My Choice Monday

Jonah Day 2015: A Day of Thanks

If you’ve been visiting our blog for long, you know November 29th is Jonah Day. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, see this post to catch up. 🙂

Every year on November 29th, Craig and I count our many blessings and thank God for our precious baby, Jonah, who will be joining us one day! This year, not having been able to spend Thanksgiving together, we whipped up quite the feast to celebrate Jonah!

Today, since I’m sure we are all still in a turkey/leftovers coma, I’m going to spare you a full-on blog post and just share some pictures of the food we prepared. If you want any of the recipes, click on the photo to be re-directed to a close facsimile. 🙂

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I started off our morning with completely from scratch Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls. Here they are ‘resting’ and ‘rising’ before they went into the oven.
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Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls – The finished product!

 

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Hot Mulled Cider
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Our ‘Appetizer’: Caramel Havarti with Candied Pecans & Granny Smith Apples
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Lucy never leaves my side… 🙂 #loveher
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Cranberry Sauce
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Zesting a Meyer Lemon into the cranberries while they were bubbling away. The recipe this links to calls for orange juice, but I find the zest of a Meyer Lemon does the trick without adding anymore sweetness.
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Skillet Cornbread
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Skillet Cornbread as the butter is melting in…Yummmmmm!
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Chop Chop Chop!
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Talking with my hands…about the corn casserole I’m preparing!
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Corn Casserole
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Corn Casserole
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Very interested in the cooking that’s going on…
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The Bird
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Craig was in charge on the turkey – So of course we had to grill it!
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Yummmmmmm!
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Sweet Potato Souffle just before it went into the oven…
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Adding a few more marshmallows for the final 5 minutes on the Sweet Potatoes… You’ll note the recipe doesn’t call for ANY, but I HAVE to have marshmallows with my sweet potatoes! 🙂
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Sweet Potatoes (pre-oven again)
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Oh the marshmallows…
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Delicious Turnip Gratin… SO decadent!
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Turnip Gratin
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Oyster Dressing – a throwback to our year in New England
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So. Good.
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Pardon my messy hair. At least I don’t have roots! 🙂
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Those sweet pups…Don’t let their innocent angel smiles fool you. Lucy totally stole some turkey while Craig and I were eating!
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Broccoli & Cauliflower Casserole
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Broccoli & Cauliflower Casserole – I added more cheese than the recipe called for…And I highly recommend it! 😉
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Almost Done!!!
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So delicious! I wish I could share the recipe for this but to be honest, I have no idea. It was all Craig and the grill. I will say: it was the BEST turkey I have ever eaten!! Super moist and flavorful!!!
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Pecan Pie!!! (Made even more delicious with some French Vanilla Whipped Cream!) I used the recipe for the Perfect Pie Crust and then the recipe for the Pecan Pie at the link.
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Blondies!!!!!
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Seriously one of my favorite desserts…No walnuts…Just add Vanilla Ice Cream please!

And there you have it! I’d have to say Jonah Day was pretty successful as far as both thankfulness and cooking were concerned! We ate at 3pm yesterday and neither one of us TOUCHED a morsel of food again until breakfast. 😉

Until we meet again,

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Food For Thought Friday

A Great “To-Go” Recipe FOr Kids (& Some Adults)

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Good Morning Folks!

We have a fun recipe for y’all today – Vlog Style! It was fun getting to pretend I had my own Food Network or Cooking Channel show for a little bit! 😉 Of course, you’ll need to view this video in a browser. So, if you received this post in an e-mail, simply click on the title (in blue) at the top of the e-mail, and you will be redirected to the website, which will enable the video to be played.

Wasn’t that such a quick and easy “semi-homemade” fix? I made these for Craig to take on his trip for simple, portable meals and they worked out great! He loved them and they are simple to make and easy to pack for lunch! All of you pilots’ wives out there, keep this one in mind! 🙂

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend everyone! We are off to Portland tomorrow for the day, and we’ll be sure to snap a few pictures to share next week!

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Food For Thought Friday

Here’s Some Food For Thought: PAY ATTENTION!

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Today’s the day!!! Craig’s gotten his first two birthday clues…He took the dogs to the kennel this morning, and they gave him his 2nd clue – Meet me at my office this afternoon – We’re going out of town for the weekend!

But he stillllll doesn’t know where… 🙂 Clue 3 is coming soon! I can’t wait to share all the pictures and details with y’all on What’s Up Wednesday next week!

Last night when Craig got home, his first “gift” and clue awaited him – a note that said (to be read in the style of Dr. Suess 🙂 ):

“Let’s start this off right, like a scavenger hunt.

The first thing you’ll do is put the pups in the truck.

Water Dog Kennels – 8 AM SHARP!

When you have finished, you’ll know what to do…

Congratulations on receiving your first Birthday Clue!”

And next to the note/riddle, I placed the special birthday cupcakes I made for him yesterday:

Image From The Kitchen Is Calling

That’s what they were supposed to look like…but I probably should have paid more attention while making the frosting…

I created my own combination recipe, using The Kitchen Is Calling, and Taste of Home’s similar recipes, and my own ideas.

