dinner party blondies

I’m happy to report that our very first dinner party at our new apartment was a success!  I use the word “party” loosely since it was just Todd and I and his parents but, dinner party sounds much more fun than just plain dinner.

I snapped this picture while I was preparing dinner.  I love the colors all together, so pretty!

I made Lemon Fresh Summer Pasta  with grilled chicken and served it will watermelon and bread.  Nothing too fancy but it was just right for a casual meal outside on the deck.

The night was perfect for eating outside, that magical temperature where you don’t feel warm or cool.

For dessert we had the Pink Lemonade Cookies that I baked yesterday plus a second treat that I made last night, White Chocolate Chip Blondies.

I find a lot of recipes online but when I decided to make blondies, I did something crazy: I consulted a cookbook.

The Joy of Cooking was my book of choice and the recipe was great.  Easy peasy and it turned out deliciously.

Blondies from the Joy of Cooking

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Grease an 8×8 pan.  Whisk together thoroughly:

          1 cup all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour again, 1 cup minus 2 tablespoons)

          1/4 teaspoon baking powder

          1/4 teaspoon baking soda

          1/8 teaspoon salt

In a large heavy saucepan, melt, then boil, stirring constantly, until light golden brown, about 4 minutes:

          1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

Remove from heat and stir in until well-blended:

          2/3 cup packed light brown sugar

          1/4 cup sugar

Let cool until barely warm.  Stir in until well-combined:

          1 large egg

          1 large egg yolk

          1 tablespoon light corn syrup

          1  1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Stir in flour mixture and, if desired (I desired!):

1 cup chopped, toasted pecans, chocolate chips or 2/3 cup shredded coconut (I went with 1 cup of white chocolate chips but you could add in anything: Heath, chocolate chunks, butterscotch chips, peanut butter cups, anything you’d like!)

Scrape into pan.  Bake until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely in the pan on a rack.

These blondies are so delicious, even Todd was scarfing them down!  I can’t wait to try them with different mix-ins.

Do you normally get your recipes online or from a cookbook or family recipe?

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who i read wednesday

I haven’t been able to get into What I Ate Wednesday so I decided that I’d go another route tonight.  Recently, some of my good, real life friends have been getting into the blogging world and I wanted to share their blogs with you.

stinkandhincks

My good friends Sarah and Lindsey have start a blog called stinkandhincks.  Sarah is Stink and Lindsey is Hincks and they’ve grown up and left the Mitten (that’s Michigan for those of you who don’t know) and the blog features their exciting adventures in NYC and Cincinnatti.  They’re only a week into it but so far, it’s been highly entertaining plus, I love these girls so for me it’s a win-win to keep up with their daily happenings.  Seriously, you’ll love these two.

The Mode Life

The Mode Life is a blog that multiple women from in and around Michigan contribute to.  One of those contributors is my wonderful sister, Emily.  This week they posted her first entry and soon after, her second!  She has lots of wise things to say as do the rest of the ladies so read up.

The Smiths

Jess and Erik are some of my nearest and dearest friends and proud parents to little Owen who will be 1 year old on Saturday.  Since he was born they’ve been keeping us all up to date on his adventures, growth and irresistible cuteness through their blog.  Seriously, if you’re looking for a cute baby blog, this is the one.

Of course there are lots of other blogs that I read that are written by blog friends or by people I don’t know at all.  You can find these on my favorites page.

Do your friends blog?

What are some of your favorite blogs?

extended family secrets – she’s a sourpuss

After Scott’s graduation and brunch on Saturday we spent the afternoon at Joel and Kim’s house relaxing and enjoying the sun.  I read for awhile then joined Todd, Scott and Todd’s dad in a game of bags.

It was a close game but Todd and I pulled through and won.  Since we didn’t want to gloat we claimed the win for Team Neckers which included all present.

Eventually the afternoon led into the evening and we got hungry again.

Thankfully Kim had run into a meat salesman the day before we arrived and was swindled into buying a fridge-full of meat.  That meant a celebratory barbecue for us!  We had steaks, asparagus, the best (and only) potato salad I’ve ever eaten and caprese salad.

It was a delicious, robust meal.  Of course a great meal should be followed up with a great dessert and this meal was no exception.  Kim introduced us to her grandma’s specialty which she calls Sourpuss.

Sour Puss begins like this…

With a few turns of your spoon the separate piles of blueberries, sour cream and brown sugar turn into a sweet, creamy dessert.

I was skeptical but Kim made me a believer – Sourpuss is delicious!  If you need a quick, easy (and interactive!) dessert, this is a great option.

I did a Google search for “sour puss dessert” and found nothing but when I searched “blueberries, sour cream, brown sugar dessert” and got one result.  Apparently Sourpuss is known to the wide world as “Blueberries with Brown Sugar Cream“.  I say that’s a lame name and I’m sticking with calling it Sourpuss.

A few glasses of wine and rounds of Apples to Apples later we were all ready to crawl into bed.  So much fun can be exhausting!  The next day Todd and I headed back home.  It was a whirlwind trip but well worth the quick turnaround.

What desserts are staples at your family get-togethers?


saturday in denver – graduation

The reason for our trip to Denver this weekend was the graduation of Todd’s younger brother, Scott, from law school.  Now the family is even more jam-packed with attorneys.  Everyone is an attorney except me and Todd’s mom – crazy, huh?  Thankfully they now how to not talk shop at the dinner table so we all get along just fine.

