It’s a Pawty – A Dog’s Birthday Party

Dog-birthday-party-theme-puppy

What happens when you love your dogs and you love entertaining?  Chances are, you’ve thought about having a dog birthday party, right?  This year, Emmie turned 2 and now that she has her very own fenced in backyard, a party was a must!  Inspired by Pinterest (the easiest place for inspirations!), Emmie’s “all things dog” theme was created! Since the idea was to keep the dogs outside, the party began at 9AM <— yes, a party starting at 9AM!

Dog-birthday-party-theme-cake-bone-ideasDog Bone Shaped Cake:

Who knew a little geometry would come in handy while baking a cake!!  One of my favorite types of cake (from a box) is funfetti. Hands down. Something about the vanilla cake and sprinkles combo makes a great taste and reminds me of when I was a kid. I didn’t go fancy on this one at all. Simple cake mix and frosting, follow the instructions and bake. Once the 1 rectangular cake pan and the 3 circle cake pans were done, the fun began to create this dog bone shaped cake. You will cut out 1/4 of each of the circles so you can use the 3 1/4 pieces to make the 4th part of the bone. 🙂 A birthday wasn’t complete without us singing, yes singing, to Emmie and then indulging in a cake (and mimosas!).

Dog-birthday-party-mimosas-parfait-themeBest in Show Bubbly:

A make-your-own-mimosas bar. Need I say more?! I usually buy Andre Brut for my mimosa champagne but I recently learned about freixenet – a few dollars more, but so worth it. Maybe not for the masses when you can buy Andre, but definitely a must for a small gathering.

Pupcakes Dog-birthday-party-pupcakes-peanut-butter-apples

These peanut butter apple cupcakes were made specifically with dogs in mind.  They were a huge it hit!  You can find the recipe for pupcakes here.  The frosting is made of  greek yogurt and peanut butter and topped with homemade dog biscuits (recipe). These were a HUGE hit!

Doggie Bag: treats-to-go

Who doesn’t love going to a party and taking something home?  Well when you go to my dog’s party, you will end up taking home a doggie bag of treats for your fur baby! These are the same treats that I topped the pupcakes with and the recipe is here.  Made of oatmeal, carrots, and cheese, these things are healthy and the dogs ate them up!

Dog-birthday-party-biscuits-cheese-carrots-oats

Snacks

I made “fetch sticks” out of overnight French toast and strawberries on a kebab stick.  Topped with maple syrup and powdered sugar, these were so yummy.  I made pigs dogs-in-a-blanket from crescent rolls and mini sausage links.  I had extra rolls so I filled these with nutella and they were actually pretty good!  To make the snack spread somewhat healthy, a parfait bar was a must!

Dog-birthday-party-theme-fetch-sticks-ideas

Emmie’s party was such a great success but the afternoon was even better!  As soon as I was done cleaning everything up outside, the thunderstorms came down hard (talk about perfect timing!)!  The dogs slept for hours and I even fit a little nap in the day. 🙂

Happy 2nd birthday, Emmie!

Dog-birthday-party-theme-ideas

 

Lactation cookies: q & a

Lactation-cookies-types-Nutella-peanut-butter-toffee

Lately, I’ve been super busy making lactation cookies. I know, sounds weird, private, disgusting, awkward whatever, but lactation cookies are full of “milk-making” ingredients that can help new moms! <— even weirder than the name, I know. 

I’ve been selling lactation cookies primarily through swip-swap sites in the local area and to friends of friends. I’ve gotten a ton of the same questions she here’s a little Q & A section of the questions moms have asked and the answers I’ve found.

Will these really help?

Yes, they can! Lactation cookies are made with a few key ingredients that help the lactation process. With drinking plenty of water (and then some more), having proper nutrition and healthy habits as well as trying to rest as much as possible, these delicious, nutritious cookies can definitely help increase supply!  The four “perk ’em up” ingredients are:

Oats– full of fiber, calcium and iron, two essential nutrients for nursing mothers

Flaxseed– fiber, omega-3 fatty acids: improves milk quality, brain function and helps regulate hormones

Brewer’s yeast– iron, proteins, vitamin B, selenium and chirmium (which can also aid in lowering blood sugar levels and cholesterol) Not only is brewer’s yeast helpful at boosting milk supply, but it can also help fight that early mom fatigue.

Barley malt– organic sprouted barley in the form of a syrup is used to replace a portion of the sugar in the cookies and mimics the lactigenic effect of malt.

Lactation-cookie-ingredients

Can I eat them before the baby comes?

Yes, but it’s not going to help with post pardum milk production. Prolactin, the hormone that produces milk increases throughout pregnancy but  the body doesn’t react to it until the placenta is delivered, mainly due to the hormone progesterone in the placenta. If you have a history of low milk supply, get some frozen cookies to accompany you on you first few weeks home. Or bring a batch to a friend when meeting their new baby!

However, I must disclose that I am a HUGE proponent of seeing what your body can do all on it’s on.  I mean you just birthed a tiny human, right!?  I believe that our bodies can do some incredible things all on its own.  As much as I would like every mom to buy cookies, I would like even more for every mom to be able to produce tons of milk all on their own.  Since life happens, we go back to work, we stress out, eat second or third to our kids and sleep less than we should, sometimes a little assistance is needed.  This is where I LOVE helping new and veteran mommies increase their milk supply and provide for their babies with cookies!

 How many should I eat?

No two people are the same so this is a loaded question but in general, the common thread I’ve read among other blogs and articles recommend what’s below. I’ve also had feedback from customers this worked for them!

days 1-2: 4 cookies

days 3-4: 2-3 cookies

1 cookie a day for the rest of the week. Repeat cycle next week or when supply goes low again.
Do you have other flavors?

