1 c. chopped pecans
1/2 c. melted dark chocolate
1 tsp. salt
Spread popcorn evenly over a cookie baking sheet. Disperse pecans over popcorn evenly. Drizzle chocolate over popcorn and pecans using a spoon. Sprinkle the salt over the whole thing! Let popcorn mixture stand until chocolate has completely cooled and hardened. Enjoy!
This truly is the most delicious, healthy treat that I have ever have! I got the idea from the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook and modified it a little to my own liking. I substituted pecans for cashews for more of a buttery, sweet flavor and I added a dash of salt to contrast the chocolate and to make it more eating friendly. After a while the chocolate can be too much so the addition of the salt really helped a lot for the balance. I hope you love this treat as much as I do!
Invest in Stock
…. chicken stock that is. While meat and vegetable broths are a great way to add flavor to any meal, I think you will find that the investment of a good stock can be not only a better use of your time but a better use of flavors in a dish. What is the main difference between broth and stock you may be asking…
Stock= boiled meat bones, vegetables, spices, herbs and water
For example, my left-over Christmas ham soup from my 12/29 post called for a chicken bouillon cube in water and had no mention of broth or stock at all. The bouillon cube in water would have been just fine for a quick substitute for either broth or stock but in the end I knew that I wanted a bigger impact than that! So what did I do… I chose to use chicken stock instead! My own homemade chicken stock!
In the past I have been asked what my opinion is of the best ingredient that you can buy in the grocery store and my response was then, as it will always be, your store’s rotisserie chicken. The reason being: not only does it usually sell for around $5 for a whole, fully-cooked chicken, but you can use that 1 item throughout the entire week in your meals! When I buy a rotisserie chicken from the store I usually remove the fully-cooked chicken breasts and serve it still hot from the store. The next day I will remove the rest of the meat, usually saving it for sandwiches, salads, soups, and dinner dishes. No one loves an easy step more than me and by having chicken already cooked in my fridge it not only inspires me to whip up a dish in a moment’s time but it also inspires me to eat a more healthy meal such as a salad with chicken topped over it.
And finally once I have removed all of the meat from the rotisserie chicken I use the bones to make stock! Not only is making your own stock easy on your dollar but it can be a way to personalize your meals by adding your own ‘secret’ ingredients to the stock! Once I have made the stock I usually keep some in the fridge for a week or two and then freeze the rest of it. Use the following stock recipe as a basis for you to explore and personalize your own stock! Feel free to substitute any of the ingredients for your own personal twist! You can change ingredients such as chicken for beef, thyme for basil, salt for smoked salt. Whatever you want!
Chicken Stock Recipe
The bones of a chicken
2 liters water
2 c. sliced celery including leaves
2 c. sliced onion
Handful of fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp. thyme
1 Tbsp. rosemary
1 Tbsp. sage
1 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. pepper
Mix all of the ingredients together in a large stock pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat for low and cover. Let simmer for 2-3 hours or until a flavorful aroma sweeps your home and you’ve decided it is done.
Skip the Ice Cream
… and have frozen yogurt! Not necessarily the frozen yogurt that you would find at an ice cream shop but just plain old throw-in-your-freezer- yogurt! Last night the devil was coming out in my husband, as explained in previous posts, and he was tempting me to go get some ice cream! I told him no way!
He then went to the fridge to look for something to eat when he pulled out a yogurt, “Wait!” I said. “Let’s freeze them for a minute!”
We then enjoyed eating our ‘frozen yogurt’ on the couch while watching a movie. We didn’t need to get up and go buy ice cream, which we would have needed to do, and we probably saved ourself not only calories but money on buying designer ice cream! Try it!
White Chocolate-Raspberry Trifle
If you are looking for a full-proof, easy recipe that will ‘WoW’ your friends and family for your next event, (This is the perfect Valentine’s Day dessert), then you must try this beautiful and decadent dessert!
