Breakfast Introspection

breakfast

Before I begin, check out my monthly post on Hometown Pasadena!

Tomorrow my youngest child turns six.  Of course he’s all excited about getting older (OK, yes, and getting presents.)  For whatever reason, I always get a little teary the day before my children celebrate another year of life.  My mind drifts back to what I was doing the day before they were born.

In Grayson’s case, with a scheduled C-section, six years ago today, I knew it was the last day of my pregnancy.  With a one-year-old and two-year-old at home with me (I know, right?), being a 38 year-old pregnant woman with a 10 lb. baby in my belly I was mostly focused on gettin’ that kid out.  FAST.  I seem to recall a tearful checkup with my OB where I pretty much begged him to move up my delivery date by a week as I just didn’t think I would make it to the finish line.  He didn’t.  I did.

The aching back, insomnia, swollen feet and baby shoved so far up my rib cage I couldn’t bend forward to even wash the dishes by this point… all those memories have dissipated by now.  Mostly now I think back and realize that six years ago today I was pregnant for the last time in my life.

I felt then and still do feel so incredibly lucky to have carried three amazing little people in my belly.  From the first to the third I marveled at them from the moment I looked into their brand new eyes.  I kept them in the hospital room with me and despite exhaustion and the opportunity to rest before returning home, even with my not-so-little guy I held him and gazed at him constantly.  Just couldn’t get over the miracle of the whole thing.  Still can’t, really.

Tomorrow I’ll be awakened early–I know it–by an eager kindergartener who can’t wait a moment longer to open his gifts.  But today I will sip my coffee for just one extra minute and bask in these quiet memories.

Introspection French Toast

Ingredients: for every 3 eggs, 1/4-1/3 cup butter milk, dash of sugar, dash of vanilla, 1/2 dash almond extract, few shakes cinnamon.  Bread of any kind. (I don’t really measure–sorry Teri and Lisa.  These measurements should work though!)

Directions: Put bread aside.  Mix everything else together.  Dip bread into mixture and cook on griddle.  Serve with butter and real maple syrup whenever possible.

Tip: I often make this recipe with a dozen eggs and an entire loaf of bread.  Freezes great, pop it in the toaster and wah-lah!  French toast any time you want.  Life contemplation is optional.

Energy (who doesn’t need more ‘a that?) Bites

energy bites
     So Teri brought these over to a big ‘ol play-date I hosted one day.  She found the recipe from a super-cutie blog called Smashed Peas and Carrots . (and before I continue, please excuse the lack of spaces between paragraphs on this post–something is not working for Michelle this morning… but I really wanted to share this with you!)
     I like this blog.   Ms. Maggie, the writer, is a mother to four kids under the age of five (yes, you read that correctly.)  She not only manages to keep them alive, apparently, but she keeps up this really smart blog and writes comments about her recipes like, “This is so frickin’ awesome you can’t eat just one!”
     Who can’t respect and admire that?
     Teri put these little honeys out and the kids (OK, yes, and the mamas) gobbled them right up.  I will say this: When I make them the balls are not, uh, perfectly spherical and the sizes are what you might call “varied.”  For this reason I have included the visual of Teri’s Energy Balls.  Mine do taste just as yum though… (Seriously!  So if you ever see, them please don’t make fun.)
     One more comment before I reveal the recipe: These are a no-bake (extra points from Michelle!) situation but they are reminiscent–in a really good way–of cookie dough.  OK.  Here you go.
Energy Bites!
Ingredients:
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut flakes
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla
Directions: Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.  Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.  Once chilled, roll into balls and enjoy!  Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week (or 20 minutes if you’re at my house…)
Tip: Raisins work well in place of chocolate chips too.  Kinda tart and obviously a tad healthier–but I’m not discounting the value of a good chocolate chip!

Cupcake Diaries

finished!

