resolutions

MIzzou Game

2014 has been a bust thus far. The first ten days of 2014 have consisted of sleeping, sitting on the couch, and lots of tissues, gatorade, and orange juice. Our household has had the flu. But on the positive, I did get homemade chicken noodle soup (maybe you’ll see it on the blog)…. 

Chicken Noodle

We managed to shower and put on smiles with tickets to The Cotton Bowl, and a Mizzou win.

Cotton Bowl

But then back to bed as the illness took back over; more sleep, coughs, sore throats, and runny noses…. lots of snot around here.

Luckily, it has finally left our household, and we’re enjoying the idea of 2014 again.

Resolutions

1. Invite more people over. It always gets so busy, and easier to meet people out, but I love to entertain and make meals. I need to start doing that more! At least once a month.

2. Four blog posts a month; Jack, House, Food, Misc. GO.

3. Try to finish all of my 33 before 33 (besides traveling to Portland and Europe)! It’s the BIG 33, already!

4. Lasik eye surgery. This makes me super excited and nervous. I want to get the surgery, so I can accessorize with glasses for fun not for need. Plus, the image of not having to poke my eye in the morning on a daily basis sounds phenomenal!

5. Listen to music. My day used to be filled with music at all times of the day. Morning. Noon. Night. Discovering underground bands and just listening to a whole album in one sitting. I would like to get that back.

I hope everyone is having a fabulous 2014!

minimalist hospital stay

Luggage

I thought I did the hospital stay right! Didn’t pack too much and used almost everything!

Here’s my list, plus some items I wish I would have packed.

Personal (think classic travel toiletries)

  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Face wash
  • Face lotion
  • Lip balm
  • Dry Shampoo
  • Make-up
  • Deoderant
  • Glasses/Contacts
  • Medium overnight absorbent pad. The hospital provides these, too.
  • Ponytail holder
  • Medula lanolin cream

Clothing – The delivery and first day, I just wore what the hospital provided. This was a gown and panties. Considering how much you sweat those first nights, it was nice just to use the hospital items. Each day they would change the sheets, too.  

  • 2 Gap V-neck maternity tees – put this over a cami during the day.
  • Nursing camis – great, easy access sleepwear. I love these even now.
  • Nursing bra
  • 1 Comfortable pants/shorts – I bought Gap Body cropped pants which worked great.
  • 1 Comfortable outfit to go home. Think early maternity.
  • Flip-Flops – I wore these (one less item to pack) to the hospital and they were great to walk the halls with.
  • 3 pairs of underwear 2 sizes bigger than your usual.

Other – We paid an upgrade fee so our room was a little bigger and included a roll-away bed for the hubs, pillow/sheets for him, stocked refrigerator (water, juice, yogurt), snacks (granola bars, cereal, fruit), mini-shampoo/conditioner/soap, and hair dryer. Think hotel amenities. Check with your hospital to see what they provide to help minimize what you have to bring! Plus we had room services.

  • Photo ID & Insurance Card
  • Hospital Registration Papers
  • Camera + charger
  • Phone + charger – I wrote my notes on my phone and had a book on my phone.
  • Baby Book – The nursery nurse put Jack’s hands and footprints in the book! Too cute!
  • Snacks for you and your hubs
  • The hospital provided a big water jug for me that I had the nurses refill hourly! I was SO SO thirsty! 

Baby Items – Jack was swaddled and in hospital diapers the entire stay. They gave us a pack of diapers, wipes, a zipper swaddle blanket, thermometer, and enema bulb when we went home.

  • Swaddle blanket
  • A going home outfit
  • Infant Carrier (remember to put the base in the car prior to delivery!)
  • Socks

Items that are on most lists that I wouldn’t (don’t need to) bring…

  • Boppy – I used hospital pillows to prop Jack up. It worked great.
  • Robe – I was really warm (sweaty even) my entire stay, so a cami or t-shirt and cropped pants worked great.
  • Computer – (slept most of the time or chatted with the hubs/guest and just used my phone), plus Back to the Future Trilogy was on during my stay! Bonus! ;)
  • Nursing pads – Your milk doesn’t usually come in when you’re in the hospital. I didn’t need mine until I was home.
  • Curling iron – I just didn’t use it.
  • Emory Board – The nurses don’t cut your baby’s nails, and I didn’t either. It wasn’t until Jack’s first bath at home.

