Monthly Archives: January 2015

Sweet Treats

My longtime friends will know that when I was a kid I didn’t like sweets.  Weird I know…I mean I didn’t even want a birthday cake!  My mom got one anyways for everybody else, but I preferred the salty snacks.  As I have gotten older that has changed, in fact attending weddings I can’t wait to get a slice of cake with coffee.  And during my pregnancies, oh man oh man, I want sweets multiple times a day!!

As much as I love Pinterest, recently especially I have really gotten into it, I don’t really use it much for recipes.  Or if I do pin a recipe I am very skeptical.  The reason being, any blogger can make a photo of food look delicious, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to taste great.  I also have made some recipes that were not up to par.

My #1 go-to for food recipes is Allrecipes and if the recipe is rated by a large amount of people with 4 stars and up I have always have pretty great results.  I also like to go to reputable websites like The Kitchn, Bon Appetit, anything from Ina Garten (of course), Giada De Laurentiis, Ree Drummond, and last but not least these food bloggers ALWAYS have top notch recipes, Orangette, Dinner A Love Story (I recently made their coke braised carnitas) and Smitten Kitchen (I want to make her key lime pie, if I do will you come over and hang out with me?).

I have to confess, this was on my mind to post for sometime now and these are more Christmas treats, but just yesterday we made Valentine’s day sugar cookies and well, fudge, my husband can eat that anytime of the year.  We all know my motto, simple and easy and all these recipes are.

adapted from Allrecipes

3 cups of semisweet chocolate chips
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup of butter

– Place all ingredients in microwave safe bowl and heat for 3-5 minutes in microwave
– stir mixture every minute and until chocolate chips are melted
– Pour in a greased 8 x 8 glass dish and put in refrigerator until set.  (highly suggest adding parchment paper to easily take out fudge)
– Store in fridge

Rolled Sugar Cookies 
adapted from Allrecipes
makes 5 dozen cookies

1 1/2 cups of butter
2 cups of white sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups of all purpose flour
2 tsp of baking powder
1 tsp of salt

–  Cream together butter and sugar until smooth, then beat in eggs and vanilla and lastly stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt
–  Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour, overnight is best
–  Preheat over to 400 d F
–  Roll out dough 1/4 inch thick and cut into shapes with desired cookie cutters
–  Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven, cool completely

This recipe is great because the cookie cutter shapes retain their shape.  Plus they taste great with or without frosting, they are not too sweet!

Saltine Toffee
adapted from Allrecipes

Saltine Crackers
1 cup of butter
1 cup of dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

– Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
– Line 1 layer of saltine crackers onto a cookie sheet that has been lined with greased foil or parchment paper
– In a saucepan combine butter and brown sugar and bring to boil on medium high heat.  Make sure to have mixture boil for a 3 full minutes
– Pour mixture onto saltines and spread evenly
– Bake in oven 5-6 minutes.  I will warn you that you may panic when you look in the oven.  The saltines are floating and not nicely lined as you had originally placed them.  I thought I made a mistake b/c the mixture was under the crackers but that’s ok!!  Remove from oven and realign the saltines with a fork.
– Spread chocolate chips over mixture and let them sit for a couple minutes so they are softened and then spread evenly.
–  Let brittle harden in fridge and once completely cooled break into pieces
–  Store in fridge

These recipes I have made multiple times now and they are ALL awesome.  I love when people share their tasty recipes and why I can’t help but share good recipes when I come across them.  After this I am going to start working on meal planning, I want to be better at it this year, lately it’s been disastrous!!  Any tips?!

photo 2

if you come over and we have sugar cookies i promise we won’t use those sprinkles!!  nola claimed they were delicious btw

DIY Cleaners & Laundry Detergent

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As baby #2’s delivery date is approaching I have been doing all the necessary pre-baby preparations. Since Nola was over a month early and I had nothing ready I wasn’t going to let that happen again.  Just so…you know…then my husband doesn’t have to go and buy that special laundry detergent and do laundry while I’m in the hospital, or have my amazing friend do my baby essentials target run.  Yes they did those things for me, forever grateful for them!!

Of course one of the things on my list was washing all the baby clothes.  Last time I had used Dreft for Nola, but came across some info that said it still had chemicals that could be unsafe.  I’m not an expert on any of this, nor will I try to be, but what this gave me was an excuse to finally try making my own laundry detergent.  A lot of my friends have gone down this road and I have been curious to give it a try.  Clearly I was very ambitious that day.  I did quite a bit of research on different detergent ‘recipes’ and decided on one that did not include borax.  I heard mixed reviews on if borax is safe or not and since I was going to take the time to try and make a detergent that was completely safe and clean why put something into it that was questionable?

Here is the recipe for the ‘baby detergent’:
Large Container to store detergent
4 cups of baking soda
3 cups of washing soda (get at amazon, walmart & some grocery stores)
1 grated Dr. Bonner’s Soap (get at amazon, vitamin stores & target!)

