creative leftovers…

*Note- if you really aren’t interested in food and are here to see cute photos of our kiddos this is not the post for you.  Feel free to skip this one- really this is just a way for me to brag share how creative I was with our fridge contents ;)  Oh and by the way I am no chef or food blogger so these aren’t really recipes below- however, if you have any questions I would be happy to answer them…

After the shrimp boil we had a fair amount of food left over- a bunch of cooked potatoes, cooked corn, fresh corn, sausage and cooked shrimp.  In order for it not to go to waste and for me (Jamie couldn’t care less if we ate anything different from day to day) to not get sick of eating the same thing every night 5 days in a row I got creative with our leftovers and this is what I came up with-

Grilled Sausages- Jamie grilled the sausages and sautéed a few of the leftover mushrooms to top them.  I served this with baked oven fries– we used the cooked potatoes for this and they were delicious!!  The boil spices gave the oven fries a little extra kick!

Shrimp Tacos- this was a wing-it recipe… I stuffed our tortillas with shrimp that I chopped into bite sized pieces and then topped that with Avocado Slaw (or at least that is what I am going to call it)

avocado slaw-

1/2 Chopped Purple Cabbage

2 tbsp fresh Lime Juice

1 avocado pitted and chopped

salt and pepper to taste

Mix it all together and put it in tacos and top it with your favorite protein (we have used fried eggs, black beans and shrimp so far- all of which have been really good)

Shepherds Pie-

I caramelized one of our leftover onions, added that to cooked ground beef, threw in some cooked corn (cut from the husk), carrots from our co-op bounty that week, a can of tomato soup and topped it with mashed potatoes that I made from the leftover shrimp boil potatoes.  The spices in the already cooked corn and potatoes added some zing to the pie and it was really yummy.

Thai Peanut Shrimp Pizza-

I chopped the last of the cooked shrimp, some green onion, purple cabbage and peanuts and then threw it all of a top of a pizza dough covered with a homemade thai peanut sauce (again a wing-it ‘recipe’) and swiss cheese.  This was really tasty and we had enough for leftover pizza another night.

Hamburgers with charred (leftover) onions served with smashed potoes– a Pioneer Women recipe that is fantastic and a great use of already cooked potatoes.

I also plan to make red beans and rice with the last of the leftover sausage but that won’t be right away.  Not sure I spent much less on our groceries this week but we sure didn’t let anything go to waste, so I consider that a win ;)

 

banana pudding bites

 

My mission- a delicious dessert, that wasn’t cookies, that was easy to make/eat and didn’t require utensils… the result Banana Pudding Bites!

I landed on banana pudding when I was searching through recipes to make for the shrimp boil we hosted on Saturday (more photos of the shin dig coming soon); it was simple enough and would compliment the spicy shrimp perfectly, besides you can’t go wrong with a classic.  The only problem was I didn’t want to serve something that needed bowls and utensils and I needed something that would withstand being in the heat for the better part of the afternoon. So what do you do with this kind of dilemma you make it cute, you make it bite sized.  Honestly, I must say that I am rather impressed on how fantastic these little guys turned out, I was fully prepared for my experiment to be a disaster.  However, this is defienetly a ‘recipe’ that I will store in my make again soon (real soon) file and if you like banana pudding you should too!

Here’s the gist…

I used this delicious banana pudding recipe from Paula Deen (and no there isn’t tons of butter in the pudding- but it is the best banana pudding recipe I have EVER come across and I have tried a few) and instead of arranging the chessmen cookies and sliced bananas in a 9×13 like recipe calls for I piped the pudding on to individual cookies using a disposable pipping bag and my jumbo closed star tip and topped each of them with a thick slice of banana.  Call it deconstructed banana pudding if you will ;)

Oh, and in case you want to try it… let me give you two suggestions- 1. buy 3 bags of chessmen cookies, the banana pudding in the piping bag goes a long way and 2. if you mix your pudding early and leave it in the fridge make sure to leave the pipping bag out for a few minutes before pipping your cookies. The pudding is really thick and was difficult to pipe while cold.

 

simply done cuisine

My crazy talented brother-in-law just launched his cooking blog, Simply Done Cuisine.  To say that he is talented would be an understatement- seriously the boy can COOK!!!!  He is posting some super delicious recipes along with fun videos on how to make everything- really you NEED to check it out.  Each episode allows you to cook two meals out of one set of ingredients; so after cooking you end up with one meal for tonight and one for tomorrow.  Yup, you read that correctly- one for today and one for tomorrow!!  I know that my crazy busy Mom friends are singing his praises right now.  Seriously, less time spent in the kitchen these days is so worth it because I honestly have so many better things to do- playing cars and Charlie snuggles trump most things!

So this is he, Jeremiah, with my sister-in-law (Jamie’s sister)- yes they are fantastically adorable together.

