Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pinter "test" Kitchen {bite-sized peanut butter pies}


These little munchkins were every bit as amazing as they look. It was The Sportsman's birthday yesterday {happy birthday lover buns, I love you!} and I knew peanut butter had to be on the menu. We buy peanut butter in bulk around here. Somehow it has it's own food group category in our house. 

I had pinned this recipe from Inspired by Charm and was just waiting for a decadent occasion to try them out. I followed the recipe exactly and think they look pretty darn close to the original pin! The only thing I would change is the crust sweetness. I feel like it could be sweeter... the recipe is basically pie dough with cocoa powder added to make it chocolate. But I asked others who tried my mini-pies and it seemed to be fifty fifty. After I sampled... and sampled some more. I came to the conclusion that the crust is fine the way it is if you shove the whole thing in your mouth at once and let the peanut butter pie filling take over. But if you try to be dainty and ladylike and make this a two-bite dessert, then you can really taste the bland pie dough. Just saying...

The recipe made 60. Which was great since I had two functions I planned on taking these to. I did have about a cup of filling leftover so I guess I could have tried to stretch the dough a little further. I bought this mini-muffin pan from walmart for $6. It has 25 cups and it worked like a charm! These were a little time-consuming... I had Sportsman-in-Training working the cookie cutter for me and it still took awhile to crank them out. But worth it in my opinion.

So CLICK HERE to head on over to Inspired by Charm for the original recipe and let me know how yours turn out! 

And if you have any other recipe ideas for my nifty new mini-muffin pan... throw a link in the comment section. I always feel like a new kitchen accessory has to pull it's weight before I let it permanently stay.



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

DIY Baby Turban

 
Maybe it's because I grew up in North Dakota where the wind is always howling... more likely it is because my mom was constantly yelling at us to "go put a hat on" when we were kids and it became habit. Either way, my baby doesn't leave the house without something on her head. She has yet to have an ear infection in the first five months of life regardless of the fact that she was born into an arctic blast record of a winter and has cringed the three times she has seen the sun. She will forever be my polar bear child. As much as I love her polar bear look...


it is spring for pete's sake even if it doesn't feel like it. So out with the winter hats and enter stylin' baby headbands. I loooooove these! They are made out of those perfectly soft baby onesies that your little one has outgrown and your to attached to throw out. Well, what better way to get another season of life out of them? My lil' adventuress (as she will now be called hence forth on this blog) loves rockin the turban knot look. Bonus: I have noticed her little hair rub on the back of her head getting better since wearing these.
 
To make one of these super soft everyday headbands all you need is an old onesie, some needle and thread.
 
First cut the tummy section out of your onesie. The one pictured is a 3month size.
 
 
Then cut one side of the tummy part open along the old seam.
 
 
Open the tummy part and fold with right sides together as the pink piece in the pic demonstrates.
 
 
Sew along the edge with your needle and thread or with a machine. Turn right side out so you have a long tube.
 
 
Wrap the band around your baby's head and knot. Remove and put another simple knot in it. My tummy pieces were just the right length for this part but if you need to, trim them to about an inch. Tuck the raw edges under and into your knot and put a few simple stitches in there to secure it. I didn't want my lil' adventuress getting any ideas and undoing the knot.
 
 
 
If knots are not your thing... use the leftover parts of your onesie to make one of these easy peasy jersey flowers to attach instead. HERE is a tutorial I used for this little cutie.
 
 
And one I have for sale in the shop if your interested. A little camo never hurt a girl, keeps them boys on their toes. 
 



Friday, March 7, 2014

Get Your Camp On


It's not as easy to go camping as it use to be.  Growing up, my parents would pack us all up in our family motorhome and hit the road. A general destination was always in place, but our days were spent driving until we were sick of it then pulling off the road at the nearest campground.  The random adventure was the fun part. We never knew where we would end up at the end of the day. There were very few times we encountered "full" campgrounds or heaven forbid... a campground you had to reserve a spot at.

Things are a little different now.  In most campgrounds here in Pennsylvania you have to plan months ahead to reserve the coveted "lakeside" camp spots. We tent, so the rustic spots are a tad easier to come by, but if you plan on any convenience consider this your time to plan. It may feel like summer is never coming, but in just a few short weeks I can promise all the pretty camp spots will be reserved for all the best times.

