Monday, December 26, 2011

a birthday cake

Today is a special day for me--it's my nephew's birthday. I remember the day he was born like it was yesterday. I had a big hand is raising him for the first half of his life. I tell everyone he was my first baby.My sister had undiagnosed PPD after he was born,so I kind of stepped in and took alot of the pressure off her during his first months-and that turned into years LOL. I worked nights,so his mom didn't have to put him in daycare-I took care of him. One time,he had to be hospitalized with an eye infection and of course,I took care of him so his mom wouldn't have to miss any work. His dad came up to visit him one afternoon and was taking him down to the snack machine in the waiting area and all the nurses followed him thinking that he was snatching my baby! I still think that was funny. My "little" baby is now 6'4" and is 22 years old today. Last year the cake that they got for his birthday wasn't so good--they found a worm in it! Can we say EWWWWWW!? I can't imagine. YUCK! So this year,his brother asked if I would make him a cake. I baked it last night and decorated it this morning. I thought about playing a prank on him and planting a gummy worm in the middle but I didn't have gummy candy. HAPPY BIRTHDAY,Aaron!!! Like I always tell Zach-no matter how old/big you are,you'll still be my baby. Love ya,Kiddo....

Birthday Cake
3 eggs
1 box of cheesecake pudding mix
1 cup of water
1/4 cup oil
dash of vanilla

**oven at 350*F for about 30-40mins
Mix well and pour into a baking pan--bake until done. Let cake cool completely and decorate.

**I doubled the recipe to make the cake in the above pics.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Dinner...............

I need to make a final grocery shopping list--I hope to be able to say I won't need to step foot in the stores again until after Christmas. I plan on running errands Friday-the husband will be off and I can put him to work helping me with the groceries. Instead of the usual holiday turkey,this year the husband wants to do a ham. I picked that up today. I'm not sure if I'm going to use the glaze that came with it,or see if I can find a recipe online. Last week,I picked up a jar of citrus marmalade and had thought about using that on the ham. I've also been thinking about doing the "dr pepper" ham glaze. As far as the rest of the menu,I'm making more of the same pumpkin cheesecakes I made at Thanksgiving. I found some rolls at the store I want to get. The husband wants sweet potato casserole with brown sugar and marshmallows. We need something GREEN,so it'll either be fancy french green beans or brussel sprouts--OR BOTH! I'm thinking we need something else to round things out,but am not sure what else to make. I thought about making a homemade apple pie,but am not sure if I have the energy.

Cookies-Cookies Everywhere!!!

I had hoped the kiddo would help me make cookies tonight,but his idea of HELPING is tasting after they are done to see if they are good. He watched DOLPHIN TALE while I "slaved" away in the kitchen.I made peanut butter cookies and peppermint sugar cookies--yes,I did use ready made dough,but they still came out nice and got a THUMBS UP from the kiddo.

a little less sugar

Chocolate Bundt Cake

mini loaf snack cake

There are 3 diabetics in our household,so we are always looking for ways to watch our sugar intake. Recently,I was happily surprised to find that certain cake mix brands were coming out with mixes using splenda. I have seen ones before that use Sweet-N-Low,but I'm a little wary of that sweetener.I like baking from scratch,but these come in handy when I'm stretched for time,or just too tired. Tonight,I made a bundt,2 regular size loaves,and several mini loaves using these lower sugar mixes.I plan on stashing most of them in the freezer for when we get the munchies and need just a little bite of something sweet.Basicly,you can add in whatever you wish,even nuts--but here's what I did.


1 chocolate cake mix (low sugar)
1 package sugar free chocolate pudding mix
4 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 cup water
dash of cinnamon
1 cup of mini chocolate chips

***oven at 350*F
mix all ingredients without over-mixing---pour into prepared pan and bake until done.

Golden Raisin Pound Cake
1 yellow cake mix (low sugar)
1 package sugar free vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 cup water
dash of apple pie spice
1/2 package of golden raisins

****same instructions as above.
****I also make this recipe using regular raisins,dates,or dried cherries or cranberries-whatever I have the taste for.

