Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tons of Summer Popsicle Recipes

I wanted to share a tested out recipe with you today, but since I still haven't gotten around to it, I'll post a round up of summer popsicles instead! I can't wait to give some (ALL?!) of these a try this summer!!


I'm sure I could keep listing more, and more, and more out - because there are every type of recipe out there you can imagine for yummy summer popsicles; frozen fruit treats, creamy dreamy yogurt and ice cream based treats, cookies added in, gummy bears, chopped, diced or even whole fruit - the options are completely endless!

I received the popsicle molds linked below via Tomoson to test out and can't wait to put them to really, really good use now that the weather is warming up!





Festive Holiday Rice Casserole


I was sent some Uncle Ben's rice products to create a custom recipe with for the AllRecipes Ambassador program this year and decided to work with the original rice for this dish. I decided to go with a yummy rice casserole dish - those always seem to go over well with my family. I thought some green and red vegetables would give it some "holiday festiveness"!


We taste tested when this came out of the oven initially and my hubby requested cheese so I suggested a cracker topping and some cheese - he said that sounded like a good plan!

Either way - with or without the cracker topping, this is a deliciously seasoned rice dish. The butter and flavor from the spices work perfectly with the Uncle Ben's rice to make a tasty and filling side dish. We thought throwing in some diced chicken would make a PERFECT one-dish meal as well (but we ate all the rice in one sitting, so we'll have to test that theory out at another time).


Festive Holiday Rice Casserole (an original Rebekah Hills recipe)

Ingredients
2 TBS butter
1 cup Uncle Ben’s original rice
2 ¼ cups water
2 chicken bouillon cubes
2 stalks celery, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper (more to taste)
9 Ritz crackers, crushed
½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Heat a dutch oven over medium high heat on the stove top and add butter. Sauté diced bell pepper and celery for about 5 minutes, then add in the rice. Stir to coat rice and butter and cook for another minute.
  3. Add water and seasonings; stir to blend and bring to a simmer. As soon as water begins to bubble, turn off heat, put the lid of the Dutch oven on and place in the preheated oven.
  4. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, remove lid and stir the rice dish. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the top of the rice and add the crushed crackers evenly over the top.
  5. Return the pot to the oven for 10 minutes (without the lid), or until cheese has melted and crackers are lightly toasted.
  6. Serve immediately.

DISCLAIMER: I am an Allrecipes Allstar brand ambassador (a voluntary position) and I am not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com. Products received from advertisers are only used for experienced-based reviews on Making Miracles. The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Rebekah. To learn more about the Allrecipes Allstars program visit Allrecipes Allstars.








Monday, April 20, 2015

GS Journey ~ Your Pregnancy: 6 Weeks (and Beta Update)

 

How Q and Y's baby is growing:
This week's major developments: The nose, mouth, and ears that you'll spend so much time kissing in eight months are beginning to take shape. If you could see into your uterus, you'd find an oversize head and dark spots where your baby's eyes and nostrils are starting to form. His emerging ears are marked by small depressions on the sides of the head, and his arms and legs by protruding buds. His heart is beating about 100 to 160 times a minute — almost twice as fast as yours — and blood is beginning to course through his body. His intestines are developing, and the bud of tissue that will give rise to his lungs has appeared. His pituitary gland is forming, as are the rest of his brain, muscles, and bones. Right now, your baby is a quarter of an inch long, about the size of a lentil.
GS #3 6 Weeks Pregnant
GS#2 6 Weeks Pregnant

It is a funny thing, going back and rereading my words from my previous GS pregnancies. So many things that are practically identical to how I'm feeling at the same point in my current pregnancy. This pregnancy (symptoms wise) is more on par with how I felt with the twins in terms of the symptoms coming and going, and the increased hunger. I'm not used to getting so hungry so early on, but that's how things are shaping up this round. I don't eat a ton more then I used to, I'm just needing more frequent small meals / snacks. I'm already having to pack my lunch box very differently then I was a week or two ago. An apple or orange, cheese stick, yogurt, cottage cheese with pineapples, and a Luna bar are often the snacks that disappear during the day after a light breakfast and a light lunch. I just ate a breakfast sandwich not even an hour ago and can feel my stomach rumbling already.

