Weekend of Crazy

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This weekend was Joshua’s first birthday, plus we had an engagement party for my sister and her fiance! So in the spirit of old-school blogging, here’s a bunch of random pictures and stuff about our weekend.

It really started Thursday afternoon. My in-laws were at our apartment when I got home with the kids from picking Libbie up from pre-school. They quickly whisked Libbie and David away to their hotel for swimming, dinner, and to stay the night. Mr. V and I ONLY HAD JOSHUA. ALL NIGHT. IT WAS SO QUIET.

Friday my MIL and I entertained the wee ones and I started cooking for the engagement party. (OK, mostly my MIL played with them. I cooked a little and took a long nap.)

Friday afternoon my parents and my aunt and uncle came in. My in-laws baby-sat so Mr. V and I could go out for a nice (CHILDLESS!!) dinner with my parents, my aunt and uncle, and my sister and her fiance. We went to Elemental on Chattanooga North Shore.


The ladies felt they must, of course, pose with this giant tractor inside the restaurant.


My chicken with chow chow and roasted veggies.

Saturday was spent prepping for the big Engagement Party, where my parents met my sister’s fiance’s parents and some of his extended family. I pretty much went insane prepping but enjoyed it immensely once it was ready! (I wish I knew how to entertain without going cuckoo. Some of the issue was that we had it in a room in the next building with no oven or fridge. But I always get stressed when entertaining.)

Oh, did I mention that my sister eats gluten free? So everything I made I had to carefully watch ingredients.


Appetizer: pickles, black olives, tortilla chips with Whole Foods guacamole, salsa, and pimiento cheese dip

  • Salad with shredded carrots, bell peppers, and tomatoes
  • Pioneer Woman beef brisket (made with LaChoy soy sauce, which is GF) – a HUGE hit!
  • Mashed potato bar with cheese, bacon, green onions, and sour cream – Aunt Jennie (foodie and also photographer of the iPhone here!) made the mashed potatoes super delicious, with tons of butter and heavy cream. Perfect!
  • Carla Hall’s Broccoli Gratin – I don’t think anyone really liked these. I think it might have been due to my rather enthusiastic gruyere (from Whole Foods). If I made this again, I would just mix cheddar cheese in with the cream sauce, then sprinkle just a little cheese and bread crumbs on top and bake. I used Glutino All-Purpose flour and breadcrumbs.
  • Jalapeno Creamed Corn – I need to make this about five times as often. It is incredibly good. Used the Glutino flour here, also.
  • Crustless Mixed Berry Custard Pie – I wasn’t crazy about this (Glutino flour here, too), but it was nice for a gluten-free dessert, I think! The flour felt a little grainy for me, but maybe a different GF flour would work better, like a tiny bit of coconut. The custard set nicely.

Happy couple! (from Friday night)

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And then, after all that, Joshua’s first birthday was Sunday!!

Our family went to our church on Sunday morning, then to a Mexican restaurant with everyone for lunch. After naps, we celebrated with presents and this monkey cake!


Mud Pie Birthday Boy Shortalls

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monkey cake with cocoa krispies monkey face cake

Joshua dug right in, of course. I don’t think his sweet tooth is as bad as David’s, but he does enjoy sweets and loved his cake. I didn’t take a picture of him covered in chocolate, but rest assured, he was!

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And then after all that, I went with my parents and aunt and uncle to have very late tapas at Terra Nostra, which was fantastic!

It was a wonderful, insane weekend. But we’re always glad to be surrounded by loving family and to have things to celebrate!

Easter Menu

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Just in case you’re interested or scurrying around looking for some inspiration, here’s what I decided to make for Easter dinner:

Ham with Easter Ham Glaze
Deviled Eggs (I’m totally buying already-hard-boiled eggs. Because I am incapable of doing it correctly.)
Scalloped Corn
Green Beans
Special Potatoes
Pineapple Casserole
Butterscotch Cake

Have a wonderful weekend and blessed holiday.

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Are You Ready for Some Football?

