Thursday, April 30, 2009

Getting to know me...tmi, for sure

I spotted a fun questionnaire on two of my followers' blogs yesterday, Next to Heaven and A Day in the Life, and I knew I had to join in. I'm a sucker for these kinds of getting to know you questionnaires, mostly because I love to see other people's answers. So make sure to comment with a link to your answers on your blog!

1. What is in the back of your car?
I actually just cleaned it up recently, so it's not too bad. There's a reusable green Publix bag filled with some old Baby toys and there's Baby's super-umbrella stroller, and I think that's about it at the moment.

2. What color is your toothbrush?
Red and white.

3. Name one person who made you smile today.
Baby. I love when he gets all proud of himself and smiles so big that he crinkles his eyes and nose a little - so cute.

4. What were you doing at 8:00 AM?
Probably reading a book to Baby. He's been very into books today.

5. What were you doing 45 minutes ago?
Napping, by accident. I fell asleep watching "Gilmore Girls" on DVD while trying to have some Me Time.

6. What is your favorite candy?
I'm a big fan of Twix bars.

7. What is the last thing your said aloud?
"Have a good day."

8. What is the best ice cream flavor?
This is a tough one, but I'm going to go with Ben and Jerry's Vanilla Heath Bar Crunch.

9. What is the last thing you had to drink?
A vanila Frappuccino - the kind that you buy in a glass at the supermarket

10. What are you wearing right now?
Khaki bermuda shorts and a pink t-shirt

11. What is the last thing you ate?
A brownie

12. Have you bought any new clothes this week?
I did on Sunday...

13. When was the last time you ran?
Really ran? Um....I have no earthly idea.

14. What was the last sporting event you watched?
NASCAR on Sunday with Husband. (Yes, I know, I'm a NASCAR geek. Yes, they just go around in circles, but it can be fun to watch.)

15. Ever go camping? I'm not a fan of the outdoors - and it's not a fan of me, for that matter.

16. Do you have a tan?
Not really.

17. Do you take vitamins daily?
I'm really bad about vitamins. I was taking some a few months ago for energy purposes, but I was horrible at remembering to take them. Needless to say, I haven't had any in quite some time.

18. Do you go to church?

19. Do you like Chinese food more than pizza?
I probably like them pretty darn equally. I really, really like pizza. And I really, really like Chinese food.

20. Do you drink your soda with a straw?
I love soda with a straw, especially if it's fountain soda - the kind you get out of a machine. Tastes way better than the bottled or canned stuff.

21. Are you someone's best friend?
I'd like to think so.

22. Where is your dad?
**Bummer alert** He passed away when I was 22, so he is in a veterans' cemetery.

23. Can you say the alphabet backwards?
Never tried, but given that my brain is pretty fried, I'm going to even forgo the effort.

24. Do you have a maid service clean your home?
Dude, I would L-O-V-E a maid service. My neighbor has one that comes twice a month and I'm wicked jealous. With money being tight at the moment, it's hard to really justify it to myself (although I don't really have time to deep clean because Baby demands most of my time).

25. Do you have a favorite pair of shoes you wear all the time?
Not because they're stylish, but because they're comfortable, yes. They're a silly pair of brown sandals from Target - which they no longer sell (trust me, I've looked because I'm about to wear through the sole).

26. What color is your car?

27. How do you like your popcorn?
Buttered and salted, thank you. Funny story about me and popcorn - I love movie theater popcorn so much that when I was pregnant, I would have Husband go to the movie theater just to get me popcorn. And yes, I realize how lucky I am to have him.

28. How did you get your worst scar?
I had a hard time learning to ride my bike, and shortly after I mastered it, I managed to nearly get run over on my street - I fell real hard to the pavement and skinned up both of my knees quite badly. You can still see the scars, but they have faded with the years. Tie for worst scar? My stretch marks.

29. Look to your left. What do you see?
My Franklin Covey planner, which is glaring at me, actually, because I've not done much on my to do list for the day.

30. What color is your watch?
Silver with a pink face.

31. What do you think of when you think of Australia?
Koalas. Cuddly koalas. My sister went once, and all I can think of is a picture of her holding a koala at the zoo in Sydney.

32. Do you use chap stick?
No, but Husband can't leave home without it.

33. Do you have a dog?
A slightly crazy Beagle/Lab/Basset Hound who, while grumbling about it, is super-patient with Baby

34. Last person you talked to on the phone?

35. Have you met anyone famous?
Not that I know of. No, I take that back. I've met Mitt Romney, former Governor Jeb Bush (of Florida), General Norman Schwartzkopf, Cokie Roberts...and I think that's about all (my former job led me to meeting all of those people).

36. How many states have you lived in?
One. Florida.

37. Do you dye your hair?
I used to, but I've stopped.

38. Do you like cats?
Yes. Two puking, hairball filled cats. Can you tell how much I dislike them (while still loving them)?

So, if you've got a blog, post this lovely questionnaire on it and tell me about it. I'd love to get to know you better. :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Baby is so not ready for one nap a day

Baby has been on a nap schedule since he was about four months old. Some people might think that I'm too strict with it, but Baby seems to really thrive on his schedule. I've tweaked and adapted the schedule slightly over this last year, but we're slowly approaching one of the nap-related moments I am dreading: dropping down to one nap a day. (The other one I'm dreading is the day when there is no nap at all. Yikes!)

For the last month or so, Baby has often skipped his morning nap and spent the time playing instead. Husband has commented that perhaps Baby is ready for just one nap. I've resisted, partly for selfish reasons (I need the down time as much as he does) but also for him. He seems pretty happy the way things are, but I gave in and decided to give the one nap schedule a try yesterday. It was a total disaster. I'm still recovering, but fortunately, Baby is no worse for the wear.

Normal morning nap time is 9, and around that time yesterday, Baby seemed fine. Better than fine, even. We made a quick trip to Target, and he really enjoyed that. He even enjoyed the car ride and didn't suck his thumb at all. We got home, and things were okay for a while, but by 10 or so, things started to melt down. I think he was confused as to why he was still awake, and every little thing that didn't go his way led to a meltdown. He would try to figure out which hole in his shape sorter the triangle block would fit into, and when he couldn't figure it out, he'd get red faced and sob. Then, Cat would run away from Baby to avoid Baby's infamous hugs (he throws himself on top of Cat and squeezes him really hard), and that would make Baby really mad, and he'd throw himself on the floor and cry. I finally put him down for a nap after he had lunch around noon, and I think he fell asleep before I even left his room, he was so tired.

Shockingly, though, the one nap was only two hours. I really thought he'd nap longer, especially given how tired he was. On a good two-nap day, his naps wind up being about 3 or 3 and a 1/2 hours. Needless to say, the afternoon wasn't much better than the morning. He was okay for the first hour or so, but after that, things went downhill.

Today, on the other hand, we went right back to the old schedule, and he seemed very relieved at that. We had a great time at the park today, and ran some almost-due books over to the library. He seemed like a much happier kiddo overall today.

I think he's just not ready for the whole one nap business. So what if he decides to babble during his morning nap from time to time? It's still restful, and I still think he needs it. Moral of the story? Mom knows best.

Meet Writer Mom at Home

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Remember how I mentioned a new collaboration with Writer Mom at Home? Well, today, you get your first official introduction to Margo, Writer Mom at Home. We have done a mini five-question interview with each other and will be posting each other's interviews. Here are the questions Writer Mom at Home asked me:

1.What makes you a Type A Mommy?
2. What is the hardest part about being a mom? What is the best?
3. What one person in your life has had the most influence on you? Why?
4.What is the one kitchen product that you couldn't live without?
5. Where is the most amazing place you have ever visited?

To find out my answers, go visit Margo at Writer Mom at Home.Now, let's learn a little bit more about Writer Mom at Home, shall we...

