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Last night was week 5 and with only 6 bakers left competition is getting tough. This week the focus was on desserts. The signature bake is eight individual custards – they can be sweet or savory. Custard can be tricky because the eggs can curdle if you add them to the hot liquid too quickly. A couple of the bakers had trouble with the custard; Effie’s is far undercooked, Francine’s is eggy and grainy, Elaine’s eggs curdled a bit and Brian’s is overcooked. Darlene and James do really well on the custards.
Next is the technical bake and the bakers are asked to bake a “perfect” chocolate soufflé. This is one task I would not want to tackle. I have never made a soufflé before and I hear many things can go wrong when making a soufflé. Brian, of course, thinks the judges have the amount of ingredients wrong and changes the amounts. You can guess what happens…his is a flop! Literally! Does Brian really think he is that great? He really gets on my nerves.
Effie – who started out really well during the competition – appears to be deflating. She somehow managed to forget the sugar in her soufflé. She decides to just go ahead and serve the soufflé under baked because she knows it’s bad. The remaining four bakers do very well on the soufflé’ and James (who never had baked a soufflé’) wins the technical bake. Yea James!
On to the show stopping bake. Keeping with the egg theme, they need to make layered desserts using meringue as a major component. Effie is determined to not give up and vows to keep in mind why she loves baking.
Effie is redeemed with her beautiful cake with simple hazelnut flavor. Francine’s is a mess and she blames Brian because he kept their shared fridge open while he decides to decorate his cake. I told you Brian was annoying! Luckily for Francine the judges love the favors of her cake and they hate Brian’s cake. James falls apart on the showstopper and presents a mess of a cake.
Star baker went to Darlene again! I think she just might win this competition. The judges are down to Brian and Effie to send home. I personally would have chose Brian but unfortunately the judges send home Effie because her custard and soufflé’ were both under baked. I hate to see Effie go home.
Who do you think will be the next baker sent home? Will it be Brian? Who is your favorite baker to win?
Until next week, Happy Baking!
It’s summer time and the kids are so excited to be out of school. I love the lazy mornings that come with summer and how some days become pajama “day”. I especially love pajama day 🙂 The one thing that I don’t want to happen in the summer is for my boys to get out of the groove of reading. I love to read and have always been a huge reader and want to pass it on to my boys. My oldest is going into 8th grade and I am not worried about him. My youngest however is only 7 years old and is going into the 2nd grade. This is still a crucial time for his development in reading. At this age it’s still practice, practice and more practice.
I have taken the boys to the library and they both picked out some books to read. Plus, our library does a reading program throughout the summer for the kids. The kids keep track of the books or number of pages they read and they earn a prize. My oldest is into science and usually sticks to that subject. He does like fiction books but it’s hard to find good books for teen boys. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. He is always looking for a good series to read.
My youngest will read just about anything. It really doesn’t matter but I have noticed he really is into the non-fiction books lately. He does like a book that makes him laugh like Junie B. Jones. We have almost all the Junie B. Jones books because we saved them from my oldest son. These are great little chapter books for younger kids plus they are funny. Well, being the youngest child, he is getting sick of hand me downs and yes this includes books. So I decided to go online and see what new Junie B. Jones books were published. Not only did I find new books but also I came across a Junie B. Jones Kids Reading Club. I knew I just had to share it with all of you.
All you need to do is go to Juniebjones.com and sign up for the parent newsletter. You will receive new information on any Junie B Jones books and events. There is also a Junie B Jones Smelly School Bus tour. It goes to different cities across the US. There is still two dates left on the tour, June 26 (today) in Knoxville, TN and June 29 in Little Rock, AR. Please go to the website for more information.
The website has games and activities for the kids to keep their mind in shape throughout the summer. You can even do print outs to bring on a road trip! Which is just perfect for the summer.
Enjoy your summer reading!
It was week four in the American Baking Competition. We are down to only seven bakers. This was my favorite of all weeks because it was all about Bread. Host Paul Hollywood is known for his breads. So I was excited to see and hear his recipes.
