Our poor, neglected nursery has just been sitting upstairs for a couple of months now with only the bare essentials set up. I’ve been feeling so guilty about not having it finished (especially when people keep asking us, “do you have the nursery all set up?”….no, no we don’t. We’re bums.). But my sweet parents came to visit this weekend and helped us get everything finished! Yay! Daddy and Joel hung shelves, curtains and did some other odd jobs while my mom and I put together the last bits of decorations. We’re SO happy with the finished product and can’t wait to get Cassidy all settled in! I thought you might like to take a little peek inside:
We didn’t go with a theme, really; just lots of bright, happy colors. The walls are painted a light grey, just like the rest of the house. The furniture came from Pottery Barn Kids, courtesy of my in-laws. The bedding is also Pottery Barn Kids, which was a gift from my mom, sister and good friend Chris.
I found these shadow boxes waaay back in the summer on sale for $1 each at Hobby Lobby (they each had an ugly white letter in the middle). My sister and I pried the backs off, took out the letters and glued in different colors of scrapbook paper. My mom and I found the little pictures and gerber daisy on the gift wrap aisle of Walmart (the little pictures are actually gift tags, but I think they work perfectly here!).
The little birdy is my favorite.
The rocking chair comes from Joel’s great-grandmother. We had it reupholstered and my mom sewed a cute little pillow to go with it. The curtains (not shown) are made from the same fabric. I found the lamp at Home Goods (my all-time favorite store!) and I’ve had the table for years. We painted it a bright blue to compliment the yellows and pinks.
A close-up of the rocker and my mom’s pillow- isn’t that cute?! It’s super comfy too!
The changing table, initials we got at Anthropologie and a shelf that my mom painted and brought for us to use.
Well, that’s an in-depth look at our little cupcake’s nursery! I hope you enjoyed getting to take a peek inside- I’m so happy it’s finally finished and that I could share it with you!
As 2011 comes to a close, I thought I’d go ahead and jump on the “my best recipes of the year post” bandwagon that everyone does this time of year. It’s a good way for you to take a peek at some of my favorites in case there were any you might have missed, and it’s fun for me to get to look back and reflect on a whole year of food! This was actually pretty easy for me- although we’ve loved everything I’ve posted, there were definitely some clear favorites. Let’s take a look!
First up, Fudgy Chocolate Fondue. I have made this fondue every year of my married life (and even before then!) without fail! Not only is it incredibly easy to make, it’s incredibly FUN to eat! It’s so good with all kinds of fruit, pound cake, cheesecake bites and even cream puffs (the ones you can buy in the freezer section are perfect for this!).
Black Bean Pie is next on the list. I’ve made it a number of times this year and we never seem to get tired of it. It’s a great vegetarian option and comes together in 30 minutes or less! You can’t beat that for an easy, delicious dinner!
You KNOW the Homemade Sushi Tutorial had to be on here. Not only did Joel and I have a blast making this (and eating it- yum!), we discovered making sushi at home is really easy and a heck of a lot cheaper than going out to a pricey sushi bar! Plus, you can watch us make idiots out of ourselves on video (the bloopers reel is my favorite!).
Next up- Homemade Pink Raspberry Marshmallows. There’s really no contest between homemade and store bought marshmallows- the homemade ones are infinitely better! I loved these because they were pink (duh!), fun to make and made my hot cocoa taste like a dream! If you’re intimidated to try making homemade marshmallows at home, don’t be! They can seem a little daunting, but in reality, they’re very simple and FUN!
Man, oh man, do I love this BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Pizza! The combination of the tangy BBQ chicken, fresh pineapple and cilantro is just totally awesome. I haven’t made it as much as I would’ve liked since I have to take it easy on the cheese nowadays, but believe me when I tell you, this is GOOD!
These Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cookie Cups were awesome. Warm, gooey peanut butter cookie, topped with melty chocolate chips and cold, creamy vanilla ice cream. Need I say more??
Next up is my all-time favorite recipe for yellow cake – Old Fashioned Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting. Believe me when I tell you, this is the BEST, most moist, buttery, fluffy yellow cake I’ve ever eaten. I made this cake for just Joel and me and it was GONE in less than 2 days. I. Love. It.
