what we ate: mar 29 – apr 4

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Easter weekend was so much fun.  We saw both sides of the family, the kids enjoyed their first Easter egg hunt with their cousins and we got to think about the real reason for Easter (Jesus is risen!).  Although all the bunny stuff is fun, I’ll admit. :)

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I am totally one of those moms that doesn’t want my kids devouring tons of candy.  Thankfully my mom obliged and put other treats in the eggs.  She also put together a bunny BINGO game and Hunter loved it!

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Here’s a look at what we ate last week.

Sunday – taco salad

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Monday – creamy tomato pasta with bell peppers, sausage, feta and avocado

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Tuesday – crockpot bbq pulled pork sandwiches on whole wheat buns + steamed broccoli

Wednesday * – ground lamb + naan + feta + tzaziki +cucumbers + tomatoes

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Thursday – leftover BBQ pork sandwiches + broccoli salad

Friday – beefalo burgers + sweet potato fries + roasted asparagus

Satuday – enchiladas + tacos {dinner at in-laws}

How was your Easter weekend?  Did you do any special activities, gatherings or crafts?

Heather

Previous what we ate posts:

January 18-24, 2015

January 25-31, 2015

February 1-14, 2015

February 15-21, 2015

February 22-28, 2015

March 1-14, 2015

March 15-28, 2015

pin it party – DIY it

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Today my bud Lindsay is hosting a pin it party over at the lean green bean. I adore Pinterest (follow me here!) so I’ve just got to join! Here are 5 of my posts that if you missed you’ll want to check out.  All 5 are a little crafty or DIY-ish.  The first is especially a favorite right now since it’s just about gardening season!

DIY seed starters from egg shells

DIYseedstartershomemade water table

IMG_6963-764x1024DIY cork board

DIYcorkboardbaby’s first year wall art

IMG_6504-764x1024DIY rope baskets

IMG_8588-1024x992And I just have to mention, I’m selling adorable rope baskets over here on instragram too. :)

Those are my crafty pins for the day!  Check out the pin it party for tons of other great pins.  You can never be inspired too much, am I right?

Do you love DIY project on Pinterest?  What do you normally search for on there?

Heather

what we ate: mar 15-28

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Sometimes I feel like I’m getting into a bit of a dinner rut, then I look through these posts (link to all past ones at the end) and get some ideas for myself.  I hope you enjoy seeing what we eat for dinner.  Here’s two weeks worth of meals.  As always, when there is a recipe to link to, you’ll see it.  The asterisk next to a day is to help me remember when Jacob loved a meal or wanted me to write it down.

March 15-21

Sunday * – pork ragu + whole wheat pasta + sautéd kale with apples

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Monday – pork chops + sautéd brussel sprouts + sautéd mushrooms + roasted potatoes + quinoa (dinner at my mamas)

Tuesday – pineapple beef meatballs + jasmine rice + roasted green beans

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Wednesday – chicken noodle and kale soup

Thursday – BFD beef breakfast sausage + sweet potato and zucchini hash + eggs

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Friday * – steak with compound butter + brussel sprout mac n cheese

Saturday – papa murphy’s Hawaiian pizza + kale salad with poppyseed dressing

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March 22-28

Sunday – lamb shepherds pie (subbed lamb for beef)

Monday – whole wheat spaghetti + tomato beef sauce + brussel sprouts with bacon

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Tuesday – curry chicken salad (chicken breast, celery, grapes, mayo, seasonings) on whole wheat bread + cucumber sticks + cheddar cheese slices

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Wednesday – pasta tossed in jalapeño ranch topped with sautéd kale + bacon + roasted cherry tomatoes + avocado

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Thursday – BFD beef breakfast sausage + super egg scramble (sweet potato, kale, mushrooms, onions, egg, cheddar)

Friday – baked chicken thighs + roasted curry sweet potatoes

Saturday – dinner at auction for Jacobs work

I can’t wait for the temps to heat up just a little more so we can keep the grill out.  Actually, we just need to get through the rain that’s on it’s way, then the grill can stay out for a long summer of grilling.  Grilled meals are just so amazing!  And so is being outside playing when the food is cooking up.  Everyone gets a little bit happier when we can be outside.

