Friday, December 30, 2011

5 Years

Happy Anniversary to my husband. Five years has flown by! We'll be celebrating tonight by making Grilled Lobster Tails.  Mmmm....

If anyone is looking for an amazing photographer, check out Sweet Monday Photography.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

On The Menu: Homemade Pretzel Bites

Luckily...I passed my three-hour glucose tolerance test. Which means I can still eat lots of carbs! And if there's one thing I've been consistently craving throughout my pregnancy, it's soft pretzels from the mall. I found this recipe through Pinterest from the blog Just Get Off Your Butt And Bake (so cute, right?). And these are just as good (I'm not kidding) as what you'd get at the mall and a heck of a lot cheaper!

Last night I made both the Cinnamon Sugar with Vanilla Glaze bites and the Traditional Butter and Salt Pretzels with Cheese. Scott's eyes literally went wide when he tried these and he clapped his hands together and said, "You should, you know, make these for OTHER people and they'd be really impressed." I guess this one gets the husband seal of approval.

Each roll makes 4 pretzel bites - That's 144 pretzel bites in this cheap bag of rolls!

What you'll need for Traditional Pretzel Bites:
• A Bag of Rhodes White Dinner Rolls - you can find these or something similar in the frozen dough section of your grocery store. I just bought the normal sized rolls, but the original recipe used the Texas Sized rolls. Each roll will make 4 pretzel bites, so only unthaw however many you think you can eat!
• Melted Butter
• Sea Salt
• Cheese Dipping Sauce - you can make your own (recipe here) or you can buy store bought Tostinos Smooth and Creamy Cheese Dip, which is what I did...because I'm lazy.

For the Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel Bites:
• Cinnamon & Sugar
• Powdered Sugar
• Vanilla Extract
• Melted Butter
• Milk

For this process, I knew I wanted to make half salty and half sweet, so I unthawed 6 dinner rolls at room temperature for about an hour and a half. Then I quartered each roll into four pieces for a total of 24 pretzel bites and placed them on a (really well) greased cookie sheet and covered with plastic wrap. I let them rise to about 1.5 to 2x their size on the cookie sheet, which only took about a half hour for these little bites.

Now, this next step is very important. You must boil the dough bites for about 45 seconds and then quickly scoop them out and place on a paper towel to drain. This will make the bites puff up and really give them that perfect pretzel texture once cooked. Preheat your oven to 375° F at this time.

Here I've got everything ready to go. My oven is preheating, my water is boiling and my paper towel is ready to receive puffed up pretzel bites.

Boil about 10-12 bites at a time, tossing slightly in the boiling water for about 45 seconds. Quickly scoop them out with a slotted spoon once they're puffed and let drain on a paper towel. Some may look funny, but they'll recover nicely in the oven.

Place the bites back onto your greased baking sheet. I can't emphasize enough how important it is to grease your sheet really well! I used just plain Pam cooking spray.

Cook your boiled and puffed pretzel bites for about 13 minutes at 375 degrees F. While my bites were cooking, I prepared my other ingredients. I melted butter, made a cinnamon sugar mixture, heated up my cheese sauce, and prepared my vanilla glaze:

For Vanilla Glaze: combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1 Tablespoon Milk, 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract and 1/2 Tablespoon Melted Butter. It's as easy as that! Add more powdered sugar for thicker glaze.

Remove the pretzel bites from the oven and brush all of them with melted butter. For the traditional bites, sprinkle with sea salt and place around your melted cheese. For the cinnamon sugar bites, roll the buttered bites in cinnamon sugar and place around your vanilla glaze.

What they should look like after cooking. My poor cookie sheets have been through a lot...
Enjoy your Salty and Sweet Snacks!

Cinnamon Sugar Bites

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekend Recap

I had quite the busy weekend. After failing my 1-hour glucose screening, I had to go in for the 3-hour glucose tolerance test. It was by far the least pleasant thing I've had to do so far in this pregnancy. Basically, you have to fast for 12 hours, then they draw your blood. Then you get to drink some more glucola - twice as sweet as what was given for the 1-hour screening...on an empty stomach. Then you get to wait around at a lab as they draw your blood every hour, on the hour, for three hours. Blech. It was not fun, but I survived to tell the tale. Because it made me so weak and nauseous, Saturday was pretty much a bust for me. I went home and took a four hour nap (or sugar crash) after finally getting to eat some real food.

Sunday I had planned to sleep in, but my body had other ideas and woke me up at 7am anyways.  At least there was a beautiful sunrise I snapped a picture of when I let the dog out.

Then it was on to baby shower #2 with family. It was so cute - instead of cards, everyone brought their favorite childhood book to build the library for Baby Reece. We got some good ones and some of my favorites as well!  Now we just have to figure out what to do with all the stuff...

 Yeah, and there's not even any furniture in this room yet. Oh boy...

Monday, December 12, 2011

28 Week Update

So today I'm actually 29 weeks - how the heck did we get here so fast?! Luckily, other than a bout with the stomach flu early last week, I've been feeling pretty good. We had baby shower #1 last Saturday and it was so much fun to see so many family and friends. I think baby Reece has 45 new outfits so far. I'm just sorry that apparently the Outbreak Monkey was in attendance and about 10 other people, including me, got the stomach flu over the next 48 hours. Not fun, and it's twice as bad when you're pregnant! It's just a reminder that close contact with a lot of people around this time of year might not be so good for everyone's health - so remember to wash your hands like crazy.

I'm not feeling huge yet, but this past weekend was the first time I got questions from strangers, so I guess I'm in the "definitely looking pregnant" category. Although my bump has gone from cute and kind of round to more of a torpedo like structure. And don't even get me started on my belly button...because I no longer have one.

I also got to do the lovely Gestational Diabetes Screening Test on Friday at my last appointment. Basically you get to drink a 10oz drink of straight sugar on an empty stomach and then they test your blood to see how you're handling the glucose. Hopefully I passed that test - we'll find out early this week if not. Keep your fingers crossed that I did and that I don't have to do the more intensive test. I've also been instructed to start doing kick counts - as long as I get about 10 movements in a 2-hour period of time, we're good. It's not the most scientific method, but it can help you notice decreased fetal movement. But seeing how my baby pretty much moves like a cat caught in a burlap sack most of the time, I definitely don't need to count to notice decreased activity.

I hope you all are having a wonderful December!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Painted Nursery

We haven't made huge progress on our nursery - but we did finally paint the little room.  And by little...I mean REALLY little. But it should work for such a tiny person.  Here are some before shots:

The closet doors will eventually come off to save more space. I'd like to paint the inside of the closet a contrasting color from the walls, but I haven't decided yet. You can see all my pretty spackle marks on the wall if you look closely.

Ah, Neo. He'd make a good addition to a nursery, right? Eh, sadly he had to go as well.

And here's a few shots of the painted room. It's so hard to photograph this small space. The color is "Gulf Winds" paint and primer in one by Behr in eggshell. I really like the texture of that type of paint and it covers really well. The color is a little more saturated than I had initally planned from my design board, but I think it will be ok when we get everything put together.

You can see a few of the baby gifts we've already exciting to get presents in the mail!

I think my little fox paintings will really pop against the wall color - you can see them stacked on that little table in the background.
I can't wait to share more photos when we actually get the room put together! My baby shower is this weekend, so it will be exciting to get together with friends and family and look at lots of cute baby things!