Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

These are some of Michael's favorite treats. I love them too, but I have a deep fascination with cookie dough so that is no surprise. The recipe for these can also be found in the recipe book we gave out as favors at our wedding. It originally came out of Taste of Home magazine. Here's what you need:
1 stick of butter, softened
3/4 c Brown Sugar
2 c Flour
1 tsp Vanilla
1-14 oz can Sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c chocolate chips (I used semi sweet morsels, but mini chips really work better)
Chocolate candy coating
2 Tbsp shortening +
1-12 oz package semisweet chocolate chips
Cream the butter and sugar

Add milk, flour, and vanilla. Mix well.

It will look all nice and doughy like this.

Stir in the chocolate chips. The dough will be pretty soft at this point. I recommend putting it in the fridge for a few hours or if you are in a hurry, the freezer for about 15-30 minutes.

Roll it into 1 inch or so balls. You may need to pop them in the fridge or freezer again if they get soft.

Melt your chocolate coating of choice. I chose chips + shortening melted in the microwave.

When the chocolate is good and melted, dunk the cookie dough in a few pieces at a time.

Plop them out on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. If you want to get fancy, drizzle some extra chocolate (or melted white chocolate) over top of the cooled truffles. After you have dipped them all, pop them in the fridge until chocolate is set. Then store in the fridge in an airtight container. I am really wanting some of these right now. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Baby's Room is just about ready!

Michael and I had a busy weekend getting the nursery together! It's all ready for furniture now though! The crib actually came in yesterday and we got it put together last night, but I don't have a picture yet.
Michael pretty much worked on the floor the whole time. My first task was making curtains. I went to every fabric store in Lexington and Frankfort and found nothing suitable. I went to Louisville on Saturday and found some precious fabric at Joann's Fabric that worked like a charm:
I bought a set of Sheep Napkin holders at a yard sale last year and used them as embelishments on the tiebacks for the curtains. Cute, huh?
My second task was to paint some cute little art work. I painted 4- 8x10 stretched canvases:

I personally really liked the cow. I decided to go at another angle then I did for the mural.

Here they are all together on the wall:

From the doorway:

The floor turned out AWESOME! The "barn doors" with the trim all painted and the floor done:

Floor again:

Shelby approved! The cats really like it better, though. Any time the door is open now, they go running in there and lay down. Daysie REALLY wants to get in the crib, but her fluffy butt can't jump high enough. I think her favorite place is going to be under the crib...especially once I get the dust ruffle on....then it will be like a tent.

Still in the Saddle....

As much as it pains my doctor (and any other overprotective type person), at 31 weeks, I'm still riding my horse. Of course, Michael has to come out with me to put the saddle on her back and I need a mounting block to get on since I can't lift my leg high enough to put it in the stirrup. I'm also very thankful to have an indoor arena....I don't think I would be taking to the trails in this weather. What I don't think my doctor understands (among other things) is that this keeps me centered....
It keeps me balanced....

I don't feel helpless when I'm in the saddle.....my back doesn't bother me, and I don't constantly think about what I need to be doing to get the house ready for the baby. For those 30 minutes or so a week (that's about all I can get out to the barn), it's just me and Spice (and Shelby, of course) and I feel fairly normal, that is until I see the pictures. But here is a preggo pic of me with a genuine smile:

And I'm sure Spice just wants my heavy self off of her back!

Friday, January 15, 2010

More about the floor...

The floor is over half done!! Michael wanted so badly to finish it last night but it didn't happen. I was glad when he decided to stop at 11. He would have finished easily but we had a baby class in Lexington at lasted until 8:30. I think it's looking smashing! Hopefully since I have a 3 day weekend, I can get the trim painted, the rest of the paint touched up, and curtains made. I might even start on some of my art work (I have 8x10 canvases that I am going to paint little animals on to hang on the all-green walls). I ordered the crib yesterday and it is on it's way! I can't wait to see what this room looks like when it's all together!

Now, by popular demand, I broke down and got Michael to take a picture of my preggo self this morning. I don't know that I will ever get used to seeing myself like this. So here I am at almost 31 weeks.....

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A pleasant surprise

Michael sent me the following picture this morning.... Yep, the old carpet is up! Last I heard Michael had started getting the laminate down. I can't wait to see it this evening! I will also be glad that the laminate boxes will be gone for the most part....They have been in the kitchen since we bought them...and I have many a bruise on my shins from bumping into them while cooking and stuff. A small price to pay...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Crescent Layer Bars

I had a small crisis at work yesterday. I was dealing with shipping out 9000 lbs of fescue seed from our building to go to Maryland for a research project with USDA. I have been dealing with some great people over at Turner Seed in Winchester. However, yesterday, a SEMI showed up to pick up the seed. Great, right....wrong. Not only did I not know this truck was coming until a few hours before it arrived, but you can't get a semi truck back to our dock. After the trucker took out a rather large tree branch and after talking to some really nice UK Policemen, we determined that this just wasn't happening. So, the good people at Turner Seed sent their box truck to pick up the fescue this morning. I knew this was not going to be a fun job, so I decided some treat baking was in order. So, I made these bars. I like to keep people happy.
Here's what you need: I made 2 batches so that is why I have 2 crescent rolls, you only need one/batch.