So it was Grandma Maye’s (my mother-in-law) birthday yesterday and my trio of kitchen sidekicks wanted to kick it in the kitchen.  Josie, my middle love, has been reading Cupcake Diaries by Coco Simon and wouldn’t you know that the books contain recipes…  Sounds like one of those serendipitous moments when the planets line up–or at least that what my kiddos thought.

A healthy organic plant-based diet is what I shoot for in general, but I’m not made of stone.  Of course we can make cupcakes from scratch.  Whytheheck not?

recipe

Don’t worry.  I’m going to retype it in real people letters for your ease and entertainment.

Vanilla Cupcakes from Mia in the Mix by Coco Simon

Ingredients: 1/2 cup unsalted butter, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, 3 large eggs, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/4 cup whole milk

Directions (as usual, I ignored pretty much all the “do this step first and then do this” type instructions… sorry.  I said I would make cupcakes, I didn’t say I liked baking!  I still dislike it as much as ever…)  So, my directions are: put it all in a bowl and mix it up.  Oh–and I think I forgot the baking powder.  I got distracted when there was some heated arguing over who had “poured in the most stuff” that resulted in everyone stepping away from the bowl for a few minutes to re-evaluate our purpose in life.  We regained our purpose, overall, but I really don’t remember getting the baking powder out of the cupboard after all was said and done… and nobody complained so let’s just keep this tiny oversight between you and me.  K?  Thanks!)

Vanilla Butter Cream Frosting

Ingredients (I quartered the amounts and the original quantities would have been enough frosting for 100 cupcakes!)  2 tbsp. room temp. butter, 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. whole milk, dash vanilla.  Mix and, uh, put on the cupcakes.

Sweet, fattening treats for the heck of it?  Not super common at my house.  Sweet, fattening birthday treats that connect literature to real life, allow my kids the chance to create and give to someone they love, feel proud of what they, themselves made and the opportunity for Josie to begin plans for her own foodie blog some day: I’m in.

Josie

Easy-Tasty-Fancy Looking!

fruit pizza

OK.  So in the title I took out “healthy” and replaced with “Fancy Looking.”  Just work with me here.

Fruit Pizza is what we call this in my family.  You may or may not be able to tell that I was going for a “sun” theme with the fruit display.  I made this for Easter so it seemed appropriate.

Every time I make fruit pizza everybody gobbles it up and all the mommies ask for the recipe.  It looks beautiful and is so absurdly easy to make everyone should have this recipe in their back pocket.

Fruit Pizza

Ingredients: (I’m embarrassed to say…) Pilsbury Sugar cookie Dough, 16 oz. cream cheese, 1/3 cup sugar (or powdered sugar), tsp. vanilla, diced fresh fruit.

Directions: Set cream cheese out for about an hour to soften.  Spread the cookie dough (this is 1 1/2 tubes) out on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 for approximately 17-20 minutes or until done.  Set out to cool.   Mix softened cream cheese with sugar and vanilla.  Spread on completely cooled sugar cookie crust.  Top with fruit.

Tips: I’ve made this with homemade sugar cookie dough and although it is certainly a less processed food choice, you really cannot taste the difference (short cuts are all the rage.)  Fruit can be arranged in a stunning display of some sort (not featured above, unfortunately) or just scattered.  The pineapple and orange chunks that I used were drained before placement.  Good fruits for this include strawberries, blueberries, grapes, sliced stone fruits… don’t use bananas though as they will brown and throw off the whole “impressive” statement you’re going for.  (I seem to be using an excessive amount of quotation marks today….  Don’t you think?)

I seriously dare you to take this to a potluck situation and not impress the masses.  Yes.  Maybe even double-dare.

Whip It Good

whipped cream

This is whipped cream.  I make mine with a few teaspoons of sugar and a little glug of vanilla. 

I suppose, technically, there is calcium in whipped cream, but anyone who’s eating something like this for its nutritional value is really grasping at straws.

At our house we eat it (on waffles this morning) for the smile factor. 

That’s a good reason to eat whipped cream.