Thursday, September 3, 2015

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Muffins

Muffins are generally a hit in my house. They are a nice on the go breakfast, they make a great afternoon snack or a dessert.  The last time I made Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins I wanted to add something to them to make them extra special. I had hazelnuts on hand and decided that they would make a fine addition to a chocolate-y muffin! {Plus doesn't that makes these healthy since they have all that added protein from the nuts?!}

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Muffins

6 ounces of semi sweet baking chocolate
1/3 cup of sweet cream butter
3/4 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
1/2 cup of sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 cup of mini chocolate chips
1 cup of chopped hazelnuts

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees

Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners

In a saucepan over low heat, melt the semisweet chocolate with butter. Let stand until cooled, about 10 minutes.

Lightly beat the egg.

In a small bowl, stir together the chocolate-butter mixture with the sugar, egg, lemon, vanilla and milk until blended well.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, soda, and salt.

Make a hole in the center of the dry ingredients so that you can pour in the chocolate mixture.

Stir until just combined. Stir in the mini chocolate chips and half of the hazelnuts. Spoon the batter into the lined muffin cups.

Top with remaining chopped hazelnuts

Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Allow muffins to rest in tins for at least 5 minutes before removing from tins to serve.

Do you like muffins? What is your favorite flavor of muffins?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Mom: Required for Sleeping

This post was inspired by my dear pal Maggie at Dexters Super Savvy Mommy via a fun status update.

She asked "Do your kids have a special blankie or stuffed animal that they just don't want to sleep without? If so, how old are they?"

At first I thought, no, not really. Harper likes her Teddy Bear, but she doesn't care if it is in her crib or not. Roo, takes different toys to bed if he feels like it. He may grab a book, or his "game ball" from t ball on a day he did really well. But, anyhow. No. Nothing special is required for bedtime.

Then I realized that there is a special something, a favorite something that is required for bedtime. Roo can't sleep without me. 

He is 5.

When Roo was about 7 months old, he stopped sleeping through the night, just as quickly as he started to sleep through the night. Many nights I spent holding him in my arms as we rocked the night away. I would count and lightly tap my foot to stay awake. Once he was asleep, I counted to 200 then I gently slipped him back into his crib. More nights than not, his crib would wake him, as this was when drop side cribs were in use still. As soon as I raised the side, he was awake.

So many nights I held my baby, so he could sleep in my arms. I however lived with fear of holding him too tight or dropping him. So, from the age of 7 months until he was 11 months old. I didn't sleep more than an hour at a time. He was waking up constantly.

When he was 11 months old, I was looking and feeling haggard. Bags that swallowed my face appeared under my eyes. A crazed look took over in my expressions. I gained crazy weight in those 4 months. I was teetering on the edge. If I didn't get some sleep, and soon, things were going to get u-g-l-y.

The last night I sat up with him all night, I nodded off, I couldn't stay awake. I asked my husband to take a turn, he refused as he had to work in the morning. {NO COMMENT...water under the bridge}

I put the kid in the crib. He wailed. I wailed. I picked him up, carried him to my bed, instructed my husband not to roll over on him. Roo fell asleep, I fell asleep. Problem solved.

Well, now here we are . Roo is 5. He still needs his Mama to sleep. So, at bedtime, I lie down with him until he is sleeping. When he awakens several hours later, he says "I can't feel you Mom!" or "I can't hear you Mom!" So I climb the stairs and say "I'm here Roo!" I crawl back in bed with him and he will say something like "Mommy, you will sleep here right?" or "Mommy, I NEED you!" or "Please don't go Mom."

You know... the stuff that makes me feel bad. Makes me promise I will sleep there. Each night, I kiss my husband Good Night, and I go to bed with our son.

I have heard it all. I have heard how I am damaging my marriage, how I am messing up my kid, how I need to put a stop to him needing me to fall asleep....

Well, here is a newsflash. Roo is 5 today and he wants me close to him. I want to be close to him, to smell his hair when he sleeps, to savor the feeling of his little boy breath in my ear. Someday soon he will grow up. He won't want me in his room or his bed. Understandable. But while he is little, if he needs me, it is my duty to be there for him. It is also my pleasure to savor the season of being in high demand.

My husband doesn't mind, because he understands, they are only little once.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Proud Mama: Raising A Good Kid

I have the cutest story to share with you about my little boy.

This summer has been a tough one financially, I have paid nearly $1900 in electric and water since May alone, and my August utility bill hasn't come yet.

We moved, which got our spending all out of whack... moving is expensive! I am sure you know this already.

During the move, it rained like by the bucket full. Our washer was damaged and unfortunately a pile of dirty clothes...  like every shirt my daughter owned and 1/3 of my shirts were on the floor of the basement when the water came into the basement. Before I knew the basement was wet, all of said clothes had taken on mildew.

Let's refresh here. Over $1900 in city utility bills. A move. A broken washer, having to replace 1.3 wardrobes...

