Friday, May 4, 2012

I moved to

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

I purchased my domain in March. It's up and running. Check out the *new and improved* Huppie Mama by clicking the image below or visiting

  Huppie Mama

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Dessert Bread Recipe

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.
Last night, I went to a tasting event at Whole Foods and tried a delicious Chocolate Chip Challah French Toast. I went home and had to reproduce something similar. I've been really into baking bread recently, so I made a delicious bread this morning, and I don't know what else to call it other than dessert bread. It tastes like all the goodness of bread pudding...but without all the cream/eggs (although that part is delicious, too!) In the recipe below, I added raisins & walnuts. Those were not in my original recipe, but would make an awesome addition.

Dessert Bread

2 1/4 c bread flour
1 egg
2/3 c warm water
1 stick room temperature butter, cubed
1 T sugar (I used turbinado)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon
2 t yeast
1/2 c chocolate chips
1/3 c walnuts, chopped
1/3 c raisins
1/4 cup honey

1. In a larger mixer with a bread hook attachment, combine warm water and yeast. Add egg, butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Continue to mix until the ingredients are well-combined. The dough will be sticky.

2. On a floured surface, need the dough briefly and place in a bowl for 30 mins to rise. Knead the dough for several minutes, and again place in the bowl for 30 minutes to rise.

3. Kneed the dough once more and add in the raisins, chocolate chips, and walnuts. Place on a greased cookie sheet to rise once more time.

4. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat the honey in a small dish in the microwave until it becomes very liquidy. After the dough has risen for a 3rd time, brush it with the honey. Place it in the oven to bake.

5. While cooking, at the 10 and 20-minute intervals, quickly brush the bread with honey. Bake the bread about 35 minutes, or until the crust is a deep golden brown.

Eat immediately, while still warm and gooey!


Day 12 ~ Make a Food Bryce Can Try

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.
Day 12 was 'Make a Food Bryce Can Try' and it happened to be fajita night at my sister's house. I'm a big fan of waiting until about 6 months to feed your child solid foods, but I am also a fan of encouraging children to explore. When we eat, Bryce basically attacks me to try to get at my food. He is so determined to try everything, that I have to put my plate practically on the other side of the table so he can't grab it. He is so interested in food!

So, I decided at 5 1/2 months, I'd let him try some super-mushy ripe avocado. I cubed it and put it on a plate, and let him mush it with his hands. If he wanted to play with it, he could. If he wanted to taste it, he could. I'm definitely not ready to feed him meals, but I don't mind him exploring the world around him, using all of his senses. Even when it's time to start eating 'meals,' I plan to just put soft finger foods on a surface for him to explore and taste. His main source of nutrients for the first year will be breastmilk, but I like that he has an interest in food. Definitely mommy's little guy!

Day 11 ~ Try a New Cooking Technique

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.
'Try a new cooking technique' was not initially a part of my cooking challenge, but I decided to add it in as Day 11. I'm always open to trying new techniques ~ and this time I went with using my oven as a food dehydrator. We had so many strawberries (probably around 3 or 4 pounds) that I decided to make some fruit leather.

First I sliced the strawberries. I looked at some other recipes that said to add water, lemon juice, and sugar. I added a bit of each, but honestly, these were so ripe and juicy, I probably should've just stuck with strawberries only. 
Each time I sliced a berry, I think Lydia ate half of it (see her guilty full cheeks??)

Then I simmered the mixture for about a half hour.

I pureed it in a small food processor. If you want to remove the seeds, you can pour it through a sieve, but I liked the natural texture that the seeds give it.

Then I spread the mixture onto a cookie sheet covered with plastic wrap. I set my oven to 170 degrees, and cooked the mixture 2-3 hours, until it was chewy (not sticky, but not brittle either).

Here's what the entire sheet looked like when I pulled it off the pan. 
The two random spots are where I poked my finger to see if it was still gooey.

I placed the fruit leather in the freezer for a few minutes to cool and firm. Lydia loved it! 

Day 10 ~ Make a Recipe w/Food We Picked

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.
This past weekend, we visited Bedner's Farm again to pick fresh strawberries, tomatoes, and peppers. We even went with some friends this time!

Our food challenge for Day 12 was to create a meal with something we grew or picked. I decided to challenge myself to create a homemade ravioli with sauce from our fresh tomatoes.