1. Who is the Writer Mom at Home?
I am a work at home mom, with an 18 month old daughter and a wonderful husband. I am a professional writer, specializing in website content and (soon) copywriting. I love to cook, hate to clean, and spend most of my free time with my nose buried in a book. I am an aspiring novelist. I am the oldest of five children (which makes me kinda bossy), and I was raised in the country, near a small town in New York. I have worked on several farms, in a small convenience store, and as one of the top cooks in a local chain restaurant. It wasn't until after I had my daughter, though, that I was finally able to realize my dream of becoming a writer, working from home while raising my family.

2. What's your most embarrassing mommy moment thus far?
This one is tough, because I don't get easily embarrassed. The first day we took Becca out after we brought her home was to go to her three day checkup. She was jaundiced, and needed a lot of extra blood work. What was supposed to be a quick appointment ended up taking a few hours. About halfway through, she was hungry, and I hadn't thought ahead when picking out a shirt that morning. I had a tight-ish shirt that was not meant for breastfeeding. I think I flashed everyone in the waiting room while trying to get Becca settled down enough to nurse. It was my first time nursing in public, in a busy waiting room, and I just wanted to crawl under my seat and hide.

3. What are you most proud of?
There are a lot of things that I am proud of, but I think the number one thing right now is my career. I had originally decided to be a stay at home mom, and that lasted a year before the economy affected my husband's job. He started working half the hours he had been, and things got really tight. On top of that, the holidays were coming up. He was going to need to get a second job, or I was going to need to find a way to make money. I came across freelance writing information, and got started a few weeks later. I've only been writing for six or seven months, but I have made huge strides forward in my career. I never imagined that I could actually be bringing in a decent income while spending my days with my daughter, and I'm proud of myself for finding a way to bring money into the household without sacrificing the reason I left the work force to begin with.

4. What's the best part of your job?
The best part about my job, besides that it allows me to stay home with my daughter, is that I am constantly learning new things. I am very curious, and I like to know a little bit about everything. In the last week, I learned how to jump start a car, treat a sinus infection with a nasal rinse, and advertise a website. I also learned the best way to wash windows and how to become a monk. I've written about hundreds of things, and I have all sorts of weird little facts I can pull out at a moments notice. I spend all day learning about things that I wouldn't have thought to look up on my own.

5. What's the hardest part of motherhood in your opinion?
I think the hardest part of motherhood doing is anything that makes my daughter cry. I hate saying no, I hate disciplining. I do it, because it is part of the job, but I don't like it. Holding her down for shots just kills me. I hate seeing her unhappy and knowing that I can't do anything to fix it, whether it is because I have to say no to something or because she is sick and miserable. She is definitely a mommy's girl. She has me totally wrapped around her little finger.

Now, don't forget to go visit Writer Mom at Home to see Margo's interview with me, and make sure to take a look around while you're there. She's a pretty insightful blogger, there's a lot to enjoy.

P.S. - Stay tuned for the miserable details of yesterday's attempt to move Baby to a one nap schedule.

My Favorite Things

Wow, so this is exciting, it's the first time I've been tagged for a meme!!! Mrs. C. over at Next to Heaven tagged me to participate in My Favorite Things. Thank you!

So here goes....


1. Mention the person who nominated you. Mrs. C over at Next to Heaven, make sure to visit!

2. List six unimportant things that make you happy.
- Books. To me, they're very important, but to a lot of people they're just some paper with words on them. I have loved to read from a very early age, and if anything, my love for reading has grown over the years. I love the ability a book gives you to walk in someone else's shoes, to see other worlds you would have never been exposed to. Okay, that was a totally geeky answer, but I'm serious - I l-o-v-e reading.
- Baking. I'm sure you could have figured that one out if you've read my blog for any period of time. I love to bake. Partly, because I love to eat what results. But also because I love creating something. Baking is so very precise; if you mis-measure something, you're going to wind up with something totally different, but that's one of the things I like about it.
- Shopping. This made me more happy back when I worked and brought in the lion's share of the family money, but even now, I enjoy grocery shopping (I know, total dork alert). I also have almost even learned to appreciate window shopping. I am much more likely nowadays to be able to walk through the mall without purchasing a thing than I used to be, but I still have a good time. Unless I go into Williams-Sonoma and spot my coveted super-hardcore Kitchen Aid stand mixer. Then I get sad.
- VH-1's reality television shows. Pathetic, I know, but VH-1 sucks me in time after time. First there was "Flavor of Love"...then "I Love New York"...and then "Rock of Love"...and now, one of the rejects of "Rock of Love" has gotten her own show, "Daisy of Love." You thought the others were trashy? No, no, this one positively takes the cake. If you enjoy watching a good trashy reality show, I highly recommend checking this one out, because it sets a new standard for trashy reality shows. Do I learn anything from these shows? No, not really, but they're fun to watch.
- My iPod. It's funny, but I don't think I could live without it. I know I did before, but now, having all 30 thousand songs I own at my fingertips all at once is so cool. I can wind up hearing a song from "The Muppet Movie" followed by an 80's hair band. I mean, it's the ultimate mix tape. Love, love that iPod.
- Showering by myself. I think most moms can relate to this, but since I'm a stay-at-home mom, I don't get a ton of alone time. Lately, I've taken to waking up at the ungodly hour of 5:30 just to get some time alone to write in my journal and get cleaned up for the day. It seems like if I don't do it then, it doesn't happen, because my shower is quite loud, and I always worry it will wake Baby up if he's napping. When he was smaller, I'd bring him into the bathroom with me for my showers. We have an infant-to-toddler rocker that we can strap him into, it has a toy bar and all, and that used to entertain him. Now, he'd much rather be running around like a wild child than sitting in that chair, even if I give him one of his favorite stuffed animals and a book, so he makes this little whimpering, threatening-to-cry noises while I shower if he's in there with me. So I really enjoy when I get the peace and quiet a shower by myself brings.

3. Tag six blogs, state the rules and notify them with a small comment on their blog.
This was a tough decision, by the way, because there are lots of blogs I really, really like.
- Sunday Baker
- Java Cupcake
- One Bored Mommy
- Real Mom Kitchen
- Writer Mom at Home
- Girl in the Glasses

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

What's on your nightstand?

Have you ever visited 5 Minutes for Books? It's one of my favorite book-related blogs. They have a great feature on a monthly basis that I always mean to participate in, and always forget - and today I managed to remember! It's called What's on Your Nightstand, and you get to share what you've read in the last month and what you're reading (or planning to read) for this month...

So what's on my nightstand at the moment? Well...

1. The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs - which I haven't started
2. Sunday Money by Jeff Macgregor - which Husband and I are reading together, but he reads WAY slower than I do, so I've barely cracked the cover on this one
3. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls - my book club's latest pick, which I've already read, but plan to re-read before our book club meets in June
4. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer - I read Twilight around Christmas, and just haven't gotten to the rest of the series yet
5. The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
6. Still Alice by Lisa Genova - just started this and wow, it's pretty amazing so far
7. London is the Best City in America by Laura Dave - just picked this up from the library

Here's what just left my nightstand:
1. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini - just finished right after I first posted this post
2. Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich - I really enjoy the Stephanie Plum books, but this one was just so-so for me.
3. Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher
4. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (a re-read before my book club meeting)
5. Evil in Carnations by Kate Collins - I enjoy these frothy little Flower Shop Mysteries books, this was the latest one and I polished it off in a few days
6. Write is a Verb by Bill O'Hanlon

So, what's on your nightstand? I love finding out what other people are reading - it often points me toward a book I would never have thought of reading in the first place.

Drumroll please...

