Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Little Journey by Aldi Review

My review of Little Journey by Aldi

So as an influenster I was sent a box of different products from Aldi's line for babies called Little Journey in exchange for my honest review.

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(Jimmy using the baby wash) 

Here's a list of the products they sent me:

1. Diapers (unfortunately they sent me diapers 2 sizes too small. But I went ahead and purchased the right size in store for this review)
2. Baby Wash
3. Apple Pear Spinach Baby Food Puree
4.Thick quilted baby wipes
5. Two packages of puffs. Strawberry Apple flavored and Banana flavored
6. A coupon for $3 off their formula. (However I never used it because my son is on whole milk already. So if you would like it please message me and I will mail it to you)

Review:


1. Diapers

The diapers are very absorbent and I was thoroughly impressed. They fit nicely and the tabs held up to my crazy moving son. Cute designs too. However I noticed that every time I went to change my son's diaper he had white fuzz all over his bottom from the diaper. I've never had this problem with the other diapers I usually use. But I can't complain because these diapers are half the price of pampers, huggies, and etc.  

2. Baby Wash

Scent was a light baby scent but nothing will ever smell better than Shea moisture's baby eczema bar soap to me. But it did leave his skin feeling so soft. Definitely will buy in the future.


3. Apple Pear Spinach Baby Food Puree

I'm not going to lie when I first saw this flavor I was thinking this ain't going to fly with little man. My son hates eating his greens. He hates baby food purees now too. But for some odd reason he kept crawling back to me for some after I gave it to him. So naturally being the nosy parent I am, I tried some too and let me tell you it was delicious. Y'all know you try your kid's food. I need to stock up on these because first of all we are always on the go and second of all I need to get Jimmy eating more green.

 4. Thick Quilted Baby Wipes

So I'm a huge of Seventh Generation baby wipes because they are thick and just don't compare to any of the other brands. But let me tell you I was really impressed with Little Journey's wipes. They are almost neck and neck. The price is more desirable than Seventh Generation but the same as any other baby wipe on the market. 

5. Puffs (Strawberry Apple Flavor and Banana Flavor)

I've got to say these have been a life savor for me. Especially since, like I said before, I'm always out and about. My son loves the strawberry apple flavor the best. The banana flavor scent is a little too banana-y for me when I open the can. But I will definitely be investing in the Strawberry Apple flavor puffs. By the way they're also heart shape which i find adorable. 

*To able to receive free products to review from influenster Click here

Friday, May 6, 2016

Just a Rant



Recently I found  out my husband and I are expecting our second child. For us this was exactly what we wanted. We wanted Jimmy to have a sibling close in age so he can have his life long best friend; like I did growing up. This was an exciting moment for the both of us and we were thrilled to share it with everyone. But there is one question that I did not expect to get asked by several people. "What does your husband think about you being pregnant again?/ How does your husband feel about you being pregnant again?"

I would like to answer it with the question, "Why don't you ask my husband how I feel about him getting me pregnant again?" Would you dare ask him that? The answer is no; because you didn't ask him. You assumed the fact that I got pregnant again was all my doing because I can create a child on my own of course. You also assumed another child would be a burden to my husband. Let me just set the record straight. 

Before James and I got married we often talked about wanting several children close in age. I told him I wanted 7 children and he agreed to it. When I asked what would he think if we happened to have 8 or 9; he simply replied then we have 8 or 9 children. That is one reason I absolutely love my husband. For those who know me, you know I come from a family of 11 children and have always wanted a big family myself. 

Back to my husband; right after I had given birth to our son Jimmy (still in the hospital bed), James turned to me and said "We have to do this again." It was at that moment I saw that my husband meant every word he said about our future family. I didn't know I could love him more than I did before but I did. 

So in the future when I'm pregnant with my third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, or whatever child it may be, don't ask me a silly question. How about you ask yourself why you care so much about my husband's opinion more than anything else in this world? Because that's my job as his wife not yours.

