Monday, January 24, 2011

Washin' the winders

Tori helping the McHusband with the windows.

"You missed a spot."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shannon's Shower

I went to Shannon's baby shower yesterday. The hostesses, Amy and Kim, did a great job of keeping things sweet and simple with a few traditional games and some munchies before Shannon opened her gifts.

Amy made cupcakes with pink lemon frosting (from scratch!) and a little flower on top. As far as I know, nobody found out the hard way that the flowers weren't edible.

Shannon using her nose to figure out which candy bar is melted in the diaper. Although it kinda looks like she's taking a taste...

My mom made Shannon a rug for baby Olivia's room. She said there are over 14,000 feet of fabric strips in the rug. If you want to know what regret is, ask my mom about that rug. Yes, it turned out beautifully, but I don't know that my mom's sure it was worth it. However, I know Shannon thinks it was.

Do you want to see Olivia's room? It's very girly and just beautiful.

The mobile and the name on the wall are DIY projects as is most of what you'll see. My mom made the bedding and the curtains.

Shannon and my mom refurbished the dresser and armoire, painting them and adding the hardware.

And check out Olivia's chandelier.

Does my mom need her own show on HGTV or what?

Baby Olivia's due right around Valentine's Day so we'll be meeting her very soon.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Recipe Recap: Peanut Butter Frosting

Okay, my second attempt at pretty frosting went better than the first, but I'm still not there yet. I think it's at least 50% an equipment thing in that I need a bigger tip. (And plenty of helpful tips about cake and cupcake decorating so feel free to leave some.)

I use a boxed mix for the chocolate cake and I thought it tasted okay, but it was kind of light for the intensity of this frosting. A denser cake would've worked better.

Peanut Butter Frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
4 T. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
3 1/4 c. powdered sugar
1 c. Cool Whip, thawed

In a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, butter and peanut butter until smooth. Slowly mix in the powdered sugar, beating until smooth and well blended. Mix in the Cool Whip until smooth and fluffy.

I frosted liberally and still had a good cup and a half of frosting left. The McHusband was happy to help me get rid of that.

If you're a fan of peanut butter, give this frosting a try. It was to die for.

So what's next? I bought some Valentine's Day cupcake liners, and I just saved a recipe for a Cookies n Cream cupcake so that's at the top of my list right now. I'm always looking for guinea pigs to test my food out on so if you're willing, let me know.

Monday, January 10, 2011

NYE Cupcakes

Remember I told you that my mom got me some special baking cups for Christmas? And the McMom got me a cake decorating kit so now I can pipe the icing onto my confections instead of schmearing it on.

Apparently, just owning a paintbrush does not a Picasso make.

I think the end result was a combo of my newbie status and the icing being a little runny and not chilled.

I watched an Oprah where she had these two ladies on from a cupcake shop in the DC area. They had a champagne icing, and I thought it would be perfect for some New Year's Eve cupcakes.

I just used a Duncan Hines strawberry cake mix (a favorite since Bronwyn and I made a cake together back before we could even drive). Even though I've got lots of piping practice ahead of me, I'd say these little mini cupcakes still turned out really cute.

Shawn, who is not a drinker, said he could taste the champagne in the frosting. I'm not sure I could and none of the kids who tried the cupcakes said they were yucky because of the alcohol.

Guess what's next on my list? Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting. I have everything I need at home so I'm hoping we get snowed or iced in tomorrow, and I'll have no choice but to bake. Then again, being stuck at home with all those cupcakes wouldn't lend itself toward me continuing to rock the skinny jeans...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The McHusband's White Birthday

I know this is way overdue, but it somehow also seems like the timing couldn't be better considering the weather the forecasters are predicting for the next couple of days.

When we woke up the day after Christmas, a.k.a. the McHusband's birthday, this is what we saw out back.

Tucker didn't seem to mind.

