Monthly Archives: May 2012

cupcakes

Am I the only one who gets really excited about the food part of big family events?

I promise, my first thought for weddings is always how excited I am for the happy couple getting hitched. Especially in this case!!

I will also admit that the second thought always follows quite quickly: “Hm.. I wonder what their menu/dessert will be like…” . Embarrassing, I know. It’s so fun to see how every bride chooses differently though! For instance, I loved what my cousin did with the dinner- she had a Mediterranean station with gyros and tzaziki, an Italian station with delicious pasta, meatballs, and sausage, and a meat carving station. She also had a salad station where all the salads were in cute little glasses- totally adorable. She also had a dessert bar… and I was on duty as personal attendant to refill empty candy containers. (best job. EVER.) Well hello there, mr. pretzel m&m!

K and I had such a wonderful time in MI, as she already told you. Our family has always been very close, and in the past two years, we have discovered how much we can depend on each other during wedding seasons. My aunt Jodi and her 3 daughters all flew out for K and my weddings in 2010 and basically put together all the little details themselves! And we went out for our cousin’s wedding last August and now last weekend and tried to do the same for them. When K said that we got 18 hours of sleep the whole weekend, she meant 18 hours from Wednesday through Sunday. There’s no way we are going to waste time sleeping when we only see our extended family twice a year! We don’t kid around.

The nice thing about our family visits is that no one ever stays at a hotel- so while you are there, you are saturated with family! No ‘let’s meet up for lunch on Wednesday while you’re here’ nonsense- lunch is in the crockpot and you eat when you’re hungry with everyone else. Unless your hands are glued together from making the adorable poms for the wedding decor. Then you need someone to feed you, and there’s usually a spare cousin around to do that.

Speaking of crockpot lunches and delicious food, did I tell you that my aunt Jodi is an astounding flavor master? What I mean by that is, pretty much anything she whips up in the kitchen will have your mouth dancing for days. I shall return to you with recipes as soon as she shares them with me… Oh and I can’t forget about my aunt Julie- her pineapple pretzel salad is to die for. Sounds weird, but somehow those flavor mix together to form something your taste buds with thank you for.

Until I can share those foods with you, let me show you my mom in all her cupcake glory. Isn’t she cute? We had the huge pleasure of throwing a bridal shower for Delaine while we were there, and decided on cupcakes for the dessert. Being that we had to make a lot of cupcakes in a short amount of time, my mom used her fool-proof recipe. The best thing about this recipe is that these babies taste like bakery desserts- soft and springy, yet moist and bursting with flavor. They are versatile too, and can handle many different flavors of frosting. We stuck to vanilla and chocolate, because sometimes simple is just plain and unadulterated delish.

Enjoy!
~M

Bridal Shower Cupcakes

for the vanilla variety
1 box betty crocker yellow cake mix

8 oz. Greek yogurt (or sour cream)

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup water

2 egg whites

for the chocolate variety

the only thing that changes for the chocolate kind is that you use the whole 2 eggs, not just the whites.

Directions: so simple- follow the directions on the cake mix!

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Line a cupcake pan with baking cups (paper cups are preferable). Mix cake mix, yogurt (or sour cream), oil, water, and egg whites in mixer for about 30 seconds on low speed, then on medium speed for about 2 minutes, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl.

Pour into cups, and bake as directed or until toothpick comes out clean. We discovered that overbaking them really affects the outcome, so make sure you watch them closely! Plan on having them in the oven between 20-26 minutes and check often during those last few minutes.

Frosting


1-2 cans of the Betty Crocker buttercream frosting, with your choice of food coloring.

1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)

Delaine’s wedding colors were blush and ivory, so just a drop or two of red food coloring gave us that perfect shade.

