Monday, September 29, 2008

Baby Shower Game Ideas?!!

OK, I know it seems like I have been blogging like a made woman today, but this one is my last one for the night.

My darling friend Katie DeMartini and I are throwing a baby shower for the amazing Katie Erb. We go to a lot of baby showers here in Family Student Housing (something is in the water) and are currently bored with all the usual baby shower games. Does anyone have any great game ideas to share?

Let me know
p.s. the shower is in a week
p.p.s. we are poor... creative... but with limited funds.

Cafe Rio Recipes

I have no idea where my oldest friend in the world, Whitney "soon to be Parry" Watson, got these babies but they are delicious. These are are yummy recipes to our grown up dinner party last week per request.

Café Rio Dressing
1 buttermilk ranch dressing packet (make as per recipe)
2 tomatillos (tomato like vegetable with a husk around them)
½ bunch of cilantro
1 clove garlic
Juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeño (Use the seeds too if you like it spicy. You could substitute a few drops of green Tabasco for the jalapeno.)

Use a food processor to blend all the ingredients well. Refrigerate.

Cafe Rio Chicken
1 small bottle Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing
1 T chili powder
1 T cumin
3 cloves garlic—minced
5 lbs chicken breast

Cook all together in a crock pot for 4 hours, shred meat and cook 1 additional hour.(Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing has 2 grams of sugar per serving. I try to avoid dressings with sugar, but this is a very small amount. You're only using 8 ounces of the dressing per 5 pounds of chicken if you follow this recipe, so it should be fine, even for South Beach Dieters.)

Sweet Pork
3lb. Pork Roast
16-oz. Chunky Salsa
1 Can Dr. Pepper
2 Cups Brown Sugar

Put pork in crock pot and fill half way with water. Cook 4 hours on high. Drain water, cut the pork in thirds. Mix together sauce (blend in blender) and pour on top of pork. Cook 4 more hours on low. Shred pork.

Café Rio Rice
4 c water
4 t chicken bouillon
4 t garlic –minced
½ bunch cilantro
1 can green chilies—or equivalent fresh
¾ t salt
1 T butter
½ onion
2 c regular white rice

Blend cilantro, green chilies and onion together in food processor. Bring water to a boil and add all ingredients, simmer covered 30 minutes.

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/3 cup tomato juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro

In a nonstick skillet, cook garlic and cumin in olive oil over medium heat until you can smell it. Add beans, tomato juice, and salt. Continually stir until heated through. Just before serving stir in the cilantro

TRES LECHE CAKE complements of this neat gal I found online.

6 large eggs, separated
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream topping:
1 14-ounce can evaporated milk
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream

To make the cake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour a 9 by 13-inch baking dish and set aside. (I used a smaller rectangle pan & a muffin tin, b/c I wanted individual cakes for presentation)
In the bowl of a mixer, beat the egg whites on low speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually with the mixer running and peak to stiff peaks. Add the egg yolks 1 at a time, beating well after the addition of each.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and add to the egg mixture, alternating with the milk. (Do this quickly so the batter does not lose volume.) Add the vanilla. Bake until golden, 25 minutes.

To make the cream topping: In a blender, combine the evaporated milk, condensed milk, and heavy cream and blend on high speed.

Remove the cake from the oven and while still warm, pour the cream mixture over it. Let sit and cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Homemade Whipped Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 teaspoons confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the heavy cream until soft peaks. Add the vanilla extract and confectioners' sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks.

Flowers 101 week 2

This week our assignment was a low fall arrangement with non floral items. I have decided not to run around like a mad woman flower hunting (though I do love the thrill) and just see what Trader Joes has on the way to class for $10 or less.
I had to provide my own container this week so I used these little guys from Stephanie's wedding, I cut up oranges to disguise the floral foam in the vase. They were quite a hit, and smelled delicious.

Friday, September 26, 2008

"Grown Up" Dinner Party

Last night the Shipleys' and I hosted a intimate dinner party. We invited our new neighbors and some friends we want to get to know better. It was fabulous.
We dinned outside by candle light while the kiddies watched "Mr. Incredibles" in our living room.

I hung candles in Baby food jars from ribbon in our tree in the backyard.

Roxanne and I made invitations from her beautiful paper collection, and included recipes from Cafe Rio for everyone to bring.

More flower hunting... roses from Stork Ranch and bouganvilla from Santa Ynez apartments.

Dinner consisted of Sweet Pork Barbacoa, Cilantro Rice and Beans with Chips and Salsa and a creamy cilantro ranch. For dessert we had Tres Leche cake with fresh strawberries.

So doing this...

