Thursday, September 30, 2010

Embrace the Camera: September 30, 2010

Style hair or blog? This morning I chose to blog. Who am I kidding, I almost never choose to style my hair! It's a busy day, so let's get to it - it's Embrace the Camera Thursday!

I was spying on dad and baby here, so please pardon all the distracting wood. Looks like Colby is "checking in" with dad. I love how they look to us to know how to feel about certain situations. "Mom thinks this is okay? Okay, I'm good." Know what I mean?

Oh, and I love that dimple.

I'm not in the photo below, but I might as well be. My heart and soul go into my baking and to let a little two year old help me, well, let's just say that's a giant step for this perfectionist! J was out of town until late. Baby was in bed. I wanted to bake some cupcakes, but I didn't want to wait another hour until Zoe went to bed. Plus, I thought she'd enjoy it. She loves helping me do the pancakes and we've done cookies before, too. I'm so glad we did it together. She loved it. She accidentally snorted the cinnamon which caused some upset, but she recovered well. So here she is, fresh out of the bath, pjs on, baking some cupcakes with her momma. How cute is this?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

BETHy Crocker

Once upon a time, friends and family called me Bethy Crocker. I LOVE to bake and my name is Beth (for those who don't know that), so it just made sense. I was famous for pumpkin rolls, sugar cookies, giant chocolate chip cookies, brownies, no-bake cheesecakes (my husband dislikes the baked kind), lemon bars, you name it. Most recently, the husband loves my pumpkin scones. Fast forward five years and here I am nursing an infant with a milk-protein sensitivity along with an egg sensitivity. No baked goodies for this mama. Or so I thought...

A couple of weeks ago I was baking pumpkin scones for our Sunday School kickoff breakfast and I actually couldn't remember how to make them - it had been that long! Disgraceful!  I feel very strongly about my need for something sweet and decadent that TASTES good. I was doubtful I would find such a thing - desserts with no eggs, butter, or milk that actually taste good? No way. But, yes, there is a way! And I will share it with you in hopes that I can help some other mother (or anyone, really) out there who is feeling desperate.

This first recipe I found randomly on the internet, I do not know to whom the credit belongs (and I do not know if that's proper English). These cupcakes are delicious and the icing, well, it's amazing. I made a few changes because I didn't have some of the ingredients on hand. I also didn't have the last cup of icing sugar I needed on hand, so I walked up and down my street asking for "a cup of (icing) sugar" while both children were napping. I had no luck. I mixed all the icing stuff together and added the last cup of sugar a few hours later. No big deal. But all of that is neither here nor there. Here's the recipe: 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

For the cupcakes:
1 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup expeller pressed oil (I used olive oil)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar 
1 cup water (room temperature)
I also added some non-dairy, mini semi-sweet chips, just for fun

Preheat your oven to 350°. Put the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda and salt into a bowl and whisk well to combine. Mix the oil, water, vanilla, and vinegar together in a separate bowl. Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and stir until just blended. Line a cupcake tin with paper liners. Fill each one 3/4 of the way. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the frosting:
1/4 cup non dairy butter (I used 1/2 C. original Crisco for this and the shortening below)
1/4 cup palm shortening 
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar (make sure you have 2 cups :) ) 
2 tablespoons rice milk 

Beat the non dairy butter and palm shortening with a hand held mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the vanilla and peanut butter and beat until very smooth. Add the sugar and beat again until combined. With the beater still running, dribble in the rice milk, a little at a time until the frosting is fluffy. Using a pastry bag and large tip, decorate the cupcakes. Enjoy! (I ate 7 of these babies in 36 hours time. They were either really good or I was really desperate. Or, perhaps, both.)  

Look at me - posts on photography, recipes, suckling infants - I could be the next Pioneer Woman! I am from Oklahoma, after all. (By the way, if you don't know who The Pioneer Woman is, you're missing out! Check her out -- The Pioneer Woman). Now I'm off to figure out how to move this post to my "recipes" page and to find my picture of these delicious cakes. I almost never make a recipe that doesn't have a picture to go with it. 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Embrace the Camera: The Trying Twos Edition - September 23, 2010

I just love this picture. My two year old daughter is being, well, a two year old, and lately has either been running from the camera or cheesing it up so much that her eyes are closed. Here she is with her daddy in a very natural embrace. The new camera is great at capturing what I once called "my baby, the blur!"

