Sunday, July 17, 2011

What a Great and Easy-to-Make Snack: Peanut Butter Puffs!

I never have time to read through magazines.   But, since I basically got a free subscription through a deals site, a ordered a subscription for Parents Magazine several months ago.  Just as I expected would happen, as the issues would come in the mail, they would be set aside in my "Not too urgent but don't want to throw away" mail pile.  This pile got a little too large, so I took some time on Saturday during Luke's naptime to go through it.  I went through about 5 magazines, and actually found some very interesting articles.  Before throwing the magazines away, I ripped out some recipes that looked good.

One recipe I found was the recipe I am about to share:  Peanut Butter Puffs.  I found it in the June 2011 issue of Parenting Magazine, but it is actually a no-bake recipe from Lisa Atwood's new Cookbook for Kids ($13.97; amazon.com ).  The recipe combines the idea of a healthy snack that also satisfies the sweet tooth.   What is even better is that I had all of the ingredients in my pantry and it took about 5 minutes to make (no baking).

This recipe is not just great for kids.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  So, I must say that it is a PERFECT snack for pregnant women.  It provides me some protein via the peanut butter, a few vitamins via the cereal, and is, of course, preservative free.  This snack would also be great for those on gluten free or vegan diets!


One downside of this recipe:  it says it makes 20 puffs, but my batch only made 14.  I would definitely recommend doubling the recipe or you will only see these things for a few minutes!


Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
1/4 cup agave nectar or honey (I used honey)
2 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 3/4 cups puffed rice cereal

In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine ¼ cup honey (serve this only to kids age 1 year and older) or agave nectar and 2 Tbsp firmly packed brown sugar. heat, stirring, until the mixture begins to boil and the brown sugar dissolves, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add ¼ cup creamy peanut butter (or any nut butter) and stir until smooth. Add 1¾ cups puffed rice cereal and stir until evenly coated.  Set the mixture aside until cool enough to handle (about 5 minutes).  Scoop up a rounded Tbsp of the mixture and use damp hands to form about twenty 1.5 inch balls, and place on a greased, rimmed baking sheet (or on wax paper).   Chill in the refrigerator until set, 5-10 minutes.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. 

I say this only took 5 minutes to make because that is how long it took from the start of making it until one of the puffs made it to my mouth.   I couldn't resist eating one before it was set---I was hungry while I was making these.

Enjoy!

Friday, July 15, 2011

So Excited--I replicated Rudy's Cream Corn Recipe!

One thing our entire family loves is Rudy's, and especially their Cream Corn.   Luke loves Rudy's so much (probably for the cream corn) that when we are far enough away to where I can barely see Rudy's, he is already exclaiming, "Mmmmmmm!"   And it has gotten so bad that we often have to find a different route to get where we need to go at times, in order to avoid passing by Rudy's--that is, when we do not plan on stopping there.  Otherwise, he is not happy at all and I end up going through my entire list of ways to distract Luke until he finally is OK with not stopping at Rudy's.

Yum!  Rudy's Cream Corn! (a pic I found from the internet--this is not my hand or Drew's hand)

So, I started thinking the other day that it was definitely time to figure out Rudy's cream corn recipe.   I began by searching the web for copy cat recipes.  I actually didn't find any that sounded perfect.  Next, I took the best ingredients out of a few different recipes, used the measurements of one recipe that had the best reviews and....Voila!  I FIGURED OUT THEIR RECIPE!!!

Luke was in heaven!!!!  Just to give Luke an extra special treat one night, I decided to give him two of his very favorite dishes:   Pizza and Cream Corn.   I had decided to make a Pizza (or, as Luke says, "Pipa") for dinner, and we had some cream corn left.  I know, it sounds awful together, but Luke thought it was the best thing since.....well.....since cream corn by itself.  Sliced bread is yummy but not that fascinating to Luke since everything seems to come to him pre-sliced/cut thanks to mommy.  Luke giggled with pure happiness and satisfaction throughout this meal! 