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When you get in a dinner rut, where do you go for inspiration?  Pinterest is usually my go to source (check out my recipes to try board for some ideas).  Every blue moon I’ll bring out my stack of clean eating magazines I just can’t get rid of.  There are so many yummy recipes and such great pictures.

Heather

Previous what we ate posts:

January 18-24, 2015

January 25-31, 2015

February 1-14, 2015

February 15-21, 2015

February 22-28, 2015

March 1-14, 2015

no recipe brussel sprouts

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So much of my cooking is done without recipes these days. It wasn’t always that way though. I remember the first cookbook recipe I followed by myself in middle school (pampered chef – which I passed onto my baby brother and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t cooked from it yet….) and how fun it was to follow a recipe and know what the outcome would be like, at least what it was supposed to look like.  Bonus that it even tasted good!

That is what’s so nice about recipes – someone else has already done the work measuring and figuring out flavors, all you have to do is do what the recipes says. Easy right? It really is! But sometimes following a recipe takes extra steps, like actually measuring your ingredients and looking back at the instructions and following steps in their correct order.  And sometimes most of the time this mama just doesn’t make the time for that. Maybe it’s a two kid thing…

How I tend to cook is what I call ‘no recipe’ recipes. They’re more like guidelines or methods on how to create a dish.  It all starts with an idea, or a recipe I’ve made in the past, and thing just get thrown together.  It’s simplified, but still a thoughtful way of throwing together items to create a dish.

Veggies are a standard ‘no recipe’ dish. And today I’m sharing one of my no recipes!

I actually shared it on Instagram (where I like to live these days) and Facebook and after such a good response I just had to share it here too.   Here’s the ‘no recipe’ for a favorite and super simple way we enjoy brussel sprouts in our family.

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For those that want a recipe to follow, here are 6 different ways to eat your brussel sprouts:

Do you follow recipes or go by the seat of your pants in the kitchen (like me!!)? Do you like brussel sprouts? What is your favorite way to eat them?

Heather

7 days of green smoothies

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If you follow me on instragram you might have seen my #7daysofgreensmoothies I shared a little while back.  Well in honor of the first day of spring today (!!) I’m sharing all the green smoothies I made for those 7 days.

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My original plan was to make 7 different smoothies for 7 consecutive days, but a couple days into it I wanted one and the kids were napping and there was just no way I was going to risk a loud blender running when it could wake up sleeping children.  So then I decided to make smoothies when it was convenient… when the kids were awake.  Here are 7 different smoothie combos I shared on IG – but now you can see them all together and more easily find different combos to try.  I’ve listed the ingredients, not so much recipes.  I usually wing it when making smoothies and taste/adjust as I go.  If you are looking for specific measurements, check out the end of the post where I link up to a few other green smoothie recipes I have.  Happy spring and smoothie making!

Spinach + banana + frozen strawberries + plain yogurt + ice

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Frozen marionberry + spinach + banana + plain yogurt + water + vanilla extract + ice

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Spinach + avocado + banana + natural peanut butter + plain yogurt + vanilla extract + water + ice

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Spinach + banana + natural peanut butter + cocoa powder + plain yogurt + vanilla extract + ice

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Pear + spinach + almond butter + milk + cinnamon + ice

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Kale + spinach + swiss chard + pear + banana + almond butter + milk + ice

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Kale + pear + sunflower seeds + almond butter + milk + ice + maple butter nut granola

IMG_5036If you are looking for recipes with measurements, check out these three green smoothie recipes.  All are delicious!

What are your favorite greens to add to smoothies?  I love spinach most, then swiss chard and kale. 

Heather

levana video monitor review + giveaway

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In my almost three years of being a mom I have lived without a video monitor for the kids.  We barely use our regular sound only monitors because our house is small enough that we can hear the kids making noise no matter if we’re on a different floor.  But things have changed now.  We are total video monitor converts!

