Sunday, July 31, 2011

Meet Henry Milo

Sara had her baby boy just past midnight Thursday night/Friday morning, which was her due date. She took to calling him Cornbread during her pregnancy so I need to get out of the habit of thinking about him as a delectable Southern side dish.

Look at those cheeks!

Henry even opened his eyes a little during my visit.

He also made this face. Guess it's tough acclimating to the real world.

Sara ended up with a c-section so recovery was going about as well as
could be expected. The drugs were helping. Better living through chemistry!

Henry Milo was 7lbs6oz and 19in long. And just as cute as could be.

Thanks, Sara and Cliff, for letting Anna and me visit on Saturday, and for letting me hog the baby the whole time. What can I say, I just can't resist a younger man! Right, McHusband?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Recipe Recap: Banoffee Muffins & Brownies (from scratch!)

Another banana recipe. What can I say, we like our bananas not-too-ripe and when they show their age with those brown speckles, the McHusband and I aren't touching them. So they either get sliced and frozen for smoothies, or else I just HAVE to find some way to include them in a baked good. This time around, Banoffee Muffins won out over smoothies.

I made mine into mini muffins so that there would be enough to share with the doctor's office here in our building. I think their two-bite size worked out really well because they had a lot of flavor - the banana was strong and then there was plenty of chocolate and toffee along for the ride.

The chips and bits were baked into the muffin...

...AND sprinkled on top.

These muffins were pretty good. They were very dense, which I liked. If you have extra-ripe bananas and just happen to have chocolate chips and toffee bits in your pantry (What, those aren't pantry staples?), give 'em a try.

Now on to dessert! I've never made brownies from scratch before. I guess I never felt I had to; those boxed mixes make some pretty darn delicious brownies. But I wanted to try my hand at truly homemade brownies so I picked up some of Nestle's new Dark Chocolate Morsels and used this recipe that I found on Allrecipes.

I compared Nestle's recipe to one that's gotten rave reviews in the food-blogging world (here's just one post from a blog I read), and it's similar so I tweaked it to make it a bit more like The Baked Brownie. Since I haven't had the original (yet), I can't compare the two, but my brownie was tasty so I have no complaints.

My changes:
--Add 1 T. cocoa powder to the flour-salt mixture and stir to combine
--3/4 c. white sugar and 1/4 c. brown sugar
--Sprinkle flour mixture over wet ingredients and use a spatula to fold it in until just some flour streaks remain

I like the extra bits of gooey chocolate from the chips that are mixed in.

All in all, it wasn't THAT much more difficult to throw these together than to make brownies from a box. I want to try The Baked Brownie next and see if it's as awesome as I've been led to believe. I mean, it IS one of Oprah's favorite things and she wouldn't steer me wrong, right?

If you don't like dark chocolate, use milk chocolate chips. And if you prefer cake-y brownies, this recipe isn't going to work for you. Oh, one more thing: watch that you don't overbake them. I baked mine for a couple minutes less than the minimum bake time suggested, and I still think they could've come out of the oven a minute or two earlier. But I like my brownies almost underdone so if that's not your thing, stick with the recipe's cook time.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Girls' Night: Drinks and Dancing

(I said "mid-week." I didn't say WHICH week.)

So after our dinner and Five Star, we headed to White Collar Crime for the night. It also wasn't crazy-busy, but it was still relatively early (I say "relatively" because it was 11ish, plenty late enough for people our age) so we decided to stay.

What do I mean by "wasn't crazy-busy?" Let's just say there was plenty of room for our group of six on the dance floor.

Like my airplane move?

Heather must have because she tried it out.

Basically, the night went like this: we had some drinks, we danced, we had a great time.

Thanks, ladies, for yet another memorable night out on the town.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mike and Kristina's Wedding

We went to Lake Lure for Mike and Kristina's wedding a couple weekends ago. For those of you who aren't familiar with the area, you might actually recognize parts of it from Dirty Dancing, because "the lake and interior scenes" were filmed there.

We stayed in the Lake Lure Inn.

This is the beach from the Inn side. See the red-roofed gazebo across the water? It's bigger than it looks. That's where the ceremony took place and we all fit underneath.

We were invited to eat with everyone at the rehearsal dinner and it was nice to be included. Thanks, Mike and Kristina!

Who's "we?" Shawn and Vanessa.

The McHusband and Eric.

And me.

Once we'd eaten and were up mingling, we had fun with the best man's 9-month-old, Culyon (that's cull-ee-un).

It got to the point where he was squinting or closing his eyes in anticipation of the flash. So cute!

After dinner, there were s'mores on the beach.

And after the s'mores, there were chocolate martinis in the bar.

The bride and groom.

Our group pretty much took over the bar area, playing musical chairs. Shawn and the McHusband are looking so amused in this picture because Shawn's sitting at a bar with a drink in his hand (Shawn doesn't drink).

Yes, those are shorts.

On that note, I think it's time to move on to the wedding. Mike and Kristina got married on Sunday morning. A little out of the ordinary, but I have to say that the brunch reception rocked.

Here we are in the lobby waiting to get on the trolley that would take us to the gazebo.

The gazebo. I told you it was big.

Feet pictures. The McHusband is the son of a shoe man, you know.

What a gorgeous backdrop for a wedding ceremony.

Husband and wife!

For the McMom. These sunflowers were on the chairs at the end of each row.

A few pictures of our group before we left to head back to the inn (and the air conditioning!).

Me on a rock. Yeah, we're collecting these pictures.

We took the trolley back and had some snacks while the wedding party had their pictures.

We had mostly brunch food to choose from and the French toast was sooo good. There was even an omelet station and a chocolate fountain.

The first dance.

Removing of the garter...

...followed by the oh-so-traditional slingshot toss to a crowd of single men who avoid catching it at all costs.

It was a fun weekend and we were honored to be a part of Mike and Kristina's special day. Congrats, you guys!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Jenny and I are on the same wavelength. On my way home from work Friday, I took a picture of my car's thermostat, intending to blog about the weather. I know, I know, we've all heard enough about the weather lately. It's HOT! But I think my car's t-stat reading 103 is worth a post.

According to WRAL, today was the fifth day in a row with 100-degree weather at RDU, setting an all-time record.

Now for a little humor about the heat. This came in an email from my Grandma Grace, and it made me smile (as I read it in my air-conditioned office with my space heater going full blast 6 inches away).

Hope everyone's staying comfortably cool!