Luke's happiness went through the roof when he noticed I put some homemade chocolate chip cookie dough in the oven to make cookies on this same night!!  He watched them as they baked in the oven, and then of course, wanted one immediately after they came out of the oven.  We distracted him while they cooled, removed his shirt so he didn't get the gooey chocolate all over it, and then let him enjoy one (ok, maybe one and a half).




 
Back to the cream corn...  Do you want the recipe?   I guess I am willing to share.  ;-/   But, I will warn you, this is very addictive and there will probably be lots of cream corn in your diet once you try the recipe at home!

Rudy's Cream Corn Recipe


Ingredients:
  • 16 ounces frozen whole kernel corn
  • 6 ounces cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat neufch√Ętel cream cheese)
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 cup unsalted butter
Directions:
  1. Spread the corn over the bottom of a crockpot. Top with the cream cheese, cubed into pieces. Mix the remaining ingredients together and pour them over the corn. Cover and cook on high heat for about 2-3 hours, until creamy. Stir occasionally. (Hint, if you cook it on low for longer, it will probably be even more tasty!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Luke is going to be a Big Brother!

I have been anxiously waiting for some time now to create this post! We are excited to announce that Luke is going to be a big brother. Today I am 14 weeks pregnant, which means I am in the 2nd trimester. I think time has flown by much more quickly this pregnancy!

We found out in early May that we were expecting, so we decided to tell our parents on Mother's Day the exciting news. We were very excited, but more than anything we wanted their prayers, due to some complications I was having.

Luke announced it via the web, as he delivered a handmade card to Mimi via email and as he showed Grandma his handmade card via Skype. This is how he made the announcement:


We later announced it to my immediate family members when they visited us, then our church community group (again for prayers) and then some of our extended family on my side just a couple of weekends ago when we saw them in person.   We decided to wait until we were finished with our first trimester to announce it to our close friends and the rest of our extended family, which is the purpose of this post.  :-)

I think a lot of times I am still in disbelief that I am actually pregnant--but then morning sickness which has not yet subsided reminds me of the miracle inside.  And, by the way, I have really come to understand this pregnancy that "morning" sickness is a major misnomer--it has been all day/night sickness.  I had some pretty bad morning sickness with Luke, but this is much different.  Hopefully this subsides soon though.  Unfortunately, at 14 weeks my weight is still lower than when this pregnancy started.  The all-day nausea has really started to subside, so now I am just waiting for the other part of the morning sickness to subside.  :-)

The expected arrival of our little one will be approximately 1/11/12.  Luke was actually a week early, so we could have a New Year's Baby.   To be honest, I wouldn't mind if the baby arrived in 2011, since we have already met the deductible of our very high deductible health plan this year.  :-)  But whatever God has planned for this little one, whether it be its arrival date, its sex, or any other details, we look forward to!

Monday, July 11, 2011

For Seinfeld (Elaine) Fans...

For those of you who are Seinfeld fans, does Luke's dance look familiar to you?


Does it perhaps remind you of Elaine's classic dance (little kicks)?




Drew and I call Luke's dancing, "the Elaine Dance" for this very reason.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Luke's First Haircut

We've been putting off the inevitable for probably too long because we adored Luke's curly locks.  But, because his hair was beginning to look unkempt, we decided that Saturday was the day for his first official haircut.

We took Luke to a hair salon dedicated to children, in hopes it would make the experience more enjoyable for him.  We do not plan on taking him to a salon every time, but wanted to for his first haircut.   I paid close attention so that I could replicate the stylist.

There were lots of toys to play with at the salon and all was going well.  We put Luke in the car chair to begin his haircut, and the "Cars" movie was playing in front of him.  He was smiling, although a little confused, until the stylist put the cape on him.  For some reason this terrified him, he screamed, and the stylist gave a look that said, "I don't think I have ever heard a sound at that decibel."  In fact, she had to step back a little bit.   Then, the buzzer came out, which didn't help matters.  However, I think the haircut took about 5 minutes tops, and she did a very good job---especially under those conditions.  I think it was a great idea to take him to a trained professional his first time. 


screams and tears are subsiding...starting to get distracted.



