Monthly Archives: February 2012

Ruffles, Ruffles Everywhere!

We just booked our vacation for this summer, so I’m in a beachy state of mind! I’ve noticed that baby bathing suits are already popping up everywhere (yes, even as the snow falls), and ruffles are a big trend this year. One of the best things about having a little girl is getting to dress her in stuff like this—so stinkin’ cute! Check out some of my favs:

Gap, $24.95

Carters, $16.80

Gymboree, $24.95

Gap, $24.95

Carters, $16.80

Janie & Jack, $42

Kate Mack, $52

Ralph Lauren, $39.50


A Fishing-Themed Baby Shower!

This past weekend, my mother-in-law and I threw a baby shower for my sister- and brother-in-law, who are expecting their first baby, a little boy, in about two weeks. They are outdoorsy types, and my brother-in-law loves to go fishing, so we thought a fishing-themed baby shower would be really cute.

It was pretty easy to find decorations and such with fish, ducks, etc. The one part that was a little bit difficult was coming up with the invitations. Surprisingly, there aren’t very many fishing baby shower invites on the usual invitation web sites. I found an adorable one on A Breath of Fresh Erin, which was designed by Pink Door Design. My talented designer friend and coworker, Steph, offered to help me recreate the design for our shower, and I think it turned out really cute!

The blue “goldfish pond” was french onion dip with food coloring, and my mother-in-law found the blue punch recipe here. The cupcakes were chocolate and vanilla with crushed Oreo “dirt,” topped with chocolate and graham cracker goldfish cookies. In retrospect, I probably should have done blue frosting since fish normally don’t jump out of dirt, but at least they were delicious!


Buffalo Chicken “Cupcakes”

Yep, you read that right. And they are seriously delicious! Ok, so they are really more “muffin” than “cupcake,” but if you like buffalo chicken with blue cheese, you won’t be disappointed! I was inspired by the Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes from Cupcake Project. My friend Stacy from work sent around the link and even made the comment that if anyone would try to make something like it, it would be me.

Well, she was right. But I didn’t think it was very practical to put a chicken wing on top of the cupcake because you would clearly have to eat the wing first and would, therefore, not be able to enjoy all of the flavors in one bite. So I decided to put all of the deliciousness right in the batter. Also, I like shortcuts, so I doctored up some Jiffy cornbread mix instead of starting from scratch. The juxtaposition of an appetizer in cupcake packaging may seem strange, but all the more reason your kids (and spouses!) will love them!

Buffalo Chicken “Cupcakes”
Yield: 22 cupcakes

2 boxes Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

2 eggs

2/3 cup of milk

1 cup cooked and diced chicken

3 tbsp buffalo sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot)

1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles

 

For the “Frosting”:

6 oz softened cream cheese

5 wedges of The Laughing Cow Light Blue Cheese

4 tsp buffalo sauce

1 celery stalk, diced (for garnish)

 

Preheat your oven to 400°. Grease or line two muffin pans. Prepare the Jiffy mix according to the directions on the box. Stir in chicken, blue cheese crumbles and 3 tbsp buffalo sauce. Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes and allow to cool completely. Meanwhile, stir together cream cheese, blue cheese wedges, and 4 tsp buffalo sauce until smooth. Top each cupcake with some of the cheese mixture and sprinkle with a few pieces of celery.

 


The Best Grilled Cheese. . . EVER

I have learned that my daughter will eat just about anything if it’s encased in melted cheese (I didn’t say I was proud of this—it’s just a fact). And when she’s squeezing her lips shut and refusing to eat anything I put in front of her except for strawberries. . . well, desperate times call for desperate measures. This grilled chicken, guacamole, and roasted red pepper grilled cheese sandwich is not only delicious, but it packs a punch with lots of calcium, protein, healthy fats, and nutrients. All in a happy little melty package!

Busy Mama Shortcuts: You can use jarred  roasted red peppers to save a bit of time. Target also has a roasted red pepper monterey jack cheese, which is delicious and takes a step out of the prep work. I also used Tyson’s Grilled & Ready Frozen Chicken Strips diced up—this not only saves time but, by dicing up the chicken, you can stretch it a bit farther.

To make an easy, quick guacamole, mash an avocado in a bowl with the back of a fork. Add about a tsp of olive oil, a tsp of minced garlic, a couple tsps of lemon or lime juice (whatever you have on hand works) and as much cilantro as you like. If you don’t normally keep fresh cilantro on hand, try keeping a cilantro paste in your frig. Gourmet Garden makes a great one, and it lasts a lot longer than fresh cilantro. Sure, the flavor isn’t quite as fresh, but for a little guac, it’s perfect.