Coffee Buttercream Icing and a lazy Saturday.

Hello! It’s me…Haili! This is my Avatar!

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Has anyone else noticed the avatar people create for themselves doesn’t look quite accurate? Mine should at least be 50 more pounds! But, since my sister created it and I don’t see a pregnant avatar for a choice I’m not changing a thing! My avatar wears more black than Johnny Cash…which actually is just like me.

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I have a house full of chores I’m ignoring today. My roommates, (my daughter and husband), are nestled in for a long winter nap. So I’m blogging quietly on this winter solstice and trying not to crunch my Tums too loud!

Thumbing through Pinterest, (I’m super productive), I wish just once someone would pin something ugly. Or a craft that was a total flop. It would be refreshing to see a sewing project gone terribly wrong. For all those millions of perfectly iced cakes there has to be twice as many bad outcomes. This is what the truth looks like…

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It seems like every great cooking or craft idea I’ve had there are many more mediocre outcomes. Some are brilliant successes. But, the cake I made last night wasn’t impressive. There was a crater in the center where the cake had fallen. I filled it with frosting which seemed to exaggerate my mistake further. I still took a pic for you!

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On top of everything, I iced it too soon.
The cake was warm and the butter in the frosting melted. Boo!! 😦

On another note, my icing was and is outstanding! It’s a coffee buttercream icing and it is the product of many failed attempts. I had tried many coffee icing recipes before I came up with my own, including Paula Deen’s. All recipes left me with a gloppy weird mess. You just can’t add a bunch of coffee to the butter sugar mix. Fluid and fat aren’t friends…and they will only separate not blend perfectly together! So don’t go trying it thinking you are more amazing than I am! Lol
However, here’s my recipe…

Buttercream Coffee Frosting:
1 1/2 sticks butter softened (not melted!)
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp instant coffee
1tsp vanilla

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Not fancy ingredients, but you will have the most fantastic frosting.

-Blend your sugar and butter until it looks like frosting.
-In a cup, put tsp of vanilla, then dissolve the instant coffee in the vanilla.

Looks like a dark gooey syrup like this…

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Pour instant coffee syrup into the butter/sugar mix and blend again with your hand mixer.

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This is your wonderful frosting! Yum!
Enjoy your holiday cooking and your lazy Saturday!

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Holiday Strata

Happy holidays! Hope you are having a great week. As promised, here is the Holiday Strata recipe. That sweet guy I’m married to wants bacon waffles topped with strawberries. It sounds easy, but since we don’t have a waffle iron his Christmas dreams may not come true. Besides, I love the idea of throwing this in the fridge the night before Christmas. This is the strata I’ve been dreaming about this holiday. It’s appropriately named “Holiday Strata.” I’m sure that wasn’t an accident, but due to its simple rich flavor full of buttery and cheesy goodness. It’s from this amazing book that has everything breakfast you could possibly imagine!

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Holiday Strata:

1 1/2 Tbs butter
6 oz. mushrooms sliced
8 slices sourdough bread (crusts trimmed, bread buttered and cubed)
1 1/4 pounds link sausage (cooked and cut into bite sized pieces)
2 cups shredded cheddar
4 eggs
2 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper
1 teaspoon dry mustard

(Addendum: I made this Christmas morning…it was awesome, but on the moist side. I will only use 1.5 cups milk next time. I used regular JC potter sausage, but next time, I will use the spicy JC Potter sausage.)

-Over medium heat melt butter, sauté mushrooms until tender
-Place half the bread in sprayed pan, add sausage, mushrooms, half of the cheese and remaining bread.
-Whisk eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and mustard.
-Pour egg mixture over bread mixture.
-Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
-Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Christmas morning heating:
*Bring strata to room temp*
Preheat oven to 350F.
Bake uncovered 45-50 min.
Let stand for ten minutes.
Cut in squares.
Enjoy!

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(Instead of sausage links I think I’m going to just use spicy sausage. It will be amazing either way!)

Merry Christmas!!

Suck it!

If tonight you are checking back in for the “Holiday Strata” recipe you can suck it! (I will give it to you tomorrow…just in time to get your ingredients last minute. I hope you get stuck in Walmart holiday traffic! Just kidding. But hey, buy the darn book if you want it sooner! Gee whiz!)

This is for all the pregnant mommas, the fitness guru’s, the “wanna be” slender, and the holiday fatties. One of the benefits of my pregnancy has been I’m creative in the kitchen. Although, I really don’t cook a ton. (My hubs is probably nodding with agreement and laughing right now.) But every once in a while, I will concoct something really great that deserves an award. And since I can’t see my private parts to shave them anymore, tonight I’m making a protein shake!

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Aww! Don’t be sad! It’s a really great protein shake! My two year old and I like to share a protein shake and watch cartoons. She doesn’t know it’s not ice cream! And it’s hard to get kids to eat sometimes. She even loved it!

This is my “Banana nut bread protein shake” with no bread, no nuts, and no bananas. Okay it has bananas. I’m not that amazing!

