Roasted tomatoes, onions, and garlic blended together and topped with crunchy, buttery sourdough croutons. A must for cold weather!

Roasted Tomato Soup 2

HI THERE!!! My, my, my, what a long hiatus, huh?! Life with 2 kids is honestly a lot harder than I thought it would be. Just about the time I’ll get one of them down for a nap, the other wakes up ready to party. By the end of the day, I’m too pooped to even consider sitting in front of the computer when I could be collapsed in bed catching up on recorded tv shows (Blacklist, anyone?). But it’s not like we don’t have fun. My kids are the coolest, funniest, sweetest little dumplin’s any mommy could ask for! Elliott is almost 5 months now. Don’t ask me how that happened, since clearly, I only gave birth to him yesterday. Obviously time is playing some sort of cruel trick on me. He is SO. FREAKING. ADORABLE. And Cassidy…don’t even get me started. Let’s just say she keeps me laughing and/or crying pretty much all the time. 2 year olds, yo.

It’s great to be back in the blogosphere. I’m cooking up lots of good stuff and ready to jump in again head-first (if anyone’s still out there, that is…)!

Let’s talk soup! Soup season is a magical season. A throw-whatever-you’ve-got-in-the-pot season. Which is perfect for busy moms and dads. Which is why I love it so much. For years I’ve been wanting to try making my own tomato soup, but never got around to it for some reason. Well here it is, in all its comforting yumminess.

Roasted Tomato Soup

I drizzled roma tomatoes, onions, and garlic with olive oil and roasted them all together for about an hour. Then I blended it all together with chicken broth, a little milk, and some dried basil. DONE. Easy. Those croutons, though. That was my favorite part.  I love crusty bread dipped in my soup, so these croutons were a no-brainer. This soup was loved by all. I highly recommend it!

Roasted Tomato Soup with Sourdough Croutons

Approx. 3 pounds Roma tomatoes, cut into halves, length-wise
1 head garlic
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk (you could use half and half if you want- just use about 1/2 cup)
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
olive oil

1/2 loaf day-old sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place tomatoes cut-side up on a baking sheet with the onions and drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle generously with salt and pepper. Cut the top off of the head of garlic, drizzle with a little olive oil, then wrap tightly with foil, making a little pouch. Place it on the baking sheet with the tomatoes and onions. Roast for about 1 hour, or until the tomatoes and onions start to get a little browned (it may take longer depending on your oven).

Remove from the oven and place in a food processor. Remove the garlic from the foil and squeeze the cloves from the head (they should be very soft, so they’ll squeeze out easily) into the food processor. Pulse until smooth. Pour into a large pot and whisk in the chicken broth, milk, tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15 minutes over medium-low heat.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat and add the sourdough cubes. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until lightly browned and crisp, stirring constantly; about 5-7 minutes.

Ladle the soup into bowls and top with as many croutons as you like! Enjoy!


It’s A Wonderful Life…

For some reason, lately I’ve been really wanting to sit down and write about parenting. Not parenting styles or techniques; the actual act of being parents. What it means to be a parent. I guess. Honestly, I have no idea what I want to say, so I’ll just keep typing and see what comes of it.

Before kids, I used to be one of those people who looked at moms and said, “that’s never gonna be me.” Those moms with messy hair, frumpy clothes, and screaming kids biting at her ankles. I promised myself that even if I ever did have kids, I’d never lost sight of who I was or give up my freedom. Joel and I were at a restaurant once and we saw a couple with young children. They looked tired; just beaten down and worn out. They didn’t smile very much or seem to enjoy their meal or each other’s company. Even if their kids were quiet and well-behaved, the couple seemed to be short-tempered and irritable with each other. The wife especially. She looked downright unhappy. They had both ordered strong drinks. We watched them and smugly agree we’d never be like that.

Fast-forward to 2 kids, 2 dogs, and a house in our small hometown, if my past self could’ve seen all this, she would’ve run the other direction. She would’ve told me I was crazy. To be perfectly honest, she probably would’ve called me a loser (my past and present selves seem to make fun of each other a lot…). But I wish I could go back in time and explain to my smug, childless self all about the way things really are.

