Saturday, August 11, 2018

Cherry Pistachio Browned - Butter Cookies

This summer while we were in New Orleans we tried a great place called Bakery Bar.  They sell a very traditional New Orleans cake called a doberge cake.  Their cakes come from a baker called Debbie Does Doberge.  While we were picking up a cake (half lemon and half chocolate - yummy) Hubby noticed they also had Cherry Pistachio cookies.  

He told me that his grandmother used to make them and that they were one of his favorite cookies.  Now, I've known this man over 25 years and that was the first time I'd ever heard of this cookie!  Of course I had to try to make some for him, since they are his favorite.  Unfortunately, his grandmother is no longer with us so I had to find a recipe on my own. 

There weren't tons of recipes online that looked like the kind his grandmother made.  Most of the recipes I found online were a weird green color that did not look very appealing.  I ran across a great recipe on
Local Haven that looked like a cookie I would eat. 

 These cookies were absolutely delicious.  He said they were a little different from the ones his grandmother made but they were definitely a hit.  I'm sure the key to this cookie was the browned butter.  I'd never made a cookie with browned butter but I will incorporate it whenever I can. 

You can get the recipe at Local Haven.


Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Gamer Party

Wow, time is really flying by, RJ just turned 10!!  For such a big birthday we decided to have a Game Truck party and invite 20 of his closest buds.  As I was agreeing to do this party I wondered if I should have my head examined. Twenty 10 year olds running around my house!  Hubby convinced me that it would be ok (that I would be ok) and that the boys would spend most of the time on the truck.  

After carefully thinking it over, I agreed and we had the truck for 2 hours and left 30 minutes extra for pizza and cake.  I could definitely do 2 & 1/2 hours.

I enlisted the help of MJ to make these game controllers.  I think they look pretty awesome and he was proud of his work. 

Each boy was given a VIP badge with their name on it to wear during the party.  I ordered the badges,  the gamer Ryan sign,  and a few other things from an Easy shop called lulucole.

 I had to come up with snacks and treats to go with the gamer theme.  RJ wanted to have all the games he likes represented.  Personally, my favorite were the cheese ninjas.  They looked like real ninjas and were the easiest snack to make.  I pulled the cheese apart and used an edible marker to make the eyes. 

The boys loved the chocolate Mario mustaches.  The biggest mistake I made was not making more of them.  I was afraid a fight was going to break out when the last one was taken. 

I also made royal iced game controller cookies, Minecraft rice Krispy dirt blocks and piranha fruit made from strawberries and grapes.  

The Nintendo Switch cake was the most challenging thing I made.  This was my first time ever using fondant and I was very nervous.  Thanks to a lot of advice from my friend, Erica, and tons of online videos, I was able to get the cake done.  

I was very pleased with the way the cake turned out.  It looked good and tasted even better!

I gave each boy a test tube filled with bubble gum for their take home party favor.  
I ordered the test tubes from Amazon and the labels came from lulucole.

After all was said and done, the party was a huge success.  RJ and his friends had a wonderful time and I survived :-).  


Monday, May 30, 2016

Distilled & Aged to Perfection - Bourbon Themed Birthday Party

This year for hubby's birthday I threw him a bourbon tasting party.  He has always been a bourbon fan so I knew this party would be right up his alley.  I think he had just as much fun researching, buying and sampling all the bourbons as he did at the party.  He even made a new friend at the local liquor store.  

The dining room was set up for the actual bourbon tasting.  We had 10 different bourbons for the tasting, each with it's own set of tasting notes.  We chose a few small batch bourbons, single barrel bourbons and craft bourbons each with different flavor palates.   

I purchased tulip shaped tasting glasses from World Market.  The tulip shape of the glass helps to showcase the bourbon's flavor.  I also put out slices of fruit and different chocolates to help bring out the different bourbon notes.  

