Monday, November 30, 2009

Let 'em eat cake!




Yum-O!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sweet Potato Pie

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I LOVE to say, bake, and eat sweet potato pie.

SWEET POTATO PIE. Sweet Potato Pie. Sweet Potato Pie.

Ain't it fun?

Okay, back to the recipe. This sweet potato pie recipe features a delightful pecan topping. It's a gourmet pie that is easy to make; you have my word (and pictures).

So let's get this party started.

The party people: Sweet Potatoes, Butter, Sugar, Milk, Eggs, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Pie Crust, Pecans, Brown Sugar, Maple Syrup.

Begin by boiling one pound of sweet potatoes. You'll want to end up with about two cups of mashed sweet potatoes.

Once soft, remove potatoes from pot and run under cold water. The skins should easily peel off.

Place naked sweet potatoes in mixing bowl along with 1/2 cup butter. Mix 'er up.

Don't fall to temptation because I know what you're thinking. You wanna eat up those buttery sweet potatoes just as they are. But wait. It's about to get even better.

Add 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup milk, 2 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Now MIX!

Time to roll out the pie crust. I strongly recommend The Pioneer Woman's perfect pie crust. I make 3 crusts at a time and freeze what I don't use. I encourage you to do the same.

Now let the good times roll.

Place rolled pie crust in your pie dish.

Fill 'er up.

Cover the edges of the pie crust with foil. Place in 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

While the pie bakes, prepare your topping. Chop 1 cup pecans.

You may nibble on a few if you'd like.

To the pecans, add 1/2 cup brown sugar and . . .

. . . not one but . . .

2 tablespoons of maple syrup.

Mix up all that sugary goodness.

Oh, yeah, and that's my baby. Trust me, everything turns out better when a baby is involved.

Now remove the foil from the pie (you know, the pie that's been in the oven for 25-30 minutes), and sprinkle the pecan mixture on top.

Pop the pie back in the oven for another 25-30 minutes.

Let 'er cool.

And call it a day.

Ingredients:

1 pound sweet potatoes
1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
1 unbaked pie crust
1 c. pecans
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. maple syrup

Directions:

Boil sweet potatoes for 30 to 40 minutes or until done. Remove sweet potatoes from pot and run under cold water. Remove the skin.

In bowl, combine the sweet potatoes and butter. Mix well. Add sugar, milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Pour filling into unbaked pie crust.

Cover crust with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. While baking, chop pecans and combine chopped pecans with brown sugar and maple syrup. After the pie has baked 25-30 minutes, remove the foil, and sprinkle the pecan mixture on top of pie and return to the oven for another 25-30 minutes.

Allow pie to cool before serving.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I love this kid so much it hurts.


Thank you, Lord, for letting me be his mommy.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

First Thanksgiving

Here are a few pics from Thanksgiving, 2008 - Henry's first Thanksgiving and our first Thanksgiving as parents.






This past year has given us so much for which to be thankful.

Blessings to you and your family on this special holiday.

I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;
let your glory be over all the earth.
Psalm 108: 3-6

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

There'll be days like this.


Some days I want to be the dog.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Personalized.

With our first baby, we learned that we were having a boy at only 15 weeks gestation (oh, the wonders of a 4D ultrasound). By 20 weeks, we had given him a name.

HENRY.

For most of my pregnancy, I knew him as Henry. When he kicked, it was Henry kicking me. When I began waddling, it was Henry separating my pelvic bone. When I struggled to eat anything without terrible acid reflux, it was because Henry was squishing my stomach.

At my baby shower, guests received O'Henry candy bars as a party favor. And for me, I received many beautiful and special items personalized especially for my baby Henry. Before that little man entered the world, his room and closet were layered in items stating his name. They all belonged to Henry.





But that wasn't the case with my baby girl. Not until the doctor delivered her from my sectioned belly did I know that baby was a girl.

She. Her. I couldn't believe that they were describing my baby.

And then we gave her a name. Harper. Harper Lynn Hooper. I could say that name all day.

And though I absolutely LOVED being surprised the day of my daughter's birth, my baby girl entered this world without a thing to her name. Or a name to her things.

Granted she didn't need anything. She was loved beyond measure and that was all that mattered (and still is). But I felt a tad guilty knowing that her brother had a certain identity in the womb that she never had.