Your first action should be to plan. Find your states specific state campground website. If you live in PA click here.  If you are new to camping, see if your state offers a first time camper program. PA has fourteen participating state campgrounds that provide gear and instruction for a small fee. Neat! I like to avoid holidays like July 4th if possible and weekends for less chance of a "party" showing up in the site next door. If I am unsure about booking a specific campsite I google. It is amazing what some people blog about... I have gotten some pretty neat information about specific campground sites simply by googling say... "Black Moshannon campground site 5".

Next, spring clean that gear and take inventory! While this is not the best time to buy new camping gear (should have looked last fall for the deals...) you don't want to be in the middle of nowhere when you realize you forgot a lighter or that your tent is one giant mildew stain.

And prepare. As your camping date approaches, get the kids excited. Print out mini maps and show them where you are headed. Or take along these nature scavenger hunt pages and a bucket to get them moving. If it is an adult only trip, map out some longer day hikes in the area. If there are hot springs or water falls of any kind, I am there!

The family historian in me just has to remind you to document your trip. I treasure the organic moments I have captured of my family kicking back and connecting in the great outdoors.



Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hot Pink

 
I asked The Sportsman to grab baby girl's hot pink hat out of her top dresser drawer.  The Sportsman opens the drawer, digs around and yells back all distressed... "But everything in here is hot pink!"
 
On being mom to a girl?  It feels like things have come full circle and I am beginning to re-experience things through her little life.  In that moment when I was waiting for the hot pink hat time stood still and my imagination raced ahead to defining moments I hoped she would get to experience.
 
Becoming a woman, finding her life passion, getting married, having babies of her own.
 
She already makes me want to be a better woman myself in order to be a worthy role model to her as she experiences these moments in her own way and time.  She has softened our family's edges and made things more beautiful.  Feminine.  I love it.  We need it.
 
Dr. Kelly Flanagan wrote these words to his own daughter.  I can't help but adopt this message and speak it over every woman out there.
 
“Your finish has nothing to do with how your face looks today and everything to do with how your life looks on your last day.  May your  years be a preparation for that day.  May you be aged by grace, may you grow in wisdom, and may your love become big enough to embrace all people.  May your flawless finish be a peaceful embrace of the end and the unknown that follows, and may it thus be a gift to everyone who cherishes you.” 
 


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Nutritious Biscotti

 
It has just plain old been a brutal winter for us. 
 
Usually I can tolerate being out in the cold, but having a newborn has us more homebound. Plus the recent ice storms made it actually unsafe to be outside. Imagine 3inches of ice on your entire driveway... and every store being sold out of any kind of salt, cat litter, and sand. And huge tree limbs all over just waiting to drop on your head at any second.
 
Don't worry, I am done complaining now. And here to share with you my new favorite recipe.
 
I like a little crunch with my coffee or tea. Around here hot drinks are an hourly occurrence. My "crunch" usually ends up being some kind of cookie, granola bar or store bought biscotti. Why have I been so intimidated to try making my own biscotti? Lord knows... its super easy and can be as ordinary or fancy as you like. Plus my little guy eats them like candy and if your sneaky sneaky like me you can add a ton of healthy power food and the kiddos wont even know it is good for them.
 
I modified and combined a few different recipe's to come up with this great base for nutritious biscotti.
 
The biscotti "log" before baking.
 
 
The cut biscotti pieces going in for baking round two.
 
 
 
And the yumminess at the end. Served up with some spicy chai tea? Yes please!
 
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Nutritious Biscotti
 
Ingredients:
 
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups white flour (can be subbed for almond or rice flours)
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs (1 separated)
1/4 cup light olive oil
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup blue agave nectar
1/4 cup turbinado (or brown sugar)
Choice of stir-ins... craisins, almonds, choc chips, pistachios whatever sounds good!
For a traditional biscotti flavor add 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350. Whisk together flours, germ, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. Mix together 1 egg and the yolk from the other egg. Set separated white aside to brush on top of dough later. Mix in oil, nectar, milk and sugar. Gradually combine dry ingredients to wet stirring just enough to combine. If dough is dry and crumbly, add a few more splashes of milk until it is sticky.  Add choice of nuts (I used 1/4 cup slivered almonds and 1/2 cup of craisins for the picture above). Scrape dough out onto floured surface and lightly knead and shape into a 1 inch thick by 3 inch wide log. Place on greased cookie sheet. Brush egg white over log and sprinkle with a pinch of turbinado. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly browned and slightly cracked. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes, cut slightly diagonal and place slices back on cookie sheet. Reduce oven temp to 325 and bake for another 10 minutes until crunchy
 
 
And a little happy face to brighten your day. I can't believe this cutie patooty is 4 months old!
 
