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And Then There Were Three

Hello Everyone –

It has certainly been a long while since I have posted anything on the site.  With the stress of working full time and commuting up until the end of my pregnancy (and now being a full time mommy), I haven’t made blogging much of a priority.

However, after the much needed hiatus, we are back!

Expect some fun blog posts to come your way soon.

Be well and stay sweet ❤

My Sweet Boy <3

My Sweet Boy ❤

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The Gift of Motherhood…. And Oreo Truffles!

Don’t let the title fool you – no preterm labor (knock on wood…).

This weekend we are getting together to commemorate my mom’s 40th birthday! She has been through so much in her young life, and has sacrificed a great deal to provide a life for my siblings and me, so she really deserves to be celebrated!

She also deserves chocolate (drool…). Especially since she has been so dedicated to staying healthy and working out (Go Mom!!!).  After much deliberation, I’ve decided to make her Oreo Truffles (with NO NUTS! Mom hates her nuts and dessert to cross paths). One of the best things about this recipe is that it is extremely simple and utterly delicious – plus, there’s no baking required! And because I just can’t get enough of these World Market containers, I went out last night and bought several more (they are just so perfect for giving baked goods!!!) so that I can give her a tasty and beautiful gift.

Now that I have the yummy part of her gift figured out, I really need to decide what to wear.  It’s a “Silver and White” themed party, and I really don’t know if I have much other than black in my wardrobe (unless you count something that has black stripes as not being black!).  Thankfully we can wear black pants (Hubby and I don’t own any white bottoms, so that would be tricky!). At least I have a few days to come up with something!

In the meantime, enjoy the recipe below!

OREO TRUFFLES

Takes 40 minutes and yields approximately 25 Truffles.

1 Package Oreos** (Hubby Bought Double Stuff, so we are going to work with that)

1 8 oz Package Cream Cheese, softened*

1 Chocolate Bar* (We chose a Salted Dark Chocolate Bar…YUM!)

1/8 tsp Salt

  1. Place a cookie sheet with a layer of wax paper in the freezer.
  2. In the blender, grind entire package of Oreos into fine crumbles. In a separate bowl, grate your Chocolate Bar to create fine shavings.
  3. In a large bowl, combine Cream Cheese, Oreo Crumbles, and Salt until the mixture has an even consistency (no chunks of cream cheese, everything is incorporated).  I used a hand mixer to achieve this, but a standing mixer would also be a great option.
  4. Remove cookie sheet from freezer.
  5. Using a regular Tablespoon, portion out the Oreo Batter, rolling into balls with your hands. Gently roll the Oreo Balls in the Chocolate Shavings and place Truffles onto cookie sheet.
  6. Return to the freezer for an additional 30 minutes. After Truffles have been chilled for 30 minutes, they can be placed in the refrigerator or served!

*Use Cream Cheese Substitute and Chocolate Bar Substitute to make these Truffles Vegan!

**For a gluten free recipe, you can substitute the Oreos for these Yummy Cookies – I haven’t tried making them, but they look delicious!

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Gluten Free Apple Pearberry “Full” Muffins & The Sisterhood of the Traveling Sweet Tooth

In the spirit of life improvement and a desire to keep this blog up and running, Dito and I discussed a fun way to keep our creative juices flowing in a very tasty way.  I’m sure many of you have read (or seen the films…meh…) The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. This used to be one of my favorite books when I was in Junior High!  Our baking experiment follows a very similar pattern; rather than pants, Dito and I will be using Traveling Containers filled with baked goodies that we are required to exchange once a month – we didn’t want to get too ambitious! Haha!

After researching recipes and pondering the yumminess of baking (which is NOT my specialty, let me tell you…), I decided to go for a healthy option. And because I didn’t see too many gluten-free muffin recipes that I liked, I came up with my own (after fairly extensive research on alternative flours and gluten free baking, of course). I’m extremely thankful that they came out well on the first try, especially since I am not very skilled at eggless baking (Dito is allergic to eggs, so I made the muffins allergy-free)!  Dito and I are having dinner and exchanging goodies tonight, so we’ll see what she thinks! (To see some of her awesome recipes, check out her Blog!  Here is a link to her yummy Blueberry Oatmeal Bars that she made for our Sisterhood Date.)

I present to you the first creation in our Sisterhood of the Traveling Sweet Tooth Series:

Gluten-Free Apple Pearberry “Full” Muffins

I have called them “Full” muffins because I added flax seed which is a high-fiber superfood that will help make you feel nourished, as well as helping lower cholesterol, prevent cancer… no big deal! 😉 And if you swap out the butter for a vegan-friendly option, you’ve got vegan muffins, too!

