May 23, 2012

Pinterest-inspired Birthday Cheesecake

Pinterest is an amazing thing. When I asked Michael what kind of cake he'd like for his birthday this year, he came up with the idea of some type of peanut butter-y chocolate-y cheesecake. Most normal people don't really have a recipe on hand for something that specific... cue Pinterest. I searched "peanut butter chocolate cheesecake" and dozens of different recipes came up on the page. I simply scrolled through the pictures and showed them to Michael, and he picked out the one he wanted.

pinned here and the recipe can be found at this blog post

Of course he would pick that one. A little intimidating, huh?
Surprisingly enough, I actually pulled it off! Here is my version:

It was a huge success with the birthday boy, and that makes me happy! It was super creamy and the peanut butter baked really well with the cheesecake flavor (I was a little unsure when tasting the batter). We had Michael's sister and husband over to help us eat it, thank goodness. It was so rich though, that none of us were even able to finish a whole slice. We'll be freezing some of this for sure. Michael would never let a good dessert go to waste.

Seriously though, what did we do before Pinterest?

Happy birthday Michael, I love you!

May 21, 2012

Birthday weekend!

This weekend was one big birthday celebration, and we basically spent it all in Durham. Friday I finally got to enjoy my birthday present of a night out to see Wicked! We ate dinner in the Tobacco District before and then walked over to see the show. It was amazing and the actors were all incredibly talented. I loved it! We don't know Durham too well, so it was really fun to explore. We love that there is so much to do all in the same area! Since tomorrow is Michael's birthday, we started his celebration on Saturday. I made him blueberry pancakes, took him to the driving range to test out his new clubs, and then we went up to Durham again to see a Bulls game. Instead of going into the stadium we went to Tobacco Road on the edge of the stadium and thankfully we got amazing seats! It was a sweet spot to watch the game for sure. Sunday we went to see Avengers to continue the celebrating. Basically I'm trying to spoil him - I sure hope he feels like it!

I'm so thankful for a wonderful weekend with my birthday boy! Of course we'll continue the celebrating through tomorrow, and then we'll be focusing on getting all packed up for our vacation! Seriously. cannot. wait. Five more work days and then we get on a plane! I'm stoked!!

May 15, 2012

Wedding weekend

I've been slightly busy lately so I thought I'd pop in and do a quick post about our weekend. We traveled to DC for Kyle and Kristy's wedding. It was so great to see them tie the knot and also spend time with my family while we were up there. Of course every time I go home I miss living in Virginia, but that's a different topic for a different day. This was our first wedding of the season and we only have one more, thank goodness. Last year we had several to attend, and Michael was a groomsman in 3 of them!

We had the rehearsal dinner at Maggiano's - always a winner!

The wedding was in a gorgeous Methodist church in Georgetown, and the reception was a ballroom nearby that was almost as beautiful. I would say most venues would have a hard time competing with this:

I wish I had a better picture of the bride's beautiful dress. She was truly stunning. Congrats Kyle and Kristy!

I thought this picture was silly while we were taking it but I actually kind of like it since it's different.
What do you think?

Gosh I love weddings. My sister and I were asking each other why girls are so obsessed with weddings and I think we figured it out. They combine all the things girls love into one pretty package:
flowers, fashion, food, decor, and romance.
Am I right?

And that wraps up another fun weekend! Can you believe it's already mid-May??

P.S. Since that last photo is showing a random sign in our yard, I thought I would explain. My sister got asked to prom on Saturday morning by her boyfriend with these adorable signs! What a sweet idea. Highschoolers can sometimes be cute I guess.

May 2, 2012

Green thumb wannabe

I mentioned that I picked up some fresh herb sprouts at the farmers market this weekend. Basil and cilantro, two of my faves. Last year I grew them from seeds. They lasted a while and I got to use them in some recipes, but I also didn't know what I was doing. The nice guy at the farmers market, or I guess I could call him the farmer (duh), told me how to care for these precious little guys. "Morning sun, afternoon shade. And don't over-water the basil." Last summer it was so hot that I watered my plants all the time, thinking they needed more to drink in the stifling heat. But soon my basil had yellowing leaves, and I found out I was drowning him as well as scorching him in the afternoon sun. My cilantro pretty much keeled over at one point, maybe from too much sun as well. So I obviously made some changes this year: brought them off the balcony onto the table so they'll get the morning sun and be shaded in the afternoon; waiting to water until they really need it, which is not necessarily every day. I'm sure hoping this works better! So far they look great... but then again I've only had them for 4 days. Hopefully my black thumb is at least turning a hunter green by now, so these beautiful guys actually stand a chance!

May 1, 2012

Strawberry bread

It's strawberry season, y'all! There is truly something amazing about fresh strawberries. I grabbed a bucket at the farmers market this weekend and they are incredible! They are 10x better than grocery store strawberries and they helped me whip up this spectacular bread. Honestly I was just looking for a recipe that had minimal ingredients since I didn't want to go to the grocery store, and this one turned out to be perfect. I halved the original recipe so it would just make one loaf, but seeing that hubby and I devoured half of the one in about the first hour, I probably should have made two! The next day I was wanting more, so I turned the recipe into muffins by adding a little milk. Perfect for breakfast all week :)

Strawberry Bread

1/2 cup oil
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1.5-2 cups chopped fresh strawberries, or 1 10-oz. package frozen strawberries*

*If you're using fresh ones, save a couple before chopping to use for the top. Also the amount is a guesstimate - just eyeball it. Add enough to make it good, but don't overload the dough.

Preheat oven to 350. Mix oil, sugar, and eggs. Add flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix well until thoroughly blended. Add in strawberries. They will mash a little in this process and that's okay.  Grease a loaf pan and sprinkle with sugar. Pour batter into the loaf pan. Slice 1-2 strawberries and lay the slices on top. Bake at 325 for 1 hour. To make it fancy, serve with cream cheese and extra strawberries.

adapted from: Just Cook Already

And just because it's fun, here's a cute May calendar for your desktop or phone via RedStamp! Follow them on Facebook and you'll get a cute calendar for every month of the year. I LOVE this month's!

(I did not get asked/paid by RedStamp to promote this, I just wanted to share it with you because it's cute!)