Month: January 2015

SUPER BOWL! Chocolate – Beer Cupcakes

Chocolate-Beer Cupcakes

Yep, that’s right. Chocolate and beer…together! I must admit, my husband is much more of a beer fan than I am but since I was sending off most of these cupcakes with him to work I figured I better make something that a bunch of football fan guys would love! He said that these did not last AT ALL and that they were a huge hit.

I got the inspiration for these cupcakes on Rachel Ray’s website by Emily Wycoff. Click here to go to this original delicious recipe!

I did change a few things in the cupcake recipe but used the same filling recipe as she did. I then chose to make my own plain buttercream frosting versus the beer reduction frosting.

I decorated them in a football theme to get ready for the Super Bowl this weekend! Sorry to any Patriots fans but my husband is from the Seattle area and we are all definitely Seahawks fans! But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t just as excited to see Katy Perry and the commercials 😉 I topped the cupcakes with a chocolate covered potato chip. Come on, it doesn’t get much better than that. And if you have not tried a chocolate covered potato chip then you need to stop what you are doing and try it! Delicious! Or don’t, because then you may become like me (a sweet tooth) and get addicted to them. I also must add that I chose to use a beer that is brewed in Seattle. I thought that this was appropriate – Go Seahawks!

Chocolate-Beer Cupcakes

 

Chocolate-Beer Cupcakes

 

Chocolate-Beer Cupcakes

 

Chocolate-Beer Cupcakes

How I made them:

This made 14 cupcakes for me.

 

For the cupcakes:

-1 Cup IPA beer (I chose Red Hook: Long Hammer IPA)

-1 and 1/4 Cups flour

-1/2 Cup Cocoa powder

-1 tsp baking powder

-1 tsp baking soda

-1/2 tsp salt

-1/3 Cup butter at room temp.

-1 Cup Brown Sugar

-1 Egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring the 1 cup of beer to a simmer in a saucepan. Once it has reached a simmer take it off of the heat but leave it in the pan to keep it warm. In a separate medium bowl mix together all of the dry ingredients; flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set this bowl aside. In a different bowl use a stand mixer or any electric mixer to cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg and mix until just combined, don’t over mix. Slowly add part of the warm beer. Then add half of the dry ingredients. Add more of the beer, then flour mixture etc. until everything is combined. Pour 2/3 full into a cupcake pan with liners. Bake for about 16-18 minutes. Move to a cooling rack when done and let them cool completely.

Chocolate-Beer Cupcakes

For the filling: (make while cupcakes cool)

-1/2 Cup heavy cream

-1/2 Cup IPA beer (or whatever beer you are using)

-1 egg

-1/3 Cup Brown sugar

-2 Tbsp + 2tsp flour

-1/4 tsp salt

-1 Tbsp butter

-1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix together the cream, beer, egg, brown sugar, flour and salt in a saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil while whisking constantly. After a few minutes the mixture will become thick and creamy. Remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla. Let this cool for just a few minutes. While the filling is cooling, core the cooled cupcakes. I used a cupcake corer, which made things SO easy! But you could use anything lying around like the end of a spoon to dig out a small section of the middle of the cupcake. Then pour the filling in until it reaches the top of the cupcake. I put the filling in a ziplock bag and piped it in so that I didn’t make a huge mess. Let the cupcakes cool completely before icing them.

 

For the icing:

-1 Cup butter at room temp.

-1 1/2 tsp vanilla

-2 Tbsp milk

-4-6 cups powdered sugar

Chocolate-Beer Cupcakes

 

Chocolate-Beer Cupcakes

Chocolate-Beer Cupcakes

Frost the cupcakes however you like! I topped them with a chocolate covered potato chip just using melted chocolate chips.

Have a fun Super Bowl!

Enjoy!

 

Chocolate-Beer Cupcakes

Whippersnappers

 

How Quickly the Time Goes

Enjoy the Little Things

Today I really just feel the need to write an update on how my little guy is doing. He is well over 10 months now and growing insanely fast. I swear every day I look over at him and can visibly see how he has grown in just a day! He is learning something new every single day and it amazes me! From waving and blowing kisses to saying “dada” and (FINALLY) “Mom!”

