Tuesday Tattles: 3rd Birthday

It’s time for another Tuesday Tattles.

A very long overdue Tuesday Tattles, at that!

Over a month ago, my Firecracker had his golden birthday and is now a three year old!

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It has been an absolute joy becoming a mother with my Firecracker. His turning 3 has been the most emotional, yet! 1 felt like a milestone and an accomplishment, but he was still a baby. 2 was a quiet birthday with a party a couple of weeks late. But 3! At 3 my little man has such a personality, with strong opinions, a sassy attitude, and a smart vocabulary, it’s hard to remember he’s still just a little kid. (<- Yes, I just plagiarized that from my personal Facebook status. You’re not experiencing dejavu, Mom.)

Because 3 was his golden birthday, I really wanted to throw a Quidditch party with emphasis on the Golden Stitch. And while he says he likes Harry Potter, he really doesn’t know much about it. I let go of my obsession and gave him the option between Harry Potter and Space. He chose space.

Okay, time to “vent.” WHY AREN’T THERE SPACE PARTY DECORATIONS?! Once again, I found myself creating my own birthday party.

To make his birthday banner, I went the easy route this year. I found large black letter stickers at Michael’s. I made sure they fit inside the star shape, which I then traced onto gold cardstock. Cut out the stars, stuck on the stickers, and taped the string to the back. Easy as pie!

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The most important decoration was the golden 3 balloon, and I got the last one from the party store! Phew! 3 gold stars were also on my decorating wish list; another mission accomplished. But even using blacks and yellows for the tablescape, the space theme only came to life with my food.

Space Themed Birthday Party (food) | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Planet Pizzas and Solar System Salad were delivered by a local, Chicago-style thin crust pizza joint. The Suns were a giant bowl of clementines. Carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and yellow tomatoes were arranged to look like Rocket Veggies. Pineapple and green grapes were arranged to look like a Saturn Fruit Tray. We used a small star cookie cutter to cut cheese slices into stars which were served with round Ritz crackers for the Stars & Moons. We used my grandmother’s Christmas cut-out cookie recipe to make Golden Star Cookies. The trusty Walmart Bakery provided the chocolate cupcakes with yellow frosting, we added the star sprinkles to turn them into Cosmic Cupcakes.

birthday boy

My husband had one request for the party. The no-bake cookies from his childhood. I had him make them with Firecracker for the day. This recipe comes from his high school best friend’s mom. I’ve renamed them Asteroids for the purpose of this space themed party.

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Asteroids

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 C sugar
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 C milk
  • 1/2 C creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 C quick oats

Steps:

  1. Bring butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and milk to a boil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the peanut butter and vanilla until smooth. Mix in the oats.
  3. Form into balls, or asteroids, and place on a sheet of wax paper to cool completely.

No-Bake Cookies: renamed asteroids, they're perfect for a Space Themed Birthday Party

If you’re really intuitive, you might recognize the background of these pictures. We flew to Wisconsin to celebrate his birthday. And again, I need to give a HUGE thank you to my parents for allowing us to have his party at their summer home.

Thankfully the rain clouds parted the hour before the party and our outdoor gathering was a wonderful reunion with my cousins. If there’s anything my Firecracker loves, it’s making friends, and boy were there plenty of new friends to be had – we had a total of 16 (including my 2) kids running around the yard, playing baseball, and throwing 200 water balloons in a matter of minutes.

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Those kids went home with goodie bags filled with star shaped sunglasses, bubbles, lollipops, and glow bracelets.

 

 

#BundtBakers: Birthday Bundts

4ae7b-bundtbakerspostToday is the first #BundtBakers post of the new year! #BundtBakers is a group of bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.

The first theme of the year is quite fun – birthday bundts. A big thank you to Sue of Palatable Pastime for this creative theme. You’ll be sure to find a cake recipe or three to help celebrate a year of birthdays.

My first thought was Funfetti. Nothing says Happy Birthday quite like sprinkles! And it looks like a few bakers went in that direction.

