Thursday, March 29, 2012

My culinary creations from the weekend.

This last weekend we got to spend some time with a few of our favorite people...

{ Grandma & Grandpa }

for a very special reason...

to help Grandpa celebrate his birthday { a few days early }

And that meant I got to make a yummy birthday dinner for the special occasion!!

the main course...


The oh-so simple- creamy salad -packed full of delicious flavor
from the March 2012 issue of Food Network Magazine
{ this is now my FAVORITE salad dressing }

Blend 2/3 cup buttermilk, 3 tbsp mayonnaise,
1 tbsp each lemon juice, dijon mustard & chopped chives,
1 tsp lemon zest, 1 chopped garlic clove,
1/2 tsp salt, and pepper to taste.

Toss lettuce with some of the dressing and you are done!!

The flavorful & hearty, BAKED chicken-fried steak with cream gravy
from the April 2012 issue of Food Network Magazine
{ I changed a few parts of the recipe to lighten-up the steak }

Ingredients for the gravy:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper

Making the gravy:
Melt the butter with the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat.  Sprinkle in
the flour and cook, whisking, until smooth and a deep golden brown color, about 
2 minutes.  Gradually whisk in the milk and simmer, whisking to remove any lumps,
until the gravy thickens, about 4 to 6 minutes.  Add 2 to 3 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon
pepper. Cover and remove from the heat.

While the steaks are baking you'll need to reheat the gravy.  If the gravy is thicker than
you like then add some water to thin it, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Ingredients for the steak:
4 beef cube steaks (approx. 1.5 to 2 lbs)
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
chopped scallions or chives, for topping (optional)

Making the steak:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Prep your cookie sheet by fully covering it in
aluminum foil ( makes for easy cleanup) and then spray with cooking spray.

If you get cubed steak it should already be tenderized, but if not then place the steaks
between 2 pieces of heavy-duty plastic wrap and pound to 1/4 inch thick with a 
mallet or heavy skillet.  Season steaks with salt and pepper.  Whisk the flour, 
baking powder and 1 tsp each of salt and pepper in a shallow bowl, set aside.  
In another shallow bowl, whisk the milk and eggs, also set aside.  In yet another
shallow bowl, mix the panko bread crumbs, 1tsp salt and pepper together.
You now have your 3 coatings for the steak.  One at a time, dredge each steak in
the flour mixture, then dip in the egg mixture, then the panko mixture, pressing firmly
to fully coat the meat.  Place the breaded steak on your prepared cookie sheet.
Repeat process for remaining steaks, now place cookie sheet in oven.  Bake for 
10 minutes, then flip the steaks and bake for another 10 minutes.  Before
removing from the oven, turn the broiler on for a couple of minutes to make the 
steaks a slight golden color.

and dessert...

The recipe for the delicious Strawberries and cream pie is courtesy of Just Putzing Around the Kitchen
{ you must try this, it was amazing }

And lastly...

The prince and his Grandma painting!
{ he's in heaven }

Have a wonderful Thursday...  TG tomorrow IF { smile }

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

French Macarons...

After the week that I've had, dreaming of making some of these scrumptious little cookies is just what I need to make life feel a little bit more normal again...

Do I dare try to make some?  
Or will I find myself getting addicted to them as everyone else in blogland seems to be?

And lets not forget how hard they are to make or should I say, "easy to mess-up"...

BUT they are just so pretty/dainty and yummy- well at least that's what everyone says- 
{ can you believe that I have never actually had one }

And the flavor combinations are just AMAZING!


Picture via SprinkleBakes

Tiffany blue macarons with orange blossom buttercream, get the recipe here.

Picture via Raspberri Cupcakes

Strawberry milk macarons with cookie dough buttercream, get the recipe here.
{ I am in love with these macarons...  such a fun flavor }

and even...
Picture via Raspberri Cupcakes
Popcorn macarons with salted caramel, get the recipe here.
{ these little cookies just might make an appearance at the prince's birthday celebration... maybe }

If you would like to experiment with your own flavor combinations, I found a few recipes you can use for the basics of making macarons...
from Kevin & Amanda, French Macarons
from Cake Journal, How to Make Macarons

Now if you're like me and aren't quite into creating your own flavors, then you can do a simple search on Pinterest and find hundreds of options!

Here's what I've found so far.

Have a wonderful week, lovelies- I've got a certain little prince needing some cuddles!

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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

{ quickie post } Appetizers perfect for any party...

How about some quick and yummy options for appetizers that you could serve at your next party...
I for one, will likely be making a few of these for one little prince's 3rd birthday!

{ one }  Antipasto skewers/kabobs via The Hungry Housewife
{ two }  Mini mac and cheese pies via The Curvy Carrot
{ three }  Mini corn dog muffins via Iowa Girl Eats
{ four }  Veggie and dip all-in-one
**simply poor a little dip in the bottom of a plastic cup 
and then place veggies standing up in the cup.
{ five }  Baked brie bites via Plain Chicken
{ six }  Pretzel bites via Beantown Baker
{ seven } Fruit skewers/kabobs
**choose whatever fruits you want, skewer them and you're done!

I hope you found something to inspire your next celebration... or maybe even a family meal!

Have a wonderful Wednesday/middle of the week, lovelies!

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Invites are designed!

I'm pretty sure that sometime between now and my rambling about the prince's birthday plans, I mentioned that I had finally created/designed the perfect invitations for that same party!  And I even think that I had promised to share them with you...