And here’s some food photos to get your tummy growling.  This dish was so delicious that Jamie and I had it twice in one week- once at the filming and then again when we made it ;)  Actually we ate the pasta 3 times since we had enough leftovers for two meals- bonus!!

All this to say check it out, you won’t be sorry!

keep the love cookin’

Nicole and Jeremiah are getting married!!!  I have been wanting to post congrats for the longest time, but waited a little bit so they could be the first to share the news and then well time got away from me- what else is new these days?  Their wedding is in the works for October of this year and I couldn’t be more happy for the two of them.  Here’s a photo of the happy couple from our beach trip…

The Saturday before heading down to Anna Maria Island I had the pleasure of hosting a shower Nicole.  She (unfortunately) lives in Asheville so we don’t get to see her as often as we would like and had to be creative about when we could celebrate but the stars aligned and it was a good time!

I went for a cooking theme since Nicole’s husband to be is a chef and the love to cook together.  Guests brought recipes that were mailed with the invite.  I am putting those recipes together, along with a few other family recipes that I wanted to share with them, in a family cookbook. I decorated with a bunch of beautiful cookbooks that I borrowed from family members, floating candles in mason jars, and a few other random kitchen items here and there.  For games, I had Jeremiah answer a bunch of questions about Nicole and we played our version or the “Newly Wed Game”, we had a-name-that-spice-game and also a memory game where guests had to remember the kitchen items that were on an apron that Nicole was wearing when everyone first arrived.  I gave guests fresh herbs that Jamie and I got the week before at the farmers market (Jamie helped me plant them in cute pots) for winning the games.  Along with the invites that I made, I made some wedding advice Mad Libs that made for great conversation over lunch.

I honestly wasn’t able to take as many photos as I would have liked to but here are a few from the ones I got…

The invite that I made, it's not a Nan Knight design, but it still makes me smile. Especially for being my first time playing around with anything like this.
the mad lib
party favors

the table all set and ready- the herbs were centerpieces and prizes
cookbooks and strawberry bruschetta
recipe book in the making
group photo
the bride and her Momma (my awesome mother-in-law)

Oh yeah- here’s the menu and links to some of the food that we had if you want to try any of the recipes!

Becky’s Yummy Punch- no recipe here just a great recommendation from a good friend

Strawberry Bruschetta

Eggplant Marinara Flatbread

Tomato Herb Flatbread

Salted Brown Butter Rice Crispy Treats– so much better than regular rice crispy treats and definitely worth the extra effort in my opinion

Mini Raspberry Fruit Tarts- I don’t have a recipe for these either, sorry they are just one of my made up concoctions :)

Cream Cheese Sugar Mints

one year old in a flash- the details

As promised here are a few details from Jay’s One Year Old in a Flash Party.  Let me just say this before going any further- the rest of this post might bore some of you.  If you are not a detail person or if you don’t care about party planning, feel free to breeze through the rest of this post or just drool over the yummy food pictures :-)  If however, you like the details or would like the links to some of the recipes that I used feel free to keep reading because I am going to keep writing- I happen to like this stuff and it’s my blog now isn’t it ;-)

Invitation

Nan designed the invitation for me; she is amazing and I can’t repay her for all of the design stuff she does for me!!  I gave her a few pictures, the wording, date and colors that I planned on decorating with and she sent me the most adorable invite and the time capsule card  along with some other digital files that I used to make the rest of the decorations that we used. Having all of the digital flies was so amazing since I got to personalize Jay’s party AND I didn’t have to pay an arm and a leg to do it- thanks so much Nan!

Decorations

The decorations consisted of pictures, pictures and more pictures.  We had one wall that showcased some of Jay’s firsts and another that had his month by month pictures.

Aside from pictures I had a few balloon boquets made up and placed them around the house.  Jay loves balloons right now so this was for him more than anything.  I made the balloon weights out of some scraps of fabric that I had around the house, some spare ribbon and navy beans that I am using for a bean bag project.  I think they turned out pretty cute and I loved that I didn’t have to worry about Jay smashing them and having sand pour out everywhere in the house.

this is the balloon wreath that I hung on the door- I didn't make it with the party colors so that I could use it all year anytime a birthday rolls around

I also (with the help of Jamie) made a happy birthday banner (picture of the banner is farther down) that I patterned after this one to hang in the kitchen.

Time Capsule

I thought that it would be fun to have all of our guests and some out-of-towners that weren’t going to make the party contribute to a Time Capsule for Jay.  Nan made a card that I included with the invitation asking guests to contribute along with a bunch of suggestions.  It has been fun to take a look at what was contributed.  I am sure that Jay will love looking at it on his 18th birthday, we only have to wait until 2028- wowzers!!