I wanted to let you all know that I have made a new bloggy friend, Margo, also known as Writer Mom at Home. I've been participating in ProBlogger's 31 Days to a Better Blog (which has been totally awesome so far!) and one of the tasks was to make a blogging buddy, and Margo is my blogging buddy. We'll be contributing to each other's blogs here and there, with guest posts and super fun collaborations, so you better go visit her blog and get to know her. So far, I've really enjoyed getting to know her.

Tomorrow will be your official introduction to Writer Mom at Home, so make sure to visit to learn more!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Do you like to comment? Are you a blogger?

If you like comments and are blogger, then listen up!

I know it always thrills me when I see comments and new followers. I know a lot of my followers and regular readers are also bloggers, so I thought it would be neat if I got a chance to feature another blogger once a month. I love reading blogs, it's often like getting a sneak peek into another person's life. I think collaboration is really important in the blogosphere, and I want to do my part, so I'm really excited to share this with you.

The person who comments the most on my blog each month will get a featured post on my blog the first day of every month. The feature will be a short interview with yours truly, along with a link to your top 3 favorite posts from your blog. You can comment when you have thoughts to share, questions, and also if you refer a new follower, leave me a comment telling me who you are and who you referred.

I hope you guys are excited about this as I am!

P.S. - I almost forgot the details! This starts May 1st, so the person who comments the most from May 1st-May 31st will be featured on my blog on June 1st.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Menu Plan Monday for April 27th

I can't believe it's Monday again. Time has been flying in such a ridiculous fashion lately. I mean, it's almost May. Of 2009. How did that happen?????

Anyway, this week will be another interesting one, meal-wise. Husband is traveling, so it's just Baby and me for the week. I might have a dinner guest at some point in the week, but that's about as exciting as the week will get, I think.

Monday - Subway take-out (in support of the NBC show "Chuck" which hasn't yet been renewed and is awesome) and fresh Florida corn-on-the-cob
Tuesday - Meatloaf, onion potatoes, and broccoli
Wednesday - Frozen shrimp scampi (Gorton's) and linguine
Thursday - Fish fillets and garlic potatoes
Friday - Chicken teriyaki and fluffy white rice (a new recipe)
Saturday - Chicken cutlets and pasta
Sunday - Whiskey glazed pork chops (a new recipe!)

All in all, kind of a boring meal week, but hopefully I'll remember to snag a picture of my beautiful meatloaf to add to the recipe post. I'm looking forward to trying out the new chicken teriyaki recipe and the pork chops, though I've got to try really hard to remember about the required marinade for the chops. (I've even made a note on my calendar to help me remember.)

Stay tuned for some new yummy recipes! And don't forget to visit the Org Junkie to find over 500 other menu plans!

I've got some exciting news coming in the next few days here on Type A Mommy, so be sure to come back to visit to find out what's going on!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Awesome chicken cutlets

I didn't mean to make chicken cutlets for dinner tonight. I don't even remember what was on the the menu for tonight, all I know is that I wanted to make chicken cutlets tonight and have a family dinner.

I'm sure you're saying to yourself, Type A Mommy doesn't have family dinners??? And the answer is not really. I feed Baby at around 5:30 every day, either a jarred baby food or a Graduates microwaveable toddler meal, and then Husband (if I'm lucky) gets home from work some time between 6 and 7 and we eat dinner together after Baby goes to bed.

Tonight, I really wanted the three of us to eat dinner together and I thought chicken cutlets would be an easy meal to prepare and for Baby to eat. It's also an awesome recipe, so I'm sharing it with all of you bloggy friends. BTW, Baby enjoyed it considerably, and I'm going to try really hard to institute family dinners on the weekend. There's no reason not to, other than my innate need to follow a pattern.

Type A Mommy's Awesome Chicken Cutlets
Printer-friendly recipe

6-8 chicken cutlets
1 cup flour
2-3 eggs (start with 2)
3-4 cups fresh breadcrumbs (see step 1)
1-2 cups vegetable oil

1. Make fresh breadcrumbs with a food processor (or blender) by using a really nice loaf of white sandwich bread - I use Pepperidge Farm's Hearty White bread. It's awesome. Tear up about 4 pieces into 1 inch chunks, and put into food processor. Depending on the size of food processor or blender you're using, don't put them all in at once. I do about half at a time, and I have a 9-cup food processor. Don't cover up the blades too much. Using the pulse button, chop up the bread until it becomes crumbs - not teeny tiny ones, hearty ones. See the picture below of the breaded chicken. Too lazy to make the breadcrumbs? Use panko breadcrumbs. (The homemade ones really taste awesome, though.)2. Set up an assembly line of three dishes. One for your flour, one for your eggs (which you want to whisk), and one for your fresh breadcrumbs. At the end of the assembly line, set up a wire rack on top of a piece of aluminum foil (makes for easier cleanup).3. Take out your chicken and pat dry with a paper towel. Salt and pepper them as desired. Dredge each cutlet in the flour on both sides one at a time, then the whisked egg mixture, then the breadcrumbs. Make sure to press the chicken into the breadcrumb mixture to ensure they adhere nicely, and after breading both sides of the chicken, place on the wire rack for at least five minutes before frying.
4. Meanwhile, heat up about 1-2 cups of vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat until smoking.
5. After your cutlets have sat, fully breaded, for at least five minutes, begin frying your cutlets. Fry on each side for 3-4 minutes, until browned nicely, and serve hot.

Don't they look so very yummy?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Virtual Girls Night Out: The Disco Edition

It's Friday again, and that means it's time for a Virtual Girls' Night Out, hosted by Ann, as usual. This week's edition is disco-themed, in honor of the horror that was Disco Night on "American Idol" this week. Was anyone else appalled at the disco performances? Especially the group performance on elimination night? I know Paula Abdul tried to choreograph something that would make them look good, but to me, it just made them look clumsy and silly. But anyway...

This week's fun party game is a fill-in-the-blanks do-da. Follow the instructions below, and make sure to visit Ann to sign the Mr. Linky and do some super fun blog hopping!

After a long week working as an assistant trainer at the Jane Fonda Exercise Studio I was ready for a night out. I went to my closet, put on my polyester suit and headed out the door. I stopped to pick-up my friend Bob Mackie and we headed to Studio 54. This place was packed! I had just about sweated my glitter off when they turned on the lights and told us it was time to boogie home. Another great night. Can you dig it? :->

*Fill in the blanks by following the charts. If the First Letter of your FIRST name begins with an 'A' then fill in with "Polyester Suit", etc.

First blank/First Letter of your FIRST name:
A - E = Polyester Suit
F - J = Hot Pants
K - P = Platform Shoes
Q - U = Roller Skates
V - Z = Tube Top

Second blank, go by the First Letter of your LAST name. A - E will be Bob Mackie.

Second blank/First Letter of your LAST name:
A - E = Bob Mackie
F - J = Deney Terrio
K - P = Jimmy J.J. Walker
Q - U = K.C. & The Sunshine Band
V - Z = Liza Minnelli

Third blank, go by the First Letter of your FIRST name.

Third blank/First Letter of your FIRST name:
A - E = Glitter
F - J = Lipgloss
K - P = Blue Eye Shadow
Q - U = QT Tanning Lotion
V - Z = Sequined Headband

BTW, Jane is totally going to fire me from my assistant trainer gig when she sees how many cookies I just ate!

Sorta Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I've been in a baking frenzy today. First, the chocolate peanut butter surprise cookies, and now the healthier chocolate chip cookies. I've been experimenting with these cookies for a while. While they don't hold a candle to a good, full-fat, full-calorie recipe, this is a good compromise. Not only do they have less butter and sugar, but also one less egg than most chocolate chip cookie recipes. Oh, and less chocolate chips, but without losing the yummy chocolate-y flavor. So they are definitely more healthful. But, because of the one less egg and the smaller amount of butter, they tend to get stale a bit faster, so it's a small recipe. It's best to eat them all within about two days, otherwise they start to get really, really hard.