1 box of Brownies
3 pkg. White Chocolate Jell-O instant pudding mix
1 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 pkg. Fresh Raspberries
Bake the brownies by following the directions on the package. Let the brownies completely cool before cutting into small squares. Prepare the pudding by following the directions on the package. In a large bowl whip the heavy cream that includes the granulated sugar and vanilla until soft peaks begin to form.(5-6 min.) Using a large trifle stand or bowl, place 1/3 of the brownie squares along the bottom, covering as much of the bottom as possible. Next, pour 1/3 of the prepared pudding over the brownies and smooth over with a spatula. Place the next 1/3 of the brownie squares over the pudding. Repeat the layering steps until you have used all of the brownies squares and pudding. Once finished with the layering pour the whipped cream over top and smooth with a spatula. Decretively place the raspberries on the top of the whipped cream to present the trifle.
The great thing about this recipe is its versatility. You can substitute all of your favorite puddings, brownies, and fresh fruits that you want to make it your own! Go get creative!
Gather All Your Friends For…
The Catch: Bring all of the things from your home that you are no longer wanting… and trade with the other women at the party and to the local D. I.
The Rules: Take turns displaying items from your ‘box’ while the audience races to say ‘I want that’ first! If there is a tie have the battlers guess a number between 1-20 and the closest to the secret number wins the item!
The whole idea comes from a friend of mine who was getting ready to take a load of what she thought was junk to the D.I. and was stopped by a neighbor for something in her pile. Her neighbor noticed an item that she was just about to go buy at the store but because she had it given to her by her neighbor it was completely… Free! She called the name of the party Dust Collectors.
Thus the idea was born to trade with our friends and neighbors before making the trip to the D. I.. You would be amazed at all the things that are brought to the party that people don’t want anymore that you could maybe use in your own home! Last night I picked up a baby-monitor that I almost just paid $100 for! I also got a craft organizer (check out my previous craft organizer posts!), silver stocking hangers, decretive ‘welcome’ sign, and pajamas for my baby! All of these items I was planning on buying at the store but now have saved who knows how much money on!
Here is a list of items that you might think about adding to your ‘Dust Collector’ box:
- Kitchen appliances such as blender, mixer, croc pot, food processor, nut grinder, toaster, grill
- Table cloths, napkins, centerpieces, decretive plates.
- Professional paintings, photographs, sculptures
- Clothing for all ages, shoes, socks.
- Extra diapers, wipes, bathing accessories.
- Computer accessories, phone accessories, and TV accessories.
- Furniture, pillows, blankets.
- Books, CDs, DVDs
- And any other item that you can think of.
I also once got a knee brace and work out gloves that I almost bought too! See the random items that people don’t want but others were just about to go buy! Someone wise once said, ‘one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!’ So start your very own Dust Collector’s group this month and enjoy connecting with the women from your neighborhood an a not-so-average way!
Molten Chocolate Cakes
Ok, so lately I have been on this healthy living kick that I have committed myself to but you still have to have some fun with your cooking! And with this simple recipe you will surprise yourself about how easy this is to do and how yummy it is to eat! Don’t worry… they can be small portions!
4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate (or 1/2 c. chocolate chips)
1 c. powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
6 tbsp. flour
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl for 1 min or until butter has mostly melted. Remove from microwave and stir until all chocolate has melted. Slowly add the powdered sugar and mix until well incorporated and the mixture is smooth. Add the eggs including yolks one at a time and mix well. You can do this step in an electric mixer but it is just as easy to do it by hand. Finally, add the flour and mix until flour is completely mixed in.
Pour final mix into small ramequin cups about 3/4 of the way up. Bake for 11 min or until the outside edges or fully cooked leaving the middle slightly undercooked! This is the yummy secret! Enjoy!
How to Prepare Spaghetti Squash
It took my a while, and some researching, to figure out how to prepare and cook this wonder food but once I did I realized how versatile it could be as a side or even main dish to your family’s dinners. So when I took it home and began the process of dissecting the veggie I realized it was a lot harder than I thought it would be. My assumption was that it was like any other soft veggie that I could easily slice and dice my way through the recipe. Not the case. I realized there was a lot more steps necessary to prepare it.
