Pretty Christmas cookies: Chocolate Candy Cane Pinwheels

Roughly 95% of the time I make cookies, I go for chocolate chip. They’re sure to please, I pretty much have the recipe memorized and I just drop scoops of dough onto a cookie sheet before—ta-da!—gooey chocolatey deliciousness. But for a Christmas cookie exchange party, I wanted to up my cookie game a bit. So I got all inspired and created these tasty, festive and pretty Christmas cookies: chocolate candy cane pinwheels!

Chocolate candy cane pinwheels are PRETTY Christmas cookies—and so festive! Ten Thousand Hour MamaVersion 2These chocolate candy cane pinwheels are festive, pretty Christmas cookies—perfect for a cookie exchange party! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

Dark chocolate, sugar cookie dough and candy cane chunks come together in something that tastes just right at the holidays.  Read more

Chocolate strawberry pops {Kid friendly recipe}

Welcome back, strawberry season. And hellooooooooo chocolate strawberry pops!

If you haven’t been stuffing your face with fresh, just-picked, locally grown strawberries, what the heck have you been doing? Just walk by the farmers market and you’ll smell strawberries warming in the sun.

And it’s u-pick season! If you’re in the Portland area, check out this article about the best u-pick berry farms from PDX Parent.

Now, the girls and I aren’t opposed to simply eating strawberries plain by the pint. But if you’re looking for a healthy dessert your kids can help make, you’ve found it. Recipe below!

Chocolate Strawberry Pops Healthy Dessert Recipe Read more

5 tips to make bomb twice-baked sweet potatoes

Tips for Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with EggsTwice-baked potatoes were one of my favorite dinners when I was growing up. I’d wait impatiently for them to bake and snag a top—a little piece of potato skin with melted cheese—as soon as they were out of the oven, inevitably burning my mouth. But it was so worth it!

When figuring out what meal to bring another new mama friend (something was in the water about 9 months ago—I have so many friends who just had babies!), I thought back to how comforting twice-baked potatoes were and decided to make a batch—but with sweet potatoes. I love their flavor and all the extra vitamins and antioxidants that accompany their orange flesh.

Because I’m so bad at feeding myself, I made extras for my family, of course.

I love twice-baked sweet potatoes because you can throw in whatever you have on hand. I added onion, broccoli, peppers, tofu and cheese—not a bad combo, if you ask me. I considered whipping up a recipe to post here but the beauty of twice-baked sweet potatoes is that you don’t need a recipe. Just bake the potatoes, scoop and mash the insides, saute a combo of veggies-meat-whatever you need to use in the fridge, and bake ’em all again until heated through—usually around 20 minutes.

To accompany the sweet potatoes, I chopped up veggies for a salad (remember, brand-new parents of a newborn have no time to slice cucumbers!) and made these no-bake peanut butter oat bites. After all, old fashioned oats are one of the top foods recommended to help increase and support your milk supply. I added some coconut flakes and used agave instead of honey (we were out and there’s no way I’m paying out the nose for grocery store honey when I can wait to get it at the farmer’s market!), and they turned out delicious. We now have a bag of ’em in the freezer because I had to make enough for myself, too, didn’t I?

If you’re making a meal for new parents (and seriously, just do it!), check out my last post about what to do—and not do—to make eating a little easier for those sleep-deprived, love-drunk mamas and papas.

Without further ado, then, here are my top 5 tips for making out of this world twice-baked sweet potatoes. Read more

Sugar Cookie Paint: The no-frosting way to decorate cookies

Sugar cookies no frosting decorationsA few times a year when I was growing up, my mom would break out the cookie cutters and we’d decorate sugar cookies.

It always seemed like a big event. We’d sort through the mountain of semi-misshapen airplanes, giraffes, gingerbread men and stars, picking out the ones for my mom to use. (There was never any question whether we’d select the Mystery Cookie Cutter, which looked kind of like California and kind of like a stretched-out stocking, of course.) She would lay out the raw dough on cookie sheets, and we kids would go at ’em.

Fluorescent sprinkles, those silver balls that I’m pretty sure were supposed to be inedible, and red hots—which everyone liked to use but no one except my older sister liked to actually eat—were all fair game.

We’d sweep up silver balls and wipe up sprinkles for weeks to come, but the mess was always worth the fun. (Isn’t it always?) Read more

Super-protein quinoa enchiladas and coconut-pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies

When you have a baby, all your attention hones in on feeding the newest member of your family. Moms keep track of feeding times and lengths, visit the lactation clinic, figure out latches or bottle flows, and worry if Baby is getting enough to eat.

Brand-new moms spend a lot less time working on feeding themselves, and that’s no good: Parents have enough on their plates without being hangry on top of everything.

So when two friends had babies a few weeks ago, I took the first opportunity to bring them each a meal. Since I’m not terrific at feeding myself, either, I chose recipes that would feed all three of our families!

These precocious baby buddies are already perfecting their secret handshake.
These precocious baby buddies are already perfecting their secret handshake.

When flipping through my Pinterest boards, I looked for functional foods. I decided on this super-protein-packed quinoa enchilada slow-cooker dish because research shows protein is crucial in repairing damaged tissues—something especially important for mothers who had c-sections.

I also made these coconut-pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies. Yes, it’s important for dinner to meet all your nutritional needs, but in those early weeks of raising a newborn, sometimes a bite of something sweet can get you through that moment when your munchkin poops all over you the second you’re showered and wearing clean clothes for the first time in a week. I added a salad, threw in some tortilla chips and called it a meal. Read more

Nutella pielettes: RIP Michele Ferrero [recipe]

If you’re a billionaire who brought the world Tic Tacs, Ferrero-Rocher and—even better—Nutella, what better day to die than Valentine’s Day?

Michele Ferrero, who invented the delicious chocolate-hazelnut spread, passed away over the weekend, leaving a world that much more delicious thanks to his sweets empire.

A while back, I made a batch of Nutella pielettes—basically, tiny tart-pies—for a friend’s pie-off party. Alas, they didn’t win, but I think they turned out pretty phenomenal.

In honor of Ferrero and his mouthwatering legacy, here’s the recipe. Don’t forget to toast to the late real-life Willy Wonka when you pop one of these morsels into your mouth.

Nutella pieNutella pie crust Read more

Awesomesauce pear sauce [recipe]

In case you haven’t looked out your window recently, know this: It’s fall! The best time of year! The season that smells like crisp leaves and votive candles burning inside pumpkins! The months when you get to snuggle in sweaters and flannel and cozy PJs! The time you dress up and eat candy or stay smugly inside and laugh at the fools who spend all that time and energy just to be uncomfortable in their costumes!

There aren’t enough exclamation points!

Picking pears - Ten Thousand Hour Mama IMG_4896

To take advantage of glorious autumn, we took a trip to the orchard and picked a bucket-full-o’ pears. Red and green Bartletts were in season, and they were easy to pick from the low branches at Sherwood Orchards. Eric was good enough to be primary Peeper wrangler while I focused on picking pears. Because we needed a lot of pears—pears for this almost-too-easy-to-be-true spiced pear sauce.

This spiced pear sauce recipe is insanely easy and tastes just like fall. Ten Thousand Hour Mama Read more