Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Removing Recipes...

Hey Friends,

It's with a heavy heart that I am going to have to inform you that I am going to remove my lactation boosting recipes from my blog. It has recently come to my attention that cookies are being sold using my recipes. I usually would not mind, but no credit is being given to the original source. Maybe it's the middle school English teacher in me, but I was really bummed when I found out that no credit for the creations were being given to me. Maybe the irony is that I am currently teaching my middle school students about the art of researching and sourcing. I guess I know what my lesson will include tomorrow... a little first hand experience with the frustration of not being given credit for something that you lovingly made.

I got into the blogging scene as a way to record my recipes because I was incredibly forgetful. I love to bake, and I am constantly tweaking my recipes in order to make the best possible product. I got into the lactation cookie business after struggling with supply myself. I began to bake lactation goodies to help me keep up with my daughter's demands after I went back to work when she was 4 months old. I spent 1.5 years baking for free for all my friends, relatives, and random people I met when they were struggling with supply. I spent close to two years perfecting my recipes before selling them. I do this for the love of baking and my passion for helping nursing mothers. I do not make much money at all on my product. I make enough to take my sweet hubby on a few dates each month.

I greatly appreciate all the love given on this blog for my recipes and my lactation boosting treat recipes. The ones posted on this blog are not ones that I currently sell in my shop. I posted them with the hopes of helping other mamas struggling with supply that could not afford to pay for others to bake for them. I think of my baking for mamas as part of my vocation and ministry in life. I love more than anything to craft new cookie flavors for mamas. I love that my cookies and recipes bring such joy to others. I like to take a mama's favorite regular cookie flavor and turn it into a lactation treat. I love to come up with ideas for lactation goodies that aren't in the "norm" so that each mom feels like the treats are made just for her. That is how the Cheesecake Lactation Cookies came to be. That is how the Ginger Molasses got their start.

I find that it is so important in this digital age to remember to always identify your source. I know I don't have a copyright on my recipes. I know that I put them out here in the blogosphere, so I shouldn't be upset that they are being used. I really and truly do know this. I am really only upset that others are passing the recipes off as their own and not identifying my blog as the source.

I wish everyone happy baking and nursing on this beautiful spring day! I can't wait to go nurse our sweet baby girl after a long day at work. Nothing cures being bummed better than sweet, little squish snuggles and mommy milk smiles!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Let It Be: The Birth of Mary Maeve

**warning** Grab a cup of coffee and a snack, this is going to be a long one...

Two years ago, 18 months after the birth of our first daughter via scheduled cesarean section, I wrote a blog post about attachment parenting and the importance of birth bonding. My first birth was difficult, and it took me months to process exactly what had happened. I had been encouraged by my OB/GYN to schedule a c section, but it wasn't until months after her birth that I realized that it was completely unnecessary. I had a horrible case of PPD/PPA, and I was angry. Why did I willingly do this? What will the future of our family be due to my choice?  I was in shock-- if this is what birth is like, I DEFINITELY did not want any more children. How does this play into our spiritual life? We are Catholic, so more babies were supposed to be (God willing) in our future. It took me about two years to decide that I, in fact, did want another child. I was weary, and I was scared. Would I have PPD/PPA again? Would I be able to cope? Is it fair to put my family through that again? I decided I needed to do anything and everything in order to prepare myself mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally for the birth of a second child. I knew that I never wanted to experience having a cesarean section again, and I was terrified about the fight I would now need to face in order to attempt a vaginal birth.

We decided to start trying to expand our family in June of 2013. When I didn't become pregnant right away we decided that God had a plan for our lives, and we started to live our faith more and rely on His direction for our family. When I used hear "everything happens for a reason" I  would automatically roll my eyes, but after that summer, I can definitely say that everything, in fact, does happen for a reason: His reason.