Type A Mommy's Sorta Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Printer-friendly recipe

1 1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Whisk the flour, soda and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, whisk the butter, egg and vanilla together. Stir in the brown sugar until smooth, smearing any lumps against the side of the bowl.
4. Stir in the dry mixture, followed by the chocolate chips.
5. Roll dough into 1-inch balls, about 1 tablespoon of dough. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart.
4. Bake the cookies, one tray at a time, until edges are light golden and centers are just barely set, about 11-13 minutes. You should also rotate the tray halfway through baking (do NOT overbake!). Cool cookies on baking sheet for about 5 minutes before either serving warm (yum!) or transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.Don't they just look yum? Take my word for it, I just had two of them. Super yum!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

They're done! Or at least some of them are! The Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise cookies are baked (but still in progress). They are not only beautiful, but they are also delicious. Lovely mix of chocolate and peanut butter, and the cookies are quite brownie-esque in texture. I highly recommend them. A word of warning, though...they were a bit of work. You'll see when you read the recipe.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies
adapted from
Printer-friendly recipe

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line at least two baking sheets with parchment. This way you can work on preparing one sheet of cookies while another is baking. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter, shortening, granulated sugar and 1 cup brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between additions. Add vanilla, beat to combine. Gradually add dry ingredients; mix on low speed until fully combined. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Chill until firm, about 1 hour. (NOTE: I was impatient, I worked with room temp dough.)
3. In a small bowl using a rubber spatula, stir together peanut butter and remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar.
4. Drop 1 tablespoon of dough at a time onto baking sheets, spacing cookies about 2 inches apart. Make a thumbprint in the center of each cookie. Fill thumbprint with 1-2 teaspoons of peanut butter mixture. Top with a second tablespoon of flattened dough. Carefully mold dough together to cover the surprise.5. Bake until firm, about 12 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks to cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from baking sheets.

Makes about 30-40 cookies.

Java Cupcake Giveaway!

Hungry yet?

Have you ever visited Java Cupcake? I love her, her treats always look so beautiful. And her recipes are really easy to follow, which is so important in baking. She's hosting a big collaboration giveaway at the moment, with some pretty awesome, tasty treats up for grabs, including the two beautiful sweets above.

You must visit Java Cupcake to find out more...especially if you love chocolate!

Breaking Type A Mommy news!!

Two things everyone, and I can't decide which one I'm more excited about:

1. I am officially now a part of Twitter. I know, I'm probably the last person on the planet to start using Twitter, but there it is. Want to follow me? I know you do...Click here!

2. I will be baking today! Yay! I will be baking at least one, if not two, cookie recipes. I believe I will be baking the lower-fat chocolate chip cookies I promised a week or so back as well as a special cookie treat for Husband, who's been working tirelessly all week - chocolate peanut butter surprises. Stay tuned for recipes and pictures!

Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's almost my three month blogoversery!

And in honor of my three month blogoversery, I wanted to highlight the recipes that I've shared thus far on Type A Mommy, both of the main meal variety and the dessert variety. I love food, and what I love most about food is sharing it with people (unless it's my favorite cake or cookies, then Husband usually has to fight me tooth and nail to get me to share). So, in no particular order, here's an at-a-glance reference to Type A Mommy's recipes thus far:

Type A Mommy's Meatloaf
Type A Mommy's Mom's Baked Chicken
Type A Mommy's Famous Pancakes
Type A Mommy's Famous Pan Pizza
Awesome Chicken Cutlets
Chicken Teriyaki
Super Outrageous Brownies
Super Duper Chocolate Chip Cookies
Husband Cake
Type A Mommy's Favorite Brownies
Chocolate Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies
Sorta Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookies
America's Test Kitchen Texas Sheet Cake

Some highlights of the next three months with Type A Mommy include my glazed pork chops recipe (perfect with mashed potatoes) and my often-requested beef teriyaki. I hope by my six month blogoversery that I will have at least 30 recipes to celebrate! Stay tuned!

P.S. - Are there any recipes you wish you had? Any dishes you've always wanted to make? Tell me, maybe I can help!

Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher

So I tore through "Wishful Drinking" by Carrie Fisher the other day. In one afternoon. It's not a long read - less than 200 pages, in fact - but it's an enjoyable one. I had it on my list at the library, and a copy finally came in. I heard mixed opinions about the book - Amazon gives it three and a half stars, and their reviews usually are quite spot on for me, but I found myself laughing out loud regularly with this one.

If you're not familiar with Carrie Fisher, she was Princess Leia in the Star Wars movies, and she also happens to be Hollywood royalty, as the daughter of Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. She is a good writer, though I've not read her other novels ("Postcards from the Edge," "Delusions of Grandma," "The Best Awful"), but her writing style is very easy to read and conversational. She's led a very interesting life, between her stories of both her childhood and her intriguing adult life, which has included a battle with bipolar disorder.

I don't know that I'd recommend buying the book, but I would definitely recommend checking it out if you see it at the library.

P.S. - The next book I've picked up at the moment is "The Middle Place" by Kate Corrigan, which is both heartbreaking and wonderful at the same time so far.

What else did my mother dictate in my life?

I was at the grocery store today, one of my favorite tasks of the week, and I noticed Skippy peanut butter was BOGO. I love BOGO deals. On top of that, I had two Skippy coupons. Perfect for taking advantage of the BOGO deal. Problem is, I've never had Skippy peanut butter. Well, never knowingly had it. My mom was a Jif mom. Exclusively bought Jif all throughout my childhood. So I go and grow up and what do I buy? Jif peanut butter. Well, I'm tight with my money these days, so I bought the Skippy. I had some peanut butter toast for lunch and it was pretty good. It definitely didn't taste bad, but it also didn't really taste any different than Jif did. So much for brand loyalty.

The whole thing reminded me of a scene from "Gilmore Girls," one of my all-time favorite television shows. If you're not familiar with it, the main character Lorelai was the polar opposite of her mother, Emily. At one point, after breaking up with a boyfriend Emily did not approve of, she was shocked and appalled that her mother didn't get up and dance a jig when they broke up. She started to question all of her decisions, because she had used her mother as a barometer all of her life to figure out what she liked and didn't like. If her mother liked Skippy, then Lorelai liked Jif.

I'm rambling again, aren't I? Must...have...sugar...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Have you ever broken someone's heart?

For whatever reason today, when I turned on my iTunes and went to the Party Shuffle playlist so iTunes would make me a playlist while I did some blog homework, it picked a song I hadn't really listened to the words of in a long time. Barenaked Ladies's "Break Your Heart," but more specifically the version from "Rock Spectacle," the live CD they released many, many moons ago. This clip is pretty darn close to the perfection that is the version on "Rock Spectacle."

What an interesting song, isn't it? It takes me back to the other serious relationship I've had in my life, with the ex before I met Husband, a weird and twisted relationship that makes very little sense, looking back on it. He was nine years older than me at a time in my life when nine years was truly a big deal, but I think it was just my attempt to prove to everyone that I was a grown-up. What a stupid way to try to prove it, because we were at totally different points in our lives, and eventually it started to feel like we just grew apart, but I stayed in the relationship because I wasn't really sure how to leave it. For whatever reason, after I broke up with the guy, I felt really kind of awful about it. I felt like maybe I led him on, and that was why I broke his heart. Even though it was totally the right thing to do, I totally didn't mean to break his heart. That's not a nice thing to have on one's conscience. But, eventually, I'm sure he moved on and his life is much better without me, just like mine is much better without him. Or at least that's what I told myself when I had moments of guilt. Nowadays, nearly seven years later, I don't think of him often, but this song sure made me think of him.

