Menu: June 29 – July 5

June 28, 2008 at 3:50 pm | Posted in Menus | Leave a comment

I have to get back into the habit of posting my menus – I write one every week but I always forget to post.  So without further adieu…

Sunday – Smothered pork chops, corn on the cob, salad

Monday – Crispy Chicken Wraps, fresh salsa and chips

Tuesday – Spice rubbed grilled turkey cutlets, salad, red potatoes

Wednesday (kids) – Breakfast for dinner

Thursday – Stuffed shells, salad

Friday – 4th of July – going to a party

Saturday – Out of town for our 1st anniversary weekend!  Woo hoo!  Eating barbecue in Memphis!  : )

I’m still alive! I promise!

June 26, 2008 at 4:15 pm | Posted in Randomness | 1 Comment

I promise I’m still alive.  I haven’t been sucked up by aliens and just disappeared (my mom will appreciate that remark – I’ve dealt with people in my life being sucked up by aliens..).  I have been so busy lately with work, t-ball games, softball games, working in the yard, and trying to stay sane that I haven’t had much time to try any new recipes.  I’ve just been using the old stand-bys.  However, you will be happy to know that two nights ago I sat down and looked up several new recipes that I want to try and I will be getting back into the swing of things next week.  I am excited about it! 

So please stay tuned.  I’ll be back soon.  : )

Food Flashbacks

June 16, 2008 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Cookies, Fun | 8 Comments

I was reading a blog this morning about how someone had eaten something completely random only because it reminded them of happy childhood memories.  I know what she means though – I can think of random things that if would eat them, I would instantly be taken back to childhood.  The first thing that popped into my head are those iced animal cookies – the little ones with the pink icing on them?  Mom, I know you remember these.  One of my favorite childhood snacks!  I could totally go for one of those right now….

What foods remind you of childhood?

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes w/Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

June 10, 2008 at 11:40 pm | Posted in Cakes, Cupcakes, Dessert | 2 Comments

I have somehow become the resident baker in my office for any occasion that comes up.  Luckily for my co-workers, I love to bake when I have time, but I do not want the baked goods in my house so they usually benefit.  Monday was one of my favorite co-workers birthday so before I left for vacation I asked her what her favorite cake was and she said red velvet.  I knew my good friend and all knowing cupcake woman Clara would have a great recipe for this since it is also one of her hubby’s favorites.  She didn’t fail me!  She had a wonderful recipe waiting for me that also included an amazing icing that had one of my new favorite ingredients in it – vanilla beans!  I love opening up the package and smelling that smell…mmm….anyway.  : )  Onto the recipe!!  From Clara’s blog:

Makes about 24 cupcakes

INGREDIENTS

For cupcakes–
15-1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3-1/4 cups)
1-1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
1-1/4 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups vegetable oil
13 ounces granulated sugar (about 2-1/3 cups)
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
3 eggs
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons red food coloring
1-1/4 teaspoons vinegar (white or apple cider can both work)
1-1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 cup water

For frosting–
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1 lb (~4 cups) powdered sugar, sifted

INSTRUCTIONS

To make cupcakes
Preheat oven 350 degrees F.

Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder into a bowl and set aside.

In a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix oil, sugar, and buttermilk until combined. Add eggs, food coloring, vinegar, vanilla and water and mix well. Add the dry ingredients a little bit at a time and mix on low, scraping down sides occasionally, and mix until just combined. Be sure not to over mix, or the batter will come out tough.

Line a cupcake pan with paper liners, scoop the batter into the liners and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean. Let cool.

[NOTES: I baked for about 25 minutes.]

To make frosting
Whip the butter and cream cheese together in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment until creamed. In a separate bowl add the vanilla bean seeds to the powdered sugar and mix until seeds evenly distributed. Gradually add powdered sugar to the butter-cream cheese mixture. Scrape down the bowl as needed.

Pig Rating:  Red velvet is not the pig’s favorite but he said that this was a very good cupcake.  He also said that he really liked the icing!

Mrs. Pig Rating:  I’m with the Pig.  Red Velvet is not my favorite, but this was a really good cupcake – moist, full of flavor and such a pretty red color!  The icing is TO DIE FOR.  I could eat it with a spoon.  All in all, a really yummy cupcake!

Co-Worker rating:  Well, I took in about 40 cupcakes yesterday.  There were about 5 left today.  There are only 6 of us there.  HA!  The birthday girl loved them and even took some home for her son and husband to try.  Everyone loved them!

Vacation in Isle of Palms

June 10, 2008 at 8:00 pm | Posted in Vacations/Trips | 6 Comments

Okay, as promised – the vacation update.  Forgive me if this gets long….  : ) Last week, Tommy, the kids and I traveled to Isle of Palms, South Carolina.  We went with another couple – Tommy’s first cousin/best friend, his wife, and their two daughters.  We rented a condo right on the beach in Isle of Palms.  The condo was awesome!  We rented from VRBO – the pictures on the site did not do it justice.  It was beautiful and the view was gorgeous.  I always think if you are going to the beach, you might as well pay to stay on the beach.  Just my thought! 