My anxiety returned that summer, and I was forced to face it head on. It was the most difficult two months of my life, but I am happy to say that I came out on the other side stronger, and believe it or not, thankful for my hardships. That summer brought me back to Him. It made me realize that He has the most amazing plan for my life, and that I needed to be patient and accepting of His path. I became very devoted to the Blessed Mother during the fall of 2013, and I found my way to the Shrine of Our Lady of La Leche (Our Lady of the Milk and Happy Delivery) in St. Augustine, FL. It became my refuge, and she became my rock. I purchased a religious medal, had it blessed, and wore it every day to remind me to thank her for walking with me each day. I felt her presence in my life, and she helped me to become a better mother through her example. I prayed the novena on a regular basis, and I took every opportunity presented to me to walk with Jesus, and be his hands and feet in my community. I was shy and introverted, but by answering the call I was finally able to break free from my social anxiety and become involved in my parish community. I attended a Christ Renews His Parish weekend, and met with many wonderful women each week for a year. My relationship with those women helped me to continue my spiritual growth, and I felt like my life was on the path he had prepared for me.

In the Spring of 2014 we were given the gift we knew we needed to be patient to receive; I was pregnant. We were going to be parents again, and it couldn't have been a better time. Had I have conceived during the summer of 2013, I would have had many personal difficulties to face during my pregnancy. Everything certainly happens in His time.

I was pregnant, so now I knew I needed to prepare. I had spent the previous 18 months saving money so that I could experience birth in a different way the second time, and I had saved up enough money to pay for midwifery care, homebirth supplies, Hynpnobirthing classes, a doula, chiropractic care, and a placenta encapsulation specialist to ward off the unwanted PPD/PPA.

My husband and I spent the months leading up to my labor and delivery praying and prepping. We felt blessed to be given this beautiful gift, and we were going to do everything we could to welcome her into the world in a loving and peaceful way. I read all the Ina May books I could get my hands on, and we made several trips to the shrine of Our Lady of La Leche to light candles and pray for our unborn child.

I was due November 7th, so I decided that I would stop teaching on that Friday knowing full well that I could still have up to two weeks until our daughter would be born. My husband and I created a birth play list, I hung up all the birth inspiration art and artifacts I had been creating and gathering throughout my pregnancy, and we waited. On the Monday after my due date, Doodle Bug came down with a nasty stomach bug. To say I "freaked out" would be an understatement. I thought-- this was it-- I will catch this stomach bug, and my shot at a VBAC will go out the window. I called my midwife in tears. She told me to rest, and that even if I caught it I could still have a vaginal birth. That many women have given birth while having a cold or bug, and that if I needed it, I could get an IV of fluids. Her reassuring words put me at ease, and I began to clean, clean, clean the house again. Nesting-- you've never seen a pregnant woman nest like I did after that bug. I prayed in thanksgiving that I had not gone into labor before this bug-- what would we have done with a newborn and a very ill toddler? I reminded myself once again that it all happens in His time.
41 weeks 2 days

After I had cleaned the house top to bottom for what felt like the 100th time, I finally felt like I could leave the house, and I begin attending daily mass while I was waiting for our sweet baby girl to make her way into the world. I loved going to daily mass and seeing many of the women from my CRHP group. I knew that I was approaching my "time out" date of 42 weeks, so seeing those women and being joined in prayer each day helped me keep my mind focused. I began going to the chiropractor every few days, and I hoped and prayed that she would be coming soon-- at this point I really felt great, and felt like I would be pregnant forever! She showed no real signs of being ready until about 41 weeks when I started getting warm up contractions that would start strong in the evening and fizzle out while I was sleeping.

At 41 weeks 3 days I went into the hospital for procedural intermittent monitoring because I had gone past 41 weeks. They told me that she and I both looked "perfect" and that we could go home. I had been dreading this trip because most people before me said that they had a horrible experience at the hospital, and that they had wanted to admit them and induce labor. The fact that it went so well and that we saw such wonderful doctors and nurses that day was not a coincidence in my eyes. I knew He was looking out for us, and at 41 weeks 4 days I scheduled a relaxing "come out baby" massage and had my membranes swept for the first time.  I was not effacing, and not dilating like I needed to, so I took an herbal supplement suggested by my midwives to help encourage effacement. They reassured me that they had never had to transfer a client due to timing out, and it wasn't going to start with me.