1 can of crescent rolls
1 cup white chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup almonds/cashews (I picked these out of a can of mixed nuts; it would have been fine with just pecans)
1 cup coconut (I included this in one batch...it's great with it if you like coconut, but fine to omit)
1 can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 375 F
Spray or grease a 9 x13 dish. Crisco for baking spray (with the flour in it) is the rockstar in my pantry when it comes to baking. It's amazing.

Roll out crescent dough and mash into the bottom of the dish and about 1/2 inch up the sides.

Bake for 5 mins at 375

Sprinkle chips and nuts evenly over top....

And the coconut if you so desire....

Pour the milk evenly over the toppings

YUM! How could it be bad?

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375. Cool for 10 minutes and run a knife around the crust. Cool for 1 hour and then put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Cut into squares or bars. These are seriously yummy. And if you are like me and over bought sweetened condensed milk over the holidays, this is a great way to use it.

Monday, January 11, 2010

More Nursery Stuff

I thought that I would post a few more things about the nursery today. It is no closer to being done since the last post. I'm waiting on the floor to get done....AKA waiting on Michael to get the floor done...and Michael is waiting on warmer weather (since he has to be outside to cut it) and a weekend when he doesn't have to work. Hopefully all will fall together soon. We did buy the flooring this weekend. Here is what it looks like: It's called "Antique Oak" and we thought it looked like barn wood....so it would go with the whole barnyard theme. It also helped that it was very affordable and suposedly easy to install. We will see about that last part.
We also picked out the crib and changing table. We had one already in mind that we really liked and it was pretty cheap too...however, we went to Babies R Us and saw the crib in person...and well, it was just cheap. So we looked at all the rest of the cribs and furniture and settled on these 2 items:
The crib is one of those 4-in-1 things that the kid can keep through adulthood. It converts to a toddler bed, day bed, and full size bed. The dresser is also a changing table. We had trouble finding a dresser/changer combo because, well, they were just too dang short. I'm 5'10" and Michael is 6', so we needed something a bit taller. This one could be a little taller, but it's good....and it should last a while and the kid will need a dresser.

Here is the bedding that we settled on. It's so stinkin cute! Each animal is a different texture on the comforter. There was one I actually liked better, but WOWZA was it expensive! I also liked this one because it has little RED tractors on the sheets....not those green and yellow ones. Michael actually liked a sports-themed one best, and pitched a fit that we couldn't have done a sports theme and used that bedding.....I asked where that idea was when we decided on a barnyard theme. It took me long enough to get him to even GO to Babies R Us with me. Once he was there, he said his face was hurting because he couldn't stop smiling. Baby stuff IS pretty cute for the most part. He's still not very exciting about the registering part, so I pretty much did all that on my own. I kind of understand....How exciting can registering for things like "burp cloths" be? Not very. He doesn't think that we will be getting any gifts much anyway. I told him that we could use it as a checklist if that was the case...because this isn't like when we got married....when we registered for things that we WANTED or were just NICER than what we had...this time, we NEED the stuff. I mean, the baby HAS to wear clothes and NEEDS toys for enrichment, and HAS to be fed and burped and changed, etc. I guess we'll learn more about that at our "Baby Basics" class this Thursday. We went through our childbirth class this past Saturday. It had some good information in it. Who knew there was so much learning to do?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Nursery Part 1: Paint

Originally, we were going to go with a car theme if we had a boy and a pony theme if we had a girl....however, I changed my mind after buying a really cute cow piggy bank at Michael's on clearance and we settled on a barnyard theme. I decided to utilize my painting skills to paint a barnyard mural on the wall. I was on vacation from the university from the 24th thru the 4th, so I used that time to get the room painted. It took a while. I have to take more breaks then I used to.
Day 1 consisted of going to Lowe's and picking out paint colors. I went with Grass Stain for the non-mural walls and "grass", Surfer Waves for the "sky", and Funshine for the sun. Thank goodness for sample cans! That is how I made it through this mural without buying tons of paint! After Day 1, the room looked like this:

On Day 2, I began painting some of the details such as the sun, barn, and animals. At the end of the second day, this was the result:

On Day 3, I rested.....well, I didn't "rest." I went to the grocery since we had no food and to Lowe's (again) to get paint for the tractor (Oliver green and yellow...not John Deere) and trim. I also did the piles of laundry and dishes that had accumulated.
On day 4, I got back to painting the details and finished the mural. Take a look:

The barn

The tractor. When I bought the paint samples, the guy mixing them asked if I was going to a John Deere theme. I was like, "Um...no way....it's an Oliver Tractor theme." I don't think he knew what I was talking about. I painted all parts of the mural from memory...no pictures to help, so the tractor is not a perfect representation of any model of Oliver. So I left off the model number. Michael thought I was being silly, but I know that this is serious business when your dad is an Oliver officionato.

The Donkeys

The ANGUS cattle. I really do stink at painting cows but I don't think they turned out too bad. Black cattle really make for a shading challenge.

The sun
The sheep

The piggies

The pony....loosely based on my childhood pony, Tony.

One wall

The corner

The other wall

Day 5 & 6:I decided to paint the closet and entry doors like barn doors. This was almost the death of me, but I finally got them done.

Lesson learned: don't bother taping when your hand is as steady as mine. Tape is a hassle.
Aside from the touchups in paint, we still have to rip up the carpet and put down laminate. I also need to sew some curtains and paint the rest of the trim once we get the floor down. I can't wait to get this project over so I can get it looking like a nursery!