I wish all those mommies-to-be the best of luck!! Remember, you will always have friends, family, and nurses around to get you anything you need or forgot, so don’t worry too much about the packing!! Get all the rest you can and have tissues close, there will be lots of happy tears! 

i love her

Tina Fey is hilarious. I liked her on Saturday Night Live. And fell in love with her when watching Baby Mama and reading Bossy Pants. She writes for the modern woman and well, she’s hilarious. I have read her book once and listened to her read it another time (while running). It’s been two years since reading it, so maybe I’ll take it out again? Read it, you’ll laugh and maybe relate.

This interview was a couple of months ago, but I can imagine these moments to come with my bambino.

Thank you, Tina Fey, for not taking life too seriously! Happy Weekend, Friends.

cloth diapers

Cloth Diap Cover

Cloth diapers have always intrigued me, and I really wanted to try it with my own bambinos. Yes, it’s a weird thing to be excited about, but I was. Being “earthy” gets me all excited and it’s right up there, in my mind, with organization, recycling, and using glass instead of plastic! Plus, most moms who cloth diaper say they love it, AND it helps our planet, pocket book, and Jack’s bum. These all helped in my own decision to try!

That being said, you have to do what works with your household and your bambinos. I don’t think any different of friends who don’t cloth diaper. It’s my thing. I get that.

To start, I took advice from a couple different blogger moms (here, here and here), and even interacted with a few to ask questions. They were all super positive, and it was even more motivation to try!

I nervously bought everything to move forward with my decision and still remember putting that first cloth diap on Jack; I snapped a pic and sent it to the hubs saying, “we’re really doing it!“. Now its second-nature, and I don’t know why I was so nervous. Our cloth diapering routine has been going on for over two months now, and I cannot tell you how easy it is. Honestly, it’s pretty much the same protocol of disposables, but instead you’re throwing them into the diaper pail to be laundered instead of throwing them into the garbage.

Diapers

Here’s our routine:

I bought 18 bumGenius Elemental One-Size All-In-One organic cloth diapers for Jack. The cloth diapers we went with mandated that Jack be at least 8 pounds before using them, so I waited until his 2 week appointment to confirm he was back up over 8 pounds and started at that point.

diaper size chart

The plan is to have them grow with him until he’s out of diapers! Eighteen diapers until he’s potty trained? I hope so! Plus, if we have another kiddo, we could use them for him/her.

Jack’s excited about it, too!

JPS Smiling Diap

We (obviously) just use the diapers like the disposable ones. Change when wet or soiled. I got an Ubbi diaper pail as a baby shower gift and bought two Ubbi diaper pail liners which can be washed and used again. When the diaper is wet, we just put them directly into the pail. When the diaper is soiled, we use the bumGenius diaper sprayer. We give the diaper a quick spray and put it into the pail.

bumgenius sprayer

For wipes, we use disposable. I know people use cloth wipes too, but having a little moisture to wipe is nice. Plus, this was the only way the hubs was on board. We put the used wipes in a separate wet bag which you can get on Etsy (that’s where we got ours), Planet Wise (I have one in my diaper bag), or most baby stores.

Etsy Wet Bag

Once I’m down to 2 or 3 unused diaps, it’s about every-day-and-a-half, I grab the diaper pail bag and throw them (including the bag) into the wash. I wash them on heavy duty (stained cycle) with extra rinse and use Charlie’s Powder Laundry Soap, which claims to help preserve the diapers longer. One less thing to put on my grocery list!