Sure, newborns are hard. Amazingly hard. Like, so hard, I sometimes really wonder why so many people choose to have multiple children. Elliott had to get his 2 month vaccines today and he hasn’t really stopped crying all evening (*Edit: I wrote this a couple of weeks ago; Elliott is now almost 3 months). I’ve been a mess. Seeing my baby in pain absolutely kills me! Then there’s endless poopy diapers, feedings, and the whole not being able to put him down thing. He freaks if I try to put him in his swing or rock-n-play for even 5 minutes. It’d be awesome if I could get my teeth brushed before 1:00 in the afternoon some days. Or eat lunch. Not to mention the toll it takes on your marriage. Newborn babies can take a solid, happy, loving marriage and reduce it to a strangled, non-communicative, emotionless train wreck in a matter of minutes. Insults hurt much, much worse at 3 in the morning. All it takes is some poor schmuck suggesting to his struggling breastfeeding wife that she try supplementing with a little formula to incur the fiery wrath of a thousand flaming suns. And most likely some very “adult” words.

Don’t forget about the jealous, teething toddler with a temper that would put Gordon Ramsay to shame. Try brushing her teeth. Just try it.

I’m 2 months post-partum, and still, none of my clothes fit. I have a lovely, jiggly muffin top now, no matter what pants I wear. So I wear loose-fitting tops and maternity jeans. Yep. Mom apparel. I scrubbed a giant cast iron dutch oven while wearing a screaming Elliott in the Moby wrap, gently bouncing up and down, and getting Cassidy’s lunch made the other day. How’s THAT for multi-tasking? I went out to dinner with my mom and sister last night sans children and felt so guilty about it that I could barely sleep. I bit Joel’s head off recently for no good reason (actually, I bite Joel’s head off a LOT). Not to mention feeling like a complete and utter failure as a parent, a wife, and a decent human being on most days.

But even with all that going on- man, it’s good. It’s good to be a parent. This morning, I had a lovely, beautiful, moving moment with my children in the kitchen. Elliott was in his rock-n-play absolutely screaming his head off while Cassidy was “vacuuming” the floor around my feet with one of those noisy, awful roll-y popper things. I was struggling to get lunch ready and my kitchen was an absolute mess. It was pure chaos. Like a scene straight out of It’s A Wonderful Life when George Bailey wonders “why do we have to have so many kids?!” Except for whatever reason (lack of sleep? Empty stomach?) something made me stop, take it all in, and just smile. I stood there in my loud, filthy kitchen…smiling. Smiling at what my life has become. I was EXACTLY the kind of “mom” I thought I never wanted to be…and it delights me. What a JOY to be surrounded by 2 beautiful, messy, loud children! To see baby spit up on the shoulder of my husband’s shirt. To see Cassidy’s toys strewn all over the living room. To have a baby cooing softly in the background when Joel and I say our prayers at night. WHAT. A. JOY. IT. IS.

Yes, there are times that Joel and I are that unhappy looking couple at the restaurant. Some days are just really hard and we can’t help but let it show a little. Strong drinks will definitely be ordered, defeated glances might be exchanged, one or both of us may have to take the baby outside when he gets too loud. But even at the end of the worst possible day, we both go to bed thanking God for our little family. No one could ask for a better life than ours.



A Healing Birth: Our Journey to VBAC…


VBAC: Vaginal Birth After Cesarean

Let me start by talking about c-sections. They can save lives; yours or your baby’s or even both. Sometimes, a c-section is the only safe option for giving birth. Thank God for smart, skilled doctors who are able to do what needs to be done to deliver your baby safely. I had one almost 3 years ago and it gave me the most precious, beautiful, smart, funny little girl who ever walked the earth. I don’t believe that anyone who chooses a c-section is weak, afraid, or incapable. I think each woman must decide what is right for her personally (sometimes we don’t even get the choice). This story just happens to be about me and MY choices and MY body. All mothers are incredible. However we deliver our babies is right for each of us. Period.

A bit of background on my c-section: I was your typical induction failure. My doctor absolutely refused to let me go past 41 weeks, so I was induced at exactly 1 week overdue. I wasn’t dilated at all. My body was nowhere near ready to give birth. I went in at 8:00am, they gave me the epidural, then broke my water. At 8:00pm, after pushing for 2 1/2 hours, my doctor suggested the c-section. Cassidy was born and everything was ok; however, I never really realized what kind of emotional scar her birth would leave on me.

