Sunday, December 15, 2013

Football Season and Chili Season=Love

You gotta love the south. Football games in the fall are like its own holiday. There is something about the turn of the weather (or at least possible turn of the weather here in Houston) and tailgating food that just go hand in hand. But I am going to just come clean. I don't understand football. I don't even know what is happening on the screen as I watch it. I just get into it for the sake of my husband and really any reason to throw a party. I am more likely to be the girl in the background talking anything but football with the other girls who may not be all that interested. However, most of my girlfriends are interested. It just amazes me that they know what is going on! This fact doesn't exactly make my husband the most proud but he embraces it and loves me anyway. He is is a true football fanatic, make that LSU/Saints fanatic as anyone else is that is from Louisiana or lives there. Jason's entire family is LSU fans and and now it looks like Collins will be an LSU girl herself:) I just play along, wear the LSU outfits and plan the football parties:)

Collins even wears her purple and gold to church but only after a win!

So this past football season we cheered the LSU tigers on many times while we munched on a few favorite recipes. We went to our dear friends house who are fellow LSU fans and watched the game as much as we could with the kids in tow. 
Well, the husbands watched, Gabe and I bathed the kids and fed them and let the husbands have their peace. We are such good wives.
Gabe's Jason made gumbo that was amazing and I made Golden Onion Bacon Tartlets for an appetizer. These things were delicious and addictive. And they called for pancetta which is my husband's love language alone. And as always, we had a great time. I can't really say who won the game but I got to catch up with a best friend and soak up our families together so just another reason that I am grateful for football season. And the men did have their hands full once Gabe and I settled down to a glass of wine...

Golden Onion and Bacon Tartlets
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
2 cups thinly sliced sweet onions
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup shredded swiss cheese
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 tsp minced fresh or dried rosemary
1/4 tsp ground pepper
4 slices pancetta (or bacon finally chopped)
24 mini phyllo pastry shells
Fresh rosemary springs for garnish
 1. Heat oven to 350. Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium low heat. Add onions and cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and tender. Sprinkle with salt and cook 3 to 5 minutes more  until very tender and golden brown. Remove from heat; stir in swiss, cream, rosemary and pepper.
2. Meanwhile, cook pancetta in medium skillet over medium heat, 2 to 3 minutes, until crisp. Drain on paper towels. 
3. Arrange phyllo shells on cookie sheet. Divide and spoon  onion mixture into shells. Sprinkle tops evenly with pancetta. Bake 9 to 11 minutes, until golden brown. Garnish with rosemary if desired. Serve immediately. 

During this football season, we tried out a few other new recipes and they are definitely worth talking about. For another game with friends, we made Sesame Chicken Dip. Now this recipe is different but so good. It has delicious oriental taste that you don't expect and is so different from so many other dips that are out there.
Sesame Chicken Dip
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
 4 tso. sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 cups shredded cooked chicken
3 pkgs. (8 oz) reduced fat free cream cheese
8 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped salted peanuts
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
1 jar (10oz) sweet and sour sauce
Sesame Rice Crackers
1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic, add the chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for at least an hour.
2. Spread cream cheese onto a large serving platter, top with chicken mixture. Sprinkle with onions, peanuts and spinach. Drizzle with sweet and sour sauce. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Serve with crackers.

Now for the recipe of all fall football game recipes...Bacon Beer Chili. Men, this is your kind of chili. At least it was for my husband. It had all his favorites. Venison. Bacon, Italian Sausage, and beer. Yes, beer. Jason made this for us and it was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Not lying. I am not a big "game" girl but I will eat it because that is what you do when when your husband kills deer and brings home the "bacon", I mean venison. But we almost didn't know what to do with ourselves it was that good. It makes a lot so this is definitely the recipe to make for your next football game/cool weather dinner.
Bacon Beer Chili
1/2 pound mild italian sausage links
8 slices bacon
1 1/2 pounds coarsely ground venison (you can use ground turkey or beef as well)
2 large onions, chopped
2 large green bell peppers, seeded and chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chipped
cayenne pepper to taste (we like alot!)
1 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1 (14 1/2oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (12 oz) can tomato paste
 1 (12 oz) can beer
Optional Garnishes: sour cream, sliced green onions, shredded Monterey Jack cheese, sliced green olives

Brown sausage in a large dutch oven (cast iron or large pot) over medium heat. Drain on paper towels and slice. Cook bacon in pot until crisp, remove bacon, reserving half of the drippings. Crumble bacon.
Heat reserved drippings over medium heat until hot. Add venison, onion, bell peppers and garlic. Cook until meat is browned and vegetables are tender, stirring often.
Add reserved sausage, bacon, jalapeno peppers and next 8 ingredients; stir well. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes, stirring often. Garnish if desired.

