Sunday, May 31, 2015

Can't post...gotta run!

Well it's Sunday morning , 6:55 am and my post for today isn't ready.
It's sooo close to being done, but I don't have time to finish it.

Today my family is taking part in the 30th annual BC Children's Hospital ChildRun. We're doing a family friendly 1k walk/run.
All funds raised go towards childhood cancer research and treatment areas at BC Children's Hospital.
We had a family goal to raise $500, and we did it!!

This is not only Lauren's first run, but also Dave and Olivia's (she's riding in the stroller). And my first run with the whole family!
Last night before bed, Lauren had the biggest smile on her face and then told me that she was 'real, real excited to give money to help the sick kids'.


I don't usually leave my posts to the last minute, but this week was pretty busy as we had company visiting from out of town.
But check back next Sunday to see what the girls and I made for our visitors!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm not going to beat around the bush here, I love cookies.
Chewy cookies, soft cookies, crunchy cookies, chocolate, raisin, oatmeal, I love them all. I don't think I've never met a cookie I didn't like.


I never used to have a sweet tooth until I got pregnant with Olivia.
Sure, I liked the occasional Mars bar before getting getting pregnant, but once I was pregnant it was all over! All I wanted was sweet stuff - double stuff Oreos, double stuff Fudgee-Os, candy (coke bottles in particular), you name it I wanted it. Pregnancy cravings are REAL!!
*Side note - A Mars bar and cereal were the first things I ate after having both girls - I had gestational diabetes with both pregnancies and cereal and Mars bars (among many other things) weren't  allowed.
I was hoping after I had her, the sweet tooth would disappear, but it didn't. I still want sweets all the time!

When I bake cookies, they need to be baked for a specific reason. Whether it be delivering them to the Ronald McDonald house, having friends over or visiting family, they need to be going somewhere or I'll eat them...all of them. Ok, well not every last one, but too many.

There may be some truth to this...

Lauren will be 3 in July, and that little girl has the biggest heart of anyone I know. For the last few weeks she's been asking to go visit Great Grampa at his new nursing home. Lauren wanted to take some of her toys to give to him because she thought it would make him happy and he'd have fun with them. After some negotiating, we decided on taking cookies instead of toys.

I started looking through my cookies board on Pinterest and found a recipe for mini chocolate chip cookies that I'd pinned a really long time ago but had never made.

It looked like a fast recipe to make and the baking time was short so I figured why not try it.
From start to finish it took maybe 20 minutes. The most time consuming part was putting the dough on the baking sheet.


I never thought cute would be a word I'd use to describe cookies, but these bite size cookies are just so little and cute!
They're soft in the middle with crunchy edges and jammed packed full of chocolatey goodness! And they are the perfect size to satisfy that sweet treat craving.

Another thing I like about these little cookies, is that they're a good size fore our girls.
Let's be honest, kids don't care what size cookies are, they just want them!


A mini chocolate chip cookie or two and a glass of milk and you've got a kid friendly treat.
But don't think that these cookies are just for kids...


Once you get those little ones to bed, grab some cookies, pour yourself some cold Bailey's and you've got milk and cookies, adult style!


Enjoy!

White Oak serving board from Joseph Réal Design

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies:
(Recipe from Weight Watchers)

Ingredients:

2 tbsp softened, salted butter
2 tsp canola oil
1/2 cup packed, dark brown sugar OR 1/4 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp table salt
1 large egg white
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375ºF

In a medium bowl, cream together butter, oil and sugar. Add vanilla, salt and egg white; mix thoroughly to combine

In a small bowl, mix together flour and baking soda; stir into batter. Add chocolate chips to batter; stir to distribute evenly throughout.

Drop 48* half-teaspoons of dough onto one or two large nonstick baking sheets, leaving a small amount of space between each cookie. Bake cookies until golden around edges, about 4 to 6 minutes; cool on a wire rack. Yields 1 cookie per serving (1 Smart Point per cookie).

*I got 56 half-teaspoons cookies out the dough.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Kids in the Kitchen: Banana Bread

As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to start a Kids in the Kitchen series. 
This post will be the first of hopefully many!

If I want to have baking done for the week, it needs to be done in the morning and with the girls. They are both mischievous and full of energy, so I can't really dedicate an hour (or any amount of time) to baking while they're off being toddlers! And they hate napping. When they actually do nap at the same time, I have to do quiet things that won't wake them up, like fold laundry or have a nap myself...wait, what??

Around our house bananas are pretty popular, so we decided to make banana bread.
Making banana bread is usually a pretty quick and easy thing to do. Add two toddlers and a camera to that mix and it takes a whole lot longer!

Right now, my go-to banana bread recipe is from the classic Jean Paré Company's Coming Muffins & More cookbook. I like simple, traditional, old school recipes, and this is one them. I feel like it's one of those recipes that gets passed down through generations and is tried and true.
The actaul loaf is dark, moist and has lots of flecks through out. A definite Blaquiere family favorite.

Dr. Olivia patiently waiting to start

Her hands were clean, just stained from doing some art.