 

Let me take a quick step back.  Through Levana and FitFluential I was selected to participate in the Do More Knowing Your Baby Is Safe campaign.  They sent me the Sophia video baby monitor to try out and the moment it arrived we put it to good use.  Here are some details about the Sophia monitor:

Get more done knowing your baby is safe and sound with the Sophia monitor at your side. This baby video monitor has been designed with parent-friendly controls and features in mind, including 48 hour battery life in power saving PEEP mode, temperature monitoring, 15ft night vision, and 500ft ClearVu® digital signal. Babies love the Talk to Baby two-way communication, invisible night vision LEDs and soothing night light. Stay in tune with your baby from the next room and beyond thanks to the insight of your Sophia baby video monitor.

Most people probably would have set the monitor up on their littlest child.  Not us.  Zoe is over 1 year now and stays nicely in her crib.  She is great at falling asleep without a problem and quite loud when she wakes, so I pretty much know what’s going on with her.  I don’t have much fear or worry about her when she’s sleeping.  But Hunter though… oh that boy.  Since he’s no longer in a crib he can easily get out of his bed.  Which he does all-the-time.  The kids share a room and I can easily hear when they’re awake, laughing and having a good time being silly together when they should really be sleeping.  Things get quieter when Zoe falls asleep so a lot of the time I think he’s asleep.  Well, now I really know he’s causing some mischief!

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I tend to clean up from lunch at nap time then work on dinner dishes and house pick up after they’re in bed for the night.  I’ve been having the wireless monitor set up on the counter so now I can actually see what Hunter does when he’s falling asleep.  Or working towards sleep.  The boy is a riot!  I’ve watched him air guitar and rock out singing a made up song, jump around all over his bed, jump in and out of bed, take everything off of his bed, then put it back on and so much more.  I’ve also seen him get out of his bed so I come down to see what he is doing (when normally I wouldn’t bother since he was being quiet) to find him tapping Zoe because he wanted her to wake up.  That kid.

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I can honestly say we have been loving the Sophia monitor.  It has a feature for two way communication, so I can talk to Hunter without being there.  At first I thought it would scare him, so I didn’t want to try it.  Then I did anyways and now pretty much anytime I use it he laughs at me, so it’s more of a fun feature for us.  The sound that comes through the monitor is super crisp and clear with no static problems at all.  It works way better than our sound only monitors that we have.  The video images are easy to see and great quality.  I love that it works in a dark room as well.

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I really like Levana’s tagline Do More Knowing Your Baby Is Safe.  I am much more at ease when I know Hunter is actually asleep and staying in his bed.  I can work on getting things done around the house, take an uninterrupted shower, or even just hang out on the couch for a minute and relax.  I am completely hooked on this!

And then he wakes and all the snuggles begin again. :)

IMG_5854GIVEAWAY

Three lucky winners will get the opportunity to win their very own Sophia video baby monitor!  Enter through Rafflecopter below.  The giveaway runs across 10 different blogs in this campaign, so between all 10 blogs there will be 3 winners.  The winners will be selected by Levana and contacted when the giveaway ends.  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Moms, join the conversation below and share what you wish you could do more of!

Heather

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Levana. The opinions and text are all mine.

what we ate: mar 1-14, 2015

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I have two weeks of dinner inspiration for you this morning!  Which is exactly what I need to take a look at too.  I’m a total slacker with meal planning this week and pretty much am just planning to figure it out the day of.  I totally blame it on the rain this weekend.  All the awesome sunshine and warm days we had made me so inspired and productive and it just makes my brain spin a little quicker.  Then the rain comes (which is 100% the norm here in Washington) and I just want to sit on the couch and hang with my family.  Which is sometimes what rainy days just call you to do.

So here are TWO weeks worth of dinner inspiration for you (and me). As always, when there is a recipe to link to, you’ll see it.  The asterisk next to a day is to help me remember when Jacob loved a meal or wanted me to write it down.