Bread is pretty finicky due to environmental factors and the quality of ingredients. If you have ever made bread at home you know that sometimes the yeast rises and sometimes it doesn’t. It is very easy to kill the yeast. I have been there done that 🙂
Remember the bakers have to complete three bakes: signature bake (something they make at home all the time), technical challenge and the final show stopper bake.
Most of the bakers do really well in the signature bake although both Kolette and (surprisingly) Effie’s breads are under baked. Effie is one of the stronger bakers in my opinion but it just goes to show you how finicky bread can be to make.
In the technical bake, they made soft pretzels! If you read my blog you know that my family should have been on the panel for tasting the technical bake. We LOVE pretzels! What shocked me was that a couple of the bakers forgot what shape a pretzel is…really? I see and make so many that it’s engraved in my head permanently. A lot of the bakers had trouble with the boiling process too. Many over boiled the pretzels but Darlene did a great job and won the technical bake.
The show stopper is, of course, croissants! Laminated dough is pretty time-consuming, so they get two hours one day and three hours the next. They fold and fold and fold dough into the darkness, each of them waxing poetic about their fate thanks to how they did on the previous challenges. Elaine (who has been star baker two weeks in a row) put her dough in the freezer instead of the fridge, which might be disaster. Kolette put in twice as much butter for her dough, and the croissants become an oozy mess. At this point I know Kolette is going home and she did. Darlene won Star Baker for the week because she did so well on all three challenges.
Is anyone else getting annoyed with Brian? He definitely is my least favorite on the show. Why you ask?
Brian complains about the mixer bowl (a gorgeous glass KichenAid bowl, by the way) and then in his home interview tells us how great he is at exercising. Then he goes a step further by trying to appeal to the judges for Star Baker. He thinks all of bakes are the best and truthfully nothing he has made has really appealed to me.
Who’s your favorite baker? Who do you think the final two will be? Did you know that American Baking Competition won its time period last night with 5.8 million viewers
My Baby Pajamas have received another shipment from Claesen’s. Today I received the Claesen’s Denim Boy Boxers 2 pack. If your boys have not tried Claesen’s boxers, you really should give them a test run. My oldest has unfortunately out grown the Claesen’s but my youngest literally lives them in! When I say lives in them I mean that is all he wears. We beg him to put clothes over his Claesen’s boxers when guest come over or even if we leave the house. Don’t worry he doesn’t leave the house in his boxers but let me tell you it’s a fight. He says he is just that comfortable in the boxers. I have decided to stop fighting about it and pick my battles. At least it’s a great product 🙂
Claesen’s Denim Boy Boxers 2 pack comes in sizes 2 years to size 14 years. The price is $25.00 for the 2 pack. From Amsterdam, Claesen’s is made for the active kid. This 2 pack boxer set is made from 95% cotton and 5% lycra. These boy boxers are perfect for underwear, sleeping or just hanging around the house! Machine wash cold and tumble dry low for best results.
Does you child love his or her Claesen’s as much as mine? Have you tired Claesen’s and are you a fan?
I love to run but let’s be serious, running can take a toll on your body. Whether you are a beginner or a veteran runner, recovery is absolutely necessary in order to improve your running performance. There are days that my legs are just dead tired and they feel like cement. Especially when I am training for a half marathon; which I try to do a few times a year. I have found that cross training is key in my training for a race. So on the days I don’t run I will walk our rescued pitbull, Chance for a few miles or some days I will roll out my yoga mat and stretch.
I fell in love with HOT yoga about 6 years ago. Yes, you heard me correctly, HOT YOGA! I know I live in Arizona where it is 112 degrees today and I like to go to a HOT yoga classes. Crazy! I have found the benefits from yoga actually boost my running performance and help me achieve that awesome stretch that no other stretches can do. Now, I will admit I don’t always have time to go to an actual yoga class but I can still get the benefits from yoga at home.