And it begins!


Lauren used to be happy with just dumping ingredients into the bowl, but now that's she's a big girl she likes to scoop (measure) and dump. 

That's her game face!



What Lauren does, Olivia has to do.



Big girls also use knives...



Little girls don't use knives, so this is what Olivia does while she waits for something to do.


Don't worry...if people other than us are eating our baking, I don't let her gnaw on the bowl.

And something everyone can do - mash bananas!



When we were all done and the banana bread was baked, Lauren ran to her bedroom to get her camera so she could take pictures. She's probably a better photographer with her Minnie Mouse camera than I am with Dave's fancy camera...Seriously!


And Olivia did this...


Ta-Da! The finished product!




Nice work girls!

Banana Bread Recipe:
(From Company's Coming Muffins & More)

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3-4 bananas)*
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Directions:
  • Cream butter and sugar together. Add eggs one at a tine, beating until smooth. Blend in mashed bananas
  • In a second bowl, stir flour with baking soda, baking powder, salt and nuts. Add to banana mixture stirring only to moisten. Transfer to greased 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.** Bake in 350 degrees oven for about 1 hour until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let stand 10 minutes. remove pan and place on cake rack to cool. Wrap to store.
    Yeild: 1 loaf
*I typically use about 4 very ripe, soft bananas
**I also like to sprinkle a little brown sugar on top before baking


Friday, May 15, 2015

Kids in the Kitchen

If you're my friend on Facebook, then you know I post a lot (a lot!) of pictures of my girls - but come on, they are pretty cute!
Mommy, Can I Lick the Spoon? won't be any different...you've been warned!

As the girls get older, one of the things I've been most excited about is baking with them.
When Lauren was born (and we had somewhat settled into having a newborn - if that's even possible), I wondered how old she had to be before we could bake together.

Lauren at 4 months old

When she turned two, we bought her an apron for her birthday. I figured if she had an apron, she'd maybe want to be involved...not so much.
We loved her apron, she hated it.

It turns out that for Lauren, around 2.5 was the magic age for her to want to help in the kitchen. And by help, I mean bake with me, not empty the cupboards, grab stuff from drawers, climb on chairs and tables etc...like Olivia does.
So mischievous!

Speaking of Olivia, she's so badly wanted to be a part of it all since she was around 13 months. She actually takes Lauren's apron and says "on" and then tries to push their big stool (in the picture below) into the kitchen.
Lauren loves her apron now and says it's real cool and has to be wearing it before we start.

She's always so serious!

So now that Lauren likes baking and Olivia is at an age where she can do more, I always have company in the kitchen. Having them in the kitchen with me is actually a good thing, because if they're with me, they can't be causing trouble elsewhere!
With my little helpers in mind, my Kids in the Kitchen series was born.

Double trouble!

Being 18 months apart means the little ladies are obviously at different stages, so I'm always thinking about what age appropriate kitchen tasks and activities will keep both of them learning, entertained, excited and (let's be honest), out of my hair while we're baking or cooking.

So what exactly can a couple of rambunctious toddlers do in the kitchen? Actually a lot.

Here are some things that my girls do:
· Wash produce
· Dry produce
· Crack eggs (with a little assistance)*
· Cut soft fruit
· Add ingredients
· Measure/sift dry ingredients
· Mash soft foods
· Stir/whisk
· "Paint" butter or oil on pan with a pastry brush**
· Knead dough
· Add toppings
· Decorate cupcakes
· And of course, be an icing taste tester

My turn!

If you ask Dave about my baking or cooking process he'll without a doubt say that I'm messy, and use way too many dishes, which I suppose is true...But baking with the girls takes it to a whole new level.
Having two little girls, I've always said that everything takes twice as long to do, there's twice the mess, but there's also twice the love and fun. And baking with them is no different.

Like this Olivia!

Check back on Sunday for my first Kids in the Kitchen post!

*A fan favorite with Lauren
**Another favorite activity for both girls

Monday, May 11, 2015

Gumpaste Flowers

Last week was a busy one! I didn't really have time to edit pictures or prepare anything to be posted yesterday.
We all had colds and I was getting ready to run my first 10k race. Because I was sick, I decided it was best to go to bed and try and sleep instead of staying up late to edit pictures. And because I was getting ready for my race, the days I ran I was up around 5:30am to try and get a 10k run in before Dave left for work, which also meant going to bed kind of early.

So instead of a baking post, here are some flowers I made in my Wilton Gumpaste and Advanced Gumpaste Flower classes.

The first ones (daisies, carnation, mum, rose and gerbera), I made in one of the first or the maybe the first class I took. They're not the best looking flowers, but not bad for a first attempt.

Big daisy

Small Daisy

Carnation

Mum

Mum

Shriveled up Rose
Gerbera

Gerbera

Broken Gerbera

And these ones are from the Advanced Gumpaste Flower class I did. I like these ones!

Ivy, Blossoms and Briar Rose arrangement 

Lily


Now that I'm feeling better, I have no excuse to not have a new post up on Sunday!

Thanks for looking!