My second thought was, hey, it’s my husband’s birthday! And not just any birthday. The big 3-0! (Earlier this month, not today.)

My husband greatly enjoys Oreos and will order a cookies and cream milkshake over any other flavor 90% of the time. There’s a reason we don’t buy those cream filled chocolate cookie sandwiches – they’d be gone in two days!

I knew a cookies and cream birthday cake would be quite appropriate. But that meant I had to buy that blue package of cookies. Without hesitation, my husband opened up the seal. I told them the cookies were for his birthday cake, a cookies and cream cake! His response was priceless, “No, I’m just going to have regular cake because there won’t be any Oreos.”

With funfetti still on my mind, I simply added some rainbow sprinkles to the cake! So fun. If you have an Oreo lover in your family, this Cookies and Cream Sprinkle Bundt Cake is sure to please on their special day.

Decorating cakes is not my strong suit – another reason I love bundt cakes, the cake mold is typically all the beauty a cake needs. But, we’re talking birthday cake and birthday cake requires frosting. I used my simplest bundt mold and my novice frosting skills. I thought it’d be fun to put sprinkles on the outside of the cake to reflect the funfetti nature inside, but the result was a cake that looked like a donut. Not that donuts are bad (they’re not!). So I scraped it off, mixed in some more sprinkles and refrosted. I decided to top the cake instead with some extra crushed up Oreos. I was much happier with the new finished result.

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There are two comments I’m going to make about this cake that I don’t think I’ve ever made before. 1 – This cake tasted better after two or three days than it did day of baking. 2 – I liked the frosting more than the cake! Seriously, that last comment blows my mind. Frosting is my least favorite part of cakes and why I don’t normally make one for my bundts. But, you guys, this frosting is amazing! I still have the extras in the fridge and I’m seriously tempted to dip some Oreos into for a serious sweet tooth fix.

Cookies and Cream Sprinkle Bundt Cake for #BundtBakers from Sew You Think You Can Cook (2)

Cookies and Cream Sprinkle Bundt Cake

Ingredients for cake:

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 C canola oil
  • 2 C sugar
  • 3 C flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 C buttermilk
  • 1/4 C heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 5 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
  • 7 Oreo cookies, chopped
  • 4 tbsp rainbow sprinkles

Ingredients for frosting:

  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 4 – 4 1/2 C powdered sugar
  • 1 – 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 – 4 tbsp heavy cream
  • 6 Oreo cookies, chopped
  • sprinkles (optional)

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease a bundt pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter, oil, and sugar.
  3. Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl.
  4. Combine buttermilk, heavy cream, and vanilla extract in a measuring cup.
  5. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the liquid ingredients to the stand mixer, beginning and ending with the dry. Remove the paddle attachment and fold in the egg whites with a spatula. Fold in the crushed Oreos and the sprinkles. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan.
  6. Bake 60 – 65 minutes, until a cake tester comes out cleanly. Allow cake to cool at least one hour before unmolding.
  7. Make frosting: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix together all of the ingredients until desired consistency and sweetness is reached. Frost cooled cake. Garnish with extra Oreos.

*This recipe is modified from Monique at http://divascancook.com/homemade-cookies-n-cream-cake-recipe-oreo/ *

Cookies and Cream Sprinkle Bundt Cake for #BundtBakers from Sew You Think You Can Cook

You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about #BundtBakers, can be found on our home page.

