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Our anniversary meal

For our anniversary, I wanted to go all out with our meal. I decided to combine some of our favorite things: pasta, seafood and booze. The shrimp were DIVINE and had so much flavor. I paired it with Pioneer Woman’s Homemade pasta for a decadent meal to celebrate a very special occasion.

Dirty Shrimp in Butter-Beer Sauce
Source: RecipeZaar

  • 2 lbs shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup beer

Lightly dust shrimp with flour. This will help to thicken the sauce later. Saute garlic and herbs in butter until garlic is slightly browned. Add shrimp, stirring constantly, until shrimp are pink and done. Pour in beer, simmer 1 minute more, and serve!

Homemade Pasta
Source: Pioneer Woman

Rule of thumb: Two eggs per one cup of flour for enough pasta for two people.

Make a well in the center of your pile of flour and crack in your eggs. Slowly mix together with your hands. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead (roll, punch, push, etc.) by hand until dough becomes smooth and pliable, adding flour to the board as necessary.

Let the dough rest for a little while before rolling it out. When you’re ready, roll it out on a floured surface as thinly as it’ll go. The noodles will plump up quite a bit when they boil in the water, so the thinner you can roll it, the better. Cut the noodles really thin. You can use a sharp knife (if you can keep it in a straight line), a pizza wheel, or a long pizza/bread cutter.

To cook the noodles, just boil them in salted water (very important!) for probably two minutes. They cook lightning fast, so don’t let ‘em go too long.

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Wedding Cake

For our anniversary, I decided to re-create our wedding cake. You see, I did not save the top layer like most people are supposed to do. To be honest, our wedding cake was FUG. It was NOTHING like I told her. I was in no way a Bridezilla by any means but seeing our cake when I walked it just horrified me. It was AWFUL. So needless to say I told my mom she could throw the top away or give it to the dogs for all I care and to keepthatuglypieceofcrapawayfrommebeforeIdrivetothebakeryandkillsomeone. Despite it’s ugly exterior, the flavor was DELISH. It was a white cake with pineapple and pecan filling with whipped frosting and topped with white chocolate shells.So, I decided to take the flavors and recreate it without the ugly exterior.

For starter’s, I used Recipe Girl’s recipe for White Wedding Cake. I also used her recipe for Wedding Cupcake Buttercream and doubled the recipe so I would have enough to frost my whole cake.

I set aside 1 cup of the frosting to make the filling with. To this, I added one small can of crushed pineapple (drained VERY well) and about 1/2 cup of chopped pecans. I used this between the layers and frosted the cake as usual. I topped the cake off with a little shaved white chocolate.

When all was said and done, I had a incredibly delicious cake that tasted AND looked better than our wedding cake. 🙂

Year One

On October 18th Jordan and I celebrated our first anniversary. We kept it really low key and did a nice dinner at home on Saturday (recipes to come). Sunday we spent our actual anniversary cheering on our beloved Dynamo boys as they played the LA Galaxy. I wish I had something poetic to say about the first year of marriage and the lessons we learned. Was it easy? No. But we had one hell of a first year. 🙂

To Arthur!

This week was the 250th birthday of Jordan’s favorite beer, Guinness. To celebrate this joyous occasion, I decided to bake Guinness Cupcakes. I had bookmarked Smitten Kitchen’s Irish Car Bomb cupcakes a few months ago and was just waiting for the perfect opportunity to make them. I used her recipe for the cake part and I must say, it is oh so good. I could eat them without any frosting. The Guinness flavor is so subtle that I would consider making this my go to chocolate cake recipe. I finished them off with an adaptation of my favorite cream cheese frosting. I took a few cupcakes to our apartment office and one hour later the Leasing Manager called me on my cell phone raving about them and demanded the recipe. Happy Birthday Guinness!

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes
Source: Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 cup Guinness
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way. Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly, for 17-20 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.

Guinness Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 16 oz. cream cheese
  • 8 TB softened butter
  • 1/4 cup Guinness
  • 2 cups powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese and softened butter with electric mixer until combined. Add vanilla and Guinness.  Slowly add powdered sugar. Beat until creamy. If your frosting gets too thick, you can thin it out with little milk. I wanted a smooth frosting to mimic the signature “head” on the top of a pint of Guinness.

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Conversations with my mom, Part IV

Scene: 6:00 on Wednesday evening.

Mom: Guess what. I got called for jury duty. And not just any jury duty, FEDERAL jury duty. I am so pissed off.

Me: I bet you are. That sucks. Just be really argumentative and pissy and you can get out of it.

Mom: When I filled out the form that they asked me to send back, on the bottom where it said comments I wrote “I don’t want to be a juror”. Your dad was so mad! He said I can’t do that!

Me: Mom! You can’t write that! Why would you write that?

Mom: Because I want them to know that I DO NOT want to be a juror. I have other things I would rather be doing. The form said to not wear flip flops. So guess what, I am wearing my Reefs just to spite them!

Me: Man I really hope you get a really spiteful lawyer who sees your comment and makes you a juror.

Mom: Oh, they don’t know anything about being spiteful. I dare them to pick me!

Me: Well, just be yourself. I think that will do the trick.

Mom: Oh, I will!

*** a few minutes later***

Me: I am going to bring some baked goods when we see you in a few weeks. Maybe if you are nice to me I will bring you a strawberry pie from House of Pies.

Mom: If you bake, you are not allowed to bake any healthy stuff. No soy, no tofu, no healthy shit. If it isn’t crap, I don’t want it. Understand?

Me: You got it mom. I will keep my fingers crossed you don’t get picked for jury duty. And I will make sure to bring you lots of crap when I see you.

Mom: Thank you. I love you

Me: Love you too mom.

Autumn

“And even when the trees have just surrendered
To the harvest time
Forfeiting their leaves in late September
And sending us inside
Still I notice You when change begins
And I am braced for colder winds
I will offer thanks for what has been and what’s to come
You are autumn”

-Nichole Nordeman

Crockpot Lasagna

Jordan loves lasagna. Actually, he loves anything with red sauce. But I think making lasagna is such a pain in the butt. I hate having to deal with boiling the noodles. I stumbled upon the concept of making it in the crockpot when my mom gave me a copy of “Fix It And Forget It Cookbook”. I took the idea and adapted it to what I was able to afford in college and it has been a hit ever since. I have a huge crockpot since I mainly use it for entertaining so this recipe made a lot for me. I used to freeze individual portions tightly wrapped in plastic wrap so I could take a piece out on a night when I didn’t feel like cooking.
  • 1 box lasagna noodles
  • 1 container ricotta cheese (15 oz.)
  • 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (Reserve 1/2 cup for the top of the lasagna)
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce, 28 oz.  (or substitute homemade)
  • 1/4 cup water (add this to the sauce)

Combine ricotta, parmesan and mozzarella in a bowl. Roughly chop spinach and cook in a skillet with one tablespoon of water  until wilted. Drain and squeeze out any water. Add to the cheese mixture along with the shredded carrots.  Spray crockpot with a little cooking spray to prevent sticking. Pour a little bit of sauce in the bottom of your crockpot make a layer of noodles on top of the sauce. Break noodles to fit. Put 1/3 of the cheese mixture on top of the noodles and then add another layer of noodles. Add sauce and then top with more noodles. Repeat with cheese, noodles, sauce, noodles two more times. Top with sauce and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until the noodles are tender (mine cooked perfectly in 4 so check it). Before serving, sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese and put the lid on for about five minutes or until cheese is melted.

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