Friday, February 4, 2011


Don't ask why I felt the need to title this post "puddin'" instead of, well, anything normal. Today is a snow day (sort of) and I feel a little wild! I had the plan to clean the I did a few random things to reach that goal...then I came up with an excuse to get on the computer...and here I am! In a semi-clean (not really) apartment blogging :) Yay.

SO I am really obsessed with the blog This woman cooks things (and takes pictures of them) the way I wish I could. If you want to see HER version of vanilla bean pudding go here. I tried my best to copy it and it turned out DELICIOUS. Next time I won't cook it as long...but I waited for it to "simmer" for too long until I realized "You're stirring this constantly dummy! It probably won't start simmering for a vvvvveeerrry long time. Bite the bullet, cut your losses, and just stop cooking this so you can eat it faster."

Here is the recipe (directly from so the pictures make a little more sense...

"2 2/3 cups whole milk, divided

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)

1 large egg

Bring 2 cups of the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan. While it is heating, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt and vanilla bean (if you’re replacing it with extract, don’t add it yet; if you’d like to toss the leftover vanilla bean pods in the pot with the simmering milk for an extra vanilla boost, go for it) in the bottom of a medium, heatproof bowl. Gradually whisk in the remaining 2/3 cup whole milk, a little at a time so lumps do not form, then whisk in the egg. Once milk is boiling, very gradually add it to the cornstarch mixture in the bowl, whisking the whole time.

Return the mixture back to the saucepan, stirring constantly with a silicon spatula or wooden spoon. Once it comes to a simmer, cook it for one minute longer (which will cook the cornstarch and egg fully). Stir in vanilla extract, if you’re using it and divide pudding among 6 dishes. Chill in refrigerator until fully set, about 2 hours."

This is the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla bean! I had never used a vanilla bean before...what an adventure! You cut the vanilla bean down the middle then scrape the inside out with your knife. It looks like ants crawling around all that white...but it's not, I promise. (The 2 cups of whole milk are warming on the stove at this point...)

Here I am adding the 2/3 c. milk to the dry ingredents...and whisking furiously to prevent lumps!

Added the egg...this picture isn't very appetizing is it?

Added the boiling milk to the other ingredients (GRADUALLY and whisking constantly again) then transferred it all back to the warm saucepan to bring to a simmer...Mine never really got to a simmer (I took this picture right after I added it to the pot so all those bubbles are from me whisking it so much in the previous step). But I went with my instincts and took it off the heat about ten minutes after putting it on the stove. Seems too long in hindsight...I'm open to suggestions and advice!

This is the end result! I do not remember it looking this yellow...but it was delicious regardless. Seriously, so good. I will probably make this all the time now. The limiting factor will be the vanilla bean, but I will just use extract when I'm desperate and don't feel like making a trip to the store for a single vanilla bean.

Thanks for reading! I hope to be adding lots more food-related things and cooking adventures to the stay tuned.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The H-E-B Family

Howdy everyone!
As you may know, Adam and I are both employees of H-E-B. My employment with H-E-B was always a dream of mine and I'm so excited Adam works for my fave company as well! Adam works at the newest H-E-B Plus in Bulverde. He was hired to work in the General Merchanidse section which is any non-food item that is not a prescription drug...and if you've ever been to an H-E-B Plus, you know that General Merchandise is HUGE there! He was hired as a part-time employee and was promoted to full-time in 9 days! I'm so proud of him :)

I work at the San Antonio Retail Support Center. There are several plants there including meat, milk, ice cream (Creamy Creations...YUMM), floral, bakery, snacks, and more. I am a lab technician on the Quality Assurance team at the milk and culture plant. It's my job to make sure all the fluid and culture products are safe and within specifications (ie 2% milk is actually 2%, the sour cream has the correct amount of butterfat, etc.) It's very exciting and keeps me very busy.

It has given me a whole new appreciation of how much work goes into each and every food product that is manufactured. Next time you buy any food item in the grocery store think about how many people and how much time has gone into making sure it is the highest quality possible. Between the people driving semi trucks full of ingredients, warehouse employees, the production team, maintenance people to keep everything running, quality employees (like me), sanitation specialists, finished product warehouse employees, people to transport the finished product, and THEN it gets to a store where it is stored, moved, counted, priced, and everything else! Whew!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

As I promised...

Here are some pics from Christmas 2010...

The beginning of the attempt to take an "All The Grandkids" picture.

#1. All the boys are technically in the picture but Joey is sleepy and Kaleb is busy. Conner is thinking "Please give me the baby. I have the pillow ready and everything!" Micah is wondering why nobody else is ready to take this picture.

#2. Joey has been re-positioned but is still attempting to sleep. Kaleb is on the move and Conner is smiling because he finally has Kallie. Once again, Micah is chillin.
#3. Not sure what is happehing here. Obviously Aggie had to step in...looks like a Coach (Joey's blanket) related issue. Conner, still smiling. Micah, still wondering what's taking so long. Kaleb, still on the move.
#4. This one is blurry because I was laughing so hard, I apologize. Kaleb thought it would be a good time to start singing Jingle Bells while doing an adorable dance only 1 1/2 year olds can do. Priceless.

#5. Success! Kallie is a tad upset that it took her silly brother and cousins this long to cooperate, but I think it's a keeper!

A few other random pictures...

Kaleb playing with one of his many trucks...
Kaleb L-O-V-E-D Adam's boots...actually anyone's shoes for that matter.
They almost fit :)
Proud Aunt Caroline holding precious Kallie.
Joey and Kaleb playing with a new toy and clearly loving life.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Christmas 2010

Howdy everyone! I hope 2011 has been treating you well so far. I have not posted in a while...there is much to update on.

We spent Christmas with Adam's family. It was a blast! Both of Adam's siblings were there too, along with the spouses and kids! There were 13 people all celebrating Christmas together and it was nonstop fun. I hardly remembered to take pictures because we were all constantly playing, laughing, and running around...a perfect Christmas with the family :). Celebrating Christmas with kiddos involved is so much fun!
Early Christmas morning we went to Tiffany and Kevin's house to watch Kaleb open presents. When he first walked into the living room I think he was a little unsure what to think...a room of adults was all staring at him expectantly and grinning from ear to ear. He walked to the middle of the room, looked around, and ran up to Gammie to give her a big hug. After a little bit of prodding ("Hey Kaleb, what are all those things under the tree") he explored the presents...and loved it!
The Wells brood arrived that afternoon and we all opened our presents from eachother and Santa. Talk about controlled chaos! Adam's mom was under, in, and behind the tree trying to get out all the gifts. The gifts are labeled using a color code and we are shouting the colors at eachother trying to distribute the presents correctly. ("Rachel, who is blue?" "Hand this to red!" "Put this on Purple's stack!!") Meanwhile, the little ones had already started opening their presents and proclaiming their excitement for the latest Wii game, book, etc. All in all, it was a super fun and unforgettable Christmas.

(Unfortunately I am writing this blog at a coffee shop and do not have my camera to upload pictures. I know that pictures are the best part of a blog so I will try to upload them soon. SPOILER ALERT: I have a great one of all the kiddos in their Christmas pajamas that took about ten minutes to take. Be excited.)