Friday, April 29, 2011

Fun with Food Friday - Dutch Pancake

 Mama Chocolate

Welcome to Week 7 of Fun with Food Friday
(ALERT: Read to the bottom for extra bonus entries opportunity!)

Check The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom for another recipe review this week!

Today I'm sharing another old favorite of mine, (also a favorite of friend and reader Amanda.)
I have some great recipes waiting in the wings from you guys, including Mexican Black Bean Burgers and Creamy Turnip soup, and when I do my big monthly shopping trip next week, I'll be picking up the ingredients I need for those!

This is a quick and easy breakfast that's more nutritious than a bowl of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs for hurried mornings!
We have started using this almost every Sunday morning. John usually cooks our breakfast on Sunday so that I can focus on getting the meal for our church's weekly potluck made and then getting me and the girls ready to go. It's quick and easy to throw together, and Katie likes it, so it doesn't require the time-consuming battle to get her to eat it while we're rushing around. 
Getting her to sit still and behave well in church goes much better if she's eaten a good breakfast, so this has been a life-saver!

Dutch Pancake
(I've also heard this called a Dutch Baby, Swedish Pancake, and German Pancake. Who knows what it really started as?!)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup flour (I usually use 1/2 whole wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 Tb. butter
Note: You can easily do two or more of these at a time in your oven, (as many as will fit!) and it makes a great breakfast for over-night company!

1.) Place the 2 Tb of butter into a 9 x 13 pan, turn the oven on to 425 degrees, and put the pan into the oven to heat and melt butter.

2.) While the oven is preheating and the butter melting, in a mixing bowl or blender, combine remaining ingredients. It should be smooth, but don't over-mix.

3.) When the oven is preheated and the butter completely melted, pour the batter straight into the hot pan.

4.) Bake for 20 minutes, or until it puffs and is getting golden brown:

The pancake will start to deflate after you take it out of the oven, so get it to the table as soon as possible for more impressive presentation. ;-)

5.) Add your favorite toppings: butter, cinnamon & sugar, powdered sugar, honey, syrup, jam, whipping cream, berries, you-name-it!

Katie's favorite topping is honey!

We'll be doing this again next Friday, and we need your recipes!

To encourage ya'll to produce your tasty gems, I'm offering 10 extra entries into any ONE giveaway of your choice for each recipe you submit, (you can send me as many as you like!)

Just send the recipe(s) to and add the 10 entries into the appropriate box on the giveaway entry form.

Don't forget to check The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom to see what Michelle cooked up this week!

If you have a blog post about a favorite recipe, I'd love it if you'd comment with a link to it!
Spread the word about our event and grab the button!

Mama Chocolate

Welcome, hoppers! ;-)

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Homemaker blog hop


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Toddler Talk Thursday - Bedtime Routine

Check out the hosts of this fun weekly link-up, Family and Life in Las VegasCrazy about My Baybah, and My Life as a Sippy Cup Mom!

This week's topic is:
"What is your toddler's bedtime routine?"

Our evening routines are varied, especially as to dinner times because John's days tend to be somewhat unpredictable as to when they will end, so we often don't know when he's going to be home until he is home!

Regardless of when we have dinner, we usually try to have Katie to bed by 9:30. 

After dinner, we let her run around, get her last wiggles out and play with Papa and/or her toys while I get Victoria fed and ready for bed. 

Once Victoria is taken care of and snug in her little crib, I tell Katie it's time to get ready for bed, and she promptly tells me, 
"Go potty!

We sit her on the potty and she usually plays with one of her princess dolls and her "good-guys," while she sits.
After she's finished her business, (which can sometimes take a long time!) it's time for "BIG biper!"
 (translation:  super-stuffed nighttime diaper)

Jammies come next...she usually declares that she is now "nice n warm!" and waddles off in her monstrous diaper, calling

John helps her brush her teeth, then we each get a nice long "squeeeeeze," a kiss, and "nigh-night!"
I get her a drink and carry her off to bed, singing, (she usually requests "Amazing Grace.") 

