Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Baby Shower: Oatmeal Cream Pies

I'm having a baby tomorrow! That is something I never thought I'd say or type. It's taken us a long time to get where we are and come tomorrow morning, bright and early, we will be heading to the hospital to bring Baby Boy H into this world. Happy September to me! We have a couple names picked out, but nothing definite. We want to wait to see him to make sure that his name fits him. We are beyond thrilled and blessed and can't wait to meet and see the little Mister. I've loved being pregnant, but it has been difficult and exhausting at times. Despite all that, I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. I will absolutely share my bundle of joy with you all as I know many of you have prayed for this baby as much as I have. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will update as soon as I can, but I can't promise when that will be.

While we are both anxiously awaiting his arrival, I hope you'll enjoy these oatmeal cream pies that I made for Maranda's baby shower last month. Her baby shower was a week after mine and I was asked to bake the sweet treats for everyone. I was honored and happy to do so! I happen to know that Maranda's favorite cookies are oatmeal raisin and she loves strawberries, so I made her these simple and delicious oatmeal cream pies as well as my sister's favorite strawberry birthday cake. Both were well received and devoured. This was a sweet way to welcome Baby N into this world.

I've made these oatmeal cream pies before but it's been awhile. Believe me they were just as good as I remembered. The secret to making cream pies as opposed to cookie sandwiches is that you make them a day ahead of time and refrigerate them to get them nice and soft. This also allows the flavors meld together and the cream filling and the cookie become one. You can certainly adapt this cookie if you want. You can leave out the raisins or add chocolate chips or cinnamon chips, or maybe add dried cranberries or just leave them plain. All versions will be delicious I'm sure. If you try them, I hope you'll come back and let me know how you liked them!

Oatmeal Cream Pies from Quaker and Monica H

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For The Cookies:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 3 cups Quaker Oats, old fashioned, uncooked

For The Filling:

  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3-4 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted

For The Cookies: Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together butter and sugars til creamy. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add combined flour, soda, cinnamon, salt. Mix til fully incorporated. Stir in oats and raisins.

Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet, then remove to wire rack.

For The Filling: Combine cheeses in a bowl and mix with an electric mixer til creamy and lump free. Mix in desired amount of honey. Then stir in sugar til sweetened to your liking.

To Assemble The Cream Pies: Place about one tablespoon of filling on one cookie and top with an additional cookie. Gently squeeze together to allow the filling to come to the edges. Don't press too hard or the filling will ooze out.

Refrigerate overnight to allow the cookies to soften and the flavors to meld together.

Makes about 24 cream pies.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Easiest Apple Pie Ever and A Visit From The Fairy Hobmother

A few weeks ago I was on Lisa's blog, The Cutting Edge of Ordinary. It's a blog that I frequent but don't always comment on, but I enjoy her recipes and photography and it doesn't hurt she's got a cute little doggie named Moose- you know I have a soft spot for four-legged furry friends. Anyway, earlier in the month she was visited by the Fairy Hobmother. Ever heard of the Fairy Hobmother? I hadn't either until I stopped by her blog. The Fairy Hobmother grants wishes from ordinary hardworking people like you and me, and today is your chance to get a wish granted as well!

When it was my turn to make a wish, I selfishly wished for a healthy baby. Obviously I know that's something that can't be granted by the FH, so I asked that my wish be given to someone else. Just a couple days later, the Fairy Hobmother sent me an email and said that even if she couldn't make my wish come true, she was crossing her fingers for us. And that she still wanted to send me an Amazon gift certificate for me to spend on Baby Boy H, once he made his arrival. I really was taken aback by her generosity and graciously accepted her offer because I wanted to be able to do the same for one of you.

If you'd like a wish granted by The Fairy Hobmother, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post and make a wish. But please be reasonable, the FH is not Oprah and she will not be giving everyone in the audience a new car! She granted Lisa a new dutch oven because hers burned up and fellow friend and blogger, Girlichef, was granted a food processor after the motor went out on hers. Have you been wanting a new cookbook and didn't get it for your birthday? Or maybe you've had your eye on a new piece of cookware but can't justify the cost? Maybe you want new shelving for the family room to display your family photos and treasures on? Or perhaps you'd like to purchase a gift for someone else, but don't have the funds. Obviously your wish doesn't have to be kitchen related, just make a wish and see what happens. I will not be the one to choose the winner/winners. The Fairy Hobmother will read through the comments, select the winners and contact you via email if you win so be sure to leave your contact info, close your eyes and make a wish.

