Happy Birthday to my little man! We now officially have a 9-year-old in the house! Oh yeah! We celebrated Eli’s special day by making our family’s favorite cake for dessert, chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. Since Eli’s birthday is in October he always asks me to make a Halloween themed cake. This year we added some grave stones complete with dirt and bones and a marshmallow ghost. This cake is homemade and looks homemade, but it’s full of love. I got a quick picture of the family posing with the cake before Zoe and John ran off to Zoe’s soccer practice. These are the only pictures you will see of the cake because it we brought it with us to DJ’s, and left the rest of the cake there for the staff to devour and enjoy.
We celebrated Eli’s birthday with a late dinner at DJ’s after Zoe’s soccer practice. We didn’t get home till after 9:00, and we were all a bit tired, but not Eli. He was ready to tear open his presents. One of his favorite presents, and one that he requests every year, is copy paper. He loves copy paper. He uses it for drawing, making paper airplanes and origami. I mean he jumped for joy when he opened this present!
Eli also got a Lego set that he’s been asking for! He’s into super heroes right now, so he couldn’t wait to get building this. He’s totally laughing at Zoe in this picture because she kept photobombing the pictures, but of course she didn’t want me posting those pictures. All in all, Eli had a great birthday! We’re having his birthday party today at the park. It’s going to be an old-fashioned birthday complete with 14 boys (chaos) and sports galore. The boys are picking teams out of a hat and they’re playing kickball, soccer and basketball. John and Zoe are going to be the referee’s and coaches and I’m going to be helping out where I can. Eli requested that I make the pumpkin sheet cake for his party, so I made that up yesterday and I’m going to quickly finish decorating it at the park.
This week was filled with cake baking and trying new recipes. I had some recipe successes, such as these rosemary and sea salt popovers. OMG, I’m enjoying one right now with a bowl of butternut squash soup (because it’s cold today) and they’re so good. I’m totally posting the recipe soon, as they pair well with just about any fall comfort dish. Yummo!
This pasta with lemon, kale, garlic and walnuts was also a family hit! John says this pasta is a great gateway to get your kids to like kale. It’s a cross between my broccoli lemon pasta and lacinato kale salad. The kids had the pasta sans the toasted walnuts, but John and I loved the walnuts topped on the pasta.
I also made a “mommy” version of this pasta for lunch. It’s the same recipe as the one above, but I used whole-wheat pasta and Pecorino Romano cheese. It’s so good. The pecorino romano cheese adds such a salty flavor to the whole-wheat pasta. I will be sure to post this recipe soon.
Sadly, I also had a recipe failure this week. Of course it had to be a sweet, right? I made a batch of peanut butter cookies and dipped them in bittersweet chocolate. They look tasty right? Well, unfortunately they just didn’t gel, and are not blog worthy. I may try and tweak the recipe, but I need a break from baking for the next week or so. After baking 4 cakes in the past week and these cookies, I’m totally baked out and in need of a sugar cleanse!
I got together with my friend Andrea (pictured below in the blue shirt) to attempt a cooking with friends series that I’ve been thinking about starting on the blog. Andrea is the one who sent me the recipe for these favorite turkey burgers, which are now our favorite burgers. Her adorable neighbor Laura (whose also a reader of my blog) stopped by to hang with us as Andrea cooked and I attempted to photograph her cooking. It proved to be a bit more challenging than I thought it was going to be to photograph the step-by-step process of someone making a dish. I think I scared Andrea at first when I came in with my light and all of my props. The girls also had a few laughs as I was posing and standing on top of different chairs to take photos of the process. I realize that putting friends through the arduous task of taking the step-by-step photos is too much to ask, as it really takes 3 hours, so I gave being the crazy photographer early on in the process and just hung out with the gals. If I decide to do the cooking with friends series, then I’m going to have to tweak a few things.
Andrea made me her favorite butternut squash soup (which I will attempt to make and photograph at home so I can give you all the recipe) and a perfect grilled cheese sandwich. Below is a photo of the beautiful lunch that Andrea served up. Don’t you all just want Andrea to cook lunch for you? She’s an amazing cook and she’s so relaxed and at home in the kitchen. I want to say a HUGE thank you to Andrea for opening her house and kitchen to me, making me an amazing lunch, and just for being open to this whole cooking with friends concept. She was the first one to say yes when I sent the email out asking friends about the idea and she kept on me to give it a try. Andrea has been a huge supporter of my blog since day one and I love and appreciate her!
Ok, so let’s move onto this week’s menu:
Sunday night dinner
Grilled steak, rosemary and sea salt popovers (recipe soon) and roasted cauliflower. Zoe asked if we could have some steak for dinner tonight because we haven’t had it in forever, and she’s been craving it. That girl loves her meat, and I haven’t been the best at making it at home, so tonight we’re grilling up some steak along with our favorite new popover recipe and some roasted cauliflower. It’s a total fall meal perfect for the fall-like weather we’ve been having lately.
Monday night dinner
Roasted red pepper paninis with cilantro lime mayonnaise and lacinato kale salad. Manic Monday! I’m going to roast up some red peppers this afternoon so come tomorrow all I have to do is assemble and grill the sandwiches at dinner. It’s like setting up a taco bar, but it’s really a sandwich bar! I can’t wait for dinner because I love this panini!
Tuesday night dinner
Buttermilk roasted chicken, roasted fingerling potatoes and kid friendly caesar salad. Tuesday nights are mellow as there are no after school activities, so we can all enjoy a nice relaxing family dinner around the table. Nothing says fall like chicken and roasted potatoes.
Wednesday night dinner
Leftover night. I’m taking the leftover buttermilk chicken and making chicken caesar salad. I will serve these up with some naan bread on the side.
Thursday night dinner
Paul McCartney’s refried bean tacos, lacinato kale salad. I love these tacos because they’re so easy to make and they just taste great. If you haven’t tried them yet, you need to. All of my friends and their kids love them, so give them a try and I bet you will love them too!
Friday night dinner
Whew, sorry about the lengthy post guys, but sometimes I just keep writing and writing, and now I have to just stop, so I’m stopping 😉
Have a great week!