After fattening myself up in Seattle I flew south to LA to meet my newest nephew for the first time, Griffin! Unfortunately both he and his older brother Luke were asleep upon my arrival but that didn’t stop me from sneaking a peak and instantly melting. I had to resist the urge to snap photos right then and there. Little did I know how many opportunities I would have to capture Griffin’s angelic face while he slept. Exhibit A: captured while at the grocery store. So much hair. So much eyelashes. So much cuteness!
My nephew Luke turns two today! We last saw them in August at my cousin’s wedding and it’s amazing how much he has grown and learned since then. He knows all of his colors and animal noises, giggles like a madman on a swing, loves milk and fruit, and is just adorable overall.
His first birthday occurred while living in Boston but now they live in LA so we ventured off to the other side of the country to celebrate – Little Blue Truck style!
The dessert table spread: pig cupcakes, blueberry-blue velvet cake, “cow pie” cookies, Oreo and chocolate covered doughnut “tires”, Chocolate “mud” pudding, and all kinds of fruit because he’s a fruit fanatic!
“Bounce bounce!” Adult tested, kid approved.
My brother even made little wooden trucks for the kids to paint.
Look at him playing well with others.
Blueberry-blue velvet truck birthday cake! (I think I did a pretty good job despite the spontaneous nature of it’s creation.)
Upon completion of singing “Happy Birthday” he proceeded to feed me a sprinkle and had me lick the frosting off the #2 but unfortunately the only photo captured was from behind. It’s okay, it still melted my heart picture or not.
One year ago: Inedible Favorites – Luke’s 1st Birthday
Two years ago: Jalapeno Popper Buffalo Chicken Pizza
It’s almost time to turn over another year, which means it’s time to reflect on this year that is coming to an end. Just like in past years, I have compiled a list of the most popular recipes posted during 2013. You guys have great taste, because many of the most viewed recipes were also favorites of mine. I was impressed and excited to see my chocolate chip cookie recipe on your list as it was only posted a little over 2 weeks ago! I went ahead and also did my own top 10 recipes other than the ones you were most drawn to.
P.S. Apparently I like taking vertically oriented photos.
5. Lip Balms
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! As usual I met up with family and friends in my hometown Rochester, NY. We had our holiday dinner yesterday and today we are attending a movie (The Hobbit), as tradition dictates. Unfortunately my brother and his family were unable to join us this year, but here are a couple adorable, festive pictures of my nephew for your viewing pleasure! Aahhh he’s so cute!!
Three years ago: Hoey Cakes (Italian Almond Squares)
I know I was just complaining about the heat being back, but with rain predicted the rest of the week it’s actually staying below 90 for a few days, hooray! I’m really loving this milder summer Memphis has had thus far because that means I can turn on my oven guilt-free (and high-bill free). I should probably bake a bunch this week just in case it’s never cool again, but that also means I need to clear out some space in my freezer to store them. The three ice cream flavors I currently have in there are not being devoured fast enough! Who wants to come over for an ice cream party??
But today’s post isn’t about ice cream or baked desserts, is about baked meat! Some people are a little weirded out by fruit and meat combos. I happen to thoroughly enjoy things such as hawaiian pizza, orange beef and chicken, kebabs, pineapple fried rice, and the first offender is likely my mom’s pineapple burger. Fruit and meat entrees are especially desirable during the summer and this recipe hits the spot. A (not-dried-out) pork loin chop is topped off with an avocado-mango salsa and served with a spinach quinoa. It’s a light yet filling meal, but if for some reason you need a little more try scooping up some of the salsa with corn chips! I actually had a little bit of leftover salsa and ended up doing that exact thing the next day.
One year ago today, my nephew Luke popped into this world and immediately started melting hearts, mine most definitely included. Obviously this meant that there was no chance I would miss his very first birthday. And to celebrate he was thrown a Very Hungry Caterpillar party, which was very fitting because he eats everything!