The pasta itself is made by combining 2 cups of unbleached all purpose flour, two eggs, a tablespoon of olive oil, and about a half a cup blanched & pureed fresh spinach (squeezed to remove most of the liquid). I combined it using a mixer with dough hook attachment. I cut it into circles using a cookie cutter. They are filled with a mixture of chicken sausage, sun-dried tomatoes, sauteed onions & garlic, mozzarella cheese, and parmesan cheese, placed in a food processor to chop finely. 

The sauce was really simple - sauteed garlic, onion, olive oil, tomatoes, and some Italian seasoning. The pasta, however, was a lot of work!  That part alone probably took me 2 hours. The good part was quite tasty! The texture of the pasta was perfect and the flavor was delicious.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

HP e-All-In-One Printer Review

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.
As a member of MomSelect, I was chosen to review the new HP DJ3052A e-All-In-One Printer available at Walmart for just $69.
This printer-scanner-copier features technology that allows you to print directly from your smart phone, tablet, or laptop from virtually anywhere! This is great for printing:
  • Photographs
  • Coupons
  • Recipes
  • Maps
  • Important documents
  • Airline tickets
  • Teaching materials (hand-outs, craft ideas, etc.)
Check out the following video which demonstrates just how easy it is to use the HP e-All-In-One Printer to make document special times with your family. Here's how my daughter and I baked bread by printing coupons to buy ingredients, printed photos of the bread-making process, and assembled a book of our cooking project. So much fun!

* I received the aforementioned product for free to review. The opinions expressed are honest and provided without monetary compensation.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Day 9 ~ Go out for Ice Cream

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.
'Go out for ice cream' turned into lunch and ice cream with my sister and mom ~ Pasquale's Pizza & Cold Stone Creamery. Lydia and I shared the sweet cream ice cream with brownies and graham cracker crumbs. I put her portion in a cone, and I ate the rest of the cup. Yummy!

Can't I eat my ice cream in peace?

Please! No more pictures, Mommy!

Fine, I'll pose for just one more!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day 8 ~ Bake Cookies

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.
This was an awesome challenge! I got ty try out a recipe I had thought about trying, and when I shared the idea on Facebook, I think I inspired three other mommies to make some. I decided to do homemade Oreo cookies. While I like things that are cookies n' cream flavored, there's something about store-bought Oreos that I don't like. They have a bit of a cardboard texture/flavor that just makes them taste processed. Well...the solution is to make your own! You can click the link above for the recipe, so I'll just share my series of photos. I used King Arthur Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa for a really rich, deep flavor.

Homemade Oreo Cookies

Lydia loves cooking with me!

You can laugh about what this dough looks like. I did a bit...but it was yummy!

I made my cookies pretty small - I wanted them to be the size of store-bought Oreos.

Here are the cookies straight out of the oven.

I put the filling in a zipper bag and cut the tip to "pipe" the filling into the cookies.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 7 ~ Barbecue!

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.
Our food challenge for Day 7 just said BBQ. Well, I went our for brunch that day with my childhood best friend, and Richard decided to do the BBQ with Lydia for lunch. He wrote it all out for me:

Half rack of Bourbon Babyback Ribs

2 t smoked paprika
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 oz bourbon

1 1/2 oz bourbon
1 T honey
1 T brown sugar
1 t dijon mustard
1 t molasses
1 t Worcestershire sauce
pinch of chili powder

Directions: Marinate in a large zipper bag overnight. Place on a charcoal grill. Brush glaze on periodically while both sides of meat cook to completion.

Polish Sausage

a bottle of beer
1t caraway seeds
1 medium onion, sliced

Directions: First, cook on a charcoal grill until grill marks appear. Then,  cook in a bath of beer, caraway seeds, sliced onions.

Looks like Lydia enjoyed!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Day 6 ~ Make a Vegan Meal

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

I lost a few days in my food challenge because I had to get all 4 wisdom teeth removed, but I'm back! Today's challenge was to create a vegan meal. Now, I may have been a vegetarian/pescatarian for several years, but the vegan thing is a true challenge! I decided to go with a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern flavor.

