In honor of Valentine's Day tomorrow, I thought it would be nice to spread the love and share some yummy recipes with my dear readers-you know who you are. This "Hallmark Holiday" would not be complete without decadent chocolate delights so I dare you to skip the prepackaged marketable goodies (unless you have a new baby, of course!) and make your own tasty concoction for the sweetie in you life. Warning: If your 'sweetie' is a dog I would skip on the chocolate and make these. Here are a few ideas of mine to get you started...
Mint Chocolate Brownies (photo above)
I chose this one because I believe halitosis should be avoided at all costs on this special day, you just might end up kissing someone and thanking me later.
1. Beat eggs until fluffy. 2. Add sugar and vanilla; beat well. 3. Melt the butter and chocolate and add to the mixture (mixing well). 4. Add flour and stir until smooth. 5. Pour into pan. 6. Bake at 375*F for 25 min (if using 9x12 pan) or for 20 min (if using 15x10 pan). 7. Topping: Mix 4 tablespoons butter, confectioners' sugar, mint, and cream. 8. Add green food coloring. 9. Frost brownies and refrigerate. 10. Chill 1 hour. 11. Top with remaining butter and melted chocolate chips. 12. Refrigerate and cut into squares.
1. Bring cream and honey to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. 2. Add chocolate; whisk until melted. 3. Remove from heat. 4. Whisk in kirsch and extract. 5. Pour fondue into bowl; place on platter. 6. Surround with fruit. 7. Serve with skewers. ***Or skip the fruit and skewers its Lover's fondue and almond is good for the complexion***
Chocolate Covered Cherries
* 2 cups powdered sugar (you may want to use more to thicken it up, some people have used another cup full) * 1/4 cup margarine * 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk * 1 teaspoon vanilla * 1 pinch salt * maraschino cherry, drained * milk dipping chocolate (I use giridelli's)
1. Combine the first 5 ingredients until well blended and smooth and place in fridge until firm. 2. Meanwhile spread out the drained cherries on a cookie sheet and freeze for at least 1 hours. 3. Scoop out about 1-2 teaspoon of filling and form into a ball around a cherry. 4. Place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and freeze for 1 hr after you have formed them all. 5. Melt dipping chocolate and using your hands dip each cherry placing it on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and chill in fridge until chocolate is solid. 6. Remove cherries carefully as not to break them open and loose the center. 7. Place in an airtight plastic container and keep in a cool dry place for up to 1 month.
January 13, 2009, I woke up with some intense Braxton-Hicks contractions, around nine I went in for my routine prenatal doctor's appointment only to discover that my blood pressure was 160/90, protein was spilling over into my urine, and was 2cm dilated. My doctor asked me to go into triage at the Women's Hospital to be screened for pre-eclampsia. Deep down I knew we would not be leaving without a baby so I went home first to gather my bags and husband.
We got admitted into triage rather quickly (whoever invented pre-registration was a genius, kudos to you!) where I was strapped to all kinds of fun monitors; Baby heart rate contraption-check! Contraction reader-check! Evil painful blood pressure cuff-check! And because the hospital finds it necessary to hire blood hungry vampires I got one of those too! Just for kicks and giggles, I managed to muster up a whopping 180/120 BP and a killer migraine. My nurse said the forbidden C-section word so then I had no choice but to pull out the birthplan (a tool that makes every O.B. nurse cringe) and informed everyone that no matter what I was having this drug free, minimally invasive , beautiful birth despite my condition as long as the baby wasn't in danger.
There really was no choice but to have my membranes ruptured due to rising blood pressure, things needed to be moved along. Around 5pm the dam gates were released and I braced myself for the long hours ahead. Warm showers, long walks, birthing ball, back massages, a double cheeseburger smuggled from Burger King, a lot of love, and an abundance of prayer became my sources of sustenance for the next 14 hours of drug free back labor.
I had mentally been preparing quite some time for having this baby naturally as possible, but my body physically failed me. After putting my best efforts forward to avoid drugs the news that my cervix wasn't dilating served as a punch to the gut. For the record, the 14 hours of natural back labor that was endured was not in vain as it now serves as a treasured belief that I can do anything!
The next 12 hours passed in a blur as I experienced everything from pitocin to 2 rounds of epidural, a husband that almost passed out, and still no precious baby in site. At this point we had passed the 24 hour mark of broken water and according to hospital policy Cesarean section becomes imminent, but my godsend of a doctor believes in birth, and most importantly believed in me. My mother led us in prayer and within an hour I went from 6cm to 9 1/2cm. I never became a complete ten due to a mal-positioned cockeyed baby but with the assistance of a vacuum I pushed baby out like our lives depended on it.
