birthday weekend. the food.

(Saturday Breakfast of Greek/ Mediterranean Omelet with gyro meat & Vanilla Lattes – from a local coffee shop)

My birthday was Sunday and the weekend was both beautifully festive yet wonderfully casual. We had dinner out Friday with friends, then I had breakfast with a friend on Saturday and lunch with a friend on Sunday. For my actual birthday, I just wanted a no fuss day to do some cooking and relaxing and such a sweet day it ended up being.

I tried my hand at a couple of new recipes.

For breakfast, I made Joanna Gaines’ Orange Scones. The scone itself is lighter and more cake-like (not as heavy and less dense) than other scones I’ve had. The combination of the maple and citrus flavors in the glaze is amazing and compliments the “lighter” texture of the scone perfectly.

And then for dinner I made Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers and for desert Secret Ingredient Chocolate Fudge Cake. This cake was definitely a special treat for all. Each bite was comparable to eating lightly sweetened pieces of fudge – so delightful! We celebrated extra by giving Mr. Tate his very first few bites of chocolate cake.

If only, the dirty dishes on your birthday would magically disappear. The only unenjoyable bits of the day.

Orange Scones Magnolia Table Cookbook – Joanna Gaines

Secret Ingredient Chocolate Fudge Cake – Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients Cookbook – John Whaite

*I used dark chocolate cocoa for the icing. The original recipe calls for regular cocoa powder. I also added truffles (from Aldi).

Now, tis’ the time for a sugar detox. 🙂

Happy Monday!

“birthday season” & confetti pockets.

Four out of five (5 out of 6, if you count the pup) of us will celebrate birthdays within the next two months! Therefore, I tend to refer to these weeks for our family between March 31st and May 20th as “birthday season”. It’s a season full of so much busy (but so much fun), lots of celebrating and of course so many sweet memories (& treats).

In honor of “birthday season”, one of my favorite simple paper projects – confetti pockets! I have customized and done so many of these over the years. You can’t help but feel at least a little “happy” when making them and what a sweet gesture they are for the recipient!

Supplies:

  • Scraps of cardstock (whatever color combo you wish)
  • Vellum (clear transparent-like paper)
  • Various punches or even a good hole puncher will work
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine (or you could hand stitch)
  • Printer
  • Scissors

Instructions:

Step 1: Make your confetti. The more, the merrier! From rainbow to pastels, be picky about your color palette or just use whatever paper scraps you have lying around. I love using various textures and/ or throwing in a few pieces of metallic or glitter here and there. I have collected a variety of punches over the years, but even a hole punch will do the trick. OR to save time, feel free to use store bought confetti (so easy, but still so pretty). One of my favorites was a New Year’s greeting that I did several years ago – the pocket included a Polaroid and metallic store bought confetti.

Step 2: Print & cut your pockets. Make your own or feel free to use one of these:

confettipocketsyay.pdf

confettipocketshooray.pdf

For the above pdf’s use an 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of vellum. I have set it up so that two pockets will print per sheet of vellum. Once printed, cut your sheet in half so that you have pockets 8.5 inches by 5.5 inches (before folding). Then fold your pockets in half so that your finished pocket is approximately 4.25 by 5.5 inches in size.

Step 3: Sew your pockets. Pick your thread color, set up your machine and zig zag stitch the side and bottom of your pocket. Then fill the pocket with your confetti and whatever else your prefer. Once filled, zig zag stitch the top of pocket closed. Knot and trim your loose ends.

*You can also hand stitch if you don’t have a sewing machine.

The End!

In a few short steps, you have a fun-filled pocket that makes the perfect party favor, birthday greeting, invite or decoration! Tis’ the season for all of these around here!

As the years pass, the celebrating becomes less but the things to appreciate are so much more! Here’s to pockets full of confetti this “birthday season” and every season!

~ xoxo ~

saturday morn. vanilla-pear muffins.