When we got pregnant this time, we had long since moved to a different town, so I had to choose a new doctor. I ended up using a midwife this time around. The hospital in our town is super VBAC friendly, and I considered it briefly. Believing a repeat c-section would be safer than a VBAC (I was almost completely ignorant of and uneducated on the entire matter), I ended up choosing a repeat c-section. Our hospital does what they call a ‘gentle c-section’ or ‘family-centered c-section’, where the infant is immediately placed on the mother’s chest, cord clamping is delayed, and the infant never really leaves the mother’s breast until much, much later. It sounded pretty good to me! I honestly believed I wouldn’t be tough enough to endure a vaginal birth. I didn’t believe in myself and thought that my body had failed me once before and would probably do it again. I probably just wasn’t meant to give birth vaginally. I found myself making excuses for my repeat c-section to others to make myself feel better. “Well, the doctor told me last time that I never would’ve gone into labor on my own, so I probably wouldn’t this time either…”. But there was still a nagging voice in my head- “are you sure you want to do this?”

The months went by and I tried to prepare myself mentally for another surgery. I wanted to solidify my decision and feel at peace with it, so I decided to watch a couple of videos of vaginal births to scare me into it. THAT would make me feel better! Only it didn’t. I ended up watching a video of a mother giving birth, unmedicated, in a birthing tub. I somehow finagled Joel into watching it with me and we watched with our mouths agape as this woman endured all kinds of pain and embarrassment and made horrible grunting noises. We sort of chuckled and made a few immature jokes. Then after all her struggles and pain, the woman gave birth to her baby; and as she held it up to her chest, she and her husband cried and she said over and over, “I did it…I did it.” with so much joy and pride and emotion. As I watched, I realized there wear tears running down my cheeks and I knew deep down I wanted that too. That night, I asked God to show me what to do.

At my 37 week appointment, upon expressing my doubts to Shannon, my wonderful midwife, she told me I could do a trial of labor IF I were to go into labor on my own before the scheduled c-section. Yeah, ok, sure. Why not? That made me feel a little better. She asked if I wanted her to check me just to see if I was dilated at all. As she checked me her eyes got wide and she said, “do you want to know?!” Um- YES!

2 1/2 – 3 cm. already! Woah. We were so blown away we just laughed and decided right then and there we had some big decisions to make. She told me my body was favorable for labor and if I did a few things to prepare, VBAC. WAS. POSSIBLE. She told me to go home, pray about it, talk to Joel and decide if I wanted to try for a VBAC. When I got home I was practically dancing- I was elated. All it took was one look at me for Joel to know that we needed to go for the VBAC. I had asked God to show me the right path to take and He had smacked me in the face with it. I was incredibly scared, but I knew if I had faith and trusted in God, He would bless the birth of our baby boy. I just knew it in my heart. So I stopped worrying. And I got down to business.

I researched. I read books. I got on baby discussion forums and read about 3,000 birth stories. I read Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (an amazing book- I learned so much and was so empowered after reading it) and bought essential oils to help strengthen contractions. I saw a chiropractor to make sure my body and the baby were ideally aligned for labor. I became totally committed- not only to VBAC, but doing it med-free. I knew exactly what I wanted, and I knew that with help and support from Joel and faith in God and in my body, this was going to happen.

We were all convinced the baby would come early. But my due date came and went with only a few braxton hicks contractions here and there. The 4th of July we decided to have the family over for a cookout. We ate burgers and watermelon, went swimming, and watched the fireworks (Cassidy was mesmerized!), hoping for a firecracker baby. Nope. No baby. The next day, Joel and I noticed my contractions were actually really close together, so we decided to start timing them. They were about 4-5 minutes apart, lasting about 45 seconds to a minute. That went on all afternoon. In the real world, to normal people, that means labor. But I was in total denial. Joel was starting to really flip out, especially since I was so stinking calm and nonchalant about the whole thing. I casually strolled into the baby’s room and browsed his closet to pick a cute coming home outfit, all while Joel is following me around on pins and needles. I called our friend/nurse Rachel and she came over to sit with me for a few hours. We visited while I bounced on my birthing ball and folded towels. I was getting really discouraged and doubtful that I’d ever go into labor; I knew I was about 5 cm and my body was ready, but still- nothing. Rachel and Shannon (my midwife) both told me to relax and rest for awhile and Rachel left and said she’d most likely see me later that night. Yeah, ok…whatever.