And don’t forget to take a peek at what other talented bakers have baked this month:

Banana Bundt Cake with Vanilla Caramel Glaze from All That’s Left Are the Crumbs

Birthday Buttered Rum Cake from Faith Hope Love and Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accomplice

Bundt Cake de Bollo, Canela y Nutella from La Mejor Manera de Hacer

Confetti Birthday Bundt Cake fromPalatable Pastime

Confetti Lime and Cheese Bundt Cake from Bizcocheando

Doughnut Funfetti Bundt Cake from Kids and Chic

Eggnog Bundt with Hot Buttered Rum Sauce from A Day in the Life on the Farm

Lemon and Prosecco Bundt from Food Lust People Love

Piñata Birthday Bundt Cake from Patty’s Cake

Piñata Bundt Cake from I Love Bundt Cakes

Sugar Cookie Bundt Cake from Cookaholic Wife

Tropical Birthday Bundt Cake from Basic N Delicious

Tuesday Tattles: 1st Birthday

Tuesday Tattles

My baby boy is now ONE!

If year one goes by quickly for the first born, it goes even faster with the second child. My Treat has been walking for 2 months now and loves to run and climb. He wants anything his big brother is playing with or eating – and his favorite thing to do is steal chocolate milk.

Today I will share with you the planning (and execution) of his birthday party.

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I think first birthdays are pretty special. And, for me, I refused to have my son’s party on any day other than THE day. I am extremely grateful to have family willing to travel across the country to help us celebrate. It was even the first time Treat got to spend time with both of his Godparents at the same time!

We’ve got a great group of friends who braved the rain to come to a party at the playground, too!

Spider-Man themed First Birthday | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

When my son was born the day before Halloween, I knew I’d have to have another appropriately themed super hero party. My options were Spider-Man or Batman. I decided to go with Spider-Man to keep my boys in the same comic universe (nerd alert).

While there is plenty of pre-made party decor for Spider-Man, I decided to keep things simple using a lot of red, white, and a bit of blue.

  • Red table cloths (fun discovery – a wet table makes for great adhesive)
  • White plates
  • Red napkins
  • Blue spoons and forks
  • Silverware holders were simply empty {clean} cans which I wrapped with white card stock and glued on a Spider-Man. My sister-in-law did some incredible spiderweb labeling for me!
  • We had two tables at the playground and I put a cluster of red, white, and blue balloons in the center of each table held in place with Spider-Man balloon weights.
  • The party favor bags were simple red treat bags. I cut out Spider-Man eyes from white sticker paper, tracing their outline in black Sharpie. I put a “Thank You” sticker with each kid’s name on the back.
  • Treat had his smash cake in the Radio Flyer wagon. (Had it not been raining I would have put his name banner on the wagon.) A giant red number 1 balloon, 12″ white, and 12″ blue decorated the wagon.

Treat’s incredible “Happy First Birthday” banner was made for me by a friend. When she discovered that I’d always cut the banners out by hand, she immediately offered her services for all future decorating needs. I took her up on it due to our complicated schedules during September and October. She even glued all the pieces together for me and all I had to do was string them together and hang them up!

And now for the important part of the party: The Food!

  • The main course was a taco platter perfect for feeding 25 people.
  • Keeping with the Mexican food theme, we made a typical layer dip. I adjusted the layers to put tomato on top and piped a sour cream spiderweb on top.
  • The second layer dip was a super food version: sweet potatoes, quinoa, black beans, enchilada sauce, cheese, and sour cream. I put the sour cream layer on top and tried creating a spiderweb with the enchilada sauce. Because I make my own enchilada sauce, the onions made it a bit more difficult than I was hoping and the result wasn’t as pretty as envisioned.
  • I ordered cupcakes and a 5″ round cake from a local grocery store. They were able to make a spiderweb cake for me in red and white. A blue 1 candle and spider ring made the perfect decorations.

A Spider-Man themed 1st birthday | Sew You Think You Can Cook | http://sewyouthinkyoucancook.com

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Tuesday Tattles: 2nd Birthday

Tuesday Tattles

It’s finally time to share my Firecracker’s second birthday party, with you!

When we moved to California and became regulars at the playground I quickly realized it’d be a great place to have the kids’ birthday parties. I scoped out the venue for months to determine when would be the best time of day to throw a party at a public park, to figure out if it’d be allowed, and to decide which picnic table to claim. I then had to start asking around about how big the 4th of July got around here. The answer was a resounding “crazy!” So I knew that we simply wouldn’t be able to celebrate on THE day. (Good thing it wasn’t his 1st birthday!)

