True Love: The feeling when you first look in your child's eyes, the tiny little hand gripping your finger, and you can't imagine your life without him or her.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

1/2 Sick, Other 1/2 Bored

It's been really low-key around here. The "flu" (or whatever the heck Matt & Xandra have) is still hanging on. The bad stuff is pretty much over- per my online search, the flu symptoms {FACTS}
Fever - both have broken
Aches - still happening
Chills - X still has
Tired - seemingly endless (in the past 2-3 days alone, I think the 2 of them have slept over 2/3 of each day)
Sudden Onset - very sudden, but lingers for-e-ver
LOTS of this going on at our house

Thankfully (knock on wood, throw salt over your shoulder, hold your breath when you go by a cemetery, whatever your superstition of choice may be), Milo & I have so far been spared the illness. {insert BIG sigh of relief!} As much as I would like to believe that it is against the rules for both parents to be sick at the same time, and a cardinal sin to have an entire family sick all at once... I know first-hand it can & does happen. So, I'm very grateful that I've been able to continue "towing the line" while Matt has been "dying" as he tells me every few hours. :)  

If there were such thing as a "good time" to get sick, this was probably the best. Everyone in the family is off school (Matt's on break from his externship). Yea for small miracles!!

Since half the family has been stuck in the house for almost a week now, the tv as well as any & all other electronic devices have become an all-time-awesome time-wasters! (all my pictures on this post were taken with my phone- sorry for the ickiness, but it's what I've had handy)

Milo has discovered a passion for the iPad & daddy's phone. 
Now, if we could just teach him to quit trying to buy in-app purchases.
And quit texting & trying to call people (on daddy's phone) at 6 am. Or ever.

This picture just cracks me up- I really wish I could have caught this with my big camera.
Xandra is on the iPod
Milo is on Daddy's iPhone
Matt is on the iPad
& I took the picture with my iPhone
How about that for a family addicted to Apple products? :)
As a devoted Pinterest addict (what?? not on Pinterest you say? you MUST check it out immediately!! leave me a reply or send me an email & I'll send you an invite!!), I've been trying a lot of new recipes lately. There are so many that are just so awesome.. & easy!! Cause easy is key in my book.
I really don't like being in the kitchen. I love that saying - "I wouldn't have a kitchen, except it came with the house."
But Pinterest just might turn me around.
Here are 2 of our family's favorite discoveries:

Slow Cooker Potato Soup
Not my picture
- 5lbs Russet Potatoes, washed but NOT peeled. Diced into 1/2 inch(ish) cubes
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 10 cloves of garlic (you can use whole, crushed, or minced)
- 8 cups chicken stock
- 16 oz cream cheese (I used 8oz regular and 8oz lowfat)
- 1 TBS seasoned salt or all-purpose seasoning (I use Aunt Cora's Soulful Seasoning)

- Crumbled bacon
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Green onions

- Add potatoes, onion, garlic, seasoning and chicken stock to slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.
- Remove and puree the garlic cloves (if you used whole cloves) along with 1/2 to 1/3rd of the soup & the cream cheese. Then reintroduce to the remainder in the crock pot.
- Top with your choice of garnishes & serve!
Yields about 10-12 servings.

I made this tonight & it was very well received!!!
This is Milo on his 2nd bowl of soup
(don't judge me for the pink bib) 
(it was Xandra's) 
(it still works) 
(leave me alone)
Caramel-Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies
Not my picture

1 cup softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box (7.4 oz) Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink mix -not sugar free- all 10 packets (I found this in my grocery store near the hot chocolate mixes.)
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups all purpose flour
1 bag Kraft Caramels (14 oz)

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment. (You really need the parchment!)
  • In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
  • With your mixer (or an energetic spoon) cream together butter, sugar, salt and all 10 packages of apple cider drink mix powder, until light and fluffy.
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well.
  • Gradually add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture. Mix until just combined.
  • Refrigerate for about an hour. (If you're really impatient you don't have to do this, but it makes it so much easier to work with.)
  • When you are ready to bake, unwrap your caramels. 
  • Scoop out cookie dough ball about the size of a walnut. (I used a rounded cookie scoop-full. My scoop holds about a Tablespoon.)
  • Flatten the ball of dough slightly in the palm of your hand. Press the unwrapped caramel into the center of your dough and seal the dough around it, covering it completely. Place on parchment covered cookie sheets 2 inches apart (** very important to use parchment paper on the cookie sheets!).
  • Bake 12-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges. Please don't over-bake! Once the cookies are done, slide the parchment off of the baking sheet right out onto the counter. Allow cookies to partially cool on the parchment. When cookies are cool enough to be firm but still slightly warm, carefully twist off of parchment and allow to finish cooling upside down (either on the parchment or on a rack.) If you forget about them and they cool too much and stick to your parchment, put them into the freezer for a few minutes and they'll pop right off.
  • Yield: about 4 dozen, depending on how large you make your cookies (or how many caramels have been snitched out of your bag before you begin.) Store in an airtight container.

I have now made these cookies twice. And I feel like I need to tweak the recipe just a tiny bit:  look for the Kraft Caramel Bits (see below- instead of the individually wrapped caramel squares from the candy aisle). Also, just stir the whole bag of caramel bits into the batter, then form the balls. The small bits melted so much easier & nicer - I couldn't find them the 2nd time I made the cookies, so resorted to the larger squares. I ended up with a big square of carmel that fell through almost every cookie when they were cooling. They still tasted heavenly! But I was glad I wasn't giving any of them away, because they were not pretty!!
**If you can't find the bits, maybe try cutting up the larger squares into 3's or 4's.

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