We played a game called How Refined is your Palate?  Four different bourbons were put into plastic cups with lids.  I had tasting notes for each bourbon (along with a few hints about each) and a list of 6 bourbons for the guests to choose from.   Looking back I should have only listed the 4 bourbons for the guests to choose from, 6 was too many.  The person who got the most correct won a prize.

The best part of the party was the food.  Almost everything on the menu had bourbon added to the recipe.  Unfortunately, I only got a picture of the ribs when they were on the grill.  In addition to ribs I made honey bourbon wings, Jack Daniel's bacon mac and cheese, green beans, baked beans and a green salad.  

I also made lots of desserts, including Hubby's Chantilly birthday cake and lemon meringue cheesecake bites.  I've recently started making mini cheesecakes and I'm in love with them.  

I also made chocolate bourbon cupcakes and Kentucky bourbon balls.  The bourbon balls were delicious and had quite a kick!
In addition to all the bourbon, we served spiked Arnold Palmer's in mason jars and wine.  

The party was a huge success.  After playing the game, tasting the bourbons, eating dinner and dessert we sat on the deck and smoked cigars.  Everyone had a great time, especially hubby.  All of our friends brought him bourbon so we ended up with almost 20 bottles!!!  I guess we'll be having another bourbon party soon :-).


Monday, August 31, 2015

Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans??

This past week was full of emotion for New Orleanians.  Saturday August 29 was the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  

Just like every other family in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, my family lost everything.  

They were fortunate enough to be able to get out of the city before Katrina made landfall. 

 My father, who was a homicide detective in New Orleans at the time, had to stay. 

My mother, brother, aunt, uncle and 3 cousins all came to Tennessee where I was living at the time.  

They were all able to return to New Orleans about 3 months later to begin rebuilding their lives.

Over these past 10 years, my entire family was able to return home and rebuild. 

 Many of their homes are nicer now than they were before Katrina.  

I wish we could say the same about many parts of New Orleans. 

 Most of my family lives in the Gentilly area and they are still in need of basic necessities found in most neighborhoods in this country.  

It is disheartening that most people have to drive at least 15 minutes to get to a decent grocery store or to a restaurant.  

Don't even think about any quality shopping, unless you are looking for a Dollar store!

Even though New Orleans still has a way to go, it has improved tremendously since Katrina.

 It is plain to see that the folks running the city want it to look entirely different than it did pre-Katrina and for the most part that is a good thing.  

What isn't a good thing is how slow the progress has been and how only certain areas of the city are being revitalized.  

New Orleans is my home and if one day the stars all lined up correctly I would love more than anything to move my family back, but that is not something I can see happening in the near future.

I will continue to pray for my city to get back to the wonderful place we all know,  love 


Monday, June 29, 2015

Florida Fun!!

As soon as school let out for the summer we hit the road. This was my first time leaving Denver since we moved here last summer.  We flew to NOLA on a Friday night and Saturday morning my family of 4, my parents and my brother made the 4 hour drive to Destin, Florida.  

We rented a beautiful house in Miriamar Beach, right off of Scenic Highway 98.  The house was in a great location.  We were in walking distance to the beach, a short drive to restaurants and close lots of activities and shopping.  

In addition to enjoying lots of rest and relaxation, we ate A LOT!!  Living land locked in Colorado all I wanted was seafood so I definitely wanted to steam crabs.  They were delicious.  I also ate seafood at every restaurant we went to.  

One of the best restaurants we ate at was called the Surf Hut.  Not only was the food delicious, the service was awesome and the drinks were amazing. The restaurant was right on the beach so while you wait for a table you can spend time in the back playing corn hole, enjoying the view or having a drink. 
Beach Bucket Margarita :-) 

The view from the Surf Hut restaurant
This was the first time the 7 of us took a vacation together and we had WONDERFUL time.  Everyone hated to see our week to come to an end.   

 You can see from these pictures why Destin is part of the Emerald Coast.  The water is so clear and the beaches are sandy white.  
I've already started looking at the calendar to schedule our return visit next year :-).