Image From Taste of Home

Everything was going well until it was time to make the frosting and I realized it was another (I do this every year somehow!) meringue frosting…which is delicious but oh so precise and time intensive…

After I had beat the frosting over heat for ten minutes, while sweating to death and switching my already-sore-from-pure-barre arms from one to the other, I transferred the mixture into a bowl….and without thinking…poured in the entire bag of coconut.

Yes.

I was SO. MAD. AT. MYSELF.

So, of course, when the cupcakes were complete, I had to taste one (albeit, a small one) to make sure they were edible… In fact, they were quite delicious! Even though I am not a fan of lemon-flavored desserts, I had to stop myself from having more than just the small tester cake. Yum! So…

If you, too, would like to make these delicious cupcakes, here’s the breakdown:

Lemon Curd & Coconut Cupcakes

 Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used 2 cups of AP Flour & 1.5 cups of Cake Flour.)
  • 3-1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups 2% milk (I used whole milk – as I do for all baking.)
  • FILLING:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • FROSTING:
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flaked coconut (Make a note to yourself right now that these coconuts are for layering over the TOP OF THE FROSTING!!!)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.
  2. Transfer to cupcake pans. This recipe should yield approximately 36 medium-sized cupcakes. I recommend using cupcake liners, rather than just pouring the mixture directly into the pans. This should bake on 350° for 20 minutes.
  3. For filling, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch and water until smooth. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer or until thickened and bubbly. Remove from the heat.
  4. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into egg yolks; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from the heat; gently stir in lemon juice and butter. Cool to room temperature without stirring.
  5. Once cupcakes are cooled, use a cookie scoop or small spoon to remove small portion of the middle of each cupcake. Spoon cooled and thickened lemon curd into a small ziplock bag, seal, then snip one corner and pipe into the well of each cupcake. 
  6. For frosting, in a large heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, egg whites, water and cream of tartar. With a portable mixer, beat on low speed for 1 minute. Continue beating on low over low heat until frosting reaches 160°, about 10 minutes.
  7. DO NOT ADD COCONUT! 🙂 Transfer to a large bowl; add vanilla. Beat on high until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes. 
  8. Spoon icing into another ziplock bag and similarly cut off a corner to pipe the frosting on top of each cupcake, hiding the lemon curd inside.
  9. Sprinkle all cupcakes with coconut.

Store in the refrigerator. Yields approximately 36 cupcakes.

Enjoy your Food For Thought Friday – and your cupcakes! 🙂

Don’t forget to tell Craig Happy 32nd on Sunday!

Love Y’all,
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My Choice Monday

What’s For Dinner??

MondayWelcome to Monday!! Hopefully, all of you had wonderful weekends! We definitely did!!

This morning I was blessed with a beautiful surprise, and the entire course of this morning’s post changed! My sweet little grandmother from New Jersey called and let me know she flew into town and is in Atlanta! How exciting! Craig is still in town, so we are meeting her this evening after work and taking her to dinner.

Now, this sudden scenario may not seem an ‘issue’ to any of you, but yours truly is a PLANNER with a capital “P”, and immediately, my mind has gone into overdrive:

STOPSo, in your neighborhood, where would you take a surprise out of town guest for a casual, yet classy, not loud dinner? (Seriously, we want your answers below in the comments! You just never know when YOU will be in another town and not know where to eat…and I don’t mean a big chain restaurant either!)

Here are a few ideas in some of our favorite cities:

Empire State South – This little gem in the heart of Midtown Atlanta not only is a go-to for dinner. They offer breakfast, brunch and lunch, as well – not to mention some delicious desserts and libations! It’s a classy, casual setting – and perfect for out-of-town guests, as many of it’s food options are regionally delicious.

 

OK Cafe – While not even close to ‘fancy’, this is an Atlanta classic with DELICIOUS food and if you’re in the mood for comfort in a diner setting, this is the place to go! Breakfast, lunch, dinner, take-away – it’s all awesome! I highly recommend the Rocket Burger. Yum!

Pompeii Pizza – Located in Elk River, Minnesota (about an hour outside of the Twin Cities), we read rave reviews about this local pizzeria in Midwest Living magazine – and just had to try it out. It was delightful – This Italian girl can attest to pizza worth ‘wasting’ calories on, and this is it! Not only were their pizza and salads yummy, Craig found some local brews he was pretty impressed with, as well!

Chatterbox Pub – This neighborhood bar/restaurant in St. Paul, MN, will always remind me of our dating days. It’s one of the first places I went with Craig & his family, one of the first visits I ever made to Minnesota – fond memories for sure! 🙂 The food was tasty; the drinks were satisfying and there were even games to play while you waited for your food. Perfect!

The Mash House – This brewery/restaurant came highly recommended by my parents on a trip to the town in which I spent a good portion of my childhood – Fayetteville, North Carolina. Craig and I paid them a visit last year and were in no way disappointed! Steaks, shrimp, pasta, fish, sandwiches, burgers, salads, brewed-in-house beer… We may just go back simply to eat there again!