Here are the 5 best yoga poses I have found to help with my running performance. Time to dust off that yoga mat, kick off your shoes and socks and get ready to feel amazing! I do all 5 yoga poses after each run.
Explanation of poses by http://www.abc-of-yoga.com
Child Pose stretches the hips, thighs and ankles gently. It also helps relieve stress and fatigue, and calms the brain. However, you need to observe caution in practicing the Child Pose when you are suffering from a knee injury as it may worsen your ailment when not done properly.
How to do a child’s pose: Kneel and sit on your feet with your heels pointing outward. Your knees should be separated, about the width of your hips. Place your forehead on the floor, then swing your arms forward. Rest your forehead on the floor, then bring your arms around and to your sides, palms facing upward. I prefer to keep my arms forward but it’s whatever is comfortable for you.
Crescent Lunge Pose:
The Crescent Lunge Pose strengthens your legs, back, shoulders, and arms, building stamina. It opens your hips and chest, and improves balance. Also called High Lunge Pose. This pose stretches hip flexors and strengthens legs and arms.
How to do crescent lunge pose: Start in Downward-Facing Dog. Exhale and step your right foot forward between your hands, aligning your knee over the heel. Keep your left leg strong and firm. Inhale and raise your torso to upright. At the same time, sweep your arms wide to the sides and raise them overhead, palms facing. Be careful not to overarch the lower back. Lengthen your tailbone toward the floor and reach back through your left heel. This will bring the shoulder blades deeper into the back and help support your chest. Look up toward your thumbs. Be sure not to press the front ribs forward. Draw them down and into the torso. Lift the arms from the lower back ribs, reaching through your little fingers. Hold for 30 seconds to a minute. Then exhale, release the torso to the right thigh, sweep your hands back onto the floor, and, with another exhale, step your right foot back and return to Down Dog. Hold for a few breaths and repeat with the left foot forward for the same length of time.
Downward Facing Dog: Photo not me. I have a injury with my ankle that is bothersome in downward dog.
In the Downward Facing Dog Pose, you build up strength in the upper arms and you give space and opening in the back, neck, chest, hips and shoulders. If you let your ankles sink nicely to the floor in this Asana, you stretch the calves at the same time. In Yoga, this pose is often used as an exercise in between other exercises, but it is in fact an exercise in itself.
How to do the downward dog pose: Come onto the floor on your hands and knees. Stretch the elbows and relax the upper back between the shoulder blades, which gives you the feeling that the arms fall into the shoulder blades. Exhale and lift your knees and draw your back backwards from the pelvis, so that your arms and back form one line. Stretch your legs in such a way that you get the feeling that someone behind you is pulling your legs and hips backwards from the top of your upper legs. Let your head hang down in a relaxed sort of way. When you have placed your back and your legs correctly, stretch out your arms. This results in a stretching from two sides of the back: a stretching from the pelvis and a stretching from the arms. When the back and the chest are placed correctly, you will notice that you can quietly breathe in and out through the belly. You should not let your chest hang downwards or make your back extremely sunken. In this Asana, the back should be lengthened along its entire length. Take your time to work out the stretching further and further.
A strong, straight lower back is the foundation of every correct position and is consequently important in any Yoga pose. In this exercise, you strengthen the lower back and the legs and by doing so, you create more space in the chest and belly.
How to do the Chair Pose I: Start with the Mountain Pose (Tadasana). Inhale and stretch your arms, lengthen the spine, and be careful not to press the lower ribs to the front. Exhale and bend your knees and move your upper body forward at 45 degrees.
See to it that your lower back is straight. You can do this by letting your hand feel whether there is a “groove” in the middle of the lower back. If this is not the case, then stand up straight again, bend your body forward, and feel if the “groove” is there. Let the weight of the upper body sink into the pelvis, relax the calve muscles so that the weight of the body can be most efficiently directed into the ground.
The chest bone is moved slightly towards the belly. The breathing is relaxed and goes through the belly or towards the chest bone. Build up the exercise quietly and remain focused on a correct position of the back, chest, and pelvis.
