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Treat Yourself Orange Mocha

2016 January 22

It’s Friday and I’m jumping for joy right now after an especially long week. My poor baby girl has been pulling on her right ear and while it’s (thankfully) not an ear infection, it does mean that she is in pain from teething. Which of course explains all of the drooling, fussing, and sleepless nights we’ve been having. Oh, that and the 4-month sleep regression thing…but that’s another story. Insert my “Treat Yourself” Orange Mocha now. Because after an especially rough and sleepless night you might just need caffeine, chocolate, and lots of it!

Orange Mocha Recipe

Back in the pre-baby days, I used to frequent this cute local coffee shop that whipped up the tastiest coffee concoctions. One of my favorites was a mocha they finished with orange zest, cinnamon and white chocolate. It was to diiiiieee for. It was like sipping on wintry heaven. So, naturally this is my easy at-home version inspired by that tasty treat.

Orange Mocha Recipe

I’ve left out the white chocolate because honestly I don’t always have it in my pantry but you could always sub the dark chocolate for white if you have it! Oh, and make the whole batch of the hot chocolate. You can heat up individual portions just as you need it. So, what is your favorite at home coffee drink? Are you a fancy coffee drinker or do you prefer yours straight up? Maybe, just maybe give my mocha a try this weekend!

Treat Yourself Orange Mocha
Serves 4
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Hot Chocolate
  1. 4 cups unsweetened almond milk
  2. 2 cinnamon sticks
  3. 1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  4. 2 ounces chopped dark chocolate or white chocolate (or chips)
  5. 1/4 cup granulated sugar
Mocha
  1. strongly brewed coffee or espresso
  2. orange zest
  3. mini marshmallows
  4. cinnamon sticks for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Bring milk and cinnamon sticks to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and whisk in cocoa, chocolate and sugar. Whisk and cook about 2 minutes or until steaming hot and well combined.
  2. Add desired amount of coffee or espresso to mugs and top with hot chocolate.
  3. Garnish with mini marshmallows, freshly grated orange zest and a cinnamon stock for garnish.
Freutcake http://www.freutcake.com/

 

Orange Mocha Recipe

photos by Leah Bergman

 

 

Cherry Hand Pies

2016 January 20

I’ve got this thing for mini pies. Which is ironic since I’m totally a filling girl and these are heavy on the crust. Just look at how cute they are, can you blame me? Plus I like that I can sneak one just about anytime I want, like a cookie…but better!

Cherry Hand Pies

Yup, little Cherry Hand Pies have it aaaall going on. Homemade cherry pie filling is just about the tastiest thing in the world and if you’ve never made it you’ll be shocked at how easy it is. Take a little help from a frozen bag of sweet dark cherries, pop them in a pan with a few other ingredients, and in no time you will have a jar full of perfectly sweet and delicious, chunky, fruity filling.

Cherry Hand Pies

Plus that pie filling is great spooned over vanilla ice cream, or dolloped on top of your morning yogurt and granola for a sweet treat, or just eaten by the spoonful right out of the jar (not that I would EVER do such a thing!) Gosh, I love this stuff.

Cherry Hand Pies

And if you have any of that scrumptious filling left after all of the snacking, spoon it between two pieces of buttery pie dough and bake. Oh, my goodness is it good. And not just for summer! Oh, no. These sweet babies will brighten up the greyest winter day with their happy pie vibes.

Cherry Hand Pies

Cherry hand pies à la mode anyone?

Cherry Hand Pies

Cherry Hand Pies
Yields 8
Individual cherry hand pies
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  2. 2 cups fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted, or about 12 ounces frozen pitted cherries, unthawed
  3. 2/3 cup dried cherries
  4. 1/2 cup sugar
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  7. 1 package pie crust (2 crusts)
  8. Flour (for dusting)
  9. 1 large egg
  10. raw sugar
Instructions
  1. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Stir cornstarch and 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water in a small bowl to blend.
  3. Combine cherries and next 4 ingredients in a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until cherry juices are released, about 5 minutes. Add cornstarch mixture; bring to a boil, stirring often.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
  5. Whisk egg and 1 tablespoon water in small bowl for egg wash.
  6. Roll out pie dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a 3-4" square cookie cutter to out 16 squares total (8 from each pie round).
  7. Using a small heart shaped cookie cutter, cut one small heart out of the center of half of the square. These will be the tops.
  8. Scoop about 2 tablespoons cherry mixture onto one side. Brush edges with egg wash and top with heart cut out square.
  9. Crimp edges with a fork to seal. Place on prepared baking sheet; repeat with remaining dough and filling.
  10. Brush tops with egg wash, then sprinkle with raw sugar. Chill for 30 minutes.
  11. Preheat oven to 375°. Bake pastries until tops and bottoms are golden brown, 20-25 minutes.
  12. Transfer to wire racks; let cool completely.
Notes
  1. Pies can be made 1 day ahead and stored at room temperature.
  2. Store filling in refrigerator until ready to use if making a day ahead! Save your extra filling for spooning over vanilla ice cream or eating with yogurt and granola.
Adapted from bon appetit
Adapted from bon appetit
Freutcake http://www.freutcake.com/

