Becki Bakes!

I bake, I blog, I raise babies….and this is where I tell you all about it!

That Peaceful, Easy Feeling March 5, 2010

Filed under: Friends & Loved Ones,Random Blathering — beckid987 @ 12:03 pm

Inner peace hasn’t come easily to me lately.  I blame it mostly on these crazy pregnancy hormones.  But there is so much to stress about right now, that I’m having trouble seeing the forest for the trees.

At first I was pretty torn up over the idea of Dad selling the house that I grew up in, but now I can’t wait for him to move to his new farm.  The old house is a wonderful and terrible place full of memories, and I think it overwhelms all of us when we’re there.  I know it does me.  I’m developing the opinion that memories are sweet, as long as they’re not too tangible.  At least in this case.

The new farm is pretty incredible.  It needs work – lots and lots of work – but Dad has already thrown himself into the task and he’s making it into HIS place, which I think is the best kind of therapy he could be getting right now.  And there is such an air of peace at that property.  It’s out in the country, and the sunsets are gorgeous.  You can hear the neighbor’s cows lowing in the distance, which I’ve discovered is an oddly comforting sound.

There are two bench swings at the farm – one in the back yard overlooking the pasture, and one on the front porch.  Lauren and I both zone out in the one in the yard…I can sit there and peace just washes over me.  No worrying about money and bills and all the annoyances of day-to-day life.  Just clear sky, open space, beautiful trees – it’s easy to see God’s hand and remember that He cares when I’m sitting out there.  It also feels like Mom is smiling down on us.  I really think she would love the place and what Dad is doing with it.

OK my next post will be a yummy one, I promise.  Caramel apple sticky buns!!

Hang in there,

Becki

 

Happy New Year! January 5, 2010

Filed under: Baking Goodness!,Friends & Loved Ones,Random Blathering — beckid987 @ 11:56 pm

I hope the holidays were as kind to you as they were to me.  I won’t say they were easy, necessarily, because there were definitely many melt-downs for me as I remembered and missed my Mom.  But those moments were only moments, and on the whole I had a GREAT holiday season, mostly thanks to David’s awesome family.  Man do I love those people. All of ’em, right down to the great-grannies.  They’re fun, they’re loving, they accept and even seem to like me, and they ADORE my kiddo.

Lauren had a fabulous first Christmas, thank you for asking.  She has more toys than we have space now.  What a blessing of a “problem” to have!  She had a great time rocking out to all the singing Christmas decorations, and she kept her cousins entertained and harassed getting into every little thing they left sitting out.  Lauren and her cousins are the cutest things going, by the way.  Don’t believe me?  I have proof!

Lauren and her cousin Leah

Lauren and cousins Dalton and Devin

I trust you are convinced!

I did do a lot of cooking and baking over the holidays, but I did not do a lot of photographing.  Sorry, guys!  How about if I post two recipes today to make up for it?  Yes?  OK!

Christmas Eve Mice

Ingredients:

-1 package Oreo Cookies, twisted apart, or 2 packages white chocolate covered oreos, whole (I have not made them with the white chocolate oreos.  Yet.  Next year, my pretties…next year!)

-2 jars Maraschino Cherries, With Stems, drained, rinsed and patted dry

40 Hershey’s Kisses, unwrapped

Approximately 1 cup sliced almonds

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

2 tsp shortening

1 tube red icing gel and 1 tube green icing gel

Directions:

-Set up an assembly line, however works for you.  I did mine like so:

Assembly line, minus the melted chocolate.  It's there, just not in the shot.

Assembly line, minus the melted chocolate. It's there, just not in this shot.

-Put your chocolate chips and the shortening in a small bowl and microwave in 30 second intervals until completely melted.  Stir until smooth.

-Grab a cherry by the stem and completely dunk the cherry in the chocolate (not the stem!)

-Place cherry on it’s side on Oreo Cookie.  Place it over to one side more, so you will have room to pipe your decorations next to the mouse.  The cherry makes up the mouse body and the stem is it’s tail.

-Quickly press the flat side of a Hershey kiss to the side of the cherry opposite the stem.  The kiss makes up the mouse head.

-Place two almond slices between the kiss and the cherry – these make up the mouse ears.

-Repeat until you have 40 mice completed.  You will probably need to reheat your chocolate once or twice during this process – that’s OK.

-Use your red and green gel to pipe holly decorations next to your mouse.  You can also use the red gel to make eyes for your mouse, or use black gel if you have it.  Black would be much cuter, but I always use red because I’m too cheap to buy 3 tubes of icing.

-Serve at your next holiday party and eat up the ooh’s and ahh’s and “how cute!”s.


OK, and recipe #2 I discovered and made today.  How’s that for fresh blogging, huh??  I took this recipe from Katie at You Are What You Eat…Or Reheat – how cute is that title??  She’s funny and makes good food.  And she loves animals and The Pioneer Woman.  Which reminds me – I need to show you one of my favorite Christmas presents this year!  Check this puppy out:

That's right, ladies and gents! My very own PW cookbook signed by THE Pioneer Woman herself. She even spelled my name right!

David was totally awesome to make that happen.  I think he loves me or something!

OK, so here’s another recipe that you really need to try ASAP:

Chocolate Chip Brownie Pillows

Ingredients:

-1 (20 oz) pkg double chocolate brownie mix

-1 stick unsalted butter (I used salted, and I think my cookies turned out just fine.  David agrees!)

-1/2 cup shortening

-1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar (Katie did not specify dark or light.  I used light, because that’s what I had.)

-2 large eggs

-1 egg yolk

-1 tbsp vanilla extract

-2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (I used bleached.  It’s what I had.  Again, David and I agree – these turned out fabulously!)