Happy Saturday! It’s a foggy and rainy one here. Perfect weekend morning weather! It’s also another weekend morn with exactly nowhere to be. That’s a couple in the last month which feels amazing! So with some time and pears on hand I thought I would give these a try. They did not disappoint – the taste nor the smell that’s still lingering throughout our home.

(I left the topping off of a few for the babe.)

(birthday present for isla’s friend. lovely hand lettering by her cute nine year old self.)

The dishes and laundry have been gathered. But first, I sit and enjoy the rest of my coffee while the littlest takes his first nap of the day. Delightful!

Have the BEST weekend! XO!

Recipe:Williams Sonoma Vanilla-Pear Muffins

saturday morn. popovers & lemon curd.

(Meyer lemons)

Even Saturday mornings come early with a one year old in the house. However, I found myself laying awake anyway with anticipation of the possibilities of a slow Saturday that involves no extra curricular activities and no certain plans – perhaps just coffee with a friend this afternoon. The sun is beaming this morning (despite it being very cold) but increasing clouds and a wintry mix are supposed to take over the afternoon and night.

Speaking of Spring (my last post), I’ve been craving a lot of citrus and lemon these days. So with having plenty of time this morning, I thought I’d make one of my favorites – popovers. And in the early morning light, try my hand at making lemon curd to tag along with them for something different. The finished curd tasted rather good but I definitely need more tries to get this one right. Mine was far from spectacular when it came to thickness. It was more the consistency of a heavy cream vs a jelly. I’m blaming it on the little guy I had on my hip the whole time. 😉

Both of the popover and lemon curd recipes were from the Joy of Cooking cookbooks.

The Lemon Curd recipe was from the newer 75th Anniversary edition.

The Popover recipe was from the 1964 edition and is slightly different than the newer 75th edition’s Popover recipe (just in case you were wondering 🙂 ).

Joy of Cooking – Popover recipe

Ingredients:

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon melted butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 450°. Beat together all ingredients except the eggs just until smooth. Then add eggs one at a time. Do not overbeat.

The batter should be no heavier than whipping cream. Fill the buttered muffin cups about 3/4 full. Do not overfill. Bake at once. After 15 minutes, lower the heat to 350° and bake 15-20 minutes longer. Don’t open the oven when lowering the temp. You can test for doneness by removing one of the popovers – make sure the walls are firm. If they are not cooked long enough, the popovers will collapse. (Joy of Cooking – 1964 edition)

*Serve immediately with a variety of toppings. You can make them savory or sweet depending on your cravings. The kids enjoy just a little powdered sugar and maple syrup.

Happy Saturday!

the midwest. a wintry weekend.

It’s what I’d been wishing for and what I’d missed while living in the south, that certain quiet that only happens when snow begins to fall. Although, we had a couple snows while living in Alabama, the anticipation was the same but the snowfall seemed different. It was brief and so infrequent that it wasn’t embraced the same as it is here. (I’m sure northerners say the same thing about those of us living in the midwest 🙂 ) To put it simply, I would compare the feelings of a large snow here to the feelings of our trips to the beach down there. Serene, cozy (each in its own way), beautiful, and a vacation from the ordinary.

Me and the middle have taken several walks since the snow began falling Friday afternoon. The first was Friday night. The sky was still somewhat bright even after eight o’clock because of the snow, the cloud cover, and the moon. Everything was already blanketed with snow and it was still falling steadily. For the first time in along time, she began to talk. About things at school and all sorts of odds and ends as they ran through her mind. This is when I learn her – where she is at and who she is becoming! The only thing better than that beautiful quiet I mentioned above is that beautiful quiet mixed with her nine year old chatter. So funny how quiet always lends itself to the things we really need to hear – either from our nine year old or someone else.

My weekend has been full of snow, shoveling, food (lots of time for homemade soups, cookies, and pizza), play, laundry, my people! Hope your weekend has been full of the best of your world too! Happy Sunday!