Saturday, November 5, 2011

Grilled chicken caesar wraps

Between trying to get all the suitcases put away, folding the massive pile of laundry (seriously y'all, I can't see my bed underneath it all), and starting in on the long list of holiday to-do's I need some quick, easy and healthy (anyone else trying to detox from last week?!) meals right now.

This is my go to dinner on the fly. Our version of take out or fast food.

Between baseball and small group and other weekly commitments we are often eating on the go. Either with less than 15 minutes to scarf it down, or getting home late and shoveling the food in before putting kids to bed.

As an advocate of the Slow Food movement and family meals I don't love that we do this. However it's not every night, we are having at least 4 family meals a week, and to a certain extent I think it's the phase of life we are in with school age children. It's hard work trying to balance activities and involvement with family time. One I most certainly do not have figured out yet!

All of the items necessary to make this can be made ahead of time and warmed up. I almost always make leftovers as this also makes a great lunch!

2 grilled chicken breasts sliced on the bias
cooked brown rice*
5 cups shredded romaine
whole wheat tortillas (I get mine from Trader Joe's)
Brianna's asiago caesar dressing

*To make my brown rice I take 1 cup rice, 2 cups stock, a dash of olive oil and salt (about 1 teaspoon of each) and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil you put a lid on it and turn it to low and simmer for 40 minutes. Turn off and then let set 10 minutes before serving. If you're really in a rush Trader Joe's has microwavable bags of organic brown rice that cook in less than 10 minutes.

So really, once you cook the chicken and rice it's just assembly. I just grill my chicken on our gas grill until they hit 160 degrees with a digital thermometer. Take up and let them rest while covered for 5 minutes and then slice.

I put the rice down first, then a couple slices of chicken. I top mine more generously with lettuce than my husband chooses to and then top with the dressing.

You could do it with the chicken and rice being cold, but I prefer mine hot with cold lettuce. Just a nice contrast and holds my appeal whatever season it is.

Here's the thing about these...the dressing makes it. I typically make my own dressings, but this one is worth buying. First off, most good caesar dressing recipes call for an egg yolk and while I'm pretty liberal with the food standards while pregnant and nursing, that one won't fly. That and um, it's easy. This is the best caesar dressing I've tried, including at restaurants.

Fast, easy and healthy, what more could a mom ask for? Now you'll have a little more time to throw some tinsel on something or bake cupcakes for both your kids classes.

Bacon Apple Cheddar Stuffing

Being the food nerd that I am, I often update my facebook status about what we are eating for dinner, or what I am cooking.

Not usually a ton of comments hit those but a lot of likes. So when I posted that I made balsamic grilled pork tenderloin, roasted sweet potatoes, salad and bcaon, apple, and cheddar stuffing and I got a plethora comments asking for the recipe, I thought it would be nice to give it to you.

I'm not sure how this recipe came about, other than I know I started out putting it inside a pork roast. But pork roasts are tricky to cook, not very quick and make for squishy stuffing. It's fall encapsulated in a dish to me.

I realize stuffing is a very polarizing subject. Cornbread vs bread, sausage or not, lots of sage or's a very personal business often relating closely to what part of the country you are from. This being said, and while it may not be the case for all, I think this stuffing has mass appeal. First off, who doesn't like bacon? And not many people are currently putting bacon in their stuffing so it's different enough to be sort of like grandma's but just under par. It's part bread and part cornbread. And who doesn't like cheddar and apples? It's pretty much all-american. (on an unrelated side note, have you ever put cheddar or your apple pie? It's SO good! My husband disagrees and is repulsed by this act...but if salty/sweet is your thing, DO IT!)

This was such a big hit in our home my husband has requested it for Thanksgiving. I'd say it's a winner!

1/2 package of bacon (or about 8 slices) diced)
1 small onion diced
4 cups loosely packed bread cubes (I've used three leftover hot dog buns or 4 dinner rolls for this recently) dried (left out over night or stuck in a 250 degree oven for 1/2 hour)
6 cornbread muffins, or 1/2 of a normal sized batch*
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 large apple or 2 small diced
1 cup packed freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg
1 teaspoon rubbed sage (a little more if you like it heavy on the sage)
salt and pepper to taste

First off, cooking is very loose. There aren't too many hard and fast recipes. The beauty of it is experimenting and customizing it to your tastes. If you think it's too much apple, cut back. Think celery would be a good addition (it would, but the hubs isn't crazy about it and I didn't have any), throw it in! I would encourage you to make it the directed way first unless you are quite comfortable in the kitchen and then notate your preferences for the future.