 


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Confession

Yup, it's January. Time to shed those holiday pounds that attached themselves to my waist. Yup, you too baby weight. It has been two months of justifying your existence. My big 3-0 birthday is in six months and those extra pounds are just not invited to the party. My problem? I am so addicted to sugar. I have some form of sugar every single day. It's terrible. Since I have a newbie that I breastfeed, I have been conscious of the way sugar can affect her so have been able to at least limit the kinds of sugars I intake to fruit and honey... and maybe 2T of brown sugar in my morning oatmeal. Naughty! This girl needs to work harder at being healthy.
 
We all have a different version of what "healthy" means to us. For me the definition at this stage in my life is to deliver the right nutrients to my little babe. Also to be able to keep up with my three year old without feeling like I need a nap mid-day. And fitting into my pre-prego clothes would be nice as well... So to define:
 
-Eat Cleaner
-Develop Endurance
-Lose Weight
 
SO as they say... identifying the problem is the first step. Next step? Plan of action! 
 
Eating cleaner... no brainer. More whole foods, less processed and less food in general. New rule? No more sugar in the oatmeal and only occasional honey in tea and fruit allowed.
 
Develop endurance... the fun one! Have you all heard of The Daily Hiit?? I'm addicted. My past attempts at working out at home have mostly ended due to boredom. No more excuses, with The Hiit there are bazillions of FREE exercise videos to keep me interested. Check it out! I also have gotten into some Jillian yoga for those days when I just need some more "me" focused exercises.
 
 
And to lose weight... I have found lots of great healthy food swaps that have gotten me through those days when all I wanted to do was gobble up a pan of brownies and homemade whipped cream. Check this site out for lots of fresh ideas on mommy dieting. There are ideas safe for breastfeeding moms specifically.  


Tips & tricks
Lose Baby Weight

 Staying healthy is such a mental thing for me. I easily fall into the negative glass half empty mentality so putting all this out there is my attempt at being positive in my weight loss journey. I forget that I lost 34 pounds from last day of pregnancy to this morning and tend to focus on the 18 I have left to lose. Eek!
 
Today's workout if you care to join me. It's only 12 minutes people, we can do it! It takes me longer to drink my morning coffee, ha! 
 



Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hair We Go Again

Happy New Year folks!
I'm going to break the mold and not talk about resolutions or any real profound thoughts from 2013.
 
Nope, I'm talking about hair.
 
 
Let me start by saying, I don't "speak" hair in the sense that a beautician might. I have never had good luck with getting a fabulous haircut, which I take full responsibility for since I think I fail to communicate what I want when I go to the beautician. And just have thin unattractive hair in general. In fact I have had my share of regrettable cuts, starting with the infamous "shag" everyone got to match their corduroy suspenders in the eighth grade. I have yet to go to the same beautician more then three times in a row. Shame on me... but I have never seen any real difference between spending $18 at Holiday Hair or $80 at a nice boutique. And forming any kind of relationship with my beautician didn't seem to impact the outcome. 
 
 I do enjoy seeing the transformation others receive from a fun new do and thought you might too! So I call this my mom cut. All I do is spray in some sea salt texture, tousle and (if I have time) blow dry with a round brush. It is the shortest my hair has ever been but I love it and think it is a keeper. I took in these pictures found on pinterest.
pretty loose waves inverted bob. If i ever have the guts to chop off my hair, i want it to look exactly like this
Source
 
Love her haircut!
Source
 
I went to Holiday Hair at the crack of dawn. Because I have a newborn that sleeps best at that time. And yes, I was the youngest person there by at least 30 years, it was fun! I got my cute new cut in under 30 minutes and did my own crème gloss color at home. And this was the result.
 

 
And the back...
 
 
Love it!
 


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