I found myself completely wiped out over the weekend. I think I have completely forgotten how tired I get early on especially with all the hormones in my system for the surrogacy - I am used to pretty much being on the go, go, go on the weekends. Not anything stressful or fast paced, but up at 6:00 - 6:30 with Lindsey, fixing breakfast, cleaning something, straightening something, cleaning the floor, making lunch, going outside with Lindsey for a walk or to play, more food, more snacks, more cleaning. That's how we spend our days on the weekends; lots of kitchen time, cleaning up, and Lindsey time. This weekend, that normal routine totally bit me in the butt and I couldn't keep up. Lindsey woke up extra early on Sunday (5:00am) and I got up with her at 5:30. By 10:00 I was a mess. I felt sick to my stomach I was so tired. Lindsey and I both went down for an early nap at 10:00 and I slept for a solid 2 hours before I started waking up; she slept for closer to 3 hours! We both needed it.

How many weeks today: 6w1d
How I am feeling: Tired, hungry, off and on queasiness / mouth watering. Most of the time ok though.
Cravings / aversions: Nothing in particular the past few days.
Baby: Size of a lentil
Baby Nickname: Passenger or Smalls

Here are the beta updates from last Thursday as well; numbers below from SMO for comparison:

19dp5dt
SINGLETON: 310, 497, 560, 1094, 1634, 3106, 3525, 4360, 5025.17, 12203, 13091
TWINS: 8610, 9000+, 9873, 12605, 14010, 15995, 21950, 39515
TRIPS: 8047, 12619, 16298

20dp5dt
SINGLETON: 2831, 3717, 4105, 6322, 6623, 10088, 10567, 23743
TWINS: 4870, 7100, 7648, 9674, 10996, 11063, 11170, 12166, 12032, 12725, 14320, 15385, 26999, 39937

21dp5dt
SINGLETON: 1275, 1423, 3524, 7101, 7118, 7748, 13131, 13277, 15k+, 19256
TWINS: 2026, 14471, 18289, 45303

GS #4
10dp5dt 469
13dp5dt 2289 (doubled in 31.5 hours, or 1.3 days)
20dp5dt 18320 (doubled in 56 hours, or 2.3 days)




How does this compare to my previous surrogacies:

GS #3 (TWINS)
12dp3dt 605
14dp3dt 1183 (doubled in 49.6 hours or 2.1 days)
19dp3dt 9151 (doubled in 40.7 hours or 1.7 days)

GS #2 (SINGLETON)
12dp3dt 110
16dp3dt 519 (doubled in 42.9 hours or 1.8 days)
23dp3dt 5129 (doubled in 50.8 hours or 2.1 days)

GS #1 (SINGLETON)
12dp3dt 198.1
14dp3dt 388.5 (doubled in 49.5 hours or 2.1 days)
17dp3dt 1264 (doubled in 42.3 hours or 1.8 days)

The doubling time definitely slowed down into the singleton range, but the number is still very high up in the twin range. We have our first ultrasound tomorrow morning and can't wait to see how things look and if we can see a tiny heartbeat!




Collin Street Bakery ~ Pecan Pie #Review


If this looks like a deliciously sticky, sweet pecan pie - that's because it is! My husband and son are HUGE pecan pie fans - I am generally somewhat on the fence about them, but even I will admit this is one incredibly delicious pie! When I received my pie, I also received the recommendation to heat it a little and serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. That is absolutely DIVINE.

I received this pie for review and my family was very happy about this one - this is the quintessentially perfect pecan pie. Big, crunchy pecans in a sinfully sticky sweet base to hold them in place. The crust is buttery and flaky and there was lots to love about this tasty treat.


Product Information:

From the heart of Texas comes a pecan pie that's lavished with rich, roasted, crunchy native pecans - our "Deep Dish Pecan Pie". Generous helpings of tender pecans, hand-picked from Texas native pecan groves, give this pie a distinctively mellow taste. Its caramel-flavored custard filling is made from whole, farm-fresh eggs. A light, flaky, buttery crust rounds out this deep-dish pecan pie classic. Delivered in it's own unique tin. U.S. Delivery Only.

Find Collin Street Bakery's pie selection on their website.


Find Collin Street Bakery on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Collin-Street-Bakery/144222722270409
Find them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/CollinStreet


Each pie comes packaged in this beautiful and signature tin:


The pie is well packaged and sealed, and although mine was left on its side at some point during shipping it was completely in tact, and it was easy enough to squish the filling back down so that it looked like it was supposed to (before we dug in and enjoyed)! :)


*Full Disclosure: I received complimentary product from Collin Street Bakery for the purpose of review. I received no compensation for this post. All comments are 100% accurate and 100% my own.   