And with all the bustle of life with two kids, she never did receive the personalized name plate or backpack or foot stool.

Until I met Jill.

Oh, Jill. What a blessing you are to me, my friend.

Jill is a delightful gal who I recently met through church. She is darling and spunky and cute and I instantly knew I liked her. We both blog, and for those of you who blog, you know how quickly you bond with someone after reading only a few posts. I felt connected to Jill, and just last week she gave me a gift that blew me away. (Jill blogs here, by the way.)

Attached to the gift was a card. On the front of the card, Jill had written, "Smitten." Inside the card she described how after reading my blog post titled Smitten she knew that Harper had to have this gift. Just had to have it.

So I opened the gift.

Oh. my. Heavens.

Oh. my.

Jill, an insanely creative art teacher turned stay-at-home mom, has found an outlet in creating one-of-a-kind baby quilts. Everything from the fabric to the stitching has a personal touch.

The quilt given to me (or should I say given to Harper) is two-sided. One side is made of the same fabric that I used to make a nursing cover. Yep, my baby girl has a handmade quilt to match her nursing cover.

The other side of the quilt will floor you. It is a pale pink fabric covered in swirls and flowers and stitching and best of all, my baby's name. Literally, "Harper" is stitched into that blanket five times!

And in the corner is my daughter's full name. The name that I love so much. The name that I could say over and over and over and never tire of it.

Can you believe it? Are you as amazed as I am? Do you not absolutely love it? I cannot get over this beautiful quilt. Oh, and you won't believe this. The stitching is done using one free motion, continuous stitch! How is that even possible?

Jill, you are talented beyond any measure.


My baby girl might not have a personalized stuffed doll, and there is not a bib with her name on it tucked away in her closet. But she has a blanket that is hers alone.

Like the tag says:

Snuggle up with this special quilt,
It's one of a kind.
If you cuddle up close,
It's your name you will find!

I L-O-V-E this quilt! Oh, and are you interested in having one made for the babies you know? You must check out Jill's site: My Baby's Name. I couldn't think of a more perfect gift for the little ones in your life.

And Jill, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Harper will have this blanket forever.

Monday, November 23, 2009

How 'bout 'em Buckeyes?

The Buckeyes pulled it off. A Rose Bowl bid. Another win over Michigan. Another season ending in the title of Outright Big Ten Champs. Gosh, it's good to be a Buckeye.


And these two make being a Buckeye that much more beautiful.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Simply Cornbread

I found this cornbread recipe on allrecipes.com. It is flawless. And delicious. And simple. And sweet (but not too sweet). And smooth (but not too smooth). Honestly, you must try it. You'll never buy boxed cornbread again.

Simply lined-up: Butter, Sugar, Eggs, Buttermilk, Baking Soda, Cornmeal, Flour, Salt.

Begin by melting 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan. For those of you who notice that there are two sticks of butter in this picture (one whole cup of butter), simmer down. On this particular day I doubled the recipe. This cornbread freezes beautifully. I don't mean that it looks pretty in the freezer, although I guess it might. Rather after freezing and thawing, it still tastes incredible. So because I don't often know what to do with buttermilk when I buy it, I decided to use it up by making extra cornbread and freezing it for another splendid day.

Does anyone else look at this picture of melted butter and think, "I could drink that right up?" Okay, I get it. I'm the only freak.

Next, remove the melted butter from heat and stir in 2/3 cup of sugar.

Then add two eggs and mix it all up. Again, I know you see four yolks. I like cornbread. And I really like this cornbread. So I was making lots of it.

Pour one cup of buttermilk and add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Combine.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the butter mixture.

Stir it up.

Now for the good stuff. Stir in 1 cup of cornmeal, 1 cup of flour, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.

Blend 'er up until few lumps remain.

Pour batter into a greased 8in. square dish.

Toss that bad boy into the oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean).

Admire its simple beauty.

Rejoice in its utter perfection.

Ingredients:

1/2 c. butter
2/3 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 c. cornmeal
1c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt

Directions:

Melt butter in a medium-to-large saucepan or skillet. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Add eggs and blend. Combine buttermilk with baking soda. Add buttermilk mixture to butter mixture. Stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt. Blend until few lumps remain. Pour batter into greased 8in. square dish.

Bake in 375 degree preheated oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.