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Bridal Shower

My brother is getting married! And we’re thrilled at the match.

We celebrated Heather with a simple, lovely shower. Games were kept to a minimum; conversation was the main event.

After spending just a little more time with Heather and her friends and family, I can affirm {again} that my brother Paul is a lucky guy!

the ring bearer and flower girl

recipe links:

individual mac-n-cheese

bacon-wrapped lil’ smokies

soft pretzels

and then a few other dishes that wouldn’t really have a recipe… like fresh fruit on skewers and lemonade in mason jars.

Happy Birthday, Penelope!

{On April 19th, anyway..}

started the day with a birthday cake pop..

penelope jane, this is your life..

chicken/spinach quiche

daddy's favorite birthday tradition

strawberry shortcake cake

all a 3-year-old could ask for..

cake recipe here (which, by the way, casey did completely on his own. best dad ever.) , quiche recipe here (I cut way down on the mayo and did an extra egg instead),

banner made by hot gluing doilies to leftover ribbon

White Chili

Quick, easy, tasty.

Inspired by the burst of cold weather we had last week. Seems a little silly and out-of-season to post it now, but here goes..

{recipe found here, with the following adjustments:}


White Chili

  • 1lb chicken, cubed
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 T oil
  • 2 cans white beans
  • 1 can chicken broth (14.5 oz.)
  • 1 t oregano
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • a few generous shakes of cholula
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 (4 oz) cans diced green chilies

In a large saucepan, saute chicken and onion in oil till chicken is no longer pink. Add garlic and saute a little more. Add beans, chilies, seasonings, hot sauce, chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer (uncovered) for 30(ish) minutes. Remove from heat, stir in milk. Taste, adjust seasonings.

We garnished with avocado, but a little cilantro would’ve been nice. And sour cream, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Next time I’ll double it..


Root Beer Float Cupcakes

A few people asked about Arthur’s birthday cupcakes. Here is the recipe I used (via). They were a huge success, and really easy to make.

Root Beer Float Cupcakes

Yield: 10 cupcakes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time 25 minutes

1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 eggs + 1 egg yolk
2 tsp rootbeer extract {I found it at the grocery store}
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk

1. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg and egg yolk and beat.
2. Stir in extracts. Set aside.
3. In separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
4. Add dry ingredients to wet in two parts, alternating with buttermilk and completely combining between additions. Pour into lined baking tins.
5. Bake in a 350°F oven for 20-25 minutes. Cupcakes are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. Frost with Brown Sugar and Rootbeer Frosting when completely cooled.

Brown Sugar and Rootbeer Frosting

1 cup whipping cream
2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
1 tsp root beer extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 package Dr. Oetker’s “Whip-It” or other whipped cream stabilizer {I couldn’t find this. Melted a couple of marshmallows in the microwave and whipped them in–  worked perfectly.}

1. Whip all ingredients on high until stiff peaks form.
2. Frost cupcakes and store in refrigerator.


A wonderful soup

We’re big soup eaters.. especially this time of year. Casey and I both really love this Sausage Spinach Soup (via Andrea). It freezes well, which is an added bonus. I’m not a huge sausage fan, for what that’s worth, and I seriously can’t get enough of this soup.

  • 1 1/4 lbs. Italian sausage {we opt for hot, rather than mild. turkey sausage works, too.}
  • 1  chopped onion
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, minced {maybe it’s the sicilian in me, but I always tend toward 5 or 6 cloves}
  • I cup water
  • 2 cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • 2 cans chicken broth
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons chopped basil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
  • Romano cheese, grated

Remove casings from sausage. Cook sausage in a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add onion and garlic to pan; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in water, beans, tomatoes, and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Uncover and cook for 3 minutes or until slightly thick (you can let it simmer for longer than this if you would like). Remove from heat, and stir in spinach, basil, and oregano. Ladle soup into bowls, and sprinkle each serving with Romano cheese.

Serve it with Rosemary and Roasted Garlic Focaccia (Pioneer Woman’s dough recipe). You won’t be disappointed.

strawberries in excess

When I happened upon fresh strawberries for 50 cents/lb., I couldn’t help myself.

They were perfectly ripe, and weren’t going to stay that way for long.

So after consulting a few recipes and methods for making sorbet, I settled on this:

  • 1 lb of Strawberries
  • 1/4 cup Orange Juice
  • 3-4 Tablespoons of Sugar

Wash, stem & hull strawberries. Cut in half-ish. Freeze them for a couple of hours, until they are firm. Put the frozen strawberries and desired amount of sugar in blender (my strawberries were already very sweet, others may require more), and blend till the fruit is chopped up. Add the OJ and blend till smooth. Transfer puree to container with a tight-fitting lid, and put in the freezer. Combine/fold/mix the sorbet every half hour or so, till it is scoopable. Yes, scoopable.

I made this over the course of an afternoon at home, so I just stirred it when I thought of it, or had a break between caring for my little ones. An icy/hard ring forms around the edge of the container, and you need to mash it in with the softer center, till it’s all the consistency of sorbet. If you don’t do this, it’ll be a brick of frozen fruit, and not easy to handle. I used a rubber spatula so as to kind of smooth the icy bits in without a fight.

It was a perfect summer treat, and I can’t wait to make more… enjoy!

(By the way– don’t you love those ice cream dishes? They belonged to Casey’s sweet Grandma Jean. We think of her and smile each time we use them.)