I mostly dry them on delicate in the dryer, but if its nice out, I put them on a hanging rack and set them outside. They come out perfectly new and clean every time! It makes me so happy! Plus, if you ever do have stains, you can just set them in the sun to dry and it will naturally bleach it away! Amazing, right?!

Colored Diaps

As for negatives, I must say when we first started using the cloth diapers, Jack was pretty little. So on about three occasions it seeped out the side. Gross! This made for a mess, but once his little legs filled in (a week later) we never had that problem again! Plus, I got better at the cloth placement in the diaper, which may have been the culprit all along!

Another positive is that when we used disposables (the first two weeks and when we travel out of town), Jack gets a serious diaper rash, even though we change them more frequently than we do with cloth. I think the organic cloth saves his little bum from getting a rash, which makes a mama happy.

As you can see, we really like the diapers, and the system in our household is working great. If you are considering cloth diapering and have any questions or concerns, please feel free to write!

Cloth diapering for the win!

JPS Side Angle

becoming the president (basically)

JSP Cover

When you become pregnant or have a baby, you are swept up into an unknown world of nursing bras and baby products. I find it comparable to (what I imagine) the president goes through in his first weeks of the presidency. The way he’s briefed on everything that is going on, brought into the mix of many US secrets from the past and present, and realizing that nothing from his actual campaign will ever make it through congress.

During pregnancy you were briefed on labor and delivery by your doctor and maybe got a hospital tour. You talked to numerous friends and family, read books and blogs referring to their and others’ past and presents experiences, and you realize when the actual delivery comes and that child is in your arms, those ideas you had prior about delivery and childrearing have all vanished.

I’ve been a mom for all of one month now, and I thought I had read all the books, blogs, and pinned enough stuff to navigate through this journey of delivery and having a newborn. Ha! I realize now, I’ll never know enough. But here are my Top 10 things that happened to me or helped me navigate through my new mom jitters, including a couple of products that have been working wonders for both Jack and I!

1. You will be crazy. I read about the possibility of baby blues and before delivery had marked in my calendar after two weeks “signs of postpartum depression?” but never did I realize the emotional roller coaster I would be on right after delivery. I cried. Cried over opening crackers, cried over not sleeping, cried because the baby was crying, cried when my in-laws left because my husband won’t have anyone sane to talk to. Yes. Crazy Town. I cried to my dad over the phone, over sisters in-laws’ text messages, or non-sentimental Facebook updates, commercials, and just how amazing and perfect this little man is. But don’t worry, you know you’re being crazy… and it all gets better! I think sleep has a lot to do with it. I went from 10 hours a night, with naps after work (I know, I liked my sleep) to one hour naps between feedings. It definitely messes with your psyche. For me, it was around Week 3 when I felt more like a human and less like a hormonal trainwreck/walking zombie. Each day you get a little more of yourself back, promise.

2. Breastfeeding is your new job or hobby, or maybe vocation? This is why women get maternity leave, I’ve discovered. You think about your boobs more than most adolescent boys. Too far? They will feel full, hot, and overall different. I even thought I had a fever, but it was just my milk coming in! 

Nursing is a dance between you and your new baby. It takes time, some babies less, some babies more. For me, Jack latched right away but nursed about 15 – 20 minutes on each side, feeding on demand every 2 1/2 – 3 hours. That leaves 1 1/2 to 2 hours between feedings. It gets to be a lot, but again, it does settle down and your baby starts giving you the nights off. Now, I nurse every 2 1/2 – 3 hours during the day, and (usually) every 5 – 7 hours at night! It seems manageable now and part of my regular routine! So, don’t give up! Plus, there’s this amazing bond that comes along with it. My heart melts when I look at him, and I feel lucky I get to spend 30 – 40 minutes just inspecting every inch of his beautiful face, hands, and body.

soothies

  • Soothies – This might be a little TMI but breastfeeding can hurt (at first), at least it did for me. These little lifesavers made me cry happy tears (see #1) the first time I put them on. I suggest them to all new moms now! They can be refrigerated, too! *Thank you to my friend Rachael for this amazing suggestion!

ifeed

  • iBaby Feed app – Any one of the baby apps will work wonders! This app records your feedings, has a timer for each feeding, and analyzes the data. It’s actually nice to see Jack’s naturally trying to get into a pattern of feeding times. Plus, for the early morning feedings, when you pass out in the glider, you’ll have a little timer to help you know how long your baby has been feeding. It also documents diapers and averages them, for your pediatrician visits, too. They ask you this at your visits. It’s just one less thing to remember.

