I want to get Connor a high chair this week.  He needs to sit up straighter than his lounger allows, and my chunky monkey isn’t going to fit in the Bumbo seat for much longer. 

PART_1408931348296_20140823_072615

Plus I just want him to associate meals/eating with the high chair.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to get the kind that straps onto an existing chair as I don’t need one more piece of furniture or baby paraphernalia in the kitchen.

Hope you guys had good weekends!

Friday, August 22, 2014

{Recipe Recap} Pesto Ranch Crockpot Chicken

Just a quick post for you guys to help you plan your dinner on Sunday.

I know the crockpot seems like a cold-weather appliance, but it’s also great in the summer because you don’t have to heat up your oven and therefore your kitchen.

I had pinned this recipe and the McMom saw it and gave it a try.  She said it was good and that was all I needed to hear to throw my chicken and pesto in the crockpot two days later.

PART_1408671238680_20140810_185525

I know it doesn’t look all that great, but I promise what it lacks in appearance, it makes up for in flavor.

I had some leftover Parmesan cheese so I shredded it and added a little to our chicken.  You can’t go wrong with a little cheese.

PART_1408671224970_20140810_185515

I ate the leftovers cold, and we also had a cold orzo pasta salad that the McMom made with the chicken when we were in Charlotte last weekend.  I liked it any way I could get it. 

Hands-off AND versatile?  I don’t know why you WOULDN’T make this.

Hope you guys have a good weekend!

TGIF!

{Recipe adapted from here; I used chicken breasts instead of thighs}