I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone who reads this blog: I love sweets. Rich, decadent desserts are my thing. Give me a big plate of warm chocolate chip cookies or brownies or chocolate cake and I’m a happy girl. BUT eating all the sweets you want doesn’t really fit into a post-partum way of life. Joel and I are both working really hard on watching what we eat, plus now that Cassidy eats whatever we eat, I’m super picky about what I cook. I don’t want her growing up eating junk food, so I’ve been working really hard at cooking healthy, all-natural meals the whole family can enjoy. But what about my poor sweet tooth?? Am I supposed to just give up sweets cold turkey? I say no.
That’s why I LOVE recipes like this- they incorporate something super good for you, while satisfying the old sweet tooth at the same time! Win-win! I’m not going to lie and say you can’t detect the avocado in this pudding- you can (barely). But for an avocado lover like me, I thought it was awesome. SO smooth and creamy! It honestly tastes so decadent and rich; nothing like you would expect “health food” to taste. Joel and I were both wowed by this pudding and I’ll be making it again and again. And while I’m on this little health kick, maybe next I’ll try black bean brownies!
Avocado Chocolate Pudding
2 ripe medium avocados, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup raw agave nectar or honey
1/2 cup milk (regular or almond milk, coconut, etc.)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend all ingredients, until smooth, in a food processor or blender. Serve immediately or chill first. Serves 2-3
I think every kid should have lots of bright and colorful treats at their birthday party, and while this popcorn is ridiculously easy, it’s equally as popular! Every time I have ever made this (and trust me, I’ve made it for almost every occasion!), people seem to go nuts over it. I love it because I can customize it for ANY occasion- Christmas, Halloween, baby showers, Easter…you name it. All you need is different kinds of sprinkles and you’ve got endless possibilities.
2 bags unbuttered microwave popcorn, popped (I prefer the ‘tender white’ variety made by Orville Redenbacher)
12 ounces white candy coating or almond bark*
colored rainbow sprinkles
Place the candy coating in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until melted and smooth.
Lay out two long sheets of wax paper on a wide surface. Place the popped popcorn in a very large bowl and slowly drizzle the melted candy coating over it. Stir with a large spoon until all the popcorn is coated. Spread in an even layer over the sheets of wax paper and immediately sprinkle liberally with the sprinkles. Let dry for at least 2-3 hours. Break into pieces and serve. Makes enough for 24-36 people.
As you all know, Cassidy turned one last month (still reeling over that one…) and of COURSE, we just had to throw her a big ol’ girly birthday party! Lots of pink, lots of aqua, and lots and lots of yummy treats!
I loved the invitations! Especially since they sort of coordinated with the invitations from our baby shower; I plan to frame them together in Cassidy’s room. I ordered them from tinyprints.com
I got the table cloth, cupcake tower, pink label stickers, and pink stick candy all at Party City
The cute little favor boxes came from Michael’s.
I got lucky one day at Home Goods and found these adorable cupcake liners.
The cupcakes were strawberry with vanilla buttercream and Cassidy’s smash cake was funfetti
As I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, I sort of had a fun little theme going with sprinkles. I used 4 different kinds, which I thought was kinda fun
A little baker’s twine can add just the right pop of color! (also found at Michael’s)
I found this adorable frame at Hobby Lobby one day for 7 bucks! I thought some sweet pictures of the birthday girl were the perfect decoration!
Cassidy didn’t exactly dive in head-first like we all expected. She ate one sprinkle at a time and barely made a mess!
…and of course Izzy had a good time!
Happy birthday, Cassidy!!!
Funfetti smash cake
Strawberry cupcakes with vanilla buttercream
Sprinkle sugar cookies (recipe to come!)
Vanilla meringues, from Trader Joe’s
Birthday popcorn (recipe to come!)