One of the things I dreaded about this trip was the drive.  I hate long drives.  I get carsick, I get restless, I just hate it.  We split it up though – drove to Knoxville, TN and stayed the night, then drove the rest of the way the next morning so it wasn’t TOO bad.  The cool part for Tommy and I was that our friends drove their Sequoia with a DVD player for the kids so all of the kids rode with them and Tommy and I were alone for the whole trip in our car!  Not as we had planned, but kind of nice nonetheless! 

Our main plans while there were to just play at the beach and play at the pool.  It’s amazing to me how kids would rather go to a pool on vacation than the beach.  Um, hello?  You can play in a pool anytime, anywhere!  There is a beach right in front of us!  So we had to do some convincing on some days to get them excited about the beach.  Unbelievable!  What is not to love?  About the beach.  I have always been the type of person that tans so easily.  As a child I was “brown as a berry” all summer.  As an adult, same thing.  I’ve had maybe one sunburn in my life.  I have been more cautious lately due to 1) my dad dying of Squamous Cell Carcinoma 5 years ago and 2) I am scared to death of wrinkles.  I decided I could lay out with SPF 30 on though – surely I would be fine!  That was the most SPF I had ever used anyway!  Um.  Yeah.  Apparently Tommy’s pale skin is catching.  I ended up sunburnt all over and it itched like crazy.  Not only that, but I had an eczema outbreak on top of that on my legs, arms, stomach and back.  Comfortable!!  I decided it was my dad looking down saying, “Okay, do you get it now?  Stay out of the damn sun woman!”  LOL   I learned my lesson.  Thanks dad.   Anyway, some fun beach pictures…  : )

On our third day there, we went into Charleston to go to dinner at a place called Hyman’s that was recommended to us by friends.  I am allergic to seafood so these places don’t get me too excited, but everyone else was.  The restaurant was in a cool part of town and had great service and great food.  At each place setting at the table is a little plaque that says something like, “Sarah Jessica Parker sat here”.That is the one Tommy had – why didn’t I get that one?! 

Anyway, our friend’s little girl Lauren started complaining she had a stomach ache on the way back to the condo and we told her she would be fine.  You know how kids are.  We got back to the condo and her mom ran to the store and we all sat out on the balcony chatting and playing.  Lauren said her belly hurt again so I told her, “Well, maybe you should try to go potty.”  So she went in.  I went in about 3 minutes later to check on her and when I walked into the bathroom she is sitting on the pot, looks up and says, “I feel like I’m going to—” and I just grabbed the trash can as quickly as possible.  I was a little late, but way better than if I had not been there.  Mind you – I am a puke-o-phobe.  I mean, no one likes it, but I am seriously scared of it.  It makes me shake if anyone even says they feel sick.  Luckily I survived.  Turns out, her mother started doing the same thing that night.  Stomach flu in a condo on vacation where the kids are all sharing a bedroom and bathroom.  I was scared to death!!!  Luckily the four of us managed to escape it.  *PHEW*

Another night we went to a restaurant called Morgan Creek Grille I think.  It was on one of the canals and it was another really cool restaurant.  Open air, right on the water – the kids loved it.  The food was good too!  : )

So mainly we played at the pool and the beach.  The kids finally got into “boogy boarding” in the waves.  Will for some reason kept calling the boogy board a “dune buggy” though I’m not sure why but it was hilarious at the time.  HA!  We went back into Charleston one day for lunch and went to Fort Sumter which was pretty cool as well.  The kids were pretty bored with it I think but someday they might appreciate those types of things and that we took them there.  : ) 

The last night we took the kids to the beach one last time – we all had on our clothes from going out to dinner still and we told them they could stick their feet in the water.  Will kept going further…and further…and further out.  Eventually we gave up and just let him go out and play in the water fully clothed.  HA!  Clothes wash and those are the things kids remember, so what the heck right?  Tommy going in after him fully clothes was equally as funny!  Here he is on his way in….can’t you just see him saying, “But I need to go in there!!”  LOL

We got to Isle of Palms on a Saturday afternoon and we had the condo until the following Saturday.  By Thursday night, Tommy and I were ready to go.  I think we are both the type of people who can only handle so much vacation even when it is a fun one.  We were just ready to get home I think.  So we packed up Thursday night, got everyone and everything loaded up at 6am the next morning and we drove straight through to get home around 6pm Friday night.  It seemed like a bad idea to me at the time but when we got home I was SOO happy that we were. 

All in all, a pretty fun time.  Lots of good memories were made with the kids – that was my first big trip with them and I survived!  Thank you Lord!  HA!  : )  I definitely drank way too much wine and too many margaritas but that is what vacation is for right??  Tommy and I have already booked our next trip – Heading to Puerto Rico in January – yay!  Looking forward to it already.  I need to win the lottery so I can just travel all the time…hmm…

I’m back!

June 9, 2008 at 7:22 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

I’m back from vacation!  Did you miss me?  : )  I have lots of pictures and good stories that I will share as soon as I get a chance.  The kids are keeping us busy this week but hopefully at some point I can get around to a good blog update about the trip.  And I baked some AWESOME cupcakes last night that I will share soon.  Stay tuned!

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