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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Here comes another baby!! And Chocolate Casserole to celebrate...

Nothing like a sister weekend to look forward to at the end of a long week with of course the hubbies and babies in tow. Getting the luxury to plan a sister weekend like it is nothing is just one of the blessed reassurances of God moving us to Houston. We were so sad leaving Nashville for many reasons but being closer to my sisters in distance in this season in our life is something God knew this heart of mine would need. Thank you Jesus for knowing our needs before we even know we will need them...

We loveeeee visiting Basile where Jen's family lives. It is beautiful country and relaxing to the heart, mind and soul. It is the best break from living in the city for Jason and I. Going to Basile is what we crave and Jen and Matt happily host us all. We call Basile "the hub" because it is 2 hours from Claire and JP and 3 from us...perfect! The best part is for the men to leave us happily going on "their drives" and we are secretly happy so we can get down to business solving the worlds problems!

We had the best weekend together, with Jen having a bottle of wine ready for us the minute that we pulled up. We waited for Claire and JP to arrive and fed all 4 kids outside on a blanket as we waited and the sun went down. 
Claire and JP finally roared up the drive and hugs and kisses were all around. Well, Claire quickly handed Jen and I a present and inside was a onsie and picture frame with a sonogram in it!!!! Yep...the baby sister is having a baby!!! Now more hugs and kisses with "Congratulations" were going all around and I know that people driving by my sisters house must have wondered what we were all going nuts over! We are so excited for this new baby in our family and we will welcome him or her in May! 

So of course the weekend was nothing but baby talk. We threw around possible baby names, shower ideas and nursery decorations. The men were oh so happy that the LSU game finally came on and they could escape our nonsense. 

The weekend was amazing and we even all packed up to watch Jackson at his football game and Matt coach. We were that crazy family in the stand cheering for Jackson like crazy! Bless his little 6 year old heart. He would even indulge us by waving when we continuously called his name. He had the best cheering section for sure! 
Jen cooked a wonderful dinner for us while the men watched the game. Of course I had to cook something and I let the new pregnant momma choose. Well kind of...a thousand things looked good to her and in the end I made her choose from MY top 3 choices. Ha! Well, us Mayeux girls are all a bit bossy in our ways. I, I mean Claire, chose a Chocolate Casserole. Oh sweetness, it is hot chocolate batter baked and served warm with cool whipped cream. Even Jen who is not a big dessert lover, loved this which made me so proud:)  Is is a brownie, cookie, cake??? Honestly, none of the above and all of the above which is why Casserole is a perfect name!

Chocolate Casserole

1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup milk
1 Tbsp. cooking oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup boiling water\
1/3 cup coarsely chopped honey roasted peanuts(optional)
2 Tbsp. crumbled chocolate flavored grahams (optional)
Whipped Cream

1. Preheat oven to 350. In a medium mixing bowl combine flour, the 1/4 cup of sugar and baking powder. Add milk, oil and vanilla. Using  a wire whisk, stir until smooth. Stir in peanut butter and semisweet chocolate pieces. 

2. Pour batter into an ungreased 1 quart casserole. Set aside. In same mixing bowl stir together remaining sugar and cocoa. Gradually stir in boiling water. Pour mixture evenly over batter in casserole. 

3. Bake, uncovered, 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the cake portion comes out clean. Remove from oven; top with peanuts and grahams if desired. 
Top with whipped cream. Enjoy!

Always cooking with love like Momou did....

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Saturday, November 9, 2013

First Dinner Party...Post Baby

In my pre-baby days, Jason and I loved to host friends over for dinner, football games and any occasion where we could have a party and entertain. We were lots of fun, really. And we still have fun but it just looks a tad different. Like dinner out at 5:30pm with baby toys to keep CC busy and we finish our wild time by picking up the puff cereal that ends up all over the restaurant floor. And sure we can have friends over but now we pretty much shut things down by 7pm or 8 at the latest because Collins's bathtime/bedtime routine awaits us. But she is worth it all so no complaints. So when I can actually plan ahead, the old me creeps in and is ready to host...pre baby style. I am talking planning a yummy menu, table settings....the works. Recently and for the first time since our baby girl arrived, I pulled it off a real dinner party.

