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World’s Easiest Pumpkin Muffins!

2 Oct

I found this recipe thanks to my new BFF Pinterest. Which, if you like to bake/cook/craft/party-plan at all, I highly recommend.

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These muffins only require two things: 1. Boxed cake mix (spice cake mix was recommended but I had yellow on hand)
2. Can of pumpkin.

I simply mixed the two ingredients together, put the mixture in paper cupcake liners and sprinkled powdered sugar on top. They do take a little longer to bake (350 for about 22 minutes).

 

 

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They got the Jude approval (his “cheese” face).
They turned out super moist and much more natural tasting than most pumpkin muffins I’ve tried!

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Happy Father’s Day, Dada!

19 Jun

We love you so much.

Three Years

24 May

Michael,

Three years ago at this time I was preparing to walk down the aisle and become your wife. Something I still consider the highest honor. There was not a single moment of questioning what I was about to do. In fact, within hours of our first (all night) phone conversation way back in 2005 I knew I wanted to marry you. I just had to figure out how to be good enough for someone who deserves so much joy. Miraculously, I somehow tricked you into thinking that I was funnier and more sane than I actually was. In those first (again, very long) phone conversations while you were on tour, I began to get scared. Scared that I could feel so much connection with someone so quickly. Scared it would end and I would never find someone comparable (there isnt).

Eventually, after months of pretending we weren’t in love when we were totally, ridiculously, obviously were…you asked me if we could talk. We sat on your bed in your parents house for 45 minutes in silence while you worked up to courage to ask me to be your girlfriend. I’m not sure if you can smile with every part of your body, but in that moment I felt like I was.

And so our love and relationship grew, but not without challenge. You stood shoulder to shoulder with me through the hardest times of my life. Heartache after heartache, challenge after challenge, you still wanted to be by my side. I wouldn’t have blamed you for wanting to run, but you only ran to save me, repeatedly.

You soon moved to San Francisco to attend school and our relationship was challenged again. You made the obstacle of living apart so much easier with your willingness to lose sleep and gas to constantly come to visit me. Despite exhaustively long hours of school and work, you always made time for me. I still felt like the most special girl in the world.

Then one night, you tried to force me to drink heavily. You acted weird. You took me to dinner and the park we went to on our first real date. You nervously got on one knee and asked me to marry you. My heart felt like it could explode. We began planning our wedding and you graduated. I will never forget how hard you worked, sometimes working 3 jobs, just to make things “work”. I admire your ability to always do the right thing, just because that is the type of person you are, not because its easy or convenient.

So there I was, exactly three years ago, standing with my brother at the end of a grass lawn, looking at you at the other end, waiting. I couldn’t help but cry (a lot). It would be the first time in my life that I cried from happiness. I was baffled that you wanted to give yourself to me and only me. Some days I am still dumb founded that you chose me to sleep next to at night. People always warn you about the first year of marriage and how hard it is. Well, it wasn’t. It was the best year of my life. We were so poor and overworked, but so unaware of it.

Then IT happened. I was (surprise!) pregnant with Jude. Despite a lack of planning, we were so happy for what was to come. Scared out of our minds? Yup. You took such good care of me. You made me so many of those damn delicious tuna melts. I lost my job and we tried not to have panic attacks (okay, I had like 20 of them). Then we were blessed again and you were given a promotion at work. I’ve never doubted how much you deserved the challenge, even though I know you did. I know you thought you were in over your head, but you weren’t. I’m so lucky to be married to someone so full of passion. Its not easy following your heart, but when you are doing what you love (and doing it so freaking well) you will always be happy. I admire you for taking a chance on yourself and doing what makes you thrive. It makes you a better person, husband and father.

Then after 10.4 long months, Jude was born. I didn’t think it was possible to love you any more than I already did, but when I saw you hold our son for the first time, my heart grew. It continues to grow everyday. Every time you choose Jude over yourself. Every time you get up in the morning to play cars with him instead of getting an extra hour of sleep. The best part of our day is when “Dada is home!”. You come through the door and Jude claps or greets you with a little jig. I feel the same way, but I try to keep my jigging to a minimum.

Now our love will continue to grow as we are blessed with the upcoming birth of Ruby. A name so adorable that only her Daddy could have picked it. I daydream about how much she too will adore you, as Jude & I do. She will never have to worry about her Daddy not being there for her. She will always be blessed and loved, because you are hers.

So thank you. Thank you for letting me be your wife. Thank you for always loving me, despite me being the worlds biggest pain in the ass. Despite me constantly nagging you about your damn dirty socks all over the house. Despite me always having something to say about everything. Thank you for laughing at my jokes and making light of the annoying things in life. Thank you for putting your family first. Thank you for always trusting me and proving yourself to be trustworthy. Thank you for thinking I’m beautiful and telling me so. Thank you for holding my hair back when I vomit. Thank you for rubbing my back when it aches. Thank you for calling me out when I am being ridiculous. Thank you for pointing out when I am wrong, even though I really hate it at the time. Thank you for making me dinner despite cooking all day long at work. Thank you for making mistakes so I can feel a little less embarrassed about what a pain in the ass I am.

