Wednesday, April 29

Mother's Day Brunch Menu

(This post is dedicated to my beautifully graceful Mother...everything I am, you helped me to be! xo)

The May issue of North Texas Farm & Ranch Magazine is officially out and about! I am particularly excited about this one because we're celebrating MOMS! In my opinion, there's no better reason to jump for joy...while cooking...or anytime for that matter!

When I asked my fabulous Mother which recipe I should feature, she immediately suggested Super Hunk's rib rub. Awwww, that woman...I couldn't love her more!

It was a hard decision and, while his grilled goodness deserves the spotlight EVERY month, we decided to showcase it this summer...stay tuned...and go with Mother's Day Brunch instead.

Here are a few simple recipes that will hopefully make your Mommy heart smile on your very special day! (Grab a copy of the May NTFR issue for the hard copy recipe.)

From all of us, Happy Mother's Day! You have, by far, the most important job on the planet...and absolutely deserve a very tall "Mom-osa".

Cinnamon Mini-Cakes
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Various berries
Maple syrup (for drizzling)
Powdered sugar (for sprinkling)
Mix it all in medium bowl, pour it on a hot skillet (or griddle), flip, and tada...tiny bites of yummy brunch are ready.
Drizzle maple syrup on platter. Stack 5-6 mini-cakes and top with a piece of fruit, skewer with toothpick.

Place on platter with maple syrup and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with extra syrup for dipping.

They are scrumptious and PRETTY!

Ginger Ale "Mom-osas"
2 cups orange juice
2 cups Ginger Ale
1 orange, sliced
Fresh mint leaves, garnish

Pour equal parts orange juice and ginger ale in pitcher. Top with orange slices and mint leaves for garnish (reserve a few orange slices to adorn each glass). A beautiful drink for a lovely lady!
"The loveliest masterpiece of the heart of God is the love of a Mother." ~ St. Therese of Lisieux

Friday, April 24

Infertility Awareness Week ~ One Woman's Journey

In honor of Infertility Awareness Week, Guest Contributor, Lana Hamblin, openly shares her journey to motherhood. The struggle is great, the miracle is greater!

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Hi, I’m Lana and my husband is Brian. We met and married in six months, when you know, you just know. Right? We started trying to have a family almost immediately.

From the time I was little, I couldn’t wait to be a mom. I had it all planned out in my head but I guess the saying goes, "the funniest thing you can tell God is your plans."

Here is our story...

Infertility, it’s devastating! After being diagnosed with endometriosis and my tubes being closed from scar tissue, we went through surgeries, therapies, medications, 6 months of induced menopause, and one big emotional roller coaster for 2 ½ years. During all of this, I remember a specific day when I was at the store and there was a woman in front of me in the checkout line. As she turned to the side, I saw she was pregnant. I left my cart and headed to the car, hysterical. A tear-filled phone call to Brian, asking "Why is God punishing me? What have I done wrong? I would be a great mom? All these people who abuse their children and I just want one to love….why why why??"  He listened silently and suggested I take a nap. I remember thinking, "A nap??? I don’t want a nap, I want a baby." I did as he said and when I woke up, I remember praying for God to forgive me for questioning him. 

At the end of all the therapies, surgeries etc., still no success. We were sent to a fertility specialist, the words “only a 5% chance”, were not what we expected to hear. We chose to go through IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). We started the journey of IVF, confident it was where God wanted us, but I was not prepared. There was a two hour commute every other day to be there by 8:30 am for blood work and sonograms. I prayed during my drives, believing in God's love and promises of goodness and prosperity. The big day came to collect the eggs. When I woke up from the procedure, I found out I had produced FIFTEEN. I was ecstatic!

After the fertilization process, a week later we had 4 viable eggs. We chose to implant two. The following two weeks were the LONGEST EVER!!!  The day came to find out if we were pregnant. I remember every second of that day. I drove up to my Doctors office and before I got out the song, “Move” by Mercy Me, came on the radio.

"I’m not about to give up, because I heard you say, there’s gonna be brighter days."

 I looked up and said, God it’s all you. After the test, I instructed them to call my husband, in the case it was a "NO". My phone rang at 3:12 pm and it was Brian. I was never so nervous in all my life. When I answered he said “Well babe, you’re gonna be a Mama”. I couldn’t even speak I was crying so hard, I just kept saying "Really? Really? Thank you God! Thank you God!"  When we got home to hug one another there was a level of love I don’t think either of us had ever felt. We had finally accomplished our dream. We were going to be parents!