Sunday, April 19, 2015

No Bake Reese’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake


Craving something creamy, rich, peanut buttery and totally sweet-tooth satisfying? Then boy are you in the right place!! My son has been asking for peanut butter cheesecake ever since I made this recipe (he loved the layer of peanut butter cheesecake in there). I decided to appease the boy and give a no-bake cheesecake recipe a try.



I found the recipe linked below and adapted slightly to use a combination of Reese's and other PB candies I had on hand instead instead of mini Reese's bites.


The drizzly chocolate sauce on top is very pretty and a nice sweet touch to offset the richness of the cream cheese and savory flavor of the peanut butter.


Because I used M&M candies, the cheesecake was studded with little pockets of color from the different colored candy coatings!


This is a very rich and delicious peanut butter cheesecake - the Oreo crust is so yummy! I didn't have the full amount of Oreos but we made do with what I did have; it was a nice complement to the peanut butter filling. As you can see from my pictures, I used a pie plate and skipped the springfom pan. This was easier for me to store leftovers in the refrigerator (with just some cling wrap over the top).

No Bake Reese’s Peanut Butter Cheesecake from Life, Love, and Sugar
Yield: 9 inch cheesecake

Ingredients

Crust
2 1/2 cups Oreo crumbs
5 tbsp butter, melted

Filling
24 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups peanut butter
1/2 cup mixed peanut butter candies (PB M&Ms, Peanut Butter M&Ms, Reese's Pieces, PB Chips, etc.)
8-oz Cool Whip (or 1 cup whipping cream beat with 1/2 cup powdered sugar until whipped cream is formed)
chocolate sauce

Instructions

  1. Combine Oreo crumbs with melted butter.
  2. Press crumbs into the bottom and halfway up the sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Set in refrigerator to firm.
  3. Mix cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and peanut butter together in a large bowl until smooth and well combined.
  4. Gently stir in the Cool Whip (or homemade whipped cream).
  5. Add about half of the chopped Reese's and stir until combined.
  6. Pour filling into crust and smooth the top.
  7. Refrigerate for about 4-6 hours or until firm.
  8. Remove cheesecake from springform pan and top with remaining chopped Reese's and chocolate sauce. Refrigerate until ready to serve.





Saturday, April 18, 2015

Snugg Organic Toddler Pillow #Review


If you want to learn more about natural latex as a premium filler option for children's pillow's, please visit Snugg Organic Pillow's website. There is a bunch of great information available!


I was given the opportunity to review a toddler pillow for Lindsey and was excited to receive it and open it up for her - I knew she would love it. Lindsey is 19 months and still in her crib so not ready for a pillow at night yet, but boy is my baby a snuggler who loves using her stuffed animals as pillows in her playroom all the time!


Kenneth usually spends at least a half hour cuddling with her in her room in the mornings while she wakes up, and one or both of us usually spend at least a half hour with her in the afternoon / evening when she's settling down and getting tired. She loves to cuddle on anything soft and snuggly. This pillow is certainly no exception.


There are a lot of great things to love about this pillow - I love that it's hypoallergenic, and comes with a snugg case that can be removed and washed when needed, and the consistency reminds me of memory foam. It is very comfortable. My teenager likes it so much, he wants to steal it from Lindsey!

Product Information:

  • 100% latex filling
  • Premium Shredded Latex filling
  • Perfect larger size for your growing child which means you will get years of use from your pillow
  • Hypoallergenic - repels dust mites, the best choice for all children especially children with sensitive respiratory systems like asthma and allergy sufferers
  • Machine washable outer casing
  • This pillow comes WITH a SNUGG CASE so you don't need to spend any extra or make do with a poor fitting case that doesn't fit properly




Slow-Roasted Beef for Sandwiches


This recipe is ah-ma-zing. I think today is the third time I've made this one. I have no idea what cut of beef roast I use, so feel free to use whatever you have and it will probably come out just fine. The secret with this one is to use the meat probe and make sure to follow the instructions about temperature. My roasts seem to take about an hour, depending on if they're fully thawed or not. But every time they come out deliciously flavorful and the PERFECT texture / consistency in the middle. My husband absolutely LOVES this recipe!