And before I take any more credit, I never can pull off any kind of entertaining without my husband. He is always cooking and cleaning with me. This time, one of us had baby duty while the other prepped. And we were still putting the finishing touches on the table as guests arrived but oh well. We are rolling with the punches around here..
  So I got the entertaining bug and we invited a friends over that we rarely get to hang out with but that we love. When you have babies, you tend to hang out with baby mommas and daddies. But that doesn't mean we don't love getting to spend time with our friends without the babies because we SO do. And it is so easy to have a late night because if we are the only ones with a baby, then we just put our little munchkin to sleep and then we can party on. Not a shabby deal.
Right before the little bug said her good night and the adults could play:)

I wanted to host a dinner party with quite a few couples but Jason made me trim the guest list down to only 3 couples because we only have 8 china place settings. Yes, we pulled out the wedding china. We started with Onion Souffle which is a recipe handed to me from a dear old friend, Lacey,  that I lived with in college. It has been a favorite of mine for years since she first made it. I have never met one person who does not go nuts over this appetizer dish. We had Sausage and Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pudding after our salad course along with Carrot Souffle. The Carrot Souffle recipe was given to me my Aunt Gay at my wedding shower that she graciously hosted for me before Jason and I got married. This recipe is amazing and almost tastes like dessert. For actual dessert we had Chocolate Crunch Cheesecake and the secret crunch was rice crisped chocolate and pretzels. It was a hit. We had an amazing time getting to spend a fun evening with our friends while our little cherub slept without ever making a peep..even when we broke out the Wobble and had ourselves a little dance party;) I have to say the menu was delicious and I had so much fun planning it. It's the small things in life...
Onion Souffle
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 cups parmesan
3 8oz. packages cream cheese
1 package frozen onions
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

Mix first 4 ingredients in bowl. place in a 9x9 inch baking dish and sprinkle red pepper flakes on top to taste. Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes until gold and bubbly. Serve warm with wheat thins or fritos. 
Sausage and Sun Dried Tomato Bread Pudding
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
1 bag seasoning blend (bell pepper, onion and celery)
1 lb. loaf Italian bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 cups shredded swiss cheese
2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup chopped oil packed sun dried tomatoes
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
8 large eggs
3 cups whole milk
1 cup ricotta cheese

In large skillet, combine sausage and seasoning blend and cook over medium heat. Stir occasionally until sausage is cooked and crumbly. Drain.

Grease a 13X9 inch baking dish with nonstick spray. Spread half of bread cubes evenly in bottom of prepared baking dish. Top evenly with half of sausage mixture. 

In a medium bowl, combine swiss, mozzarella, sun dried tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and salt. Spread half of cheese mixture evenly over sausage. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Pour half of egg mixture evenly over cheeses. Dollip evenly with ricotta cheese. Repeat layers, beginning with bread and ending with egg mixture. Let stand for 30 minutes, pressing bread down lightly with the back of a wooden spoon. 

Preheat oven to 375.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until center is set and top is golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. 
Carrot Souffle
1 lb. carrots, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla extract 
3 tbsp flour
3 eggs beaten
1 stick butter, softened
powdered sugar

Cook carrots until tender. Combine hot carrots, sugar, baking powder and vanilla. Beat until smooth . Add flour and mix well. Add egg mixture, add butter and mix well. Spray a 9x9 baking dish with non stick cooing spray. 

Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until top is a light golden brown. Do not overbake. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve warm. 
Chocolate Crunch Cheesecake
1/2 cup butter
1 (1 oz) semisweet chocolate baking square
1 1/2 cups crushed pretzel
1/2 cup  finely chopped pecans
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 (8oz) package cream cheese, softened
1 (3oz) package cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
5 large eggs
8 (1-oz) semisweet chocolate baking squares, melted and cooled
1/3 cup whipping cream
2 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
3 (1.55 oz) milk chocolate with crisped rice bars, finely chopped

Combine butter and 1 oz chocolate in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until melted. Remove from heat, and stir in crushed pretzels, pecans, and 3 tablespoons sugar. Press mixture firmly in bottom and 2 inches up sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 350  for 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. 
Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer 2 minutes Gradually add 2/3 cup sugar, beating well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate and whipping cream, beat at low speed until blended. Pour batter into prepared crust. Bake  at 375 for 35 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool to room temperature on a wire rack. Cover and chill 8 hours. Combine whipped topping and chopped candy bars, stirring gently. Spread over cheesecake. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Remove sides of pan. Garnish with crisped rice chocolate bars, if desired. 