4. Start them in the crib. We got mad props from our pediatrician for starting Jack in his crib on day one. It was super hard that first night, I think I stared at that monitor until my eyes hurt. I zoomed in on his chest to check if he was breathing a zillion times, but it was wonderful in the long run. We don’t hear all his weird noises, so we get sleep. Jack got used to sleeping in his crib, so we don’t have to deal with the trauma or tantrums that may come if we would have had to transition him later. Plus, he slept longer. Week 2 we had nights where he slept 5-7 hours and by Week 6 he’s sleeping from 10 pm – 5am or 7am, consistently. Plus, the hubs and I have our own space.

Baby monitor

  • Smart Baby Monitor by Withings – We love this monitor because it’s just another app on your iPhone or iPad. It’s been great not having to carry another device around the house. Plus, the hubs gets to check in on a sleepy baby at work!

5. Point it down! This is for all the pregos having a boy; point it down! The hubs and I would pick up Jack and the side of his onesie or pajamas would always be wet that first week. We thought the disposable diapers were defective, or we weren’t putting them on tight enough. Turns out we didn’t point it down! Ha. Get ready to do a lot of laundry because of it! 

changing pad cover

  • Disposable changing table pads – This was good for new moms with boys but it could help all! I’ve blocked more pee than I want to remember, which reminds me don’t check a diaper in their crib in the middle of the night. It’s not faster if you have to replace their pajamas, the swaddle blanket, and a crib sheet. That being said, these changing pads help protect the changing table sheet in those first weeks so you don’t have to wash it twice a day.

Bath Sponge

  • Munchkin Bath sponge – We got this simple bath sponge instead of a tub or another contraption, and it has worked excellent for Jack’s baths. Considering we have limited space in our house (northerners we don’t have basements down here) and knowing that someday this kid was going to take over the whole house with toys, I liked how this took up a smaller amount of real estate in the bathroom, plus it was only a $6.00 investment!

PJ's

  • Zipper vs. Button Pajamas – I’ll just go right out and say it! Get zippered pajamas! Those first few weeks when you’re a walking zombie, you don’t want to fiddle with buttons in the middle of the night, promise. Even now, it’s just nice to have a zipper. We are loving the pajamas I got at GapBaby, so cute and soft… with a zipper, of course!

6. Stock up. Check your cabinets for toiletries and other items you may be low on. The week before I had Jack, I loaded up on such things as tinted moisturizer, toothpaste, dog food, contacts, cotton balls, dish soap, and a couple other items. It was nice to have them stocked up and one less thing on my to-do list.  That being said, there is always Amazon Prime or the Target Red Card (free shipping with easy mobile sites) at 2am! I used it often, especially for those new items that the baby and a nursing mom may need.

swaddle blanket

  • aden and anais – I am in love with all of their products. They have swaddle blankets that I have used to swaddle with, nurse with, as a burp cloth, or as the base on the floor during tummy time. I love multi-tasker items! More bang for your buck. Plus, they have great crib sheets, changing pad covers, burp cloths, and bathroom towels and washcloths. I’m definitely brand loyal.

7. Go with your gut. Remember, this is nature! Somewhere deep inside of you, you already have all the answers. Somehow your baby figures out how to feed and your body responds, and this is the same with knowing what to do. Hug him, love him, and feed him. You can’t spoil a newborn.

