Tuesday, June 28, 2011

PW Prune Cake

Okay, yall. For real. I need to get out of the dessert section of this book.

(okay, technically this is in the breakfast section, as in like a coffee cake, but even I draw the line at serving this for breakfast. er, um, to my kids, that is....)

The concept of "prune cake" is not totally foreign to me, I remember my mom making it when I was younger. And, I happen to like prunes. Yep, I just said it out loud. They're like really big extra sweet raisins. But I think they just aren't something people have laying around their houses. And they get a bad wrap too....like "only old people eat those!" So if you are a fan of dried fruit and have never tried one, you will probably like it!

(warm cake patiently waiting for caramel to finish)

This cake was un-bel-iev-a-ble. I followed the strict instructions not to overbake it, because it's supposed to be moist. I was expecting it to taste somewhat like gingerbread, because of the spices in it (nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice). Which it does. Which is not a bad thing. It is like, gingerbread with raisins. The topping is a caramel sauce made from cooking down sugar, butter and some other things. I've only done this once, when I made caramels at Christmastime, so I knew it was going to take longer than the book says. Good thing I started early. You pour it on the warm cake and then have to waaaaaaaait for it to cool. The caramel sets and winds up being more like a topping than a sauce, which is a-okay with me.

(cake and sauce cooling and waiting to be eaten)

(and, for the record, we do happen to have prunes in the house when I'm pregnant, because those of you that have been know, pregnancy has many blessings...I'm not saying, I'm just sayin.)

Monday, June 27, 2011

PW's Iced Coffee

Let's start with this. I love coffee. Like, for real. I can't have as much of it as I want, because I am pretty sensitive to caffeine. I can't barely even have a coke after 6pm or I'll be up all night. My love affair started in college, with the International Foods ones, or what ever they are called. You know, the ones in the little red and white cans that used to have the commercials with the ladies sitting on the porch screaming about "Jean Luc!!!" After college I graduated to the hard stuff, i.e. Starbucks. There was one several doors down from the vet clinic I worked at, so I would just skip down there and get some almost everyday. And I pretty much always got a "free" upgrade in size, thus a monster was born. (I swear they did it on purpose) Then, when I moved up to the DFW area and started a real job with real expenses, I soon figured out I could no longer afford my Starbucks habit. (boo)

So for several years I didn't have it very much anymore. I had a coffee pot at home, but you know, that's so much....work. And I have to put the cream and sugar in it myself?? It wasn't until after I had my 2nd child that coffee, made at home, became a requirement to start my day. I felt a fatigue I never had before. And, I realized that I could make my cup at home for a mere 25 cents instead of $4. I still bought Starbucks ground coffee to make at home, because, I'll admit it, I'm a coffee snob. I'm also a donut snob. Don't judge I have since seen the light and made the switch to Dunkin Donuts Coffee, it is not quite as strong as Starbucks and doesn't have the bitterness the Bucks can have.

I also like iced coffee, but never make it that much. If I do get it mixed just right, I drink it so fast I can't even enjoy it. It's embarrassing really.

So, last week I finally started following The Pioneer Woman's site on FB (I know, what?) and she posted this here about how she makes her iced coffee and why to do it this way. Let me just tell you, when I read this?

Life. Changed.

I kept dividing the amount in half until I got to a reasonable amount to make just one or 2 servings of it to start. And I have to make it with decaf....boooooooooo.

(In the am's now I have half-caff because I'm pregnant. I didn't have much caffiene when I was preg with the boys, but now, it's just a necessity. I tried straight decaf in the am's, and it just didn't cut it. I know I have have one regular sized cup of regular coffee a day and be under my milligrams of caffeine (I carefully keep count) but if I do that then I can't have any the rest of the day...and sometimes I need a cherry coke at 3 or 4 to make it through the day!)

It was so good that I am currently waiting on a much bigger batch to be done. And I had to get a new cup (one I've been waiting for an excuse to get) to house my new daily afternoon decaf (boo) treat!

Friday, June 24, 2011


Calling all composters!

Does anyone save their food scraps and compost them? This is something I've been wanting to do for a while. We go through enough coffee grinds, fruit and veggie scraps, and egg shells to do this. We already recycle pretty much everything, so pretty much all we throw out are these kinds of things and paper products (used paper towels and plates, etc.)