Now onto a quick blurb about this rustic apple pie. It's delicious. It's very simple. There are very few ingredients and don't need to own a pie plate to make it. There is something a little quirky about it though, as it calls for corn flakes in the filling along with the apples and cinnamon sugar. The cereal acts as a thickener and keeps the crust from getting soggy. I used premade refrigerated pie crusts but if you want to make your own, go right ahead. The whole idea is that you keep it simple and fuss free so you can hurry up and get to the pie- a la mode if you prefer. I liked it because I didn't even need a plate or fork to eat it. I just cut off a piece and ate it like a hand pie. I found it stayed fresh for a couple days, then on day three the crust got a little too soft for me. I chose to sprinkle mine with a little raw sugar before baking but you could easily add a maple glaze to it like Lisa did, if that floats your boat. If you have an apple pie lover like I do, then this is a MUST make!

Rustic Apple Pie adapted from The Cutting Edge Of Ordinary

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  • 1 double pie crust (homemade or store bought)
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1 1/2 cups corn flakes (don’t crush them!)
  • 6 cups thinly sliced Granny Smith apples, about 5 medium
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sugar (I used Sugar In The Raw)
Heat the oven to 350.
Place one pie crust on a work surface and sprinkle with half a teaspoon of flour. Now rub the flour all over to coat the crust. Place the crust flour side down on an ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment.
Sprinkle the corn flakes over the crust to within half an inch of the edge. Mound apple slices over cereal.
Combine the sugar & cinnamon in a bowl and then sprinkle over the apples. Brush the edge of the crust with the beaten egg.
Now take the other half of the crust and just slightly push the edges out with your fingers- you want it to be just about a half-inch bigger than the bottom crust.
Place the pie crust over the top of the crust on the cookie sheet. Fold the edge of the bottom crust over the top crust, pinch the edge to seal and flute.
Cut several slits into the top of the pie. Brush the pie with remaining beaten egg, then sprinkle the coarse sugar evenly over the crust.
Bake 45 to 55 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and apples are tender. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Happy pie eating and thank you Fairy Hobmother for making our wishes come true!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Monkey Bread With A Side Of Monkey Toes

A friend of mine, Maranda of Jolts & Jollies, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy last Monday, August the 8th. Mr. H and I went to visit her in the hospital the very next day when her little man, Baby N, was just one day old (go here to see Baby N). I was so excited to meet him. I got there, smelled him and and held that little bundle of deliciousness in my arms. Then I was told to check out his feet because his toes were incredibly long and "monkey" like. They were and I teased that when he got older he was going to pick things up with his feet. ha ha! Just 3 days later, I went to the doctor and got an ultrasound. We didn't get any clear pictures of his face, but we got a good one of his foot. As soon as the ultrasound tech saw them, she said, "he's got monkey toes!"

This month, for The Cake Slice Bakers, we baked a Hungarian Coffee Cake, also known as Monkey Bread. Because of this months selection, I thought it was perfect timing to share those stinky toes with you all. This Monkey Bread also marks the end of baking from Cake Keeper Cakes from Lauren Chattman. We've been baking from this book for nearly a year already and soon we will bake from a new cake cookbook. It's a secret for now, but I hope to share it with you all next month. I hope it's a good one!

On to this's Monkey Bread. You've all had it right? Little cakey or yeasty balls of dough, coated in butter and cinnamon sugar all baked together into a Bundt. The end result is a delicious smelling and tasting cake perfect for lazy weekend mornings. I especially liked this cake because it sat out on the counter all day and it was just to easy to walk by and pull a piece off. On the other hand, maybe that's not such a good thing. I halved the recipe and baked it into a 6-cup Bundt rather than making the entire cake, after all it is just the two of us eating for now. My only complaint is that is wasn't so fresh tasting on day two, but that's okay because we ate most of it anyway while it was still warm and gooey straight out of the oven. This version incorporates chopped nuts and raisins into the cake, but it would be equally delicious without them.

Monkey Bread from Cake Keeper Cakes

For The Topping:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar

For The Cake:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 9 Tbsp. unsalted butter, chilled
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. buttermilk, plus more if necessary
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
  • 1/4 cup raisins, optional

For The Topping: Whisk together the melted butter and light brown sugar. Set aside.

For The Cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a nonstick 12-cup Bundt pan and dust with flour.

Combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a sipper-top bag. Cut the butter into a 1/4-inch dice. Place the butter in a small bowl and set it in the freezer while you gather the rest of the baking ingredients.

Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the chilled butter pieces and, with an electric mixer , mix on low speed until the mixture resembles coarse meal. (I incorporated my butter into the flour using a pastry cutter.)

Stir in the buttermilk until the mixture just comes together, adding an extra tablespoon or two if the mixture is too dry.

Use a small ice cream scoop or spoon to scoop up balls of dough and transfer them to the zipper top bag. Shake the bag to coat the balls with cinnamon sugar. (I only did about 3 balls of dough at a time, otherwise they stuck together.)

Place the coated balls of dough in the prepared pans, sprinkling nuts and raisins (if using) over them as you go. Pour the melted butter/sugar mixture over the cake.

Bake until the cake is firm and well risen and the caramel is melted, 35 to 40 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan, on a wire rack, for 10 minutes. Invert onto a serving platter and serve immediately.

Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to a day.

NOTE: If halving this recipe, bake in a 6-cup Bundt pan for 35-40 minutes.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Booze Cake For My Doctor!

Last week, I asked you all to guess how big the Mister would be at my appointment this week and I intended to come home and blog about it, but my doctor put me back in the hospital. I didn't even have the option to come home, I went straight there from my appointment. She was concerned about my protein levels because they spiked, but after 24 hours of urine collection and observation in the hospital, everything turned out fine and I was able to come home again.

This past time was very different though because it's been 3 weeks since I was last there and baby Boy H has grown plenty! I'm no longer concerned with him being so tiny. According to his measurements on Tuesday, he weighs approximately 5 pounds, 11 ounces! Holy moly! I was not expecting him to gain that much weight, but he's packing on the weight. Maybe he could sense my worry so he thought he'd eat more to please me??? ha ha! Either way, he is good to go in that department. Out of 45 comments, not one person guessed his weight correctly. But the one person who was the closest without going over was Bonnie who writes From A Writer's Kitchen. Her guess was 5lbs. 9oz. Bonnie, I'm not sure what your prize is yet, but please email me your address and I'll send something over to you! Congrats!

My doctor scheduled my c-section for September 1st. Can you believe it?! The little man (who doesn't have a definitive name yet) will be here in 2 weeks or less! Ahhh! I'm not quite prepared for that, but I'm not sure I'll never be. I can't wait to see his face and smell his feet. LOVE. Because my doctor and staff have been so wonderful, thorough and caring I wanted to make them a cake to say 'thank you'. And who doesn't like a little booze at lunchtime? I decided to make them a chocolate Kahlua cake, that I experimented with back in December. I remember it being really good and moist, though I didn't get a slice of it this go round. I didn't think it would be very polite to deliver a cake with a slice cut out of it. :-) From what I could tell, they really enjoyed it though.

Chocolate Kahlua Cake from Monica H

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  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 1 small box instant chocolate pudding
  • 2 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup vegetable/canola oil
  • 3/4 cup strong brewed coffee or water
  • 1/2 cup Kahlua
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, place cake mix, pudding mix and instant espresso powder and mix together with a whisk.

In a large measuring cup, mix the remaining wet ingredients together and blend til well mixed.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until well combined with an electric hand mixer or a large whisk. Mix until well combined and lump free.

Pour cake mix into prepared Bundt pan and bake for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Once completely cooled, top with glaze (recipe below).

Kahlua Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1 Tbsp. Kahlua
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

In a small bowl, combine all ingredients til smooth and pourable. If too thick and a few drops of water. If too thin, add more powdered sugar until the desired consistency is reached.

Pour or spoon glaze over the entire cake. Garnish with mini chocolate chips if desired. Allow glaze to set before slicing into cake.

My mom and little brother brought me a basket of Begonias when I was in the hospital the first time. They're such a pretty color and so delicate, don't you think?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Summer On A Stick

Hello again! Did you guys miss me? I missed you! You'd think that being on bedrest would give me lots of free time to blog but I've been watching lots of TV and playing games on my iPhone and a friends' borrowed iPad instead. I'm addicted to Words with Friends, Hanging With Friends and a new game I discovered called BubbleXplode. CAN'T. STOP. PLAYING. I even got my MIL hooked on the bubble game ;-) I've read a few blogs in the past week, I just haven't commented much lately. You guys have been making some yummy things!