The snow was very light and fluffy so I think it looked like we got more than we actually did, but there was still a good amount of the white stuff.

I have to say, it was fun to enjoy the snow with an actual kid (as opposed to our fur kids).

And here's Jenny showing everyone how we do it here in the south when it snows. You basically put on as many layers as you can find and hope your feet don't freeze before your shoes get totally soaked.

We dug some saucers out of the barn and the McDad was the first to try one out.

Kevin took Chase on a couple rides down the hill. This was their second trip and on the first one, they went a little far and basically ended up in the bushes at the bottom. So at the end of the video, Chase says something along the lines of, "More down there," because he apparently wanted to end up in the bushes again.

Now it's the McHusband's turn. He's getting ready...

Here he comes!

We decided to try the bigger hill in the field next to the house. While the boys made a couple paths down to the bottom, the McDad worked on a snowman.

The McHusband and I in our layers.

That night, we had pizza for dinner then we all just went back to the house for a quiet evening at the house. Jenny got some cute pictures of Aunt Best and Uncle McHusband with the kids.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Recipe Recap: Fettuccine and Red Peppers

This recipe came across my inbox and I knew it was something that the McHusband and I would like. The timing was perfect because I was resigned to not exercising Wednesday evening and if I'm not gonna burn calories, I might as well take 'em in.

Look how pretty those red peppers are.

One of the four garlic cloves I minced and added to the skillet. Is there any better kitchen smell than the aroma of garlic cooking?

My new apron came in handy because I didn't change out of my work clothes to cook dinner.

Dinner is served!

It's definitely not the prettiest plated meal, but it made up for its looks in flavor. The McHusband grilled some chicken so we had some protein with our pasta. I will say this about the dish: You should like sour cream if you want to give this a try. While it wasn't an overpowering flavor, I could definitely tell it was there. I decreased my chicken broth to half a cup and increased the grated Parmesan to just under 1 cup because that's what was left in the container. I think 1 cup of Parm was a good idea, but I should've stuck with the recipe's 3/4 cup of chicken broth so that the sauce was a little more saucy and not so pasty. Live and learn. It was still really good and definitely a keeper.

{Fettuccine with Sweet Pepper-Cayenne Sauce}

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Christmas 2010: Part III

Did you think I forgot that I owed you guys yet MORE Christmas details plus pictures from the McHusband's first white birthday?

Over at the McHouse, Santa left Chase a...shoot, I can't remember what it's called. You turn the steering wheel back and forth pretty quickly and it scissors you forward. And guess what? It's rated for up to, like, 250 pounds so Aunt Best took a spin on it. But not until Chase had his turn.

Clear the way, I'm comin' through!

Too bad it snowed the next day cuz this sucker would've been fun to ride outside.

We got Chase some wooden train tracks to go with the Thomas trains we got him for his birthday, and he also opened some Thomas books.

The McHusband made himself a holiday drink and once he was done with it, he was more ready for an afternoon nap than opening presents.

Guess what the McMom, Chase, and Leah all got? Aprons and a bib from my mom. I promise, the McMom was happier with her gift than she looks.

Leah modeling her new hat.

And helping me open my gifts. I love how we're both looking at the McMom in the second picture.

I think that's when she opened up the oil filter for the truck. That got everyone's attention. We're still not sure how the filter ended up wrapped and to the McMom from the McDad...

When we were done opening gifts, I actually did take a shower and get myself cleaned up. Sure it was almost 5:00 but better late than never, right? Or maybe not when there're three cameras, several Facebook accounts, and one blog to consider.

While I got myself dressed, Leah got herself undressed. I think Jenny did it to keep Leah awake but I can't really remember.

I love Leah's deer-in-the-headlights (a.k.a. camera-flash-in-the-face) look in this picture.

I can't forget about our kids. They had a good Christmas, too.

Morgan enjoyed squeezing herself into Brewster's bed. Anyone else hearing, "Fat guy in a little coat..."?