My review on this cleaner is that so far it seems great!  From the peppermint soap it does give off a faint refreshing smell which I appreciate since I love the smell of clean laundry.  Since there’s no baby yet, there’s no spit up to test how good it cleans, but I will let you know!

The next cleaner I made was a multi-purpose cleaner.  I use this one when cleaning my counter tops.  Things I learned when researching vinegar:  1.  vinegar will disinfect, but commercial cleaners will kill more bacteria & viruses  2.  many people say we over-use disinfectants and we underestimate the power of just hot soapy water and elbow grease  3.  Clean surface before using vinegar cleaner  4.  All surfaces are not suitable for an acidic/vinegar cleaner.  That was a lot of info for this simple recipe, but wanted to share with all of you what I learned and thought was interesting when researching vinegar.

Here is the recipe for the multi-purpose cleaner:
Spray Bottle (glass is preferred when using essential oils, but I read depending on the amount of essential oils used, plastic shouldn’t be a problem)
1/4 cup of vinegar
1 3/4 cup of water
20 drops of lemon essential oil
shake before each use

I also wanted to note that though there is essential oils in this cleaner, it still has a vinegary smell, so if that is something you are not all about this may not be for you, or maybe adding more lemon essential oil may resolve this?

The last cleaner reminds me of febreeze.  It has that lovely lavender smell and it’s great to use right before guests come over or if you just want your house smelling lovely.  I have used this on my furniture, carpet and read this also would be great sprayed on your sheets.

Here is the recipe for the fabric/upholstery spray:
Spray Bottle
1 tablespoon of baking soda
2 cups of warm water
10 drops of lavender essential oil
shake before each use

As you can see these recipes are so simple a young child could do this, so very easy, just how I like it!  And you most likely you may have these ingredients lying around.  Let me know if you give them a try!  I have to admit some days for me it’s fun trying to experiment and try new things, other days I like getting stuff from Honest Company.  Either way I’m trying to make more healthy decisions for my family, everything in moderation is what I keep telling myself!

My Thoughts on 2015

Wow I can’t believe it’s back to the grind, and with that a new year.  It’s funny because back in college whenever a new semester would start it was so exhilarating.  A fresh start with hopes of better grades and a clean slate…really no better feeling.  Along with that I am a very optimistic person, probably too much at times, so starting this new year, or any new year for that matter, should be something I am all about.

But for some reason this year I view it a little more timidly.  Maybe it’s the hormones of the pregnancy, or the cold weather, or that I’m just getting older, but I can’t help but think of this new year, that sure I’m excited about what’s to come, but also a little scared?  What does this year hold that will challenge me or my family?  Will my husband and kids be spared sickness or any injuries?  Do I want to say, ‘this will be my best year yet?!’  like so many do?  I mean I plan on living to be old, like 95 old, so do I want things to go downhill with 60 plus more years of life to live?!?  I know, I know, people who say that, say that every year.  But I guess I want to go into each new year with hope, tons of it, but also being realistic.

I don’t know, maybe what I’m trying to say or how I feel is that I’m so excited for this year, but go in cautiously.  I am praying that God gives me the strength to face the blessings and challenges this year brings, but also hope that I can continue to work on being a better person.  And if it’s mid-June and I need some type of do-over, it’s ok to look at things broken down, be it a new month, a new week, heck a new day.

All that being said, I of course have a list of goals.  I can’t even tell you how much I look forward to wearing normal clothes and getting back into shape.  Spending less time on social media.  Taking time to enjoy my people more, hopefully eating good food AND possibly beverages that contain alcohol?  (can anyone else see i’m ready to have this kid and that this pregnancy is wearing on me)?  Or the biggest one yet, learning how to be a good mama to 2 kiddos!!  That I can’t wait for.

I hope friends you all have a blessed 2015 that involves continuing to grow and learn more about yourself.  I also hope you have people in your life to encourage you on through this crazy, scary, but mostly awesome journey.


Brian M Lee Photography - Missy Gammon 2013-134 and on this cold day when we are missing ca and nola being a baby here’s a photo from back in the day.  my long hair!!  

Dear Nola

Dear Nola,

I wanted to take the time to write you something before baby #2 comes into our family.  I know this little baby will bring so much joy into our lives and I think you will LOVE being a big sister, but I also wanted to let you know these past 2 years with just you have been pretty amazing and I have been so grateful for them.  You have been the most gracious kid and the greatest first born we could have asked for.  You love and adore us, even though through you, we have and continue to try to figure out this whole parenting thing, bless your heart sweet child.

I am so excited to have 2 little ones, but I can tell you this, I’m going to miss it just being us too.  I want to make you a promise that I will always make time for you, though I know in the beginning it may not seem like it.  And I will do my very best to be there when you need me.

You amaze us everyday how you, my little 2 year old, can be so fantastic and are already so much more spectacular than me or you daddy will ever be.  I can’t wait to see God’s plans for your life and amazing things you will accomplish.  I thank God for you everyday and just know you have added so much joy into our life.  I hope someday you will read this letter and know in your heart how much of gift you have been to me, the girl I always wanted.

Love you always…to the moon and back,

Your Mama