At 41 weeks 5 days I decided that I needed to stay in for the day. After my massage the day before, I knew I needed to rest and allow her to feel like I was ready for her to come. I was tired of being around people because they kept asking me what my back up plan was. I did not want to talk about the back up plan. I did not want to envision a need for an alternative. I stayed in bed that day listening to music (mostly "Mary Did You Know" and "Breath of Heaven") on repeat, and I cried. I cried a good, long, hard cry. After my cry, I felt a release. I needed to let go, and let God. I finally knew why it was taking me so long to do this-- I was terrified of what would happen after her birth. Would I experience the same pain? Would I fall into the depths of depression again? I had to believe and trust in Him. I had to put my faith in the fact that He had prepared me, and that I would not be abandoned during my hour of need. I prayed that I would be held in His loving embrace during the PP period. I got out of bed, picked up my daughter from her grandparents' house, and I was confident that baby would come soon.

At 41 weeks 6 days my husband started paternity leave, and we went back to the chiropractor for a quick adjustment and some encouragement and then off to my midwifery appointment to check on my progress. I was finally effacing, and was 3 cm dilated!! My membranes were swept again, and I could not contain my excitement. I would not time out, I would get the homebirth I hoped and prayed for. We went to lunch at our favorite sushi spot, picked up our daughter from preschool, and decided to walk around Target to get my contractions to kick into high gear. I was given tips to try doing Miles Circuit Positions  to help encourage baby girl to get into the correct position in my pelvis. I started losing my plug, and I knew it was only a matter of time. I had gone into labor-- I had NOT timed out!

At around 12 or so in the morning the contractions really started to pick up, so we called our doula and hubby assembled the birth pool.  I felt like I better eat something to keep up my energy, so my husband made me a peanut butter sandwich and some trail mix. I snacked, and the contractions started to pick up and become more powerful. We decided to try to watch a movie, but I became distracted. I started to silently panic again. This baby is coming-- I will be postpartum soon. My mild panic attack halted my contractions. I did not let anyone know what I was feeling, so we all decided that the doula should go home and that we should all try to get a little rest. After she left, I knew I couldn't sleep, so I shared with my husband my fears. He held me close, and reassured me (as he always does-- I am so incredibly lucky to be married and best friends with such an amazing man). We prayed the OLLL Novena, I clutched my rosary, and we slept (as best we could through contractions).

At 7 A.M. my hubby got our daughter ready for school, and dropped her off with the grandparents. We did not tell her I was in labor, and knew it would be a great surprise for her later. My contractions were about 3-5 minutes apart, so we called the doula, and she came back. She alerted the midwife, and Shea came to check me at around 10. I was only 4 cm dilated, so Shea needed to go back to the birth center for some appointments, but would be back to check on me soon.  At around that time my amazing chiropractors came to check on me and adjusted my pelvis. They left to go help some mamas in St. Augustine, but promised to come back later in the day if needed.

At this time the intensity of my contractions picked up, and it was torture to be on my back. My midwives came back (BOTH of them were at my birth-- I felt so honored that they both-- even though having delivered 4 babies in 40 hours-- wanted to be there with me). I labored around the house being supported by my doula and husband. When they became too powerful to walk though, my doula suggested leaning over my birth ball on my bed. Up until this point I was able to communicate and laugh after the pass of each powerful wave. When I got back to my room and comfortable on the ball, the contractions became increasingly intense. This was the turning point for me. I knew that I would not be able to just "breathe through" them, and there was NO turning back. I did not expect the pain to be this intense. I had suffered with migraines for 15 years. I had taught myself to breathe through pain and could put myself to sleep when needed. I had planned to apply this practice to labor, but I knew at this point I would not be able to do so. I had been used to constant, long term pain. I had never experienced short bursts of intense pain before, and I didn't know what I should do to make the pain manageable.  I refused to allow myself to panic, so I thought I would just need to pray. I asked my husband to retrieve my novena prayer card and to lead me in prayer. We said the novena during about 2 contractions, and I asked him to leave the card with me and prop it up on the pillow in front of my birth ball. I knew I what I needed to face this pain. I needed to surrender, and pray for intercession. I clutched my necklace, and I prayed.

During each contraction I silently prayed the final prayer of the Novena.