In a blender:
1cup ice
1 frozen banana (make it a half if you are really trying to cut calories.)
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1 1/2 cup milk ( or sub almond milk)
1/4 tsp All spice (pumpkin pie spice)
3 shakes cinnamon
-Blend. Drink.

That’s all you need! It’s so easy. You already have those things in your kitchen. A friend of mine, a triathlete, taught me to peel and freeze my bananas before they get too ripe. I hate throwing away bananas! Sometimes you just can’t get to them fast enough, so this is a good solution. And they are always waiting on you when you feel like a protein shake.

Your welcome holiday fatty! 😉

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Hump day, fun day!!

Good afternoon loyal fans and happy Hump day! As one of my Christmas gifts to you I’m giving you this much coveted strata recipe. I rediscovered this cook book in my collection as I was deliberating over what to serve for Christmas breakfast. As you know I’m pregnant and lazy and I do not care about impressing anyone. That’s why a strata is perfect…you can make the night before and pop it in the oven for an effortless meal Christmas morning. This is by far the tastiest strata I’ve made, but if you don’t like crab there are many other strata recipes in this book….

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I must tell you, I HATE cookbooks without photos of the food. And if the lady at Williams Sonoma hadn’t raved about it I wouldn’t have given this book a second glance. But, it is loaded with splendid breakfast and brunch recipes made with simple ingredients. Frittatas to French toast bakes, you will not be disappointed. Now that I’m thinking about it, this book itself would be a great Christmas gift.

Okay, let’s get to it. This is the Crab Strata supreme. If you don’t like crab then you can suck it! (Just kidding…I will also give you the “Holiday Strata” recipe from this book…probably tomorrow.)

1/2 French baguette cut in 1/2 in cubes
2 Tbs butter
4 oz. mushrooms sliced
1/2 cup diced red pepper
6 green onion chopped
3/4 cup diced celery
2 cups Swiss (I use shredded)
8 oz crab (Don’t get imitation. Yuck. Gosh, you are a cheap ass!)
8 eggs
1 1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 dry white wine
1 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

-Spray a 9×13 pan and spread cubed bread in pan.
-In the butter, Sauté mushrooms, pepper, onion, and celery until tender.
-spoon this mixture over bread evenly
-Layer Swiss and crab over sautéed mixture.
*whisk eggs, wine, milk, and seasoning. Fold in sour cream. Pour over entire bread mixture. Refrigerate over night.
-Christmas morn bake at 350F covered with foil for 35min…uncover and bake for 10 additional minutes. Let stand for ten minutes. Serve.

A guy I hung out with WAY too long had an Aunt that served some sort of egg casserole gloppy goo for Christmas. Her version had ham. I’m taking you on a little trip to a slice of my life a few years ago….I’m laughing so hard reminiscing! There were other holiday food “experiments” I pretended to eat as well! One was a frozen turkey, cooked on the outside but frozen on the inside with the giblet bag still inside the cavity! (Oh yum! Can I have more please? It’s the gift of diarrhea for Christmas!) Another relative of the same guy made mashed potatoes with mayonnaise…every blasted year. It was a “family tradition.” If there is anything that could absolutely make me hurl on demand it would be mashed potatoes with mayonnaise! But, this family swarmed like hungry vultures over this pile of holiday horse shit. Cranberry sauce was poured from a can, green beans were from a can, etc. let’s just say, this family was full of brilliant cooks! Lol! Maybe if you’ve had to tolerate another family around the holidays you can relate? However, my hope for you is to be blessed and enjoy the food! It’s one of the joys of Christmas!

I love the holiday colors in this dish! It’s full of texture and rich flavors. It’s perfect for a Christmas morning brunch. And if you make it I will personally come over and congratulate you on being an awesome person and I will drink three mimosas with you! Oh darn it! I can’t right now. Maybe next year!

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Probed in Oklahoma City, Part Deux

Maybe if I lived in a more metro area things would be more accessible to me. For instance all the good groupons are in Dallas. They get deals on full sets of eyelashes and fancy frozen yogurts. OKC gets discounts for laser toenail fungus removal and tattooed eye makeup. I still need to find my basics around town…a new dentist, hair stylist, nail place, etc. And so my search in a new city for an obstetrician continues.

“Excuse me…Hi I’m here to check in for Dr…” I’m interrupted. “Ma’am! Fill this out ma’am.” She slides a little piece of paper just larger than a post-it across the counter. It says Name, Doctor, and reason for visit. Hmm. Well I was about to tell you this information with my WORDS but okay. I guess I will fill out this form instead. I fill out the tiny paper and slide it back. She examines it. “Are you a new patient?” she asked. I think to myself, “Oh so NOW you want to talk?” I kindly reply, “why yes I am…as circled on your little paper.” Only in the healthcare industry are people treated so rude. Greeting people and smiling are obsolete. I swear there is more customer service buying a sweater at the Gap! She hands me a Sears catalog of forms to complete.

I wait an hour.

