Cards, Recipes

Mom’s Big Birthday

Just popping in today to share a few photos from a birthday party I had for my mom over the weekend. She turned the big 6-0, so I figured I should bake a fancy cake to go along with her card and birthday gift!

Mom's Birthday Cake

I made a vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream and a raspberry compote on the inside. Poured a white chocolate ganace over the top before adding some sprinkles, meringues, raspberries and macarons. I made everything from scratch (!!) except for the macarons. Those I ordered from Ma-Ka-Rohn and they were outstanding. Highly recommend.

Mom's Birthday

I also purchased some fancy balloons from Chrissy B Party shop on Etsy. HBD for Happy Birthday. They arrived quickly, and I crammed them into my tiny dining room after going to a local store to have them inflated. They’re still floating around my house as I type this!

Moms birthday card

The color theme for the party was gold and rose-gold, so I tried to stick to that color combo for the card I made. And you know what they say: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! So, I designed this card similarly to the last few I’ve made – stamped and embossed images with an ink blended background and bold sentiment. You can find those previous cards here and here.

Mom's Birthday Cake

The cake tasted SO GOOD! Sometimes I really surprise myself. :)

If you’re interested, here are links to the recipes I followed:

Mom's Birthday Cake

All in all it was a great little party for my mom – we were even able to keep the whole things a surprise, so I was happy about that!

Mom's Birthday

Now, I just have to work on getting more camera-averse people into my photos! :)

Mom's Birthday Cake

Happy *almost* weekend!

kimberly

Recipes

Recipe // Pasta with Creamy Avocado Sauce

It has been a heck of a long time since I’ve shared a recipe here! Actually, it’s been over a week since I’ve devoted much time to the blog at all (forgiveness, please). I feel like I’m up to my eyeballs in wedding “stuff.” The big day is a little over 8 weeks away and I have favor labels, table runners, photobooth props, programs and tissue paper garlands to make. Phew! Oh, and escort cards, too. I hope I can get it all done in time.

Pasta with Creamy Avocado Sauce

So, since my non-wedding related time is limited at the moment, quick and easy meals are ideal. Recently I was home at lunch time and lacking inspiration. I do love pasta, and I do love avocados, and we happened to have both on hand in the house. So, I whipped up an easy (and creamy) avocado “sauce” to go on my pasta.

I feel like the “Creamy” part of the recipe name is a little deceiving, since there aren’t actually any dairy products in the sauce. Avocados are just awesome like that, creamy all on their own.

Creamy Avocado Sauce

Creamy Avocado Sauce Ingredients*:

  • 1 ripe hass avocado
  • Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil (plus more if needed, to thin the sauce)
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Cooked pasta, any shape (I used fusilli)
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)

*measurements are approximate. Start with your avocado and olive oil as a base, and feel free to add more or less of an ingredient, depending on your preference.

Directions:

Slice and pit the avocado and place it in a bowl. Mash it up and add the olive oil, chopped cilantro, salt and pepper, and minced garlic, mashing and stirring to incorporate them all together. I suppose you could also just use a food processor. If the mixture is too thick, add more olive oil until it’s as thin as you’d like it to be.  Stir the sauce into your cooked pasta. Serve with freshly grated parmesan (or any cheese you like) on top!

This recipe makes about 2 servings, double the proportions if you’re cooking for 4, and so on.

Fusilli Pasta with Avocado Cream Sauce

I think this sauce would be great with other ingredients added in, like tomatoes, or a different kind of cheese. You could also try substituting the cilantro for basil. Let me know if you try it!

kimberly

Recipes

The Best Ever Sweet Potato Casserole

Mondays always come too soon, even after a long holiday weekend, but here we are again. I hope everyone had a great holiday! I stuffed myself, as usual, and enjoyed seeing family and eating leftovers. Generally, my family does a pot-luck style thanksgiving feast, where everyone contributes one or two dishes. This year, along with several pies (apple, banana cream and a no-bake peanut butter pie), I made a sweet potato casserole. It was SO UNBELIEVABLY GOOD that I thought I’d share the recipe with you guys.

The best part is that it’s relatively easy to make – bake the potatoes until they are tender, scoop out the flesh and mash it all up, add some browned butter and sugar, put it in a casserole dish and top with a cornflake-brown sugar – pecan mixture and some mini mashmallows and bake it up again.

Click HERE for the recipe from Cooking Classy (lots of other great recipes there, too).

And thanks to this casserole, my eyes have been opened to the marvelousness that is browned-butter. Plus, I don’t even like sweet potatoes all that much, so that’s saying something. If you have leftover sweet potatoes from Thanksgiving, or just want to make this super delicious dish, try it, you won’t be disappointed!

Enjoy!