You see, I’ve heard both sides. "How amazing it is that doctors can help men and women have a family?" But I’ve also heard how doing so is playing God. My position is this, God gives each of us our own individual struggles. He gives us “Our story”. To be witness to his great love! If there was meant to be no IVF or IUI or fertility help, my God would not have made a doctor to do so. I had a struggle, he made it a testimony of faith, hard work, and success. Matthew 21:22 "Pray for anything and if you have faith you will receive it." I prayed for so many years, having faith that God would make me a mom.

He did!

After all the hard work, I experienced the most unforgettable moment, my little miracle was born at 8:06 after 14 minutes and 31 pushes. I always laugh and joke that getting pregnant was the trial, giving birth was a cinch. God cut me some slack on that part!

Not everyone talks about their infertility story, and that is okay. I choose to share it. What good is being a testament to God’s love, if not to share it with someone possibly facing the same thing. I want to encourage, give hope, and show what infertility looks like.

This is our story!

Thursday, April 23

Cap'n Crunch Chewies

Let me start by saying, I don't think I've had a bowl of Cap'n Crunch in twenty years. With increased age, comes Grape Nuts and Raisin Bran.

However, I recently purchased a few of these at a fundraiser bake sale (I'm a sucker) and after one guessed it...I went back and bought a few more. It was strictly for blog research, of course. I took one for the team because I knew you would enjoy them too.

So simple and so surprisingly delicious. Crunchy...chewy...goodness!

1 cup brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup creamy peanut butter
6 cups Cap'n Crunch cereal

In a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring sugar and syrup to a boil. When sugar is melted, reduce heat to medium.

Add peanut butter and stick of butter, stir until combined. Remove from heat and let cool for 1-2 minutes.

In large mixing bowl, add cereal and pour hot mixture over top. 

Mix...mix...and mix...until cereal is well coated. Yes, it will make a huge mess...but I promise, it's worth it!

Drop tablespoons on parchment paper lined pan. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until solid.

Try not to eat them all...I want one! Or seven!


I'm off to have a bowl of Lucky Charms, I'll save the fiber for my next birthday!

Wednesday, April 22

Eye-Catching Edibles

My new mantra: "Life is too short to eat ugly food!"

No matter the occasion, your table deserves pretty dishes. From a warm, straight-out-of-the-oven chiffon cake to an array of (usually boring) chips & dip platters, every dish can be an eye-catching-crowd-pleaser when you add a tiny extra amount of oomph. Your guests will finally know what they've long suspected...anyone who can create something so lovely MUST have sparkle in her veins!

Here are a few of my beloved treats...or as I like to call them, Eye-catching Edibles.

1. Dessert On A Stick (In hindsight, I should've named them "Skewers of Heavenly Goodness"!)

2. Broccoli Salad

3. Cinnamon Mini-Cakes

4. Italian Broccoli Pasta

5. Strawberry Peach Smoothie

6. Strawberry Chocolate Chip Pancakes

7. Berries & Cream Cupcakes

Stay tuned...more to come!

Monday, April 20

Mommy Expectations

Brace yourself for another one of my "mommy confessions"...
Part A: I used to be a super-duper-over-the-top-obsessive-compulsive-planner.
Yep, you heard it here first (for some of you, I'm just confirming your long time suspicions).
Then, I became a mother.
What used to be strategically scheduled days with commitments and appointments has turned into 90% fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants and 10% "hurry up, leave your shoes on, we're running late".
Initially, this left me flustered. The part of me so used to things turning out the way I had planned, quickly developed a twitch.
Holidays are no different. My Norman Rockwell expectations usually more closely resembled The Griswolds with the deflated turkey and a crazy squirrel in the tree.
Part B: I've since...CHILLED!
The following photos are proof.  With egg hunting on our list of Easter festivities, the search for an adorable basket was on! After a few stops, I finally found one I knew Little Man would like...let the photo op begin!
After a few eggs were collected, this is what I saw.

