30 While 30

30 while 30.jpg

Well, I just turned 30. It was a simple but sweet celebration filled with family time, Shiner beer, and my mom’s classic strawberry shortcake. Hello new decade, so long 20’s. You’ve been real. You’ve been great. You’ve been really great. (name that movie, anyone?)

I’ve seen a lot of folks make lists of goals “30 by 30” style but 29 year old Becky couldn’t get that together in time. So I’ve decided to make my own list of 30 things I want to do while 30. Sharing this will hopefully help keep me accountable and I’ll post updates along the way (maybe monthly?), marking things off the list as I go. This year is going to rock, I can already tell – can’t wait to share it with yall!

1. Read (at least) 5 new books

2. Run a 5k again

3. Travel to new places, near and far

4. Meet my cookie business profit goal for the year

5. Expand my garden in the backyard

6. Donate to some charities/causes that I feel passionately about

7. Try some new cocktails (including some classics that I’ve never tasted)

8. Lose 30+ lbs from birth weight

9. Learn how to make macarons (I tried once and failed miserably!)

10. Make new friends and keep the old

11. Host the 12th night (Epiphany) party that I’ve wanted to for years

12. Finally try out my Italian stovetop espresso maker

13. Get a new pair of glasses

14. Donate 100+ ounces of milk to the Mothers’ Milk Bank of North TX

15. Write my conversion story

16. Visit 2 breweries

17. Read the entire Old Testament

18. Learn to make gumbo & jambalaya

19. Pray 5 novenas

20. Learn more about how to do makeup – maybe try to rock some bold lipstick?

21. Plan a super cute 2017 birthday party for my May babies

22. Write 12 handwritten letters to friends/family

23. Learn how to do at least one cute braid hairstyle

24. Go somewhere fun with my mom

25. Watch a few classic movies that I’ve never seen

26. Clean out my closet & dresser

27. Do something special for local police/firefighters as a thank you

28. Learn how to make fresh pasta

29. Plan a fun surprise date night for me and Jason

30. Do 6 random acts of cookie kindness

And who knows what else will be in store along the way? I look forward to finding out!

Monday Morsels #25

Hi yall! Well, life has certainly changed since my last family update! Without wasting any time, here’s what we’ve been up to lately.

clare 2nd bday

My sweet firstborn turned two! Goodness gracious, how the time flies. We started the day with her two year check up which thankfully didn’t include any shots. Then we stopped to get a Birthday donut, went to the neighborhood pond to feed the “quack quacks”, and played at the park. We had one of her favorite meals for dinner plus cake of course. As much as I wanted to have a big celebration for her, I loved our simple day together and honestly, at 40 weeks pregnant, I couldn’t have handled much more!

family of 4

Then two days later…our precious daughter Catherine was born! Things happened pretty quickly and labor went as smoothly as possible. We are totally in love with this little lady! Life has been full of visits from family/friends, meals delivered, and adjusting to being a family of 4 (most adjusting from a certain toddler) and while we’re tired, life is beautiful. I actually hope to finally write a birth story for both girls soon, so stay posted for more info besides “hey! we had a baby!” if you’re into that sort of blog post.

baptism catherine

Then 9 days later, little Catherine was baptized and brought into the Church. It was sort of last minute since we weren’t totally sure when she’d arrive but worked out just perfectly and also happened to be the feast of Pentecost. So fitting! Our sweet little saint smelled of chrism and peacefully slept through the whole thing. Who could ask for more?

ordination

Then besides the everyday crazy life in new baby land, we’ve been right in the middle of busy event season and trying to attend what celebrations we can manage. First off was the ordination of our friend, now Father Joseph Keating. I have to get used to calling him that! We became friends during my college years and it’s been just beautiful seeing his vocation unfold. When we met, he was a vibrant youth minister, then entered the seminary, was sent to the NAC in Rome for his studies (we even got to visit him there while traveling!), had the honor to sing the Gospel at the Easter mass at St. Peter’s this past Easter, and now is officially a priest in the Diocese of Fort Worth. Congrats to you, Fr. Joe, and I can’t wait to see where God takes you next on your journey!

IMG_2390

One of the youth from our former parish invited us to her graduation party which was also a blast. I was her confirmation sponsor a few years ago and got to know her really well during our time there. I’m so proud of her accomplishments and know she’ll do great things at Benedictine College. The party was full of yummy BBQ, cake, and a fun photo area with props. We got to catch up with some old parish friends and Clare wore herself out with an inflatable ball. Good times all around!

IMG_2405

We also got together on my side of the family to celebrate the May birthdays in the family. Which is my mom, Clare, and now Catherine too! So it’s basically now a party for grandma and her granddaughters, which I know she loves. We had tons of delicious food as always, a variety of desserts, gifts, and great company. Clare had a cookie cake that grandma made especially for her, since she’s a total frosting and cookie girl. (which baffles her cake loving mother) Catherine got to meet most of the rest of her Texas family and it’s such a blast having more littles in the family now, running around and playing during our gatherings, plus plenty of arms wanting to hold the babies. It’s a beautiful thing!

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

IMG_9147

Lets be real. Just like muffins are an excuse to eat cake for breakfast, biscotti is totally a ploy to have cookies with your coffee.

But I’m ok with that. And since today’s my birthday, biscotti calories don’t count right? Right. Some biscotti and coffee was how I started my special day – bring it on 29! 🙂

I’ve been asked before what my favorite thing is to bake and the first treat to come to mind is biscotti. They might seem like just a boring crunchy snack to dip in your coffee but there’s just something I love about them. And I’m not even usually a crunchy cookie person!

IMG_9169

This biscotti recipe is the basic chocolate chip variety. But you can easily add some other extras like nuts, dried fruit, or other flavored chips to make your favorite flavor combo. Another thing I often do is dip one side of the biscotti in melted chocolate. Then before the chocolate cools you can add some cute sprinkles or other garnishes that go with the flavors you pick. While they’re delicious as is, this step makes them extra pretty, especially if you’re sharing them with others or giving them as a gift.

A random factoid for yall and speaking of birthdays: yesterday was Ruth Graves Wakefield’s birthday. She created chocolate chip cookies (by accident) back in 1930 which became the famous Toll House Cookies that we know and love today.

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 oz bag of mini chocolate chips

Yield: About 40 pieces

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add butter and brown sugar to a mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed 1 minute. Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until combined, about 1 minute. Add flour, baking powder, and salt, mix until well combined. Fold in mini chocolate chips.

Shape the dough into two 10″x2″ rectangular logs and place on a lined or greased baking sheet. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees F. Slice the logs into about 1/2 inch slices and arrange the pieces (sliced side up) on cookie sheet. Each log will make about 20 slices. Bake for 15 minutes then flip the slices over and bake an additional 15 minutes.

Remove biscotti to a wire rack to cool. If wanted, dip each piece in chocolate and decorate. Store in an airtight container.

Source: Miss in the Kitchen