*I use White Lily cornbread mix. Not that healthy, but I love it and it turns out perfect each time. I follow the directions on the back. If I am making cornbread just for this I half the recipe. The recipe for half calls for 1 cup of the cornbread mix. You could use leftovers. If you're a little short no biggie you may just need to cut back on how much stock you add.

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

In a saucepan cook bacon on medium. It won't cook quite as fast, but that is good. We are rendering the fat which will get more fat out (for flavoring) and make the bacon crispier. Once the bacon begins to get crispy add the onion. Cook until the onion is just translucent. About 8 or so minutes.

While the bacon and onion are cooking crumble to cornbread into a large mixing bowl. Add bread cubes, apple, cheddar, sage and salt and pepper (I used about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper) and toss together. Once the onion and bacon are done toss those in. Add about 2 1/2 cups of stock (more or less if needed) to get to an oatmeal or grits like consistency.

Beat the egg in a small bowl and then add. Mix thoroughly.

Pour into greased baking pan and bake for about 1 hour at 350 on the bottom rack moving to the top rack for the last 15 minutes to brown the top. The cooking time is really iffy depending on what kind of dish you use. The more shallow it is the quicker it will cook. Mine was about 1 1/2 inches deep and took about an hour. Just use the toothpick test if unsure.

A quick keeping it real shot for you. I'm photographing by my sink (most light) which is filled with dishes and I still have Halloween candy buckets on my counter.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to ask!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Bread

I love fall and all of it's flavors. It's by far my favorite season, and I'm already salivating at the thought of pork tenderloin with bacon apple and cheddar stuffing that will hit my table at some point this week. Apples, pumpkin, pork, caramel, soups, braising...everything about fall screams comfort to me.

This time of year Trader Joe's releases their cans of organic pumpkin. This stuff is amazing. I have made pumpkin puree from scratch before, but I think this tastes better. The pumpkin has almost of a caramelized type flavor to it that give it extra depth. Apparently others think it's amazing as well because it sells out quickly. So when I walked into the store and they were setting up a brand new tower of the beautiful golden cans, I grabbed 8. Or 9. A lot. I had just used my last can from the year before so it was perfect timing. And 8 or 9 cans will not get me through this year, I full plan on restocking again at least once.

Part of the reason for that is because I make pumpkin bread about once a week during the fall. It freezes great, makes great little thank you gifts (way better than a note!), is easy to throw together, makes a good snack, lunch treat or breakfast and results in a heavenly bread pudding. This is one of those items like bananas that will never go to waste, there is always a use for it.

Pumpkin Bread
(adapted from Bon Apetit)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 cans Trader Joe's organic pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sugar (if you prefer a very sweet pumpkin bread make this 1 cup)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat over to 350. Spray pans with nonstick cooking spray ( I usually use a combination of 4 mini loaf pans, 1 muffin pan and 2 tin cans (directions below)

Beat pumpkin, brown sugar and sugar in mixer until combined. Gradually beat in oil, then eggs adding on at a time. Sift in baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and salt, mix until blended.

Add whole wheat flour, mixing until just combined then slowly add buttermilk. Once incorporated add all purpose flour. Once blended add to pans.

Bake until tester comes out clean or with moist crumbs. For me the muffins took about 17 minutes, and the breads about 1/2 and hour.

One of my favorite ways to bake these is in tin cans. Not only is it eco friendly, I remember my grandma doing this to be thrifty long before green was anything more than a color. I love using cooking tips and tricks and recipes from my grandmothers and remembering the wisdom they passed down.

You should have two tin cans laying around after using the pumpkin anyways, so might as well go ahead and use them. Make sure they are the type of can that is coating free. Rinse thoroughly and let dry. Then spray with oil. Fill just under 2/3 full. If you're paranoid about your oven getting dirty (I'm not as mine never stood a chance) place a sheet of aluminum foil underneath just in case the overflow. For me these took a little longer than the mini loaves, I would check every 5 minutes with a tester after 20 minutes.