Food

I usually have a difficult time trying to decide what kind of food to serve when we are throwing a shin-dig like this… We knew that we would be expecting a fairly large crowd and planning food for that many people is always daunting.  So I was really happy when I decided not to try and feed people but to have a dessert buffet instead.  I got to bake up a storm (yippee) and we saved a buck or two by doing this!  I went fairly simple with everything, including drinks, that we choose and did most of it ahead of time which made the set up on Saturday easy peasy.  We had chocolate chip cookies, salted brown butter rice crispy treats, gooey-sweet pretzel melts, sugar cookies, mint-chocolate cookies (I used this recipe for the cookie part but winged it for the filling), homemade Almond Joys, cupcakes, and blueberries- Jay’s favorite sweet.

dessert buffet
camera and dot sugar cookies
vanilla bean cupcakes
chocolate chip cookies
sweet and gooey pretzel melts
mint chocolate cookies
almond joy's and blueberries

For drinks we had homemade Lemonade, coffee punch (a friend’s recipe that is amazing!!) and water.  Notice that even though you can’t really read it you can see the banner in the background.  It says “Happy Birthday JAY!”

Favors

These were baked as well.  I used my new favorite sugar cookie recipe to make teal and green camera cookies.  I didn’t have a cookie cutter for the camera bodies (I used a circle cutter that I had for the lens) so I ended up printing one of the cameras that Nan had sent me and used a knife to cut them out instead- it worked great!  I will have to remember this for next time that I am without a certain cookie cutter.  Attached to each cookie was this little saying…

I am no longer a baby,
now that I am ONE!
Glad you came to my party,
Hope you had fun!
Waving bye-bye
Now that it’s through
And giving out kisses from me to you!

making of the camera cookies- step 2, outlining after baking
making the camera cookies- step 4 or 5 (?) letting the icing dry

Photo Booth

We set up a photo booth for the party- yippee!  For months now I have wanted a reason to have a photo booth but I haven’t had quite the right excuse.  Enter photo themed party and voila excuse made!  Honestly, the closer I got to the party the less I felt like going to the trouble of setting it up but at the last minute I choose to anyway.  Man, am I ever glad that I did!  I love the pictures that we got from it and I think that it gave people something to do at the party.  I had most of the props done already (I wanted to have one at Christmas so I had already painted empty frames and made chalkboard thought bubbles) which made my last minute decision to have the photo booth much more feasible. I purchased 3 yards of fabric and some white duct tape which I used for my backdrop.  We have a wall outside that worked really well to hang the back drop from (it’s shaded but still has great natural light).   Then I just put my props in a bin that we already had, set up our camera on a tri-pod, adjusted the settings so it was set and ready to go, Jamie set up the remote so that people could use that instead of having to push the button (I think there are some kinks here that could be worked out for next time- it didn’t always work) and then just let people have at it.  The pictures are really cute- I’ll try and get those up soon- and I am going to add them along with a few other things from Jay’s party to his time capsule.

photo booth- the whole set up
photo booth props- chalk board bubbles, empty frames, silly glasses, etc

All together I spent a little over $100 for all the decorations and food with my biggest expenses being printing and postage for the invitations, the balloons and some of the baking supplies.  Most everything else was put together from stuff we already had and I used some coupons for prints so I didn’t pay anything for the pictures!  Not bad for a party with 35 guests…

Thanks for everyone that came- we loved having you!!

i am a geek

A baking geek (and a photo geek) but a geek never the less.  I absolutely love to bake!!  I love the kitchen smelling of fresh ________, (fill in the blank here), I love recipes, I love giving away what I make, I love trying new things. However, if you have ever met my hubby you will know that he does not have a sweet tooth unless the “sweet” is in the form of bread or muffins.  From time to time the lack of an audience can be problematic but I usually can find someone to take the baked goods off of our hands…

That all being said this past Sunday was a very nice treat for me- I got to spend some time in the kitchen!  Jamie went to the grocery store with me in the early afternoon (also a nice treat) and then watched Jay- such a sweet man, so I could bake.  His reward?? Fresh, from scratch wheat bread!  I had a ton of fun making, kneeding it, watching it rise and double in size, then rolling it and twisting it into fun bun shapes!  Besides nothing beats the smell of fresh bread in your house…

I took a few pictures of the process, I am not a step by step picture taking baker (I get caught up and forget). So sorry- but you’ll get the idea…

the dough after it had risen for the first time
punching down the dough- I had to look up what that meant :-)
the dough rolled into clover shaped buns
after the second rising
baked and yummy looking

The next one is not baking but rather Jamie’s contribution to our Sunday dinner.  He though that it was a pretty funny contrast between the two things; mine was delicate freshly made bread and his was two slabs of meat… so I took a picture of it- here you go dear.

btw- his contribution was very yummy!

The bread recipe was from the blog Frugal Girl.  Check it out some time if you get a chance she has some good stuff on there.  Just in case you are wondering 2 dozen rolls were baked on Sunday and two rolls are left- I told you he doesn’t have a sweet tooth but bread doesn’t stand a chance around here!