BTW, did you know that the guy who sings this got kicked out of the band recently? Sure did, he got arrested for drug possession and the group I guess was sick of dealing with the drug issue. Too bad, he's an awesome singer. I hope he gets his act together.

So, have you ever broken a heart? Tell me about it...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The worst diaper rash ever

Baby's been pretty lucky thus far in his fourteen months - he's really only had one episode of diaper rash thus far, despite the fact that he seems to have somewhat sensitive skin. That is, until this week...

He woke up Monday morning with the worst diaper rash I've ever seen (given that Baby is my only child). Poor kiddo's bum was totally red and every time I touched it, he would recoil and scream and cry. Poor little guy. Being a first-time mom, I called the pediatrician, who recommended a thorough course of Nystatin cream and Balmex/Desitin/Triple Paste/Boudreaux's Butt Paste. After he grilled me.

Oh yes, he grilled me. Question after question about what he'd been eating, and he asked me at least ten times if I'd given him citrus (despite his warning at Baby's twelve-month-old appointment to stay away from citrus). I sure hadn't. And neither did Husband. So what has caused the trouble?

I have run through my head a million times what I could possibly have fed this poor child that would cause him such agony and I'm at a loss. The only new food I can come up with that he had was my special homemade buttermilk pancakes on Sunday. Which did indeed have buttermilk in them. And I know that if I'm out of buttermilk, I can "make" buttermilk for recipes by souring milk with lemon juice. So maybe the buttermilk disagreed with him?

Then Husband came home from work today and remembered that Baby had spaghetti-O's for dinner Friday or Saturday night, and tomatoes are citrus, so perhaps that was the problem. He has had them before, though, so that doesn't quite add up for me. Baby is feeling better today than yesterday, though his bottom is still awfully sore and red. He's nowhere near as crabby, though.

If only I could figure out what caused this whole mess. Husband heard from his dental hygienist recently that when a baby's molars start to come in, they release some kind of chemical that can cause pretty serious diaper rash. Has anyone else ever heard of this? It sounds like an old wives' tale to me, but who knows? That would explain things, since a molar poked through Baby's gums last week...

Type A Mommy's Meatloaf

Sorry, folks, but I was so hungry last night that I neglected to take a photo of my beautiful meatloaf before my friend and I devoured it. Whoops. Oh well. I'll be making it again next week, so hopefully, I'll remember to take one and I'll post it then.

So...everyone has a recipe for meatloaf, and every one of them seems different. This is the meatloaf that I grew up with, that my mother made, though I've tweaked it a little bit over the years to suit my taste a little better.

Type A Mommy's Meatloaf
Printer-friendly recipe

1- 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef (ground chuck is preferrable)
1 egg
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons Worshistire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Accent
1 tablespoon dried onions

*** NOTE: Put your meatloaf together the night before you plan to eat it and refrigerate overnight. It tastes best this way.
1. Beat egg. Add ketchup, breadcrumbs, Worshistire sauce, salt, Accent, and onions. Mix well, and set aside for at least five minutes.
2. Add ground beef. Mix well with hands until mixture is fully combined.
3. Wet hands. Shape meatloaf with wet hands into a ball, deposit ball into casserole dish with cover. Cover meatloaf and refrigerate overnight.
4. Bake, covered, at 350 for 1 hour for a 1 lb ground beef meatloaf, 1 hour and 30 minutes for a 1 1/2 lb ground beef meatloaf. Let meatloaf sit, covered, in casserole dish for at least five minutes before serving.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Menu Plan Monday for April 20th

Wow, how did the weekend pass by so quickly? It went way too quickly.

This last week was interesting. We wound up not having whiskey pork chops - I didn't read the recipe (like a good cook does) before I got started, because if I did, I would have realized that I needed to marinate the chops for 2 hours beforehand. Whoops. So we just had glazed pork chops - not very different than the whiskey ones, really. The recipes are quite similar. Other than that, I stuck to the menu quite well.

Husband's in trial this week, so it will be interesting to see how the week goes as far as the menu is concerned. I am having my friend over for dinner on Monday, but other than that, it's probably just me for the week.

Monday - Meatloaf and roasted onion potatoes
Tuesday - Crab cake sandwich and sweet potato fries
Wednesday - Homemade pizza
Thursday - Shrimp scampi and linguine
Friday - Mini penne and garlic bread
Saturday - Chicken with mustard pan sauce (new recipe!)
Sunday - Pork tenderloin

This week the only real thing that I'm making is meatloaf, but I will indeed be sharing that recipe some time Monday night or Tuesday morning. It's the meatloaf I grew up with, the very same one that I ate for a year, so that should be exciting. It's so yummy. Mmmm. Other than the weekend and my pizza, everything else is frozen or jarred, so not too creative, but hopefully it will be tasty all the same.

So what's on your menu this week? Don't forget to visit Org Junkie and her positively HUGE collection of various bloggers' menus for the week.

TV Turnoff Week is this week

Have you ever heard of TV Turnoff Week? I remember it from when I was in school. I can remember we did it as a two-week project - the first week, we wrote down what our television watching habits were, and then the following week, we were to watch no TV at all and to write down what we did instead. It was an interesting experiment, and apparently, it still happens (I so didn't know that - thanks Google). I'm going to see about convincing Husband to try to do that with me this week.

It's interesting, there are lots of times where I feel like I lose track of time when the television is on - and oftentimes, it's not even anything good on TV. That's just silly. I could be spending the time reading a good book or blogging or (what a novel idea) talking to my husband (assuming he's home). I can totally see how something like TV Turnoff Week could help you whittle down your TV viewing habits.

There were some really interesting facts about television watching I came across when reading up about TV Turnoff Week...including...

  • Number of 30-second commercials seen in a year by an average child: 20,000
  • Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 38.5
  • Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680
  • Percentage of children ages 6-17 who have TV's in their bedrooms: 50
  • Percentage of day care centers that use TV during a typical day: 70
  • Hours per year the average American youth spends in school: 900 hours
  • Hours per year the average American youth watches television: 1500
  • Percentage of Americans that regularly watch television while eating dinner: 66
Wow, right? I've been wickedly strict with Baby as far as TV watching is concerned. He doesn't do it. The AAP (Academy of Pediatrics) says not to before the age of 2, so I've kept him away from it. It's been hard at times, when I've been desperate to just keep him busy for more than three seconds, but so far, I haven't really cracked. He's watched a few short videos on my computer of "Sesame Street." But that's it. I know I'm probably overcautious about it, but Baby is my first kid, and I am totally Type A...

So what do you think? Does TV rule your life? Do you think you'll try to participate in TV Turnoff Week?

Type A Mommy's Famous Pancakes

There's little I enjoy more than a yummy, hot breakfast on the weekends with my family. This morning was one of those mornings. I decided to make pancakes for my family, given that I had a half-gallon of buttermilk in the fridge and the poor memory of my powdered buttermilk pancakes from a week or two ago still in my head. Yuck. But after today, all I can remember are super fluffy, yummy pancakes. Even Baby likes them!

They're really quite easy to make...but so far pancakes mixes like Bisquick and Aunt Jemima. The big difference, in my opinion, between a pancake mix and my pancakes is the flavor. Pancake mixes taste okay, but Type A Mommy's Famous Pancakes taste scrumptious. They really do. Don't believe me? Make tomorrow Brinner night, and enjoy some at your house. I just wish I could come make them for you.

Type A Mommy's Famous Pancakes
Printer-friendly recipe

2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups real buttermilk
4 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Beat eggs until frothy with a whisk or fork.
2. Add buttermilk, melted butter and vanilla. Blend well.
3. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Batter will be lumpy - this is OK. Do not overmix.
4. Heat griddle/fry pan to 350 degrees.
5. Pour 1/3 cup per pancake (or thereabouts) to hot griddle. Cook till bubbly and firm around the edges, then flip.