Slice it and serve with mashed potatoes and gravy for a traditional roast recipe, or slice thinly and serve on buns for an amazing sandwich (which is typically how we serve ours)! If you are using this at lunch meat, make sure it is sliced as thinly as you can get it - because it is still somewhat pink in the middle it's not super tender if cut thickly which can make it difficult to bite through.Yumm!

Slow-Roasted Beef for Sandwiches from bd.weld on AllRecipes

Ingredients
1 (3.5 pound) beef eye of round roast
2 teaspoons garlic salt
2 teaspoons canola oil
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil

Directions
  1. Season all sides of beef roast evenly with garlic salt; wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 18 to 24 hours.
  2. Place rack in middle position of oven and preheat to 225 degrees F (110 degrees C).
  3. Pat roast dry with paper towel and rub with 2 teaspoons canola oil; season with black pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until small wisps of smoke rise from the oil. Brown the roast completely, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer roast to a rack set into a roasting pan.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven until a meat probe thermometer or instant-read meat thermometer inserted into the center reads 115 degrees F (46 degrees C) for medium-rare, 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours.
  5. Turn oven off and leave roast in oven without opening door until meat probe thermometer reads 130 degrees F (54 degrees C) for medium-rare, 30 to 50 more minutes. Let rest 15 minutes before slicing thin.


Friday, April 17, 2015

Fully Loaded Scalloped Potatoes


I was in the mood for some scalloped potatoes recently, to make as an additional side to eat alongside some of our leftover Easter ham and decided to give this recipe a try.


It was very tasty, and definitely different than your traditional scalloped potato recipe!


The base tastes most strongly of sour cream, which was a creamy and delicious sauce to enjoy the tender cheesy potatoes in; especially sprinkled with bits of thick cut bacon!


This is a wonderful side dish for any meal, and since you pre-boil the potatoes the bake time isn't long at all, and you will have a creamy, cheesy, tender potato side dish to serve with your meal. Enjoy the flavors of baked potatoes, in scalloped potato form!



Fully Loaded Scalloped Potatoes from Kraft

Ingredients
2 lbs potatoes (about 6 medium)
8 slices thick cut bacon
3 TBS flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sour cream
3 TBS chopped fresh chives, divided (optional)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; meanwhile slice the potatoes thinly using a mandolin slicer if you have one. Carefully boil the potato slices until tender (about 10 minutes). Drain and cool. Meanwhile, cook bacon as directed on package.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Rough chop the bacon, and reserve 1/4 cup (for topping). Whisk the flour and milk together in large bowl until blended and then stir in the sour cream. Add potatoes, remaining bacon and 2 TBS chives; stir gently to evenly coat potatoes.
  3. Pour mixture into 2-qt. casserole sprayed with cooking spray; and sprinkle the top evenly with the shredded cheese.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 min. or until heated through and cheese is melted. Sprinkle with remaining chives and reserved bacon.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

#BundtBakers ~ Surprise Inside Carrot Bundt Cake


Welcome to the April reveal day for the Bundt Bakers! This month our theme was chosen by Anshie who blogs at Spice Roots; she chose "Hidden Surprise"! There was a LOT of trial and error for many of us this month, several of us baked 2 and even 3 cakes to get the taste, appearance, and "surprise" we were aiming for!

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to foodlustpeoplelove@gmail.com.


I posted my Kitchen Fail a couple days ago - my first attempt for this theme was a Rainbow Cake, but I did not get pretty swirls of color, so I moved on to the next cake I had on my list to try - this delicious Carrot Bundt Cake!


I am so glad I got to try this one out - the cake is wonderful. Moist, full of crunchy bites of nuts, surrounded by tender and sweet carrot cake; and tucked in the middle? A delicious, creamy cheesecake swirl!


This cake just gets a light dusting of powdered sugar and it is ready to go. The bottom bakes up crunchy, and the rest of the cake is completely tender; it makes for the perfect texture contrast.


I hope you give this one a try! I haven't had a carrot cake in WAY too long and am so glad this is the recipe I ended up making this month. It is completely satisfying, and I love that there are three full cups of grated carrots packed into this tasty treat. My 18 month old tends to be on the picky side, but she really liked this one. (We've been noticing she has reverted to not using words she was previously saying, but she will say "cake" for a bite of this treat!)


