week twenty-eight and spiced cider


week 28

week twenty-eight

Babysaurus is now the size of an eggplant. But a couple of weeks ago he was the size of a head of lettuce so either I live in a place with very small eggplants (likely) or he’s shrinking (not so likely considering my ever-expanding belly). Apparently this week he has also developed eyelashes and can dream. Hopefully really big dreams of becoming an NFL quarterback and buying his mom and dad an island in the South Pacific.

highlight of the week: week 28 doctor’s appointment and happy to report that all is well. And I’ve only gained 3 lbs in the last 6 weeks. (woot) Apparently I did this pregnancy thing backwards and gained 30 lbs in the first 4 months and now it’s just all shifting around to the front and adding little bits of filler (aka turkey and stuffing) here and there. Dr says I’m a “special case” but also incredibly healthy so we’re going with it.
things I miss the most about not being pregnant: taking a real breath. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to not have my lungs full of baby.
things I love the most about being pregnant: back rubs. Husband rocks.
cravings: chicken fried steak and eggs
things that make me sick: forgetting my snack stash at home and having to go more than 2 hours without food. It wasn’t pretty.
symptoms: Everything hurts and it feels like I’ve gotten in a wrestling match with a Mack truck. And lost.
things I’m looking forward to: third trimester! 12 weeks to go!

And in the spirit of Christmas and my soon-to-fail attempt to provide festivity to your computer screen, I’m passing on my newly-discovered recipe for spiced cider. (Thank you, Paula Deen) We served it at our Christmas party last weekend and it turned out pretty tasty. Especially when you put a little Fireball whiskey in it. Or so I was told. I thought the baby-friendly version was yummy.

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Obviously this picture is too pretty to be mine. Thank you, Google Images.

hot spiced cider

8 C apple juice
6 C cranberry juice
1 C orange juice
1/4 C brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1 Tbsp whole cloves
1 orange, sliced

1. In large pot, mix juices and whisk in sugar until dissolved.
2. Place cinnamon sticks and cloves in a mesh bag (we have these fancy things that Husband uses for his beer but panty hose would work just fine) and dunk in juice.
3. Bring juice to a boil. Then add the orange and reduce heat to low.
4. Allow to “brew” for 30 minutes (ish) and then remove spice bag. Continue to keep warm and serve.
5. This is the part where you add the adult-only parts and garnish with cranberries and cinnamon sticks.
6. May your Christmas be a little merrier!

 

happy halloween!

Happy pumpkin and Hershey bar day!

I’m not a big fan of Halloween. Probably due to the fact that I very much hate being scared and spiders and icky things and dressing up and most all of the stuff associated with October 31st. Except for those mini Hershey bars and pumpkins. I love those, which is why I’m renaming the holiday. Anyway, everyone we know is super into it so I decided to attempt participation this year. It went pretty well:

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In case you can’t tell, we were troll dolls. Only I had the belly though. Husband didn’t fully commit to the costume

Ranger and Tonto even got into the action. They hated every second.

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Charles and Wellington refused to wear their bow ties and spent the day sulking in their hay pile. Well, I think they were sulking. It’s kind of hard to tell with ducks. Then they dug some holes and felt better. Pretty typical Chuck and Welly day.
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Still can’t say I’m a fan of Halloween but we had fun. And I had the occasion to make one of my favorite party foods: fiesta bites! These are super easy and I haven’t met a person yet who dislikes them. Win! And everything can be prepared the day before so all you have to do the day-of is turn on the oven for 10 minutes! True to form, I don’t measure anything and usually make about 100 of these so I’ll estimate but cooking is never an exact science anyway. Or maybe it is and that’s why I’ve never mastered cinnamon rolls. Whatever. Also, we were running late (you’ll notice the pics get progressively messier) so I dashed out of the house without taking a picture of the finished product. Next time. Maybe. If I remember…

fiesta bites

10 flour tortillas
2 bell peppers, diced
4 jalepeno peppers, diced
1 block pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 lb shredded cheese (I use either sharp cheddar or the Mexican blend but anything would work)
1 can black beans, if desired
2 chicken breasts, shredded
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic
2 tsp chipotle chili seasoning
Sour cream, salsa and/or guacamole as garnish

1. Cut circles out of the tortillas. I use a biscuit cutter and can usually get about 8 circles from each tortilla. The leftover scraps are delicious when you fry them and then sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Or honey. Just saying.
2. Blend paprika, garlic, and chipotle chili powder with shredded chicken. Have I mentioned the easiest way to shred chicken is in your kitchen aid?! Just drop in cooked chicken and seasonings, turn it on and voila! Perfect chicken in 3.4 seconds.
3. Preheat oven to 400° and grease mini muffin pan.
4. Stuff a tortilla circle in each muffin cup. Then layer in pepper jack cheese, beans (which I sometimes leave out depending on the audience), shredded chicken, and diced peppers.
5. Top each cup with shredded cheese.
6. Bake at 400° or until cheese is melty and tortilla is crispy.
7. The tortillas should slide right out and keep their shape. Garnish with sour cream, salsa, or guac. Or all of the above.
8. Repeat steps 1-7 because you’re going to need more, guaranteed.

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Step uno: cut some circles.

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Step dos: Shred and season some chicken.

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Step Tres: Stuff tortillas into muffin cups

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Step Cuatro: Add pepperjack

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Step Cinco: Add beans and chicken.

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Step Seis: Add peppers.  Start to make a mess.

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Step Siete: Add more cheese.  Make bigger mess.  Then bake.  Then eat.

I also made these creepy brain cupcakes for our work party. Gross, but easy and awesome. I needed to make something festive but requiring little skill since my cake-decorating skills are far less than stellar.  There were some zombie body part ones (where I sprinkled crushed-up oreos on top of chocolate frosting, then topped with a gummy body part and red gel icing for a nice, gooey effect) too, but alas, no pictures. Typical. 20121031-163625.jpg

what do you mean, “you don’t have any brisket”?!

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fancy pants

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