Classic Mac and Cheese made with cheddar and Velveeta cheeses. Is there anything better? Really? If I knew today was my last day on earth, I’d probably request this mac and cheese and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies for my last meal.
This Lemon Chicken with Asparagus is a favorite in our house. It’s such a simple dinner, but it’s so satisfying and flavorful. In fact, sitting here typing this, I’m craving it again like crazy! This may have to be on the menu this week!
I made this Fresh Strawberry Pie for Easter last year and discovered an all-time favorite dessert in the process. If you’re a strawberry lover like me, this pie is perfect for you! Every bite is jam-packed with fresh, juicy strawberries. This is heaven with a little fresh whipped cream on top!
Next up are these Cookies and Cream Cookies- my two favorite cookies come together to form one awesome super-cookie! Oreo chunks are stirred into a simple chocolate chip cookie dough and baked to perfection! An ideal cookie, if I do say so myself!
When I was first pregnant, back in early June (before the crippling 24-hour sickness set in…), I made these Green Monster Smoothies like crazy! They’re a fantastic way to get your vitamins and minerals and seriously taste great! Mine included bananas, strawberries, blueberries (which made for a very unappetizing color, unfortunately!), peaches and fresh spinach along with a little Greek yogurt and honey. An excellent option for breakfast or lunch! Try it! You’ll love it!
Southern Caramel Cake. Yum, yum and YUM! Although some people were very vocal about what their idea of a caramel cake should be, this is MY idea of the perfect caramel cake and I was so proud of it. Not to mention it was one of the best tasting things I’ve ever put in my mouth. If you have trouble with the caramel filling (as I did the first two times), feel free to use a jarred caramel sauce instead- it’ll still be fantastic.
I can’t even tell you how much Joel and I both adore this Chicken Tortilla Soup. It’s SO quick and SO easy….and SO flavorful! I could go on and on! And did I mention it’s ready in 15 minutes? You just can’t beat that.
I just have to include this Cheesy Pepperoni Bread! It’s so easy, I almost feel guilty…almost. With all kinds of big football games coming up on TV, this would be a perfect snack to serve at a watching party! Very guy-friendly! Although, I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t love bread filled with gooey cheese and spicy pepperoni!
Soft and Spicy Gingerbread Cookies. I’m not ashamed to say I ate my weight in these this Christmas season! I love a good soft, chewy cookie and these are SO satisfying! There’s something addictive about their chewiness, I think! Perfect with a cup of hot tea or cocoa, these are by far, my favorite gingerbread cookie!
And lastly (but definitely not least on my list!), my Thick and Rich Homemade Hot Cocoa. It’s velvety, smooth, insanely chocolaty and amazingly decadent! One sip and you’ll be in chocolate heaven! If you’re a hot cocoa fiend like I am, you absolutely MUST try this ASAP- I guarantee you’ll be in love!
Well, there you have it, friends! My favorite recipes of 2011! I can’t believe the year is coming to a close, but I must say, I’m VERY excited to see what 2012 holds in store for us (I see lots of baby food in my future…)! Happy New Year, everyone!!!
We hope you have a wonderful, merry Christmas and a happy New Year! We certainly have a lot to look forward to this January!!! Enjoy lots of yummy food and homemade goodies and being with family and friends!
Amy, Joel, Izzy and Cassidy (coming soon!)
I realized I haven’t really been keeping you in the loop lately. There has been so much going on in our lives lately and I haven’t really mentioned any of it on my blog. Nothing important, really, just lots of random things that we’ve been super busy and preoccupied with. So, I thought it might be fun to give you a peek into our lives as of now…just a few pictures taken with my phone camera to capture fun moments in our lives right now. Enjoy!
First up, our new front door and steps. This is just a small chunk of our mega-renovations; we’re having new carpet and floors installed and new paint on the walls throughout the whole house! What an ordeal! Our old brick steps were a death trap and quite frankly- pretty unattractive to look at, so we had some brand new concrete steps put in (and I actually have room for a welcome mat now!). We’re so happy with the way it turned out! Now if we could just get the rest of the house done….