A picture of our new little man.

We snipped off his curly locks.  :-(

But he looks so handsome now.

Independence Day Celebration with Family!

We had the opportunity this year to travel to Oklahoma to celebrate Independence day with a lot of family and friends.   We had a blast visiting with everyone, eating some AMAZING food, playing outside and watching some professional-level fireworks.  Actually, fireworks were banned where we live in Texas, so it was extra-special to be able to see them this year.

a cousins picture--It looks like they're thinking "Really, you pulled us away from playing for this?"
My cousin, Kristin, and her husband, Michael brought an extremely fun pool and slide.  Drew and I thought that Luke would probably be fearful of it.  However, he was one of the first ones in and the last one out!
Here's a good picture of the slide from afar. 

Luke is getting acclimated to the pool.

Luke enjoyed going down the slide with daddy.

and he enjoyed playing ring around the rosy with his cousin, Lilly.

There was even a short slide.

Luke decided he was brave enough to try the big slide on his own.


I wish I would have taken a picture of the food so that we could remember it.  There was, my favorite, peach cobbler, with homemade vanilla bean ice cream, brisket and pulled pork, hamburgers, hot dogs, tons of fresh fruit, cupcakes....oh and did I mentioned the homemade peach cobbler and ice cream?   There were around 35 or more people to celebrate with--it was such a fun party!

Luke has never stayed up so late, but he was just having way too much fun!


It is always hard to remember to snap pictures when you are busy having fun.  We managed to take a few though, and will share the rest via a slideshow, since there are too many to include in the body of the post.

Fun at the Splash Pad

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I posted about the new, careful Luke.  This summer, he has shown more hesitancy at trying new things.  He has especially been afraid of splash parks and pools.   Well, all that changed on July 4.


On the morning of July 4th, we met some of Luke's aunts, uncles and cousins for a trip to a splash park.   We warned them that Luke has not been a fan of splash parks lately.  But, they said there was also a great playscape beside the splash park as an alternative in case he didn't want to splash around.

Luke "tests the water" with one of Brody's cars.

Getting a little more brave...

And, having a blast as aunt Emily swings him through the water.

Uncle Jason helped him become even more brave.

Our Visit to Inner Space Cavern

Drew and I had a wonderful idea a couple of Saturdays ago.  I had purchased a great deal on two half price admissions to Inner Space Cavern in Georgetown, TX a few months ago and it was our final weekend to use it.  With as busy as we have been, it was also pretty much the only weekend we had to use it.  We thought Luke would really enjoy it, since one of his favorite things is rocks.   There were plenty of rocks here!

The tour began with a ride on the cable car down into the cave.  We sat in the front of the cable car and told Luke we were riding a train (his favorite thing), so he was super excited about it.  He had a lot of fun riding that, and continued to enjoy himself for about 5 minutes into the tour.

We brought our backpack carrier so that Luke could enjoy the tour in the safest way possible.  Also, we thought if he got tired, he could nap on Drew's back.  Well, I guess we really didn't think this out very well.   I will take the blame, since I have been very persistent on wanting to visit this cave for years now.  I didn't really think about the tour being an hour and a half long, in the dark, where Luke could not touch anything and had to be quiet (so all of the guests could hear the tour guide).  Poor Luke did not enjoy himself.   He kept pointing back to the beginning of the tour and saying, "Train!   Train!".  The poor guy whined the entire rest of the tour (poor guests). But, nonetheless, the cave was truly beautiful!  I snapped a few pictures.



We got extremely close to bats.

Luke was very happy when we found the train again and rode back up out of the cave.  He found the playground right afterward, and had lots of fun going down the slide.   He also found some nearby goats, including an adorable baby goat!  


Luke is thinking "I should tell that goat not to get in that train!"
Our review of the cave:  a great adventure for a family--beautiful, fun, great temperature year-round.  Just not a good idea for an energetic, talkative toddler.  :-)   We will probably visit again when Luke is older, as he will probably really enjoy it then.