Monday, April 23, 2012

Easter 2012

For Easter we headed to Houston to see Korey's mom, brother, and cousin Brandon.  These pics are from Miss Corey and are out of order.

We set out the boys' baskets of goodies on Sunday morning on the back porch.  We caught Brandon peeking!
We also hid the eggs for them while they were inside.  We were going to dye easter eggs but at the last minute we opted out.  Miss Corey made Resurrection rolls for the boys.

Brandon was on the move with his eggs.

We got the boys to sit still for us so we could capture their grins.
Not sure why Hunter wasn't into it!
And I'm not sure either why he was outside without a shirt.  No idea what he's doing here.

We went to Easter service on Saturday night.  After the service was over we let the boys play on the playground which happened to be on the church's property.
The boys are inside a little wooden playhouse.  My boy is just chillin'.

Nana and her grandbabies!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Chocolate Crumb Bars

I know you can here the birds chirping here at the blog but if I told you everything that was going on in our world you would totally understand the silence.  I haven't even photographed anything in the last two weeks.  That's how busy I've been.  But hopefully I'll get to reveal the reason for my absence soon.  It's super exciting and a dream come true!

Now, let's talk about these bars.  Yes, another bar recipe.  I have a thing for them.  Especially when chocolate is involved and in this recipe chocolate is a must.  These were very easy to make and didn't take me very long at all to put together.  Take some to your neighbor!

1 cup or 2 sticks cold butter
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 can (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

Mix butter in a large mixing bowl until creamy. Beat in flour, sugar and salt until crumbly. With floured fingers, press 2 cups crumb mixture onto bottom of prepared baking pan; reserve remaining mixture. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Combine 1 cup morsels and sweetened condensed milk in a small, heavy-duty saucepan. Warm over low heat, stirring until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Spread over hot crust.

Stir nuts and remaining morsels into reserved crumb mixture.  I think I had less than a cup left but it turned out fine.  Sprinkle over chocolate filling. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until center is set. Cut into bars once cool.

Source:  Very Best Baking

Friday, April 13, 2012

Last Mamarazzi Class

Wow!  It's been over a week since I last posted and our household has been busy for sure.

At the end of March, I had my final Mamarazzi class.  We all gathered together at a park and let our kids play while we took pictures of them.  Well, my kid doesn't really play.  He just runs or climbs or plays in the dirt.  It's very hard to concentrate on taking photos while I'm chasing him!

After our time at the park, we headed back to Dana's house and our kids ate snacks while us moms scored some free giveaways.  Then the kids played in her kid-friendly backyard while we snapped a few more photos.  To top it off, she took photos of our kids so we had a mini session...all for free!  I'm telling you there were so many perks to taking this Mamarazzi class that I felt I got more than my money's worth.

This is the super-photogenic Hunter sitting still long enough for Dana to capture his precious face.  She had a trunk full of props so we tried out these.  She tried to put a tie on him but he wouldn't have it.  He's holding a mustache on a stick which we wanted him to hold up but of course he wouldn't.  He's really in charge!

My favorite!  We actually look decent after a sweaty morning at the park.

These photos are out of order but these photos below capture our time at the park, taken by me.  Here he is climbing on a steep staircase to a ladder while holding his snack cup.  He would not let go of the snack cup.  And you'll notice a scratch above his mouth.  He did that just the day before and the fabulous Dana edited it out as you see in the pictures above.

All the other moms had kids that seemed to stay in one place.  Not mine.
Miss Em blew bubbles for some of the kids.  I thought this might keep him still but nothing would distract him.
See?  This boy is on the move!  He's holding a pez dispenser that we tried to distract him with to get photos but all he did was put it in his mouth.

So...why should you sign up for the next Mamarazzi class?  Because Dana is super patient with you and your kids, a teacher at heart, knows her stuff, and will make you/encourage you to learn about your camera and take time to photograph your kids.  She also emphasizes that you should print your photos and she'll show you a neat way to organize those photos.  No scrapbooking required!  Plus, she provides breakfast for your class sessions!

See her blog for the class brochure (March 29th entry).

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

Not too sweet blueberry cake, a perfect breakfast for your out-of-town visitors!

We recently had a breakfast social at church so I brought this along.  When I baked this and photographed it, I couldn't taste it yet because what would people think if they saw a piece cut out and then put back in?  When it was time to eat on Sunday morning this is the first dish I headed for and it was a winner!  Whew!  I'm so glad that I didn't have to worry about people not liking it.

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tsp. lemon juice
7/8 cup* + 1 tablespoon sugar**
1 egg, room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 cups fresh blueberries (I used frozen)
½ cup buttermilk

* 7/8 cup = 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons

** This 1 tablespoon is for sprinkling on top  (I accidentally forgot this!)

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon juice and 7/8 cup of the sugar until light and fluffy.

2. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Meanwhile, toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour, then whisk together the remaining flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Add the flour mixture to the batter a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in the blueberries.
4. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (or something similar) with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle batter with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 45 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness.
Adapted from:  Alexandra's Kitchen

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Homemade Ranch Dressing

Homemade ranch dressing with fresh dill and parsley.

I have made this twice now and I finally stopped eating it long enough to photograph it for you.  I've used this as a salad dressing for salads I take to work and as a dip for our favorite stromboli. 

I was inspired to make this after seeing how pretty it looked and because I knew I could substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream which I love and always have on hand.  Mix it up and enjoy.

Homemade Ranch Dressing

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup buttermilk
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon salt or more for taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

Mix all together and taste to see if you need to add more salt.  The second time I made this I just added in buttermilk until it reached the consistency I wanted.  Store in the fridge for a week in a glass jar.

Adapted from Baked Bree

Monday, April 2, 2012

K Bars

Peanut butter, chocolate, and butterscotch all meld together in this crunchy cereal bar!

Back in the day when I was a college student I was involved in the Baptist Student Ministry.  Many great memories came from there.  It was, and still is, staffed with the most wonderful secretary you could ever know, Mrs. Barbara Raines.  She is a classic lady and this recipe is straight from her recipe box.  I can still remember how wonderful it tasted back then and I'm so glad the recipe hasn't gotten lost.  This is a no bake recipe and is easily mixed together over the stove.  It has the perfect combination of crunchy and sweet tastiness!

Sack it up and take some to your neighbors!

K Bars
(click for printable)

1 cup sugar
1 cup karo syrup
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
4 cups Special K cereal
6 oz. butterscotch chips
3 oz. chocolate chips

Bring to a boil sugar and karo syrup.  Take off burner and add in crunch peanut butter.  Then gently mix in cereal.  Butter a 9x13 dish and spread cereal mixture in it.  Then melt butterscotch chips and chocolate chips together and spread over top.  Cut into squares and put in refrigerator for 30 minutes for icing to set.  Don't leave in longer than this as it will be too hard.

Source:  Mrs. Barbara Raines