Rant Over.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Since I learned to bake I've been searching for the perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and the other day I stumbled across it. Thanks to Averie Cooks! Who knew cream cheese would be the miracle? The best part is that you can't even taste the cream cheese but it provides a moist and soft cookie like no other. Enough of me rambling here's her recipe:


SOFTBATCH CREAM CHEESE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

YIELD: about 28 medium-small cookies
 
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
 
COOK TIME: 8 minutes
 
TOTAL TIME: 3+ hours, for dough chilling

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened (use cream cheese in a block or spreadable, don't use fat-free, light or whipped)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
2 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks (I used 1 cup chips and 1 1/4 cups chunks)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, cream cheese (measure it by smooshing it into a 1/4-cup measure), sugars, egg, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until well-creamed, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes (or use an electric hand mixer and beat for at least 7 minutes).
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, optional salt, and mix until just combined, about 1 minute.
  3. Add chocolate chips and chunks, and beat momentarily to incorporate, or fold in by hand.
  4. Using a medium 2-inch cookie scoop, form heaping mounds (I made 28). Place mounds on a large plate, flatten mounds slightly with your palm, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 5 days, before baking. Do not bake with warm dough because cookies will spread and bake thinner and flatter.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with a Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mat or spray with cooking spray and place mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I bake 8 cookies per sheet). Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until edges have set and tops are just beginning to set, even if slightly undercooked, pale and glossy in the center. Do not bake longer than 10 minutes as cookies will firm up as they cool (The cookies shown in the photos were baked with dough that had been chilled overnight, allowed to come to room temp for 15 minutes, and were baked for 8 minutes, with trays rotated at the 4-minute mark. They have chewy edges with soft, pillowy centers). Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing and transferring to a rack to finish cooling.
  6. Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.


Friday, March 18, 2016

When Nothing Goes as Planned

The best piece of advice I got when I was pregnant came from my parents; "You'll never be fully prepared so don't worry." In my head I totally ignored them and believed that I was fully prepared because I had a plan. I also had tons of diapers, clothes, pacifiers, baby Johnson's wash, and the list goes on and on. I stocked up months beforehand and I can thank my couponing for not breaking my budget. Now looking back, I realize that God was probably laughing at me.


My beautiful baby boy, Jimmy, was born on December 19th, 2015; landing exactly on his due date. I told myself I would deliver naturally and the very last minute I got an epidural. Something I would later regret due to the fact that I could not walk right without collapsing for three weeks straight. It took me well over a month just for the feeling to return back to my knees. Doctor's couldn't explain what was wrong with me. They weren't sure if a nerve was hit during labor or if they hit it when they gave me the epidural. They weren't sure if I was going to regain feeling either but thankfully I did. All I know was never again will I ever consider an epidural. A few hours of pain is worth being able to walk right after delivery. I never felt so restrained. I wanted to be able to hold my baby and walk around without the fear of falling. Thankfully I had my wonderful husband who helped me up and down the steps of my apartment everyday. He did everything for me.

Things didn't stop there; I had planned to breastfeed my son. I thought it was going to be easy since my milk supply had come in way before Jimmy was born. However Jimmy had other plans. He refused my breast completely. Doctor's had to teach him how to suck since he was licking everything instead. I was so worried because he was losing way too much weight so I began squirting breast milk in his mouth. Then one of the nurses gave him formula because he said we wouldn't be released from the hospital if he lost any more weight. I cried everyday for month because I thought I had failed. We had to return to the hospital 3 times to make sure little Jimmy was gaining weight properly. I began supplementing and after a week of that Jimmy completely refused breast milk. Today he is completely formula feed and I am astonished on how many people react in disgusted ways when they hear this. No one knows how many times I tried to breastfeed and how often I contacted a lactation consult in a day except me. The fact that I chose an option for my son so he would be healthy and so many people have made snotty remarks about it annoys me. You are no better parent than I because you breastfeed. We're all equally great because we chose whats best for our children. 

Another thing i thought would not be a problem was the Johnson's and Johnson's products for babies. Jimmy's skin began breaking out in rashes so we switched soaps. His skin is so sensitive that his cradle cap comes back every single day. His doctor told me that i can no longer take it off with baby oil and a baby brush because he thinks that parts of his scalp may be coming off. I received snotty messages about that too.