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Am I the only person who didn’t know you couldn’t actually use the word Superbowl in advertising? I had no idea until they discussed it in Sunday School this past week (yes, super-spiritual).  Only the OFFICIAL Superbowl sponsors get to use the word. And now you will notice in every commercial you see until Sunday–trust me!

If you’re searching for some football fare to share for parties on Sunday night, here are some ideas.

The Magically Delicious Corn Dip is a must for any social occasion, I promise.

Mexican Corn Dip

You could top these Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes with a football cupcake topper and they might get eaten up even faster.

Pretzel-Coated Drumsticks are easy to hang onto as you cheer from the couch, and have the same buttery and spicy kick of a wing without being deep-fried.

I like chili, but I like this Turkey and Tortellini Soup more. Pass the Parmesan instead of the Mexican blend cheese!

Personally I decided to make Caramel-Pecan Bars for the party I’m attending. Handheld gooey sweetness and so Southern.

Other ideas:
Pizza Bites
Buffalo Chicken Chili
Homemade Chicken Taquitos
BBQ Bacon Sliders
Homemade Pretzels
Greek Turkey Meatballs
Shrimp Balls with Spicy Soy Dipping Sauce
Cranberry Caramel Chex Mix

Well, I could link things forever, but I have an insanely whiny toddler on my lap and a baby waking up in the crib. Sigh.

Happy Superbowl Game I Never Really Watch But I Like the Snacks and Commercials!

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Football Party Menu (or, And so it begins …)

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Mr. V has informed me that football season starts Saturday. He has no interest in NFL; college football is where it’s at for him (and the rest of SEC country). Our allegiances lie with Vanderbilt and Richmond, of course.

source: Joe Duty

I’m sure it wouldn’t take much guessing to surmise that I don’t care a lick about football. I prefer if our teams win, of course, because it makes Mr. V happy and is good for our alumni associations! Our dear Richmond Spiders won the championship two years ago, and we’re very proud of that.

For me, Saturdays full of football mean Fall and FOOD! I actually enjoy puttering around the house, cleaning and running errands, while Mr. V cheers for whatever team is on ESPN that Saturday. While I don’t watch the games, I love the excitement that travels around SEC-land.

My in-laws are coming in town for Labor Day and I thought it might be fun to have a football-themed party for the occasion. Sure, it’s still 80 degrees + here every day–but that feels cool compared to the 100s!

Football Party Menu

Hot Crab Dip – this recipe makes 20 servings, so we’ll definitely be cutting it down for our small affair!

Antipasto Dip with pita chips – one of my favorite-ever appetizers

Jamie’s Chili – what says fall and football like a big bowl of chili?

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread

Kickoff Cake – I will just make a regular cake and then use the toppings from this Kraft recipe. Cute!

Do you have any favorite football recipes? I couldn’t have a party menu without linking to my Mexican Corn Dip, the dip of all dips. Broccoli and Cheese Soup would be a good alternative to chili if you’re vegetarian or just want something a little lighter!

Sweet Valentine’s Menu

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I got such wonderful feedback when I did a complete Christmas dinner menu that I thought I would throw together a great Valentine’s Menu for you.  If you’ve been reading me for a long time, you might recall that I don’t really like Valentine’s Day. But I do like having an excuse to cook an exquisite meal for my honey. (And I really like making up menus, in case you couldn’t tell!)

Sweet Valentine's Day Menu with printable grocery list

Appetizer: Crawfish (or Crab) Fondue, Tasty Kitchen

Bread: Olive Oil Cakes with Lemon and Thyme, The Pioneer Woman Cooks

Entree: Roasted Garlic Chicken, Simply Recipes (although making a really good steak is always a man-pleaser in my house!)

Sides: Asiago Sweet Potatoes, Fresh 365; Roasted Vegetables, Home Ec 101

Dessert: Brownie Pudding, Ina Garten*

Here’s a printable grocery list for the menu to make it as easy for you as possible. You DO have to do the cooking, though. Enjoy!

*I saw Ina make this recipe on Barefoot Contessa yesterday. It’s what I want and I ain’t budging. But if you’re not all about eating something full of chocolate and butter (huh??), there are plenty of other dessert recipes on my site!

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons license.