Bubble gum stick candy, from Party City
Pink lemonade (not pictured)
I’m going to be honest with you- since Cassidy was born, I haven’t spent one single night away from her. In fact, I haven’t spent more than 4 or 5 hours away from her! Joel has, due to various business trips, but not me. Nope. And I’ve been perfectly ok with that. In fact, every time we decide to take a couple of hours for ourselves and leave the baby with a grandparent, as soon as we leave the driveway, I’m flooded with feelings of guilt over leaving my baby. Then I’ll drive Joel nuts by asking if maybe we should’ve just stayed home. Am I alone here?? Surely I’m not the only crazy mom.
But everything changed a couple of days ago when Joel booked us an overnight getaway. That’s right, in a few short days, I’ll be abandoning leaving Cassidy to go enjoy an overnight stay in a plush hotel room. There will be champagne, a couple’s massage, gourmet dining, and best of all- a night of uninterrupted SLEEP. No baby monitor, no early morning wake up call, no nothing. Nothing but sleep. This all sounds great, but truth be told, I’m still unsure how I’ll handle it. Am I really ready for a night away from my baby?? Don’t get me wrong, the room is BOOKED and there’s no going back now, but I really hope I don’t blow the whole thing by whining for my baby the whole time.
Anyway, that story has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with hash…sorry. Onto the recipe. I had some really yummy smoked ham leftover, along with a couple of really beautiful red peppers and a bag of frozen hashbrowns lying around. What else would I do but make ham and red pepper hash?! YUM!
Ham and Red Pepper Hash
1 16-ounce bag frozen hash browns
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup cooked, diced ham
1/2 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
3 large eggs, poached or fried
salt and pepper
Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet, then add the frozen hash browns and red peppers. Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes or so, until peppers begin to soften. Stir in ham and salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes more. Top with cheese and poached eggs. Serves 3-4.
I think we can all agree that birthdays are special. As soon as you wake up the morning of your birthday, you want to feel special! When my sister and I were growing up, on the morning of our birthdays, my mom would make us our very own breakfast in bed. She would wake us up singing and laughing and the whole family greeted us on our special morning. Too bad I don’t get that kind of treatment anymore…(I’m lookin’ at you, Joel!) Hehe, just kidding….
On Cassidy’s first birthday, Joel and I (like huge dorks) greeted her with lots of loud, happy singing and laughing. Then we all sat down and enjoyed these yummy, festive birthday pancakes. What a great start to a happy, happy day!
These are really soooooo easy. In fact, I’m not even going to post an actual recipe, because I used boxed pancake mix. I’m not going to spend all morning making pancakes from scratch when I could be snuggling my sweet birthday girl! These are ready in less than 10 minutes! Score!
To make the pancakes: start with your favorite brand of pancake mix and prepare as directed. Stir in 1-2 tablespoons rainbow sprinkles (I used rainbow jimmies- they melt a little inside the batter and give that “funfetti” look.). Cook as directed and serve with maple syrup.
Those of you who follow me on twitter and Instagram already know that Joel and I have been working hard building Cassidy a play kitchen for the past couple of weeks. Well, it’s DONE and we’re THRILLED! I’ve featured it over on my other blog- along with lots more pictures and instructions. Go check it out!
Ok, I realize “World Nutella Day” was yesterday, but better late than never, right?
This is possibly one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever posted, considering every ingredient is store-bought. But hey, sometimes life can get a little crazy and you just need a recipe like this. All it takes is canned crescent roll dough, nutella, and sugar, and in minutes you’ll have a warm, gooey, comforting snack, breakfast, or dessert. Yes, please! These would actually be really cute (and quick!) for the kids’ Valentine’s Day breakfast- maybe even use a little pink decorating sugar and it’s just downright festive!
Quick and Easy Nutella Crescents
1 can refrigerated Pillsbury crescent roll dough
sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread a little nutella (about one tablespoon per triangle) on each triangle of dough. Starting with the big end, roll into a crescent shape and sprinkle generously with sugar. Arrange on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for about 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Serve immediately. Makes 8 crescents.
Well, folks, my baby is one today. My baby is one today. Let that sink in. My precious, soft, cuddly baby girl…is no longer a baby. We’ve just crossed over into toddler land. A toddler. How. Did. This. Happen?!
