Sunday, July 20, 2014


I was on a kick this weekend when it came to cooking and baking! We hit up this little international market that had AMAZING produce prices. I got 3 pounds of tomatoes for $.99 and two jalepeƱo peppers for $.08. I couldn't think of anything better to make than some fresh salsa. Once I made that, I knew I wanted to do tacos for Sunday dinner.

If I was going to make fresh salsa, then I figured I might as well make fresh homemade tortillas as well! They were SO much easier than I ever could have imagined and they were fantastic! I got the recipe from here. Trust me, so easy!

Then I found out it was my friend Libby's birthday. She has been so sweet to me ever since we got here. I would say at least once a week, she texts me to see if Nixon and I want to do something with her and her two little girls.

I knew I had to do something for her birthday! I knew she loved the Oreo truffles I did for the 4th of July, but I didn't have any Oreos on hand, so I decided to do a different style of truffle. A Brazilian truffle called Brigadeiro, which is similar to a bonbon. I've made them once before and I thought she might like them.
Recipe: Adapted from here and here

1 can (14 oz) Sweetened condensed milk
3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon of butter

In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, combine cocoa, butter and condensed milk. (It will be at a rolling boil). Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 10 minutes. When you turn the pan and it all moves together, stir another 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from heat. You can either keep it in the pan to cool off, or spray a plate with cooking spray and pour it out onto the plate (I feel like this cools it off a bit faster). Once you're able to handle it, spray your hand with cooking spray or rub butter (to keep it from sticking to you) and roll out to desired size. I made them about 1 inch in diameter and I was able to get about 26 out of a single recipe. 
Feel free to roll them in any kind of topping such as powdered sugar, coconut, sprinkles, or any other toppings that you fancy. Consume directly after or let them chill for 30 minutes or so (I think they're a bit better chilled). Sit down and enjoy!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pretzel rolls

The day I got back from Idaho, I came home to this beauty:
I have been wanting this since before we got married! Ethan called it my "push" gift and my Mother's Day gift. I always joked about getting a push gift, but I was never serious about it, but I'll take it!

What do you do when you have a beauty like this staring at you everyday? You bake! And that's definitely what I've been doing. I have definitely put this thing to good use already, and I'm planning on even more use out of it!

So far, I've made chicken crescent rolls, hot dog diggities (it's a family thing, it's basically pigs in a blanket), zucchini bread, garlic breadsticks, Oreo truffles, and my most recent endeavor, pretzel rolls. Well, I've actually made the pretzel rolls a few times, but I finally got a recipe I love and the size that I like. I thought I'd share the recipe! See the original recipe here.
  • 1 1/3 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
  • 2 tbsp warm milk
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 large egg (scramble in small bowl and set aside)
  • 1/4 cup kosher salt
1.  In the bowl of a standing mixer, mix a 1/3 cup of warm water (105-115 degrees F) with the yeast and let stand until bloomed (foamy).
2.  Add the remaining cup of warm water along with milk, sugar, & melted butter and swirl to dissolve the sugar.
3.  Add flour & sugar. (My sister taught me to put about half the amount of flour in, and then add in a 1/2 C at a time. Your dough should still be slightly sticky to the touch, but not so much that it completely sticks to your fingers)
4.  Fit your mixer with your dough hook.
5.  Mix on med-low speed until dough forms a nice pliable dough ball.
6.  Flour surface (lightly) and turn dough out onto.  Knead for 2 minutes. (Spraying your hands with oil or putting butter on your hands helps the dough from sticking to you)
7.  Roll into a long log and cut into 16 even pieces for smaller rolls, or 8 even pieces for larger rolls. 
8.  Form dough into either simple rolls (place a small cross cut in tops of simple rolls), or pretzel shaped rolls. (I do mine as pretzel shaped rolls by tying in in a loop if that makes sense. I basically do the first loop of a knot.)
9.  Cover dough with lightly oiled plastic wrap and let pretzels rest for about 30-40mins. I tend to raise mine slightly longer. 

10.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
11.  Spray baking sheet with cooking spray or line with parchment paper.
12.  In a large stockpot, bring the cold water to a boil, remove from heat, and add baking soda.  (Do not add baking soda while over will boil over)  You can then return to heat.
13.  Drop two rolls into the boiling water and boil for no more than 30 seconds, turning once.
14.  Carefully remove with slotted spoon and hold above pot and let drain.
15.  Brush on egg over each roll.  
16.  Sprinkle lightly with Kosher Salt.  Repeat with remaining rolls.
17.  Arrange rolls on baking sheets and bake on the upper and middle racks of the oven for about 15-20 mins or until browned all over.  Be sure to switch pans during baking every 5 mins for a more even baking experience.
These rolls are amazing!! You can eat them just as rolls, or turn them into a meal and put chicken salad inside of them, or burgers–whatever your little heart desires! These are definitely going to become a staple in our house!

11 Weeks

I am seriously in love with this little guy! He has the best grin and I see it multiple times a day, everyday. I can't even say how blessed we are to have Nixon in our family. He is the perfect baby for us and we thank our Heavenly Father everyday for him. 

We've been trying to be more diligent in tummy time, and while it's not his most favorite thing, as long as we do it before he gets too hungry or tired, he does pretty well. We love this baby Boppy pillow that we got as a gift. It allows him to prop himself up a little bit more, while still making him work to lift his head. We're working on getting him interested in the attachments that it has on it. It needs more work. He's more interested in gnawing his hands and wrists. He basically hates every pacifier right now (no joke, I have 4 or 5 different types of pacifiers by him when putting him to bed, just in case he decides he likes on of them), but he'll take a finger. Someone seriously needs to develop a pacifier that feels, looks and tastes like a finger. I would totally buy one!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Day at the lake

Living in Mission Viejo gives us access to the private lake here.

Every time we would drive by, we made a mental note to go in and get our access cards. Well, it may have taken us a few months to get them, but last weekend, we decided to finally get them!

With our cards in hand and a free Saturday, we decided it would be the perfect day to go. It was gorgeous weather, about 85 degrees, and there was just the slightest breeze. We packed up the car and were on our way (the one mile it takes to get there).

We found the perfect spot on the far end of the beach and staked out our area. I was the first one to check out the water temperature, since I usually don't trust anyone when the say the water is "warm."
Lo and behold, it wasn't "warm" but it was pretty dang close! It was so nice to wade in it for just a few minutes.
We were excited to get Nixon in the water, since he's only ever been in a tub and jacuzzi. To our surprise, he actually did pretty good once his whole body was submerged.
 I love this little hat of his!
We even had a little visitor come join us. I'm pretty sure the boys were completely oblivious to him, but I made sure to say hi.
It was so fun to go to the lake and have some family time. We've agreed that we definitely need to go more often, especially during the summer. The weather is so beautiful here and the more time we can spend outside, the better! The lake also has concerts every other week, so we'll have to check some of those out as well!