We bought these initials for the baby’s room this past weekend and I loooove them! I wonder what they could stand for…..
This past Monday, Joel’s parents took us to game 5 of the World Series! Go Rangers! (*Notice the giant pile of nachos and a jumbo dog sitting in my lap…ballpark food is a pregnant lady’s best friend!)
We’ve been slowly gathering cute little outfits and knick-knacks for the baby; I’ve found SO many cute things already! I just couldn’t resist this one…
Last night Joel and I carved pumpkins- I love this tradition! Mine is Jack Skellington and Joel’s is a USB symbol (yeah, I married a nerd…)
And of course Izzy was there in her snazzy Halloween PJs. This girl loves to show off in a cute outfit!
27 weeks pregnant! Can you believe how the time is flying?! I’m just finishing up my second trimester and still feeling great (if not just a teensy bit hormonal…)! This baby girl is a KICKER and we love feeling (and sometimes seeing!) her sweet little kicks every evening. It’s something I never seem to get tired of (I’m sure by the time she starts playing kickball with my internal organs I might feel a little differently…). Things are slowly coming together- the furniture for the nursery arrived today and this weekend will be our first baby shower! I’m so excited I can’t stand it! This is such an exciting time in our lives and I’m so happy I could share some of it with you all!
Can you believe June is pretty much over and Monday is the 4th of July?! Wow! Where did the first half of my summer go?! I’m actually really looking forward to the weekend because we’re having Joel’s family over for a little backyard BBQ. This will be the first get-together I’ve hosted in a LONG time! We’ll be grilling burgers and having all kinds of yummy snacks! I’ve already got plans for a funfetti cake! Yay! In case you’re hosting a little shindig of your own and need a few fantastic ideas, I’ve posted some of my favorite recipes that are perfect for the 4th! Enjoy!
First up, my mom’s BBQ Bacon-Wrapped Jalapenos. We had these last year on the 4th of July and I went to bed that night dreaming about them they were so good! In fact, I’ll definitely be making these Sunday!
If you need an easy, cold appetizer, this one is a winner. My friend Callie’s Zesty Tortilla Roll-Ups. I LOVE the combination of the ranch seasoning with the olives and green chiles- these babies are SO good!
On Demand Dip- a combination of white corn, black beans, Rotel tomatoes, cilantro and lime, this dip is a family favorite. It’s the easiest thing in the world to throw together and it’s a nice change of pace from regular salsa. A real crowd pleaser!
Easy Grilled Chicken Shish-Kabobs- these couldn’t be easier or tastier! Put some marinated chicken, fresh pineapple, red onion and peppers on a skewer and grill ‘em up! Perfect for large crowds!
Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers- I haven’t made these in awhile, but I sure need to! These burgers have salsa verde tossed right in with the meat, so it’s good and flavorful. I love the melted pepper jack cheese and avocados!
We can’t get enough of these Jalapeno Deviled Eggs! The addition of fresh chopped jalapeno adds a real kick and so much extra flavor! And what BBQ would be complete without deviled eggs?!
There just aren’t enough holidays for me to get to make this Fresh Strawberry Pie. I never get tired of it. So juicy and delicious, and topped with a little whipped cream, this will be everyone’s favorite!
Peach-Blueberry Sour Cream Pie. This pie is so summery and fresh. I love the combination of peaches and blueberries and the crunchy topping is awesome!
And while we’re covering pie, I might as well post this one, because what says “4th of July” like All American Apple Pie? It’s the best apple pie I’ve ever eaten, actually. In fact, now that I think of it, maybe I should make this instead of funfetti cake this weekend….
Last but not least, I leave you with these 4th of July Cupcakes- Dorie Greenspan’s perfect party cake gets all dressed up in red, white and blue for the 4th. How perfect! Whatever you do this Independence Day, I hope you have loads of fun with friends and family! Enjoy!