These are just a couple of the 100 things I wasn't' prepared for. Thanks Mom and Dad; I should've listen.
But I've learned to ignore the remarks because as a mother I am not here to please you but to love and care for my child the best I can. I should never have to give anyone an explanation for that.    


Monday, April 20, 2015

What's for dinner?

Spicy Italian Meatballs

If you know me you know I randomly have cravings for spicy food and meat. So whats better than sticking it in your pasta? Crazy Italian problems... Well to cut to the chase here's my dancing on your tongue creation.

Ingredients:
1 lb lean ground beef
1/2 lb Hot Italian Sausage 
2 large eggs
1 cup of onion (chopped)
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, grated
1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup of milk
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
5 teaspoons of basil (I always throw in a little extra)
5 teaspoons of parsley 

Now combine all ingredients. Shape into balls. Place uncooked meatballs in pan with sauce. I used Prego (traditional) sauce. Allow to simmer on low without stirring for 25-40 minutes.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Superbowl Eats

Super Bowl Eats

If you're anything like me well then food is your life. Like you can literally hear me talking about food all day and non stop. I constantly get asked, "How come you're not fat?" Well I'm assuming the gym does its wonders for me. 
Anyways recently I forced James to cook with me. Really cook with me not just watch me cook and be the test tester; like he usually is. I'm not complaining though because I personally like him just being there. He usually picks out some good things to make or gives me some creative ideas, that I personally would never think of. We were making lunch and he's like "we need an appetizer." That's probably one of my favorite things about him because we try everything but have way too much food for one sitting. So we scrolled through pinterest and found Jalapeno Popper Cheesy Pretzel Bombs by the Slow Roasted Italian and I almost died. They were super spicy and heavenly. So if you don't like spicy food these ain't for you. 
So here's the recipe

(Not very good quality but don't knock on these babies till you try them)

Jalapeño Popper Cheesy Pretzel Bombs

2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast (1 packet)
12 ounces warm beer (110°-120°), I used Blue Moon *see tips
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour + more for dusting counter
1 teaspoon kosher salt + more for pretzel tops
2 tablespoons baking soda
2 cups water
8 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces shredded Mexican cheese blend (or cheddar cheese)
1 (4 ounce) can diced jalapeños
12 ounces bacon, cooked and chopped into bite size pieces

Preheat oven to 450°.  

Pour beer into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (see cooks note if you do not have a stand mixer), sprinkle yeast over top, add sugar and stir.  Allow yeast to bloom for 5-10 minutes.  Once it is nice and foamy, it is ready. *It should look like the 'head' of a beer poured too quickly and smell yeasty.Meanwhile in a medium mixing bowl combine cheeses, bacon and jalapeños.  Mix together.  You may need to use a wood spoon to get it well mixed.  

In a small bowl beat egg, set aside.  Sprinkle clean counter top with ¼ cup flour.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking spray.  Set aside.


Add flour and salt to stand mixer.  Knead for 3- 5 minutes until the dough comes together in one ball.  Add more flour a tablespoon at a time as needed, if bread is too sticky to come together.  Dough should be tacky when you pull it out of the mixer, not sticky.



Place dough on floured counter top and knead in flour until it is no longer tacky, just a minute or two.  Form dough into a ball.  We are going to cut this ball into 36 (somewhat) even pieces.  First quarter the ball of dough. *I used a bench scraper, but a butter knife would work too.  Roll each quarter into a fat log.  Cut that into 3 pieces.  Roll each piece into a log and cut into 3 pieces.  When you are done you will have 36 pieces. 



Fill a medium (4 cup) bowl with 2 cups of hot water and add baking soda.  Place baking sheet, baking soda water and cheese mixture on the counter that you are working on.  