8. Ask for help. Friends are amazing. Your friends and family are gold during this time. We had so many people come over, make us dinner, and open up their home just so we could get out. It was so kind and even had us asking ourselves if we deserved such great people in our lives. Plus, it’s nice to talk to people. When I didn’t want to talk baby, and just wanted to laugh, I would call my brother or friends without kiddos. Or if I didn’t know what I was doing nursing or baby-wise, I would text or call my friends or sisters-in-law for encouragement. It was wonderful to have so many outlets. Plus, the outpouring of folks that came over and had dinner with us, loved on the baby, and just talked over wine, was remarkable. Let them all in, even when you haven’t showered, and your house is a mess. I was a little scared but now I think my friendships have grown stronger because of this. Friends are gold.

9. Keep the packaging. We got a lot of cool stuff for our baby during all the showers. Though I tried to be a minimalist, there is just a lot of stuff the baby needs. On some things, you need to get ready before the baby gets here, such as clothes, blankets, and crib sheets, but some things you don’t have to get ready until he’s actually in the world. I say do what you can to keep the packaging. Luckily, we only had one item like this – I wish I would have saved the packaging on our bouncer. There are bouncers, swings, and combos, so we tried to minimize and I picked/guessed a bouncer to be on my registry. When Jack got here, we assembled it, and he was game… for about a day a couple minutes, and he hasn’t wanted to sit in it since. We went out and tried another bouncer/swing combo and he loves it… actually he’s been sleeping in it while I write this post. So my suggestion is either get them all or just one, and return the ones your baby doesn’t want.  Also, use refurbished models by the manufacturer or craigslist to save a little cash.

JPS Mamaroo

  • 4moms mamaroo Anything to be able to set your baby down during the day is worth it. Trust me. Jack loves the mamaroo, but I know friends that their baby hated it but loved their bouncer or swing.

10. Enjoy the crazy journey! Holy cow it’s a journey BUT it’s a fun one! Not only for you and your new bambino but for your hubs, friends, and family. I appreciate a lot more of life now and when all those crazy people said it’s worth it… it definitely is. It’s Week 7 and I’m more in love with everything and everyone… Jack, the hubs, friends, and family!

As you can see, this is much better than the presidency and will last longer than four years! Enjoy!

Have a wonderful week friends!!

he’s here!

Jackson PaulJackson Paul Snitker finally entered the world Monday night at 5:06 pm, weighing in at 8 lb, 5 oz, and stretching 20 3/4 inches long.

It was a long day and a long night beforehand. At 5 pm Sunday night, we had a date for cervical ripening at the hospital. We started the induction process at 6 am that next morning. 8 hours of dilating, followed by 2 1/2 hours of pushing, ended with an upward facing baby, shoulders shifting back and forth with each push, and a doctor with a grim outlook of getting him out vaginally. Eventually a c-section ensued.

So, the images of my labor being as easy as my mothers have abandoned me but the outcome of all these amazing events left me to believe it was all worth it. The hubs made a great point when he looked at me and asked me – When have we ever done anything the easy way? Why should we start now?

DSC_0009

JPS

We spent the rest of the night and next day just staring at Jack, watching his first bath, completely memorized that he is ours. It’s amazing how your perspective on life can change dramatically in a couple of days. We are so so so blessed. He definitely has our hearts.

SKS

Paul & Jack

bags are packed! finally.

I don’t know what you have been doing all weekend but all I have been thinking about is tomorrow.

Tomorrow I become a parent.

The hubs and I checked into the hospital at 5pm tonight, where I’ll be monitored and starting my induction Monday morning…where we will emerge sometime that day (if all goes well) as a family of three.

To say I am nervous, is an understatement. I had sweaty palms signing into registration, questioning my answers to commonly known items such as gender and address. I am nervous.

But I’m so excited, too.

Excited to be on the other end of delivery and to shout out my two-cents about the dos and do nots of labor and delivery. To help new moms with their hospital packing list, and well, to have that baby boy in my arms.