Here are most of the ingredients that I used

And here was the outcome

I made vegetable kebabs that I brushed with a lemon-garlic-dijon vinaigrette and grilled. I brushed some flat bread with olive oil, added Italian seasoning, and grilled that, too. I made a salad of garbanzo beans, read onion, celery, salt, pepper, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. I served this with some hummus and a decent-quality pre-packaged mix of whole grains (brown rice, bulghur wheat, and a few others). It was pretty delicious! Although one thing I will say, because this contained absolutely no animal products, it also contained absolutely no animal fat. This means that in order to get nice grill marks (which means flavor), I had to use a lot of olive oil. The nice thing about meat products, dairy, etc. is that they naturally contain fat, so you do not have to use as much additional oil. I think I forgot about this as I moved toward eating a more well-balanced diet.

Day 5 ~ Bake Bread

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

While I absolutely love cooking, I have only recently begun to learn to bake. There is such a science to baking that I am starting to understand. My latest interest is in learning how to bake breads. Bread-making always looked so complicated, but I am quickly learning that you can make pretty good bread with just a few ingredients and a few steps. Pinterest guided me to a 5 minute artisan bread. Five minutes? I could do that! Well here goes...

The Dough

The Bread

The Bread After Lydia Got to It

Yes, I can bake bread! And it was delicious! However, the one thing I learned about baking bread is that it must be eaten immediately to truly appreciate how special it is.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day 4 ~ Try a New Food Store

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

With two kids, I've found a lot of the everyday activities I used to engage in somewhat of a challenge. One of these is grocery shopping...and going out in general sometimes. I have to worry about my recently toilet-trained daughter having access to a toilet, changing my son's diapers, having snacks for her, breastfeeding him, etc, etc, etc. So many things to think about! A lot of times I feel more comfortable going out on a weekday with a companion, like my sister or my mom. Yesterday I went over my sister's house, we went out for lunch, and then just decided to take a drive. It gave the kids a chance to sleep and us a chance to bond. It also gave me a chance to try a new food store. I saw a small "sausage" shop on US-1 near Ft. Lauderdale Beach.

Not only was this store new to me, it actually just re-opened about a week ago. They had a great selection of sausages, bacon, and other cured/smoked meats. I got some andouille sausage, bierwurst (never tried that before), and double-smoked bacon. I also got a free hot dog!

The bacon was freshly-sliced and very yummy. 
Here's some of it cooking. Yes, I did eat bacon for dinner last night.

Day 3 ~ Food Artwork

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

Our Day 3 food challenge was to paint with fruits & veggies. This isn't exactly a cooking challenge, obviously, but it makes us rethink the beauty of food. I recently saw an awesome pin on Pinterest using okra to paint. Unfortunately, the only packages of okra they had at the store that day were huge, and I didn't want to make the investment, but I'd definitely like to try that one day. We used heart and start-shaped potato stamps, an apple, and broccoli to paint. Since it was Valentine's Day, we used pink paper and pink & red paint. Next time, I think we'll use food as our medium (perhaps some pudding, cool whipped, gelatin, etc.).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wordless Wednesday (part 2) ~ Work-at-home Moms

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

My own creation!

Wordless Wednesday ~ Pinterest: Nailed it!

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

As everyone knows, I love to cook! I also love to share photos and recipes...of my successful meals/desserts. Well, sometimes, I have some not-so-successful dishes, more like disasters, in the kitchen. This past week, I've made a ton of recipes from Pinterest. Some of them turned out awesome, but here are two of my failures - Enjoy!

Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

"Baked" Mozzarella Cheese Sticks

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


For my Forever Valentine -

Let me start by saying that I have no permission to do this (unexpected) guest blog.  I make this point not because I need permission to do things in my life, but rather to draw an initial contrast.

The contrast is this: most couples begin, continue, and even end their relationships based on a set of fairly finite rules.  These are unspoken rules, but they are followed, accepted, conventional, and understood.

And none of them are us.  None of them are her.

My wife, the writer of this blog, is known by many names: Huppiemama, Mommy, Dr. Wells, Mrs. Wells.  She is a Daughter, a Mother, a Sister, a Wife, a Friend; she is a Director, a Teacher, a Writer, a Cook, a Photographer, an Accountant, an Activist, an Advocate.

She has meant more and done more for more children and more families than most people could expect of themselves in a lifetime.