Roll each dough piece (one at a time) into a ball and then flatten it into a circle.  Add 1 tablespoon of cheese mixture in the center *I used a tablespoon scooper.  Carefully pull each side over the cheese to create a ‘cheese package’, pinching the edges closed.  Roll the dough into a ball.  Be careful to make sure you can not see the cheese through the dough.  Tap fingers in flour, pinch any tears and roll again.  Set aside and repeat until you have 3 stuffed dough balls.  Transfer 3 stuffed dough balls to hot water mixture and allow to set while you prepare the next 3.  Prepare the next 3 dough balls.  Remove dough balls from water with a slotted spoon and place on prepared baking sheet.  Place 3 newly prepared balls into the water and prepare 3 more.  Repeat until all dough balls are on the cookie sheet. 


Arrange all pretzel balls on parchment so they are not touching.  Brush egg wash onto each one and sprinkle with course salt.



Bake for 8-10 minutes until the tops are browned.

*Tip: We did not cut the ball into 36 pieces we preferred ours somewhat larger so we cut them as we went along.
I substituted the beer for water and it worked perfectly fine

Now after this James informed me that we would need a cheese dipping sauce. I looked at him crazy because I would never even think of that. I was like aren't these enough? But I knew he knew what he was talking about because he is an amazing taste tester; so we found a cheese dip that complimented these Bombs well; Pepper Jack & Pimento Dip.

Pepper Jack & Pimento Dip

1 C pepper jack cheese, shredded
1 C sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
¼ C reduced fat mayonnaise
¼ C reduced fat sour cream
3 Tbsp diced pimentos
1 Tbsp Worceshire sauce
kosher salt, for seasoning
black pepper, for seasoning.
cooking spray
tortilla chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all ingredients together. Spray a small baking dish or ramekin with cooking spray. Pour mixture into dish and bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until the dip is melty and bubbly. Serve with tortilla chips.

*Tip: I forgot the pimentos at the store and I was too lazy to venture back so I substituted them for almost a tablespoon of red pepper seasoning  

These are the perfect thing to snack on during a game or if you're just having those late night cravings. ;)

Now I just got to make some cupcakes for dessert.... Not a real party till the cake (cupcakes) arrive :)

Enjoy and let me know how they turn out for you or share your game day recipe with me. I'd love to try it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Chocolate Overload

    Chocolate Coated Dreams

So I've always been chocolate obsessed; there's no hiding that. And today I thought I'd share a little recipe I've become attached to: Triple Chocolate Cupcakes. This used to be a best seller of mine when I would regularly run my side business; De Ruyter Bakes. 


Anyways enough at staring at the screen here's the recipe.

The Best Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cups + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup strong black coffee
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 12 cupcake pans with cupcake liners
2. In a large bowl with electric mixer combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Mix on low until combined. Add eggs, buttermilk, coffee, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for two minutes. Batter will be very thin. Using an ice cream scooper, scoop batter into cupcake pan lined with cupcake liners.
3. Bake in oven for 20-25 mins or until toothpick comes out clean in the center of the cupcake.


Chocolate Fudge Filling (from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:
  • 1 (12-ounce) bag semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Directions:
  1. Place chocolate chips, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside. Heat evaporated milk in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it just comes to a simmer. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate mixture; let stand until chocolate melts, about 5 minutes. Add vanilla, whisk until filling is smooth and well combined.
  2. Transfer chocolate filling to refrigerator; let chill until slightly firm, but still spreadable, about 2 hours.


The Best & Easiest Chocolate Frosting

YIELD: WILL FROST 1-9 INCH ROUND LAYER CAKE OR 24 CUPCAKES
INGREDIENTS:
1 cup softened butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3-4 tablespoons milkhttp://images.intellitxt.com/ast/adTypes/icon1.png
DIRECTIONS:
Whip butter and cocoa together until smooth in large bowl. Stir in vanilla and powdered sugar. Slowly stream in milk until frosting reaches desired consistency. Scrape sides and whip again until light, fluffy and smooth, 1-2 minutes. Frosts 1-9 or 8 inch round layered cake or 24 cupcakes.

Now that you've made all the ingredients and the cupcakes are cool; fill them with the chocolate fudge filling and icing them with the Chocolate Frosting. Add some chocolate sprinkles and whatever else your little heart desires (the ones with peep was my Easter edition) and eat!
Enjoy and let me know how these turned out for you!