First, I tried cutting it up like a pineapple. Didn’t work. Then I tried microwaving it to fast-cook it. Helped a little. Then I realized if you warmed it up enough, say for 40 min in a hot oven, that the spaghetti strands would easily come loose! Duh! After it cooked for a bit I pulled it and cut it in half long-ways. From there it is pretty simple… pull the spaghetti strands off using a fork!
You can substitute it for real spaghetti or just eat it as it is. My family and I loved it in our weekly spaghetti feed and could hardly tell the difference! Try it for your family tonight!
Chocolate Pudding That’s Good for You
While at the grocery store last week I picked up a new item that I have never bought before… chocolate tofu. The image on the box intrigued me as I picked it up from the mushroom and tofu section when I saw a slice of a chocolate-pudding pie. It looked interesting and maybe a little good so I took it home with me. That night I opened the box to find the most delicious treat my taste-buds have ever devoured! Tofu chocolate pudding!
I couldn’t believe how delicious this was and decided to do some research on tofu pudding vs. the average snack lunch pudding. The results were shocking. Regular chocolate pudding had nearly 2 grams of saturated fat which is the unhealthy fat when tofu pudding didn’t have any at all! In fact, what tofu pudding did have was monounsaturated fat that is the healthy fat proven to slim your waist line. The tofu pudding also had 8% of your daily Iron value which is a great natural energy booster. I am now completely converted to tofuism!
You-Gotta-Try 7up Chicken
1 pkg. bacon (turkey or pork)
1/2 c. flour
1 lb. red potatoes, quartered
2 c. baby carrots
1 c. yellow onion
1/2 c. flour
1 can 7-up
1 lb. provolone cheese
Cook bacon in large skillet and drain grease. Remove bacon from skillet. Season chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Using a plastic bag, coat chicken pieces in flour while shaking bag. Brown chicken in skillet then add bacon,potatoes, carrots, onions and can of 7-up. Let simmer until vegetables have soften and meat is fully cooked through. Just before serving add provolone cheese and let melt!
Note: you can add more or less of any of the ingredients because it’s basically a big stew! This is super easy and super yummy! My momma always makes this in a dutch oven which only makes things easier and yummier!
If you have not tried this delectable treat then take your taste buds for a ride! It is one of the simplest cakes that you will ever make and it’s title rings true when establishing its taste dependability!
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can butterscotch topping
1 quart whipping cream
1 c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Heath candy bars
Prepare cake as directed on box. Let cool slightly. Using a round edge of a wooden spoon, dot the cake completely. Your dots should nearly demolish the cake and should extend to the bottom. Pour the milk and the butterscotch all over the cake, specifically in the dots. In a large bowl whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla until well incorporated. Spread whipped cream over cake. Break up the Heath bars into small bits and sprinkle them over top of the cake as a finishing decoration! Store in fridge until ready to serve!
Tips: The longer the cake stays in the fridge (up to a week) the more yummy it becomes!
Help Your Children Eat Healthier…
Be an example. Your children look to you as an example for everything they do, especially what they eat, so if you want your children to eat healthy you need to eat healthy first.
Prepare homemade foods that you can control what goes in it. You can substitute sugars for honey or maple syrup, substitute eggs with just egg whites, and use whole wheat flour instead of all white.
When at the grocery store visit the produce section with your children and ask them, “what color would you like to eat today?” This is a great way to get your child to try new fruits and vegetables in a fun way that is more like playing a game! Your child will be more willing to try new foods if they are involved in the choosing process and the food happens to be their favorite color.
My Husband’s Favorite Pizza
1 can refried beans
1 lb. ground turkey (or beef if you prefer)
1 pkg. taco seasoning
2 c. mexican blend cheese
1 small can sliced olives
1 c. sour cream
1/4 c. green onions
Your favorite salsa
Brown ground turkey in pan and follow directions on taco seasoning package. Heat refried beans in another sauce pan then spread over pizza dough. Add ground turkey to pizza then top with cheese, olives, sour cream, green onions, and your favorite salsa! I also really like to make some extra enchilada sauce and use that as well. Plus feel free to substitute and add as many other ingredients you would like. Sliced green peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, or any other vegetable you love!