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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Prep Night for Sunshine Breakfast!

Each year our teachers and staff begin our first official workweek (sans students) with a yummy breakfast given by the Sunshine Crew which was us this year. We had a pirate theme including Pirate "Mockmosas":)

We even played "Which team knows their principals best?" I know Debbie and Euberta loved seeing their heads on these sticks;)

Ashley, Lauren, Megan and I were hard at work with planning all summer long. Well, actually, this consisted of lunch dates and dinner nights with a whole lot of fun with a little bit of planning. But we did get down to business to put the finishing touches on our plans just a few nights before our big breakfast at the Welch house. Really again, just an excuse together outside of school with a few "spirits" involved. We put the cabana boy (Jason) to work while we played with CC and got her to bed. Her Sunshine aunts love her to pieces and I am blessed that my darling, young friends are willing to come to the Welch house and do bedtime and dinner routine with me so I don't have to leave CC.

Jason and I whipped up some party food in honor of our Sunshine Breakfast prep night. Wine, Hot Artichoke Bread and Salsa Party Meatballs were on the menu. We ate, laughed and prepped while my adorable hubby kept our glasses full. Did I mention that he adores the Sunshine girls? I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that while he really loves time with the ladies; he also loves these girls because he knows they make my days brighter. Being a full time working mom is not easy and something that I try to do better at each day. I work hard and as efficiently each day at school with not much visiting for this momma. I even skip out on lunch with my Kinder team which is hard. But I use ever spare second to get things done while I am at school so I can leave on time and bring zero work home. This is hard for this social momma who loves visiting with all the wonderful teachers that I work with. But is is the season I am in and just a sacrifice I make. Thankfully, everyone is very understanding! But even though I am not the most social at school, my  dear Sunshine girls always come find me and brighten my day. I never make it to their rooms (although I promise to do better at this!) but they will always come visit me in mine, bringing their work and sitting my floor so we can have a quick laugh. They help me feel connected and give me a break in my day even when I don't take the time to do it myself. I love these girls and I am so blessed to work alongside of them each day. Well, no pun intended,but they really are my sunshine:)

Recipes below and more Sunshine nights to come!

Cheesy Artichoke Bread
1 loaf french bread
1/2 stick butter
4 cloves chopped garlic
1 can of artichoke hearts, chopped
2 tsp. fresh chopped basil
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup monterey jack cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. ground red pepper
ground pepper
1/4 cup cheddar cheese

Cut the bread in half lengthwise. Scoop out the center in each half. Crumble and save for recipe 
Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat and add garlic. Cook garlic until lightly browned. Remove from heat. Add the artichokes and next six ingredients along with crumbled bread. Spoon into bread shells and sprinkle with ground pepper and paprika. 
Place bread halves on a baking sheet. Cover with foil coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Remove foil. Add cheddar cheese and bake until cheese has melted.
Ooey, gooey and yummy!

Salsa Meatballs
1 pound lean ground beef  ( I used ground turkey)
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 jar (16oz) jar salsa (any flavor you choose) 
1/3 cup grape jelly
1 Tbsp fresh or dried thyme leaves

1. Heat the oven to 375 Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. 
2. Mix meat, bread crumbs, egg, garlic and 1/4 cup salsa in a large boil. Shape the mixture into about 40 inch meatballs. Place on baking sheet.
3. Bake for 15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through, turning them over half way through. 
4. Heat the remaining salsa and jelly in a 12 inch skillet over medium high heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes or until the mixture is reduced to 1 cup. Stir in thyme.
5. Add the meatballs to the skillet and cook until the meatballs are hot, stirring occasionally. Serve with fun toothpicks or tiny silver forks.
Perfect party food!