We arrived in Denver on Friday evening and Todd’s brother and his wife, my new siblings-in-law, greeted us at the airport.  When we got to their house I met their dog, Turtle, for the first time.

Turtle is huge.  I’d heard the stories but I really wasn’t expect him to be so big.  I’ve never met a dog before who weighs more than I do!  Thankfully after some obedience classes he’s just a big ball of love.

The graduation was at 10:00 on Saturday morning so we all got up and went to the ceremony at the University of Denver.  The ceremony was nice and we were all proud to see Scott get hooded as he officially became a law school graduate.

After the graduation we all met outside to congratulate the new grad and snap some family photos.

After graduation we went out for brunch at Satchel’s on 6th, “a nice little place to eat and drink” per their slogan. I would agree.  They have a very limited menu but lots of things sounded good.  I ended up ordering a mimosa with Tang on the rim while I was deciding.

The Tang on the rim was a great touch.  I hadn’t had Tang since I was about 10 years old and it brought back great memories.  I basically licked the whole edge clean before touching the mimosa.

I finally ordered their farm fresh ricotta.  I’d say it was a good decision.  I tend to overeat at brunch (Don’t we all?  I hope I’m not the only one…) so I was happy with the small portion size and lightness of the dish.  And the honeycomb on top was exactly the perfect touch to sweeten up the ricotta.

One thing I knew I wasn’t going to order was the roasted bone marrow.  Todd and his older brother Joel went out on a limb and they both tried it.

Both of them hated it.

Oh well, you live and learn.  Plus, Turtle was VERY happy to munch on their bones when we got home.

This post is getting a bit long so I’ll sign off for now.  Coming up tomorrow, a family barbecue and a new dessert called sour puss, yum.

Happy graduation, Scott!

Did you try any interesting foods this weekend?

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?

3… 2… 1… wedding!

I didn’t think that I’d have time to post again until after the wedding.  Good thing I’m feeling like a night owl since today was my last day of work before the big day.  I don’t have to wake up to an alarm tomorrow!  Well, at least not as early as usual.

Being done with work plus knowing that family is now here or en route for the wedding is really crazy to think about.  My brother was delayed from China but should be in town by now, my sister is here from Chicago and Todd’s brother and sister-in-law arrived this evening from Denver.  The next two days will be filled with a few errands, a touch of pampering and lots of celebration.

On top of wedding planning we have also been moving into our new apartment.  We have a kitchen full of goodies: plates, silverware, cookware, bottles and bottles of wine, etc.  This is a good thing.  We also have only two chairs and no couch.  I should say we have no couch in the apartment because we went and bought one today!

I’m so excited to have a brand new couch instead of a hand-me-down from our parents or something off of Craig’s List.  It’s being delivered after the honeymoon and I can’t wait to get it into our cute little nest.

Time for this bride-to-be to get some rest.  The wedding countdown is on!

P.S.  I haven’t  been posting about food much lately because well, I’ve been eating uninspired, delicious but not-so-balanced meals.  It seems that stress + business = comfort food cravings for me.  Post-honeymoon I promise to put our new kitchen to good use and make lots of delicious, healthy meals at home.

Do you eat worse when you’re stressed?

What are you go-to comfort foods?

my bachelorette party in pictures

My bachelorette party was yesterday.

Peach Jell-o shots are my new favorite, awesome contribution Mary!

This amazing spread was there to greet us in Chicago.

Em even made my favorite, pineapple pizza!

She decorated with pictures my friends sent her.  It was such a fun display to look at!

And she made sure everyone had a little gift.  Softlips is the best!

And she ordered empanadas as part of our Argentine feast at Tango Sur.

The food was amazing.  Just as good as the food we always ate in Argentina.  Chicken, ravioli and steak – beyond delicious.

Then we hit the bars.

And danced the night away.

What a great group of girls to say goodbye to singlehood with.

And then this morning…

We brunched.  Another fantastic meal.  Notice the Nutella on my pancake.  Heaven.

Thank you Emily for throwing an amazing bachelorette.  Every single thing was perfect and every detail so well thought out.  It was everything I could have hoped for.  I’m so grateful to my sister and all of my friends who took the time to travel to Chicago and celebrate with me.  I loved every minute.

If this weekend was any indication of how much fun we’re going to have at the wedding, I can hardly wait.  It’s going to be a riot.

What are some of your favorite memories with friends?


wedding program party

On Tuesday some of my bridesmaids met me at my parents’ to help me assemble our wedding programs.  I am totally enamored with our programs.  Ellie at Hello Tenfold designed them for me and they are just gorgeous, everything I wanted.  It’s always hard for me to choose between beautiful things and Ellie made it easy by offering to make four different program covers.  They are all beautiful and she was so great to work with.  If you’re in the market for beautiful stationery, I’d highly recommend her.

It was really nice to get together with the girls.  Not all of my bridesmaids know each other really well since I know them from different parts of my life (family, high school, college) so it’s nice when we all spend time together.  Of course we ate as we worked and enjoyed some pizza and a plate of the oatmeal chocolate chunk toffee cookies I made on Sunday.

We got everything set up and went to work tying the programs together.  Look at all of these colors together, so pretty!

My friends, Pam, Jennie and Jennifer were such fast workers that it barely took us any time at all.

By the time my parents came home we were done.  I’m so grateful for their help, it would have taken me ages alone!

Thanks again for helping bridesmaids and thanks to Ellie for your gorgeous work!

What DIY tasks did you do for your wedding?