-2 tsp baking powder

-1/2 tsp baking soda

-3/4 tsp salt

-3 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

-Prepare brownies according to package directions in an 8″ square pan.  Cool completely.

-Then cut into 3 dozen or so tiny squares.

Little, little bites.

-While the brownies are baking, beat butter and shortening at medium speed until creamy.

-Add brown sugar, beating until smooth.

-Add eggs, yolk, and vanilla, beating until blended.

-Combine flour and next three ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended after each addition.

-Stir in chocolate chips, cover, and chill dough 1 hour.

Show me the DOUGH!

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (Unless you’re like me and just left your oven on between making the brownies and chilling the cookie dough.  Oops.)

-For each cookie, scoop 1/2 cup dough onto wax paper lined cookie sheet; place cookies 3 in. apart. Using fingers make an indention in mound of dough; place 1 brownie square in center. Press dough around brownie to form a ball. Repeat. (OK I totally did not do mine like this.  I scooped out a heaping tablespoon, smooshed it down, smashed in a piece of brownie, then added another stingy tablespoon on top.  It was just easier that way, and made much smaller and many more cookies.)

-Chill 15 minutes.

-Bake 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned and cookies look set.

-Cool 2 minutes.

-Remove to wire rack and let cool completely.

It's a BROWNIE. In the middle of a CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE. Yes!!

-Try not to eat all of these bad boys in one sitting.  Especially if you’ve made new year’s resolutions involving diets and other such nonsense.

Here’s to a glorious 2010,

Becki



 

On Mortality. October 7, 2009

Filed under: Friends & Loved Ones — beckid987 @ 7:20 pm

MortalityIt sucks.  The end.

Just kidding.  I have way more to say about it than that!

My Mom is gravely ill, again.  She’s been on and off her death bed for the past – I don’t know – probably 5 years now.  The thing is, in all these years of medical emergencies and near death experiences, nobody has figured out what the underlying problem is.  She keeps getting pneumonia – usually about 6 times a year.  She did much better this year, but last year she was almost literally in the hospital every other month.  You can imagine the emotional havoc that wreaked upon everybody…not to mention Mom herself.  She’s been everywhere looking for answers – even as far as Colorado.  And still nobody is any more clear on what keeps bringing her down.  Her lungs are pretty damaged from everything, so she’s always on oxygen these days.  She can’t ride or even really visit her horse anymore.  It’s so hard to see my once vibrant Mother fading away, without even a reason why.

Sunday she was admitted into our local hospital, Monday she was moved to the ICU, and yesterday they flew her out to UAB to see if that team of doctors could come up with anything.

I’ll try not to get too long-winded about it all, but I do want to vent a bit.  It’s such a strange thing having my Mom be chronically ill.  On the one hand, I’m sick of talking about it.  This has been going on so long – when people ask about her I just summarize with “ok…basically the same…at least she’s at home right now.”  Because what else is there to say?  That she has at least one doctor’s appointment a week, that she goes for IVIG treatments once a month, that her medications are constantly being adjusted and tweaked, that she has good days and bad days but none of them are exceptionally healthy days any more?  I’m sick of talking about it.  The first question is usually how old is she?  Too young to be going downhill this way – early 60’s.  My Dad’s Mom is in her early 80’s and is still living on her own out in the country, healthy as an elderly ox!

So mostly I try not to think about it too much, and just enjoy the time that I have with Mom.  We spend quite a bit of time over at their house, and I try to get Mom to go out and do things as much as she is able.  I don’t talk about her health, I don’t really listen to the daily updates that are usually just a new version of “we don’t know any more than we did 5 years ago” and I try not to think about her mortality.

But now she’s back in the hospital – and she’s in Alabama so I can’t even go see her!  All of my repressed worries and sadness over the mortality of my Mom is coming  down on me at once.  I’ve been moping around the house all day today, except the quick trip I made to Sonic to drown my sorrows in fried foods.  Then I washed them down with some homemade baked fudge ala Pioneer Woman.  You guys must try this stuff – it’s the perfect “pity party” treat!  Click here and remember to thank me later 😉 ——->Baked Fudge.

So, keep my Mom and all of the rest of us in your prayers.

Brooding,

Becki

 

A Great Night at the O’Quinn’s (AKA I love everyone from our church!) August 22, 2009

Filed under: Friends & Loved Ones — beckid987 @ 12:53 am

Tonight was Marshall’s goodbye party at the O’Quinn’s house.  Summary:  a great time was had by all!


J&T are awesome hosts – they have a beautiful, CLEAN, cozy home…but the best parts are J&T themselves.  They are such sweet-hearted, kind people.  They have always made me feel like they honestly love me and like I am part of their family.   And as far as I can tell, they treat everybody that way, which in my experience is a very hard thing to do.


There was lots of good company from our church, lots of good food, and the new Wii Sports Resort game!  There was some dramatic entertainment, too.  This baby squirrel:
"Lucky" hangin out with Dave

"Lucky" hangin out with Dave

and it’s unfortunate sibling fell out of their nest just in time for Marshall’s going away party.  Sadly, the sibling did not survive the fall.  So I decided this guy’s name should be Lucky.  Lucky was a trooper though and just about the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.  (I mean, of course this glorified rat is nowhere near as sweet as Lauren…)  So I was determined to find him a home, cause no way was I gonna let him stay out in the yard to become a cat snack, but thankfully his Momma came and took him away just as Trena and I were reaching “frantic mode.”

Anyway, it was a great night.  I love being around the people from our church – they all love my baby, my new hair cut, my baked goods….they really lift my spirits!

Let’s boost eachother up,
Becki