Finally my name gets called, a version of my name anyway. I think she said, “Hally” but, whatever. (I mean have you ever met a Hally? This is not a usual name. Ok, I’m over it.) Ok…yeah, I’m Hally….sure. Let’s get this over with and meet the new OB who will potentially deliver my baby. I pray he’s not a weirdo. I strongly hope he’s in the prime of his practice and not a thousand years old. And I cross my fingers he can show signs of a competent practice.

She calls another patient back as she calls me. Oddly, we walk together. The other patient is seriously right behind me. I can’t make this shit up. Next, the nurse asks me to step on the scale right in front of the other patient! At this point I think, “Am I on a game show? This has to be a joke! Right?” I would be frantically pulling all removable items from my body at this point. Shoes, jewelry, and my purse all must go! This is the part when I usually spit in the trash a few times to lighten my load. (Hey! Every little bit counts.) But, I was so distracted by pregnant patient number two on my tail I leaped on the scale. Whew! Great, that’s over! Hope they won’t examine my cervix in front of patient number two as well!

I was given a room and waited for the doctor. Apprehensive and a bit sad, I yearned to see my super smart and vivacious OB’s face from my previous town pop his head through the door. Beside me I stared at the pathetic ultrasound equipment from the seventies encrusted with old ultrasound boogers. There was nothing. I waited.

A few more minutes went by and I see a friendly smile missing a tooth. She introduces herself as Betty. Very proudly she shared that she has been working with Dr. X for 23 years and she starts to doppler my pelvis. She moves my abdominal fat around searching for a fetal heart beat for a few minutes. Not impressed I longed to finish the appointment. Success! I hear a “swoosh swoosh swoosh” sound. Okay Betty, you’ve done your amazing feat for the day. Reward yourself with a new dental prosthesis.

Next the doctor finally comes. I liked the doctor. But, he kept referring to me as, “advanced maternal age” I guess because I’m pushing 35. I was like, Hey guy! I have a name. And it’s not “advanced maternal age” and it’s not fucking “Hally” either! Even so, I got the impression he’s done a few thousand C-sections which makes him a candidate for the job. He’s nice enough. He’s smart enough. Ding ding ding!! You’re my doctor. I don’t like you as much as my previous OB, but I’m ready and willing to settle.

Happy holidays everyone! I want to share this ridiculously good cheese ball recipe with you. You can be a big holiday fatty and do the full lard version. Or you can do reduced fat cream cheese and cheddar. I swear both versions are outstanding. Either way, my brother- in law will attest that this is bar none the best cheese ball of all time! God bless him! He made me feel like Martha Stewart!

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-Cream cheese x 1 bar
-Finely shredded cheddar x1 small bag
-3/4 cup chopped jalapeños
-Green onions x 1 bundle chopped
(about 7 stalks)
*mix these ingredients, form into ball.
*Roll in chopped pecans.
*Right before serving cover with hot pepper jelly.
Any sweet hot pepper jelly will be great. I like Razbanero hot pepper jelly. If you live in Tulsa it’s at your local Reasors. If you live in Oklahoma City you can’t find it anywhere! Sorry.

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You can serve with any cracker. Wheat thins are great, but my favs are Stacy’s pita chips. If you serve this you will be the belle of the ball! 😊

Shoot me.

A man in the elevator today asked if I was getting a “Christmas present” referring to my huge baby belly. “Nope nope” I reluctantly replied, “This one is not due until March.” Sigh….
Yep. He thinks I’m due next month. I guess I’m just THAT big!! That is somewhat depressing. Or…a lot depressing. Oh well.
If I quoted what people said to me for the rest of this pregnancy….well let’s just say I’m afraid to lose all my readers. Lol!!
On to bigger things! (No pun intended.)
My new goal is to walk everyday. I’m working full time right now and I’m pretty tired lugging this HUGE body around. I figure the least I can do and a great place to start is by taking a walk everyday. Followed by half a dozen snickers ice cream bars. JK!!!
Here’s my recipe to get the “skinny” motivational juices flowing. Although I don’t do no carb/low carb I love this tasty idea from Julia Child’s kitchen. If you constantly crave pizza like I do here is a leaner alternative….eggplant pizza. My big fat pregnant mouth is already watering! And the best part…you are sneaking in those veggies!

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http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2012/08/recipe-for-julia-childs-eggplant-pizzas.html?m=1

To all the pregnant moms out there…don’t give up! Keep fighting the fight of a healthier pregnancy…one day at a time.

A great set up…

You can either set yourself up for success or set yourself up to fail. So yes, I did attack the banana pudding! But, I immediately reminded myself as long as it’s in my house I’m probably going to eat it. Or I will obsess about it until I do. Needless to say, I have now purged my kitchen of the foods that I crave the most. “Goodbye leftover holiday food…you are not worth it!” From now on protein shakes, fruit, veggies, and lean meats for me. And sweet potatoes!…I love sweet potatoes.
I will be posting some of my fav skinny recipes to help get me on track and pumped about eating healthy. This one is from one of my favorite blogs…”The girl who ate everything.”
Crockpot pork carnitas…genius.

http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.comp/2011/05/easy-crockpot-pork-carnitas.html

Anything on a tortilla seems like the right thing to do!

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