You guessed it, Daddy's work boots (cow crap and all) were his receptacle of choice. The old me would've instructed him to keep the eggs in his adorable basket, which was carefully selected by his loving mother. But the "chilled" me, sat back and snapped a few pics.

While this never would've crossed my mind as a possibility, it made for a pretty fun moment...caught on film.

I've realized that attempting to control every situation based on my expectations is exhausting. Letting the moment happen and watching my son discover the world his way is much more fun (even if it's covered in manure).

Let's chill, forget about the details, and just be present!

Anyone need a gently used Easter basket?

Friday, April 10

Totes Ma Goats Giveaway

Lana! I'll get your tote to you ASAP!
Congrats and thank you to all who participated. Stay tuned for more great Favorite Things GIVEAWAYS.
We had our first Diaper Dollars adventure last week. They took us all the way toooooo.....wait for it.....the ZOO! This was Little Man's first time and his reaction resembled my behavior in a shoe store..."Ohhhhhh, pretty...Ahhhh, look at that...over here, over there".

He found the "Honk" of the flamingo slightly amusing.

The giraffe inspired a "Whoa, Mama".

But the goats were the furry friends that captured his full attention.

A week later, he's still talking about them and they're the inspiration for today's GIVEAWAY!

You can fit EVERYTHING...possibly, even a this cutie.

Besides its carrying capacity, its charm is know you want to giggle!

To enter, simply comment with your answer to question below. "Do you remember your first trip to the zoo?"

The winner will be selected at random on Friday.

Totes ma goats, my friends!

Thursday, April 9

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Little Man's new favorite morning pastime is making "cancakes". I want him to grow up being comfortable in the kitchen but if I have to eat another pancake, I might go flapjack cRaZy!

In order to prevent said meltdown, I've been trying a variety of new recipes to keep things interesting. I consider it my quest to find the perfect pancake.

Alert the media!

Sound the horns!

I found it!

The Food Network has done it again. This, my friends, is the best...fluffiest...pancake I've ever put in my big ol', carb-loving mouth!

Just in time for your weekend, I hope you enjoy!

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Pancakes
(Original recipe from Food Network)
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg yolk
3 egg whites
1 1/4 cups whole milk
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Chocolate chips
Fresh strawberries, rinsed and quartered

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg yolk, melted butter, and vanilla until combined.

Set aside and in a small bowl, with mixer on medium-high speed, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form (about 2 minutes).

Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir until well combined, it's okay if there's a few lumps. Stir in 1/3 of the beaten egg whites and chocolate chips, then gently fold in the rest of the egg whites until just combined (do not overmix).

Heat skillet over medium-low heat and lightly brush with butter. Pour batter for pancakes and let cook until bubbles form. Flip and cook until lightly golden brown. Repeat with remaining batter.

Top with strawberries and extra chocolate chips...heavenly!

Even deconstructed for a toddler, they scream "I'm ready for my close up"!

"There is hardship in everything, except eating pancakes." ~ Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, April 1

Gingerbread Oats & Nuts Cookies

When my brother and I were kids, we literally fought over the Little Debbie snacks. Mom even resorted to writing our names on our respective boxes to eliminate daily battles...she got an "A" for effort!

While I was a Nutty Bars fan, my brother was a Star Crunch and Oatmeal Crème Pie guy.

This post has nothing to do with Nutty Bars...

Or Star Crunches...

Did you hear that? It was my stomach screaming for mercy.

However, it has everything to do with Oatmeal Crème Pies. Soft, chewy, delicious, childhood goodness!

In fact, if an Oatmeal Crème Pie and a Gingerbread Cookie had a would be these...Gingerbread Oats & Nuts Cookies.

An easy recipe (no baby-making pun intended) that is sure to please any crowd. Happy cookie-making!

I'm off to find a box of Nutty Bars (and lick the peanut butter from between the layers).

1 Gingerbread Cookie Mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
3 tablespoons water
1 cup quick oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven at 375 degrees.

Add dry ingredients to large mixing bowl and stir.

Mix in wet ingredients.

Be sure to use those muscles.

Drop tablespoon on greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool on wire rack (notice, a few of mine are missing already...hold your horses people).

Serve with a big ol' glass of cold milk and don't be afraid to eat two...or three...or five!


(If you're a cookie lover, you're sure to be INSPIRED by the Baking with a Purpose recipe. Check it out!)