Yes! Check out the main page for all the current flavors. I’m always open for customization.
Do you have dairy or gluten free?

The oatmeal-raisin-coconut can be dairy free every easily with no loss of milk making ingredients. For gluten-free, please contact me about options. My kitchen is NOT gluten free for someone with celic disease but I can make cookies whose ingredients do not contain gluten in nature.
Can I freeze lactation cookies?

Yes! This is the best part! I do the work, get the ingredients, mix the magic and portion out the cookies. All you have to do is preheat the oven and you will have freshly baked homemade cookies in about 10 minutes or less!
Where can I buy them?

Right here! (Sort of) all you have to do is email me your order and we will coordinate a pickup/delivery. Email cassiemsmith@gmail.com or leave a comment below!
I’m not due for awhile but would LOVE to but would love to buy some, can I pre-order?

Yes! You have a due date so schedule a delivery now for a later date. See below for how to order.
What’s the process for ordering?

  1. Go to the Little Miss Moo section and pick the type of cookies you want
  2. Email me at cassiemsmith@gmail.com your order; you will get one dozen baked and one dozen frozen so you can bake fresh later! (Or both frozen, your choice) It’s $15 for each type (each 2dz set)
  3. Do you want pick up (from Stonehurt Plantation pool on 210) or delivery (I can meet you or deliver directly – $5 starting charge, depending on distance)?
  4. When do you want them?  I can deliver before 8am or after 8pm M-F, weekends are pretty open.
  5. Get them and enjoy!

Where can I find more info on lactation, lactation cookies, etc?

Below are a few links to articles and blogs that I’ve found super helpful!

Foods that Help Increase Breastmilk – http://www.babycenter.in/a1049926/foods-that-help-increase-breastmilk

Breastfeeding Basics – http://www.breastfeedingbasics.com/articles/increasing-your-milk-supply

Dr Momma and Lactation Cookies – http://www.drmomma.org/2010/08/lactation-cookies-recipe-increasing.html

Breastfeeding Made Simple and other great books – http://www.breastfeedingmadesimple.com/index.html

The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk – http://makingmoremilk.com/

Still have questions?  Leave me a comment below and I’ll add it to the Q&A!

Lactation-cookies-little-miss-moo

Chocolate Lovers: Mint Edition

Well hello, again!  With the new year in full swing, there are so many new possibilities that lay ahead!  Fortunately, some things will never change and my love for chocolate is definitely one of them.  During the holidays, my work had a cookie exchange and two of the recipes are definitely worth sharing!  Now there are a few criteria that a dessert must have in order to be worth sharing…

#1 – It has to be delicious. (defined by the taster)

#2 – The recipe has to be easy.  The easier the better.  A bonus if you can just use the microwave.  No-bakes are so fun! You know the saying “good things come in small packages”  ( <— so true, but that’s another story) well for recipes, “good things come in small grocery lists”

#3 – More than one opinion matters.  If other people like it, you’re probably on to something good.

These two are yummy, super easy and tested by many!  Both chocolate mint flavored and perfect for sharing and crowd pleasing.

Mint-chocolate-clusters-fudge

Dark Chocolate Mint Fudge

  • 1 cup mint chocolate chips  (coarsely chop 1/4 cup and set aside)
  • 10 oz dark chocolate morsels
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Andes-Nestlé-fudge-ingredientsLine an 8-inch square baking pan with foil. Combine the dark chocolate and sweetened condensed milk in a microwave safe bowl.  Set the heat to a low or melt setting and microwave, stirring every 20-30 seconds until melted.  Add vanilla.  Stir in whole mint chocolate chips and then spread mixture in pan.  Sprinkle with chopped mint morsels and press gently.  Refrigerate until firm.  Wa-lah!  Done!

Mint-fudge-panYup, that easy.  One bowl wonder, plus the pan and you’re good to go!  Besides waiting a few hours for this to firm, the fudge is super duper quick to make, no fuss and really tastes pretty amazing if you like mint chocolate… and I love mint chocolate!  ❤

 

Andes-mint-fudge

When you thought fudge was the cat’s meow, let me introduce Oreos to the mix!!

Mint Chocolate Cookie Crunch

  • 1.5 – 12 oz packages of semisweet chocolate chips (18 oz total)Mint-cookie-crunch-ingredients
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 Package of Oreos (about 10 oz)
  • 2 cups rice crispies

Lay out wax paper on a table.  This is a no-bake recipe so these will harden on the table. Coarsely chip the Oreos until they are pretty well crushed.  They can be a little clumpy but the more crushed the better.  Combine cereal and Oreos in a bowl. Set aside.

Mint-cookie-chocolate-ingredients

Melt chocolate chips on a low microwave heat setting, stirring every 20-30 seconds until melted.  Stir in vanilla and peppermint.  Pour chocolate over cereal/Oreo mixture and stir until combined.

drop by tablespoonful on the wax paper and cool.

Mint-chocolate-Oreo-clusters

I thought it would be fun sprinkle a little powdered sugar on these gems and it definitely made the baking a little messy <– messy in the kitchen can be fun in itself! Easy as that, these things are sure to please.  If you’ve ever had a chocolate covered Oreo, it’s like that… but minty and homemade!

Dark-chocolate-mint-clusters

I have to share another picture of what happens when I go to Sam’s Club…

4-pound- chocolate-nestle

Yup, that’s a 4 pound bag of chocolate.  In preparation for Holiday cooking, I bought this bag… Well it’s January 17th, and the bag is now 0 pounds.  #missionaccomplished #ineedveggiesnow #butitwassogood #andishared

{For now} I’ll put the desserts aside and get started on some healthy eating for the new year and training for the Gate River Run!