We watched a few episodes of Seinfeld and played in the floor with Cassidy. Then Rachel texted me and said I could try rocking back and forth on hands and knees to try and kickstart labor. So I got down on all fours and rocked. Cassidy thought I was playing ‘horsey’, so Joel had to get on the floor too and play horsey with us. So there we were, the 3 of us, all on hands and knees in the floor. When I went to stand up- “POP”. I looked up at Joel and said, “Water…broke……..OOOOOOOOWWWWWWWW!!!” and waddled as fast as I could to the bathroom. Cassidy thought it was funny that mommy “tee-teed in her pants”. After that- intense, searing, blinding pain. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t talk. We called our parents and Rachel and as soon as our parents got to the house, Joel loaded me into the car and we flew to the hospital.

The rest was a blur. It all happened so fast. The car ride to the hospital was probably the worst part; each bump was excruciating. We got to the emergency room where Joel threw me into a wheelchair. The lovely ladies at the front desk were clearly in no hurry and began asking us all kinds of unimportant questions (“what’s the nature of your visit?”. “Um, I’m in LABOR!!!”). A middle aged couple sat staring at me as I panted and writhed in pain. An elderly woman hobbled on one leg in front of me. Another lady was rolling around on the floor moaning and puking into a large plastic cup. “Just get me the heck out of here!” I kept thinking. The pain was unlike anything I’ve ever felt before; I even bit Joel a couple of times, not even thinking. And suddenly, my body started pushing on its own. “I’MPUSHINGI’MPUSHINGI’MPUSHING!!!” Joel then went into Angry Joel Hyper Mode and started yelling at everyone, “get her into a room NOW!”. You better believe those ladies kicked it into high gear then! They got me to triage and a nice, calm looking doctor came in to check me. His eyes got huge and he looked totally surprised and said, “woah, she’s complete! The head’s right there!” I didn’t care about anything at this point; I just wanted this baby out!

Rachel got there in just enough time to insist that I wouldn’t give birth in the ER. They had just enough time to wheel me to an L&D room. Even with the intense pain I was in, I still had the presence of mind to remember all my research on optimal labor positions- I switched over to hands and knees and started pushing. Pushing provided some relief, but all the doubt and insecurities all came back to me as I remembered the last time I tried to push out a baby. I kept crying out, “I’ll never be able to push him out!” But Joel was right there by my side telling me he believed in me and how proud he was of me. He was truly amazing. I gathered all the strength I could and pushed. It was amazing how my body just knew exactly what to do; I just surrendered to it and did what felt right. I found myself making noises I’ve never made before- low and growling. Again, I was just doing what my body told me to do. It was amazing.

3 pushes. Three. And our sweet baby Elliott was born weighing 8 pounds, 10 ounces; 21 inches long. 37 minutes from my water breaking to holding Elliott in my arms. I’ll never forget seeing my perfect little boy for the first time as the nurses slid him underneath me. I scooped him up in my arms, rolled onto my back, and held him on my chest. Joel was crying and saying, “you did it! You did it!” There was so much joy and happiness in those first moments after his birth. I’ve never felt more proud in my life. I was just like the woman in the video…I had done it. Words can’t express the kind of elation I was feeling that night. There’s not another feeling like that in the world. I felt like superwoman. After I got stitched up (2nd degree tear- ouch), Rachel rewarded Joel’s and my hard work with a big, gooey, chocolaty brownie she had made. After that, she took us to a room where there was a wonderful hot herbal bath waiting for us. There was soft “spa-like” music playing and the whole room smelled like lavender. She brought us cheese, crackers, and juice to snack on while we soaked. We felt like we were at a resort! Such treatment! We gave Elliott his first bath and relaxed and soaked for an hour or so. I was so wired and happy I couldn’t sleep that night. I just held Elliott on my chest and kept reliving his awesome, awesome birth.