Cherished Virgin, Heaven's Queen, chosen before all women to be the mother of the son of God. Mary, my mother, who in your maternity so sanctified the state of holy motherhood, imploringly I come to you; humbly I beseech you; Confidently I trust in you. I know that by your powerful intercession you can help me in my need. In you I take refuge, dear virgin. Poor and needy I turn devoutly to you and place all my hopes confidently in your hands. Accept my humble trust, hear my petitions and come to my aid, dear Mother of mothers.
Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord.
Let it be done unto me according to your word.

At this point I am not exactly sure how many hours elapsed. My husband believes it was approximately 6-7 hours of silence. In the beginning of my meditation I prayed the entire prayer, but as the contractions intensified and I moved to the birth pool, I began to focus each contraction on particular pieces of the prayer. I felt nauseated during contractions and would point for someone to bring me a bucket (though I never actually needed it-- thank goodness) or a glass of water.

Imploringly I come to you
Humbly I beseech you
Confidently I trust in you
I know that you can help me in my need
In you I take refuge
I turn devoutly to you
I place all my hopes confidently in your hands.

This beautiful and desperate plea for help kept me focused, and it was around this time that my doula was called to another birth. She is an amazing birth photographer as well, and her other client went into labor 3 weeks early while I went into labor two weeks late. I knew she had a replacement coming to be with me, and since I couldn't speak, I gave her a thumbs up to let her know I was okay. Shea decided to check me again, and this time I was at a 9. My doula's back up came, and she jumped right in, lovingly helping me back to the tub, fixing my hair, applying counter pressure, and feeding me sips of water. She was absolutely amazing. A short while later I was told that my chiropractor was coming to see me again. When she arrived I spoke for the first time in quite awhile, and I think it shocked those around me. I said, "I'm sorry, but I don't think I can get out." Everyone laughed and realized I was speaking to Dr. Nicole. It took a few minutes and a few contractions for me to get out of the tub and walk the maybe 10 steps to the adjustment table she set up in my living room. Being on my back and side for the adjustment were excruciatingly painful, but the adjustment to my pelvis and neck immediately made me feel better. I asked to stand up, and as I held on to the back of my couch, I had a massive contraction, and my water broke!

As I was helped back into the tub, my doula (also a Hypnobirthing instructor and former midwife-- seriously, how lucky was I?!) explained to me how to do J breathing, and positioned me in the tub on all fours. I began to focus on the final part of the prayer... "Come to my aid, dear Mother of mothers." I needed Mary's intercession now more than ever. My doula told me that when I felt the contraction coming on I needed to bear down and rock back to my heels like I was doing child's pose in yoga. I did this for a few contractions, but since I figured I would have HOURS of pushing ahead of me, I decided to turn over and have a short rest. After all, I thought I was just practicing pushing. I did not feel any pressure or added pain. With the next contraction I "practiced" my j breathing again, and I started to feel some pressure. I thought my midwife was internally checking me, so I started to wave my hands and told her to "get outta there!!". She started laughing and holding up her hands. In my haze I heard Shea say, "It's not me! That's your baby. Reach down and touch her hair!" I replied with, "That's not possible, my babies don't have hair!" I decided to take her word for it though, and I was shocked with what I found. THIS WAS HAPPENING! This is real! My baby is almost here!! With the next contraction her head came out. I felt no "ring of fire." What I felt instead was her head MOVING. I started to laugh. "She's turning her head!! This feels so weird!, and with the next contraction at 5:37 P.M., Mary Maeve Elizabeth was out and on my chest. I was told I pushed for only 18 minutes.
I can't adequately explain in words what I was feeling in that moment. She was here. I did it. My body was, in fact, made to grow, birth, and nourish my babies. I had my loving husband, my fantastic midwives Hope and Shea, my encouraging chiropractor Nicole, and my amazingly supportive doulas Lori and Emily all cheering me on and praising me for what I had done. I knew I could not have achieved this beautiful, redemptive birth without each one of them and their loving and supportive roles.  I sat back, and the lyrics of "Let It Be" by The Beatles flooded my mind. "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me... speaking words of wisdom... let it be." What a perfect song for our beautiful gift to be brought into this world to. I had to learn that lesson time and time again while I was preparing for her birth as well as during my labor. I had to let go, let it be, and trust in the plan God had for me. I had to lean on Mary. I had to have faith in her intercession. Best part of all? She was born on November 21st. She was born on the feast day of the Presentation of Mary. She knew exactly when she wanted to be born, and she waited for the absolutely perfect day to make her arrival!

