Friday, March 25, 2011

Best Brownies

These are the best brownies, they don't even compare to the box kind.  Give them a try, you'll be glad you did.  (and totally adjustable to the EE  Abigail diet)  Here is the original recipe from Joy of Cooking

Chewy Brownies (Reduced Fat)  really?

These Brownies contain just under 4 grams of fat apiece.  Position a rack in the center of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Line an 8x8 inch baking pan with greased or nonstick spray coated aluminum foil, allowing it to overhang 2 opposing ends of the pan by about 2 inches. 

Whisk together thoroughly: 
3/4 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 T unsweetened cocoa, sifted
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt

Melt, stirring constantly, in a large, heavy saucepan over very low heat: 
4 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 t corn or canola oil

Remove from the heat and stir in until well combined:
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
2 T light corn syrup
1T water
2 t vanilla

Add and stir until the sugar is dissolved:
2 large egg whites

Stir in the four mixture into the chocolate mixture until well blended and smooth.  Scrape the batter into the pan and spread to the edges.  Bake until the center of the top is almost firm when lightly pressed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, but still moist and fuggy at the bottom, 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove the pan to a rack and let stand until completely cool. 
Using the overhanging foil as handles, lift the browned to a cutting board.  Carefully peel off the foil.  Cut into bars. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Thanks Liz

Do you remember that feeling when you were a kid, getting something in the mail?  It could have been anything!  Elation!  A few weeks ago my girls got a huge white envelope.  They were so thrilled they literally squeeled!  And I smilied.  Don't you love when other people are so good to your kids? 

This was from Liz who is still so good to me.  I had her two kids in first and second grade years ago.  Liz quickly became my good friend and even after moving far away she still keeps in touch with me, sends my girls little love packages, and I will treasure my friendship with her forever. 

Thanks Liz.  They loved their puzzles.  They loved the huge white, padded envelope.  They loved ripping it open in their jammies after bath. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

It's Saint Patrick's Day!

We had so much fun making these for Abigail's preschool. 

My silly girls on St. Patrick's day!  I love how Abagail looks at Anna this way all the time.  She is adored!

Yes, the cookies slipped right off the little stand seconds after this! 

Makes me smile, "Irish Princess!"  ?  She tells us that she one pinch Irish.  "Sure," I tell her.  Just as much as our redhead Abigail is one pinch Chinese.  Although that's true a bit.  Chinese is in our hearts. 

If we'd let her this little Irish princess would exist on frosting and elelcare (her formula) alone.  If only...

I love all of these little happy days tucked into a regular week.  Just a bit of extra joy... and frosting!

Monday, March 14, 2011

40 days 40 bags update

40 days... more like 140 bags for our family!  I loved Sara's idea since I love organization.  How hard could it be to reorganize my already organized house.  It'll be fun!  And, I thought, it'll finally get me to do my closet and Scott's shop which are true disaster areas.  So I divided up each little nook and crany of our house.  (the attic alone being 16 days... there's that much up there) And we started! 

We made it a family lent project.  Each area (46) are written on cards in a bag.  Anna and Abigail take turns each morning choosing a card.  I've been doing just a bit while they're at school but most of it is as a team.  Although it would have been easier for me to clean (and pitch) up Anna's closet alone, doing it with her was so rewarding.  She couldn't stop thanking me for days.  She said things like, "mommy, thank you so much for helping me find so many special things."  "Mommy, I just love my new closet; I know where everything is!" 

Even Scott (who wouldn't let me take his picture) said, "finally, you found a way for me to really clean up my shop," as he attacked the "clean under the stairs and paint cans" card on the weekend. 

Sometimes when I feel stressed I just want to go stand in the areas that are done.   Ahh! 

Anna's closet
One little bit of Scott's shop
One tiny, tiny little bit of the attic (we need to rent a dumpster for that) 
Living room
Dining room

Abigail peeking around the corner

the "before" prending to be happy that we were about to tear apart her closet and throw a bunch of her stuff out

Friday, March 11, 2011

PJ Day at Preschool

She was so excited about her PJ day at school.  Perfect for this week since it was such a rainy grey week around here.  I only took these few pictures the whole week. 

Next week I'll do better.  A bit under the weather this week.  Boy it's so hard to do all that I do around here feeling sick.  (I know you all know what I mean, just all that mommy stuff sick is tough)  Anyway busy also planning Anna's First Holy Communion.  Wanting every detail to be perfect (wish I wasn't like that) and with Scott's trip to China thrown in there, it all makes me a bit stressed.  PS.  He's going to start a 'sister school' there.  We're all so excited for him but will miss him oh so much.  It's the first time anyone has been back after our trip to China to adopt Anna.  A part of my heart belongs there.  Wish we were all going... 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Kit Sunday

Sunday was a rainy day here and we decided to pull out a kit that Anna got as a gift only to find out that there were over a DOZEN kits waiting.  You know those kits, the ones that girls always get for their birthday parties.  We found on her bedroom shelf, make your own cupcake soap, create butterfly wings, make puppets, paint and grow your own garden and so much more.  What were we waiting for?  I pictured myself cleaning out her closet when she is away at college and finding all of these unopened kits.  What a shame.  So we declared Sunday kit day in our house.  We gathered them all together.  (All of Anna's and Abigail's.. now we're up to over 20) and chose the first one. 