You could take all of her accomplishments, and all of her contributions, and all the roles she has filled in so many people's lives, and you can combine them all and get a vivid picture of who she is.

But that picture pales in comparison to the Carrie that I see every day.

Carrie has to-do lists for her to-do lists and likes when I get her water at night.  Carrie loves to feel in control but lets me drive all the time.  Carrie will be the first to point out an issue but also always the first to offer a solution.  When Lydia or Bryce or I hurt, Carrie hurts.  When we succeed, Carrie revels in our successes.  When we fail, Carrie encourages us to learn rather than trudge in the muck of regret.

Carrie has helped me become a better Teacher, a better Brother, a better Father, and a better Man.  And Carrie has done all this with an unbelievable grace.  And all she asks for in return is love.

Without knowing it, Carrie has done what Emerson once suggested: "Give all to love; obey thy heart."  It is the only rule by which Carrie lives her life, and it is the rule I have learned by watching Carrie and marveling at everything she has been, and is, and will become.

Carrie - today and every day I give all to you, my now and forever love.  Happy Valentine's Day.

- Richard

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day 2 ~ Create a Meal w/3 Animals

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

So today's challenge was to make a meal containing products from 3 animals. As I began to create this dish, I decided I could actually easily incorporate five. As a pescetarian, I ate a vegetarian diet + seafood. I did this for many years after a trip to Gainesville where I had a Hardee's sausage biscuit. It was so completely inedible that all I could think about was how an animal died to make something that tasted so disgusting. It changed my whole philosophy about food. During my first pregnancy, I remained a pescetarian, but about a year ago, I decided to incorporate meat back into my diet. I decided that since the animals were going to be killed for meat anyway, I would prepare them in a way that was respectful and delicious! I also try to use animals that are humanely treated, like grass-fed beef and free-roaming chickens, or wild, like shrimp and fish. So here was tonight's delicious meal. It contained products from fish (cod filet), pig (chorizo sausage), cow (milk & butter), chicken (broth), and goat (cheese).  It was...phenomenal.

Chorizo & Cod Stew with Goat Cheese Polenta

For the stew:
2 chorizo sausages (uncooked)
1 cod filet (about 3/4 lb), cut into 2" squares
2 plum tomatoes, diced
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 t pimenton (smoked paprika)
salt & pepper to taste

For the polenta:
1 cup coarsely-ground cornmeal
2 cups milk 
2 cups chicken broth
2 oz. goat cheese
1 T butter
salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Brown the chorizo on medium heat in a nonstick pan that can go in the oven.

2. While sausage is browning, pour one cup of broth and one cup of milk into a large pot. When it begins to simmer, add cornmeal. Continually stir for 20 - 25 minutes, adding the other cup of each liquid as it begins to thicken.

3. When the sausage is browned, slice the sausage into about 1/2" thick pieces. Leave about a tablespoon of fat in the pan and discard the rest. Add the diced tomatoes, sliced garlic, sliced sausage, fish, pimenton, and 1 cup of chicken broth to the pan. Place the pan in the oven for 15 - 20 mins, until the fish is cooked through.

4. While the sausage and fish stew is cooking in the oven (during the last 2 - 3 mins of cooking), complete the polenta by adding the goat cheese and butter. Adjust seasoning as needed.

5. Remove pan from the oven. Serve stew over a mound of polenta on a plate.

Makes 2 servings.

Day 3 ~ Make food artwork.

Day 1 ~ Make a Comfort Food

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

Inspired by a similar idea on a friend's blog, I decided I would do a 30-Day Food Challenge. I love to experiment with food. I've eaten a vegetarian diet, a pescetarian diet, a dairy-free diet, a low-carb diet, a low-fat diet, etc. Each temporary modification challenges me to think about food differently - I learn more about different flavor combinations, cultures, products on the market, and my own food likes/dislikes. To complete this food challenge, I came up with 30 different ideas and put them in a container. We'll take turns drawing ideas from the container each day (for the next day) and follow what it says.

Food Challenge Day 1 ~ Make a comfort food.

Richard quickly suggested Chicken & Dumplings, something I believe I have made maybe once, so I quickly found a recipe and modified it based on the ingredients we had in the fridge/freezer/pantry.