My labor process took 34 1/2 hours. Conditions were less than ideal resulting in the very necessary interventions, I did not achieve a drug free childbirth but I tried my very best and at the end of two very long days of preeclamptic back labor it is a miracle that surgery was avoided, I consider my birth experience successful and am looking forward to trying again.
For my Birthday my husband bought me a Samsyng Glyde, I had been in need of a new phone for quite some time and being practical I had indicated that I would like the env2 but my gadget-man of a husband decided I needed something far more superior and thats how I ended up with this fancy schmancy shiny device . I really like it because it makes texting so much easier and it even takes really good quality photos like this one...
Its been awhile since I have posted an update- As expected we have been pretty busy since the birth of Andrew; Our days and nights have been filled with bonding, nursing, diaper changes, sleeping, and lots of love.
Andrew is now 3 weeks old a little over 8lbs and cuter than ever. Each day he grows more alert and interactive. If you kiss his neck he make the cutest happy baby noises and he loves locking eyes with Mama and Daddy. The experts say they are not yet capable of smiling, "its just gas" but we all know better, he really is the happiest baby around!
Every moment with him is so precious, in my mind its absolutely unfathomable that three weeks have already passed since his birth. I want time to stand still so I can breathe in all the baby goodness.
Some of our major milestones this past month include Andrew's first trip to Daddy's hometown, bath, doctor's visit, trip to the mall, and dinner outing. He has established that as long as his cornucopias milk supply is near he is content for all the adventures yet to come.
1. Have a baby (completed 1/14/2009) 2. Successfully breastfeed (complete and established 1/14/2009-present) 3. Cloth diaper(2/14/2009-present) 4. Make Homemade baby food 5. Bake a cake and decorate it with fondant icing 6. Complete a painting and sale it 7. Learn to Sew 8. Finish a Scrapbook 9. Make homemade jewelery 10. Join a Mom group(I joined one and created one. Check us out at http://tristatemoms.proboards.com ) 11. Find a church home (still searching) 12. Join a church ministry 13. Stop biting my nails 14. Get back to my pre-pregnancy weight( work in progress)
15. Create a work out plan and stick to it 16. Master the Los Bravos Cheese Dip Recipe 17. Go on Vacation 18. Read the entire Bible (working on it) 19. Spend more quality time with my husband 20. Sell $200 in items I don't need on the internet 21. Join a fitness class 22. Take advantage of the library 23. Help Pappa maintain his garden 24. Grow my own vegetables 25. Get our car paid off 26. Begin house shopping 27. Catch a fish 28. Decorate the living room 29. Decorate our bedroom 30. Decorate the bathroom 31. Decorate the baby's room (finished) 32. Learn how to be better organized 33. Be able to wear my wedding rings again(accomplished 1/20/2009) 34. Make an effort to dress better ( Been doing this) 35. Etch headstones of passed on family members 36. Make Granny's Pecan Pie 37. This one is a secret 38. Have some professional family photos taken 39. Try 12 new recipes (one for each month) (3/12) 40. Blog everyday for a month 41. Run 1 mile without stopping, post pregnancy 42. Do a special photoshoot of my baby once a month(3/12) 43. Take my husband to Nashville (he has never been) 44. Do something special for our 1 year wedding anniversary 45. Make a pizza completely from scratch-minus the meat and cheese because I'm not going to age cheese or butcher meat. 46. Take a random roadtrip 47. Paint or draw at least once a month for a year trying to use different mediums (1/12) 48. See a live play 49. Go to a concert 50. Go to a sporting even with DH 51. Write a short creative story 52. Sample a new foreign dish 53. Get a new cell phone( purchased as B-day gift 1/23/09) 54. Find a Geocache 55. Put together a cookbook (started) 56. Write a poem 57. Throw my husband a birthday party 58. Throw my baby a 1 year birthday party 59. Let my hair grow out for a year ( started) 60. Start playing flute again 61. Go on weekly outing with the baby(so far so good) 62. Make homemade soap (Been looking into it) 63. Go to the Dentist and get retainer made 64. Track my meals everyday for a month on http://www.thedailyplate.com/ 65. Read all of the Dr. Sears books relevant to pregnancy and the first year of parenting. (3/8) 66. Have a natural childbirth (will get back to this after I blog the birth story) 67. Go Strawberry picking (not yet but I did make a strawberry pie ) 68. Go Apple picking 69. Take family trip to pumpkin patch 70. Learn how to baby wear (learning-mastered the ring sling and Mai-Tei) 71. Pay off student loans 72. Start a collection 73. Make a floral arrangement 74. Use our video camera and upload video to youtube 75. Write my MIL 76. Take family photograph including 4 generations 77. Win a contest 78. Finish making this list (working on it)