Now depending on your can opener you may have a rough edge on the can. My can opener doesn't do this (Pampered Chef), so it's not an issue for me, but if yours does you may either want to get a new one since it's cheap and safer, or just file down the sharp edges. Or just not use this method since filing it down sounds like a pain.

The thing I like best about the tin can method is it's a super easy and cute thank you or hostess gift. Either grab some cellophane or one of those clear plastic treat baggies they sell at all the craft stores for parties. Wrap it over the tin can (or slip it in the bag) and tie it with some cute ribbon or raffia, throw on a tag and you're good to go. This would be a great teacher gift around the holidays with a gift card attached.

Salted Caramel Spread

We went apple picking last weekend.

It was wonderful, to head to the mountains and just have a fun day with the family. To say we've been busy is a bit of an understatement so it was a special time to get away and play.

After coming home with several bags of apples (about half of which were Honeycrisp, our fav!) I wanted to make something that would make the apples a bit more indulgent while still eating them raw.

Most people would probably run to the store and buy the caramel dip, but I didn't want to run to the store and I know how easy caramel is to I'd seen the recipe for this salted caramel spread on Pinterest and knew I had to try it.

It was ridiculous, and everything I had hoped it would be. Plus a little goes along way, and it makes a fair amount so I actually still have a whole jar in the fridge. I plan on making several large batches of this around the holidays for teachers, friends, coaches, etc.

The beauty of it is it's versatility. You can use it as a dip for apples and other fruit, to drizzle in hot chocolate, swirled in an apple pie, mixed into buttercream or whipped cream, dotted onto an apple crisp or tossed with freshly popped popcorn. The possibilities are endless.

Salted Caramel Spread
(adapted from Kathrin Koschitzki as featured on Design*Sponge)


1.5 cups sugar
3 1/2 Tablespoons water
2 sticks + 1 Tablespoon butter cut into small pieces
3/4 teaspoon salt
Just over 1/2 cup warmed heavy cream but not quite 2/3 cup
2 tablespoons corn syrup


Place sugar, water and corn syrup in saucepan stire to combine then cook on medium low heat until amber in color (this doesn't have to be stressful, golden brownish color is what you're looking for, no thermometer necessary, just DON'T TOUCH IT after the initial mix).

Reduce heat to low and slowly add the butter while stirring. The mixture is VERY hot so be careful while stirring and maybe even step buck as the butter will sizzle some.

Add the salt and cook an additional two minutes.

Remove from heat and slowly stir in the warmed cream. Mix until just combined.

It will initially be more sauce like than spread like, but thickens upon cooling. Let cool a bit and then pour into jars and store in the refrigerator. Mine filled about 3 smaller mason jars.

Cupcakes I've been cooking

Just a few of the cupcakes I've been baking recently.

Double Vanilla Hungry Caterpillar

Double Vanilla for a baby shower

Chocolate mini cupcakes with Salted Caramel Buttercream

Mini Chocolate Guinness stout cupcakes with Bailey's buttercream

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Chicken and Dumplings

Today is the first rainy and cool day of fall.

Plus I sent off my baby boy to preschool for the first time ever.

And I don't feel good.

The day calls for comfort food.

However, with figuring out two school schedules, pick up and drop off times, parent meetings and a 6 month olds nap schedule I didn't exactly have all day to spend boiling a chicken, shredding it, making dumplings and throwing it all back together.

But I wanted chicken and dumplings.

I've had this problem often. Particularly when I'm sick. I cook myself sick food, so I've had to learn some shortcuts.

No chicken boiling required.

Every time I go grocery shopping I grab a rotisserie chicken. I shred it up and divide it into two or three bags and throw them in the freezer. I can pull off about a 10 minute dinner if need be with one of these. Maybe sometime soon I'll do a "what you can use it for" post.

I know most people will argue homemade chicken stock is so much better, and generally, I concede. But I promise you, your family will never know on this one. Store bought stock is where it's at, but not just any. Kitchen Basics low sodium chicken stock. It's in a yellow box. Available at Whole Foods, Publix and Walmart for sure. Usually on the very top or bottom shelf.