I realize it’s been a slow week here at Sing For Your Supper, but I have good reason. You see, I’ve been busy with this…………
Charming, isn’t it? (I feel a little like Eddie Munster…). This is my costume for our production of The Mikado. These past couple of weeks have been filled with non-stop hip hop dancing, booty shaking, high note singing, EXHAUSTING, yet FUN, hard work. And tomorrow night we open. I’m expecting an extremely positive audience reaction- it’s hilarious. Any of you DFW-ers out there should definitely try to make one of the performances, I guarantee you’ll have a great time.
This will all be over in a couple of weeks and I’ll be back to posting 3 times a week again, I promise. For now, just bear with me…and wish me luck!
Hope you all have a wonderful, happy day with family and friends!
Eeeek! Look what I found online! I’m so excited about it I just HAD to share it with you! The minute Joel and I saw it we both decided I just had to have it and I bought it right then! I mean, how perfect, right? I know I would normally post a recipe today, but I’ve been dying to show this to you and couldn’t wait any longer!
This just looks so perfect hanging on my apron hook in the kitchen- every time I see it I can’t help but smile! It’s the little things, right? Thanks for letting me share with you!
Sometimes you reach a point in your month-to-month routine where you just NEED a break. Joel reached his about 2 months ago but has been so swamped, it wasn’t until this past weekend that he got to finally take a day off. So what do we decide to do when we’ve got a beautiful, sunny 3 day weekend? We go to College Station, Texas. Joel went to college and grad school at Texas A&M University (I know most of you already know this) and loves to go back every chance he gets. I love it too and have my fair share of happy memories there. So we dropped Izzy off at my parents’ house and took off- first stop, College Station.
We took a tour of the George Bush Library and museum that sits on the campus of A&M. This is the Berlin wall memorial statue. There is actually a piece of the actual Berlin wall inside the museum.
Joel is having a conversation with ‘ol George. “Dan Quayle? Really???”
Next up, we drove to Brehnam to tour the Blue Bell factory. For those of you unfortunate souls (*cough* yankees) who aren’t familiar, Blue Bell is the world’s BEST ice cream. Ever. But they mostly sell it in the Southern states. And they have a new flavor that we got to try- Homemade In the Shade- it’s vanilla ice cream with a fudge swirl. SO GOOD!
Mmmm, fudge swirl…..
Next up, my favorite part of the trip- Messina Hof Winery in Bryan. Joel and I have always loved their wine (especially since it’s a Texas wine!) and were super excited to finally get to see where its made.
This place is absolutely gorgeous and the wine is excellent! We got to taste 4 different wines and we learned all about proper wine etiquette (those weird slurping noises, swirling the glass, etc). I highly recommend the Gewurztraminer!
After 2 days in the College Station area, we headed over to Austin for the afternoon. First stop- Torchy’s Tacos. We had the fried avocado tacos and green chile pork tacos – OMG YUM!! Joel takes his tacos very seriously and said these were two of the best he’s ever had!
In case you’re wondering, fried avocado is miraculous.
We can’t forget Hey Cupcake! We first tried this place a couple of years ago and haven’t forgotten it! Anytime we’re near Austin, we HAVE to stop by South Congress St. and pick up a few cupcakes. My all-time favorite is the Michael Jackson- chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. We also got red velvet and sweet berry. LOVE this place.
This is the food truck/trailer section of S. Congress – a whole block of trailers and food trucks full of awesome food. This place is always packed! So much character here! Our favorite part was the hippie singing songs on the corner.
Gimme mah cupcakes! OM NOM NOM!!
And finally, a stop in Belton, Texas to visit my alma mater, The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Some of the best years of my life were spent here, getting my bachelors degree in music. I have so many happy memories here- Joel coming to visit on weekends, spending time with some of the best friends I’ve ever had, voice lessons with Ms. Clement, the BEST voice teacher in the world, working in the music office with Ginger, singing with One Voice….so many memories.
I spent practically all of my college career in this building- Presser Hall- the music building. All my classes, recitals and rehearsals were here. I love this building. Even if it is haunted.
And that completes our tour of the Texas Hill Country- starting in College Station and working our way to Brenham, Bryan, Austin and Belton. We had a fantastic time and I’m happy to share some of it with you! If you’re ever in Texas, be sure and visit some of these places- you definitely won’t be disappointed!