Sometimes checking out the world of blogs makes me realize I spend to much time checking out the world of blogs and should be doing amazing things like this:

But how else do I find stuff like this to do? Check out these amazing red velvet cake bites here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Flower 101-week 1- The Floral Huntress

As some of you may know, I do not have any “formal” floral design training. I spent six months working at a flower stand for Riley’s Flowers making simple home arrangements and reading Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, occasionally explaining to people that it wasn’t ”my stand” and “Riley” was really the dog. I have spent millions of hours online and sitting in the wedding section of Borders reading fancy flower books that I am too cheap to buy. I call my amazing Aunt Marianne whenever I have tricky questions, but other than that, it’s all me. Until now…

SBCC Adult Education offers a Florist Style Floral Arrangement Class for the low price of $25. It is taught by Richard Finn of San Roque Florist. I am really excited about it. There isn’t a whole lot of instruction but there are tons of really talented woman in the class with oodles of experience and I get to practice new arrangements and working with floral foam. The only catch is that I have to provide my own flowers for each assignment. Being on the graduate student budget that we are, Richard has encouraged us to “borrow” flowers from around town. I am not “stealing” the local flora and fauna and as much as I am “hunting.” I am a Flower Huntress, it was really fun. Check out what I made for the bargain price of $6.00.

The Zanias and Celiosa (red feathery thing) I got at the farmers market for 6bucks. The blue flowers I took from UCSB while dropping off Ben. The red and pink flowers I got from Heather's house after dinner on Sunday. The ferns are provided by the teacher, but the best is the Birds of Paradise that I took from the school parking lot. I am a Huntress.
FYI- I will be in the background of one of these Instructional Videos next month. They tape during class.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Love letter to Mr. Hansen

Dear Mr. Hansen,
Oh how I missed you today. I know that you will be back tomorrow and that you are only 2hours away at a conference in at UCLA. But I missed you today. Jocelyn is teething pretty badly and spent the afternoon between bouts of tears and finishing off a bag of frozen blueberries, but when she smiled it was a big blueberry smile and blue juice dribbled down her chin; it was very cute. I ate both ice cream sandwich's and by the end of the night I will have finished the first season of Arrested Development. Which by the way you will love. My flower class went smashingly, and the Shipley's are enjoying my flowers on their table. Know that I am thinking about you and waiting for you to come home and wrap me up in your arms.
Your Wife

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Solie in Wonderland

Jocelyn and I got to attend this fabulous "Alice in Wonderland" themed birthday party for Solie Nerdin, complete with a Cheshire Cat Scavenger Hunt, Flamingo Croquet with the Queen of Hearts and a Mad Hatter Tea party with 20 individual "UN-birthday cakes". It was amazing. Check out some of the pictures I took.

Posted by Picasa

I made a Wordle

We really like it. Ben and I are thinking about blowing it up big and putting it on a wall.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mysterious Gift Solved!

This little number was given to us by....
These gorgeous ladies!
Thank you sweet cousins Caroline and Amy! We love it so much!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Balloon's for Nie

The Papac's and the Hansen's had our first Balloon launch on Saturday. It was a beautiful day and the spirit was in the air. We wrote our prayers for the Nelson's and each other on the balloons and the wind took them high up to heaven. It was perfect.

Girls' Night Out! the Pics

Delicious Chocolaty Goodness
These are the brownies they serve in heaven :)
I just love pretty flowers
Girlfriends bonding
The End... 'till next month

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mysterious Birthday Gift

This morning I checked the mail (after the waffles) and found this:

Inside was this:

I have no idea who it was from. No note? No Return address?

Who are you mysterious birthday giver?

Thank you! We love it!

Yummy breakfast from scratch

Whole Wheat Waffles! -thanks Nie

1 ¾ cup whole wheat
1-tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 large eggs
2 cups milk

I added
1 tbs vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup chocolate chips

Mix together. These babies don’t need syrup, just a little butter. Delicious.
Good bye Krusteaz... forever.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Girls' Night Out!

I have to say that I am still buzzing inside about the great girl party we just had. It was a night dedicated to us ladies who are in need of a little indulgence every once in a while. We chit chatted about our lives, ate delicious chocolates from bon bons to brownies, and watched my current favorite movie Penelope. We had a marvelous time. Special thanks to Roxanne, Kristen and Vivian, without you guys it wouldn't have happened... especially you Vivian who worked off any calories she gained eating the food by going back to her apartment 15 times.

Pictures to come... thanks to Vivian.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Balloon Launch for NieNie

Last Saturday people all over the world launched helium balloons filled with prayers and wishes in honor of Stephanie and Christian Nielson. Unfortunately Kristen and I missed it. But as Kristen said, better late than ever right?!
We have decided to host our own launch for the the Nielson family. It is one of their family birthday traditions (that I have every intention of commandeering for our family special occasions) that you can read about here or watch a video about it here.

Saturday September 6, 2008 5pm
Family Student Housing Storke 1 Playground
Bring a helium balloon and a prayer in your heart and watch it fly into the air.