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cake

I made several of these in mini loaf pans and handed out to friends and neighbors-it was a big hit.

1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 cup applesauce
2 cups pumpkin
1/2 cup low fat sour cream
3 eggs
2 2/3 cups flour
2/3 cup unsweet cocoa powder
dash cinnamon
dash allspice
dash pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

***Oven to 350*F
Spray bundt pan with nonstick spray-
In large bowl,beat together the butter,sugar,applesauce and eggs---add in the pumpkin and sour cream---on low speed,mix in the flour,cocoa powder,spices, baking soda and baking powder---Spread evenly in bundt pan and bake for about 60minutes or until toothpick/knife comes out clean.

***Instead of plain sugar--I used a splenda baking blend.....

Applesauce Bundt Cake

I made this one in a bundt pan,but you can certainly use loaf pans.

1 cup applesauce
1/2 cup butter
3 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon bakig soda
dash of cinnamon
dash of apple pie spice

***oven at 350*F

in large bowl,mix together the butter,applesauce,eggs and spices----add in the flour and baking soda--pour into pans and bake until done....

Chocolate Chip Cake

I made several of these using mini loaf pans and handed out to family and neighbors.

1 yellow cake mix
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup (or less) of oil
3 eggs
dash of allspice
dash of cinnamon
1 cup applesauce
1 cup mini chocolate chips

***Oven at 350* until done
This is basicly a "dump" cake where you kind of put everything into a bowl and mix it together-you can't mess it up.

**I've used mini chocolate chips,dried cranberries,dried cherries,or raisins and each time,this little cake turns out great. Experiment and see what kind you like best.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Going down memory lane......9 years ago......

About 5 days old--I think--this was the first time I got to hold him in the NICU

still in the NICU--probably a few weeks old---every few days the nurses in the NICU would take pics of the babies and add holiday themes and borders to kind of cheer up the moms.....he's wearing a preemie sized onesie and it's still big on him.... 4 1/2 pounds.....