This recipe makes approximately 10-14 pancakes. These pancakes reheat well both in the microwave and toaster if you have leftovers.


P.S. - They taste really awesome with Karo pancake syrup (with the green label) - that is, if you like thick pancake syrup.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

How much does my new look rock??

I know, I know, I said I was done with all of the blog overhauling, but I was having a real hard time with the dark background and light text, so I've been shopping for a new look for Type A Mommy for the last few days. Then I found Acorn Glue!

Sharnee, the designer behind Acorn Glue, is super creative and easy to work with. Not only that, but she's a total XML pro and installed Type A Mommy's new look in mere moments (okay, it probably took at least five minutes, but still, it was like magic to me). She has tons and tons of beautiful designs on her site.

So, if you are a blogger like me, and you're looking for a super fresh look, go visit Acorn Glue. There are some totally awesome layouts available, and at totally reasonable prices, too. Tell Sharnee Type A Mommy sent you!!

Tell me what you think of the new look - I can't wait to see what you think!

Friday, April 17, 2009

VGNO Part 2: Your name indicates your job...

Those of you who have checked in from VGNO, thank you so much!! You probably read about my promise to share a nifty, fun file with you, if I could figure it out....

Then I sat down to watch "Amazing Race" from Sunday with Husband and I totally forgot about it, until Ali just made a comment about it, so thanks Ali for the reminder! I would've gone to bed and totally left you all in the dark!!! I think I've figured it out now, though, so here goes nothing! Enjoy!

Click here to view/download Your Name Indicates Your Job

Virtual Girls' Night Out

It's Friday (I've caught up and I'm on the right page on my calendar now), so that's means it's time for another Virtual Girls Night Out! I actually got a live, in-person girls night out this week with my moms' group book club, which was really fun, so it's totally funny that Ann's fun party game for the week is finding out your librarian alter ego. Here's how it works:

Librarian Alter Ego

If your first name begins with letters A - E, your first name would be: Bubbles. Follow the chart to see what your Librarian's Alter Ego name is.
First Name=
A - E: Bubbles
F - J: Cookie
K - O: Pepper
P - T: Honey
U - Z: Pebbles

Last Name=
A - E: Featherbottom
F - J: Ivanabee-Queen
K - O: Rhea-Listik
P - T: Anitacocktail
U - Z: Mona-Lott

So....I would be Bubbles Featherbottom, nee Ivanabee-Queen. Isn't that a hoot? Who would you be? I love silly naming games like this, they're so fun. In fact, I'm going to try to post one that's really super fun, but it's a download, so I have to figure out how to make that work. That will be my project this stay tuned for "Your Name Predicts Your Job."

Happy Friday! I can't wait to see your librarian alter ego names!

Things I Love Thursdays: The Local Library

Did you know it's National Library Week? I totally didn't, until I stumbled into my local library on Tuesday. Baby loves books, loves to thumb through them on his own and to be read to. We've been reading with him since he born, primarily because of how much I love reading, and he just adores it. We try to go to the library every few weeks, but it's been a while since we've been. We had a cycle of books that Baby just loved, and I couldn't bear to bring them back after the first three weeks of them being checked out, so we renewed them, and just finally returned them this week.We've been to three different libraries in town - Tampa's kind of big, and there are over 10 libraries in town. All there had a really nice children's section, and the two we frequent most often have a separate children's library, so the kids can run around and have fun without the parents worrying that they are disturbing the other patrons of the library. I tend to gravitate toward one library in particular, because they seem to have the most board books, and right now, Baby is not very nice to books, so the sturdy construction of a board book is really important.

A mom I met a while back was totally freaked out about me checking out board books from the library. "Oh my God, what if they chewed on the books?" she asked me, positively horrified (she was an absolute germaphobe). I shrugged. "So I wipe it off with a Wet One or something, big woo."

I love our time at the library, both for Baby and for me. I'm trying to cut back a lot this year, with me staying home and not raking in the big bucks anymore, and I was (still am a little) a compulsive book buyer. Granted, the library doesn't get the new releases as quickly as I would like for them to, you can request a hold on the book you want, and you get notified when it's ready. Most of the time, as a compulsive book buyer, I buy books and don't read them for like a year, so this method isn't much different. And it's way cheaper. Now, in the digital age, the library emails me when a book is due, so I don't forget I have it and then find myself using Baby's college tuition fund to cover the late fees. It's pretty cool like that.

So, go out and visit your library today! It's one of my favorite ways to spend time. If I weren't sick today, after all this talking, I would totally go and visit myself.

Crap, wait a's not Thursday, is it? Oh my goodness, I'm losing my mind....well, screw it. It's belated Things I Love Thursday, darn it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

This whole white text on black background nonsense

Husband keeps harping on me about the new layout of Type A Mommy, and well, I thought I'd poll you guys. What do you think about the white text on a black background? Is it harder to read? Would you rather see Type A Mommy with black text on a white background? I'm not 200% attached to this new design yet, so if I need to change it, now's the time.

So tell me, dear readers and followers - what do you think? Speak now or forever hold your peace!

Yuck...and other random thoughts

So I'm not feeling so super today...a sore throat has snuck up on me, so it was kind of a blah day. I had some chicken noodle soup for lunch, which shockingly didn't make me feel much better, and I wound up eating biscuits and chicken gravy for dinner. Not the most healthful dinner, that's for sure, but it did make my throat feel better...until I started coughing. Fun.

Speaking of yuck...did you watch "American Idol" last night? Were you shocked that the judges chose to save Matt Giraud? I was. My friend has a theory, and it's a pretty good one - that they just saved it to use up the save. I'm not sure, but I seem to recall that Disco Night is always a total trainwreck. Maybe they thought it would be fun to send two people home after the mess that will be Disco Night next week. Who knows.

I know everybody and their brother wants Adam Lambert to win "American Idol." Don't get me wrong, he's wicked talented (no pun intended), but I just can't imagine in my head what kind of record he would make, or as Kara would say what kind of artist he would be. Like, would he record a rock album? A Broadway tribute album? A Prince cover album? I don't know, I can't seem to figure him out. I don't see him as very marketable - though I do see him as immensely talented. So who should win if Adam doesn't? I don't know. I really don't. I think that Lil's time is over - she hit her peak in the audition and Hollywood and has stunk ever since. Danny is good, but his song choice as of late has been disappointing. Anoop is all over the place, totally inconsistent. Kris has potential to be a cute little tweeny-bopper kind of pop star, I suppose, but that's not my cup of tea. And then Matt, poor Matt. He thinks he's Justin Timberlake. He's talented, but he needs to find himself, if you ask me.

Anyway, you can blame this totally random post on me not feeling well. Maybe I need an outrageous brownie.

What did you think of "Idol" last night?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Top 10 Favorite 80's Songs

Last week, I posted my Top 10 Favorite Books - which was fun to compile, so I thought I'd try to make it a regular feature, until I run out of things to list. I love music almost as much as I love books, so I thought that music would be the next logical list. Honestly, I had a really hard time finding just 10 songs I love, so I thought I'd narrow it down a little.

1. The Cure "Lovesong"
2. Phil Collins "In the Air Tonight"
3. Heart "Alone"
4. Michael Jackson "Billie Jean"
5. Pat Benetar "Love is a Battlefield"
6. Guns n' Roses "Sweet Child o' Mine"
7. Men Without Hats "The Safety Dance" (primarily because Baby loves this song)
8. Journey "Separate Ways"
9. Prince "Purple Rain"
10. Wham "Careless Whisper"So tell me, what's your favorite 80's song?