The next day, Elliott got to meet his big sister for the first time (what an emotional moment that was!). Of course I cried like an idiot when Cassidy climbed up into my arms- those postpartum hormones are NO joke. I was so happy to see her and have her meet her little brother. She was perfect with him and still is. She loves to give him kisses and hugs and “help” mommy and daddy when we change his diaper or give him a bath. She’s an amazing big sister. My heart is so full these days…these kids are just so stinking awesome. Joel and I are very happy with our little family of 4.

The past month hasn’t been easy (duh), but we learned quite a bit our first time around, so this time hasn’t been nearly as hard for us. The good news is, I’m able to breastfeed this time, which is a HUGE blessing! It was insanely hard for the first 3 weeks, but I powered through and I’m so thankful I stuck with it. It’s not perfect yet, but I know it’ll only get better from here. Joel and I are working together as a team and we’ve got a pretty good routine down now. I’m so proud of him and the amazing father he is. I’m not saying it’s a cakewalk to have a newborn at home- there are hormones and mood swings and sleep deprivation to consider- but anytime I feel myself starting to get “blue”, I just think back and remember Elliott’s birth and smile. His birth was such a blessing to me- a truly healing experience. I am so thankful to God for leading us down this path.


Jesus said it best- “A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.” John 16:21

I’ll always cherish the birth of each of my children; they are both so very different, but both gave me the exact same thing- a healthy, beautiful baby. That’s all any mother can ask for. It doesn’t matter how a child comes into the world, it’s an experience each mother should remember forever and cherish in their hearts. I’ll never forget this very special VBAC and the amazing blessing it was in our lives.


Here He Is!

Elliott newborn

Elliott was born on July 5, 2014 at 7:07pm, weighing 8 pounds, 10 ounces, 21 inches long. (I know this update is just a *little* late…life with a newborn and toddler ain’t easy and finding free time is almost impossible).

Elliott 2 weeks

2 weeks old

Our little dude came fast and furious- the birth story is a real doozy! I’ll be posting the full story in the next couple of days- I can’t wait to share it with you!

Elliott 3 weeks

3 weeks old

He’s doing so well! He gets fatter and cuter every single day!


Cassidy loves her little brother so much (really!) and she’s been such a sweet little helper. She helps us change diapers and she brings us blankets, pillows, etc. She’s been a real trooper! She loves to give him hugs and kisses and sing to him (seriously, how sweet is that?!).


We are so in love with our sweet babies.

Elliott 1 month

At one month old, Elliott is already weighing 11.5 pounds (we make big babies, apparently…) and thriving. He’s a little chunk! He eats every 2 hours on the dot (even at night…*sigh*), which was hard for me at first, but we’re starting to really get the hang of it! Hopefully, we’ll start getting a few longer stretches of sleep at night very soon. I’d be thrilled with even 4 hours. Even though sleep is a fleeting memory and we’re a little zombie-like, life is very, very good and Joel and I are so happy with our little family of 4.


Taking A Break…

Hi all,

Good news! We are ALMOST done with the nursery! There’s just a little painting that needs to be done and then all the furniture can be moved in and pictures hung on the walls. I have been terrible about procrastinating this time around and now we’re all rushing around at the last minute trying to get everything finished before D-Day (June 26th!)! I promise I’ll share pictures when it’s done!

In the meantime, I have zero interest in trying new recipes/photographing said recipes/blogging right now. All I care about right now is spending every last minute with my little family of 3 and enjoying Cassidy’s last days as an only child. Obviously, after that, all hell is going to break loose and we’ll have a newborn to take care of. What’s my point? I’m taking a break for awhile. Honestly, blogging is not high on my list of priorities these days, so I’m not going to stress about it anymore. I’m going to walk away for awhile and enjoy my family. I’ll be back- with updates, definitely. I promise I will let you all know when baby boy gets here and keep you all in the loop. Just no food stuff for a bit. Bear with me! And wish me luck!!!


Are We the Same?

(No food post this week. I’m going through a “Life, PLEASE SLOW DOWN!!!” phase right now, so I haven’t cooked a decent meal in awhile.)

With the baby due in exactly 5 weeks (um, wow), naturally, Joel and I have been getting the nursery ready. Which means, we had to clean out our “junk room” (great, NOW where am I going to put all this stuff??). My mom and I actually tackled the closet today and in doing so, I found numerous boxes of memorabilia; newspaper clippings, cards, and pictures from my time at college, old birthday cards from family, and lots and lots of pictures, love notes, and cards from the time Joel and I were still dating and engaged. Joel was at a business dinner tonight and Cassidy is at her grandparents’ house for the night, so I grabbed a box and began rummaging.