Ingredients:

¼ Cup (½ Stick) Unsalted Butter, Softened

3 Tbsp Brown Sugar

1 Cup Plain Nonfat Yogurt

1 Cup Rolled Oats

¾ Cup Brown Rice Flour

¼ Cup Flax Seed, Ground

¼ tsp Salt

¼ tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 Banana, Ripe

1 Large Granny Smith Apple, Peeled and Cubed

1 Large Pear, Peeled and Cubed

¼ Cup Blueberries

Turbinado Sugar for Garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 350* F, and fill a 12-muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Combine Yogurt and Oats in a small bowl, and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, cream the Butter and Brown Sugar (you can use a spoon or a mixer – I used our hand-held mixer because I’m lazy).
  4. Add in one whole Banana to your Butter and Sugar mixture, beating thoroughly. Continue mixing until the consistency is fairly smooth.
  5. To this, add in your Yogurt and Oat mixture. Once combined, add the Brown Rice Flour, Flax Seed (I ground this in a coffee grinder and it worked really well), Salt, and Pumpkin Pie Spice. Mix until completely incorporated.
  6. Gently fold in Apple, Pear, and Blueberries.
  7. Evenly distribute the batter into the muffin tin and garnish with Turbinado Sugar (I also added a little more Pumpkin Pie Spice to the top of the muffins). Place in the oven for 25 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test.
  8. Let the muffins rest for 10 – 15 minutes, then enjoy!
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It’s A Boy… And Other News

It sure has been a long time since Thanksgiving.  And quite a lot has happened! In addition to getting much rounder in the belly, there have been some new advancements in the baby department.  As the title of this post alludes, we found out we are having a little boy! Despite the countless dreams and gut feelings that we were having a girl, the ultrasound tech at our 22 week appointment informed us that we were, in fact, having a son.  Needless to say, I have had to adjust to the idea considering I thought Baby Sweet was a girl for over 20 weeks!  Aside from finding out Baby’s gender, I am happy to announce that he is completely healthy and on track for a wonderful life.  That is definitely something to be grateful for!

Speaking of gratitude – as the holidays have come and gone, we have spent a great deal of time with family.  It really helps you to see how blessed you are to spend time with so many people who love you. This warmth of family, as well as my current state of pregnancy, shaped my Resolution for 2016.  Obviously I can’t set myself up for a weight loss challenge with over three months of pregnancy left (I could… But I won’t… 😉 ); however, I can certainly set a goal of giving back to my loved ones and showing thankfulness more often.  Having family in other states makes this especially more important.  My FIL lives in Oregon, for example, and we don’t see him very often…so I am resolving to contact him at least once a week to demonstrate just how much we care about him.  Sometimes, with our busy lives, we forget to make families a priority – and that’s something I want to change.  I think this will set the tone for the next part of our lives becoming parents and teaching our son the importance of love and gratitude.  We’ll have to see how well I can keep up with it!

Another thing I am going to attempt to do more of is use the blog. Unfortunately, I have not been very active.  This is such a shame considering how fun it could be for Baby Sweet to read about what it was like for Mama during pregnancy.  I hope to post more for him, and for you all, to chronicle this journey in our lives.

Until next time. Be well and stay sweet! ❤

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Giving Thanks!

“Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion. Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception. Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude. Every virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road.”
— John Henry Jowett

Hey everyone! Yes, it’s that time of year again.  The time to be thankful for the many plates of delicious food. The trips to visit loved ones. The joy in preparing for such exciting and amazing gatherings…. Here’s a list of all the things I’m thankful for.  Leave a comment about what makes you the most grateful!

1. Existence – If you woke up this morning, that is something to be incredibly thankful for.  One of the miracles we most take for granted is life itself (our own lives and the lives of others).  Just as much as I am thankful for the little life growing inside me, I am inexplicably grateful for the life I’m fortunate enough to live. Be happy you’re alive!

2. Health – Whether it’s that few extra pounds or the unhealthy meals we eat that get in the way, a lot of times we don’t recognize just how lucky, and how healthy we are.  Most of us have all our limbs that function correctly, we don’t have any horrible illnesses.  We are generally blessed to have a working vessel with which to conduct our lives, and that is such a wonderful thing!