We celebrated on a Sunday at 10:30 am. Firecracker is only two weeks older than our friends’ son and so we did a dual birthday bash for the 2 year olds. Our guest lists would have been identical anyway. The party was attended by other families who moved out to California from Ohio the same time we did. And by happy coincidence, my dad had meetings in Los Angeles the following week so my parents came out for the party and my mom stayed out here to play and help with the kids while my dad was in his meetings!

IMG_9583I had originally planned (aka – when he was born I picked out his first four birthday themes) on having an Auburn themed birthday party. It was hard for me to change my mind, but I knew that my train obsessed toddler would much prefer a train themed party. So, I let go of my planning and switched gears.

This party was much smaller than his 1st birthday, so instead of ordering a cake, I decided to simply make cupcakes. I made 4 dozen cupcakes – way more than I needed. About half of them ended up in my freezer unfrosted. I displayed the cupcakes on Twizzler train tracks on our dining table. I made Busy Day Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting and Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes, my friend made the frosting for the vanilla cupcakes.

Cupcakes for a Train Themed 2nd Birthday Party

 

Down at the playground we set up a table with snacks. I cut out black circles and taped them to disposable aluminum loaf pans to create train cars. My friend had popsicle sticks which we used to create a track for the food.

A fruit train of pineapple, cherries, and red and green grapes was led by Orange Cream Dip and Chocolate Hummus. A veggie train of cherry tomatoes, broccoli and cauliflower, and carrots was led by Sour Cream and Onion Dip and Ranch. We also had a container of hummus. Salty snacks of pretzel sticks, potato chips, and “pigs” in a blanket joined the party, too. I traced a train cookie cutter to cut out the labels for the respective dips.

A train themed 2nd Birthday Party

After a couple of hours at the playground we moved the party to our place for grilling and cupcakes.

Decorations were fairly minimal too. I used the major Thomas and Friends character colors as my inspiration, blue, red, and green for Thomas, James, and Percy, respectively. I wrapped streamers around the banister for the stairs and tied some balloons on each end of the staircase. Balloons were attached to chairs at either end of the table were the cupcakes were displayed. Two sets (1 balloon of each color) of balloons were placed on Thomas the Tank Engine balloon weights and taken down to the playground to bookend our picnic table.

The biggest decorating endeavor was the Happy Birthday Banner. The banner was placed above our awesome 80’s style mirrored fireplace. I didn’t have a single hole puncher (I do now!) and couldn’t fit the train shapes in our stand 3 hole puncher, so my mom strung the banners together with a needle and thin yarn.

I found templates for a train engine, train car, and caboose through Google searching. I printed those out on colored card stock. I had two blue trains for the birthday boys’ names, a red train, and a green train. 4 red cabooses, and 19 grey train cars!  For the letters, I used the font Ariel. Three letters at a time were typed in WordArt at font size 96, then I sized the WordArt graphic to be 3.48″ x 8.81″, making sure the letters would fit inside the train cars, and then selected Rotate Flip Horizontal so that the text would be backwards. The words “2nd” and “and” followed the same method except that the WordArt graphic was sized at 1.52″ x 3″. The letters were arranged to look like railroad crossing signs and put on two 5″ yellow circles. Everything was cut out using a craft knife and adhered to the train cars using small glue dots.

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My attempt at getting a photo of the birthday boys with their cupcakes was a slight fail.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

Key Lime Cheesecake Filled Graham Cracker Bundt Cake

Happy Birthday… to me!

I am very excited to share my birthday cake with you. This cake recipe comes from one of my fellow #BundtBakers, Tux over at Brooklyn Homemaker. Back in April we were tasked with the theme of “hidden surprise.” I have been sitting on his recipe for four months just waiting to make this cake my birthday cake.