March 1-7

Sunday – baked salmon + roasted carrots/sweet potatoes/red potatoes + roasted broccoli + crusty dutch oven bread

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Monday – spaghetti with beefy tomato sauce + corn + salad (dinner at my folks)

Tuesday – tuna melts + kale salad

Wednesday * – steak + compound butter + pasta caesar salad

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Thursday * – crockpot hawaiian beef + steam broccoli + jasmine rice

Friday – beef empanadas + chimichurri sauce

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Saturday – spaghetti with beefy sauce + salad + bread (dinner at some friend’s house)

March 8-14

Sunday – bratwurst + leftover jasmine rice + tomato/cucumber/avocado/cheddar salad

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Monday * – leftover hawaiian beef + jasmine rice/barley + steamed broccoli + cheddar sauce

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Tuesday – creamy chicken enchiladas + guacamole + sauted black beans and corn + snap peas

Wednesday – almond crusted halibut + roasted broccoli + mashed red potatoes + cucumber slices

Thursday – BFD blueberry pancakes

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Friday * – sausage + 4 different cheeses + crusty dutch oven bread (date night in! – the kids had quessadillas + avocado + pickles)

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Saturday * – taco salad (taco beef + lettuce + tomato + cheddar + black beans + guac + jalapeno ranch) + leftover crusty bread

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My favorite two kitchen helpers being distracted with cucumber slices and each other.  They add so much extra fun to my life. :)

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What do you love to do on rainy days?  Either inside or outside.

Heather

Previous what we ate posts:

January 18-24, 2015

January 25-31, 2015

February 1-14, 2015

February 15-21, 2015

February 22-28, 2015

what’s in my costco cart + food budget talk

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Yesterday I made a quick stop in at Costco.  And only quick because it was kid free.  Although I missed having them there, I love the big carts and that they can both sit at the front of the cart… like this cuteness from back in October…

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Anyways, I hadn’t gone grocery yet for the week so it’s more than I would normally pick up there.  Even though buying bigger sized items can and sometimes does save money in the long run, when it’s all added up at the register it’s definitely a shock sometimes!  Let’s see what I filled my cart with.

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  • 2 dozen organic eggs – 2x ($6.99 – better price than most grocery stores)
  • 3 lb organic coffee ($12.59 – sale price)
  • clementines ($5.99)
  • broccoli ($4.59)
  • organic frozen blueberries ($9.79)
  • snap peas ($5.79)
  • string cheese ($6.69)
  • sabra hummus ($5.99)
  • 3lb almonds (16.99)
  • organic pears ($7.49)
  • organic bananas – 2x ($1.99)

TOTAL: $96.87

If you’ve been a reader for sometime now you may remember the posts about feeding my family for anywhere between $50-100 a week.  While I do think I could do that if I wanted to, I’d sacrifice quality.  Right now quality is more important to me than saving a couple of extra dollars.

What quality is important to me?  Organic/grass fed meats, organic dairy products (including milk, yogurt, butter… normally not cheese), organic eggs and sometimes organic produce.  Produce is only sometimes… I’ve got to draw the line somewhere because I do have a budget to follow and if I’m making a choice on what to buy organic I’ll choose items higher up in the food chain.  If the price between an organic option and conventional option isn’t that great, I’ll choose the organic.  However, sometimes it’s a huge difference – like right now organic cucumbers are close to $2-3 each whereas I can get english cucumbers for $0.70-1.00.  I have a tough time making that organic choice because I just love eating cucumbers and I’d much rather eat MORE veggies that are conventional than limit my veggie intake because I only wanted to buy organic.  It’s a personal choice I make.

What is my food budget right now?  It’s a bit flexible in that each week we set aside $150 for food and gas, so the less I spend on gas the more I can spend on food. Yay for that!  Some weeks I get $100 for food, other weeks I may get closer to $125.  The food budget also includes household products and toiletries, so it’s not just for food.

Do you shop at Costco or another store like that?  What items do you pick up there?  What is your current food budget spending like now?