Note: I love to substitute lean meats in when I can! Of course ground beef could be used here but if you are going to dress it up with taco seasoning then you might as well save some fat and calories!
Get the Facts
I love my husband more than anything… but every night around 9 o’clock the devil comes out in him! No, he does not lose his temper or want to get frisky but much worse… this about the time every night his junk food cravings kick in! Sounds like no big deal but when it involves him being that devil figure who tries to persuade and justify junk food to me it is hard not to give in!
So there we were in bed going through our usual routine of reading before bed when my husband looks over at me and says those few sinful words, “Doesn’t ___ sound so good right now?!” … And that’s when I cave! It never is, by the way, rice cakes or soy nuts that he craves but instead this time it was pizza.
“How about we order one of those new Dominos pizzas online? Wouldn’t that be fun?!” He says to me before I can even get a word in. And just when he is about to click the ‘Order’ button I interrupt him and ask him how many calories are in a single piece of pizza. We scrolled down to their nutrition facts page and the results were shocking!
Obviously I know that pizza wasn’t healthy and that there would be a lot of calories in a slice but what was really shocking about our whole investigation was that after reading about the nutrition facts we did NOT want pizza anymore. Or any other kind of food for that manner! We were so disgusted by what we saw from the nutrition guide that we vowed, only for a second, to never eat pizza again! It is mind boggling to think how many calories you could be taking in by eating the average 3 slices per person a meal. So shocking that we became interested in some of the other foods that we like to eat.
We then began to look up some of our favorite restaurant’s nutrition guides and were once again disgusted by their numbers. How could we possibly allow ourselves to eat that much food? We even revisited a time when we ordered and ate an appetizer, entre, and dessert at The Olive Garden. We totaled those calories to be 4,000 in our 3 course meal! Our dessert alone was 1,000 calories. We couldn’t believe that we were consuming almost all of our intended daily calories of 1600 to one meal that didn’t even fill us up!
So as you are experiencing some of the cravings the I or my husband have nightly just think to yourself… I wonder what this food’s nutrition facts are… you might change your mind!
Spice Up Any Sandwich!
We can all agree that sometimes a deli sandwich can be the healthiest choice for a quick lunch… but sometimes they can get a little old to eat everyday! That’s when I decided I was going to keep my healthy lunch but add a kick to the average cold sandwich…by grilling it in a panini!
Stocking your kitchen with an electric panini grill can be one of the best gadget investments you can ever make! These wonderful cooking agents are appearing all over local markets nowadays at very affordable prices. Try one! The beauty of the grill allows you to transform an ordinary soft, cold sandwich into a hot, crispy meal that can consists of all your favorite ingredients!
Panini Turkey Sandwich
4 slices deli turkey
2 slices provolone cheese
2 pieces roasted red pepper
2 tsp. Honey Mustard
Spread honey mustard evenly across the bread slices. Arrange the turkey, provolone, roasted red peppers between the bread slices. Place sandwich in preheated panini grill for 4-5 min or until crispy and cheese has melted. Enjoy!
1 lb. whole wheat spaghetti
1 can marinara sauce ( I think Prego is the best!)
2 Tbsp. parmesan
Few sprigs of fresh basil
2 c. pepperoni
1 c. cooked sweet corn
1 c. cooked broccoli
1 c. cooked peas
1 c. cooked sqaush
1/2 c. sliced green peppers
1 can sliced olives
1/2 c. sun dried tomatoes
Cook pasta as directed on package… and then a little more! Because whole wheat pasta is tougher than white flour pasta it takes longer to cook and in my opinion can not be over cooked! Heat the marinara sauce in another pot and add to fully-cooked pasta. Add the mozzarella, pepperoni, (or whatever sounds good) just before serving for a fun twist to the traditional spaghetti. When I was growing up my mom would serve spaghetti at least once a week, probably because it was so cheap, and would include a whole spaghetti bar with ingredients that we could choose to add to our pasta! As a child I always remember that as a fun meal that I got to choose what I wanted to put on it! Have fun and be creative with this recipe… but definitely try the mozzarella because it makes the pasta creamy and cheesy beyond yummy belief!