This photo was taken this last weekend. We went downtown for the day since my mother-in-law and Aunt were in town visiting. I can’t believe how blue his eyes are!! Mine are dark brown so he definitely gets his eyes from dad 🙂

I try to cherish every moment with him because I know that everything is already going by way too fast. It’s funny, really, because that is what I heard over and over again when I was pregnant. Everyone always has advice and tips one of them always being “Enjoy it, because it goes by way too fast!” I feel like this is something that I haven’t truly come to understand until actually having a child. Not that I’m super experienced…I’m not. I mean, come on, I have one child only 10 months old. I am not the most experienced mother out there but even then, I can still tell you that it is ALREADY going by way too quickly.

It is easy to get sucked into things we are working on in our busy lives so my main goal is to stop and pay attention and enjoy the little things 🙂

 

 

Whippersnappers

Mommy & Baby Smoothie

Blueberry-Banana & Greens Smoothie

I am so excited!! As much as I looove making smoothies (and drinking them of course!), it can now go to an even greater use! My son loves them as well! He is 10 months old and completely eating solid table foods now versus baby purees. He is still a wonderful eater and eats a great variety of fruits and veggies along with some meats. However, some of the veggies he ate well as purees he is now turning his nose up at now that they are a different texture. So I thought that smoothies would be great since you can add a variety of foods and nutrients without tasting the greens or having the odd texture. So you can imagine my excitement when it turned out that he GULPED and I do mean gulped his smoothie down. I thought for sure he was going to get brain freeze but he couldn’t get enough of the stuff. Now my only hope is that he continues loving smoothies as he gets older because it is such a great lunch or snack, especially when making them yourself and having all of the fresh ingredients! I also love that I can make something that we can both have for lunch, it saves time!

Blueberry-Banana & Greens Smoothie

What I used:

 

Blueberry-Banana & Greens Smoothie

-Handful of ice

-1/2 Cup Blueberries

-2 Bananas

-Large handful of kale

-1/4 Cup Coconut water (or as needed for the consistency you want)

Blend well in the blender.

At this point I poured some of the smoothie into a cup to be a baby friendly smoothie and left the rest in the blender for myself. For The baby friendly smoothie I stirred in his favorite YoBaby whole milk baby yogurt and poured it into a bowl since he hasn’t really gotten the hang of using a straw.

To the rest of my own smoothie I added:

-1/2 to 3/4 cup vanilla greek yogurt

-1 Tbsp Flaxseed

Blend well.

Blueberry-Banana & Greens Smoothie

And there you have it! I’m so excited my little guy liked smoothies! Another tip is to alternate kale and spinach. It gives you more of a nutritional advantage than just using the same thing all of the time. There are many other things you can alternate in as well!

Enjoy!

 

Blueberry-Banana & Greens Smoothie

Whippersnappers

 

 

Sandwich Ideas for Kids

Sandwich Options

Well, I think it is safe to say that Sawyer is officially done with purees. He refuses almost all of them now and wants his big boy food. He is only 10 months and it amazes me the foods that he is eating already! I feel kind of sad about it but it is also fun to whip up new and fun lunches each day and not always just doing purees. I do keep a few around though to mix in with his cereal in the mornings since he is still eating baby cereal pretty often. So I will mix in a pureed fruit or veggie into his cereal.

So…my son’s new thing lately is LOVING something one day, and throwing it on the floor the next with a look of complete disgust. That can be a bit frustrating and it has taken a bit of trial and error lately. LOTS of error 😛 But…lots of success too, and on things that I actually didn’t expect him to be to fond of like quinoa!

Just last night he figured out that he could take a piece of food, reach behind him and drop it down his shirt. So that’s been real interesting! Usually most kinds of sandwiches he will gobble right up so here are a few things that we have tried.

Avocado-Cheddar Sandwich

Avocado-Cheddar Cheese Sandwich

Simply mash however much avocado you would like to use and sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese. This one was really good and would be even better on toasted bread!