Here's me with the little man again because that two year old was refusing a picture with her mother. Sigh.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Photography: My Brief History

In the fall of 2002, I was enrolled at the University of Tulsa as a freshman with "photography" as my declared major. That seems really hard to believe. And it didn't happen. But it was my dream. I fell in love with photography in high school. Manual photography. Working in the darkroom. I recently found an old syllabus and started reminiscing about how we had to load film - open the canister, cut off the leader, roll it onto the reels, cut off the spool, etc. - all in complete and utter darkness! Such a cool process. I had a very strict teacher who, as she was passing out our final grades at the end of the semester, slapped mine down on the table and said "I don't give A's." I turned it over and there it was - an A. I was so excited. I loved photography AND someone thought I was good at it. TU doesn't have much beyond introductory photography classes, though, and my dad worked at the university, so I got a "free ride" to a very nice private school. Needless to say, I wasn't going anywhere else! After two years of floating from art class to art class, I realized if I wanted to finish school in four years time, I was going to have to change my major to something more realistic. I chose English. And for the next two years, I had rigorous courses with long reading lists and too many paper deadlines to count - ugh! All of that being said, please don't judge my english ;)

I walked into the camera store the other day and felt completely overwhelmed. I was amazed at the dslr! I have a lot to catch up on. It's been eight years since I've practiced photography -- I had to finish school, then I got married, two years later we had our first baby, and now we have another babe. We've been busy around here. But I feel really excited to get back into one of my favorite things! Thank you to my wonderful husband who understands that women (stay at home moms, especially) need "projects" too, and for getting me back into something I love.

We had a photographer take newborn pictures of both of our children while I was on hiatus - a stage we really wanted captured professionally!


Husband using the old point n' shoot for it's "last" photo - we chose the Nikon D90.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Embrace the Camera: September 16, 2010

Here we are this week. It doesn't get any more real life than this. Momma and babies still in their pjs at noon. 3 years ago today we found out I was pregnant with Zoe. Now look at me! 

And because we're embracing the camera more, here's another shot just for fun. Me with my little man. Zoe under the table. A very normal day, indeed. {I need to do something about those cords behind the shelves! And probably my postpartum sideburns, too!}

Fellow picture-takers out there, we're in the market for a nice, new camera, leave some advice if you have any!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Embrace the Camera: September 9

With a few hours to spare, I am keeping to my resolution to blog more and embrace the camera! This is Zoe and Johnnie in my parents' backyard in Pennsylvania. Zoe is enjoying fruit straight from the tree. My parents live "in the middle of nowhere" and, although I would love them to be closer, their house and property is such a wonderful place to visit, especially for grandchildren. We're looking forward to another visit in the fall when the leaves are colorful and gorgeous!

Tomorrow is Friday, woo hoo! And, I'm getting my hair cut! Have a wonderful weekend :)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Here we go again!

My last blog post was in April 2009 and here we are in September 2010. A lot has changed since April, namely, we've welcomed our second child into the world. And, while I've had a lot to write about, I just haven't had the time or creativity! I still don't know how dedicated I will be to this blogging business, but I'd like to start back up again...slowly...after being inspired by "embrace the camera."

What is embrace the camera, you ask?

The rules are simple:
1. Take photo with you and your child or your spouse and child.
2. Blog about it and include the button to embrace the camera (found on sidebar).
3. Link up your post to mr. linky below. (emily's blog).
4. Visit others and share the love.

It is important to have these pictures. So that when we look back on them, as a fellow blogger (thanks, Alicia) puts it so well, "we will remember what our days really consisted of. the good. the bad. and possibly the ugly (the tears, drool, spit up on shirts, no shower kind of days)."

Embrace the camera. Every Thursday. Here we go...again!