How could this be, when, just yesterday we packed our bags and headed to the hospital absolutely terrified?
Just yesterday tears rolled down my cheeks as I heard my baby cry for the first time.
Just yesterday Joel and I brought our sweet bundle home and began the most terrifying/satisfying/tremendous chapter of our lives.
It was JUST YESTERDAY. So how can this be, that suddenly I have a toddler walking around my house babbling sweetly, giving me high-fives, eating grilled cheese sandwiches, and saying, “oh myyyy” constantly (seriously- we have a little George Takei on our hands….)?
However it happened, time somehow sneaked in and stole my baby from me. It didn’t matter how many pictures and videos I took or how hard I squeezed her as I rocked her to sleep every night…it happened. She’s one. Next up, college.
Before I get too caught up in my own emotion, here are a few fun 12 month stats for the birthday girl:
As I mentioned before, yep…we’re walking. Full-on walking. It’s freaking adorable.
Eating solids like a boss. Spaghetti is still the favorite, but animal crackers and green beans run a close second. Meatloaf has also proven successful.
This girl loves shoes. Especially putting on the shoes. If I hold a shoe up, she’ll stick out her right foot every single time and let me put her shoes on her. If I take the shoes off, she’ll bring me said shoes and promptly stick her right foot in the air, just waiting for her shoe to be put on. She doesn’t seem to care much about the left foot. She’s perfectly satisfied with just the right shoe on. Adorable, this kid!
Still an awesome nighttime sleeper. 12 1/2 to 13 hours every single night. Naps, however, are a different story. I’m lucky if I get one hour long nap a day out of her.
She’s started trying to climb everything. And a dish got broken yesterday afternoon. We may need one of those onesies that says, “I’m why we can’t have nice things” on it.
You should see the little red curls on the back of this kid’s head! Too much cuteness!
Still only 5 teeth, but she’s currently working on 2 new ones right now (fun times).
And now, here’s a short (hilarious) video of her walking. (turn up your volume; the sound’s the best part):
Happy birthday, Cassidy Grace. Your Daddy and I love you more than life itself!
P.S. I apologize for not updating sooner- I was literally locked out of my blog. Seriously. Something about a corrupted database…I dunno. Joel fixed it, though, so we’re back in business! So sorry for the absence!
Happy New Year, friends!! I hope the holidays were as magical for all of you as they were for me. Our first Christmas with Cassidy was truly wonderful. In fact, I’d love for you to read all about it and see the pictures I took. I’ve written a Christmas Recap post over on my family blog and I hope you’ll check it out!
You’ll notice I didn’t do a ‘Best of 2012′ post this year, because, well, I kind of find those obnoxious anyway, and…all the best of 2012 involved a little diaper-wearing red head; not food.
Now, onto the goods. I made these truffles with every intention of sharing them with you before the holidays were over, but better late than never, right? The fact is, these babies can be enjoyed any time of year! Any occasion! A Tuesday, perhaps! In fact, I may put them on the menu for Cassidy’s first birthday party. Because let me tell you- they’re goooooood. Better than good, really. Smooth, silky goat cheese mixed with a bit of honey and rolled in toasted pecans and crispy bacon. Yuuuuuummmm. Smear these bad boys on a toasted baguette and you’re well on your way to heaven, folks.
Goat Cheese, Bacon, and Pecan Truffles
8 ounces goat cheese, softened to room temperate
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon half and half or milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, chopped
6 slices bacon, cooked until crispy and roughly chopped
2 teaspoons dried parsley
In a small pan, toast the pecans over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Watch them carefully! Let cool completely. Combine the pecans, bacon, and parsley in a pie plate or large platter.
Line a baking sheet or large plate with parchment paper.
Combine the goat cheese, honey, half and half, and salt in a large bowl. Scoop out 1-2 inch balls and carefully roll in the pecan/bacon mixture. Set on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet or platter. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before serving to take the chill off. Serve with toasted baguette slices or crackers. Makes about 35-40 truffles.