Monday, December 21, 2009

The Doctor and Peanut Butter Pie

I went to the doctor today for my yearly appointment and let's just say I was less than thrilled to see the number on the scale. I am short--barely 5 feet tall and have never had a problem with my weight. If anything my problem was being underweight! Two weeks after I had Janelle I weighed in at 90 pounds! Right now I weigh more than my heaviest while pregnant! AHHH!! Scary!

You're probably wondering what this has to do with Peanut Butter Pie. I really don't know except that I made Peanut Butter Pie yesterday and was sitting here eating a piece (a much smaller piece than I would have had pre-evil scale), thinking about how I should NOT be eating it, and thinking that everyone should try this pie.

The first thing you need to do is to measure your peanut butter. I love this measuring cup. It's Pampered Chef. It's perfect because all you have to do is push the bottom and out it comes!

Next you cream the peanut butter with softened cream cheese and powdered sugar.

Add some Cool-Whip and you're almost done!
You can use a graham cracker crust or the chocolate cookie crust like I used. Now there are a lot of things I think are worth the time to make from scratch, but when it comes to a graham cracker crust I don't bother.
Fill the crust with the peanut butter filling and smooth it out. Now at this point you have some options. You can leave it plain, drizzle it with chocolate syrup or top it with chopped peanut butter cups.

I put peanut butter cups on this one. YUM! If you like peanut butter you will love this pie! How can something so simple be so delicious??

Smooth and Creamy Peanut Butter Pie

3/4 Cup creamy peanut butter

4 oz cream cheese (half a large pack)

1 1/4 confectioners sugar

1 (12 oz) container Cool Whip

1 9" prepared chocolate cookie crumb crust

In large bowl, mix together peanut butter, cream cheese and sugar. Then stir in Cool Whip. Beat until smooth and no lumps remain.
 Pour into pie crust and refrigerate for about 3 hours until pie is firm.


The other night at our West Valley Diabetes group party I was telling my friend Wendy how good Janelle's numbers had been over the last few days. As I spoke the words I knew I was jinxing myself.

Sure enough, yesterday her number went crazy high! I was out most of the day and Janelle was home with Daddy. When I got home I found out she was over 300 all day! (Insert bad word here). I was not very happy.

Then Janelle decided to call her grammy and invite herself over for a sleepover. So she packs her things and goes to my mom's house, who luckily just lives down the street. Before leaving she was corrected for 300 something.

Around 8:00 p.m. my mom calls and says they made chocolate chip cookies and Janelle wanted some. She checked herself. 467. &^%##$^!

I told my mom Janelle would need to come home. She needed a shot, she needed a site change and she would need to have her blood sugar checked multiple times during the night.

I was so mad! Not mad at anyone--just so mad at the situation. Mad that she couldn't even have a sleep over at her grandmother's house without diabetes getting in the way. Mad that I couldn't seem to get her numbers under control regardless of how much insulin she got. I even had to increase the maximum daily amount of insulin in her pump so that her basal would continue. Mad that I didn't know for sure what the problem was. Could be a bad site, could be bad insulin, could be the fact that she was at the beginning of a cold. That always seems to send her blood sugar through the roof.

A few hours later she finally came down to 187. I increased her basal and am hoping for the best.

So anyway, here I am at 3:30 a.m.-- awake. Thinking about diabetes. Rolling numbers over in my head and trying to think of what I need to change. Definitely not the first time diabetes has kept me awake thinking for hours. Definitely not the last.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tasty Traditions

The holidays are all about traditions. Pretty much every family has their own traditions. Many traditions revolve around food. I know so many of my family's traditions do.

One of my most favorite holiday traditions are these butter cookies. For as long as I can remember these cookies were a part of every single Christmas. I don't think there has been a year that we haven't made these. I can remember as a kid how exciting it was the day my mom pulled down the cookie shooter. I can still see the blue Styrofoam box it came in.

Some people call these Spritz cookies. We call them butter cookies. Whatever you call them, they are delicious. They are not exactly the easiest cookie to make. They are time consuming and the cookie press takes some getting used to. My mom used to make hundreds of these cookies and would fill tins with them to give our teachers as gifts. How she did that with three little kids underfoot without losing her mind is beyond me! But I'm grateful for her patience!

Now I love making these cookies every year. Making them with my kids brings me back to a happy place in my childhood.

To make these cookies you first have to cream 2 sticks of butter. The butter must be softened to room temperature which means letting it sit on the counter for a few hours. You can't soften it in the microwave because if it melts even the tiniest bit the dough will not be right. These are fussy cookies.