After the placenta was birthed (this, to me, was actually harder than pushing out Mary Maeve-- I already had my prize in my arms, and the contractions had subsided... how was I going to push any more??), we moved back to our bedroom. She latched on to nurse, we chatted, and celebrated with a toast of a lovely Irish Meade, and she was weighed and checked out. 8 lbs 2 oz... a whole pound bigger than her sister. My body ROCKED this VBAC. I felt as though I could fly. After awhile, everyone left, and we cuddled in bed with our beautiful baby girl-- birth bonding at its finest :)

Two months have passed since her birth, and I am still on the "birth high." I am no longer afraid to have babies. I could definitely have more. I know that God is in control of my life, and that He has made me whole again. I am happy to report that I did not have any PPD/PPA this time, and I know that it was because I was prepared, guided, and held in the loving embrace of Mother Mary and God the Father. I remind myself of their role in this beautiful experience every day, and when I say my daughter's name, I think of Mary... listening to my call and coming to my aid. Everything happens for a reason, and everything happens in His time. She will be baptized at the shrine of Our Lady of La Leche this spring. My heart overflows with love for this sweet child of God.

Back to Baking

Well, I hate to say that it has been far too long since I have last updated my blog. Our home computer kicked the bucket about a year and 1/2 ago, so no blogging for me for quite a while. I have greatly missed it-- mostly because it was where I stored all of my recipes. I admit that I started this blog merely for selfish reasons. I have always had wonderful intentions of recording my homemade recipes in the adorable recipe card books I have been gifted throughout the years, but alas it never happens. I love the idea of a blog because I know exactly where to go to find my recipes again, and it makes it ever so easy to share my recipes. I have lost far too many recipes to the great abyss that is my ever constant mind in the year and 1/2 since I have blogged. I am beyond happy to say that I'm back, and I'm ready to bake (more like ready to record my recipes so that I can no longer forget how I tweaked something to make it "better").
Family of four 

So, what has happened in my absence? Quite a bit has changed in our lives. This past November we welcomed a 4th member to our family. Doodle Bug has a little sister: Love Bug. I am so excited to update my blog with her amazing birth story. It will be our Birth Bonding Redo :) I have also learned to knit and crochet-- how was my life complete before this?? I absolutely love fiber arts, and I plan to record some of my favorite patterns on my blog as well.

I am so sorry to everyone that sent in comments on my recipes while I was away. I know it's late, but I plan to get back to each one of you :)

Happy 2015, and let the baking and crafting commence!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Simple and Sweet Pumpkin Muffins

Fall inspired baking commenced this past weekend. Saturday morning Doodle Bug woke up with a hankering for a pumpkin muffin. I didn't want to eat at Panera's again (where I knew they had pumpkin muffins), so off we went on a Mother-Daughter quest for the elusive pumpkin muffin. We first went to Sweet Theory, a local amazing vegan bakery, but they were not open. We then walked down the street and around the corner to the fabulous Cool Moose Cafe. Cool Moose has FABULOUS muffins that they slather with butter and GRILL for your gluttonous pleasure, but blueberry and morning glory muffins were not on Doodle Bug's immediate agenda (no matter that mom's mouth was watering at the thought of the crunch of the grilled muffin crust).  So, off we went to Einstein Bagels, where at long last, the pumpkin muffin was discovered. She gobbled up her muffin in record time while I sipped my pumpkin spice coffee and reflected on the fun that we had seeking out our breakfast.

Finally! A pumpkin muffin!
Doodle Bug LOVES pumpkin. Have I mentioned that before? Probably at least 20 times by now. We first recognized her affinity for all things pumpkin last fall. I, on the other hand, do not enjoy the taste of pumpkin. I adore the spices used in fall baking, but the taste and texture of pumpkin does not strike my fancy. I find it hysterical that our little super, super, S-U-P-E-R picky eater loves pumpkin. It's great for her nutritionally, so I encourage the regular intake of this orange/slimy food (blasphemy, I know).