Why? Because key lime pie is my absolute favorite dessert and he took it to the next level with our shared love of beautiful bundts! The “hidden surprise” inside a graham cracker cake batter is a key lime cheesecake.

Key Lime Cheesecake Filled Graham Cracker Bundt Cake (baby) | Sew You Think You Can CookI brought this cake to a game night and only one piece returned home with me, which my husband was thankful for so he could try more than a bite. When I tried my piece after photographing the cake, my little man raced around the table to get a taste. It was pretty much the funniest and cutest thing. (But I’m pretty partial.)

Thank, Tux, for a fabulous cake recipe worth of anyone’s special day!

Key Lime Cheesecake Filled Graham Cracker Bundt Cake

Ingredients for filling:

  • 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tbsp key lime juice
  • zest 1 lime

Ingredients for cake:

  • 2 sticks butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 C finely crushed graham crackers (I got this from about 9 sheets in food processor)
  • 1 1/2 C flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 C buttermilk

Ingredients for glaze:

  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp key lime juice
  • 1 C powdered sugar
  • up to 3 tbsp milk

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Heavily grease bundt pan.
  2. Make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together cream cheese and sugar with a pinch of salt until there aren’t any lumps. Add the egg and mix until combined. Add in the key lime juice and lime zest until smooth. Set aside. (If you don’t have a second stand mixer bowl transfer the filling mixture to a separate bowl and clean the mixer bowl and paddle.)
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and both sugars. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and mix until combined.
  4. In a bowl, whisk together graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  5. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the stand mixer, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  6. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan. Create a well by pressing the batter up the sides of the pan. Pour the filling mixture into the well – if you’re talented and brave enough, swirl the filling into the cake batter being careful not to touch the sides of the pan. (Mine didn’t quite swirl and instead I had a lovely tunnel of key lime cheesecake.)
  7. Bake cake 50-60 minutes until a cake tester comes out cleanly. Allow cake to cool at least an hour in the pan before turning out onto a cooling rack.
  8. Make the glaze: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until there aren’t any lumps. Add the key lime juice and as much of the milk as needed to achieve desired consistency. Drizzle over cooled cake.

*This recipe is adapted from Tux at http://brooklynhomemaker.com/2015/04/16/graham-cracker-bundt-cake-with-key-lime-cheesecake-swirl-bundtbakers/*

Key Lime Cheesecake Filled Graham Cracker Bundt Cake | Sew You Think You Can Cook

Tuesday Tattles: 1st Birthday

Tuesday Tattles

It’s been quite some time since my last Tuesday Tattles post, and today’s is a very special edition.

My little man is now ONE!

Today I will share with you the planning (and execution) of his birthday party. I will post another Tuesday Tattles next week documenting our favorite products to date.

IMG_4645Before I get into the decorative and food details, I need to give a HUGE thank you to my parents for allowing us to have his party at their summer home in Wisconsin. (I spent my childhood Fourth of Julys there when it was my grandparents’ home and I knew that living in Ohio we’d be close enough to spend the holiday weekend there once again.  It just so happened that the little man shares his birthday weekend with America.) And another huge thank you to my in-laws for agreeing to travel from Alabama for the little man’s first birthday.

Being surrounded by family, the invite list grew and grew and this birthday party became bigger than I envisioned for a first birthday. Thankfully the weather was perfect and our outdoor gathering was a wonderful reunion. I think my favorite part about the party was that my cousins’ kids, ranging from ages 3 – 17, absolutely loved my son – and better yet, my son loved them! I was amazed that my son could understand the concept of play and his newly found skill at walking came in handy while he chased around the older kids.

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When my son was born the day before the Fourth I knew immediately that his first birthday would be Captain America themed! I had been pinning ideas for a whole year and could not be more thrilled with how successful his party turned out.

I couldn’t find any pre-made party decor that was only Captain America since the latest movie that was released was the Avengers. So we resorted to using red, white, and blue. I added pops of yellow to break up the monotony and keep it “comic-book-y”.