Any bins that I've seen are huge, and expensive. I saw this one on a tv show once, meant to keep under your kitchen sink, it's a little more my speed. I want to start small. I don't even know how much this one is, I think I looked it up one time and I remember it seeming expensive. I don't want anything really high maintenance just yet.

If any of you guys do this, is there anything you can recommend? We don't even "garden" alot, I just hate throwing away things I know can have a use for something else. I figure if I don't use it I can always give it away to someone who does. What do I need/need to know to get started? Do I have to get some worms? I don't really know much about it and I want to hear from people who do this.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I have been working on this little project over the last few weeks. Remembering to get a picture is half the battle! My boys have always loved fruit smoothies (and so do I, who are we kidding. Strawberry banana is the best!). This is something we typically do during the summer months, when fresh fruit, esp berries, and cold drinks are the rule. I can't believe I never thought to add veggies before! I have a book of recipes that uses vegetable purees that I cooked almost exclusively for about a year and a half when #1 was 2, but then got a little burned out on it. The breakfast and dessert-y things are pretty good, but the "dinners" weren't. I have recently started it up again, with the mindset that I will just add it to whatever I'm making, not just using the recipes in the book. I still try to offer the boys veggies alot, and sometimes they will eat them. I know "hiding" veggies for kids can be somewhat controversial, but, sometimes you do what you just gotta do. They will like them someday! (and, for the record, my ultra-skeptical 5 1/2 year old is fully aware of what is in these smoothies, and he still sometimes will raise an eyebrow, but after he tastes them he completely forgives me)

It's much easier this year to do these...last year they both were still using sippy cups primarily, and especially these were given to them as a snack during playtime, not in the kitchen. To serve in a sippy cup you have to pour the smoothie through a fine mesh sieve to catch all the little bits of seeds (like from strawberries) and skins (blueberries are the worst). I didn't really like doing this, the skins are the best part, but it was a necessary evil. This year, I've been doing it with their lunch, and they have it in a little kid-sized glass with a straw. No straining. yay!

I've been going for colors of the rainbow. These are referred to as such in our house. Such as, "red smoothie day" or "blue smoothie" etc. Here's a brief rundown of what's in these.

I start with a smoothie "base". This consists of:

1 banana ripe or overripe is best,

1 cup of vanilla yogurt (I try to find one that is low sugar but if you get plain instead of vanilla, you will be lacking in some necessary sweetness to hide some of the taste of the veggies. Better than adding extra sugar in my book. The extra sweetness of overripe bananas helps with that too)

8 (or 1/2 tray) of frozen juice cubes. This serves several purposes....regular ice cubes can dilute your smoothie; the extra sweetness in the juice helps taste, a small amt of juice a day for kids can be a good thing, keeps things moving, if you know what I mean; and the color of the darker juices helps achieve the color you want.

All of these contain this. Then you add the rest of the ingredients.


put about 2 cups of any of the following fruit or combinations of fruit: strawberries, cherries, raspberries. 1/4 cup beet puree (gives it this distinctive color) (this is also smaller amt than other veggies..anymore and beet taste would be too strong in my opinion). I used cranberry juice cubes in this one. This is the only one where I think you can definitely taste the beet, but the boys didn't seem to notice. And beets have tons of stuff that's really good for you, so glad they liked it.


watermelon (frozen cubes), strawberries, apple juice cubes (this one doesn't have any veggies in it....yet)

carrot puree, OJ cubes.


pineapple, yellow squash puree, pineapple juice or OJ cubes


green apple (with skin), spinach, apple juice cubes


blueberries, spinach, blueberry juice or cranberry juice cubes

ALL of these were huge hits with my entire family. We have been having them almost every day, and #1 helps me put the stuff in the blender. All these make pretty much a full blender full. It would be enough for several kids, or 2 kids and 2 adults probably.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Happy 1 year blogiversary to me! I thought I'd celebrate by making a "big announcement"....

We are expecting our 3rd child!

Here is a rare pic of myself...not the best shot, we are in a bit of camera limbo so this is a phone pic. I'm 16 weeks (it's true what they say about showing earlier with each kid...I've been showing for a WHILE now and we have just recently told our family and it's been hard to hide!)

My due date is December 1st. We aren't sure if we will find out what it is, we didn't with the first and did with the second. Luckily we still have a few weeks before we have to make that decision!