As we enter the bedroom, we start whispering so as not to wake up the baby, and Katie usually tells me, "Shh! Toria seeeeping!"

Usually she wants to snuggle with her little lamb that has Nana's voice recorded onto it singing "Jesus Loves Me," and we'll often hear her play it several times before she drifts off.

Described above is, of course, our best night. 
Occasionally, there are those not-so-happy evenings where every step seems a struggle...but those are rare and usually the nights when she's asleep almost before her head hits the pillow. She was just too tired.

Other nights she doesn't seem quite tired enough, and she will jabber away to herself for an hour or more!
Amazingly, she has never woken up Victoria with her chatter!

Once Victoria can talk, I have a feeling we're going to have some interesting conversations going on in there after lights-out....

Next week's Topic Suggestion:
How does your toddler react when his/her daddy gets home from work?

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Love is patient and kind.

Love does not envy or boast;
it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things, 
endures all things.

Love never ends.

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Wordless Wednesday - Diligence

Katie tackled this "task" of helping me wash the car, (with a toothbrush!) with amazing diligence for her tender years. :-)

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Katie's Birth Story

I am woefully behind on the A to Z Challenge...but I'm resolved to finish it, even if it takes me three times as long as it was supposed to...

For "K" I'd like to share with you the story of Katie's birth, that wonderful day 2 years ago when we went from a "couple" to a "family," and I became a mother!

I knew even before we were married that I wanted to have my babies at home if possible. I was blessed to grow up knowing several home-birthing mamas, (including my own dear mother!) and I always knew I would be most happy and comfortable laboring at home, avoiding any unnecessary interventions, assisted by people I actually knew and liked, and snuggling with my brand new baby in my own bed.

We knew who we wanted as a midwife before we were married, so when we learned (to our great delight!) that we were pregnant shortly after our first anniversary, we were all set to go!

My pregnancy was beautifully uncomplicated, with hardly even a touch of morning sickness. The 40 weeks dragged by as we eagerly anticipated the arrival of our little one, and my estimated due date of March 23rd, 2009, passed uneventfully.

Two days later we went to see Carol, (our midwife,) again, and she told us that the baby had dropped! She told me to get lots of walking in, in order to help the baby further engage and to possibly get some contractions going! (I had never had any Braxton-Hicks or contractions of any kind up until this point!)

I think we took a walk every evening after that. By Saturday, (the 28th, 6 days after the "due" date,) the baby was so well "engaged" that I could barely walk or sit! I felt like my monstrous belly was between my knees!
My brothers- and sister-in-law came over to hang out that evening, and Beka swears it was her hilarious story that she read to me that got the contractions going!
Later after they went home, I started feeling crampy. I'd been pretty regularly afflicted with trapped air bubbles during the latter part of my pregnancy, and it took quite a while before I realized this was not air...for one, the pain was all in my back, and then, it wasn't constant.
I was playing WordTwist on Facebook with my brother, Benjamin, (destroying him, of course. Or not.) I tried to get comfortable between rounds of the game. John was in his office on his computer, and the thought that these were contractions suddenly occurred to me, (yeah, a week past my due date, ya think I woulda figured it out a little quicker, huh?)

They weren't at all what I expected contractions to feel like, though. Not a single twinge in my belly area, but completely in my back.
So I tried not to get too excited, but told John that I was pretty sure these were contractions! About a half hour later, I started to have some "show," and I finally allowed myself to feel excited!
This might be it!

John decided he should get some rest before things got intense, so we both tried to sleep. John succeeded. I failed.
It was very uncomfortable to lie down, so I went to the living room and sat in the big armchair. The contractions were about every 5-7 minutes, lasting for about 45 seconds and kept that up through the rest of the night. I just sat and rocked in the armchair and got a hot-pack for my back.
By 7:30, John was awake again, and we agreed that it was definitely happening, so we called Carol.
She'd been asleep for an hour when we called her, just having finished up with another birth that night! (After Katie, she delivered another baby the next day, too! Busy week!)

