Friday, February 27, 2015

Happy 2nd Birthday to my son!!

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On February 22nd my son turned 2. How can I have a 2 year old already! I can’t get over how quick this past year has gone by, I’m pretty sure it went faster than the first year! BTW how cute is his shirt I made him?!?! On Saturday we had a party for him. In Texas the weather is unpredictable, but since I had a large guest list I decided to still chance it and have an outdoor party. Boy did I not bargain for my stress level to max out the week of the party seeing 60-90% rain in the forecast!! The day of the party and it was just overcast no rain, thank my lucky stars!!! The party was  a huge hit and everyone including the adults had a great time!

My son is addicted to basketball so that’s the theme I went with this year.

Special thank you to my friend Jennifer who made his birthday board! She used a foam board from the 99 cent store and some markers from Hobby Lobby. I have the shot clock time as the time he was born then put all his favorites on the board. Thinking I want to go back and make one for his first birthday then keep them for him for a future party.

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Usually I go over the top with my parties, but with the un known weather I kept this one on the simple train. We moved all the tables in the garage which I think in the long run made life a little easier.


I made labels for the drinks using an NBA logo added into a Word document.

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For food, I made a concession stand sign and we did pizza, popcorn, cheese balls, pretzels. Just snack food stuff and I made cute names for the items using a cloths pin blackboard I got at Hobby Lobby.

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I made orange sugar cookies (click HERE for recipe) and then used black icing to make the basketball lines and white icing for the 2 since my son turned 2.


I decided not to do a cake this year and just do cupcakes so I made chocolate cupcakes in black wrappers then made my Buttercream Icing (Click HERE for recipe) tinted orange then topped the cupcakes with vanilla wafers which I piped black icing on to make them look like tiny basketballs. The candles I got from Party City. Travis even got to help make his own cupcakes for the party!

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For décor I got some basketball lanterns from Party City for the trees, put out a bunch of chairs and a kid picnic table. We had a chalk area, basketball goals big and little, toddler bounce house, tunnel and I rented a giant dry slide. Since we had big kids and toddlers the best idea ever was the slide so kids wouldn’t get trampled.

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I wanted a simple party favor as well and decided to go with orange Gatorade and attached a basketball whistle from Party City and a little thank you note from Travis. I then put them all in his wagon so I could pull it out later rather than all the kids taking them at the first of the party. I’m sure the whistles where not a huge hit with the parents, but as I told them the whistle is for mom and the drink is for the kid!

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Happy birthday big boy we love you!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Lemon & Feta Roasted Potatoes

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I feel like this is a strange combination only because it’s just chunky on chunky textures. The recipe is good, but you need to make sure you stab a piece of cheese and potato on the fork to have in one bite. The other thing that may have helped is if I wasn’t distracted and read the recipe right about adding the feta in to bake a little. Maybe it would have softened and done better.

Lemon & Feta Roasted Potatoes

(Adapted from Cinnamon-Spice and Everything Nice)


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5 cups peeled and cubed Russet potatoes (1 + 1/2 to 2 pounds)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing the pan

1 tablespoon parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

the zest of 1 lemon, just the yellow part, not the pith

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, divided

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

coarse salt and pepper

1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese


Soak the potatoes in ice water for 20 minutes to 1 hour.


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Drain and pat dry with paper towels.


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Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously grease a large, non-stick baking sheet or 2 medium ones.


In a large mixing bowl whisk together the oil, Parmesan, Dijon, zest, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, thyme and oregano.


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Add the potatoes and toss to coat using your hands to rub the oil all over the potatoes.


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Dump them out onto the baking sheet and spread them out so they're not touching. If the pan is too crowded they won't get crispy. Sprinkle well with salt and pepper.


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 Bake 20 minutes then flip them over and bake additional 15 - 20 minutes or until fork tender.


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Toss them on the baking sheet with the feta and drizzle the remaining tablespoon of lemon juice over them. Bake 5 more minutes just to warm up the feta.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Bacon & Ale Beef Roast with Homemade Gravy

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By far not my best photo ops of this dish. The flavor is really good. Hubby loved all the bacon in it chopped up, but I thought it was too much. Next time I’ll leave it off at the end and he can add to it as he wants. Looking forward to the cold weather this Fall so I can make this again.

Bacon & Ale Beef Roast with Homemade Gravy   

(Adapted from Chin Deep)


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4 lb. chuck arm roast

1/2 lb. bacon, fried until crispy

2 medium onions, sliced

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons paprika

1 Tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons sea salt

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 Tablespoons fresh parsley

2 cups water

1 cup beer


Brown bacon until crispy. Remove from drippings and set aside.


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Rub roast with all purpose flour. Using the bacon drippings in the pan, brown the roast on each side for about three minutes per side, over medium-high heat. Remove roast to a foil lined roasting pan or heavy, cast iron Dutch oven. Sprinkle roast with garlic powder, paprika, pepper and salt.


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Add the olive oil to the skillet and fry onions until well-browned and slightly crispy.


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Top roast with the fried onions, bacon and parsley. Pour the water and beer over all.


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Tightly wrap the roast with the foil, or top the heavy Dutch oven with lid. Bake in a 300 degree oven for about 3 hours, or until roast is very tender and falling apart.


for the gravy:

When the roast is done cooking, pour the drippings from the roasting pan into a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan. Keep roast wrapped/covered so it stays hot while you make the gravy.


In a skillet, combine 1/4 cup real butter and 1/4 cup all-purpose flour.


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Using a wire whisk stir and brown slowly over medium-low heat until a light amber color. Add some of the roast drippings if the roux gets too dry.


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Heat the drippings over a medium flame until it starts to gently bubble. Add the roux and whisk vigorously until smooth. Add 2 additional cups of water to the gravy.


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Whisk until thickened. Adjust seasonings to taste. This gravy is absolutely wonderful on skin-on mashed potatoes!

Serve roast with your favorite sides, a crisp green salad, or steamed veggies!

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Friday, February 20, 2015

Sriracha and Honey Roasted Cashews

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I made these for my brother as part of his Christmas bag and I kept a few to snack on because they turned out pretty tasty. I don’t think I let them air dry long enough after they baked because they stayed a little sticky. I still loved the spicy and sweet combo so I’ll be making these again for sure.

Sriracha and Honey Roasted Cashews

(Adapted from See and Savour)


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4 cups of Raw Cashews

1/2 cup of Honey

2 tablespoons of Sriracha (use less if you can't take the heat!)

2 tablespoons of Olive Oil

1 thumb size grated Ginger (I used 1/4 teaspoon of dried ginger)

3 tablespoon of Sesame Seeds


Preheat the oven to 350º. In a medium bowl, whisk together honey, sriracha, ginger and olive oil.


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Pour mixture with raw cashews and stir until evenly coated. Fold in sesame seeds.


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On a lined baking sheet (don't forget to line the baking sheet or it makes for a little messier clean up!) spread cashews evenly onto sheet tray. Bake for 10-15 minutes stirring occasionally. Once golden allow cashews to cool before serving!

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