I don't really do exact recipes, I'll be exact as possible for y'all, but essentially, this is what I do:

Lay out shredded chicken to thaw (about 1 cup, more if you like it heavy on the chicken)
dice up 3-5 carrots (depending on how much carrot you like)
1 stalk of diced celery (if you have it, I didn't today, no biggie)
1 small onion diced

Throw those in the pot you plan to use with a little olive oil (or butter) and saute until partially cooked, about 5-10 minutes.

While it's sauteing grab
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup buttermilk (or just under 1/2 cup whole milk and add a tablespoon or so of vinegar)
2 cups flour (I actually used white whole wheat today)

Pulse in your food processor (or you can hand cut it in) until a ball forms adding more milk if necessary.

Add about a carton and a half of stock to your veggies and let it heat up while you roll out the dumplings

Dust a pice of waxed or parchment paper with flour, grab your rolling pin and roll out the dumpling dough. It need not be pretty, and thickness doesn't really matter, but thinner will cook quicker. I use a pizza cutter to cut mine quickly. I like my squares bite size for the kiddos so that's how I cut them.

Add them one at a time to the stock mixing every so often. Add the chicken. Let it simmer for an hour or so stirring every so often.

Serve with cornbread. And honey. Because my mother in law did.

Sorry I don't have any pictures. I promise it's good. And only involves about 1/2 hour prep time.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hot Fudge Sauce

Some moms are great with crafts, some are great letting their kids go crazy outdoors, some will read for hours, my specialty lies in the kitchen.

My kids have been breaking eggs since age 2 and dumping and mixing like pros. My oldest (6) is both knowledgeable enough and safe enough to stand at the stove and stir something for me if need be. He's even starting in on some very basic knife skills.

The last week of summer we came up with all kinds of fun stuff we wanted to make in the kitchen together. Homemade bread, handshaken butter, homemade drumsticks (cone and all!) and some of their dinner favorites.

One night that week we had planned a night out for special treats but something came up and we were unable to head out. I needed something fun, easy and fast. In stepped in this handy go to recipe for hot fudge sauce. Seriously, it took 5 minutes or less and we were able to use it in a couple different ways. It even stays good in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I used Ghiradelli dark), 1 can sweetened condensed milk and 4 tablespoons butter

Throw it all in a pan and heat while stirring until....

it looks like this
Couldn't resist a pic of my sweetest helper

The boys wanted theirs in milkshake form. Hot fudge, couple scoops of ice cream and milk

I went more classic with a sundae and started by adding a little salty, just crushed salted peanuts.

The the husband in all his brilliance kicked it up by adding sliced bananas. It may not sound amazing, but I promise it was divine. Not that the pictures would show it. I do most of my cooking in the evening which does not lend itself to good food photos. I promise you thought it was delish.

This would also be an easy gift thrown in a mason jar and topped with some cute fabric and rafia or ribbon.

I got voted into awesome mom status with this. Hopefully you will be equally adored by whomever you choose to bestow this on.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe

Finally, after much delay....I'm sharing my chocolate cupcake recipe.

One of my favorite things about this recipe is that it can be easily halved, so at the end I'll give you the recipe which usually puts out about 28-30 cupcakes or the one that does about 14. Because all those extra cupcakes sitting around can be bad for a girl.

My ingredients of choice. Sorry midwesterners but the White Lily flour may be inaccessible to you. Although you're getting more and more restaurants who serve sweet tea, so who knows...maybe you'll get lucky. In case not, I would go for King Arthur all purpose flour. It does make a difference.

The rest of the characters are easily interchangeable except the vanilla. I really like Trader Joe's Pure Bourbon Vanilla, mainly because I think they have the best price on a great product. Whatever you do don't get the imitation vanilla. It's not good. And you will thank me later when I eventually post my buttercream recipe in which quality products is key.

Everyone simmering. When I say heaping, I mean as much as you can possibly fit on the spoon.

Then add it to the flour and sugar mixture waiting for you in your mixer. I usually measure it out while waiting for the water to simmer.

The whole shebang all mixed and waiting for it's cupcake liner home.