Things obviously weren't happening too fast yet, so she arrived about 9:30 with her assistant, Janean. Carol checked me and found that I was at 3cm. She predicted, judging by the progression so far, that I'd be at 6cm by 2pm. (I mentally took this to be an optimistic, best-case scenario, so I was very pleased when I actually was 6cm at 2pm!)

I hadn't eaten anything since lunch on Saturday, so they encouraged me to eat something...I ate a banana and proceeded to throw it all up during the next few contractions. Ew.
Janean rubbed/put counter-pressure on my back during a contraction once and that helped a lot, so after that Janean, my mama-in-law, (who'd come about the same time as the midwife,) and John took turns helping my back during each contraction. Carol took a nap at our encouragement in the "nursery," since she really hadn't gotten any sleep to speak of over the past day or so.
I lay on the couch in between each contraction, and then would get down on my hands and knees during, as that position seemed to help with the intensity on my back.

My sweet Mama-in-Law brought me a "labor-present" when she came:

This was an exciting reminder of where we were about to be: holding our little one at last!

By 2pm, when I was at 6cm, the contractions were really starting to come right on top of each other and I didn't have enough time to really get a rest in between. It was taking all my focus to keep on top of them, and though I still felt in control, I knew now how women could "lose it" during labor! (I was only at 6cm still...who knew what it would be like in another 3cm!)
Carol said I could get into the tub if I wanted now, (we'd discussed laboring and possibly delivering in the tub before-hand.) After the next contraction, I knew that "I wanted."
It seemed to take an eternity to get our big soak-tub filled up, but once I got in, I had almost instant relief, and everything was much more manageable again!
For the next 3 hours, John sat up on the edge of the tub to help my back during each contraction. In between, I would lean back and rest on him..

Eventually, my water broke with a *pop* and very shortly afterwards I started to feel the urge to push! Carol said to go ahead and try a couple pushes and if it felt good, we wouldn't try to get me out of the tub to check the dilation! (Ya, no thanks. Ain't nobody getting me out of that tub now!)

After a few pushes, Carol told me to see if I could feel the head. And I could! It was so amazing to already have my baby so close to being in my arms...and I knew now that my baby had hair. A lot of dark hair!
I was suddenly inspired anew, and about 15 minutes later, she was born in the water into my own hands, and I was the first to know that "Baby" was a girl, our beautiful Kathryn Elizabeth.

Besides John, Carol and Janean, both grandmas and three aunts were in the room when she was born and there were quite a few happy tears and lots of excitement. And about 3 bajillion photos.

The whole labor from the very first contraction to baby-in-my-arms was about 15 hours, not bad at all for a first-timer, and not a single hitch or complication, with only a tear so minuscule it didn't even require a stitch.

I remember saying, shortly after I got out of the tub, "I could totally do that again!" And I could. And I have. Although, after #2 (which you'll get if when I ever get to "V" for Victoria's birth story,) I felt considerably less...jovial.

I loved homebirth and the water labor and delivery, and can highly recommend it to everyone that has that option available!

Kathryn Elizabeth
4:49pm, March 29th, 2009
8lbs, 4oz, 21 inches

...with a head full of hair!

Papa getting acquainted his sweet new daughter...

Our little angel sleeping in Papa's arms a few days later...

We love our little girl and can't imagine life with out her!

Life would be so...boring.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Fun with Food Friday - Chicken Devan

 Mama Chocolate

Welcome to Week 6 of Fun with Food Friday
(ALERT: Read to the bottom for extra bonus entries opportunity!)

Check The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom for another recipe review this week!

Today you get two variations on a very similar dish! 
Lindsey Grimes sent me a recipe for a casserole which was almost identical except her's is basically the speedy version with more convenience-food ingredients!
So I'm gonna give you both and then show you how I put mine together!

