Tuesday, November 15, 2011

LSU - 2011 Homecoming on "The Row"

Steve and I headed to Baton Rouge last Saturday for LSU's Homecoming Festivities.  I love walking along sorority row to see the decorations. 

It was a cool, slightly overcast day, but it never rains in Death Valley on a Saturday, so we knew we were safe.

Of course, I had to start with the "Mad Hatter".  We love Les!!
For homecoming, each sorority pairs with a fraternity to make decorations.  The decorations are placed outside the sorority house the night before Homecoming.  It always amazes me how creative these kids are and how HUGE the decorations are year after year.


Wait...that Golden Girl and Les look vaguely familiar to me.


It's the Honey Badger and a Golden Girl...or is it???

Me and Devan...and Mike the Tiger

Dad, Devan and Mom.  She's already a Junior...where did the time go?

The ZTA house...our favorite!

Now, these are true fans!!

...and of course Mike!!

The clock tower...which plays the alma mater on the hour.

Hmmmm....looks like appropriate transportation for visiting teams.

It was a special Homecoming...being No. 1 in the nation and all...(bwaaa haaaaa)...who knows how long this ride will last?

In the meantime...

LSU #1

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Exactly one year from today

These two

will say...

...and these two families will be
over the moon with love and happiness
(and probably champagne)!!

Let the wedding countdown officially begin!!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes...mmmm

Our baby girl recently turned 21.  Since she's away at college, a traditional birthday cake isn't very practical, so I decided to bake her some cupcakes and drive them up to her. 

Now this is a 21st birthday, so it had to be a special cupcake.   To me, the most perfect flavor blend in the world is chocolate and peanut butter, so....Chocolate Peanut Butter cupcakes...and yes, they're as good as you think they are!  I ran across this recipe on Pinterest (which I am completely addicted to), and it led me to the little kitchen blog.  It's a very easy recipe and well worth the effort.

To die for Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

1 (18.25 oz) package devil’s food cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

1 (3.4 oz) package instant chocolate pudding mix

1 cup sour cream

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 Tbsp instant espresso granules, dissolve it in 1/2 cup warm water

30 Reese’s Miniatures peanut butter cups, frozen.  You might have extras, so prepare to eat them...sacrifice, I know.

Peanut Butter Buttercream Icing

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter

2 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

2 lbs powdered sugar

3-4 Tbsp low-fat milk (I used skim since it's what I had on hand)

Reese's peanut butter cups minis (in a bag & they come unwrapped)



Be sure to preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place cupcake liners in your cupcake or muffin pan.  I think I got about 20 cupcakes from this recipe since my liners were slightly larger than normal.

In a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer or your stand mixer bowl using the paddle attachment, mix together all of your ingredients except the peanut butter cups for minute or two until well mixed.

Place 3 Tbsp of cake batter in each cupcake liner (I used an ice cream scoop as a measurement, due to my larger liners). Take one frozen peanut butter cup and place in the center of each cupcake on top of the batter, press down a little bit.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until several cupcakes pricked with a toothpick come out clean. Do not prick the cupcake where the peanut butter cup is inserted. There will be a slight indentation or hole where the cupcake is sunken in from the peanut butter cup, you'll fill that with icing. Allow the cupcakes to cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove cupcakes from the pans and place them on a cooling rack & let them cool all the way. While the cupcakes are baking you can make the buttercream icing.

Peanut Butter Buttercream

In your stand mixer bowl using the paddle attachment, mix thoroughly the softened butter and peanut butter on low to medium speed. Turn off your mixer and in two batches, add the powdered sugar and mixing until well blended. Be careful, the powered sugar can go everywhere!

Add vanilla and 3 to 4 tablespoons of milk a little bit at a time while blending on low speed. Blend until well combined. You'll start to see the icing pull from the sides of the bowl. Add a little bit more milk to get to the right thinness (to your preference). Keep blending, higher the speed, until nice and fluffy, about 5 to 7 minutes.