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Neighborhood Block Party

Over the summer, our church hosted a block party in hopes that we would turn around and go out and host our own. While we had all intentions of going to the actual church block party we had to turn the car around due to a feverish baby and very worried parents who kept calling and paging the on-call pediatrician. Bless that doctor's heart.  So we never made it. However, we did host our own block party a few weeks later so that has to count for something.

We live in a very diverse neighborhood of people of ages. I am talking people who have lived here for 50 something years. And they are lovely and we love them.  But it is fun to have friends in your neighborhood who you don't have to help back their sweet little Buicks out of their driveways because they can't see the best. Yes, this happens.  So every now and then, we see a younger couple and we have to track them down to be their friends ASAP. In Nashville, we had wonderful neighbors who were all our age. It was perfect. But here? We had to try hard to find the younger couples... but we did! And we had them all over to our house. A grand total of 5 couples...
It was a little risky because no one else had met but it worked out and everyone got along fabulously. There were even two other couples with baby girls.  The night went along great but of course, there is nothing like calling in backup to your husband who is still entertaining your new guests because your child decides she is going to poop in the bathtub on that very same night....perfect timing.
(me and the pooper before she decided to poop in the bathtub)
Everyone brought something to eat and I knew we would be fast friends when they walked in with amazing, pinterest inspired dishes. Jason and I supplied the main course, Taco Burgers and a Zesty Corn Dip to snack on. Both were hits! We even made extra taco burgers to freeze for later and they came out just as delicious when we made them again. Any recipe that makes enough to eat some and freeze some is my new favorite recipe! Anything to save this momma a night of having to worry about dinner:) And caution, the corn dip is highly addictive...

Taco Burgers
(Makes 6)
1 cup finely crushed tortilla chips 
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 Tbsp dried minced onion
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 pounds ground meat
6 slices pepperjack cheese
6 kaiser rolls
lettuce leaves
tomatoes slices

In large bowl, combine chips, seasoning, onion, egg and meat. Make 6 burgers. Grill until juices run clear. 
Top with cheese, lettuce, tomato and salsa. 
So easy and so good! 

Corn Dip 
2 cans Mexicorn, drained
10 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, grated
8 oz. sour cream
1 small can chopped green chilies, drined
4jalapenos, chopped fine
1 cup mayonaise
1/4 tsp. sugar
Mix all ingredients well. Chill overnight to let flavors blend. Serve with tortilla chips. 
Enjoy! Perfect to make ahead. 

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Bucket List: Kemah Boardwalk and a Summer Night Meal

Oh sweet means so much to our little family. Mommy is free, daddy is more flexible and our baby girl gets her mommy and daddy all to herself. Oh and Garcia gets company at home...can't forget our pup. Jason and I made a bucket list on the very first day of summer and we actually crossed everything off that list! We wanted to be intentional and do the things that the slow days of summer called for. The Kemah boardwalk was on our list so at the end of July we headed there one Saturday morning with our friends caravanning behind. It was a hot day but worth the trip.

None of us had been and it was fun to do it all behind the eyes of our little ones. Oh how times have changed...there wasn't any shopping, lingering at lunch or a coffee break at Starbucks..all of the things I would have wanted to do when visiting a cute little place. Instead, we had to finish up lunch the minute that our sweet little bosses, I mean babies, gave us their cue and then we spent crazy money and time in line to ride the train and carousel.

But it was worth it. It was a sweet way to spend our day with our close friends and make memories with our babies. Mary Rachel and I are always coming up with things that we have to do, making our own little bucket list. We have big plans...pumpkin patches, vacations, renting a cabin on the Frio...and Kemah was another thing that was just crossed off. The babies were out like a light the minute we started the drive home. A great summer Saturday.
The only thing with a big day that exhausted us all was that we were home at 4pm and didn't have a thing to do for dinner. Jason and I wanted time outside grilling something...anything. We are always grilling kabobs or chicken so that was a no go. We came across a recipe for a grilled pizza and that was just the kind of new recipe we were looking for. This was something that we have wanted to do but were not sure how to go about and it turned out to be way too easy to have waited this long. And for a side it was a fabulous Colorful Summer Salsa. Both fresh summer dishes for a great ending to our summer day. And both so incredibly easy.