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The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)

I’ve mentioned that I love to read. I really, really love to read. Now that school is out for the summer, I can’t wait to get started on my wish list that I started on Pinterest and the stack of books on my bedside table. Just gonna let you know now- I’m a re-reader. If I find a book that I really like I will read it over and over again. Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett is one of those for me. I have read it so many times I’ve lost count! It’s also the book that I will recommend to any one who asks me if I’ve read any good books recently. (By the way, the answer will always be yes. It’s just a matter of what you’re in the mood for 🙂 )

The Pillars of the Earth is the story of several people that is centered around the building of a cathedral in England in the 12th century. It’s one of those books  where the lives of these six or so main characters intertwine over the course of many years, and Ken Follett does this oh so well. It’s got a little bit of everything- romance, mystery, murder, revenge, the triumph of good over evil…and I feel I have to warn you- it’s huge. It’s quite large. But so worth the read. Starz made it into a mini-series last summer and it was done extraordinarily well. I’m of the opinion that the book should always be read before the movie is seen but I realize that this is a huge book. And since this movie really sticks to the book (thanks to Ken Follett being on set) I think it would be acceptable to see this before reading. Hey, it might even move you to read the book to get more of the story! That’s what happened to my friend Ashley- I’ve been telling her to read this book for years! She finally watched the show and I think she might read the book now….:) Also, the show is 8 1-hour episodes which might give you an idea of how long the book is. I also have this book (from audible.com) on my ipod….call me obsessed, but I know a good book when I’ve found it and this is one of them. Happy Reading!

-K

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Vacation!

We got a much needed vacation last weekend. Our cousin Delaine got married, so most of our family flew out to Michigan for the festivities and had a fabulous time! I am a little biased, but my family is the best ever. We know how to have a good time. I’m pretty sure I did not get more than 18 hours of sleep the whole weekend, but who cares? We had so much fun throwing a bridal shower, going to the bachelorette party, setting up for the wedding, putting flowers together, moving chairs inside due to rain, then back outside due to sun…seriously, my family is awesome. There was so much stuff to do in this last week before the wedding but Delaine was a super relaxed bride and everyone else was just excited to be together and have a good time.

I know this is slightly out of focus, sorry, but here is the bride and groom! and that’s my Aunt Jodi (from whom I get my middle name, Faye), the mother of the bride.  Don’t they make a beautiful couple? I’m really hoping for a family reunion next summer…..:)

Hopefully I can post some better photos soon!

-K

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Oops! And chicken squares.

“The front & rear parking lot will be resurfaced at In-Shape City, Manteca on May 22-23. Please park in the overflow parking lot to the left while we paint. The gym WILL BE OPEN at regular hours during this time!”

Guess who didn’t check her email last night?

Turns out the gym WAS open this morning, I just saw the empty parking lot and immediately skedaddled! Eh. It must have been too early for me to notice that all the lights were still on in the gym. Oh well- it made for a good laugh and I ended up having a great 40 minute run as the sun came up this morning- not a bad alternative! It was also an added blessing, because it was BEAUTIFUL outside this morning!!

awkardly trying to snap a photo on the home stretch of my run

Before my run, oatmeal was shaping up to be the chosen breakfast of the day, but the sun got pretty warm towards the end of the run, and something cold and refreshing sounded like a winner. Enter: Green Smoothie!

water, greek yogurt, 2-3 handfuls fresh spinach, and 3/4 cup frozen mixed berries

I am starting to have these more and more often for breakfast ( I know, nastiest looking thing EVER) and they usually keep me full all the way until my lunch break at work! This one was okay, but I definitely prefer it made with bananas, like how she makes it.  This one was a little too tart… I texted this picture to K this morning, and I don’t think she was as excited about the greenness of the drink as I was. She’ll get there. Won’t you, K?

Work was great today! I love it when the clinic is bustling all day- makes the day go by so much faster! Plus, I worked in Escalon today, which means I got to go home at lunch to eat with Joey! Whenever we both work close to home, we try to go home and eat lunch together, which is always a nice break in the day.

Fast forward to dinner, and Joey suggested one of his favorites (A Cole family tradition, yay!)

chicken squares

Chicken squares are not healthy, sorry. But I made a few tweaks that make them a little bit more so… and let me tell you. Once you make these, they will work their way into your weekly (okay, maybe monthly) menu. Joey requests these quite often, and they are super easy to throw together, and even easier to devour.

Chicken Squares

serves 2-3

1 tube of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese

(1 or 2) 12.5 oz cans of chicken (I wanted more chicken, so I used 2 cans)

1 can green chiles

1/2 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 small onion, chopped

Directions :

Preheat your oven to 375. Spray non-stick onto a baking pan and pop open that tube of crescents- they will be rolled up and sectioned into triangles. Bring two triangles together so that they form a rectangle, and work the dough together in the middle. Roll the rectangles of dough onto your pan, and flatten them out slightly. Set aside.

