Monday, February 16, 2009

Best Shot(s) Monday: The Zoo

We finally had a break in the cold weather the other weekend, so we decided to take a trip to the zoo. Many of the warmer weather animals weren't in their cages yet, but we still had a great time just being able to walk around outside without freezing.

For more Best Shot Monday pics, head over to Mother May I

Friday, February 13, 2009

Recipe Friday: Black Bottom Cupcakes

This recipe was passed down by my mother years ago to add to my recipe box. I've never taken these to a party or event where they weren't a huge hit. But beware, they're addicting! I must have made these well over a dozen times, and do you think I snapped a picture of the final product - No! Therefore, I had to google the image you see below to include in the post. I don't know if you're like me, but I am always more willing to try a recipe if it looks tempting in a picture. I'd like to add a couple tips for this recipe from experience. Bake these the day before you want to eat them or take them to an event. Although they're tasty the first day, for some reason they are so much better the next day. I store them in a sealed container on the counter, but I know a couple of people who have refrigerated them overnight. If you choosse to store them in the fridge overnight, allow plenty of time to return to room temperature, because again, for some reason they taste better like that than chilled. One last tip... don't overbake them. Just like cheesecakes, if you bake them too long they turn a very unattractive yellowish color and the cake obviously tastes less moist. I just stick a toothpick in the cake part and as soon as I can pull it out without any batter sticking to it, they're finished! Enjoy!


Cake Batter
3 C Flour
2 C Sugar
1/2 C Dry Cocoa
2 tsp. Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt
2 tsp. Vanilla
2 C Water
2/3 C Vegetable Oil
2 Tbsp. White Vinegar

** Mix the ingredients of the cake batter together. Then mix the filling
ingredients together in a separate bowl

1 8oz cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 C Sugar
Pinch of Salt
1 10oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  2. Beat the cream cheese, egg, sugar and salt until creamy.

  3. Stir in the chocolate chips.

  4. Fill the cupcake papers half-full with batter and place 1 Tbsp. filling in the center of each.

  5. Bake for about 25-30 minutes. **Do not overbake
*** Recipe yields about 2 1/2 to 3 dozen cupcakes.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: All Played Out

See more pics over at Wordless Wednesday here and here

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Getting So Big

I sit back and look at Emily and Tyler and wonder where the time has gone?

Tyler turned a year already back in December, and he is getting so big! He was such a little peanut for the longest time, but his appetite seemed to double ever since he got off the baby food and stared tasting "real" food. Looking at him, you would never think he could eat so much. Just tonight, he was sitting in the kitchen next to me while I was cooking and started having a mini meltdown because it was taking so long. I sat him in his chair and he ate 2 whole clementines as a pre-dinner snack! After that, he polished off a healthy portion of tortellini and had vanilla pudding that Stu whipped up for dessert. He has really been trying to use a spoon/fork to feed himself for the last month or so.

He is also much more steady on his feet now and is getting into absolutely everything! He still really only says mama and dada occasionally, which is so unlike Emily at this age. Even if Emily couldn't say actual words, she would be jabbering in her own little language. Emily was always a little chatterbox and still is to this day (like her mommy, I've been told). :) Tyler is definitely much more quiet as far as speech, but I am beginning to see he understands a lot more than we give him credit. I had been showing him this video where it repeats basic words over and over and has children point to various body parts, etc. as the word comes on the screen. Tyler doesn't pay attention half the time and is only interested in watching Emily. I play the video anyway, and the other week we were amazed to see that he must have actually been paying attention. As the words came on the TV and were spoken, Tyler pointed to his nose, mouth, closed his eyes, waved, and put his arms up, as instructed by the voice on the TV. We couldn't believe it - it was out of nowhere!

Emily is also growing up so quickly before our eyes. She turned 4 back in late September and acts some days like she'll be turning 14 this September. She still has her whiny bouts at times, but it definitely has improved 100% over the past year or so. She is such a good helper around the house; always has been really. She gets up in the morning, dresses herself, and comes to me afterward to tie her shoes and sometimes help her with a button that is giving her a problem. If we have extra time in the morning, she even sometimes goes in and makes her bed, lining up all her stuffed animals without even being asked. She is also a wonderful big sister to Tyler. They just adore each other. He follows her everywhere, and she tolerates him climbing on her, pulling her hair and knocking off all of the books on her shelf after she just put them away.

Her favorite thing to do at the moment is play board games. She wants to play them every second we have from bath time to bedtime each night. Stu usually end up playing with her while I settle Tyler down for bed. Her favorite game at the moment, which is driving us crazy by the way, is Candyland - Dora edition. Like watching Dora on TV isn't enough! Stu and I still blame that show for the cause of Emily speaking so loudy ALL of the time. Those of you who are forced to watch this show as well know what I mean. She never talks quietly - she shouts everything! Emily just never learned the concept of "Use your indoor voice" no matter how hard we try." And the more excited she gets to tell us something, the louder she gets! Below are a couple recent pics of the gang. Enjoy!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Recipe Friday: Bacon and Tomato Cups

Several years ago, I found this recipe on AllRecipes when I was looking for something to make as an appetizer for a family get-together. Everyone loved them so much, but be careful about making these for family. Ever since that day, I have been summoned to make these at almost every gathering now. Luckily they're easy to make! After making this recipe so many times, I've modified the ingredients slightly to preference and have included my recipe version below. I hope you enjoy!


1/2 pound bacon
1 small tomato, chopped
1/4 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 ounces shredded Swiss cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon dried or fresh basil
1 can Pillsbury Grands refrigerated biscuit dough (I use the flaky layers kind)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a mini
    muffin pan with shortening or nonstick cooking spray.

  2. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until evenly brown. Drain
    on paper towels. Crumble bacon into a medium mixing bowl, and mix with
    tomato, onion, Swiss cheese, mayonnaise and basil.

  3. Separate each biscuit into 4 equal quarters. Roll each quarter into a
    ball and use a lightly floured tart shaper (or fingers) to form the dough
    into little cups in a mini muffin pan. (I keep a little bowl of flour nearby
    to dip the shaper in each time before shaping so it doesn't stick to the
    dough) Then fill each biscuit cup with the bacon mixture.

  4. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven , or until golden brown.
*** I usually double the recipe and it yields about 5 dozen bacon cups.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Theme Thursday: Cold

The pictures for this week's theme were taken yesterday morning after our first "real" snowfall of the season in our area. Although I think snow looks beautiful, I am definitely not a fan of the cold. I am ALWAYS cold, it seems. I have a portable heater running at my office desk all year long. In the winter it is cold for obvious reasons. In the summer, it feels just as cold as the winter since they crank the air conditioning so much. I remember being a kid and absolutely loving the snow. Everything about snow was great - you could build snowmen, make angels and if enough fell overnight, school would be canceled so you could enjoy it even more! But now the only "fun" I have in the snow is shoveling it. Luckily my wonderful hubby does that almost all of the time for me! If the snow could fall in about 50 or 60 degree weather, I'd be fine! :) But since that will never be the case, I'm still looking forward to Spring.

Go visit The Land of K. A. for more themed photos.

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