Ten Thursday Thoughts

1. I have been baking again! Two weekends ago I made double pumpkin muffins (my first pumpkin baking experience of the season – sad I know). I actually have the recipe from Women’s Health but found the blog linked above with the recipe all laid out. Then, on Tuesday night, I made super easy chocolate cookies: one box of devil’s food cake mix, two eggs, a third cup of oil, and any chips (I used mini Reese’s Pieces). Sugar…mmm.

2. Speaking of cookies and sugar, a few friends and I are doing a cookie exchange Sunday morning. We each come with one cookie done and bake the other together. Cookie suggestions?

3. On the cooking front, I made Brody’s favorite dish that I make: baked ziti with Italian sausage in mornay sauce. It makes great leftovers, so Brody is bringing over a container of it to Barret and Kelly (parents of the adorable Owen).

4. I love how these thoughts are like a chain and not totally random – do not expect that to continue for the entire post. Anyways, this past weekend we had our annual Friendsgiving. Erin and Tom hosted, and unlike last year’s wine-filled celebration, we were all pretty tame. The reason? Babies!

Left to right: Avalyn (6 months), Owen (6 weeks), and Reed (2.5 weeks)

The boys holding babies and watching football

5. Bret Bielema left the Badgers. I don’t really care but do think it’s odd he didn’t wait until after the Rose Bowl. Montee Ball, James White, Melvin Gordon, and Bielema made an appearance at the UW basketball game we were at Sunday afternoon with the Big Ten Champion trophy, which was cool but now he seems like a phony.

6. Costco, which is a half mile from our house, has been open for over three weeks and I haven’t been once. I am embarrassed.

7. Although I have no races planned for a while, I have still been running three miles a few times a week, often with Brody and the dogs. Ya for family exercise time!

8. It is so sad how early the sun sets at night. I have been trying to go to the dog park at least three times a week but have been avoiding going alone when it’s going to be pitch black.

9. Our house is semi-ready for the holidays: the tree and the outside lights are up and some decorations are out.

Tonight Brody and I decorate the tree, and tonight St. Nick comes (or maybe he was supposed to come last night – whatever).

10. Last but definitely not least, I am pregnant!

Stay tuned for more details.

Have a great night!

I Drink, I Cook, and I Bake (other people’s recipes)

My food choices haven’t changed dramatically since stumbling into the blogging world, but I have found a plethora of resources (aka blogs) from which I refer to. Instead of turning to the cookbooks in the pantry, I find myself reaching for my iPad. Here are a few of the recent recipes I have made and the blogs they come from.

Iced Coffee from Carrots N’ Cake

I have always loved iced coffee but never thought about “making” it myself. Tina, from Carrots N’ Cake, has explained multiple times on her blog how she makes a big pot of coffee and keeps it in a pitcher in the fridge. Why didn’t I ever think to do this? A full pot (for which I use six heaping tablespoons of coffee) lasts me about five days and saves so much time in the morning. Even in the winter (which has been extremely mild this year) I have been sipping on iced coffee and enjoying it. The coffee above was bought to drink with dessert on Christmas; it’s been waiting patiently to be consumed while I finished off the DD pumpkin spice. I think I need a spring flavor next, like the DD strawberry shortcake.

Thai Chicken and Pineapple Stir Fry from Skinny Taste
I’ve said it before, but I find Gina’s recipes delicious, practical for us, and easy to follow. This one did not disappoint either.

The recipe came together quickly – just a little stir frying…

And then this happened, and it was over before I knew it. Yummy! I did not add the hot pepper and forgot to add red pepper flakes as the substitute, so it was pretty sweet and could’ve used a little heat to cut the sugar. Next time, though, because I definitely plan on making this again. 🙂

Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies from Smitten Kitchen

Brody loves these cookies, and I did make them partially for him to enjoy. But I also baked them for Emily, one of the ladies in the Wine and Recipe Club. Last time we all got together, Emily was scheduled for her C-section four days later. I mentioned these cookies and Emily commented how fantastic they sounded. Last night, I hosted Wine and Recipe Night, and Emily brought little four-week old Ella along (I got to hold her…so little). I was happy to give her some cookies to bring home. With taking care of an infant and a two-year old, Emily has no time to bake. I hope she enjoys the cookies!
I follow the recipe to a T except I use fine grain sea salt on the top instead of flaked salt. I bake them for thirteen minutes but could (and will next time) leave them in for only twelve to ensure they stay a little gooey-er.
Please consider baking them this weekend and tell me what you think.

Happy drinking, cooking, and baking!