The final product waiting for some buttercream. Pardon my well used muffin tins. They've been around.
These are some of my favorite substitutions. This particular batch actually had the Guinness substituted for the water as they went on to be Chocolate Guinness cupcakes with Bailey's buttercream. I will often sub the coffee or Guinness for the water (using equal measurements).
The Reese's and the Oreos I add to the cupcakes once in the liners. I usually use a miniature peanut butter cup, or cut a full one in half. For both the peanut butter cups and Oreos I fill the cupcake liners half full, add either then add just enough batter to cover. If you're being less lazy than I usually am and want your peanut butter cup precisely in the middle of your cupcake you can bake the cupcakes about 4 minutes then add the cup pushing down lightly then continuing to bake. Sometimes the filled cupcakes require an additional minute or two of baking time.

I usually tell when my cupcakes are perfectly done by lightly pressing on the tops. If they spring back (and don't sink in) they are done. In my oven 12 minutes at 2/3 full liners is perfect, but keep an eye out and check at 11 minutes. The quickest and easiest way to kill a good cake or cupcake is by over-baking.

Chocolate Cupcake Recipe (about 30):
Amounts for half batch (about 14) in parenthesis.

2 cups flour (1 cup flour)
2 cups sugar (1 cup sugar)
1/2 teaspoon salt (1/4 tsp salt)
2 sticks butter (1 stick butter)
4 heaping tablespoons cocoa (2 TBS cocoa)
1 cup boiling water (1/2 cup water)
1/2 cup sour cream (1/4 cup sour cream)
2 eggs (1 egg)
1 teaspoon baking soda (1/2 tsp baking soda)
1 teaspoon vanilla (1/2 tsp vanilla)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place water (or other liquid substitutions) in a small saucepan and bring to a light boil. Add butter and cocoa to water and stir to combine. While still stirring bring back to a light boil then remove from heat.

In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar and salt. With the mixer on slowly add water and cocoa mixture. Mix until combined.

While still mixing add sour cream, when fully incorporated add eggs one at a time. Add baking soda and vanilla and mix until just combined.

Fill cupcake liners 2/3 full and bake for 12 minutes.

So there ya go. Chocolate cupcakes, how I make them, and the tips I've learned along the way. I feel like I have a lot of good tips I've learned from baking and cooking. Especially as a mom of 3 who has the impossible task of both making something my kids will eat and exposing them to new cuisine, tastes, and flavors.

It's hard work to figure out the cooking and baking world on your own, and I've spent about 10 years doing just that. So I'm going to try to add a new element to this blog, and my "work". If you have a question, post it. I don't always catch every post on here, so feel free to email me or post on CupKates facebook page (where I get email updates on postings) and I'll get back to you. I might not know all the answers, but I'd love to try and help.

I'm also going to start trying to post some of the recipes I make for dinner, and my meal plans for the week. Sometimes it will be something I just threw together, and others it will be recipes I tried and tweaked (which lets be honest is most of where "new" recipes come from now days anyways. There is nothing new under the sun...). I also have lots of shortcuts I'll share that I have found make my life easier while trying to make things that are as healthy and natural as possible.

So that's where we're headed on here. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Chocolate or Vanilla?

Of course I've been making cupcakes. But I also have some other desserts I've been making and playing with that I look forward to sharing with you soon. For now here is a glimpse at what I've been up to:

My sons bubble themed three year old birthday party

They were double vanilla bubblegum cupcakes

Baby shower cupcakes. Sorry for the horrible pics, the lighting was impossible

These were coconut cream (with pink tinted coconut) and raspberry almond with chocolate frosting

More baby shower goodness, and a new flavor. The ones with chocolate frosting and pink dots are the raspberry almond (one of the most popular flavor in case you haven't noticed), the yellow dotted ones are double lemon and the ones in the cute little cups with black stuff sprinkled on top are....earl grey cupcakes with honey buttercream.

Mind you I'm a tea person. Not just that, I'm an earl grey person. A cup about every morning, even in the summer. So I do have a bit of partiality, but seriously...these were so. stinking. good. Like I would eat them for breakfast without shame.

So I recently put up a post on my facebook site (become a fan if you aren't...I do giveaways, more pictures and interaction there) asking if anyone would be interested in my recipes for making their own CupKates. There were quite a few interested and with my lightening up on orders (although I'm itching for a few more for fall...I will have two boys in school and will need a distraction!) and many fans in other parts of the country (mainly STL, woot woot!) I thought I would aid in your own cupcake creations.