I have found that if you are truly wanting to save money and look for the best deals on the products that you love – shopping online is the answer to that dilemma. I have come up with a few big reasons why shopping online is not only affordable but economical as well.
Because most stores are nationwide they usually consist of a large, online inventory sometimes including items that you can not find in their store. If this is the case… then awesome! Sometimes I find the best deals on inventory that companies do not keep in their stores simply because their marketing is limited. Also, we have all been in the situation where we fell in love with a top but the store didn’t have our size! Find it online!
Be smarter than just the average shopper and sign up for a store’s online weekly or daily newsletter. Often times you will find killer promotions way sooner than the average shopper and are able to take advantage of sneak-peaks and early sales. Plus, using coupons has never being easier with an online promotional code that you can copy and paste to your checkout cart. I would probably never use coupon codes like I do online! I have often gotten many items for free or at an insanely low price because of saved coupons and high percentage off!
How much gas would you say you use just driving to the grocery store or the mall every week? I spend a lot, and that is not just because my car gets terrible gas mileage! I love the fact that I can buy something online without sparing any more pennies on the gas to and from the store! I skip the lines, the parking, and the hassle of moving a tired baby from one cart to another! And because I am a frequent online shopper I have also earned my ‘free shipping’ advantage so it really becomes economical for me to shop online… and I love to do it!
There are also plenty of ‘sister’ stores out there who offer more than one store shipment on one bill. Take the Gap for example: I can go online and buy something from Gap… while also buying something from Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime, and Athleta and all of the merchandise will be put on one bill, saving not only me money on gas to each individual store but time!
The ‘Perfect’ Side Dish
There is something to be said for the wonderful invention of microwave steamed vegetables! How could you resist the affordable, delicious little veggies that come in your grocer’s frozen food isle? I sure can’t!
There are many great products out on the market right now who all offer the steam bag cooking approach. A couple of these products are Bird’s Eye Steamfresh and Green Giant Valley Fresh Steamers. Both of which you simply place the entire frozen bag in your microwave and….BAM! Instant side dish!
Not only can you get the steam bag in just a steamed vegetable but you are now able to get a complete meal out of them! With Bird’s Eye Voila meals or Green Giant’s medleys you can easily make a meal in minutes. My husband is not much of a salad person so in order for me to get some greens on the table I have to use the instant frozen vegetable method. I would much rather give my family a quick, healthy side like frozen vegetables over a carbs loaded french bread.
And finally, the last reason why I love steam bag vegetables is that there is usually always a coupon in the Sunday paper for them! I have never paid full price! So when my grocer has a sale I go running! I stock up for these little bags of joy because they last long in my freezer and I can plan on using them at least 3 times a week as a side. So… take my advice… try the steam bags!
If you are like me and are always short one ingredient for your recipes then you are probably wondering what substitutions you can use for simple ingredients! I have devised a list of staple-substitutions for my own home that I have found to be a necessity when it comes to saving your recipes. If this unfortunate incident happens to you simply follow this guide to get you back on the road towards recipe recovery!
The Food Substitution Guide:
Milk – Canned Milk. If your recipe calls for 1 cup of milk substitute 1/2 c. canned milk combined with 1/2 c. water. Because canned milk is evaporated milk you will need to make up for the evaporation by adding the water. Even if you are low on milk in general in your home I would recommend using this substitution because it is quick and easy and it doesn’t use your fresh milk that you will probably want to drink with your recipe!
Cheese – If your recipe calls for a specific cheese then it probably needs a cheese that has either been aged, smoked, salted, or a particular consistency that will help form the ‘shape’ of your recipe. The following table will help you find appropriate substitutes for the cheeses that you could use for a recipe. An example would be if a recipe calls for Ricotta, which is a fresh cheese, you would not want to substitute a hard cheese such as Parmesan. Because these two cheeses have entirely different textures your recipe could be altered and inevitably ruined. You could, however, substitute cream cheese or even cottage cheese for ricotta because they are in the same ‘cheese’ group.
