It’s spring in Minnesota. So naturally, it snowed over a foot this weekend. It snowed from Friday night until Sunday morning. Nonstop. There are snowdrifts, snow piles, and everything is covered in a thick layer of snow.
If you didn’t have to leave the house, you didn’t. The boys were especially restless by Sunday. While the snow does not typically keep us housebound during the winter, this spring snowstorm was unlike any winter snowstorm. It just would not stop snowing. And given we are a month into spring, you can conclude that all Minnesota drivers have already completely forgotten how to drive in the snow, not to remember how to successfully maneuver over black ice until a solid week into the following December. So we needed a fresh in-house activity for the boys.
You guys, I did it again. I kept making new recipes, but I didn’t take pictures and so my blog was once again forgotten. Sigh. It doesn’t help that I have a 11-month-old who I love dearly but is only truly happy when he is in my arms. Seriously, guys what do I do?? I come home from work, make dinner, and then spend the next 8 hours trying to get Max to sleep by himself. It is never successful. But sometimes I have free hands. On the weekend. When I ask Matt to hold him.
Since Max is a mama’s boy, it makes it hard for me to get in some one-on-one time with my oldest. JR is only two so he is still very much a baby boy v. a little man. Mama kisses can cure any scrap and bump. He still looks up at me, lifts his arms, and says “Mama, hold.” And like so many mothers before me, I want to delegate as little of my motherly duties as possible because (selfishly) I want to soak in all of their childhood moments to myself.
I came across Baby Boy Bakery month kit, and it was the perfect outlet to allow JR and I to squeeze in a little more quality time together. Each month we receive a toddler-friendly recipe, complete with toddler-sized tools. And for a couple hours, JR and I will get to share my love of cooking. At least that’s the plan.
The first kit we tried out was homemade doughnuts. Of course. Daddy and Maxwell supervised while JR and I mixed, beat, and rolled out dough, cut out little rings, and then deep-fried those puppies. And it was perfect. Nothing monumental happened. It was nothing more than what it was. A mom and her son baking together. But it was one of the best afternoons.
Being it’s officially fall and all, this weekend we went to the Minnetonka Apple Orchard. We hadn’t been apple picking since we lived in La Crosse, and while JR is probably too young to truly enjoy it, it was a great excuse to spend some time outdoors that didn’t completely revolve around lumber (yes, apples grow on trees. baby steps).
JR danced around the pumpkins and experienced his first hayride. Pancake could hardly handle herself-stopping to smell most everything and pulling her leash at every chance she got…so a pretty typical afternoon for her.
The only apples in season for you-pick were harlsons–a decent baking apple. After some prodding, JR got the hang of plucking the apple off the tree and tossing it into our bag.
Of course, now that we have all these apples, its baking time. When I found this apple muffin recipe, it was simple enough that I could easily get them into the oven while JR napped so it immediately went to the top of the “must-make” list. The biggest time suck is prepping the apples-peeling and dicing takes time. But these muffins are unbelievably moist (sorry if that word grosses you out but they are!) and completely delicious. And as a huge confidence boost, JR dances every time he takes a bite 🙂 So with that dancing endorsement, these muffins are worth making.
I had my first kiss when I was 14. It was on the second day of a bike tour in a high school gym. He asked if he could kiss me and then proceeded to count down from three. I held my breath, and we kissed.
My first kiss when my husband was far less innocent. After too many tequila shots and a full night of dancing, Matt and I finally kissed. We had been friends for a year at that point. And in the first month of our friendship, Matt came over for Chinese and tv. Apparently, Matt considered that a date, and I considered it just two friends hanging out. One year later, the timing was finally right. And thanks to tequila and daylight savings time, Matt and I were finally on the same page. Six years later, we are still together.
This recipe was another first. I’ve never made anything with Rice Krispies. I know. That’s insane. Rice Krispie treats are a baking staple. You’d think that sometime I would have made this. But between having a sister who kicks my ass at all things baking and having no desire to learn to bake, I never made anything with Rice Krispies. Matt loves cherries and marshmallows. When I saw this recipe, I realized it was time to try something new. No tequila required.