 

Banana-Almond Butter Sandwich

Almond Butter-Banana Sandwich

I used mashed banana and almond butter for this and my son absolutely loved it! It contains two of his absolute favorites: bananas & almond butter! I make this a lot with peanut butter too, I like to switch it up!

The mushy lump of stuff on the plate is what I like to call Banavocado 😛 Rest of the mashed up banana and some mashed avocado. Doesn’t look all too great but for some reason my son will not eat plain slices of avocado at this point.

 

Raisin Puree

Raisin Puree-Almond Butter Sandwich

I made a raisin puree by boiling a handful of raisins for about 5 minutes and blending them in the blender with some water. You wouldn’t even need to boil them if you don’t want but they blended a bit easier that way.

 

Tuna-Cream Cheese Sandwich

Tuna-Cream Cheese Sandwich

I just used a package of plain tuna and some cream cheese. Took Sawyer a bit to get used to the tuna but ended up eating quite a bit of it!

 

 

Some other options:

-Plain peanut butter

-Peanut butter & jelly

-Grilled cheese

-Chicken, cheese & tomato quesadillas

-Ham & cheese panini

 

Just to name a few!

My Little Guy

Whippersnappers

 

 

 

 

Organizing My Kitchen

New Organized Kitchen

After saying “Wow, I really need to get this kitchen more organized!” about a million and a half times, I finally did it! Well…mostly my pantry! I’ve really been trying to keep our kitchen more organized in general because it is a huge pet peeve of mine to have things all over the counters all of the time (even though things tend to accumulate on the counters anyway). However, the main thing that needed some major organizing was our pantry! Oh man…opened boxes all over, things piled, baby cereal and snacks all over the place, extra canning jar boxes scattered all along the floor…just a disaster! I feel like it is so easy to throw something back in the pantry when you’re done with it instead of keeping it orderly so I finally decided to completely reorganize to make it much easier to keep things looking nice.

New Organized Pantry

I bought some OXO containers to keep boxed snacks, chips, cereal or whatever in. You can get them on Amazon, Target and most places but I was actually lucky enough to stumble upon them at TJMaxx for much cheaper, score!!

I also used mason jars to put baking stuff in such as cocoa and corn starch. Not only does this keep it more organized and fresh but it is way more cute than all of the random containers! I then used chalk labels and a permanent chalk pen to label them.

New Organized Pantry

I used our old flour/sugar canisters for pasta. We use a LOT of pasta so it is nice to have it right there in a convenient container. I put additional different types of pasta boxes in a pull out tote (which can’t really be seen towards the inside of the pantry) as well as another pull out tote with small things like taco seasonings, tuna, etc. Below that I used baskets to organize jars of things such as coconut oil, cooking spray, etc. I stuck canned good in towards the inside ends since we don’t use those as much.

On one hand, I wish I would have taken a “before” photo for you but on the other hand, it is probably best that I didn’t 😛

New Organized Kitchen

 

For some reason I am obsessed with chalk board stuff! So awhile back I got this small little chalk board that has a little stand on it to put on our kitchen counter. Sometimes I decorate it for the holidays, but much of the time I like to write our supper menu on there!

I love the colorful look of all of our cookbooks so I never liked them hiding away in the cupboard. I found this wire basket to display them in, plus they’re easier to grab!

I hope this can give you some inspiration! It’s helped me a ton and is so much nicer to look at 🙂

 

 

Whippersnappers

Nautical Baby Room

Nautical Nursery

I’ve been wanting to post photos of my son’s room for awhile now! Keep in mind, some of them may look a bit different since some are from our previous house. Since we moved when my son was only 2 months old, I set up his room pretty much the exact same way once we moved into our current home. I knew right from the start as soon as my husband and I found out that we were going to have a boy that I wanted to do a nautical nursery. I got all of the inspiration since my husband is in the Navy and works on a submarine. So naturally I wanted to incorporate submarines too!

I went with mostly deep red and navy blue for his room and really loved how it all turned out! I am so in love with anchors and all kinds of nautical stuff!