Healthy Colorful Salsa
15oz can black beans (wash and drain)
1/2 cup shoepeg corn (wash and drain)
2 medium tomatoes (dice)
1 red bell pepper (dice)
1 green bell pepper (dice)
1/2 cup onion (dice)
2 jalapeno peppers chopped and seeded
1/3 cup lime juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup minced cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper

Mix and marinate in refrigerator. Amazing....

Grilled Chicken Margherita Pizza
1 cup marinara sauce
1 packaged prebaked pizza crust (found near pizza ingredients)
4 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
Chopped fresh basil leaves
Grilled chicken breasts sliced thinly

Spread sauce on pizza crust, top with chicken and then lay the sliced cheese on top. Grill covered over medium heat, rotating pizza occasionally. Grill for 10 minutes or until sauce is hot and cheese is melted. Drizzle with EVOO and sprinkle with basil.  Such a delicious and fresh way to do pizza. The crispiness that the grill adds is my favorite part. Enjoy!

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Sunday, September 1, 2013

Celebrating the Upcoming Superman and a Dear Friend

The day I went back to work last year from my maternity leave, my sweet friend Courtney came to check on me before school started and found me all teary. She gave me a big, sweet hug and then shared a little secret to cheer me up. She had just found out that she was pregnant. Well that dried my tears quickly because who can cry when you find out that another precious little angel will arrive and that I also would't be alone in my teacher/momma world anymore! I would have a partner in crime to ride this ride with me.

See, Courtney is a triple blessing in my life. I work with her not only at the same school but we teach  Kindergarten together too. We attend not only the same church but we are also in the same Sunday School class. So we see each other 6/7 days and sometimes every single day of the week if we happen to to be together on Saturday . And now she is expecting her baby boy and he will go to the same babysitter that Collins goes to come January. Needless to say, I enjoy Courtney's  friendship and I love having her around so much. We are pretty much stuck together whether she likes it or not;) And I may or may not have recently prayed that I hope she goes into labor at school. Don't worry, she already knows about this prayer. I just feel that it would make for lots of excitement down in Kindergarten land. Although it would probably create havoc with all our Kinder babies. I can just see those sweethearts going berserk with excitement. Okay, so maybe not the best idea...

So of course I had to join in when Courtney's baby shower was being planned! Not to mention she helped plan two showers for me, one at our school and for our Sunday School class. Again, bless her little heart. So time to shower some baby love on her!

Our very creative friends and fellow co-hosts were more than creative. Courtney's husband loves Superman so this theme just took off. Everything was covered in Red, Yellow and Blue, ceiling to floor. Courtney was glowing and and baby Ross received so many goodies.

We ate ourselves silly. The food was amazing and we couldn't stop eating. Well, okay, I couldn't. Enjoy! And can't wait to see Collins and Baby Ross grow up together. We already know they will be the best of friends and although he isn't here yet, he is already on Collins's first birthday party list:)

I made my favorite breakfast dish, Sweet Bacon Breakfast Casserole.It feeds so many and it is a nice change from the egg and sausage casserole that is the usual breakfast casserole (although that one rocks my world too!) But it is the sweet Hawaiin bread that makes this dish to die for. Not the healthiest thing but I swear that I took out all of the calories before I served it like any good hostess would do. And the best part is that you make this the day before so it will be easy to pop right in the oven the next morning.
Sweet Bacon Breakfast Casserole

1 (16oz) Hawaiian bread loaf, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
2 cups finally shredded Mexican four cheese blend
1 pound bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 large eggs
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. dried mustard
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce

Arrange bread cubes in a lightly greased 13x9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and crumbled bacon. 
Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper, mustard and worcestershire sauce. Pour over prepared dish; press low bread to soak up liquid. Cover and chill 8 hours.
Let stand 30 minutes before baking.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minute or until set and golden. Serve with salsa if preferred.
Chocolate Drizzled Pecan Tarts 
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 large egg
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tbsp. melted chocolate

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. In a large bowl, cream butter and cream cheese and flour and mix well. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
3. Shape cream cheese mixture into 24 1 inch balls and press into ungreased mini muffin plans. Set aside. (I added foil liners into the muffin pans for the tarts to bake in)
4. In a large bowl, combine pecans, brown sugar, dark corn syrup, egg, butter and vanilla. Spoon 1 tsp. of pecan mixture into each cup.
5. Bake for 25 minutes; cool.
6. Dust with powdered sugar and drizzle with melted chocolate. 

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