Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Favorites

I'm extremely new at this "shout out" thing, but my newest addiction is surfing blog world and I can't help but give love to the people that make my mouth drop in awe.

I would absolutely LOVE to have this in my entry way:
Major props to Cassie at: Primitive & Proper
It looks so simple, yet elegant, yet earthy.  And I especially like the play on pink this time of year.  Can I just say how adorable the backing is on the shelves?  I'm inspired.  :)

I found similar mailboxes in the dollar section at Target, but the stands add the extra touch that they need.  LOVE it.
There is a tutorial at Crafts & Sutch and I highly recommend it.

Ok seriously, can these Tic Tac boxes get any cuter?

I think not!  Thank you so much, Smilemonsters for the fabulous idea!

Now, I've been trying to figure out a cute idea for a chalkboard paint canvas and I think I've found it.  I love the four put together.
Great idea, Our Daily Obsessions.  There are so many different ideas for this and I love your Valentine's pick!

Well, that's it for now.  My goal for the week is to find inspiration for my master bedroom based off our bedding.  I seem to be drawing a HUGE blank on it.  I'll post pictures at some point this week, so any feedback is truly appreciated.  Hint: Chocolate brown and seagreen colors.  Yeah, I'm stuck.
Happy Blogging!

Sunday Wrap-Up

Wow it's been an incredibly busy week!  My cake order for the weekend has been picked up so I can finally breathe and relax.  Probably go get my nails done since they are starting to scare me.  ;)

Made two great recipes this week.  Monday night consisted of a homemade parmesan sauce with spinach, tossed with angel hair pasta and garlic bread.  The sauce is so easy to make, I highly recommend it.

Then in honor of "Taco Tuesday", we made grilled chicken tostadas.  The recipe calls for a homemade marinade to be refrigerated overnight and boy was it worth the wait.  The chicken was just running with the most delicious juices!

My most favorite part of the week came yesterday.  Landon had his first dance competition and I was just beaming with pride.  His dances took High Gold (highest they could get for their division), and then also took 5th and 3rd Overall for the Petitie Division!  Watching him on stage brought back so many memories for me...  especially when he "secretly" told me he was nervous before he went on.  Now he says he loves it and can't wait for the next one. Well don't worry, we have one every month now through July.  Thinking of a bank to rob to pay for all of it.  LOL  Please don't take that literally.
So after a long day, I came home to work on a cake order for my most favorite co-worker.  It's her dad's birthday and he loves jazz music and all that it entails.  So I made him this cake:
I think it's one of my all-time favorites now.  What do you think?

Off to get the nails did and then start on a beef, veggies and barley dinner while watching the Pro Game.  Mmmmmmm.  Making your mouth water yet?
Happy Sunday!

Monday, January 24, 2011

"Everything Grilled Salad" and Window-Pane Cookies

I've been trying to incorporate a lot of fresh vegetables in my home cooking and making them so yummy, my children cannot resist.
Enter "Everything Grilled Salad" with a homemade pesto vinaigrette sauce.  This meal was absolutely delicious!  I cut up all the vegetables and while the hubby grilled the veggies and flank steak, I chopped fresh parsley and basil and garlic for the pesto sauce.  It really is an easy recipe with a quick clean up... as long as you pull a "Rachel Ray" and keep a "trash bowl" on the side.  :)  And for the fun of it, we grilled some sausage as well for a little spice.

Here was the finished product:

The tomatoes, squash and zucchini slathered in a pesto vinaigrette was the perfect compliment to the steak and sausage.

Here's the recipe:

  • 1 (1 1/2-pound) beef flank steak, trimmed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 small summer yellow squash, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 4 small zucchini, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion (optional)
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  1. Heat the grill at the medium-high setting. Sprinkle the steak with salt and pepper to taste. Grill the meat (about 7 to 9 minutes per side on a gas grill for medium rare, longer if you prefer medium or well done). Let the steak cool, then cut it in half lengthwise and slice each half across the grain into thin strips.
  2. Meanwhile, brush the yellow squash and zucchini with 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and season it with salt and pepper. Grill the sliced vegetables, turning them once, until tender (about 2 to 3 minutes). Then cut them into thirds.
  3. In a food processor, combine the parsley, basil, garlic, Dijon, and remaining tablespoon of lemon juice and blend well. With the motor running, slowly add the oil and blend well. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the steak, squash, zucchini, and onion, if desired. Add the dressing and toss to mix. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper, if desired. Stir in the tomatoes and serve. Makes 6 servings.

My kids gobbled the whole thing up so to reward them, I made heart shaped cookies (practicing for Valentine's Day) with a "window-pane" center.  I never knew it was possible to melt a Jolly Rancher in the middle of a cookie while it baked, but it works!  I'm glad I gave it a trial run because I realized I need to make my own dough rather than save time with a store-bought one.  The shape of the cookie just does not hold with the store-bought kind.

I wish the centers kept the heart shape, but I'll work on it and let you know.  Here is the recipe:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • Hard candy for cookie center (we used Jolly Ranchers)
  1. To make the dough: Using an electric mixer at medium-high speed, cream the butter, gradually adding the sugar. Beat in the egg until evenly mixed, then blend in the vanilla extract and salt.
  2. With a wooden spoon, stir the flour into the creamed ingredients, about one third at a time, until evenly blended. The dough may seem soft, but it will firm up when refrigerated.
  3. Divide the dough in half. Flatten each portion into a disk and seal in plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. To create the cookies: Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover a sturdy baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat the foil with cooking spray. Between 2 sheets of waxed paper lightly dusted with flour, roll the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Remove the top sheet.
  5. Cut out the cookies with a large cookie cutter. Use a spatula to transfer the shapes to the baking sheet, leaving about an inch between cookies. Remove the centers of the cookies with a smaller cookie cutter. (Save the centers to bake later.)
  6. Place a hard candy (we used Jolly Ranchers) in the center of each heart and bake until the cookies start to brown lightly around the edges and the candy is melted, about 8 to 10 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. To prevent sticking, line your serving plate or tin with waxed paper and place additional waxed paper between layers. Makes 30.

So that's about it.  Hope you try the recipe.  I don't think you'll be the least bit disappointed.  Off to tend to my two sick little men.  Staying home today equals lots of extra attention and love from me.  What are Moms for right?  :)

Have a beautiful Monday!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Such a long time... but not forgotten.

I must apologize for my absence.  I can't believe it's been a year since I posted anything and for that I am very sorry.
Shortly after my last post, I went from a stay-at-home mom to a full-time Executive Assistant.  And let's just say, life has been extremely crazy ever since.
My wonderful husband got me a laptop for Christmas, so I now have the opportunity to snuggle next to him and update at the same time... so I'm a happy Momma.

So a quick update:

  • I work full time for the CEO and CFO of a company.
  • Landon, Cameron and Jordan are excelling in school and we're so very proud of them.
  • My hubby still works damn hard for his family and for that, I admire him.
  • Landon is part of the competition team at Cutting Edge Dance Center.
  • My side business of event planning and cake making is getting much busier these days... good sign for the economy.
  • I made a New Years Resolution to help my family eat more healthfully... and this, I have definitely accomplished and am loving every minute of cooking new recipes from scratch with fresh veggies and herbs.  
I've decided to start updating on here about my children, my home-improvement projects, my event planning/cake business, and my recipes.
Hopefully, I don't bore you to death if you decide to read.  I've found blogs to be very informative when it comes to these kinds of things, so rather than just the norm, I'll be joining in on the fun.
Happy blogging!