Super Outrageous Brownies

Mmm, I love brownies. Without nuts. Nuts do not belong in brownies. It's like nuts are the party crasher that people throw into brownies. Ick. **not a fan of nuts in the first place, though** Enough about nuts!

So, I like brownies a lot. Too much, probably. I stumbled upon a recipe for the Barefoot Contessa's Outrageous Brownies a few years ago, and have been tweaking it ever since, adding a little more chocolate here and there, a little more coffee, and so on. They are rich, decadent, and they scream for a glass of milk to go with them. They also make an awesome base for a brownie sundae (which is the way Husband likes them).

I am such a giving person, I've decided to make my Outrageous Brownies for my book club meeting tonight (of course, I'll get to keep the leftovers, and since it's a small group, surely there will be leftovers...). And, not only that, but I'm sharing the recipe with the blogosphere!!

Now, a word to the wise: the brand of chocolate you use does make a difference. I can taste the difference when I use Baker's brand chocolate versus Ghiradelli. I'd love to use something like Schaffer-Bergen or Valhrona or one of the other snooty chocolates, but they are hard to come by around here, so Ghiradelli is as high brow as it gets for me. Another word of caution: you will make a very large mess. But if you're fortunate enough to have a husband who loves doing dishes like mine does, you'll be okay. And the final warning: let your eggs come to room temperature before using them. I can't quite explain what difference this makes (it's something scientific and chemical-y), but it's important. The brownies seem to go stale faster if the eggs are cold. Go figure. Enough warnings, here's the recipe!

Type A Mommy's Super Outrageous Brownies
Printer-friendly recipe

1 lb unsalted butter (does not need to be room temp)
1 lb (16 oz) semisweet chocolate chips or squares
5 cups semisweet chocolate chips
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
6 large eggs
4 Tbsp instant coffee powder or 2 Tbsp espresso powder
2 Tbsp good vanilla extract
2 c sugar
1 1/2 c flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
Optional, but yummy twist: 2 c Heath bar pieces

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 13"x18"x1 1/2" sheet pan.
2. Melt butter, 1 lb chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. This may take a bit of a while. Stir to make sure all chocolate melts. Once all melty, take the mixture off heat and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes.
3. In your mixing bowl, stir eggs, instant coffee, vanilla, and sugar. Stir in slightly cooled chocolate mixture, and let the whole thing come to room temperature. (I usually set a timer for 15-20 minutes.)
4. In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. In yet another bowl, toss your 4 cups of chocolate chips with 1 Tbsp of flour to coat (this will keep the chocolate chips from sinking to the bottom and will ensure an even distribution amongst in your batter). Pour in floured chips and mix well.
5. Pour batter into prepared pan and use spatula to spread around evenly. Tap pan lightly on countertop to get rid of bubbles in the batter and place in oven for 30 minutes. Halfway through the baking time, rap pan against oven shelf to get rid of any other bubbles, and turn pan around. Do not overbake!!!! Brownies will look a little underdone when you take them out. Cool thoroughly before cutting into squares.

** These brownies refrigerate well to keep fresh.**

**** UPDATE: I forgot, it's good to refrigerate the brownies in the pan before you cut them for about an hour - it solidifies them, and prevents the brownies from cracking and coming apart when you slice them up. ****

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I...have an addiction..and it's all my mother's fault

I guess this isn't really news, but I realized today that I truly do have an addiction. A serious one at that. Certainly not serious enough to land me on Celebrity Rehab (given that I'm no celebrity and I don't really do anything illegal), but serious to my health, I suppose. I am addicted to sugar. I am! And I know exactly who to mother.

I was on the phone with my mother yesterday, trying to find out what size picture of Baby she would like from his latest photo shoot at the local portrait studio, and she tells me she's baking cookies. At 5:30. She hasn't even eaten dinner yet, and she's baking cookies. Seriously????? No wonder I have weight issues! On top of that, my mother has the metabolism of a horse. I thought for years that she was pin thin because she smoked like a chimney, but she quit a few years ago (good girl!) when she got pneumonia and landed in the hospital (although she really only quit because she was scared to smoke when she was on oxygen at home for a few weeks). She didn't pack on the pounds like I did when I quit smoking. No, she gained maybe a couple of pounds, but on her, you'd never know, since she doesn't even tip the scales at 100 pounds. No lie. The woman is about 5'10" and less than 100 pounds. She ought to be studied. She eats crap. Total crap. She bakes cookies regularly - and almost always has cookie dough in the freezer. She really just eats what she wants to, whether that's fried chicken and gravy or a hunk of steak or whatever.

This is the same woman who let me eat meatloaf for dinner when I was 3 for an entire year. I ruined the enjoyment of meatloaf for pretty much everyone else in my family. I, apparently, was a very picky eater, and meatloaf was all I would eat. And she let me get away with it. I still fear that Baby will turn out this way - that it's some kind of karmic luck that I will wind up with a kid who is just as difficult with food as I was - but so far, so good with him. And as for passing my addiction for sugar on to him....he was barely interested in his birthday cake, which was the first real exposure to serious amounts of sugar that he's had thus far. We went to another baby's first birthday party this weekend, and that child went to town on his cake. He had frosting up his nose, in his hair, everywhere. Very unlike Baby's birdlike attempts at eating his cake, so maybe he doesn't care for sugar. Fingers crossed.

So...I admit it. I'm addicted to sugar. Now what? Do I give it up? Hell, no. Life is short. Do I try to keep an eye on it so I don't find myself eating cake for breakfast, brownies for lunch and cookies for dinner? Totally. And I'm even going to work on tweaking a recipe for chocolate chip cookies that isn't all bad. OK, it will still be at least somewhat bad (otherwise it would taste like cardboard), but I'm aiming for less calories. Stay tuned, I plan to post the results of my experimentation next week.

TTFN, off to prepare for "American Idol!"

Monday, April 13, 2009

Type A Mommy's Mom's Baked Chicken

This is my mother's recipe for baked chicken. There are few dishes that smell as appetizing (okay, maybe cookies smell better) as a baked chicken. It just smells homey.

In our family, when we make baked chicken, the sides are just as important as the main dish, so I've included them here as well. I always make gravy, biscuits (usually from the Jiffy baking mix), mashed potatoes, and stuffing. Enjoy!

PS - Though there are a lot of steps, a baked chicken is really quite easy to do. It was one of the first dishes I produced on my own when I became a grownup and left the nest.

Mom’s Baked Chicken
Printer-friendly recipe

1. Wash chicken and pat dry. Remove any bags of chicken pieces that may be inside chicken cavities, and set aside.
2. Stuff chicken just before roasting – not ahead of time. (See Stuffing directions below)
3. Fold legs behind chicken when placing in pan.
4. Heat oven to 350 degrees – will cook for 2 ½ to 3 ½ hours; about 20 minutes per pound of chicken.
5. Rinse neck and gizzard, cover with water, season with ½ tsp salt, sprinkle of onion powder. Heat to boiling, reduce heat and simmer.
6. Cover chicken for at least first hour of cooking. I usually uncover for about the last 30-45 minutes of cooking.

For 1 cup of gravy, you need:
2 tbsp fat
2 tbsp flour
1 cup liquid (broth)
When chicken releases its juices (around 1.5 hours of cooking), move juices to a measuring cup with a baster. Let sit for a few - the fat will rise to the top. Skim the fat off the top with a tablespoon and place fat in pan, while counting how many tablespoons you wind up with. Add the appropriate amount of flour (see above). Cook roux (that's what fat plus flour is called) over low to medium heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in broth. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir one minute. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

Mashed Potatoes
1. Wash potatoes. Skin them and slice into pieces.
2. Heat salted water to boiling and add potatoes.
3. Boil for 25 minutes
4. Drain potatoes
5. Mash potatoes (or put through ricer) until no lumps remain. Add milk or ½ and ½ in small amounts, beating after each addition. Add butter, salt, and pepper. Beat vigorously until potatoes are light and fluffy.