So, after our morning fun I decided to take a shot at my own pumpkin muffins for her. I found a great recipe online, and I just adapted it to make it a little healthier for my toddler that doesn't understand portion control when it comes to pumpkin.

Okay, so on with the recipe already....

  • 1 can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie)
  • A few TBSP maple syrup (because our family has a slight obsession with the maple goodness)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2-1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
Maple Vanilla Glaze Ingredients:
  • A TBSP maple syrup
  • 1/4  tsp good vanilla extract (I just Mexican vanilla) 
  • a little confectioners sugar (maybe a TBSP)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine pumpkin, applesauce, sugars, and maple syrup.
  3. add in eggs and beat until combined.
  4. sift together flour, pumpkin pie spice,salt, and baking soda.
  5. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet- just mixing enough to incorporate all ingredients. 
  6. Use a large scoop and prepare muffin pans (either use paper cups or spray)
  7. Bake for 25 or so minutes (until inserted tooth pick comes out clean).
  8. Cool on wire racks before storing. 
  9. Combine ingredients for glaze and drizzle over top.
    little minis
Yield: 24 muffins; about 80 mini muffins (bake minis for 10-15 minutes)

I have also made this recipe adding in chocolate chips-- that was a hit with my middle school students!


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Scones for the Fall

So, I have been on a scone baking kick for the past few weeks, and I think I have found my favorite recipe yet. It is officially October, so I can bust out the fall flavors and kick them into high gear!

My husband has a work breakfast once a month, and this month I told him to sign me up for scones. They were so easy to make that I thought it would be the perfect easy addition to their breakfast buffet. Well, last night he informs me, "AH... tomorrow is breakfast club." I had a meeting at my church, so I knew I would have to whip up something simple when I got home. I came home at around 8:30, and the house was empty. Doodle Bug, dad, and Archer (the whippet) had gone for a walk. I decided to take this opportunity to create a fun scone flavor instead of just making my previous recipe.

I found an interesting recipe for French Toast Scones with a Maple Glaze, so I thought I would take some ideas from this recipe as well as substituting some ingredients for what I had at home (no time to run to the grocery store!) and the flavors I like best.

This recipe was super easy and produced the best scones I have ever tasted! It is definitely a must try during these fall months!

Just a tip-- use Ceylon cinnamon-- there is absolutely NO comparison! 


 For the scones:
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp all spice
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/8 tsp clove
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg, beaten
For the cinnamon sugar topping:
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
For the glaze:
  • 1 tsp pure organic amber honey
  • 1-2 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp milk
  • 1 tsp heavy whipping cream (or more if needed)
  • 1 pinch cinnamon and all spice
  • 1 TBSP or more powdered sugar (to thicken)
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, all spice, clove, and pumpkin pie spice.
  3. Cut cold butter into the four mixture. You can use a pastry fork or two forks. mixture should look like small crumbs. I always grate my butter first (just makes it easier to evenly distribute). 
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together heavy whipping cream, egg, and vanilla.
  5. Make a well in the center of the flour and butter mixture. Pour cream mixture in the center and fold in so that all the ingredients are combined. 
  6. I wanted to make more than 8 scones for this recipe, so I used a medium scoop. Scoop onto pan lined with parchment paper.
  7. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture on top and brush with heavy cream.
  8. Bake for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned (I always rotate my pans 1/2 way through baking because I have a gas oven). 
  9. Take scones out and let cool on a wire rack.
  10. Prepare glaze: combine all glaze ingredients together and drizzle over cooled scones. Allow glaze to set before storing.
  11. Best eaten within 24 hours. 
Yield: 18 small round scones. 

These are DELISH!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Scones for the Kiddos

I'M BACK! Man, I can't believe it's been since April that I have posted! My laptop, the gentle green girl (that I have had since the spring of 2007), finally crashed for the last time this summer. Actually, the cord literally broke off into the computer. No use trying to spend any money saving that bad boy.