I cannot wait to see what he looks like. How I feel after he is here. How I’ll be an emotional wreck until he’s 90… You know, the usual.

After tonight I know nothing will be the same, but I’m so excited to get this new life underway. I’ll keep you posted!

blogoversary 2

Tiff's Treats Box

Hello Friends! It’s been TWO years writing on my house talks, and I wanted to take this moment to reflect on all the goodness! We’ve transformed our little ranch style house at 614, into a place we now call home. We continue to formulate ideas to create, invent, and share all it’s goodness. Inside these walls, I’ve loved sharing my love for baking and house projects. And I’m just continually overjoyed at all the followers and blog-love I receive. Thank you friends and family for enjoying my little outlet as much as I do!

Here are some of my favorite posts from the year:

1. YHL Bloggers

2. French Workbench

3. Nursery Reveal

4. Apple Cheese Crisp

This year (more like a couple days), we’ll be adding a bambino to our blog roll, and I’m sure he will make an appearance or two-million much like our K9 boys, Boston and Otis!

mht 2nd blogoversary

Instead of going with the traditional slice of cake or cupcake, I stopped by Tiff’s Treats to celebrate. It’s this amazing little gem that was first introduced in Austin and has since expanded to Dallas and Houston. Lucky me! They have a simple philosophy of baking and delivering warm cookies to your work or home! You can add milk, Texas Blue Bell ice cream or Starbucks coffee to your order for an even more amazing experience.

Tiff's counter

During my time in Texas, I have given and have received Tiff’s Treat’s at home and at our office… It’s such an uplifting treat! Who doesn’t love warm cookies during a long work day?!? If you’re ever in the Austin, Dallas, or Houston area definitely order them!!

Tiff's menu

Happy second birthday my house talks! Thank you for the memories… and the cookies! :)

macarons

macaroon cookies cover

Don’t these macarons look fabulous? I made them!!! Yes, in keeping with exploring Dallas, my friend and I decided to do a macaron cookie class at Sur la Table. Honestly, macarons are intense, and I don’t think I’ll ever set aside a whole Saturday to make a set of these bad boys, but I will purchase them for what seems like too much money, knowing full-well, it was all worth it not to spend my whole Saturday slaving away. That being said, if my friends called up and said they wanted to make them together, with a bottle of wine perhaps, I could open up a Saturday.

Kam & I

Here’s one of the recipes we made in class and my favorite macaron filling.

Hazelnut Macarons

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces powdered sugar, divided
  • 2 1/2 ounces almond flour or meal
  • 1 1/2 ounces hazelnut flour or meal
  • 4 large (4 ounces) egg whites, room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 3 1/2 ounces granulated sugar
  • Wilton brown food clothing

Recipe

Preheat over to 325°, if baking using double-baking sheet cooking method, or pre-heat oven to 325 degrees, if using single baking sheet cooking method.

Prepare the baking sheet with the parchment paper macaron templates – line baking sheets with Silpat silicone mats and top with parchment paper template.

Pulse one third of the powdered sugar and all the almond flour and hazelnut flour in a food processor to form a fine powder. Using a fine-sieve, sift the mixture 2 times onto a medium piece of parchment paper. Using a fine-sieve, sift remaining powdered sugar 2 times. Set aside.

To make the meringue: In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add granulated sugar. Once all sugar is incorporated, and the mixture is thick, add the cream of tartar, scrape down sides of bowl, add food coloring and increase speed to high, whisking until stiff, firm, glossy peaks form.

To complete the macaronnage step: sift almond flour mixture one-third at a time over the egg white and fold using a large spatula until mixture is smooth and shiny. Once all the almond flour mixture is incorporated, check for the correct consistency, as the batter should be nicely firm, have a glossy shine and drip slowly (like lava) from the spatula.

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip (#12) and pip 1-1/3-inch rounds on parchment-lined baking sheets. Gently tap the bottom of each sheet on work surface to release trapped air. Let stand at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes. Check for a slight crust to form on the macaron. The macarons should not stick to your fingers when lightly touched.