The boys are very excited, esp #1, he asks me every day if I can feel it kicking or not. #2 is only 3 years old, I'm not quite sure if he realizes what's going on. It doesn't seem to really be on his radar. Yet!!

I've been feeling a little better finally, my morning sickness never got as bad as it did the other times, but I had some serious fatigue. Ugh! It's getting better. A little.

I'm still running, in case anyone is wondering, with the full blessing of my OB. I am a little slower, and taking more walk breaks, but its getting hotter so I would be slower anyway! I will continue as long as I can.

So there you go! I'm not quite sure that I will be doing weekly or even monthly updates, because that's not really what my blog leans toward. But if something interesting happens, I'll let yall know!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

PW Peach Crisp

I had 5 peaches left from the 2nd batch of ones I got at our new Whole Foods last week, which were amazing and I'm not even a "peach" person. They were on they're last day of edible-ness and need to be used. I was flipping through my PW book, (again, with the desserts) looking for the cobbler recipe. I really should have it memorized by now. I came across this one for Peach Crisp, which is also very cobbler-y, but in a more traditional sense with the fruit on the bottom and crust on top. I made a quick check and I had all the ingredients. Let's roll!

In a bowl you combine all the dry ingredients...flour, brown sugar, regular sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Oh nutmeg. see the brown stuff on the left? That's it. The recipe calls for a dash of nutmeg, which is so strong that's about all you ever use in a recipe anyway. Anyhoo, I'm still not used to the new tops on my spice containers, and unscrewed the top thinking that the "sprinkle" top would be on the bottle instead of in the lid. So I gave it a dash and OHMIGOD like half the little bottle emptied in my bowl. It's a good thing I like the smell of nutmeg. I managed to scoop most of it out, but I'm pretty sure there wound up being more than "a dash" in there. There are worse things, I guess.

After that gets mixed together you have to combine it with the butter with a fork or pastry cutter (nope, still don't have one) (also still don't have a new larger food processor yet, and this was more than my little one could do). So I used the stupid fork method and it took forever. ugh. It wasn't completely uniform, but my boys will only play with their play-doh for so long.

This is what it looked like after.

Then I sliced up my peaches. They are supposed to be peeled, I'm not exactly sure why, but they were over ripe and very juicy and after I got the first one I was done with that. And I was running out of play-doh induced free time. I put the rest of them in there and said a little prayer it wouldn't ruin the recipe. Toss them with lemon zest and juice, and maple syrup. (I'm pretty much the biggest fan of lemon zest you'll find.

layer the other stuff on top...


There's a second part to the recipe. A maple-cream sauce to drizzle on top. Now, this doesn't exactly trip my trigger as much as vanilla ice cream or whipped cream would. Some people just die over things like Maple Pecan Ice cream. Me, I'm a chocolate girl. But, I made it anyway. Pretty simple and not a very exciting picture....Heat up some heavy cream and maple syrup and cook it down a bit. Then you let it chill for a while, and it thickens some more.

So...here we go. The opinion from a non-peach loving, non-maple loving girl....


The sauce tastes like melted maple pecan ice cream. It's unbelievable. Just...all of it...wow.

(and the skins on the peaches weren't that big of a deal. didn't bother me.)

PW Blackberry Cobbler

So....I seem to be focusing on the dessert section of this book...can't imagine why. I've already made this same cobbler twice, in the quest for finding which of my dishes is best for it. One was too small, one was too big. (read about them here) So, obviously, I had to try again. This time with blackberries. (note: the recipe is "officially" called Blackberry cobbler, but says that you can also use blueberries, raspberries, peaches, and so on.....so I figure I pretty much have to make all of those to complete this recipe.)

We finally have a winner folks. I love this because the recipe is so simple, there's only milk, butter, flower, and the berries pretty much.

Also...we had a ton of blackberries because we got them from Sam's. Before last week, I'm pretty sure I've never eaten a blackberry in my life. I've only had a fresh raspberry a couple times. They kind of freak me out with the tiny cluster and the little hairs sticking out. I'm wierd about food like that...I like a lot of things, but it has to be visually appetising to me before I'll try it. So, I ate my first blackberry...and I liked it! It tastes like a grape I think. But I'm still on the fence about the nobbly texture, so we won't be having them all the time I don't think. The boys liked them also, and I'm always trying to expose them to all kinds of food at a young age.

can we please note.....I remembered to take a picture BEFORE digging into it! Yay for self control!