Rule Number One:  It doesn't matter who got the kit as a present.  We do it together as a family.

Rule Number Two:  We do the WHOLE kit, not make one cupcake soap and plan on doing the other soaps another day.  (or I'll be making cupcake soap and sending it to Anna in college)  Make them all and throw the box away!

Rule Number Three:  Have fun! And we really did have fun.  Can't wait til next Sunday! 

Anna made this rainbow soap from the leftovers.  So cool! 

So why were all of these kits piling up and never opened.  Although Anna loves how they look on the box she's just not going to open one on her own.  She'd never be the one to come home from school and say, "mommy, can we make that caterpillar mobile?"  She's much more of a create her own kind of fun kind of girl.  And I like that better anyway.  But once we opened one and got started she loved it! 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Hope Heal Cure

We are so used to cooking differently. 
We are so used to mixing a batch of formula for our 3 1/2 year old. 
We are so used to hospital visits and endoscopy's. 
We are so used to bringing her food wherever we go. 
And yet there is incredible blessing in this disease. 
We are so used to learning how to be food creative. 
We are so used to  not spending money on eating out.
We are so used to our resilient, happy daughter.
We are so used to her looking at tinkerbell birthday cupcakes smeared with real frosting and happily saying, "no big deal."
And yet we pray for a cure. 
Not because this disease will take anything away from her.  If anything it makes us all stronger.  We just want her "special tummy" to be healed. 

Hope Heal Cure  (make sure you scroll down to the bottom of my blog and pause the blog music so that you can hear the video)

Finding Hope

A great article for anyone who stumbles here and has a child with EE

“It’s very frightening when your child is first diagnosed with a rare disease and you feel all alone,” says Book, a physician and mother of two who lives in Atlanta. “It can be terrifying to come home from the doctor’s office and have to change the way you eat and cook overnight. I went from a mom who didn’t cook at all to a mom who could make anything from just one or two basic ingredients. A little water, oil and corn flour and you can make a pancake."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tea Party

Wednesday was a short day of school so when Anna got home we had a tea party.  I baked these Mini Lemon Tea Muffins.  So good... I'll post the recipe soon.  (a bit tricky.... not your average muffin recipe)

It was a delightful afternoon with pinkies in the air.

I used my Grandmothers china that she gave me when I got engaged way back in 1994!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Don't you love them?  I love to surprise Anna and Abigail.  Even if it's just a little one. 

This one was fun!  Anna's canopy bed lost it's canopy almost a year ago... I couldn't stand the fabric it was made out of.  The moment I washed and ironed it (hours) and hung it, it was already all wrinkled and dirty looking.  It drove me crazy!  One day I just took it off and threw it out. 

So on my 'to do list' for way too long was to figure out a new canopy. The idea of sheers (curtains) popped into my head while cooking one morning.  I rushed to the mall, found them on super sale and bought them.  Perfect!  (well, except that the pillows and the sheets got a bit messed up with me standing on the bed to hang them.)

How I love to surprise her! 

She loves how the curtains shut her completely in when she's reading or going to sleep. 

I love to surprise her!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blueberry Bars

We love these around here!  The recipe is from Deceptively Delicious.

You'll need:
 2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup margarine (I use the stick)
3/4 cup low-sugar blueberry preserves
1/2 cup spinach puree (I buy frozen chopped spinach, cook it in the micro according to directions on the package, then just puree it in my blender or food processor.  Quick and easy.  One frozen chopped spinach will give you enough for another batch, so baggie it and freeze it in 1/2 cup portions.

1.  Preheat oven to 375.  Coat an 8x8 inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2.  In a large bowl, combine the oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and vanilla, and stir to mix well.
3.  Add the margarine into the dry ingredients.  (I soften it a bit, only a bit in the micro first.  Don't melt)  Mix until the mixture resembles coarse meal and is no longer powdery.  Do not over mix - bits of margarine will still be visible.
4.  Set aside about half of the oat mixture; press the rest of it firmly into the pan.  Bake until lightly browned at the edges (but not fully baked), 15 minutes.
5.  Meanwhile, mix the preserves with the spinach puree in a small bowl.
6. Spread the blueberry mixture over the partially baked oat layer, then sprinkle with the reserved oat mixture.  Bake until the topping is slightly browned, 20 to 25 minutes.  Set the pan on a rack to cool completely before cutting into 12 bars. 

Crunch and sweet without a taste of spinach that's hidden.  Let the bars cool completely before serving.  These freeze well wrapped individually in plastic wrap.