I was filled with all kinds of warm fuzzies sitting alone in the middle of the floor of my soon-t0-arrive baby boy’s nursery reading syrupy sweet love notes and looking at pictures. For one thing, they were good for a chuckle or two- I looked like a chubby 12 year old and Joel had way more hair (and *cough* maybe a few less pounds *cough*), but golly, were we happy.

joel and amy

joel and amy 2

[the night we got engaged; 2005]

Looking at all those incredibly sweet, precious memories and keepsakes made me stop and think- are we the still the same? We held hands tighter, kissed longer, wrote more on our cards to each other, walked closer, talked longer, and literally gazed into each others’ eyes…often. “Do we still do…any…of those things anymore?“, I asked myself as I sat there alone with my memories. “Pshaw! SURE we do! All the time!” I told myself. But then I started really thinking about it.

We hold hands…sometimes. Maybe on date nights. If we have a long-ish walk from the restaurant to the car.

We kiss each other. Sure. If Joel isn’t too buried in his work or I’m not completely tied up with Cassidy at the moment. So…mostly good morning and goodnight. Hey, it counts.

We might have sort of run out of super sappy things to say in our cards to each other on holidays and occasions. All the sentiments are still there, we just blew threw most of them in the first 2 months we were dating. You can only find so many ways to say “I love you”. But you know, sometimes a plain old “I love you” is just what I need to hear.

As far as the gazing into each others’ eyes thing? Yeah, that hasn’t happened in…I don’t even KNOW how long. Our honeymoon, maybe? If Joel gazed into my eyes tomorrow, I’d think something was way wrong.

I guess we’re not the same anymore. It seems like we don’t do any of the sweet little things we used to. Let’s face it, there’s just no time for hand-holding, eye-gazing, and letter-writing. On most days, we’re lucky if we remember to stop and give each other a kiss good morning.

Oh, but I forgot to mention how I look at Joel when I see him rolling around on the floor and horsing around with our precious daughter. He tickles her and makes her literally howl with laughter. And sometimes when we’re lying in bed at night, he’ll reach over and pat my belly and feel the baby kick. Sometimes I’ll make him a big plate of pancakes in the morning and bring it to him while he’s working (he works from home). Before every meal, the 3 of us will hold hands as Joel prays. On Mother’s Day, he’ll sneak out early in the morning to buy me powdered sugar donuts and a thoughtful card. In the summertime, after Cassidy is asleep, we sit out in the backyard with a glass of wine and just talk. Our lives are pretty stinking busy and hectic most of the time, but we manage to make time for just us. He puts his arm around my shoulders at church. I’ve learned to embrace geek culture (“ANOTHER Marvel movie coming out?? Great, let’s go see it!”).

So I guess even though we have changed; quite a bit; we’ve developed a new love language. We may not do all that sappy, syrupy, gushy love stuff we used to do, but we still cherish each other. It might be slightly less dignified (pregnancy ain’t pretty, folks), and slightly less shiny and new, but the love’s still very much there. We’re still selfish and prideful and downright mean sometimes. Luckily, one of the great things about growing older together is that you get better and better at apologizing and realizing there are more important things than weekend plans or someone not doing the dishes. We’ve known each other for over 17 years and when I look back on all the seasons of our relationship and how we’ve evolved, shaped each other, adapted, and grown as a couple, it’s just…special.

Nope. I don’t think we are the same. We’re better.


One Year Ago…


It’s hard to believe that it’s been exactly a year since the tornado came through our little town. I have to admit, we’re all sort of on pins and needles around here…just waiting for it to hit again. In remembrance of that horrible night and what my family had to endure for the months following, I’m leaving the story here, a year later, for you to read again. If you want.

Click here to read my story


Sour Cream Pound Cake…

Sour Cream Pound Cake

Sorry for my absence lately. We just finished a BIG master bathroom remodel and I’ve been a little preoccupied with getting it all cleaned up and finding the right finishing touches for it. It looks SO good and I can’t wait to share pictures with you! Hopefully I’ll have it all put together pretty quickly (it’s been tough finding just the right wall art…).