One year ago: Jalapeno Popper Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Time to recap my holidays Luke-style! Which means you get to see a lot of pictures of my adorable nephew, whom I saw in both Boston and Rochester. He turned 9 months old the day after Christmas, how crazy is that? I already bought my plane ticket to be a part of his 1st birthday in March (which is also paired up with a NYC adventure with some fabulous food bloggers). As I said the other day he will eat anything you put in front of him, even inedible things. Also, he may skip right over crawling and walk first. He loves walking you around while holding his hands. Just gotta get a grip on that balance!
See you in 3 months Luke! I expect you to run up to me when I get there ;-).
Two years ago: Quinoa Pilaf with Pine Nuts
I am trying my best to not write an entire post about how I cannot believe how fast this year went by, so let’s talk about the fact that by the turning of this calendar year I will have lived in Memphis (and been in graduate school) for 5 and 1/2 years now. Cannot. Freaking. Believe it. That also means I only have a few more months left until I defend my dissertation and graduate for (hopefully) the very last time in my life! We’re talking serious party time. But until then, I have decided to spend NYE in Memphis this year because I never have after all this time. Guess that’s what happens when you are still very much attached to family and friends who live elsewhere. But obviously I have friends in Memphis too, so I want to share this holiday with them for a change.
But before I venture off into the night and enter a new year by watching a giant guitar drop on Beale Street, let’s go back and take a look at all the best recipes from 2012 on The Spiffy Cookie. I have included a list of your favorites based on visits and also a list of my favorites that didn’t make the cut. Gotta show them some love too!
1. Red Velvet Cake Batter Dip – This recipe exploded on Pinterest and was only the beginning of my adventures into cake batter dips!
2. Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie Bricks – I have to agree with you on this one – definitely a drool worthy treat.
3. No-Bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars – Best homemade granola bars I’ve had
4. Stromboli – It certainly was one of the prettiest things I’ve ever made as wel
5. Pizza Quinoa Casserole – This was the most popular Secret Recipe Club pick I’ve made. I guess I should make more things with quinoa!
6. Shortbread Cookies – I made these to serve with the red velvet cake batter dip so it’s not all that surprising to see this one in the list as well.
7. Peach Greek Yogurt Pie – It’s hard to know if this pie only made the list because it was also associated with a Chobani giveaway, but I certainly liked it.
9. Loaded Baked Potato Dip – This tailgating favorite got lightened up!
10. Cake Batter Puppy Chow – Cake batter strikes again! This time in the form of puppy chow.
1. Malted Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chip Cookies – Seriously the best cookies I made all year. The malted flavor along with the peanut butter got to me.
2. Goat Cheese Ricotta Gnocchi with Walnut Thyme Butter Sauce – It was hard to pick which gnocchi was my favorite, since I made so many different great flavors.
3. Bleu Cheese Ball – The cheese ball that performs disappearing acts! A good thing too, because nothign else would’ve stopped me from eating it all by myself.
4. Chocolate Peanut Butter 7-Layer Bars – Addictive award.
5. Chicken Pesto Lasagna Rolls – I was sad when I ran out of these leftovers.
6. Mini Pumpkin Black and White Cookies – Fun variation from the traditional. I actually liked it better!
7. S’mores Molten Lava Cake – Need I say more? Apparently since it didn’t make your top 10! It’s a molten lava cake with a graham cracker crust and marshmallow cream cheese filling. You cannot resist.
8. Pumpkin Bagels with Cinnamon-Walnut Cranberry Cream Cheese Spread – The combination of these two items together is what made them on the list.
9. Caramelized Chicken with Jalapeno Cream – Made this for a Valentine’s Day dinner with friends and it still has a special place in my heart.
10. Baked Oatmeal with Blackberries and Bananas – A great breakfast recipe that can be changed up with different berries. I know because I’ve remade it with others! Yummy.
Here’s to a happy new year in 2013 full of lots more delicious food!
HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND MERRY CHRISTMAS!! I will likely be stuffing myself silly because I lose all self control during the holidays. And in between meals I will be overdosing on my nephew, Luke. He’s 9 months old tomorrow and looking good enough to gobble up!
Two years ago: Hoey Cakes (Italian Almond Squares)