Stuffing (two ways)

From a bag (like Pepperidge Farm - but NOT Stove Top)
Bag of stuffing mix
Chicken broth
1. Melt butter called for on bag
2. Add 1-4 tsp sage (depends on how sage-y you like your stuffing)
3. Stir for a few minutes
4. Add chicken broth as called for on package
5. Follow remaining package instructions.

Stuffing from scratch
2 T butter
1/2 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced celery
1 t sage
1 t thyme
1 bag stuffing mix
6-10 slices of white sandwich bread, left out overnight to dry and become "stale"
1. Put 2 T butter in a small frying pan, add 1/2 c minced onion and 1/4 c minced celery and saute lightly for 5 minutes.
2. Stir in 1 t sage and 1 t thyme, then add 1 can chicken broth and simmer for a few minutes.
3. Meanwhile, put stuffing mix in bowl, tear up bread you left out overnight and add to bowl. Pour warm mixture over the bread mix. You may need more liquid, and that's okay - use more chicken broth. Mix all of this up, and then stuff your chicken. You can put anything that doesn't fit in an oven-safe dish that you can cover. Cook any unstuffed stuffing for at least 30 minutes at 350.

Menu Plan Monday for April 13th

I can't believe it's Monday again already.

Monday - Reruns of our roast chicken dinner from Easter
Tuesday - Buttermilk waffles or pancakes
Wednesday - Pasta and garlic bread
Thursday - Crispy garlic chicken cutlets (a new recipe!)
Friday - Burgers and seasoned fries
Saturday - Whiskey pork chops (a new recipe!)
Sunday - Fried chicken and cream gravy

I did okay with last week's menu, though I moved our baked chicken to Easter and skipped the whiskey pork chops (in favor of some take-out, when I was buried in cupcake land). I wasn't thrilled with the way my buttermilk-powder pancakes turned out, which is why this week's Brinner might be pancakes again, to make up for my bad memories. I also had a super rough time with the chicken yesterday. It just did not want to get done! We wound up having dinner at 8:15. Yikes! Needless to say, I was so starving that I completely forgot to take pictures, but I do swear I will be posting my recipe for Stuffed Baked Chicken and Gravy later on today to make up for it!

So what's on your menu this week? Don't forget to share it with the Org Junkie, who hosts the busiest blog meme I've ever seen with Menu Plan Mondays!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Remember the 80's?

Do you remember the 80's? I do. I remember dancing on my big sister's bed to lots of Wham songs, and singing to her George Michael poster. I remember my sister's big hair, and her friends' neon clothes...oh, the insanity of those clothes.

Anyway, Jen Lancaster of Jennsylvania (arguably one of the funniest women writers I know of) is hosting a Show Me Your 80's contest. (Needless to share, I shared this info with my sister, too.) Even if you don't have funny 80's pictures to share, it's totally fun to look at the pictures people are sending in. Each day, Jen is selecting a theme (like drop-waist dresses, mall hair, New Kids obsessions, and so forth. They totally make me laugh.

I love Jen - she's written three books, and her fourth is coming soon (and is her life in the 80's, hence the contest). I highly recommend her, and her blog. Her blog is just as funny as her books!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Comment Away!

You know, I was feeling kind of bummed that no one ever comments on my blog, especially now that it seems like I have readers (which is so entirely exciting!) I dispatched Husband to try to post a comment...and it failed. So, dear readers who have tried to share your comments with me, I am so very sorry! But fear not, as I have not only found the problem, but I have remedied it, so please, comment away! And again, please accept my apologies for the technical issue.

Happy weekend!

Cupcake Time!

It's cupcake time! I've officially made my "test" cupcakes for Book Club this week, and I've already frosted half of them with vanilla buttercream, which I attempted to tint pink, but it didn't quite turn out pink. More orange. Oh well, it's pastel, so it's kind of Easter-esque. My chocolate buttercream frosting is all made, I'm just waiting for my wonderful Husband to get home from Wal-Mart with my star icing tip to frost them.

It's my first time frosting cupcakes via piping. I think for my first time, they came out well. What do you think?

Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcakes
adapted from More From Magnolia: Recipes from the World Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey's Home Kitchen

Printer-friendly recipe

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
3. In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated, but do not overbeat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
5. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting
adapted from More From Magnolia: Recipes from the World Famous Bakery and Allysa Torey's Home Kitchen
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
6-8 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add 4 cups of the sugar and then the milk and vanilla. On the medium speed of an electric mixer, beat until smooth and creamy, about 3-5 minutes.
2. Gradually add the remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition (about 2 minutes), until the icing is thick enough to be of good spreading consistency. You may not need to add all of the sugar.
3. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring (if desired) and mix thoroughly. (Use and store the icing at room temperature because icing will set if chilled.) Icing can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Breaking Baking News!!

Well, Wednesday night is my first book club meeting with my new moms' group and I'm eager to make a good impression, which means it's time to put on my apron and whip up some kind of tasty treat. I've decided cupcakes are the way to go, because they're super easy for the hostess to serve and because...well...they're cute. And me, being as Type A as I am, I have to make a test batch today to make sure the recipe is edible (though I'm quite certain it is since I've made it before). They're doubling as another dessert for my Easter dinner tomorrow, where we are hosting our neighbors as guests.

I'll be making Magnolia's Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream and Chocolate Buttercream frosting. I'll possibly even color the vanilla buttercream to make the cupcakes extra cute. So, stay tuned for super cute pictures and the recipe, when all is said and done. I had a hard time picking a cupcake flavor - I've got a coffee cupcake recipe, a devil's food cupcake recipe, a chocolate/peanut butter cupcake recipe (which is really, really involved), a red velvet cupcake on and so forth, but I thought I'd stick to simple and cute this time around.

What is your favorite cupcake flavor?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Virtual Girls Night Out!

Hi everybody!

It's Friday, that means it's time for another Virtual Girls Night Out. Yippee!

This week's topic is Easter Candy. What Easter Candy can you not live without?

This was a toughie for me, because I'm not a huge fan of what seems to be the world's most popular Easter candy - the Cadbury egg. It's okay, just not my favorite. Ditto with Peeps. Actually, Peeps kind of creep me out. I can't explain that one.

There's actually a tie for my favorite Easter candy - the standard chocolate bunny and the Reese's peanut butter egg.

How can you not love a peanut butter egg, covered in chocolate-y goodness?? It's like a Reese's cup, only better. Darn those things are good. I know they're Husband's favorite, too. Anything involving chocolate and peanut butter are heaven for him.

So, Baby, being that he's only 13 months old and all, is not having an Easter basket this year (nor did he last year). My mother just asked me about this tonight, and she was mildly horrified at the thought of her precious grandson not having an Easter basket. She almost made me feel guilty about it! But seriously, he can't have chocolate (because the pediatrician said so), he'd probably try to eat the grass that you usually stuff an Easter basket with, I'm pretty sure jelly beans are probably a choking hazard...see where I'm going here? Just doesn't sound like the smartest thing to do. But then again, that's me, super-cautious mommy. I'm sure there are plenty of moms out there giving their two month olds a chocolate bunny. I'm just not one of them.

Needless to say, since I wasn't putting an Easter basket together for Baby this year, I've yet to buy any Easter candy, so thanks Ann for reminding me that I do indeed have to go to Publix tomorrow with everybody and their brother (because they're closed for Easter Sunday). Sounds like a blast.

Hope everyone's having a super Friday, and make sure to check out Ann's VGNO every Friday! It's a great way to find new blogs to read.
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