  • I alternated red and white plates alongside alternating white and blue napkins. Blue dessert plates were used alongside red napkins.
  • I cut stars out of white sticker paper with the help of a friend’s Silhouette Curio Cutting Tool, and placed them on blue cups.
  • Two 16″ Patriotic Orbz Balloons were paired with yellow balloons and placed on either side of the food table.
  • White stars were cut out from paper and I hand wrote the food labels in red or blue to be placed next to each dish.
  • Star balloons flanked with blue balloons decorated the front step, and one star balloon added sparkle to the adult beverage table. (The latter would have been joined by a red balloon had there been any helium left!)
  • The party favor bags were simple paper bags in red and blue which I then decorated. The red ones received stars and vertical stripes, to mimic Captain America’s uniform. The blue ones received stars surrounded by a white circle, to mimic the shield. Sticker paper came to the rescue with this project, too! I sealed the bags with a “Thank You” sticker.
    • Inside the bags were two glow sticks (red, white, or blue), a squirt gun, small frisbee, bubbles, and some candy. The extras were offered beside the bags for any older “kids” who might want to play.
  • The high chair, where the little man would have his slice of cake, was decorated with a giant blue number 1 and two red balloons. On the front of the high chair tray I created a banner consisting of his name book-ended by two Captain America shields.
  • My biggest project was creating the big “Happy Birthday” banner. It ended up being displayed behind the goodie bags inside.

Captain America Themed First Birthday | Sew You Think You Can Cook

I found inspiration for both banners on Pinterest.

  • For the highchair banner I used the shape tool in Microsoft Word for the pentagon template at 2.9″x 5″. The font used is Simplified Arabic Fixed. I placed my son’s name in WordArt at font size 96 then sized the WordArt graphic to be 3.08″ x 8.03″ and then selected Rotate Flip Horizontal so that the text would be backwards. Everything was printed on cardstock and cut out using a craft knife. I used small glue dots to adhere the letters to the pentagon. I then cut the red and white cardstock to fit and glued those in place on top of the pentagon.IMG_5639
  • For the “Happy Birthday” banner I used this template and printed on red and blue cardstock. The letters used the same font as the previous banner and followed the same method. Only three letters at a time at font size 96 were placed in a WordArt graphic. The graphics were formatted to 3.67″ x 8.75″. A grey cardstock was used for “first” and placed on the red flags while a lighter blue was placed on the blue flags.
  • To create the Captain America shields I borrowed an incredible circle cutting tool from a friend, a circle punch, and a star punch. It took a lot of trial and error on scrap paper to figure out which sizes worked best. (The highchair shields were much larger than the birthday banner ones.)

Captain America Birthday Party (food) | Sew You Think You Can Cook

And now for the important part of the party: The Food!

  • The main course was broasted chicken from a local favorite chicken place along with their cole slaw, mashed potatoes and gravy, and cinnamon rolls.
  • Because they’re my husband’s favorite, I doubled my recipe for Cherry Chipotle Baked Beans – and there wasn’t any left! Doubling the recipe requires double the time so I made them Wednesday and reheated them before setting the slow cooker on low on the food table.
  • The dish I’m surprised to say got the most reviews was my Buffalo Macaroni Salad! I tripled the amount of pasta, eyeballed the veggies, and doubled the dressing (however, I only halved the original amount of chili powder as the pasta salad only gets spicier the longer it sits). There was still dressing leftover and would be perfect for chopping up the leftover broasted chicken and creating a chicken salad.
  • My mother-in-law made a 7-layer dip (which was devoured in under an hour) which I decorated using tomatoes and chopped black olives. To create the star in the center I placed a star shaped piece of paper in the center of the dip and traced around it with the olives. The key to getting that star to be recognizable is really concentrating the olives.
  • To make a shield fruit tray I chose strawberries, blueberries, and mini marshmallows. I found a star shaped bowl at my favorite thrift store which was filled with a cream cheese and marshmallow dip (1 block of cream cheese + 1 jar of marshmallow creme). My mom didn’t have a platter large enough so we got a cheap 16″ pizza tray! 3 pints of strawberries, half a bag of mini marshmallows, an entire recipe of dip, and at least of pint of blueberries were demolished by happy party goers.
  • And of course the cake – a marble cake with strawberry filling and cream cheese icing, decorated to look like Captain America’s shield. My little man was very hesitant when it came to the cake but once my mom fed him a bite his interest was piqued. (My husband put that bit of frosting on his nose.) Fun fact: red frosting dyes hands and faces! It did wash out of his Captain America onesie just fine, though.