In other news, I’m finally in my 3rd trimester! Home stretch, baby! Only problem is, we can’t pick a name. Like, CAN’T. We have a short list of names we like, but none of them feel like “the one”. I guess it’ll come down to the last minute with this baby. Maybe I’ll get him named before we leave the hospital. Maybe. *sigh* 

Ok, this pound cake. There’s not much you need to know other than it’s rich, it’s buttery, it’s really, really GOOD. Especially the lovely crust that forms on the top…that’s the best part. This was so good in the mornings spread with a little butter alongside a cup of coffee. Oh, and it makes a TON. This is one big pound cake- enough to serve probably 10 people. I’m guessing it would freeze really nicely if you had tons of leftovers (like I did).

Sour Cream Pound Cake

1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
3 cups sugar
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the sour cream and mix until incorporated. Sift the baking soda, flour, and salt together. Add to the creamed mixture alternating with eggs, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and pour the mixture into a greased and floured 10-inch tube pan. Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serves 8-10.

Recipe source: slightly adapted from Paula Deen


Lemon Brownies…

Lemon Brownies

Well, it’s officially Spring. FINALLY. I’ve had it with this cold weather! However, with the weather getting warmer, that means the time for our little peanut’s arrival is getting closer and closer- yikes. I haven’t done one single thing to get his nursery ready. Oops. Well, I did buy a rug. So there’s that. The good news is I’ve already found most of the wall decorations and stuff on Etsy, and I *think* I’ve found the bedding, so I guess that means I’m getting somewhere.

Now, these “brownies”. I’ve been seriously craving lemon for a while now. However, I recently FAILED (ugh) my one-hour glucose test (the preliminary test that helps determine whether or not a pregnant mom has gestational diabetes), which means I had to go back and take the dreaded 3-hour test. I had to go in first thing in the morning and have my blood drawn, then drink another lovely bottle of the sugary, disgusting “fruit punch”. THEN I had to sit around doing nothing for 3 more hours and have my blood drawn 3 more times. What fun. I left feeling jittery and starving, and my arms looked like a heroin addict’s.

So in the time I had to wait for my results, I really felt like I shouldn’t be eating much sugar- just in case. Which meant no lemony desserts…which is what I really wanted. Really, really, really. So when I got the call saying I PASSED with flying colors (hallelujah!), the first thing I did (besides my happy dance) was bake these lemon brownies. Then I ate most of them. Right then. They were oh-SO good. Dense, but not too thick, chewy, and perfectly, wonderfully tart. The glaze is what takes them over the top- don’t skip the glaze. Just don’t.

Lemon Brownies 2

Lemon Brownies

3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tablespoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
juice and zest of 1 lemon

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Mix in the softened butter.
In another bowl whisk the eggs with the vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Add to the larger bowl and mix well. Pour into a greased 8X8 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 23-25 minutes.

Remove and let cool, then glaze.

1/2 cup powdered sugar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Whisk together.

Recipe source: adapted from Rita’s Recipes


Roasted Sausage, Peppers, Onions and Potatoes

My sister and I like to exchange new recipes we try. In fact, over the years, I’ve gotten tons of good, simple, delicious recipes from her. This one is definitely a winner! She was telling me about it and when she got to the part about the banana peppers I have to admit I was a little thrown off. Banana peppers are…sorta sour. How on earth would that taste good with sausage and potatoes? But I trust my sister’s judgement, so I did it.

What a surprise! This was a GREAT meal- it took no time to throw together and there was SO much flavor! And only one pan to clean- bonus! If you make this, don’t skip the banana peppers; they add so much great flavor!

Roasted Sausage, Potatoes, Onions and Peppers

1 pound cooked sausage, such as Eckridge or Hillshire Farms (I use Turkey), cut into 1/2-inch rounds
2 bell peppers, roughly chopped
4 medium-sized red potatoes, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 jar banana peppers, drained (you can use the spicy kind if you like heat, but I used the mild)
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Toss the chopped bell pepper, potatoes, and onion with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread the vegetables and sausage on a large baking sheet in an even layer and top with the banana peppers. Roast in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until the potatoes and sausage are crisp and browned. Serves 4-6.

Recipe source: I’m not sure on the original source of this one, but I searched and found one here