The husband and I are both teachers, so we have iPads and nice school computers, so we didn't think it would be necessary to really have a home computer. Well, I didn't take into account that I would have to "check in" my school laptop for the summer, so no blogging for me for a few months. There are so many awesome recipes that I wish I could have shared (honestly, mainly for my own selfish reasons, because I ALWAYS forget the recipes which is why I started the blog in the first place). I thought that if I typed them up and posted them out on the blogosphere they could never be lost again. So far, it has worked-- with the minor exception of this summer.

The cover to my book :)
So, we are 1/2 way through the first quarter, and I can't believe how fast time is passing. I say this every year, but it is true every year. One of the many reasons why I love what I do is that time passes quickly. I am constantly moving, changing, adapting, and growing, and my students are doing the same. I get to do something completely different every day, and get paid to talk about all the geeky things I love. It doesn't get much better than that! I am still (5 years into it) at the point in my career where I firmly believe on each pay day, "I can't believe I just got paid for that!" Granted, a teacher does not a millionaire (or anywhere close to one) make. I don't need a million dollars though; I'm not even sure what I'd spend that kind of money on... well, I'm sure I could find SOME use for it if I had to... maybe copper cookware, an extra ( or larger) bathroom (we just have the ONE, tiny bathroom), a European adventure for the whole family, lactation support for all women that need it, etc. Who knows?? I digress...

sample student work
My model for the Literary Genre assessment
I had to bring my computer home this weekend to work on some lessons for my 7th grade Reading classes. I am totally revamping my curriculum this year for 7th grade, so I practically feel like a first year teacher again. All the LONG hours gathering supplies and creating my models have re-energized my teacher spirit. I had forgotten how much fun it was to create something new! This year I'm implementing Interactive Student Notebooks with my 7th Reading classes. The DAY before school started I was browsing Pinterest-- nothing new about that haha--, but this time I came across a brilliant idea, the ISN. I found the blog, Everybody is a Genius and became hooked. I had ONE day, but I knew I HAD to to this! I barely slept that first week of school. I bought resources from I'm Lovin Lit's Teachers Pay Teachers store (she has fantastic freebees, too!). The student examples are from the unit I purchased from her. I dove in, and I haven't looked back. It has been fantastic so far-- it keeps the students organized, and allows them to use their particular interests and learning styles to express their knowledge of the subject. I could go on and on about how much I love this notebook, but I'll save that for another blog post.

So, the scones already, right?! Well, about two weeks ago doodle bug started school and subsequently had her first cold ever (how did we make it 2 years??), and ended up with an ear infection... only took 1 day at preschool to get sick. I had to leave work early to take her back to the doctor yesterday to make sure she was all healed up and ready to fly next weekend. I can imagine that an ear infection and planes do not mix well. She was all clear, and according to my sub (who also happens to be my lovely mother), my homeroom students were "angels." I told them before I left that if they were 100% perfect for my mother (whom would never lie to me), then I would make them breakfast for Monday. That was all it took-- the promise of a baked good. So, scones it is. I had actually never attempted scones before, but was excited to finally give it a proper shot.

I found an amazing recipe on Food Network's website. Tyler Florence's Blueberry Scones Recipe looked too delicious to pass up. I pretty much followed his directions and recipe. I did not make the glaze (it looks delicious, but would be too messy for the classroom), but instead added lemon zest to the dough. I also used the same base recipe but swapped the blueberries for chocolate chips for the second batch. I needed about 24 scones.

Blueberry Scones

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 TBSP baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 TBSP sugar
  • 5 TBSP unsalted cold unsalted butter (I grated this because I did not have a pastry tool to help me incorporate it into the dough)
  • 1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)
  • lemon zest to taste
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (plus more for brushing on top)
  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. sift together dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar
  3. Using a fork (or pasty tool), cut in butter. I grated my butter first. The butter coats the flour and the mixture should look like course crumbs. 
  4. fold in blueberries and lemon zest-- be careful not to smash! I may have squished one in the process ;)
  5. Make a well in the center of the mixture and pour in cream. 
  6. Fold everything in just to incorporate-- do NOT over mix! 
  7. Line baking sheet with parchment, and use large scoop to distribute mixture. 
  8. Brush with cream and sprinkle with sugar
  9. Bake for 15 or so minutes (until lightly brown)
They came out SO delicious!