Heather

cardamom pannekoeken

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I love breakfast on the weekends.  Usually I make something more labor intensive that I think everyone in the house will enjoy.  Kind of a special treat.  Omelets, crepes and waffles are some that come to mind.  Other times I like to try new recipes.  I’m so thankful when my Secret Recipe Club assignment comes around and I have a new blog to explore and cook from.  This month I had the honor of being assigned my group host Camilla’s blog Culinary Adventures with Cam.  Camilla has a full fun life with her husband and as a mom.  I love what she says her parenting goals are: ‘grow conscientious, creative kids with fearless palates!’  She has tons of recipes that are full of fun and unique flavors I have no doubt her kiddos will enjoy flavors from around the world.

I actually cooked two recipes up from her blog.  The first was empanadas.  I was so excited about them, and I really enjoyed them, but the hubs wasn’t a big fan so instead of posting those (still check em out, I loved them!), I made a second – the cardamom pannekoeken.

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Pennekoeken is the Dutch word for pancakes.  Other names include Dutch baby and oven pancake.  I am always a fan of anything Dutch since I was born there and lived there for a while as a kid.  These puffy baked large pancakes turned out delicious with freshly cut strawberries.  I loved that I could quickly whisk the batter together and get it into the oven before anyone was awake.  When I pulled it out of the oven Hunter was just waking up so he helped me cut up the strawberries.  The boy loves to help me around in the kitchen whenever he gets the chance.  Pannekoeken may look like a lot of work but it is actually a super simple breakfast to make with little hands on cooking time.

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I would highly recommend adding some freshly whipped heavy whipping cream to go along with the strawberries.  Wishing I would have had some on hand!

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Cardamom Pannekoeken

Recipe from here

Ingredients

  • 1-1/3 cup whole milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1-1/3 cup white whole wheat flour

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Butter two baking dishes (I used a cast iron skillet and large round polish pottery dish).  Whisk together the milk, eggs, melted butter and ground cardamom in a large bowl.  Add the flour and baking powder and continue to whisk for 1 minute.
  2. Pour the batter into your dishes and bake until the Pannekoeken is puffy and golden.  Mine took 25 minutes, but I would check at 20.

If you are a dutch baby fan, check out this chocolate dutch baby.  Another delicious but slightly sweeter one!

We have been spending as much time outside as we can soaking up this amazing weather.  I wore shorts today and it was awesome!  The kids have been loving it so much too.  And because they are just so cute, I have to share a few pictures from our weekend.

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What do you call this type of pancake?  Pannekoeken, dutch baby, oven pancake or something else?  What would you top your Pannekoeken with?

Heather


zoe’s smash cake

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Unlike Hunter’s first birthday (read about his vintage newspaper theme here), Zoe’s first birthday was pretty mellow. Instead of having lots of friends and family over we kept it super simple and just invited to grandparents over for dinner and cake. Before we ate Zoe opened a few presents. She is a master at standing still for a long stretch of time and had a ball taking the tissue out of bags.

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Next we ate dinner (thai zucchini beef meatballs + whole wheat pasta + steamed broccoli), then had cake!

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I went with the fabulous smash cake recipe I used for Hunter’s birthday. It’s a no sugar added banana cake. It’s incredibly moist, sweet from the bananas and delicious. Instead of making the cream cheese frosting, I just whipped up heavy whipping cream with vanilla extract. Before adding a touch of sugar for the adults, I removed what I needed for Zoe’s cake, then finished preparing it. She did not mind one bit that it wasn’t sweetened.

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I ended up making 2 banana cakes since the batter made 6 mini tarts with each cake stacked 3 high (I filled them fuller than I did for hunters cake). I also made a coconut flour lemon pound cake with lemon curd, whipped cream and strawberries. It turned out tart in my opinion so I know everyone else thought it was way more tart, even though they were nice and said it was good. Enough about the cakes, onto cute Zoe eating her birthday cake!

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First she just ate all the blueberries, then ate some whipping cream, and then got into the actual cake. She probably ate about 1/4 of the cake with layers ending up on the floor too. The girl loved it! Hunter was definitely jealous and kept wanting her cake, but kind of happily watched her eat.

For the best smash cake (or an anytime snack cake) check out the recipe for no sugar banana cake!

What would you choose, cream cheese frosting or whipped cream?

Heather