Take a medium size mixing bowl, and add all of the other ingredients! Just mix em all in a bowl and stir them until they are all combined evenly. To be honest, this filling would be an amazing dip with crackers as well. I may or may not have had a slight appetizer whilst preparing this meal. 🙂

Now take a big scoop of the cream cheese/ chicken mixture and plop it right in the middle of a doughy rectangle. You’d be surprised how much you can fit inside there! If you get a little too filling crazy, you might tear the dough though. But that’s no problem because raw dough is very forgiving- just pinch it back together! Same with the outer edges- just use your fingers to pinch and roll up the sides of the dough so you have pretty little pockets.

*Some people also like to use 2 triangles for the top part, and 2 triangles for the bottom part of the chicken square. This would be a whooole lotta richness for one meal, but if thats your tune, you can sing it! We, however, are fine with 1/2 of that crescent stuff, and twice the chicken!

Bake for about 25 minutes, until nicely browned.

Goodnight!

M

P.S. Still haven’t packed.

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Downhill from here

Happy Tuesday to you!

Last night I struggled to commit to waking up early to fit a workout in before work this morning.

Really struggled.

But I persevered, got myself up at oh-dark-thirty this morning, and headed off to the gym! Once I’m up, the rest is pretty much downhill- I threw on my workout gear, grabbed my water bottle and considered coffee… nah, too early.

I got in my car and cranked up K-Love, and jammed all the way to the gym. I will admit, I felt a little proud of myself.. You go girl, you totally committed and you got yourself up! Now just make it count and you’ll get to just enjoy the rest of the day, with the workout part behind you. 

AND THE GYM WAS CLOSED!!

What? But I worked so hard to get here?! Does that count as exercise? Needless to say, I began the 12 minute drive back to my house and am now sitting here telling you guys about it. Because Joey wasn’t awake too excited to listen to me complain at 5:40 about the gym not being open.

As I write, I’m mentally preparing for an outside run instead. The first step outside is a tough one for me, but I always end up enjoying it and happy that I did it! This is me and my little sister after her first 5k- she did great!

Me and Limmy, proud finishers for the Modesto Pregnancy Center!

When I get back, I’m envisioning a yummy bowl of oats to fuel my day. And then let the crazy day begin! K and I are leaving tomorrow for Michigan for a dear cousin’s wedding- we are sooo excited! We’ll be sure to come back with pictures. In the meantime, I have to: find a dress for the wedding, stock the emergency bridal kit, make some meals for Joey, and clean this house up a little bit. And run…..

 

I’m OFF!!

~M

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Iced coffee….and cream.

Let me just say, I have wanted to take this picture for such a long time. For some reason, watching the cream curl (there is no better word for this) into the coffee fascinates me every time! I’m easily entertained. But do you see what I mean?!

The contrast of the white against the dark just….makes me want to line up twelve cups of iced coffee and do this over and over again. Also, pouring cream into iced coffee makes me want to paint something. I think the swirls of cream resemble the way oil paint looks on the palette when I mix colors. Or lava. Or kind of like arms reaching, reaching down. And the cool thing is, it’s a really slow process if you don’t move the cup. Try it. Tell me you didn’t sit there staring at it the whole time just watching the ribbons of cream get pulled towards the bottom of the cup. I sure did, like a two year old.

Ohh, it just looks so pretty. And tastes fantastic too.
Ok. I’m gonna go line up my cups now. And possibly paint something. Or just smear paint on a palette and see if that cures this obsession.

-K

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Trash.

We love our dogs. (sigh)

But seriously guys, its already a chore to empty the trash INSIDE the house.

As we walked Katie out to her car after a blissful day of blogging and baking, we had this wonderful surprise spread out all over our lawn. Apparently we forgot to close the garage door after watching the solar eclipse outside (which was so cool!!). Our dogs took the opportunity to ravage the trash bags that were waiting to be hauled to the dairy, and dragged it everywhere!! Katie was only too happy to skedaddle to her car. Just kidding, Kate.

That’s my cute husband picking up the trash as I snap photos. I only got away with that for a minute until I had to start helping too 🙂

 

Just everywhere. Great memories of what we had for dinner last week (not).

The perp:

Mac- look at that guilty face..

On to Monday!! Goodnight!

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