Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

But aren’t they ALL good?

I have a cute video for you today.  It’s a little over a minute long and I suggest you watch the whole thing.  The dog gets more and more animated each time he’s waiting for the ball and the third time he’s waiting for his owner to throw the ball, he’s literally bouncing with excitement.

Have a great weekend!  Hope the Easter Bunny is nice to you.  He’ll be nice to me if he skips my house.  I will have enough treats this weekend without having to resist Cadbury Eggs, anything by Reese’s, or those little sugar-coated marshmallow birdies.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

SPD ‘13:

Shamrocks hanging in the archways.  Crack Dip.  A fully loaded beverage table.  Dancing.

These are all staples of our annual St. Patrick’s Day party.  There’s one more thing you can count on more often than not.

Burnouts in the driveway.


But let’s back up a little.  Shawn took the camera out to the garage and documented what the boys were up to before the smoke billowed down the driveway.


Apparently they were trying to pull a fuse that would turn the Jeep into two-wheel drive, which would allow it to do a burnout.  Thank goodness they failed.


Bruce, doing a little jig.


See, I’m not the only one who takes self portraits.


I love this picture of Chelle going outside.  She has that “Oh man, someone’s gonna be in trouble…” look on her face.

St. Pats - Steph - March 13 (227)

Lucky for “someone,” his wife was elsewhere and didn’t realize what was going on.

Terry’s ready to document this momentous event.


Yep, he’s gonna get great pictures and video from this vantage point.


Hmm, maybe that spot’s a little too close to the action…


And…Terry disappears into the smoke.



Jovyn looks pretty happy with himself, doesn’t he?


Time to inspect the damage…to our driveway.


And that wraps up St. Patrick’s Day 2013.  A good time was had by all, especially certain hostessses with the mostest who partied hard and went to bed about an hour before the party officially ended.

Can’t wait to do it all over again next year!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

{Recipe Recap} Shrimp & Grits

(I’ll be back tomorrow with the last SPD party post.  In the meantime, enjoy a healthy version of a classic Southern comfort food.)

The McHusband loves him some shrimp and grits.  Me, I wasn’t a fan, mostly because grits are a little scary.  My parents are from Michigan and Pennsylvania so I don’t think grits were something they were overly familiar with, therefore they didn’t expose my sisters and me to them.  I honestly don’t recall eating them before I made them this past Sunday.  But you know what?  I’ll definitely be eating them again!


My pictures don’t do this meal justice, not by a long shot.  This was sooooo good.  The shrimp had just enough kick, and the grits allowed us to eat all that delicious sauce in a civilized manner (as opposed to licking our plates clean).


I made the suggested side dish, Spicy Green Beans, and they were pretty fabulous, too.  I will definitely be keeping them in our regular rotation of sides for when I feel like working slightly harder than required to open a 90-second rice packet before nuking it.

Did I mention these recipes are from Cooking Light?  Yep, I just started subscribing to the magazine and there are probably 15 recipes I have Post-It-ed to try.

We loved this whole meal.  I wasn’t a grits person before this, and the McHusband has always been vehemently opposed to green beans with any kind of crunch to them.  But you know what?  This meal changed both our stances on our respective foods.

Life-changing meal, I’m telling you.

{Shrimp and Grits}

{Spicy Green Beans}

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

SPD ‘13: Party peeps

Tawnya arrived in style, but she didn’t stay that way for long.


She literally put these shoes on in the car outside, walked into the house, wore them long enough for some pictures, then took them off.  They were very cute, but they were definitely “sitting shoes.”


Neighbors!  Kara, on the left, couldn’t stay too long at the party as she had to be up and ready to go by 5:00 the next morning for the Tobacco Road Half Marathon.  Don’t those organizers know better than to plan a race right around St. Patrick’s Day?


Jovyn and Kristen


Sexy ladies!


Mike and Kristina, who came all the way from Wake Forest.


Two more sexy ladies!


Kevin and Eric


Cliff and Sara.  Seriously, could they be more photogenic?


My girls!


“It was THIS big!”  No idea what we’re talking about.


I also don’t know who has the camera at this point (Kristen maybe?) so I don’t know who to, uh, thank for the next few in this series.



I’m glad Kristina finds this amusing.


Jeremy, I think you owe me an explanation…

Time to head outside and see how the Jell-O shots are going over.

That well, huh?


Deep breaths, Tawnya.


Mike, who is Kevin’s twin brother, and his wife, Karina Smirnoff.  Can you believe she made it to our party?  We were really honored to have her.


And speaking of that devil Kevin…


Hey look, it’s a McHusband!  And a dancing one, which is rarely seen in public.  We’re really lucky to have caught this behavior on film.



Dance party on the deck!




Back inside…




We’re heading out to the garage next!

Monday, March 25, 2013

{Recipe Recap} Chocolate Irish Cream Bundt Cake

It’s Monday and you know what that means – your spoonful (or so) of sugar to help ease you into the work week.

While we’re still on the subject of St. Patrick’s Day (And we are – I’ve got the final two party posts ready to go.), I wanted to share a Bundt cake I made for my HOA meeting the Wednesday before the holiday.


I promise, there’s a cake under all that icing.


Can you tell in the picture above how the cake looks kinda gray?  That’s because there’s an Irish Cream glaze coating the cake UNDER the icing.  When you’re adding liquor to dessert, might as well squeeze it in every chance you get.


I went outside the recipe for the icing and it was a good call.  The cake didn’t necessarily need it, but when have I been one to skimp on the frosting?


