Monday, August 31, 2009

Triple Chocolate Cookies

These are very chocolatey, and best in the first couple days after making them. The recipe recommends using an ice cream scoop ("about 1 1/2 inches in diameter") to scoop the cookies onto the sheet; if you do that, you'll get about 3 1/2 dozen cookies from the recipe. I would suggest using pasteurized eggs in this, since it's completely impossible to resist the cookie dough.

Triple Chocolate Cookies

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
16 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped & melted
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp espresso powder
10 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

-Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
-Beat eggs and vanilla together lightly with a fork. Sprinkle the espresso powder over the mixture and then set aside.
-In the bowl of a standing mixer (use the paddle attachment), beat the butter on medium for a few seconds. Add the sugars and beat together 45 seconds. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in the egg mixture until incorporated. Add the melted chocolate in a steady stream until combined. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a spatula.
-With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and mix until combined - do not overmix. Fold in the chocolate chips.
-Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature about 30 minutes, until fudge-like and scoopable.
-Meanwhile, adjust oven racks to upper- and lower-middle positions and heat to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
-Scoop dough onto cookie sheets (you'll need to do 2 batches of 2 sheets each). Bake until the edges have begun to set, but middles are still soft - about 10 minutes. Do not overbake. Switch the cookie sheets from front to back and from top to bottom racks halfway through baking.
-Cool the cookie on the racks for 10 minutes, then slide the parchment paper with cookies on top onto cooling racks.

Friday, August 28, 2009


My baby girl is 2 today!! She is amazing. 2 years ago today, Jamie and I were in the hospital, marveling at what a beautiful and perfect baby she was. Today, we're marveling at what a beautiful, intelligent, sweet, loving, funny Big Girl she is. We are so blessed to be her parents!!


Birth Day:

1st Birthday:

2nd Birthday:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quick Update

I had an appointment yesterday, and my belly is measuring a little big. Dr. Le went ahead and ordered an ultrasound to check on Miles's growth, and to make sure my amniotic fluid level was okay. Turns out everything is good - Miles is just a big boy! He's measuring a week and a day ahead - he's 5 pounds now!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Gisèle likes to put her babydolls, stuffed animals, and Mama & Daddy down for "night-night." One way she does that is to line up the cushions from the breakfast nook chairs and lay each thing down. She pats them, usually covers them with a blanket, and then announces to us that they're going night-night. This picture was taken a while back. Her favorite thing to do now is wrap her babydoll (or stuffed animal) is 4-5 layers of blankets before laying them down. I think she'll be a great big sister. :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Crazy Hair

These were taken quite a while ago - her hair is a lot longer now. We put it up in pigtails every day - otherwise it hangs in her face, and she's constantly pushing it out of the way.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Pumpkin Pancakes

This is a nice alternative to classic buttermilk pancakes, and easy to throw together in the morning. I doubled it, and Jamie and I each had 3 (Gisèle had 4!) and had 14 or so leftover. So I would say that 1 recipe makes 12 pancakes. Sorry - no picture!

Pumpkin Pancakes (from The Way The Cookie Crumbles)

1 cup flour
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 egg
2 Tbsp butter, melted & cooled
1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
1 cup buttermilk

-In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.
-In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the egg, then add the butter, pumpkin, and buttermilk.
-Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk gently until the batter is mostly mixed, but still contains small lumps. Let the batter rest about 5 minutes.
-Use a 1/4 cup measure to measure out the batter onto a hot griddle. When cooked, serve with butter & maple syrup.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gisele Coloring

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thoughts on my son

As I get closer to the end of this pregnancy, I often find myself wondering what Miles will look like. I picture him looking and acting just like Gisèle did, but realistically, I'm aware that he is his own person and will look and act like himself, not her. I hope he gets the same chubby rolls she did, though. I love chubby rolls on babies. :)

With Gisèle, my water broke at home 2 weeks before her due date, we had a frantic middle-of-the-night drive to the hospital, and a pretty quick labor. I keep assuming things will happen just like that again. But maybe they won't this time. Maybe this time, I'll be induced when he's 2 weeks overdue, and be in labor for 108 hours before needing an emergency c-section. Who knows? (Let's hope for the former, not the latter!)

Gisèle looked a lot like Jamie when she was born, down to the dimple in her chin. I wonder if Miles will have a chin dimple? Will he have the dark hair she did? Will he sleep as well, eat as well, and be as easy-going? Or instead, will he be up all night, have trouble breast-feeding, and cry constantly? How will I keep from comparing the two all the time?