3. Our Senses – How would we understand the world in which we live without the ability to smell freshly cut grass, listen to raindrops on our windows, feel the warmth of the rising summer sun enveloping our bodies, to taste that heaping pile of mom’s amazing turkey and stuffing…. We often don’t realize how amazing it is to be able to feel, taste, touch, smell, and hear. Imagine if we couldn’t!

4. Our Emotions – It is one thing to physically feel, but to be able to truly comprehend and develop our feelings is an even more amazing feat that humans have been able to master.  I am so grateful to know what it means to love, to experience fear, to ache with sadness, and to relieve utter frustration… Emotions add such richness to our lives!

5. Technology and Medicine – We’ve all played Oregon Trail, or watched old movies or documentaries, and seen what conditions used to be like before the advancements we have now come to expect. Take a second and think about what life would be like without your smart phone, without a car, without immunizations, without a medicine cabinet and something as simple as cough medicine or ibuprofen, let alone the surgical and other medical advancements with which we are so truly blessed. It’s a pretty crazy thought!

6. Companionship – I am so grateful for the companionship of my loved ones and my friends.  From having someone to keep you warm, to sharing a laugh, to getting angry and sharing the most intense emotions, close relationships allow you to live life to the fullest.  I am especially thankful for my wonderful fiance and our little miracle on the way!

7. Parents and Family – Aside from the obvious fact that our existence is only possible because of our parents, we really wouldn’t have developed into the people we are today without their influence, guidance, and sacrifices.  Our parents deserve so much gratitude for what they have done to ensure our success and happiness (and our safety!).  Sometimes it takes a little growing up to fully realize just what our parents have done, and I am so thankful that I am getting to the point where I can appreciate them more than ever before.

8. The Universe – Our universe is so vast and expansive, so beautiful, and without it, life would not exist.  We are star stuff, the compilation of billions of years of stardust on and beyond the perfect planet to sustain life.  What we breathe, drink, eat, smell, taste, feel… Everything is a result of the flux of the magnificence of our unimaginable universe. Now that is something to be thankful for!

I hope you all have an amazing holiday season!

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Blueberry Cream Cheese Pastries

One of the best and worst things about being pregnant is the incessant need to eat!  Luckily I haven’t had any ridiculous cravings yet (I’m fearful for the dreaded ice cream and pickle combination I keep hearing about), but I am definitely in the mood for a lot more variety.  Before the bun was in the oven, I wasn’t much for dessert; these days, sweet treats are always welcome!

After seeing many desserts on my Pinterest feed (many of which containing cheeses I can’t eat like Brie… YUM!), I decided to come up with a baby-safe dessert that kept my naughty cheese cravings at bay.  With that, my Blueberry Cream Cheese Pastries were born (yes, pun intended).

I hope you all enjoy! 🙂

Note: I also made these with raspberries and Brie (my MIL and fiance say they were delicious!), and again with raspberries and cream cheese.  The recipe is the same for all applications, just substitute the type of cheese or berry in the same ratio that the recipe calls for.

For Blueberry Filling:

Ingredients:

12 oz fresh or frozen blueberries

1 cup sugar

4 teaspoons corn starch

3 teaspoons water

3 teaspoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan combine the cornstarch and sugar. Gradually mix in water and lemon juice. The mixture should be a thick paste (do not add too much liquid to compensate; the blueberries will add the necessary moisture!).
  2. Add blueberries and turn on stove to medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sauce begins to congeal.
  3. Once the syrup has reached a relatively thick consistency, remove from heat and add butter and vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate once cool. Lasts for up to 4 days.

For Pastries:

 

Ingredients:

1 package puff pastries (2 sheets)

2 cups cream cheese, cut into ½ inch cubes (I buy block cream cheese at our local Sam’s club to save money, and it works out perfectly for this application)

Blueberry filling (see above)

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 385*F (some ovens may vary, but this is the temperature that produced the best results for us).
  2. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter cut each sheet of puff pastry into nine pieces (each piece will be approximately 3″ x 3″).
  3. Grease your muffin tins (I used one 12 muffin size and one 6 muffin size because the recipe yields 18 pastries, but you can use two 12 muffin tins and have empty spaces 🙂 )
  4. Pinch the corners of the puff pastry creating little star shapes and place them into the muffin tin, pressing down the middle and opening the corners slightly.
  5. Place the ½ inch cubes of cream cheese in the center of each pastry, then fill each with a tablespoon (or more if you desire) of blueberry mixture.
  6. Place on the top rack of the oven for 20 minutes. Move to the middle or bottom rack and cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until pastry has expanded and edges are golden brown.

Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving and enjoy!