Breakfast has always been my favorite meal. Every morning, I wake up with my stomach grumbling and really can’t get much accomplished without having a good breakfast. And one of the many things I love about the law firm I work at is Friday breakfast. Every Friday, someone brings in breakfast for the entire office. Last week it was my turn. I used it as an opportunity to try a new recipe. I got good feedback from everyone and will definitely be making this again!
One fun thing about this recipe is you can switch up the ingredients. Toss in raspberries, blueberries, apples, strawberries. Whichever you prefer or whatever you have on hand. Also this recipe can easily be made with or without chocolate chips. So play around with this recipe and make it your own.
I’ve also joined the world of smartphones. Which means I’ve been talking pictures of everything! I was at a restaurant with a great friend last weekend and had to take a picture of this amazing soup–a tomato pesto. New goal: figure out how to recreate my own tomato pesto soup. Hopefully soon I’ll be posting my first recreation recipe!
This was a week testing my resilience. First, a semi-truck smashed into me on 94. It was 8:30 am–rush hour. We had slowed down to about 5 mph when I looked into my rear view mirror and saw a semi barreling towards me. My heart sunk, and I told myself to think like a sponge (old hockey trick). He pushed me into the car in front of me. The entire experience was terrifying. I had to be taken by ambulance because I hit my head. But I survived. Have some major bruising and some serious whiplash but nothing that cannot be fixed. Except of course for Sally. Sally is was my car. She was totaled. My poor baby. Then someone stole all the stuff out of my car–my yoga block, water bottle, etc. when it was towed. It was a sad day for Sally.
I figured after all this, it was time for me to indulge in a dessert. Even better, I had an excuse to make a dessert without eating the entire pan (nope, I only ate about a quarterish!) We had our neighborhood block party this week. Everyone brought a dish to pass, and my s’mores bar had a nice indent when it was time to clean up. I’ll take that as a good sign since there was a plethora of desserts to choose from.
Also, we have TONS of chocolate. See, last weekend was my friend’s bridal shower that I co-hosted. We had a chocolate fountain filled with 10 pounds of chocolate. Of course, this is a bridal shower of ladies. Ladies who aren’t going to eat pounds and pounds of chocolate dipped fruit. So, I came home with more chocolate than anyone ever needs. Honestly, we have so much that I could have taken a bath in it. It was the perfect storm of excuses. It was time for some dessert.
So I went on a search for recipes that need melted chocolate. Matt loves marshmallows more than anyone I’ve ever met so when I found this recipe, I knew it was the one.
Peppermint Patties are my kryptonite. I can never eat just one. Or even two. I pretty much can eat an entire bag in one sitting and feel hardly any shame. And at one Weight Watcher’s Plus Point per patty, my 26 points per day can get depleted quickly. Still, I allow myself to indulge an a couple every once in a while–especially when finals come around. So when I found this cookie recipe, I had to try it out. It combines my peppermint patty love with my chocolate love. Can’t ask for much more! I made these for the students in the class I TA for, and I am very proud to say I didn’t eat a single cookie. My willpower is strengthening thanks to my good friend Krystal who tries to keep my sweet tooth in check (an almost impossible task). These cookies do take a bit longer to make than most, but they are definitely worth the extra effort.
I have been meaning to bake more, but I have zero faith in my will power. Last week I bought frosted animal crackers and ate half of the box in under a half hour. My sweet tooth is out of control. So I just have to remove all sweets from my temptations all together and not bake. But, I have had some requests for some sweet recipes. I work as a teaching assistant to a criminal law professor at school, and we had a practice exam coming up. It was the perfect time to try out some new dessert recipes without devouring the entire batch myself.
Matt really took the lead in baking this. He wanted something fun and easy (and that included marshmallows). This recipe was just that–and it allowed him to throw chocolate at me so it was a win-win for him. He was pretty proud of his results.
I don’t normally bake. My mother and sister are excellent bakers so whatever I make, it is never as good as their version. But I found this great banana bread recipe, and I had to try it. (Plus my mom and sister haven’t made it yet so mine is the best tasting one so far!) I love the combination of chocolate and banana, and Matt loves dark chocolate so this banana bread is perfect for us.
The cayenne pepper adds a spicy after taste. Matt kept saying that his tongue was tingly but in a good way. This was definitely outside my p90x diet, so I could only have a small sample. But it was still fun to make! So here’s Dark Chocolate Banana Bread with Cayenne.