Cherry Hand Pies

photos by Leah Bergman

My 0-3 Month Baby Essentials

2016 January 18

It’s hard to believe that the twins, who I still refer to as my newborn babies, are already 4 1/2 almost 5 months old! Excuse me while I shed a tear or two, or three. Anywhoo, as a new Mom I had and still have no clue what to expect from the next stage, what essentials I’ll need, what toys they will love or hate, etc. But I can give a little advise for any of you who are soon to be Moms of newbies. Here are my very favorite essential baby products for that sweet age of 0-3 months and why I love them.

Baby Essentials 0-3 month

  1. Fisher-Price Newborn Auto Rock n’ Play Sleeper
    Why I love it: Because my babies actually sleep in this thing! A few of my girlfriends recommended this product to me after their babies slept so well in it during the first few weeks home. My twins HATED their bassinets in the beginning so we tried putting in their sleepers instead and it worked like a charm! The cradle shape must be comforting for small babies because they go right to sleep in them. Plus these sleepers are light weight enough to carry around the house with you while you do dishes, take a shower, or just move from room to room.
  2. Footed One-Piece Outfits
    Why I love them: I rarely even bothered with anything but one-piece outfits when the babies were first home. These footie onsies are cozy and warm and easy to get tiny babies in and out of. Don’t even bother with seperates at this point unless you enjoy trying to shimmy tiny little legs into skinny pants! one, two, three
  3. Solly Wrap
    Why I love it: While I don’t always get to wear my babies in a wrap (it’s a bit harder with twins), I do love the feeling of having one of my babies close. Jackson especially loved being in the Solly Wrap with me when he was little and would fall right to sleep as I walked around the house. I have this one but this one is super cute for spring!
  4. Chicco KeyFit® 30 Infant Car Seat
    Why I love it: Aside from receiving excellent safety ratings and great reviews from other Moms; I love how easy these seats are to snap in and out of the car and stroller. Also, the removable newborn insert is perfect for my tiny babies.
  5. 4moms® Infant Tub™
    Why I love it: Again, this was a product that was highly recommended to me by my Mom friends. At first I didn’t love this tub because it was rather large for my small 6 lb babies. However as they have grown I like this tub more and more. I love that it keeps circulating fresh, warm water into the bath and draining out the dirty water as you wash your baby. Also, the tub notifies you if the water is too hot or too cold for baby.
  6. Soothie Pacifiers
    Why I love them: Both of my babies came home from the NICU with pacis and love these Soothies! I’m actually a wee bit sad that they have already weened themselves off of them. There is something so adorable about a baby and his paci.
  7. Mother’s Milk Tea
    Why I love it: I drank this tea right after my C-Section in the hospital to help my milk come in and I still drink it to keep my supply up for the twins. Now I drink a cup every night and it really works! I also love the new Mother’s Milk Shatavari Cardamom Tea which I found at Whole Foods.
  8. Swaddling Blankets
    Why I love them: Because I use them for everything from swaddling the twins when they were little, to nursing covers, blankets, and car seat privacy covers. one, two, three
  9. Munchkin Mist™ Wipe Warmer
    Why I love it: Because it keeps wipes from drying out in the warmer. Genius!
  10. Diaper Bags
    Why I love it: Because it’s stylish and doesn’t look like a diaper bag. Plus it’s a backpack so you have your arms free to carry babies. I have this one by Petunia Pickle Bottom but I also have this twin diaper bag by Skip Hop that we use use if we need to bring along a full day’s worth of supplies.
  11. Joovy Twin Roo
    Why I love it: Because our car seats snap right into the frame. Also the stroller folds up and pops open very easily.

Other essentials must haves include: these hats, these nursing pads, and this hospital grade breast pump which I rent from our hospital. Oh, baby! I love newborns.

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