Nautical Nursery

Our son’s name is Sawyer and I definitely wanted his name above his crib somehow so I decided to make some letters myself. I love being crafty so not only did it give me a cheaper decoration to go above his crib but it also gave me something fun to do in the days leading up to my son being born. These letters were super simple. I bought some paper mache letters, which you can get really cheap at most craft stores. I kept having bad luck by going in to the store and every single time, all the letters that I needed were completely out! Grrr! Finally, I just ended up ordering them online.

I decided that I wanted to use maps for the face of the letters. You could use anything you wanted, photo printed on regular paper, magazine pages, or even just use paint. I wanted to use maps because I thought that it was nautical, plus I really just love the look of maps! To put a little more meaning into it, I used maps from places we have been. This was when we were still living in Hawaii so I picked up a Hawaii atlas and cut out the letters from pages where we have been on each of the islands. I really LOVE how these turned out!

After cutting out the letters (I just set the paper mache letter down on the map where I wanted it, traced it and then cut it out) I painted mod podge all over the face of the letter. Then I placed the paper down right where I wanted it and coated the top with another layer of mod podge. Make sure to let it dry well. Then I just painted the sides of the letters a dark gray to finish it off.

Nautical Nursery

I got a lot of stuff from Etsy when putting this room together. The crib skirt, teething guard, Navy uniform blanket and Boppy cover all came from different Etsy shops. I even had a cover for the changing pad that matched the Boppy cover, which I love and still use. I originally got the teething guard to look cute and tie everything together but now that my son is 10 months old and standing, it is really coming in handy since he puts his mouth and new teeth all over it!

Nautical Nursery

Getting crafty again!! I made this mobile using plush submarines from a local shop and making felt balls and hanging them with string from painted wooden rods. Not going to lie, this took me forever! But I love it, my son loves it…and it is still in his room over his changing pad! Click here for decorative felt ball tutorial photos that I used from UsefulDIY.com.

Nautical Nursery

Also painted two canvases and this is one of them. As you can tell I was really feeling crafty 🙂

Nautical Nursery

Nautical Nursery

I had so much fun decorating, crafting and putting all of this together. I also have two cubical shelves that have felt drawers and are also used for the tons and TONS of books that he has. At this point he mostly just has a blast ripping them all off the shelves right now 🙂

 

Nautical Nursery

Whippersnappers

Turkey-Orange Bell Pepper Baby Food Puree

Turkey-Orange Bell Pepper

Turkey is a very healthy meat option, especially for babies. I knew it wouldn’t have a very great taste on its own though so I decided to pair it with orange bell peppers. Green or yellow bell pepper would probably be just as good. My son was not a huge fan of pureed chicken. I have gotten him to eat only a total of a couple bites out of the multiple times I have given it to him. He is now having a more “I can do this myself mom” attitude apparently because he is starting to not really want a whole lot to do with purees all together. So I have now been starting to wean him off and give him more and more table foods and he is doing great! This turkey and bell pepper recipe he did like a bit better though and would be great if your baby is still a bit younger or isn’t eating actual table foods yet.

My son’s pediatrician recommended starting meats at around 9 months but you could talk to your own pediatrician to get their recommendation.

Turkey-Orange Bell Pepper

 

Turkey-Orange Bell Pepper

Turkey-Orange Bell Pepper

 

How I made it:

-1lb ground turkey

-1 orange bell pepper

-water or breastmilk

 

Start browning the meat in a large skillet. While browning the meat, wash the bell pepper off and cut into small pieces. Make sure to get the ends cut off and the middle cut out along with the seeds. Steam the bell pepper for about 10 minutes. Finish browning the meat and then drain. Let everything cool a bit and add to your blender. Since you’re using meat this one will take quite a bit of liquid. Add your water/breastmilk a small amount at a time while blending in between until you have reached desired consistency.

…and that’s it!

This puree actually smelled and tasted really good!! I would eat this myself if it wasn’t pureed of course 😛

This made 5 – 4oz jars for me.

 

 

Whippersnappers

What Kind of Baby Food Do You Make?

babyfood2After posting a variety of ideas and recipes lately on making your own homemade baby food, I wondered…what kinds of ideas do you have?

 

Any good recipe ideas?

Things that work well together, things that don’t?

Tips?

Funny stories of feeding your baby?

