Monday, April 29, 2013

Weddings & Happenings

I've got weddings on the mind, and not even my own! 

The past three weekends have been filled with wedded bliss and I'm loving every second of it. 

The Rambo's had a simple and lovely courthouse wedding - my first time witnessing!  The newly married couple hosted close friends and family at their home after and had Middle of the Island cater.  Does anyone else crave squash casserole as soon as you read those three words?!

Now I know you're probably asking yourself, "Could those possibly be the very Manolos Carrie wore in Sex and the City?" The answer is yes.  I cried a little wedding tear for those beauties. Now i'm counting down until Stephanie wears them again at her bigger wedding in July.  Can't wait!

Mike's cousin Samantha and her husband Hess were married in a stunning outdoor ceremony on the intracoastal.  After a Friday downpour, everyone was counting their blessings when the sun came out on Saturday! 

Mike, myself, and two of my three future brothers!
I had an absolute blast this weekend at the wedding of one of my first friends in college.  Brandon and Courtney hosted their reception at 128 South and we had the time of our lives.  It was so great celebrating with so many friends from college!

Despite our exhaustion from all the festivities, Mike and I rallied last night to celebrate this handsome fella's birthday with a cookout.   You only turn 4 once right?!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Texas Sheet Cake

One of my best friends, Lindsey, had a birthday this week and since she is the type of person who goes above and beyond for everyone else's birthday, I wanted to make her something special. Given the fact that Lindsey is one of the most hard-core chocoholic's I've ever known, my mission was clear: Texas Sheet Cake.

This cake is actually a signature sweet of my Mom's.  She's been making it for as long as I can remember and it is nothing short of rich, decadent, chocolaty perfection.  Ice cold milk required.

* 2 sticks butter
* 1 c. water
* 6 tbsp. cocoa powder
* 2 c. sugar
* 2 c. flour
* 1/2 tsp. salt
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 c. sour cream
* 1 tsp. baking powder
* 1 tsp. vanilla
* 1 stick butter
* 6 tbsp. cocoa powder
* 6 tbsp. milk
* 1 tsp. vanilla
* 1 box powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350; grease a 13x9 baking dish.  Sift together flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a bowl.  In a separate bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, and vanilla and mix well with a fork.  In a medium sauce pan, combine butter, water and cocoa, and bring to a boil, stirring often. Remove from heat and slowly add flour mixture, whisking until well combined.  Once dry ingredients have been incorporated, whisk in egg mixture.  Transfer to a pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through.

To prepare the frosting, bring butter, cocoa and milk to a boil.  Remove from heat and whisk in 1/2 the powdered sugar and vanilla.  Taste the frosting and add more powdered sugar as needed (I typically just use half the box).  Pour frosting on the warm cake.  Enjoy!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Cheesy Hasselback Potatoes

Has anyone else noticed Hasselback Potatoes overtaking Pinterest lately?  I decided today it's high time I jump on that bandwagon and I'm so glad I did.

If you aren't addicted to Pinterest like me and maybe don't know, a hasselback potato is usually similar to a baked potato, however it's first thinly sliced almost all the way through, which results in crispy layers.  I opted to fill mine with a rich, cheesy, sour cream filling, so they turned out almost like a hybrid between a classic baked potato and scalloped potato.  Yum!

Ingredients (for each potato, multiply as needed!)
* 1 medium baking potato
* 1 tbsp. butter, melted
* 3 tbsp. grated cheddar cheese
* 2 tbsp. sour cream
* kosher salt, to taste
* green onion, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400.  Thinly slice the potato down to about 1/4 inch, being careful not to slice all the way through.  Gently fan the potato slices out and transfer to a foil lined baking sheet.  Drizzle the potatoes with melted butter, season with kosher salt, and transfer to the oven.  Bake for 45 minutes to an hour until center of potatoes is cooked through.  Once the potato is done, spoon sour cream on top and work some of it into each slice.  Top with cheddar cheese and return to the oven for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.  Garnish with green onion.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Grilled Shrimp & Chicken Tacos with Avocado-Corn Salsa

After a week of experiencing some legitimate kitchen-block (I decided that's the best way I can describe my lack of creativity lately), finally, a new recipe came to me!  I blame my new healthy lifestyle [yes, going to the gym twice a week for thirty minutes IS a lifestyle] and constant attempts to make flavorful, light dinners. Well, after a week of turkey tacos, turkey baked ziti, and some other less than share-worthy dinners, I finally came up with this recipe that is both light on calories and jam-packed with flavor.

I initially planned to make shrimp tacos only, but I'm glad I decided to grill some chicken as well because it was equally as delicious. The avocado-corn salsa was so scrumptious, you won't even miss the cheese and sour cream on these bad boys! The salsa would also be great served as dip.

Ingredients (serves 4):
* 2 large boneless chicken breasts, sliced cross wise (to be thinner)
* 1/2 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
* flour or corn tortillas, for serving
* juice of 1 lime
* 1 tbsp. honey
* 2 tbsp. olive oil
* 1/4 tsp. each of cumin, chili powder, paprika
* 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Avocado-Corn Salsa
* 2 avocados, roughly chopped
* 2 plum tomatos, diced
* Juice of 1/2 lime
* 3/4 c. kernel corn, canned or fresh
* 3 tbsp. red onion, diced
* dash of cumin and garlic powder

First, combine all marinade ingredients in a large bowl and whisk until well combined.  Add the chicken and shrimp and return to the refrigerator to marinate for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, prepare the avocado-corn salsa by combining all ingredients.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Grill chicken and shrimp until cooked through.  Assemble the tacos with salsa on the bottom, topped with chicken, shrimp, or both!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Stress Free Bridal Shower

This weekend, I threw a bridal shower for one of my best friends, Stephanie.  My fellow bridesmaids co-hosted the soiree and with everyone's help, it could not have been easier! 

We found this great invite on, which matches her wedding theme perfectly.  Stephanie is all about color and her wedding will be full of bright pinks, oranges, and gerber daisies galore.  I can't wait! 

Are you ready for a surprise?  My contribution for the day was quiche!  I feel like i'm turning into a quiche making machine, but it's just a happy coincidence i've been hosting a lot of brunches lately.  

I focused most of my energy on the shower decor.  I found these colorful paper fans to coordinate with the invite at Target and hung them from the chandelier and around the fireplace. I like to set out a variety of plates as well - both because I like the different colors and sizes, but also because I don't have more than 8 of any one kind! 

Lindsey made these adorable tea sandwiches for the buffet.  She used spring cookie cutters for the tulip and heart shapes and filled them with either pimento cheese or chicken salad.  Yum! 

Tara supplied the cupcakes and I accessorized them with these great cupcake toppers I found at Target. It's all in the details afterall! 

My sister made the most amazing party favors so everyone had a sweet parting gift.  She used cupcake wrapper containers from the Container Store and filled them with handmade soaps, monogrammed lip balm with Stephanie's wedding date, hair ties, and jordan almonds.  She wrapped them up like cupcakes and we used them for decoration and balloon weights. 

The beautiful bride was even kind enough to coordinate her outfit with the decor! 

All in all, I'd say it was a successful celebration of Ms. Soon-to-be-Rambo!  

Time to start the wedding countdown!