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Spanish Steaks and Cheesy Potatoes

Before I get to today’s amazing recipes I’m taking a trip down memory lane. A “Flashback Friday” if you will.

Six years ago to the day I was asked a very important question by a very important person.

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February 6, 2009 was just a normal Friday. Stuart and I both had a break between classes that lined up perfectly for us to grab lunch together. My brother had a break at the same time and Stuart told me that he was going to be joining us. I got out of class a little early and headed down to the concourse to wait for them. That morning Stuart had asked me to bring my camera to campus because he needed a photo for ROTC. We handed the camera to my brother and he caught the proposal on video! They’d obviously coordinated this ahead of time.

2275_634287859951_9621_nI’d be lying if I said I didn’t know this was coming. The 7th was our two year anniversary and there’d been comments and hints that we’d be getting engaged then. I have to give a big shout out to my best friend for telling Stuart I was on to him. It’s because of him that I experienced a surprise proposal better than I could have imagined. (Although it would have been nice to have showered, put make-up on, and brushed my hair!) It meant a lot to me to have my brother there – catching it on video was just a bonus. We even got a loud “War Eagle!” from a campus tour that was walking by.

Today’s recipes, which come from the January/February 2014 edition of Food Network Magazine, make a perfect meal to celebrate a special occasion – a birthday, anniversary, or even Valentine’s Day. We enjoyed this meal for Stuart’s birthday this year. It was the first time I’d had rib-eye steak and I loved it! Cooking in the cast iron skilet also provided a perfect sear for this melt-in-your-mouth piece of meat. We enjoyed these steaks alongside the cheesy mashed potatoes suggested in the article and some roasted carrots.

IMG_1907The carrots were Wesley’s first food! He surprised me with how well he took to trying them. He even managed to swallow a little bit. However he hasn’t touched carrots since! He likes yellow bell peppers, flank steak, and apples – at least for now.

These steaks feed 2-4 people, let’s be honest though, they’ll only feed two because you won’t want to share. I doubled the potato recipe and it will serve 4. (I wanted the leftovers.)

Pan-Seared Spanish Steaks

Ingredients:

  • 2 bone-in rib-eye steaks (3/4 lb each)
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C beef broth
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives

Steps:

  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet over high heat.
  2. Pat steaks dry, lightly rub with a little canola oil, and season with S+P.
  3. Put 1-2 tbsp canola oil in the skillet. Add the steaks. (I had to do one steak at a time.) Sear on one side for 3 three minutes. Flip and cook 1-4 minutes, depending on your desired doneness. Remove steaks and set aside, covered with foil.
  4. Add the shallots to the skillet and cook until tender. Add the garlic and cook an additional 60 seconds. Whisk in the beef broth, Worcestershire, and vinegar. Bring sauce to a boil and cook until reduced by half. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter.
  5. Serve sauce overtop the steaks. Garnish with chives.

Cheesy Mashed Potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lb gold potatoes
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 4 oz cream cheese, at room temperature

Steps

  1. Place potatoes in a large pot. Cover with cold water, season generously with salt, and bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and return to the pot.
  2. In a small sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter. Stir in the cream until just warmed through.
  3. Add the cream and cream cheese to the potatoes. Mash to desired consistency. Season to taste with S+P.

Spanish Steak and Cheesy Potatoes | Sew You Think You Can Cook