 

Share your ideas! I love getting ideas and tips from others 🙂

mango-avocado-kale

My son (he is almost 10 months already!) has branched out and it starting to eat a lot more foods of different textures and even eating pieces of food that my husband and I are eating. It is becoming more and more fun now that he is not just simply eating purees. He is starting to eat sandwiches (given in bites), green beans, rice, noodles and other cooked veggies. It also makes things sooo much easier when trying to go out to eat at a restaurant. He keeps much more occupied when we can feed him some things that we are eating as well. The other day my husband let him try lemon…ooooh man did he make quite the sour face!! To my surprise, he wasn’t upset though. In fact, he kept leaning in for more! But would make the same head-shaking sour face every time and then smile!

 

Again, I’d love to hear any of your stories or ideas for homemade baby food! Comment!

 

 

Whippersnappers

Asparagus-Yellow Squash Baby Food Puree

Asparagus-Yellow Squash

I just made this one the other day and my son loves it!

I’ve especially been switching things up when thinking of new veggies to cook for my son. Thankfully he is normally a wonderful eater but on the occasions where he does act a bit picky, it is usually with veggies. Most of the time I think that it is because of the texture since many of the veggies end up a bit grainy. So I’ve been trying new ones out to find what he likes best so that he still gets plenty of veggies. I am also a big fan of sneaking healthy veggies in. Many veggies or even some fruits that I prepare I like to add spinach or kale since it doesn’t have a lot of flavor but adds a lot of nutrients.

Asparagus-Yellow Squash

What I used:

-2 yellow squash

-1 whole bunch of asparagus

-water

 

Rinse both veggies well. Cut the ends off of the asparagus spears (not the heads but the other end) and cut into smaller chunks. Cut ends off of the squash as well and cut into smaller chunks. Steam both veggies for 15 minutes. If you decide not to steam, I suggest cooking the asparagus in a skillet with olive oil or coconut oil. The squash could also be prepared that way or by boiling. Steaming preserves the nutrients best.

Add everything to the blender and blend well. Add some water (you may have to do this a couple of times until you get the consistency you want) and blend again until smooth!

Asparagus-Yellow Squash

See?! So simple! Making homemade baby food does NOT have to be difficult. Plus you get to know exactly what is in the food that you are feeding your baby. Not to mention saving money!

 

 

Whippersnappers

Mango-Avocado-Kale Puree

mango-avocado-kale

Another fruit puree perfect for adding to baby cereal or giving to your baby for lunch. This one, like most purees I have made, was very simple to make. I chose to use a lot of mangoes for this one so that I could have plenty extra to freeze. I use fruit on most days to add to my son’s cereal for breakfast so I go through it pretty quickly.

mango-avocado-kale

 

mango-avocado-kale

Here’s how I made this one:

Keep in mind I wanted to make a lot so you could cut this down if you wanted to make less. If you wanted to make a single serving I would suggest using half of each fruit and then 1 or 2 kale leaves.

 

Use:

-5 mangoes

-1 avocado

-1 whole bunch of kale leaves

-water or breastmilk

 

The only thing that I cooked for this baby food is the kale leaves. Everything else can simply be cut up and tossed into the blender. Since the fruits are not cooked, I would suggest that this puree not be used for one of baby’s first solids. Make sure to rinse the mangoes, avocado and kale leaves. Peel and pit the mangoes, slice into small pieces and put into the blender. Peel and pit the avocado, slice into chunks and put it into the blender. Cut the stems off of the kale leaves and steam the leaves for about 10-15 minutes. Rinse leaves when you are done and let cool for a bit or run cold water over them. Add the kale to the blender and blend well. You won’t need much liquid for this one. Add small amounts of water or breastmilk as needed. This made 8 – 4oz jars and a whole ice cube tray for me.

mango-avocado-kale

As you can see, this is what I do when I run out of jars while making baby food…improvise by using an ice cube tray! Ice cube trays work great, you could also use them if you don’t have any jars or some other sort of baby food storage. I let the tray freeze and then pop all of the cubes out and put them into a ziplock bag and back into the freezer. This way you can just grab however many cubes you want as you need them.

My son loves this one by itself or mixed with cereal!

 

 

Whippersnappers