Butter – margarine, lard, shortening
Sour Cream – yogurt, heavy cream, melted ice cream
Flour – wheat flour, oatmeal, cornmeal, pudding mix (this is one of my favorite substitutes), cocoa, and anything else that has a fine floury texture. Base your decision off what kind of recipe it is such as using a pudding mix in a cake.
Pasta – Pasta is really fun and easy to substitute for different types! You can pretty much change the noodle for any dish except lasagna! But look for noodles that serve the same purpose when substituting such as a rigatoni for macaroni. Both these noodles have a large opening in the center and will hold sauces much better than sauce spaghetti.
Breads, Cereals, and Rice are also similar to Pasta such as you will want to choose the a substitute with similar purposes.
Use the following bread guide to know what kind of breads go with certain kinds of foods!
Fruits & Vegetables
Lemon– lime, orange, mandarin orange, any type of vinegar, imitation lemon. Any of these substitutions can work for Lemons simply because they are contain acidic properties. If your recipe calls for lemon as a flavor then I would consider using the lime or the orange but if the recipe calls for the lemon as an acid such as in a vinagerette then feel free to substitute any variation of vinegar for the fresh lemon.
Most fruits and vegetables can be substituted at no risk of your recipe but some to consider an extra trip to the store are:
- Carrots– these super veggies contain both sugar and acid properties that more than likely are in your recipe for a reason to add the ‘sweetness’ that a recipe may intend for.
- Potatoes– because these veggies contain a heavy amount of starch they more than likely are needed for a recipe to add texture and depth in thickening your recipe.
- Broccoli– or any other Green vegetable. The reason being: Color. Be specific on your substitutions on color as well. Remember you eat with your eyes before you eat with your mouth.
- Pie fruits– such as apple, peach, raspberry, etc. While these fruits can be substituted for one another you are probably not going to want to add a fruit like Grapes or Kiwi to your pie over fresh strawberries.
Meat and Poultry Substitutions
Ground Beef – ground turkey, ground chicken, ground pork. I often substitute ground turkey for my recipes because it is known to be a lot leaner in fat and less greasy than ground beef… and you can hardly taste a difference!
Hamburgers – turkey burger, veggie burger (products like Boca Burger are actually pretty good!) But the best healthy substitute that I have tried so far for hamburgers… black bean patty! I had this at a restaurant and fell in love with it! It is like a fiesta in your mouth because it has a mexican flare that is both spicy and sweet! I’m going to experiment with this more this summer until I get the perfect recipe to post on the site for all of you to try! So… my recommendation for a fun new hamburger substitute is the black bean patty!
Hot Dogs – turkey dogs, pork sausage…if you have younger children I would absolutely recommend giving them the turkey dog! Not only is it way cheaper but you can hardly taste the difference. Save the pork sausage for your husband!
Eggs – Egg beaters, Oil, apple sauce, condensed milk, soy milk, bananas. Try this:
1 Egg= 2 tbsp. flour 1/2 tbsp. butter 1/2 tsp. baking powder 2 tsp. Water
Nuts/Beans – obviously you are able to substitute nuts and beans pretty easily with other nuts and beans so I thought that I would give you some ideas to add these highly unused protein sources to your every day diet!
Add either or both of nuts and beans to your:
- breakfast burritos
Hailey’s Favorite Chicken Salad
1 c. chopped celery
½ c. diced red onion
1 c. halved red grapes
½ c. slivered almonds
½ c. mayo
1 tsp. Rosemary
1 tsp. Thyme
1 tsp. Salt
Pepper to Taste
4 Croissant Bread Rolls
Shred the precooked boiled chicken breast (you can use canned chicken for a faster approach that is just as good). Add the celery, onion, grapes, and almonds with the chicken in a large bowl. In another smaller bowl combine the mayo with the rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Pour mayo mixture over the chicken mixture and mix well. Allow it to ‘marry’ in the fridge for an hour or two (it is best the next day) before piling it inside the croissant! You can also add a slice of your favorite cheese such as a provolone or a swiss and some lettuce. The sky is the limit!