For the chocolate scones I followed the same recipe-- I just used 1 cup chocolate chips in place of blueberries. I did a mixture of white, milk, dark, and semi-sweet chocolate chips. 

I will use this recipe again and again! I hope you like it, too! Happy Baking :)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Husband's *Favorite* Chocolate Cupcakes

The husband celebrates one more lap around the sun tomorrow, and when I asked him what he would like as a treat to celebrate such a milestone, he responded with, "chocolate cupcakes with coffee buttercream!" I didn't really need to ask, because the answer is the same every year. He loves this cake so much that I instinctively purchase the ingredients every April. I wish I could say that I am to credit for the recipe of his FAVORITE dessert, but alas, I am not.

When my husband and I were first married I looked far and wide for a chocolate cake recipe for his birthday. I wanted to wow him with my baking skills AND put to work my new Kitchen Aid stand mixer that I was able to purchase with wedding gift cards (thanks to awesome friends and family). I stumbled upon Barefoot Contessa's Beatty's Chocolate Cake recipe and haven't looked back. It's a winner EVERY time, and it's ridiculously easy (so much for showing off my skills)!

I don't even eat chocolate (GASP-- I know, what kind of a woman doesn't eat chocolate?  But if you suffered from severe migraines due to food allergies, you wouldn't be eager to eat chocolate either-- I'm
happy avoid it!), so when I make this recipe I freeze about 1/2 of the cupcakes/ cake for future events.

**Fun fact-- the first time I made this cake my husband ate so much of it in one day that he made himself sick-- really, I'm shocked he even still likes it**

Usually I follow Ina's recipe exactly... sometimes I will add a little a little ceylon cinnamon to add a little spice.

  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup good cocoa powder (I use the special dark because my husband LOVES dark chocolate)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk (shaken)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 extra large eggs (room temperature-- you don't want cooked eggs in your cupcakes!)
  • 1 teaspoon pure (good) vanilla extract-- I use Madagascar vanilla from Green Man Gourmet in Avondale-- they are awesome!
  • 1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee (brings out the rich flavor of the chocolate-- cake doesn't taste much like coffee believe it or not)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tins. 
  2. In your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix: flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa on low until combined.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla. 
  4. With the mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. 
  5. Add the cup of hot coffee and stir only to combine (make sure to scrape down sides and bottom of bowl). 
  6. Pour batter into a glass measuring cup with spout (this will make pouring batter into muffin tins easier-- batter is very thin). Fill each muffin tin 1/2 full (no more or cake will spill over). 
  7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. 
  8. I swear it is just that easy!
**I usually make 1-2 dozen cupcakes and then pour the rest of the batter into small rounds, bake for about 25-30 minutes, and freeze for later occasions**

 Vanilla Coffee Buttercream
It's taken me a few times to perfect my attempts with coffee buttercream, but I do believe that this recipe is my favorite so far! I used the base of the recipe from The Kitchen is my Playground and then just made it work with what I had in my kitchen. I didn't have instant coffee, so I adapted the recipe using fresh brewed and then chilled coffee. 

  • 4 Tablespoons freshly brewed and chilled coffee 
  • 1 Tablespoon real Madagascar vanilla extract
  • 3 sticks unsalted (softened) butter
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  1. Beat softened butter in bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed for about 1 minute or until fluffy.
  2. Turn speed to low and add confectioners sugar one cup at a time (scrape down sides and make sure it is fully incorporated).
  3. Increase speed to medium and beat for about 3 minutes.
  4. Add coffee and beat on low speed to combine. Scrape down sides and increase speed to medium and beat for about 4 minutes. 
  5. Fill pastry bag and have fun piping away! I added a little dark chocolate chip to the top just for a little extra decoration.
**should make enough to frost 24 cupcakes**

Happy 31st birthday to the best husband in the whole entire world. Doodle Bug and I are so lucky to have you!