Everyone can benefit from the hip opener known as pigeon pose. Stress and tension can build up in the hips and create tightness. Practicing pigeon can make for supple, more flexible hips. Sometimes this pose will take your breath away with its depth, but stick with it and you’ll notice the immediate improvement.
How to do the pigeon pose: From downward facing dog, step both feet together and bring your right knee forward between your hands so your outer right leg is resting on the mat. If your hips are more open, inch your right foot away from you. Make sure your left hip is always pointing down toward the mat. If it begins open up toward the ceiling, draw your right foot back in toward your body. Stay here with your hands resting on your right leg or walk your hands out in front of you, allowing your torso to rest over your right knee. Hold here, breathing into any areas of tightness and tension for at least five breaths. Then place your hands on the mat in front of you, tuck your left toes and step your right foot back. Take a vinyasa, then step your left foot forward and repeat Pigeon on the left side.
Do you have a favorite yoga pose? How often do you do yoga? Do you do yoga at home or in a class? Let us know 🙂
It’s summer time and kids tend to stay up later. Whether they are swimming at night or it’s sleep over’s; kids are staying up too late. Does this sound like your house? I am guilty here. Now, my oldest is 13 years old and he definitely likes to sleep so I am not as worried about him. I know he is getting the recommended hours for his age. It’s my 7 year old that I worry about. The later he goes to bed the earlier he gets up! This happens with a lot of kids because they are over tired and not getting enough sleep. Guilty in this house 🙂
Did you know the more rested a baby and/or child is the better and longer they sleep at night? Crazy…I know!! According to sleep experts, children are not getting enough shut eye. As parents we need to make a conscience effort and make sure to stick with bedtime routines in the summer. I know it’s hard…I am in your shoes too.
So what’s the current recommended amount of sleep time for children?
It varies based on age, but according to the National Sleep Foundation babies between the ages of 3 to 11 months need a total of 14 to 15 hours, while toddlers between 1 to 3 years old should get 12 to 14 hours. Preschoolers need 11 to 13 hours, and elementary schoolers should sleep between 10 to 11 hours. Older children and teens need a minimum of 8½ hours.
Are you kids getting the recommended amount of sleep? Do you stick with bedtime routines in the summer? I would love to hear your feedback!
Don’t forget that a good nights sleep goes hand and hand with awesome kids pajamas 🙂
So I have to admit something to you…doughnuts are probably my favorite sweet treat. Crazy, I know. As a kid, my parents would take my brother and I to Dunkin Donuts for a treat. Boy, do I love Dunkin Donuts! When my husband and I moved to Arizona there were a few Dunkin Donuts throughout the valley but eventually they all closed. This was a very sad day for me. But about 3 or 4 years ago Dunkin Donuts started to re-open in the valley. I was so happy that I rushed to take my boys there…they became hooked! As we all know eating Dunkin Donuts all the time is not healthy so I decided to make a baked doughnut we all can enjoy when we have the taste for them.
Today I am featuring two doughnut recipes. One is a Snickerdoodle type doughnut and the other is a chocolate with chocolate glaze. I am featuring two because everyone’s taste in doughnuts is different. In our house my husband and oldest son LOVE the snickerdoodle doughnut and my youngest and I like the chocolate with chocolate glaze doughnut. Really, I don’t think you can go wrong with either because they are both that good!
Both recipes made 18 doughnuts so I cut the both recipes in half and they turned out great
What is your favorite doughnut? Do you like doughnuts for breakfast or as a dessert? Do you say donut or doughnut?
Happy baking and enjoy the doughnuts! My husband has already asked for a second batch of the Snickerdoodle doughnut 🙂
recipe from King Arthur Flour
- 2/3 cup good quality cocoa powder
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons vinegar, white or cider
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) melted butter or 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 6 tablespoons half & half or cream (light or heavy)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the wells of two standard doughnut pan. If you don’t have two pans, simply bake the batter in two batches.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, flour, sugar, baking powder, espresso powder, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips. Set aside.