It's thoughts like these that are occupying my mind. He'll be full-term in 6 weeks. I feel like we're running out of time to get everything done before he arrives, but when I start to stress about all there is to do, I find myself thinking about chubby baby thighs instead. :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Potty Update

Still not much progress on the potty front. She'll ask to go to the potty pretty often, but usually does nothing more productive than reading all the way through "The Cat in the Hat." It's almost always Jamie that takes her to the potty at home right now, and she'll come back from the bathroom loudly announcing "Mama! No pee-pee! No poo-poo!"

Soon, we'll start taking her to use the potty when we're out at stores. But until she's actually using the potty pretty regularly, diapers stay on!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Peach Pie

This is very easy to put together, though peeling and slicing the fresh peaches took some time. You could use frozen peaches instead, and save a lot of work, but the pie might end up with more liquid in it than you'd like. If you use frozen peaches, let me know how it turns out! We're storing this in the fridge, and I'm going to have some cold for breakfast in the morning. (*update: it's excellent cold!)

Peach Pie

2 unbaked crusts for a 9-inch pie (I used store-bought, with good results)
1 egg, beaten
5 cups sliced & peeled peaches (this was 7 peaches for me)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp butter

-Preheat the oven to 450.
-Place the bottom crust in a pie plate and brush with some of the beaten egg.
-Place peaches in a bowl, and sprinkle with the lemon juice. Mix gently.
-In a small bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add this mixture to the peaches and combine.
-Pour the peaches into the bottom crust and dot with butter. Top with the top crust, either as a lattice or with vent slits cut into it.
-Brush the top crust with more of the beaten egg, and sprinkle with sugar.
-Bake 10 minutes at 450, then lower the heat to 350 and bake an additional 30-35 minutes. Cool before serving.

*If the crust edges start to get too dark, cover them with foil or a crust guard until the pie has finished baking.

Monday, August 10, 2009


What in the world made God decide that Jamie and I deserved to have Gisèle as our daughter? How did we get so lucky? Her difficult moments are few and far between. 99% of the time, she's full of joy and laughter, is loving and sweet, funny, and SO smart. I love to watch her think, and we're having so much fun watching her play lately. She's immersed herself in the world of make-believe, and I desperately wish I could get inside her head sometimes.

The transition to her Big Girl Bed has been amazing. I keep wondering when the hard part will come. She's had 2 nights and 1 nap in the bed so far, and it's been so smooth. Isn't this supposed to be difficult?! I'm sure it still could turn out to be. Maybe she's just waiting until we take it for granted before she starts giving us problems.

One of her new favorite things to do was discovered this weekend - Sunday morning when she woke up from night-night, and Sunday afternoon when she woke up from her nap. She loves for us to come into her room and sit on her bed with her between us. We'll walk in, and she'll say "Sit, Mama!" "Sit, Daddy - right here!" She scoots in-between us and contentedly sits there, thumb in her mouth, smiling up at us.

Something else we've really been enjoying with her is reading. We've been reading with her since she was born, but now she likes to recite her books to us as we read. We'll say "The Cat in the Hat, by..." and she'll finish with "Dr. Seuss!" And she loves to say her favorite parts out loud. "But our fish said..." and Gisèle says "No, no!" Make that cat go away!" while waving her finger back and forth. She's also taken to singing - A LOT. She loves to sing along to "Amazing Grace." She'll "bum-bum-bum" or "la-la-la" her way through "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" when she doesn't feel like saying the words. She spent the entire car ride back from the grocery store singing loudly yesterday, while I fought back giggles.

She brings so much joy to our lives!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Big Girl Bed

**UPDATE - She slept perfectly well, no complaints or talking. When we checked on her before we went to bed, though, we both burst out laughing and had to quickly leave her room - she was sleeping next to the bed on the floor! The only sound we had heard from her all evening was a short gasp once. It must have been when she rolled off! When we went in to get her this morning, she was laying in her bed again, smiling up at us. :) **

Just a quick post tonight. We just put Gisèle down for bed in her Big Girl Bed for the very first time. And she looks so small in it! So far, all is quiet, so maybe this will work out well.

It hit us both this afternoon, as we took apart her crib with her in the room to watch, that we wouldn't be putting her to bed in a crib anymore. Ever. She's growing up. No more lifting the side of the crib and seeing her safely enclosed. No more checking on her to find that she's pressed her head up to one side of the crib and has one hand sticking through the side. She's really and truly growing up. Right now, we read her a story while sitting on our bed, and then zip her into her wearable blanket before trekking down the hallway to her room. It won't be that long until we're reading her a bedtime story while she lays in her bed, and then tucking her under her covers.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Blueberry (Boo-baby) Muffins

These were, hands-down, the best blueberry muffins I've ever had. I made them a second time a week after the first, only I substituted plumcots for the blueberries. I had never cooked with plumcots before, but they sounded good and were on sale. The muffins turned out fantastic with them, also. In fact, Jamie said he thought he even liked the plumcot version better! Next up, I'm trying them with blackberries! (*Update - they're delicious with blackberries, too!)