Just before I was placed on bedrest, I made these delicious pops. It's so stinkin' hot here--about 106 degrees F every single day! I just couldn't make myself turn the oven on, so I whipped up these bad boys. This pregnancy, I've craved key lime pie like nobody's business. Surprisingly, I haven't made one in awhile, but I want it often and never tire of it. It's just so refreshing and bright and so were these popsicles. More recently, I made coconut lime cookies and liked them so much that I knew these would be a hit. Just like the cookies, the coconut adds texture, while the lime is the star.

I really liked these coconut lime popsicles. The hubby, not so much. He took one bite, made faces because he thought they were too tart and tried to give his pop back to me. I ate mine in about 2 minutes flat, then finished off his. Yes, siree! I was expecting more of a coconut flavor, but was pleasantly surprised that they tasted like frozen key lime pie on a stick. Even the texture was the same- not icy, but creamy and dense. Delicious. I've got a couple left to last me the rest of the week and I'm glad that I don't have to share them.

Coconut Lime Popsicles adapted from Tish Boyle

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  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup cream of coconut
  • 1/2 cup milk (whole or lowfat)
  • grated zest of one lime
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut

Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. (I cooled mine in a bowl set in a water bath to speed up the process. The simple syrup (sugar and water) can be made ahead of time, though.)

Combine the remaining ingredients with the simple syrup in a blender and process until well blended and smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for at least 4-6 hours, or until firm.

Makes 3 cups of liquid or 8-10 pops

In pregnancy related news, I went to the doctor today for another check up. My blood pressure was good, but I still had protein in my urine. My condition still hasn't gotten any worse, so that's a good thing. I'm going to the doctor twice a week and the Mister and I are being monitored very closely. I'll find out next Tuesday just how big he's gotten. 2 weeks ago he was 4 pounds 1 ounce. Anyone want to take a wild guess at what his weight will be next week? Who ever guesses it correctly will get a little prize from me!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Home Again

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

I honestly can't thank you enough for all the kind comments and emails I've received over the past few days. Some were encouraging, some were sweet, some made me cry, but they were all helpful. It's nice to know that I have all of you out there rooting and praying for us. I really do consider you all my friends even if we've never met in person or have communicated before. I'm thankful for each and every one of you for taking the time to check in on us over the weekend, some of you more than once.

I have good news to share- I'm back home and resting in my own bed rather than at the hospital! I was released yesterday afternoon with orders for strict bedrest. That means not being on my feet for longer than 15 minutes at a time (including showers), resting- which includes laying in bed on the couch or in a recliner. The whole idea is just not to be doing anything strenuous. And sadly, at this point in the game even getting up to go to the bathroom raises my blood pressure.

My doctor released me from the hospital because my blood pressure was regulated as long as I was inactive. I didn't have a fever, the protein levels in my urine were not increasing and the baby was as "perfect" as can be. I'm still monitoring my blood pressure at home, and providing them with urine samples as necessary, but everything seems to be under control at the moment. The nurses were wonderful at the hospital and I could not have gotten better care, I'm just glad to be home in my own dog hair covered bed. Mr. H has been wonderful in taking care of me too and my in-laws have come over the last two days to help with dinner and to keep up company. Every one's been great and super helpful.

I went to the doctor today and all the weight that I had gained over the last few days was back down and normal. So I'm not sure if it was just water weight or not, but I wasn't swollen, retaining water or sensitive anywhere, in my hands, feet or my face. Maybe it was a mistake- of that I'm not sure. My blood pressure today was slightly elevated, but that was after walking and being mobile and it wasn't at any higher than before.

My doctor still thinks that I'll deliver early, but she's not expecting me to go into labor at 34 weeks like she did on Friday. halleleujah! I'm mighty anxious to meet this little guy, but I can wait a few more weeks. I just don't want to rush him out. It's like underbaking a cake. Yes, it's still good, but a few more minutes and it'll be perfect. They did a bio-physical profile on him today just to make sure that he was okay. His blood flow through the umbilical cord and his arteries looks great and he was squirming all around.

I got another P-17 injection today which will prevent pre-term labor for yet another week. I'll begin to see the doctor on Tuesdays and Fridays until it's time. She just wants to keep a close eye on us. She said today that my "body has never read a textbook" meaning that my body goes against all rules and does what it wants. I like to think I'm just keeping her on her toes, as this baby has done with me for the last several months :-)

Again, thank you all so much for being here for me. I appreciate it so much and I will continue to keep you all updated. I feel like I need to share as much of this special boy with you all as I can. He is my greatest creation yet.


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