Almost all of my cupcakes are either vanilla based or chocolate based. Meaning if you have a strong basic recipe for either of those all you have to do is get creative to come up with new cupcakes. So for example my Guinness and Bailey's cupcake (chocolate cupcake made with Guinness topped with Bailey's buttercream) is a chocolate cupcake with the Guinness beer substituted for the water it typically calls for. To make my snickerdoodle cupcake all I do is add cinnamon to my vanilla cupcake recipe. Make sense?

Great. So I'm going to get together the recipe basics and their deviations. Now the only question is which to start with, chocolate or vanilla?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Update and CakePops

Well I've been busy making cupcakes and keeping up with three kiddos. It's been so nice to have more time with the kidders and not feel so stressed. I love summer schedules!

I have lots of cupcakes to update on with more to come, so here is a just a glimpse at what I've been up to.

Rede Velvet popcorn themed cupcakes for a "She's about to pop" themed shower. So cute. Sorry for the poor iPhone pic

Cupcakes gift box. Can be made with any flavor, but these were double vanilla. These were made as end of the year teachers gifts.

Cupcakes favors in vanilla with chocolate cream cheese frosting. Made to match wedding/shower colors.

So there is a quick glimpse with more to come.

If you are interested in ordering, don't forget to defer to the previous post for what I am/am not doing right now. I think I'm open for accepting larger orders again come September.

I've been asked a couple of times about cakepops. I wanted to explain why I prefer not to do those.

The main reason I started CupKates was because I was tired of having mediocre cake that I knew was made with ingredients that were really bad for me. If i do say so myself I think my cupcakes are some of the best I've tasted (and yes I do check out the "competition" from time to time : ). Not only that, but I don't put hydrogenated oils, or high fructose corn syrup in anything I make. Even when it comes to toppings or additions I try to use something I would be ok with my kids eating . I won't go so far as to say my cupcakes are healthy, but if you're going to eat a cupcake, mine are on the healthier side. I make all organic cupcakes for an additional charge, and am starting to experiment with different sweeteners like agave and sucanet.

That said, cakepops are dipped in a "candy coating" which is made up mostly of hydrogenated oils and food coloring. It's not something I'm ok with giving to my family, so I would prefer not to sell it to the masses as well.

That said, they are cute, I just don't make them.

Silly that the cupcake girl is taking a stance for health, but that's how I roll. Thanks for understanding!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What I've Been Up To

In the past few months we've been consumed by all things baby. First we got her room done:

Which was quite the process as we decided to redo all the furniture, meaning it all was repainted by my wonderful husband. I worked on the things I could (namely not that with lots of fumes-the painting) like the artwork, and reupholstering the rocking chair and making the pillow. As well as making sure our daughter had a plethora of bows ready to go (see below).

And for the last few weeks we've got to enjoy of the girly sweet wonderfulness that her arrival has brought.

EvaKate Liana was born on February 15 and weighed 7 pounds 4 oz and was 19 inches long.

Now that we've gotten a taste for what being a family of 5 is like, and her temperament, I feel like I'm in a better place to determine what I want to do with CupKates.

Admittedly, (and maybe this is the post baby hormones talking) I've wanted to do nothing but spend a ton of time with my kids feeling extra sensitive to how quickly this parenting little ones is passing by.

That combined with baseball season (the highlight of my oldests year) and being heavily involved with our church and I've seriously questioned shutting the business down.

As much as I love doing this, I know I will never regret giving more time to parenting well. That said, I know in a few years when all of my kids are in school and I have more time on my hands, I think I would regret that decision. So I've been trying to come up with a happy compromise where I get to spend more time with the family and am not as busy as I was before the baby and get to keep the business going.

And here is where I think I'm at, and what I'm going to try at least through the summer:
-I'll take orders that are 100 or less
-Cupcakes only, for now no more cookies or pies
-I'll probably only take one or two orders per weekend (depending on the size)
-All orders must be picked up Friday (this will allow us to have one family day a week on Saturday, which is very important to us)
-No weddings through August at the least

That's where I'm starting. Some of this may change as I still figure out what will work best for me and my family, thanks for being co-operative and understanding!

I've been asked about March availability, and I'm going to not take any orders until April.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!