Ginger Crinkle Cookies
- 2/3 C. oil 4 T. molasses
- 1 C. sugar ½ t. salt
- 1 egg 2 C. Flour
- 1 t. cinnamon 1 t. ginger
- 1 t. baking soda
Mix oil and sugar thoroughly. Add egg and beat well. Stir in molasses. Stir dry and ingredients together and add to the first mixture. Drop by spoonful into sugar. Roll to coat. Place on cookie sheet. Don’t press down. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes
- 3 cups (18 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 (14 oz.) can Eagle Brand® Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
MELT chocolate chips with sweetened condensed milk in large saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. POUR into medium bowl. Cover and chill 2 to 3 hours or until firm. SHAPE into 1-inch balls; roll in desired coating and/or decorate with frosting and candies. Chill 1 hour or until firm.
Change Your Parenting Tactic:
For the past few mornings I have been struggling trying to put Sophia to sleep. She is a great sleeper at night so in the mornings she just wants to be up and playing! This has been a problem for me because I usually stay up late with my husband and by morning time I am drained from little sleep. Normally I would feed her then put her back to sleep then I would fall asleep again, which usually works but only for about an hour or so. After getting so frustrated with her not wanting to sleep longer than an hour at a time and then crying until I fed her I realized that I needed to change my tactic a little.
I was beginning to feel so drained and so stressed from not having a happy baby that I realized that I was quickly going down the path to unhappiness and I was not truly enjoying motherhood and my daughter. I love Sophia more than anything but I think now I finally understand how a parent can get frustrated with the new changes parenthood brings. I guess I thought motherhood would be a piece of cake because of my previous experience with children and my love for kids. And because I wasn’t enjoying my baby as much as I thought I would I decided to change a few things…
I decided to try to go to bed earlier so that I wouldn’t be so tired in the morning, which seems like the easiest solution but to be honest that is one of the hardest things for me because time with just my husband alone is so limited now that we try to savor every moment we can get. By getting more sleep at night I am rested enough to get up around 6 am with Sophia every morning and stay awake all day long without feeling too tired. I also switched our daily walk from late morning to early morning! That way she easily falls asleep as I push her in the stroller!
Now things are great! I’m a lot more productive with my time and I’m enjoying Sophia more than ever! She is my little buddy now who goes along for the ride and I am loving spending quality “awake” time with her!
The ‘Butter Dish’ Lesson
When my husband and I had only been married a few months, and on one particular night, I was tired and quite honestly a little moody! I went to wash my face and get ready for bed when I noticed my husband had left his hair gel on the edge of the sink counter. This normally wouldn’t have bothered me, but like I said, I was moody and I had previously asked him to pick it up. So you can imagine my frustration when I picked up the hair gel and threw it on the ground as hard as I could!
After realizing that I had over-reacted a bit, ok a lot, which is completely out of character for me and funny that I did that but ironically enough I was pregnant at the time and didn’t even know it! I picked up the gel and thought of another way to ‘teach’ my husband to listen to me the first time! I snuck into the bedroom and quickly hid the gel in his side of the bed under the covers. I hurried back to the bathroom to finish up when I noticed that he went into the bedroom. I followed behind him, anxious to see his response, when he had a big grin on his face and said “Hi” very sweetly. I made an upset face, went back to the bathroom to finish, then finally made my way to my side of the bed. I was so mad at him about not reacting the way I wanted him to about the gel that I scowled at him as I lifted the bed covers and to my surprise found a butter dish that I had left on the counter!
All I could do was laugh after I realized how I had been so silly to want to ‘teach’ my husband a lesson when the real lesson to be learned was for me to not be a hypocrite! Marriage is full of times like this and the only thing you can do is laugh and move on. We often reflect back on this experience and suddenly whatever heavy situation we are in seems insignificant!