Recipes

Recipe // Homemade Flour Tortillas

Homemade Flour Tortillas Recipe

Taking my mexican recipes to the NEXT LEVEL. Seriously though, I made these and they were pretty awesome. I don’t think I want to eat a store-bought tortilla ever again. And they’re easy – simple dough fried up in a cast iron pan! I didn’t even need a tortilla press, although that would have been nice… A co-worker gave me some corn flour to try, and I’ll be making a corn version of this recipe VERY soon. Here’s the recipe for the flour tortillas:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup water plus 2 or 3 more tablespoons if needed

Directions:

Whisk the flour, salt, and baking powder together in a mixing bowl. Mix in the oil with a fork until the flour takes on a cornmeal consistency. Add the water and mix until the dough comes together, add more water if needed; place the dough on a lightly floured surface and knead a few minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Divide the dough into 12 (roughly) equal-sized balls.

Preheat a large, oiled cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.

Place a ball of dough between two pieces of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll each dough ball into a 1/4″to 1/8″ thin, round tortilla. Place into the hot skillet, and cook until golden; flip and continue cooking until golden on the other side.  Repeat until you’ve created 12 tasty tortillas!

Adapted from AllRecipes.

Enjoy!

DIY, Recipes

Make Your Own Almond Milk

For the last few months I’ve been dabbling in breakfast smoothies. Strawberries, bananas, pineapples, blueberries, honey, sometimes I even throw some flax seed in there. Agave nectar is another new addition. If it wasn’t for all the smoothie making, I probably never would have stumbled upon all these recipes for how to make your own almond milk. It seemed so easy I decided I would give it a whirl. Turns out it was very easy, and very tasty and you can change it up to suit your taste! Made for a great addition to my morning smoothies.

Homemade Almond Milk

You will need:

  • 1cup almonds
  • 4cups filtered water plus more for soaking
  • Cheesecloth
  • 1tblsp vanilla, honey, or agave nectar to sweeten (optional)
  • Blender
  • Jar with lid to store finished milk

Almonds Soaking

Soak your almonds in a bowl for at least 6 hours. I let mine soak overnight. Pour enough water in the bowl to cover the almonds completely. It is important to use “raw” almonds. Make sure they are not toasted or flavored.

When your almonds have soaked long enough, strain the ‘overnight water’ and add the almonds to your blender. Add 4 cups of filtered water and puree until you have almond milk! About 10 minutes.

Soaked Almonds in Blender

You’ll notice the almond mixture start to get nice and frothy.

Frothy Almond Milk

At this point, you can add your sweetener. I added some vanilla, but you could add agave or honey instead. You’ll notice that after all the blending you’re basically left with almond milk and what I like to call almond meal. I strain this out although I’ve read that some people like to leave it in. Here comes the cheesecloth.

Straining Almond Milk

Position your cheesecloth over the mouth of the container you intend to keep your almond milk in. Strain the milk through the cheesecloth to remove all of the leftover almond bits. I used a spoon to help move the process along and help press the milk through the cheesecloth.

Cheesecloth and Almond Milk

Once you’ve strained it all, you’re done and it’s ready to drink. Very cool.  It was a lot easier than I thought, and although you can easily pick up almond milk at the grocery store, I think it’s nice to be able to make it yourself and control the flavor and freshness. As soon as I find out where to get almonds in bulk for a price that doesn’t make me almost faint, I’ll be making lots more of this stuff!

Almond Milk

It says fresh in the fridge for about a week.

Enjoy, and let me know if you try it!

Recipes

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Since I’m hard pressed for a midweek manicure idea this week, I’m going to post a yummy recipe instead.

Last week D’s younger brother and girlfriend came over for dinner. I decided the easiest way for me to accommodate a Friday night dinner for four was to throw something in the slow cooker (and thank you, pinterest for allowing me to come across this easy, tasty recipe for pulled pork).

Ingredients:

  • Pork butt (I cooked an 8lb cut of meat so the following amounts are based on that size, but you can change your recipe accordingly if you have a larger or smaller cut of pork)
  • Lawry’s seasoned salt
  • 18 oz (one container) Sweet Baby Ray’s Barbeque Sauce
  • 1.5-2 cans Diet Pepsi

Season the pork all over with the seasoned salt. Place it in the crock pot and add the barbeque sauce and diet cola. Cook on low for approx. 8 hours or until pork is cooked through and tender. Use two forks to pull apart and shred the pork. After shredding, continue to cook the pork on low for an hour. Then make yourself a sammich!

The pork was very tender and juicy and the combo of barbeque sauce and cola gave it a smokey taste with just enough sweetness and a little bit of tang. I served mine on bakery fresh kaiser rolls with coleslaw (I dressed the coleslaw with a combination of apple cider vinegar, honey and vegetable oil since I’m not a fan of mayonnaise-y slaws). They were delicious!

The leftovers the next day were even better than the first time around. Yum! AND SO EASY! Can’t get over it. Next time I think I’ll try using Dr. Pepper instead of Pepsi and see if that changes the flavor. I think D will be seeing these pretty often this summer, and I don’t think he’ll mind. :)