Rudy’s BBQ- our favorite BBQ in the whole state!
Shipley Donuts- we don’t have these in North Texas so anytime I’m down in the area, I have to stop by and get a chocolate cream filled donut!
Blue Baker- Aggieland’s best sandwiches!
Cafe Eccell- delicious upscale food with the best strawberry tart I’ve ever had (and it totally doesn’t hurt that they play Harry Connick, Jr. on their website!)! Thanks to my reader, Lauren, for the dessert recommendation!
Sweet Eugene’s House of Java- we started every morning with a latte from Sweet Eugene’s. My favorite- the Al Pacino.
Layne’s- all they serve is chicken fingers and fries. A College Station legacy. We never miss it.
Torchy’s Tacos- do NOT miss the fried avocado taco!
Hey Cupcake!- one of the many delicious food trailers on S. Congress; a must visit when you’re in Austin!
When I started Sing For Your Supper over 2 1/2 years ago (almost 3!), I had just gotten a hand-me-down Canon 30D camera from my father-in-law and couldn’t have been happier. I didn’t know about natural lighting or flashes or color balance…or even HOW to take a good shot. I just aimed the camera at my dinner plate and hoped for the best. I thought those pictures were amazing. Looking back (not so far back, even), I know now that they were pretty terrible. But you know what? I’m still so proud of those old, out-of-focus, unedited pictures; because they meant so much to me. They meant that I had started something. Something that was all my own and 100% Amy. Something to be proud of. 2 1/2 years later and I’m still writing what I want to write, shooting how I want to shoot and cooking what I love to cook.
I’ve grown a lot and since learned a few more things about my camera, but really, I’m still the same girl who just aims and hopes for the best. Which is why I thought it would be fun to give you a glimpse into the past. A few of my first shots. I’ve been slowly re-shooting bunches of my old recipes, in hopes of updating the old, ugly beginner pictures. But I don’t want to just throw them away- they deserve more than that, so I’m honoring them here, one last time before they visit the archives forever.
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First up, one of my earliest posts, Potato Soup. We had just moved into our new house. I had made this for dinner and it was dark outside, but I didn’t care- I went ahead and just put the bowl on the table and snapped a few quick pictures.
I recently re-shot this one, this time with better lighting and a teensy bit of food styling. Much better.
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Up next, Cinnamon Pound Cake. I shot this in my florescent-lit kitchen (what was I thinking?!), and I’m pretty sure I didn’t even bother to edit it.
Once again, better lighting (taken around 2 or 3 pm), a simple place mat and a couple of cinnamon sticks made a huge improvement!
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Here’s my great-grandmother’s stacked enchiladas. I’ve always loved this recipe, but sure didn’t make it seem very appealing with this picture…this was taken when I was really struggling with the lack of light after Daylight Savings.
I’ve since learned better ways to get around the early sun setting, AND choosing better colored plates helps a lot too.
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And lastly, here’s my Cheater Chicken and Dumplings (one of my most popular recipes ever!), taken February of 2009. I had recently found the “white balance” function on my photo editing software and abused it tremendously. It makes things appear blue-ish and washed out. I thought I had no choice and it was the only way to brighten pictures. Silly me…
Once again, bright, natural light is our friend. And learning a few things about the F-stop and ISO settings doesn’t hurt either.
Over the past 2 1/2 years, I’ve learned SO much from other food bloggers; watching them grow and learn has in turn, helped ME to grow and learn! And boy, the pictures have sure come a long way! Not that they’re anywhere remotely NEAR perfect – I still have a lot of learning left to do, which is what makes this so much fun! These old pictures represent so much, which is why I’m so happy to share them here today- they show just how much I’ve grown and how far I’ve come. From just taking one or two shots, hitting the ‘white balance’ button and calling it a day, to taking a wee bit more time and care with each shot and learning a few more tricks about my very loved camera. I’m so happy to be where I am now and so proud of where I came from! So bye-bye, ugly pictures- thanks for the memories!