If you refer to the original recipe, you’ll see it looks a little different from mine.  That’s because I chose to make this with chocolate cake mix and chocolate pudding.  I mean, Irish Cream and chocolate are meant to be together, far be it from me to keep them apart.


I personally found this cake to be fairly irresistible so it was a good thing I was able to leave part of it with my fellow board members, share a few slices with my coworkers, and send the rest with the McHusband to his office.


If you happen to have some Irish Cream left over from the holiday, I suggest you use it wisely and bake up one of these cakes.  And don’t wait until next year’s St. Patrick’s Day holiday.  I promise, no one will complain at your tardiness for making this now.

{Cake recipe adapted from here}

{Irish Cream icing here}

Friday, March 22, 2013


I was tired and didn’t have the mental energy last night to do another SPD post for today.  I wasn’t in the mood to multi-task with blogging and watching TV so one had to go.  I’m thinking you can guess which one.

The weekend is upon us, woohoo!  One day soon (I hope!) the weather’s going to finally change and stay springlike and people are going to start cooking out.  And what goes great with hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill?  Chips!

Lays has some new flavors out in the stores that they want people to try before voting for their favorite, and the winning chip gets to stay on store shelves.  I bought a big bag of the Sriracha, the flavor I thought we were probably going to like, and then found the two other ones in snack sizes a little later.


I didn’t love any of them, but if I had to choose then I’d say the Sriracha was my favorite.  The Chicken & Waffles chips reminded me of eating breakfast sausage dipped in syrup – not necessarily a bad thing, just sorta strange when you’re eating chips.

I thought I’d love the Cheesy Garlic Bread, but I didn’t.  I don’t remember why now, and I can’t exactly recall what they tasted like, only that I didn’t prefer them at all.

Okay, enough multi-tasking, time to JUST watch TV and try to get to bed earlier than 11:15.  Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

{Recipe Recap} Skinny Banana Blueberry Muffins

No party people today.  I got home from the Y at 8:00, had a quick dinner, then got busy baking a couple very ripe bananas into some healthy muffins


By the time those came out of the oven and I got myself and my stuff ready for today, it was time for my once-a-week bowl of popcorn and some TV.

So all that is to say, no party people today.

Back to the muffins for a minute.  The original blogger and recipe creator, Sally, made 17 muffins and she calculated each one to be about 130 calories.  I got 22 muffins, but I packed my brown sugar pretty tightly so I’m going to guess my muffins still have 125 calories in them.  But they aren’t mini muffins so I’d say that’s pretty good for a full-size muffin.

The most important question, though, is how did they taste?  The blueberries were key in these because the muffin base itself wasn’t super flavorful one way or the other, even with my extra brown sugar, additional half-teaspoon of cinnamon, and splash of vanilla.  Of course, with banana breads, muffins, and cakes, the flavor often develops after some time so I need to give these another taste before offering my final opinion on them.

If they don’t blow my skirt up, I’ll go back to these banana flax muffins for a healthy and tasty alternative to the scrumptious but not so good for us banana bread muffins I recently made.

The McHusband’s final verdict after having one he warmed up in the microwave?  “They’re pretty good; I think I like them.”

{Recipe adapted from here}

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

SPD ‘13: Dessert and decorations

I didn’t do a very good job of taking pictures of how we decorated the house or how the ultimate food and drink set-up went.  In the few minutes before the party started, my priorities weren’t focused on future blog posts but on getting the grub put out and labeled.

Luckily, I set up the dessert buffet earlier so I was able to snap a few photos before I turned into one of those proverbial chickens minus their noggins.



So from left to right, we have: Lemon Gooey Cake Bars, chocolate cupcakes with three different frostings, the NY Times Cookies with butterscotch and white chocolate chips, mint Oreo-truffle brownies, and Puppy Chow.  The one thing missing was the peanut butter fudge, which was very soft so it was in the freezer until just before our guests were due to arrive.


The three frostings were, from top to bottom, mint, vanilla, and chocolate Irish cream.


If you like chocolate chip cookies, you HAVE to try the NY Times Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I made the original ones at Christmas and everyone loved them.  I figured we had enough chocolate for the party so that’s why I went with butterscotch and white chocolate chips in this batch.  I have a kitchen scale so when I made them the first time, I weighed my dough and baked the 3.5-oz dough balls that the recipe suggests.  Those were some BIG cookies.  For the party, I used my 1/4-cup scoop so my cookies were uniform but still significant in size.


Don’t skip the sprinkling of sea salt on the dough.  It takes the cookies from pretty darn good to downright FABULOUS.


Next up are the brownies.  I made these truffle brownies with regular Oreos for Olivia’s birthday and went with the mint Oreos for the party.


And last but not least, everyone always loves Puppy Chow, especially me the day after the party.  It’s in that bowl on the far right.


The drink station was set up in the window.  We had punch, soda, water, liquor, beer-vodka lemonade and wine inside while the beer and cider were out on the deck in coolers.



Other than taping up some shamrocks, my main decoration was the backdrop for the food table.  I saw some streamers sewed together so that they were ruffly and I asked my mom if she could help me out.  She came through with flying colors, then it was up to me to figure out how to hang the streamers.


I ended up cutting a length of painter’s tape the length I needed and laying it out on the kitchen floor.  Then I cut the streamers so they were 5 feet long and spread them along the tape in a layout that worked.


As you can see, it was a very precise process. Winking smile


And how did it look on the wall?  Awesome!


And later with food on the table.


We also had some green lights strung on the railings on the deck.  Allow me to show you.


People pics next!