2002--what a year! I had a difficult pregnacy. I had to quit work in the 6th month and put on bedrest. My blood pressure was steadily going up at each dr visit. I went in for a weekly visit on December 3 and my dr sent me over to the hospital. I was in early stages of pre-eclampsia.The plan at that time was that they would take the baby in a few hours. Once I got settled in at the hospital they gave me meds to bring the blood pressure down and another to help the baby's lungs develop-we weren't due till February.But the magnesium worked in bringing down my blood pressure and they decided to wait it out and keep me pregnant as long as they could. We settled into my room-the hubby slept on the hard,lumpy,hospital couch every night. The nurses got a kick out of his snoring. On December 12,after coming in for early afternoon rounds,my dr decided that today would be the day. Hubby had just left to go home to get ready for work,so we had to track him down and I called my sister. They wheeled me into the o/r for an "emergency" c-section. They gave me an epidural,but something went wrong and it didn't work fully,so they had to put me to sleep for the process. Zachary was born at 1:27. He weighed 4 1/2 pounds. Sometime during the procedure,I stopped breathing and they had to intubate me. So,when I woke up,I was in ICU with a tube down my throat.That is a creepy feeling when you wake up and are trying to breathe on your own. I had a great nurse that calmed me down and helped me learn to let the machine do the work. I was in ICU for 2-3 days,I think. Zachary had to be on oxygen for a few days. After I got settled back into the normal hospital room after my stint in ICU,I finally got to see my son. He was so tiny. I wrote some predictions down in my diary and I tried to guess what his weight would be. I weighed a little over 2 pounds when I was born,and the hubby weighed 6 pounds--I kind of figured that our son would be somewhere in the middle of that and believe it or not,I wrote down 4 1/2 pounds. I was in the hospital until December 20th. We had to finish the nursery. It wasn't close to being ready. I think I should have rested more,but that's life. One of my sisters and her husband came over to help us paint the nursery.Her husband was the one who had the great idea of setting us up on a blind date. Sadly,he passed about 3 years ago-I miss BIG JOHN. He used to be an EMT.--and he took one look at me and nagged us all day saying that I should be back in the hospital. My little feet were swollen up to the size of loaves of bread. I was having trouble breathing when I would lay down,but we didn't know what it was. He scared my husband,so he ushered me into the e/r later that afternoon. After alot of tests and lasix drips,they admitted me into the CICU (the cardiac icu)-at first they were saying I was going into heart failure.But it turned out to be lingering affects from the pre-eclampsia and blood pressure related fluid retention. I was so scared to go to sleep that night in the unit. One of the nurses creeped me out and all I could think about was those true crime stories about nurses that kill their patients LOL. I tried to keep my eyes open all night LOL. I was in there for about 3 days and got to go home late on the Christmas Eve. I lost over 30pounds in just fluids.Because I had been on bed rest and in the hospital for so long,I didn't get to do much Christmas shopping. My sister (2nd mom to me--Zachary calls her GRANNY) brought tons of things for us and the baby. Zachary was still in NICU-he was having problems learning to suckle a bottle. We had tried pumping when I was in the hospital after he was born,but I never did get more than a few ounces at a time-and after the 2nd hospital stay they put me on heavy duty meds that wouldn't be good for a baby,so I couldn't breast feed. I found some preemie nipples and he took right to them. I went up to the hospital every day to feed him and hold him. He got to come home on January 5,2003--Exactly one year to the date that we lost our first pregnancy to m/c. Zachary is our miracle baby. He got to come home when he was about 6pounds. He came home on a baby apnea machine because several times in the NICU,he held his breath. Talk about nerve wracking--that machine drove us crazy.We would sit there and watch it blink and watch him thinking "BREATHE-BREATHE" before the alarm goes off LOL. We had a stressful few weeks while he was on that thing. I was so glad when we got to give it back to them. I can't believe it's been 9 years. It feels like it has gone by entirely too fast. Zachary is an inquisitive,challenging,smart,busy little boy. And we are so blessed to have him in our lives.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Getting Ready for a Birthday Party......

I swear-I love my kid but will be soooo glad when he outgrows having to have a big birthday party each year LOL. It is so hard to do during the holidays. And his birthday is right in the middle of them all--Dec 12th. It's hard because down South in the Winter time,you never know what kind of weather you'll get-our forecast (as of today) says it will be chilly,but sunny and it will warm slightly in the afternoon. In years past,we have had ice,snow,tornadoes,rain,warm weather-warm enough to still wear shorts/capris in December warm. It's hard because sometimes,people are busy with other engagements this time of year. It's hard because I have to convince the "anti-social" husband that it'll be OK to have a bunch of people over for a few hours of birthday fun LOL. He tends to stress about everything being PERFECT (meaning the house being clean). Last year,my son had a BOWLING party-it was a big hit. I even asked if he wanted to do that this year-NOPE! LOL And in our town,the activities offered for kids his age is limited. So it's going to be family/friends at our house. I'm making "happy husband chili" and having a few "finger-food" type snacks and ice cream cakes. I should be putting the goodie bags together for the kids,but here I sit,sharing my life with the world. LOL

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Merry Christmas.............

Monday, December 5, 2011

one mean roast

I cooked a roast in the crockpot last night so I wouldn't have to rush with getting a meal together before my husband went off to work Monday. I wanted something to jazz it up a bit,so I added in some jerk marinade sauce. Oh,boy,did it smell good when it was cooking--and it tasted even better! It was tender and juicy and delicious-just like roasts should be. I made up some mashed potatoes and some broccoli pasta and that's what he took for dinner today. He's one happy husband~!