Blueberry Muffins

1/3 cup sugar (I used turbinado sugar, which is a bit crunchier)
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest (I didn't have any lemons, so left this out)
(Stir these together for the topping)

2 cups (about 10 oz) fresh blueberries
1 1/8 cups plus 1 tsp sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk (or 3/4 cup plain yogurt mixed with 1/4 cup milk)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

-Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat to 425 degrees. Generously spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.
-Bring 1 cup of berries and 1 tsp sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with a spoon and stirring frequently, 6-10 minutes, until the berries have broken down and the mixture is thickened and reduced. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool to room temperature (10-15 minutes.) (*you could do this step a day before.)
-Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl.
-In a medium bowl, whisk remaining 1 1/8 cup sugar together with eggs until thick, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in the butter and oil until combined. Whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla until combined.
-Fold the egg mixture and remaining cup of blueberries into the flour mixture just until moistened - do not overmix.
-Divide the batter equally among prepared muffin cups (they will be very full.) Spoon a teaspoon of the cooked berry mixture into the center of each mound of matter. Using a chopstick, swirl the mixture gently. Sprinkle topping on each muffin.
-Bake until golden and firm, 17-19 minutes, rotating muffin tin once during baking. Cool muffins in the tin 5-7 minutes, then turn onto a wire rack and cool at least 5 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Miles's Nursery

For those who haven't heard, Baby Boy has a name! Miles Oliver Lowery. :)

We have fabric picked out for Miles's nursery! I really like it - brown and turquoise/teal/aqua, polka dots and stripes. Mom is making crib sheets and curtains for us, so we'll just have to figure out how we want to paint (if we want to take that on), and what to do for wall art. I think I'd like to use 3 frames to put some of the fabric (pictured) on the wall. I'd also like to see if I can work in (friendly) monsters somewhere. I may just draw a smiling monster on butcher paper and use crayons to color it. And then frame that and put it up. I think I can probably find a cute handmade monster stuffed animal on or somewhere, and it can keep Miles's diapers company on the dresser.

Gisèle's big-girl bed (mattress, at least) is here. We bought sheets, so we just have to wash them and then move the bed into her room, but at least it's here! Jamie and I are dreading the transition from crib to mattress. The thought of her being able to get out of bed, get into everything in her dresser drawers, and even open her door and come out of her room is exhausting. Hopefully, the whole transition goes well!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Big girl!

We interrupt this broadcast for a special bulletin: Gisèle went poo-poo in the big girl potty yesterday! And then later, she went pee-pee in the big girl potty!! Yay, Gisèle!

She's becoming such a big girl! Not my little baby anymore!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cold Lime Souffle

This is awesome. It tastes great and it looks really impressive. After one bite, Jamie said "They could charge $15 for this in a restaurant!" Perfect for summer - it's light, tart and refreshing. You'll need parchment paper, 4 rubber bands, and 4 8-oz baking cups for this. (Really, though, it might be better to do smaller portions. If you have 8 4-oz baking cups, use those!)

Cold Lime Souffle

5 large eggs, separated (I recommend pasteurized eggs, since they don't end up cooked)
1 cup sugar (+ more for coating the extensions)
2 tsp lime zest (+ more for garnish)
3/4 cup lime juice, strained (I didn't strain mine)
1 Tbsp (1 envelope) powdered gelatin
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, lightly whipped
3 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 cup heavy cream

-Cut four strips of parchment paper to fit around 4 8-oz baking cups. Fold each strip in half lengthwise, then wrap around the cups and put a rubber band around each to hold them on. Adjust the parchment paper so that the height of each cup is extended by about 1 inch. Brush the inside of the extensions with melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar to coat, tapping out the excess. Set aside.
-Combine the egg yolks, 1 cup sugar and lime zest in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until thick and pale, about 3 minutes.
-Heat the lime juice in a small pan until warm, and then slowly beat into the yolk mixture.
Pour 1/4 cup water into a small cup. Sprinkle with gelatin, and let sit a few minutes until gelatin softens. Fill a small skillet with water and bring to a boil. Lower gelatin cup into the water and stir until gelatin is dissolved and clear. Cool slightly.
-Add gelatin to lime mixture, beating on low until combined. Transfer to a large bowl, cover, and refrigerate until thickened but not set. (It should have the texture of a cream sauce.)
-Fold the whipped cream into the lime mixture.
-Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold into the lime mixture. Spoon into souffle dishes and refrigerate and chill until set.
-When ready to serve, whip the remaining 1 cup of cream with 3 Tbsp powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Carefully remove the extensions from the souffle cups, and top each with whipped cream and a sprinkle of lime zest.

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