Using a big round tip (I used a star tip) and decorator bag, pipe icing onto cooled cupcakes and top with a mini on each cupcake.

Don't they look scrumptious?  I have to warn you, they are soooo rich, even a chocolate/peanut butter veteran like me could only eat one per sitting....and that's saying something!

This recipe is definitely a keeper...mix up a batch and enjoy!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Monday, September 26, 2011

Where did the time go???

I'm not sure when or how it happened,
but at some point I blinked and this

grew into this...

21 years ago today, a perfect, beautiful 9 lb. 8 oz. bundle of
joy joined our family

We named her Devan Kathryn and she's had a smile on her face,
and brought smiles to our faces, ever since.

Our Devan's always had more personality than she
knows what to do with...

and has always had such a happy, positive outlook on life...

As she "officially" enters adulthood, my hope is that she never loses
that positivity, that glass is 1/2 full attitude...

and that she always knows how very, very much she's loved.

Happy 21st Birthday baby girl.  With all my love....Mom

Friday, September 23, 2011

Funny Friday - Jedi style

With the release of all the Star Wars movies on BluRay this week, I got to thinking, what's better than Jedi Knights.....Kitten Jedi Knights!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Raise a glass - it's time for the Engagement Party!!

Finally, after months of waiting....this past Saturday we hosted an engagement party for our oldest daughter, Megan, and her fiance, Matt.  In case anyone missed my shouts from the rooftop, they got engaged back in March on a trip to New York City and I've been basically planning this event in my head since then. 

They're having a largish formal wedding in the fall of 2012, so I decided to go in the exact opposite direction with the engagement party.  Meg loves the whole "barn/rustic/mason jar look", so that was my jumping off point.  Unfortunately, I don't have a barn, but I can collect jars and boy, have I collected (and bought) jars in the last few months. 

You can't have a party, especially in our family, without sweets.  I opted for cupcakes rather than a cake...3 different kinds, cause you can never have enough cupcakes, right?

Chocolate Bavarian cream filled yellow cake with fudge frosting,
lemon poppyseed with cream cheese frosting,
and strawberry with strawberry whipped frosting
...oh and petit fours...chocolate and white...mmm
...more cupcakes...I said you can never have too many...

...and mini sugar cookies

....and Hershey's kisses....

A sideboard with a variety of cheeses, crackers and a
make-your-own bruschetta station. 
We also had an array of hearty foods in the kitchen that I completely forgot to take pictures of...jambalaya, crawfish pasta, the best chicken gumbo furnished by our dear friends Mike and Darren, meatballs, mini muffulettas, salad, stuffed mini peppers...
I sure hope nobody left hungry. 
We decided to set up the bar on the patio outside.  The kids are big wine afficionados, so I opted for the "wine crate chic" look
both inside and outside. 

Lots of Prosecco

...and a variety of red

and white wines.

The "signature drink" for the night was a "Something Blue"...

a dash of blue Curacao with Prosecco.

Everything was set up just before dark, and then the
guests started to arrive. 

The outside tables had plenty of mason jar candles

 lots of tiki torches, twinkle lights, the wine bottle torches that we made a few months ago.  Thankfully, Mother Nature cooperated and, while it was a bit warm, there was no rain. 
Less than 24 hours later, the skies opened up.  Whew...

Rather than a guest book, we did a "Wish Tree".  Can I just tell you that the day after the party, I literally stood in front of the wish tree...all by myself...reading the kind, touching words that people had written, and I sobbed like a baby.

 ...and since none of us got to witness the actual engagement, Matt was kind enough to reenact it for us...with a giant
bling ring that was part of the decor.

...and here's to the happy couple.  Steve and I had such fun planning and putting together this party for these two "kids" that we love so much.  It was truly our honor and pleasure to host our family and friends and have them share in our happiness.

Meg and Matt, this is only the beginning of the
celebration of your upcoming marriage!  We love you both!!