If using the double baking sheet cooking method, place an empty baking sheet underneath the baking tray with piped macarons.

Bake one sheet at a time, rotating halfway through, until macarons are crisp and firm, about 10-15 minutes. If the macarons are still soft inside, lower oven to 300 degrees, cover with aluminum foil and bake for a few more minutes. If the top of the macarons look crinkled, your oven temperature may be too hot.

Allow macarons to cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before filing with caramel buttercream!

Macaroon Class

Caramel Buttercream

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces water
  • 13 ounces sugar
  • 3.5 ounces water (second use, you need both waters at different stages)
  • 2.5 ounces heavy whipping cream
  • 4 ounces egg yolks
  • 1-2 teaspoons sea salt or to taste (optional)
  • 13.5 ounces butter, softened, not cold, not melted

Recipe

In a large saucepan, cook the FIRST WATER and sugar on medium heat, washing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush and water (to help prevent crystallization) until boiling. Cook to caramel stage, about 320 degrees or honey-colored. Remove saucespan to a large bowl containing cool water and shock bottom of pot in water to stop cooking process. Allow caramel to cool to about 250 degress, then add SECOOND WATER and heavy cream, stirring with a rubber spatula.

Cook mixture over low heat until the mixture is smooth, stir in salt, set aside.

Using a stand mixer with a whip attachment, whip egg yolks until light and in “ribbon stage” about 2-3 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, carefully pour in the hot caramel down the side of the bowl. Continue whipping until mixture has cooled to about 85 degrees. This could take 10 minutes.

Switch to the paddle attachment. Begin adding chunks of butter, incorporating each into the mixture before adding more butter. If the mixture looks too soft, chill in the refrigerator before using.

FIX THIS: If the buttercream looks “broken” like a sauce, try whipping it on high speed for a few minutes. If it doesn’t come together, set a pan of water on the stove and heat to simmering. Place the mixer bowl over the simmering water and whisk until mixture comes back together, making sure to only do it as long as the mixture isn’t melting.

Store in refrigerator until ready to use. To soften before using, whip it by hand with a whisk, or gently rewarm over a pan of simmering water, whisking as you go.

macaroon cookies cover II

I told you they were intense, right? But they’re amazing to eat! Enjoy. Happy week, friends!

cheese 101

Scardello entrance

source

Since I moved to Dallas, I’ve made it a goal of mine to explore different classes, entertainment, and events that the city has to offer. Luckily, I have a couple of friends that feel the same way, and we try to convene monthly, trying new restaurants, classes (cooking, athletic, etc).

Scardello

source

There’s a huge benefit to living in a big city; we have a lot to explore and this cheese class was one of them! Cheese 101 at Scardello addressed much of the different cheese processes and their varieties. They even gave a shout out to my motherland, Wisconsin, as to where cheese curds were made in the total process of cheese production! Most people in the audience didn’t know what squeaky cheese was, but I was proud!

cheese with menu

They simplify these cheeses into categories for the average joe:

  • Fresh – No aging required. The opposite of fresh isn’t spoiled. The opposite of fresh is aged.
  • Semi-Soft – Bends instead of breaking. Aged 2-6 months.
  • Soft Ripened – Bloomy rind. Softens from the outside in.
  • Surface Ripened – Wrinkled “brain-like” exterior. Can be firm or gooey.
  • Semi-Hard – Firm texture. Aged a couple of moths to a couple of years.
  • Hard – Hard crumbly texture. Cheese that has lost almost all water content.
  • Washed-Rind – Orange rind, pungent smell. Can be gooey or semi-soft.
  • Blue – Blue mold inside the paste or on the exterior.

I highly recommend this cheese class or just starting your own “class” and sampling cheeses in your local market! You can’t go wrong! At any given time, we have about 2-4 blocks of cheese in our crisper, and I love them all!! Happy Cheesing!