Monday, August 31, 2009

Avery's 2nd Birthday Party

I'm a bit late in posting this, but better late than never, I guess. We had Avery's 2nd Birthday party last Sunday, and I just wanted to post a few pictures from the day.

I made giant cupcake as her main cake, with a doctored up Devils Food cake mix recipe called "Too Much Chocolate Cake." It was good, but very very rich.

Then I made those yellow cupcakes that I posted about a few weeks back.

Here's a picture of Avery opening her presents. This was the first gift she opened, and we quickly learned that we should have saved it for last. It was a Fur Real Pup, that she just absolutely adored. She unfortunately didn't have much interest in the rest of her presents after that. But she got a lot of great stuff and has been playing with ALL of it since :)

A picture of her blowing out the candles. Next year I'll be sure to put her on a chair on her own while we sing to her and have her blow out the candles so I can get some better pictures :)

And finally, a pic of her swinging with her friend Grace.

We had a great day, and got lucky with some great weather. Thanks to all of our family who drove a few hours to come to the party. We really appreciate it!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I Made the Marinated Flank Steak

And it was good! I thought I had soy sauce in my cabinet, but it turns out...not so much. I did have three packets of soy sauce from our last Chinese takeout night though, so I used those. But that left me more than 1/4 cup short. So, I substituted with Worchestershire sauce. Is that an adequate substitution? I don't know, but it was in my cabinet, and it's the same color, and I know it's often paired with soy sauce in other recipes. So I went for it. And it actually turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself :)

I grilled the steak, for about four minutes or so on each side. It turned out a little more pink inside than Abe and I prefer, so next time I make it I'll be sure to cook it for just a bit longer. Oh, and I did boil the marinade in a pot while the steak was cooking on the grill, as Ree suggested doing, and I really think this is a must. Really, really good.

Avery likes to dip her food, any kind of food really, so this was a hit with her. She would dip, and then say "Mmmmm."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pioneer Woman Recipes

Lately I've been getting a little more into cooking. It's not always something I want to do (OK, sometimes I just flat out DREAD it), but if I'm gonna do it, I like to do it from scratch. I can't remember who first pointed me to the Pioneer Woman blog , but they mentioned it as a great site for photography tips. This is true, but what I've found that I really love about her site is the Cooking section.

My favorite part about the recipes that Ree Drummond (the Pioneer Woman) puts on her blog, is that she lays out the whole thing step by step, with pictures! I LOVE that. I like to see what each step is supposed to look like so I know if I'm doing things right. Her pictures are beautiful too, which makes you want to eat the stuff even more (don't you hate cookbooks that don't have pictures? What's the point?). She also uses really good ingredients, like heavy cream and butter...right up my alley.

So I've been on quite the kick lately making a bunch of her dishes. I may just try to make it through all of her recipes. Like that movie "Julie and Julia"...instead it's "Jamie and Ree." Hmmm...doesn't have the same ring to it, huh?

This is her Ranch Style Chicken recipe, along with Fresh Green Beans, One Way . The green beans have the best flavor of any green bean side dish I've ever had, and the chicken is really juicy and I really like the marinade on this one (I left out the bacon this time because I forgot to buy it at the grocery store...oops). Also, this picture was taken before I got the great tip on her website to never use the flash when photographing food. I've found that this is so true...a flash really makes the food look unnatural, or something.

This is her Fettuccine Alfredo recipe. TO DIE FOR!!!! This was so good, I couldn't stop eating it. Very simple recipe too, the way fettuccine alfredo is supposed to be. Not good for the waistline though...probably shouldn't make this one too often.

These Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Icing are what I'm making for Avery's birthday party this weekend. I had to practice before the big day to make sure they were up to par, of course :) Let me tell you, I'm not really a fan of icing...I usually take it off and just eat the cake...but this icing is GOOOOD.

Last night I was feeling like a casserole for dinner, so I decided to make this one , and it did not dissapoint. It was creamy and had just a touch of spiciness. I think next time I might add a few more veggies...maybe some peas or some carrots. I used one of those whole roasted chickens you can get at the grocery store, which made it really easy to put this together. I think this recipe's a keeper!

The next one I'm going to try is Marinated Flank Steak - got the steak in the fridge right now ready for me to stick it in the marinade. I'll let you know how it turns out. In the meantime, I beg you to take a look at her site and try out a few recipes for yourself (and then tell me which one you made and if I should put it next on my list!).