 

What are your go-to restaurants? Let us know, and we just may meet you there for a bite!

You’ll have to wait until later this week to find out just where we eat tonight with Grandma Flo! 🙂

xoxo

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A Little Bit Of This…

My, my, my…only SIX more days until Christmas! Are all of you ready? Have you done all of your shopping? I’m happy (and relieved) to note that Craig and I are DONE! Now for me to wrap everything…

The past week has been a BUSY one, and I don’t know that things are going to slow down anytime soon! I went to a ‘Holiday Couples’ Shower’ for our dear friends Ashley & J.W. (sadly without my better half – Boo!!!!!!!), but I did get to enjoy a girls’ sing-along car ride to the shower and back with one of my faves, Julia! There’s nothing like singing at the top of your lungs to every song you know to pass the time on a long road trip!

Ashley & J.W.
Ashley & J.W.
The Girls
The Girls

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Such a fun shower! And if you recognize the location, it’s because once again, it was hosted by another couple we absolutely adore: Lauren & Randall.

IMG_1197After the shower and our sing-a-long ride back to Northwestern Georgia, Julia and I met up with Craig and Julia’s hubs Josh & their children for dinner. 🙂 Always a great time with all of our special friends – Craig and I are so blessed to have such a great group of TRUE friends surrounding us!

On Monday, I FINALLY got my wedding bands back from the slowest man on earth jewelry designer! Our design turned out just BEAUTIFUL and I think the setting will be much stronger!

New Wedding Bands!
New Wedding Bands!

I am absolutely ECSTATIC to have my wedding bands displayed proudly on my finger once again! 🙂

Last night, C & I were up until 1:30am making a COMPLETELY FROM SCRATCH White Chocolate Candy Cane Cheesecake (completely gluten-free, as well!)…We even had to make the GRAHAM CRACKERS themselves for the crust, since we couldn’t find any sans gluten. Needless to say, even the cheesecake hater Craig thought it was delicious!

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Tonight, we’ll be making Christmas cookies! 🙂 And when I detail that experience, you’ll have to remind me to show you a picture of the Peppermint Plate we made last night! So cute! (And yes, it’s the same thing you’ve seen all over Pinterest!)

Oh, and how could I have forgotten!?!?! Craig booked our hotel for our trip to Rome in February!! You’ll have to ask my sweet husband all about it! 🙂 We are SO excited about our upcoming vacation!!!

Y’all have a great evening! Maybe I can sneak in a short nap at the office before my long drive home?? 🙂

XOXO

Pier & Craig

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Cooking Gluten-Free With The Newlywed Lefebvres

Happy Monday Everyone!

I’m not sure if everyone is aware of this or not, but one of our favorite activities is cooking together. We always have a really great time, and usually make every single recipe we attempt our own…Mostly because we have similar tastes in food, and because I can’t have gluten.

Did you know you can re-create almost anything you’d like in a gluten-free (and absolutely DELICIOUS) version? Here is our most recent endeavor:

Gluten-Free Italian Asiago Meatballs Over Angel Hair with Pier’s Pink Sauce

Begin by boiling a VERY WELL-SALTED pot of water. Once boiling, add entire box of gluten-free angel hair pasta. When the noodles have completed cooking, drain but DO NOT RINSE, and set aside.

Meatballs:
1 lb EACH of Italian Sausage & Ground Beef
1 Large Egg, beaten well
1 Heaping Tablespoon of White Rice Flour
To Taste:
Finely Shredded Asiago Cheese
Parsley
Oregano
Garlic Powder
Salt
Pepper
Red Pepper Flakes
 
Meatballs
Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl very well with your hands. Make meatballs and set aside on plate. Add enough EVOO to a large skillet or sauce pan to cover the bottom. Heat on stove on HIGH. When oil is hot, add meatballs. Rotate until COMPLETELY done. This could take about 10 minutes. Constantly rotate until done. Remove from heat.
 
Pier’s Pink Sauce
1 Jar of Alfredo Sauce – nothing fancy, just plain is best.
1 Can Petite Diced Tomatoes
1/2 Cup Finely Shredded Fresh Asiago Cheese
 
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Heat entire jar of plain alfredo sauce on the stove over medium-high heat until it begins to bubble. Add 1/2 cheese. When melted, add the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese. When melted and well-combined, add entire can of DRAINED diced tomatoes. Stir well. 
 
Asiago
Return drained angel hair cooked noodles to the pot they were cooked in, and pour Pier’s Pink Sauce on top. Mix and combine well. 
 
Serve generous helping on a plate and add as meatballs on top.
ENJOY!!!!
 
I wish we had taken a picture of the finished product…But seriously, by the time either of us thought about it, we were both halfway through our dinners! 🙂 So delicious and relatively easy! I urge all of you to try this! If you aren’t allergic or intolerant to gluten (or maybe you’re allergic to soy instead like my father), just replace the gluten-free white rice flour with regular AP flour and you’re good to go!
 
Stay tuned for our next gluten-free Newlywed Lefebvre Creation: Buttermilk Fried Chicken!!! Yum!
 
Love To All of You!
 
Pier & Craig