Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cappucino Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Espresso Spread:
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the first two ingredients in the microwave. Mix in the next three. Cover and refrigerate until serving. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, stir milk and coffee granules until coffee is dissolved. Add butter, egg and vanilla; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 375 for 17-20 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool and serve with prepared espresso spread.

These are FABULOUS! I love the espresso spread. They're pretty rich even without the spread.

Friday, January 2, 2009

So, what'll it be?

Mark and I have been discussing our New Year's resolutions, and here are mine:

* Start school. I want to go college.
* Learn the ways of frugality, even moreso than I am already.
* Trim our budgets down. I spend about $150-$200/month on groceries and household goods and I'd like to either keep that the same or trim it. It's down from $300-$400 when we didn't have a baby, and only one dog.
* SAVINGS! Oh man, I can't think about this enough. By the end of the year, I'd like to have at least two months' bills saved, just in case.
* Start sewing. I am so hard to buy clothes for, so I'd like to remedy that by either making or altering my own.
* Start baking bread. Yes, I suck at this. I'm awful! I want to learn to bake so that it doesn't taste like dirt. Yech.
* Become a Proverbs 31 woman. I think this would benefit my family, marriage and myself in so many ways.
* Share my recipes.
* Grow closer to God. I would like to be closer to Him and to learn more about Him and His ways. I have a feeling He could teach me a thing or two ;).
* Grow closer to Mark, spiritually.
* Work more as a team with Mark
* Be happy and comfortable with my body. That being said, I'm not saying I'm going to lose weight...I just want to feel better about myself.
* Enter one photography contest a month. Maybe I won't win...maybe I will. I sure have an adorable subject!
* Continue honing my cooking skill. We are eating so much better now than we were when we first got married and I hope we keep it up.

That being said, I'm also looking back on the years past. How have we/I improved?

Well...we made a small addition to our family :). Being a mother is amazing, scary, stressful, lonely, crazy and just plain fun. I never thought I would feel this way. I didn't give birth the way I wanted but I'll try again with our next child. I'm still breastfeeding! I'm still making baby food! I take care of my family the best that I can and we're all happy.

My cooking skill has improved significantly. Our first year of marriage, I couldn't tell you the difference in a roux and a bechamel, and now I can make both with my eyes closed. I don't remember the last time I bought Hamburger Helper, Kraft Mac n Cheese...any of the packaged stuff. I'm doing almost all my cooking from scratch. I just have to learn breads now! I've even made tortillas! I really enjoy my cooking and baking and candy making...that's my therapy. It saves me when there's a baby screaming in one year, a husband asking, "Hon, where's my..." and two dogs chasing a hissing cat around my feet. Leave me alone in the land of ladles...I'll be fine.

To be continued. Someone has discovered a heinous scream...fingernails on a blackboard, folks.