- In a large measuring cup or medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and vinegar.
- Add the wet ingredients, along with the melted butter or vegetable oil, to the dry ingredients, stirring to blend; there’s no need to beat the batter, just make sure everything is well-combined.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan(s), filling them between 3/4 and full.
- Bake the doughnuts for 13-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.
- Remove the doughnuts form the oven, and after 30 seconds or so, loosen their edges, turn the pan upside down over a rack, and gently let the doughnuts fall onto the rack.
- For sugar-coated doughnuts, immediately shake the doughnuts in 1 tablespoon granulated sugar; add 1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder to the sugar for an additional touch of chocolate.
- If you want to ice the doughnuts rather than shake them in sugar, allow them to cool completely before icing.
- To make the glaze: Combine the chocolate chips and half & half or cream in a microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup. Heat in 20 second increments, stirring the mixture in between until you get a smooth consistency.
- Remove from the microwave, and stir until the chips have melted and the glaze is smooth.
- Spread glaze on the doughnuts.
Makes 18 doughnuts
recipe from Heather Christo Cooks
-2 ¼ cups AP flour
-1 ¼ cups sugar
-2 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp cream of tartar
-1 tsp salt
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1 cup cream
-1 Tbs vanilla extract
-3 Tbs melted butter
-2 tsp melted butter
-½ cup sugar
-1 tsp cinnamon
In a medium shallow bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar and set aside. Melt the butter in a small pan. In a large bowl combine all of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the cream, egg and vanilla until smooth. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir together and add the melted butter to the batter. Stir the batter and mix it really well until smooth and sticky. Spoon the batter into the donut pan.
Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until golden on top. Let them cool for a few minutes before gently brushing them with a bit of melted butter and turning them out into the cinnamon sugar.
Makes 18 Doughnuts
Do you have a great recipe you would like to share? Just email us at Linda@mybabypajamas.com. Please attach a photo if you can. If your recipe is chosen, you will win a $25.00 Gift Certificate to our website Who doesn’t want free kids pajamas? Please share this contest/giveaway!
This is probably the job I hate most about cleaning the house. In fact, I know it’s the job I hate most…cleaning the glass shower doors! Besides this job, I actually like to clean. It’s relaxing for me and I love a clean house!
But because this is the cleaning job I hate the most, sometimes it gets done every other week. Which actually makes it that much harder to clean. I have tried every over the counter product sold in stores. Nothing seems to really work. I will say our glass shower doors are old too. This is the last room in the house that has NOT been remodeled (we are actually starting to look to remodel, yea). Anyway, since nothing I buy seems to work on the soap scum I decided to make my own homemade cleaner. Here is what I have tried and have found to work. If you have any other suggestions or ideas, I would love to hear about them.
Fabric Softener – adding one cup of fabric softener to one liter of warm water is an effective way to get rid of that residue and soap scum on your glass shower door. Simply wipe the mixture on the door and then rinse it off with warm water from your shower. If you happen to have a dryer and have dryer sheets handy, then wipe the dryer sheets along the shower door. This can also remove the soap scum.
Vinegar – vinegar is the one item that every household should have. It is effective and safe in cleaning a number of different things and your glass shower door is no different. Simply put white vinegar into a spray bottle and spray onto the shower door. Scrub the mixture onto the screen with a nonscratch pad before rinsing off with warm water. Make sure you label the spray bottle so that you know what item is in there. You don’t want your kids to find the spray bottle and assume it is water.
Lemon Juice and Salt – this is the most effective option if your glass shower doorframes are made out of metal. Over time you may notice that rust forms, which can make your shower, look dirty and old as well. Combine one tablespoon of lemon juice to two tablespoons of salt and form a paste. Using a toothbrush, scrub the mixture into the corners where the rust is forming. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. I found this to really work well on our metal area.
Do you have any other suggestions about cleaning glass shower doors? Is it the chore you hate the most? We would love to hear from you!