BundtBakers

 
    Surprise Inside Carrot Bundt Cake from With a Grateful Prayer and A Thankful Heart

    Ingredients
    1 (8-oz) pkg. Philadelphia Brand cream cheese, softened
    1/4 cup sugar
    1 egg, beaten
    2 cup flour
    1 3/4 cup sugar
    2 tsp baking soda
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp salt
    1 cup oil
    3 eggs, beaten
    3 cups carrots, shredded
    1/2 cup nuts, chopped (I used pecans)

    Directions
    1. Combine cream cheese, sugar and egg, mixing until well blended. Set aside.
    2. Combine dry ingredients. Add combined oil and eggs, mixing just until moistened. Fold in carrots and nuts. Reserve 2 cups of batter; pour remaining batter into greased and floured 9 inch bundt pan.
    3. Pour cream cheese mixture over batter; carefully spoon reserved batter over cream cheese mixture, spreading to cover.
    4. Bake at 350 degrees, 55 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan carefully onto cooling rack or serving plate. Cool completely and then sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.



Monday, April 13, 2015

GS Journey ~ Your Pregnancy: 5 Weeks (and Beta Update)

How Y & Q's baby is growing:
Deep in your uterus your embryo is growing at a furious pace. At this point, he's about the size of a sesame seed, and he looks more like a tiny tadpole than a human. He's now made up of three layers — the ectoderm, the mesoderm, and the endoderm — which will later form all of his organs and tissues.

The neural tube — from which your baby's brain, spinal cord, nerves, and backbone will sprout — is starting to develop in the top layer, called the ectoderm. This layer will also give rise to his skin, hair, nails, mammary and sweat glands, and tooth enamel.

His heart and circulatory system begin to form in the middle layer, or mesoderm. (This week, in fact, his tiny heart begins to divide into chambers and beat and pump blood.) The mesoderm will also form your baby's muscles, cartilage, bone, and subcutaneous (under skin) tissue.

The third layer, or endoderm, will house his lungs, intestines, and rudimentary urinary system, as well as his thyroid, liver, and pancreas. In the meantime, the primitive placenta and umbilical cord, which deliver nourishment and oxygen to your baby, are already on the job.

GS Journey #3 at 5 Weeks
GS Journey #2 at 5 Weeks


How many weeks today: 5w1d
How I am feeling: Not too bad the past few days. I was queasy on Friday night, but pretty good most of the rest of the weekend. Today I feel some deep cramping sensations, and a little fluttery queasy sensations, a little bit of mouth watering, and feeling a little hungrier than normal.
Cravings / aversions: I've been craving juice the past few days which is unusual for me. I don't drink a whole lot of juice normally. I've been keeping cranberry and strawberry kiwi juice in the fridge and cut it half and half with water when the mood strikes. I had some fresh squeezed OJ the other day that was amazing.
Baby: Size of a sesame seed - Nickname: Tiny Passenger



We had a repeat beta last week on Thursday, and have one more coming up this Thursday - beta recap:

GS #4
10dp5dt 469
13dp5dt 2289 (doubled in 31.5 hours, or 1.3 days)


How does this compare to my previous surrogacies:

GS #3 (TWINS)
12dp3dt 605
14dp3dt 1183 (doubled in 49.6 hours or 2.1 days)
19dp3dt 9151 (doubled in 40.7 hours or 1.7 days)

GS #2 (SINGLETON)
12dp3dt 110
16dp3dt 519 (doubled in 42.9 hours or 1.8 days)
23dp3dt 5129 (doubled in 50.8 hours or 2.1 days)

GS #1 (SINGLETON)
12dp3dt 198.1
14dp3dt 388.5 (doubled in 49.5 hours or 2.1 days)
17dp3dt 1264 (doubled in 42.3 hours or 1.8 days)
24dp3dt 7037 (doubled in 67.8 hours or 2.8 days)

As you can see, these numbers are MUCH closer to my twin numbers than my singleton numbers, but we did only transfer one so somehow we must just have an over-achieving high hcg producing embryo this time. Of course the word "splitter" has entered my mind on more than one occasion, but the chances of an embryo splitting are something like 1%, so still hoping for just one very healthy happy baby in there!

One more beta hcg on Thursday - we'll see if the numbers stay at a high doubling rate or if they slow down a little. Then we'll schedule the ultrasound for around 6 weeks - so could be just a week from now! Can't WAIT to see how this little one is doing!