I adore you. I love you with every part of my being. You are the best thing about everything.

Happy Anniversary.

Mexican Wedding Cookies

5 May

My Mother-in-law (aka Lita) shared this fantastic recipe with me for Cinco De Mayo. They are so bomb, I strongly encourage you to make these!!!

1 cup butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar plus more for rolling baked cookies
1 tspn vanilla
1/4 tspn salt
2 cups flour

     Cream butter, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, vanilla and salt until fluffy.

        Stir in flour and blend well.

       Chill 30 minutes.

  Shape into 1″ balls. Place on un-greased cookie sheet.

  375 degree oven for 12-15 mins (I baked mine for 10 minutes and they were perfect)

. Until golden brown–do not overtook– they’ll get tough.

   While still warm, roll them in powdered sugar.

     Roll again in powdered sugar when cool.

Best if sugar is sifted before rolling. Note: these cookies are more tender without nuts, but you can add 1 cup finely chopped nuts. Makes about 3 dozen small cookies.

 If doubling recipe, form 2 balls to chill.

Happy Birthday, Baby!

5 Apr

Only the best for my man.

We love you more than words.

I am one proud wifey

4 Mar

Ya, that is my hot husband. I remember when we had only been together for about  a year and Michael told me his dream was to one day be a Chef. He was afraid because he has been enrolled in a 4 year university  and people might think he was  crazy to transfer to a (ridiculously overpriced) culinary school in San Francisco. He was worried he’d never make enough money to support a family (obviously, he does) and he told me it would probably take him 10 years after graduating until he would be considered a Chef in charge of his own kitchen (it took him less than a year). I’m so proud, I’ve now cried about this like 3 times (freaking pregnancy hormones, man!) I know its just a tiny magazine (Granite Bay View), but to actually see his name in print CHEF Michael Reese means so much to me (and I’m sure to him, although he’d never admit it). I’m just so proud he faced his fear and chose to pursue a career he is truly passionate about.

Confessions of a Chef’s Wife

26 Jun

So, as previously mentioned my Husbie, Michael is a chef. Awesome, right? I often find it funny when we go to other peoples houses for parties or dinners and they frequently comment about how nervous they are to cook for my husband, Michael. For future notice people- let me give it to you straight- this man could care LESS if you cooked him Spam & Velveta. He will eat anything. He eats Taco Bell. He loves all food and does not discriminate.

However, I shouldn’t be judging or telling anyone how to feel because I feel the same way. From the beginning of our relationship I have lacked culinary skills of any kind. I can make a few things: pasta, easy mac, things in the crock pot, things in the microwave, umm eggs…..and…..ya that is all. Which is honestly quite pathetic if you think about it. 99.9% of the time Michael cooks our meals at home, yes even after cooking on his feet all day. Why? Because even if I tried with every little muster in my soul, it still would turn out tasting like a frozen dinner that sat out for 6 hours, that then got dropped onto the floor, thrown away in the garbage and then was taken out and put onto a plate. When I ask him to make me a salad, it looks like this:

I can’t go on like this forever. I have to learn, I have to force myself. So “Confessions of a Chef’s Wife” is the portion of my blog where I will explore cooking: what, why & how the hell do you do it. Because my husband needs & deserves a break.

One of the first things I have learned how to make was a very simple “Yummy Chicken Casserole” from my lovely & talented friend Kristen. She has 3 kids, so I’m pretty sure if she can find time to make this, my lazy ass can too. Now let this recipe come with a warning: after making this dish for the first time you may feel the urge to eat so much you have to put maternity pants on and lay on the bed afterward holding your stomach yelling “WHHHYYYYY did I have thirds??!!”. You think I’m kidding? I don’t kid. Okay I do but not about this. Yummy Chicken Casserole is some serious shit, man.

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5-6 (depending on size) boneless chicken breasts cut up into chunks (uncooked)

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can cream of celery

1 can cream of chicken

1/2 C milk

Mix all ingredients together and put in a 9X13 pan.

Mix together 2 packages of chicken flavored stovetop stuffing as directed on package (meaning mix in the butter, hot water, etc), but DO NOT COOK.

Cover top of mixture with stuffing and cover your baking dish with foil. Bake at 350 for 1 hour. Uncover and bake for an addl 15 minutes.

Cook one bag of egg noodles as directed and top noodles with casserole.

TA-DAHHH!!!:

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So I know this doesn’t exactly fit into my diet plan these days but I have made it once since I started working out and I substituted Smart Balance for butter to cut the fat of this dish almost in HALF. I also use the 99% fat free cans of soup (with low sodium), low fat stuffing & skip the noodles and it is still SOOO good.

Hey, maybe one day I’ll get crazy and cook things that don’t require canned soup. I said maybe.