Surely you have been waiting and hoping everyday for my next post to be the one.
Well the wait is over... thank god, I know.  { smile }

Ta da!!

I am more than pleased with the finished invites!  And they only took a few hours/days to get just perfect!  FYI, don't forget to make sure your file saved properly before exiting...  

Best part of this invitation is that I made it using, an online photo editing service that's completely FREE!!  I highly recommend it if you don't want to invest a few hundred $$$ in software.

One more thing...

Picture via Sprinklebakes

I'll be using this Cherry Vanilla cake recipe for the cupcakes...  
SERIOUSLY could it get any yummier?!

Have a wonderful Friday, lovelies...


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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Girly Chic, Part 2- the beautiful decor

It's here...

Part 2 of the Girly Chic with lace and pink party theme!

Remember this was my inspiration...

This time I'll be sharing all of the decor ideas I found...  ENJOY!

1.  Fabric poms...  poms are one of my favorite party decorations, EVER!  I originally fell in love with tissue poms the first time I saw them in a party recap from The TomKat Studio
{ evidence of my love for them here and here }
I love the colors and texture of the fabric used for this set, picture and tutorial via A Simple Kind of Life.

2.  Beautiful glass cake stands/pedestals for displaying all of the chic desserts you made.  Any cake stands will do, there's no reason to break the bank on this detail, and I've already found some tutorials for you here.  Or you can always buy some, doing a simple search on brings up thousands of options, see them all here.
{ I prefer to limit my options to those that offer the FREE Super Saver shipping}

3.  Mason jars filled with beautiful and fragrant lilacs { LOVE }
Any flowers will do, but I especially love lilacs or hydrangeas for the fact that they look like lace.  To coordinate this idea to your decor even more...  here's a tutorial for coloring the mason jars from Momtastic.
Picture via Denise in Bloom.

4.  Pink peacock feathers!  When I saw these I immediately knew they would be a wonderful addition to this theme, they're a little funky but still totally chic!  
You can pick up a few at your local craft store.

5.  Striped straws with customized flags...  again another thing I'm in love with, such a simple way to add a touch of fun and complete your drinks and dessert table.  These straws and flags and more can be found at the Etsy shop Loralee Lewis, get them here.

6.  LOTS of flowers in varying glass containers like vases in different sizes and even mason jars (I know I'm obsessed with this idea), tie a nice ribbon or piece of lace around some of the jars and you've got yourself some beautiful centerpieces!
Picture and idea via Elizabeth Anne Designs.

{ BONUS }  A cute party outfit for your little princess that goes fabulously with the theme...

Picture via Banner Boutique

And on that adorable note...
have a wonderful Tuesday, lovelies!

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Sunday, March 4, 2012

Girly chic with lace and pink, Part 1

Pink and lace are the perfect combo for a party celebrating everything we love about being girly.

I have found some beautiful items that will add the perfect touch of girly chic to any celebration...
from a baby shower, celebrating the arrival of a sweet little princess
a bridal shower, celebrating a beautiful bride to be and her new life to come with her love.
{ Also perfect for... the very important birthday celebration for your princess, at any age! }

And here is my inspiration for this theme...

A simple piece of lace for the cupcake wrapper and a sprinkling of sugar pearls makes this cupcake perfectly chic!
{ I love it! }

For Part 1 (of a 2 part post)...
I'll be sharing the AMAZING dessert ideas that I found for the most perfectly chic dessert table, EVER.

Dessert Table Details

1.  Rose-water madeleines are both pretty and elegant, these wonderful french sponge cookies are perfect for a girly chic party.  
Recipe and picture via Martha Stewart, get it here.

2.  A luscious classic pavlova with cherries, this dessert is great because you can use any berry or fruit that you want to fit your guest of honor's tastes.  
Picture via Dust Jacket and recipe via Donna Hay.

3.  Beautiful blush pink macarons with a splash of gold, seriously could they be any more chic?!  Picture via My Sweet and Saucy.

4.  Flower shortbread/sugar cookies... simply a cookie decorated with royal icing and then topped with an edible flower.  The flower gives the cookies both color and texture in such a unique application.  
Picture via Martha Stewart.

5.  Dainty meringue cookies are another perfect addition to this dessert table for their whimsical touch.
Recipe and picture via The Novice Chef Blog, get it here.

6.  Cupcakes, of course... and what better cupcakes than the ones which inspired this theme.
Check out Loralee Lewis for a pretty frosting technique, the ruffle flower pile up, for your cupcakes.
{ I will definitely be doing this technique for my next batch of cupcakes }

7.  A beautiful ruffle tier cake...  you can do a cake in addition to the cupcakes or just the cake, whatever your preference.

This frosting technique is much easier than it seems and there are a number of tutorials online to help you achieve the look you want.  
Picture and tutorial via Martha Stewart.
I am baker also has a fabulous tutorial you can use.

And before I forget...
8.  Some elegant and sophisticated adult beverage options for your girly chic party...

Drinks pictured include (starting from the top left)...
Raspberry Mojito
Pink Martini
Pink Russian
Pink Lady Martini

So pretty and... PINK!
{ love }

Picture and recipes via Hostess { with the Mostess }

I think that about covers the desserts and drinks...

Next to come in Part 2- Beautiful Decor options, I can't wait to share what I found with you!
Until then lovelies...

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