Once the butter is good and creamed you gradually add in 1/2 cup of sugar and beat it. Then you add in 1 egg and the secret ingredient...1 tsp. almond extract. This is what gives these cookies their distinct flavor! Evan is my little chef and loves to help me in the kitchen! Those are his hands on the beater :-).

After the eggs and extract are in you slowly begin to beat in the flour.
At this point you will need to turn off the beater and switch to a wooden spoon or a nice heavy spatula. I really like this one. It's from Pampered Chef and is perfect for the job!

Keep adding flour until you have added a total of 2 1/3 cups. The batter will be pretty stiff.

Once the dough is thoroughly mixed it's time to fill the cookie press. This one from Wilton is the best one I have tried (and I have tried many)! It costs $10 and you can pretty much get it anywhere. I got mine at WalMart.

The press comes with 12 different discs so you can make whatever shapes you want. For Christmas I like to stick to the cute little trees and the little flower looking things. I love red hots and those little flowers have a spot in the middle just made for a red hot!

If you have a kid hanging around you can have them sprinkle green sugar on your trees.

When they're ready, bake them at 350 for about 12 minutes. They should still be pretty pale. You really don't want them to brown.

Once they're done you can wrap them up in cute little boxes to give away as gifts or you can just eat them by the handful until they're gone like I do :-).

These cookies freeze really well which means you can make them a month or two in advance. They also keep for a long time and are great for breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner. Or dessert. I heart these little cookies!

Butter Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened 1/2 cup sugar
1 egg 1 tsp. almond extract
2 1/3 cup flour

Cream butter. Gradually add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and almond extract. Gradually blend in flour. Fill cookie press with dough. Form desired shapes on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Blanket for Annabel

Annabel Thelma is my little brother's second child. She was born on July 10, 2009, the day before my grandmother died. Her middle name was my grandma's first name.

Here is a blanket I made for Annabel for Christmas! I hope that it will become something she holds onto her entire life!

Friday, December 11, 2009

All Aboard!

Last weekend we went up North to the Polar Express. This was our second time going.

The Polar Express is in Williams, Arizona, just North of Flagstaff. It is run by the Grand Canyon Railway. During the holidays the train turns into the Polar Express. You can buy a package which includes a dinner buffet, tickets for the train, one night stay in the hotel and a breakfast buffet the next morning. It's a pretty good deal!

The train travels from Williams, AZ to "The North Pole". While heading to the North Pole you get to listen to the story of the Polar Express, drink hot chocolate and eat cookies and sing Christmas carols. Once the train reaches the North Pole the kids get a surprise visit from Santa Clause and each child gets a bell.

It is such a fun experience! Last year Janelle loved it. Evan, being only three and being...well....Evan made the trip a little stressful. This year was so much more enjoyable for everyone!

One of the highlights of going to the Polar Express is getting to see the snow. We don't get snow in Phoenix so it's a pretty fascinating sight to see! Since we have a had a very warm winter and hardly any rain it was really no surprise that there was no snow up North. I told Janelle that I was sorry there was no snow, because I knew she was disappointed. Her reply was "That's okay. Spending time with my family is all that matters". How did I get such a great kid??

Anyway, the next morning we woke up to see that it was snowing! In fact it was a full blown blizzard! We let the kids get in a little of their so desired play time and then decided to hit the road! Good thing because as the day went on the snow continued and we probably would have been stuck there had we waited much longer! I honestly do not know how people can deal with that kind of weather.

All in all it was a truly magical experience. For me being able to spend that time as a family is something I will always treasure!

I took TONS of pictures! These are just a select few!

He had to try out the bed as soon as we got in the room!

Evan being silly

This was Janelle's 3rd low about four hours into the trip

On the train!

Janelle is excited to see Santa!
Here he is!

The kids got their bells

Finally it snowed!!

Exhausted on the way home!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Recent Projects

Crocheting is one of my obsessions. Actually, to say I'm obsessed may be a slight understatement. I tend to get so involved with it that it causes me to neglect anything and everything else that may need my attention.

So it's no surprise that I decided to make most of the Christmas presents I'll be giving away this year. My plans became pretty ambitious and just three weeks away from Christmas I am feverishly working on all of my projects.

Pictured below is the Sponge Bob water bottle holder I plan to give to my daughter, Janelle. The photo of the Hello Kitty scarf is for my niece Olivia. I am also working on a dinosaur blanket for my dinosaur loving nephew, and a blanket for my other niece Anabelle. Besides that, I'm planning to make some scarves, some pot holders and a few pairs of slippers.

Wow, I better get back to work!

Hello Kitty scarf for Olivia

Sponge Bob water bottle holder