Chicken & Dumplings

For the chicken stew:
1 whole chicken, broken down
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 quart chicken stock
2 celery stalks, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large onion, chopped
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 t fresh thyme
salt & pepper to taste

For the dumplings: 
2 cups unbleached flour
2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
2 T butter, melted
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup minced fresh chives

1. Heat the chicken stock to a gentle simmer in a medium pot.

2. In a separate, large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Pat the chicken pieces dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brown the chicken pieces, placing the pieces skin-side down first. This will render out fat you will use to build the stew later.

3. Once the chicken pieces are browned on both sides, remove them from the large pot, and turn off the heat. Remove and discard the skin from the chicken pieces and put the chicken pieces into the pot of simmering stock. Poach the chicken in the stock until cooked through, about 20 minutes or so. Remove the chicken pieces and set on a tray to cool for a few minutes. When the chicken pieces are cool to touch, pull the meat off the bones and shred. Set aside.

4. Take the rendered chicken fat, pass it through a strainer to remove bits, and place in the large pot.  Return the heat to medium-high. When it is hot, add the onion, celery, carrot and thyme and sauté until soft, but not browned, about 4-5 minutes. Add the flour and mix well. The flour will absorb all the fat in the pot and will stick a little to the bottom. Turn the heat to medium-low and stir this constantly for 2-3 minutes.

5 Get a ladle ready and have the pot of simmering chicken stock nearby. Add one ladle of hot chicken stock at a time, stirring well between each addition to make a gravy. Add the reserved chicken meat. Simmer.

6. Make the dumpling batter by sifting together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add chopped fresh chives. Add melted butter and milk to the dry ingredients. Use your hands to combine until mixture just comes together.

7. Drop dumpling batter into the simmering stew by heaping teaspoonfuls, over the surface of the stew. Cover and simmer until dumplings are cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

This recipe was 100% child-approved! Lydia loved it!

Food Challenge Day 2: Make a meal with products from 3 different animals.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Salted Almond Butter Chocolate Hearts

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

Salted Almond Butter Chocolate Hearts


  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 T honey
  • 24 Hershey's Kisses
  • 2 T heavy cream
  • sprinkle of coarse salt

1. Combine almond butter, powdered sugar, and honey (it helped to soften the almond butter in the microwave about 30 seconds). 
2. Divide the mixture into 6 portions and press each portion into a heart-shaped silicone muffin pan. 
3. Melt chocolate and heavy cream. 
4. Pour chocolate mixture over almond butter mixture. Tap on the counter to even out.
5. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Place in the freezer about 1 hour.

Makes 6 hearts. 

Wordless Wednesday ~ Best Friends

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Comfort & Harmony™ mombo™ Deluxe Pillow ~ Review & Giveaway

by Carrie Wells, Ed.D.

The Comfort & Harmony™ mombo™ Deluxe Pillow is the first two-sided nursing pillow with a vibrating feature. The Firm2Soft™ two-sided construction is uniquely designed to offer distinct benefits on each side. The firm side offers enhanced back support during nursing and just the right elevation for baby. The soft side creates the perfect environment for baby to relax.

Breastfeeding Bryce (4 months) using the mombo
This nursing pillow is so much more versatile than other pillows on the market. It is thicker and firmer. The rounded, plush side is great for placing babies in a variety of positions. The smooth side sits flat on either a hard surface, piece of furniture (with close supervision), or mommy's lap while nursing. The vibrating feature is very relaxing/soothing for little ones to nap after being fed.

Bryce lounging in his mombo at 2 months
Bryce at 3 months cuddling on the mombo with his sister Lydia
Bryce doing tummy time in the mombo at 3 months

Bryce relaxing in the mombo at 4 months
My son Bryce really loves tummy time. I like to place a blanket on the floor, the mombo on top, and position him on his belly. It's a great way for him to strengthen all his neck muscles and work on his head control.

BUY IT! The Comfort & Harmony™ mombo™ Deluxe Pillow in the Taggies™ Fashion is sold exclusively at Babies R Us and retails for $49.99

WIN IT! This giveaway is for a Comfort & Harmony™ mombo™ Deluxe Pillow in the Taggies™ Fashion with colorful, silky tags in all the right places for little hands to touch and explore soothes and comforts baby.  Superior plush fabrics and unique detailed appliqués offer a sweet and cozy environment.
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