My son on one day, really wanted something. It was some kind of truck, which he has trucks upon trucks! I told him, "I'm sorry buddy, I only have enough money to get these things... I can't buy you the truck."

His heart sank. He had never heard me say I couldn't buy something for him. He has heard me say that I wouldn't, but not that I couldn't. He said "Let's go get money at the bank!"

I explained, I don't have any money in the bank...
He said "Get your paypal card."
Persistent huh?

I felt pretty bad that day. I moped about, I whined. I cried a little. My husband reminded me that while we might be 'broke' at the present, that we had been on a trip. Our kids have been through swimming lessons, Roo played baseball and went to Nature Camp. Our cupboards have an abundance of food in them....

Dang it, don't you hate it when you have to admit, he is right.

Well anyhow, the next time we left, headed to a store. My son ran back in the house to get something. As we got into Dollar General and selected our purchases, my sweet little boy produces a Visa gift card (it had no money on it, but he plays with it at his cash register) and says "Here Mom, try my card... want to?"

I smiled at him, his big blue eyes told me he was trying to help, I melted. It took all I had to hold myself together. I was so proud of my son and his willingness to try to help me after that day that we were broke.

My sweet little boy

Today was grocery store day. As I checked out at WalMart, Roo said "I got this card too Mom!" He whipped out a gift card and swiped it thru the machine. I winked at the cashier and said "Thank you so much Roo. You are such a nice boy!" He beamed "Yep, I am a nice boy!"

I felt like a chump that my son learned a lesson that mommy is not made of money, because I do like to indulge my kids and let them do a lot of activities. But, at the same time, I am glad that I am raising a child that is eager to try to help.

I guess it is time to start teaching the concept of cash to him and how that works with a gift card next. But, this proud Mama isn't ready to smash his good intentions of being so helpful just yet.

Women's Equality Day: A peek at Suffragette

On August 26th, 1920 the United States government accorded women the right to vote. Each year, the President of the United States designates August 26th as Women’s Equality Day to commemorate this landmark decision.

I can't wait to tell you more about this powerful and moving movie that will release this fall.

About the film:

Academy Award nominees Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter, and three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep, lead the cast of a powerful drama about the women who were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality in early-20th-century Britain. The stirring story centers on Maud (played by Carey Mulligan), a working wife and mother whose life is forever changed when she is secretly recruited to join the U.K.’s growing suffragette movement. Galvanized by the outlaw fugitive Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep), Maud becomes an activist for the cause alongside women from all walks of life. When increasingly aggressive police action forces Maud and her dedicated fellow suffragettes underground, they engage in a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with the authorities, who are shocked as the women’s civil disobedience escalates and sparks debate across the nation. Inspired by true events, SUFFRAGETTE is a moving drama exploring the passion and heartbreak of those who risked all they had for women’s right to vote – their jobs, their homes, their children, and even their lives. The film also stars Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai, and Natalie Press. Produced by Academy Award nominee Alison Owen and Golden Globe Award nominee Faye Ward, SUFFRAGETTE is directed by BAFTA Award winner Sarah Gavron from an original screenplay by Emmy Award winner Abi Morgan.

Director: Sarah Gavron (“Brick Lane,” “This Little Life”)
Writer: Abi Morgan (“The Iron Lady,” “The Hour”)
Cast: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Ben Whishaw, Romola Garai, Natalie Press, Meryl Streep

For more information please visit:



Do you think you will head out to the theater to catch this powerful movie about the history of women's rights? I have already marked my calendar and requested a sitter for the kids!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sauteed Cabbage, Green Pepper and Onion

We have been taking advantage of all of the fresh foods that summer brings. Every week we hit up the farmers market in our town to get the freshest local produce possible. This week I also made a trip to the country to visit a favorite farm.

I have been trying a lot of new things with fresh produce, which is fantastic for my mission to eat healthier and get my groove back. This week I started chopping up vegetables and came up with a recipe that had mouths watering as soon as it began to cook!

To make Sauteed Cabbage, Green Pepper and Onions you will need:

1/2 head of cabbage, chopped
1/2 large green pepper, sliced into thin strips
1/2 large sweet onion, sliced thin
2 tablespoons of butter (I used I Can't Believe It's Not...)
Italian Seasoning

Place 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet
Turn to medium heat
Add chopped cabbage, sliced green pepper and onion
Add seasoning to your preference. I used this fresh Italian herb blend that I had on hand. You can use salt, pepper, whatever floats your boat.

This will serve 3 {heaping portions of veggies!!}.

Allow this to cook, stirring every couple of minutes. I allowed mine to cook for about 30 minutes over medium heat, until some of the cabbage had a great sauteed look to it.

This was such an easy dish to make, with fresh simple ingredients, but my family loved it. It made for a great way to get extra veggies on our plates. I paired this with one crab cake per person (145 calories each crab cake...) to make a healthy low calorie meal that was packed with delicious flavors of summer.