Lindsey's Chicken, Broccoli & Cheese Casserole
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups uncooked instant rice
  • 2 (10 ounce) cans chunk chicken, drained
  • 1 (10.75oz) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 (10.75oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 (16oz) package frozen chopped broccoli
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 pound processed cheese food, (such as Velveeta)
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.) In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Mix in the instant rice, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.
3.) In a 9x13 baking dish, mix the prepared rice, chicken, cream of mushroom soup, cream of chicken soup, butter, milk, broccoli, onion, and processed cheese.
4.) Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Stir halfway through cooking to help cheese melt evenly.
This recipe is a great way to get your little munchkins to eat broccoli! :-)

Mama Chocolate's Chicken Devan

  • 4 cups cooked rice, (I usually use brown rice)
  • 3 cups cooked chicken, (this is about 3 breasts, see my Chicken Noodle Soup recipe for easy, moist preparation)
  • 3 cups fresh cut-up broccoli (or frozen works almost as well)
  • Make White Sauce using this amazingly easy microwave recipe (double it for use in this dish)
  • 3/4 cup mayo
  • 1 to 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 Tb lemon juice
  • salt 
  • 1.5 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press rice into a 9x13 pan.

2.) Sprinkle the cooked chicken over the rice.

3.) If you are using fresh, (not frozen) broccoli, lightly steam it first. You want it to still have some crunch, since it'll be cooking again in the casserole.

4.) Spread the steamed broccoli over the rice and chicken.
(I think I went a little overkill here on the broccoli, but we all like broccoli here and I happened to have a lot on hand!)

5.) Take the white sauce you made using the amazing microwave recipe, (which I forgot to do!) and add mayo, lemon juice, salt and curry powder, (to your taste.)

I know I have enough curry powder for our tastes when it's about this color after stirring thoroughly

6.) Spread the sauce over the rice, chicken and broccoli

7.) When your eager toddler begs to "help?!" and drags a chair into the kitchen all by her little self, let her sprinkle the cheddar over the top

She will love you forever. ;-)

8.) Sprinkle the breadcrumbs on top.

9.) Bake for 45-60 minutes, until golden on top.

10.) Now that your little angel is no longer in her "liddle printhess dress" let her consume your creation.

If you are not a curry-lover, do not be alarmed by it's inclusion in this dish. This is not a "curry dish." 
It just gives the casserole a delicious deep flavor.

This is one of our favorite meals!

We'll be doing this again next Friday, and we need your recipes!

To encourage ya'll to produce your tasty gems, I'm offering 10 extra entries into any ONE giveaway of your choice for each recipe you submit, (you can send me as many as you like!)

Just send the recipe(s) to and add the 10 entries into the appropriate box on the giveaway entry form.

Don't forget to check The Not-So-Secret Confessions of a First Time Mom to see what Michelle cooked up this week!

If you have a blog post about a favorite recipe, I'd love it if you'd comment with a link to it!
Spread the word about our event and grab the button!

Mama Chocolate

Welcome, hoppers! ;-)
Image and video hosting by TinyPic


Thursday, April 21, 2011


Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
(Psalm 30:5)

This verse has been coming to my mind a lot lately as the weeping tarries for my unborn niece or nephew who recently beat us all to heaven.

Prayers for the whole family are appreciated, and especially for my brother and sister-in-law, as they mourn the loss of their first sweet baby.

I know God has a purpose, and that He will give joy "in the morning," but right now, it just hurts.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Eager to Eat!

We're beginning to have trouble keeping the little munchkin's fingers out of our plates these days...

I think Aunt "Sooby" must also be indoctrinating Victoria in preparation to join her "Let's-All-Live-in-Mexico-and-Eat-Non-Stop-Club." (Aunt Sooby sorta likes Mexico. And food.)
Victoria couldn't keep her eyes (and hands) off our plates at Los Dos Amigos!

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Mama Chocolate: April 2011

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