christmas cookies

Happy snow day to those of us in Maryland & elsewhere that got a few inches this morning!  Normally I LIVE for snow days, but today was bittersweet because our CBS cookie exchange was cancelled. And on the rare occasion I was prepared ahead of time, my cookies were all dressed up, ready, and had nowhere to go.  But at least I can share them with you all…. 🙂

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Starlight Mint Sugar CookiesMy mom found the idea for these cookies from Target’s website, and sent the recipe to me.  I adapted it and have included instructions  below (the original recipe & steps can be found here.)

Here’s what you need:

  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint extract (**I substituted vanilla extract for the peppermint.  Maybe I’m weird, but something about ‘sugar cookie” + “mint flavored” just didn’t mix in my opinion)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Few drops red food coloring (**haha –yeah, right!  More like most of the bottle, Target! Be patient and know that it will take MANY drops to get you to the desired “Christmas red” shade!)

 

Here’s what you do:

1. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until blended. Beat in egg, milk and extract. Add flour and baking powder; beat on low until just combined.

2. Remove half of dough; press into disc shape and wrap with plastic wrap. (**Don’t try to cut corners like I did and take out what ‘looks like half’ of the dough and color the remainder of the dough still in the mixing bowl.  I would recommend removing all dough together, then dividing in half to get an accurate measurement.  I ended up having more red dough than plain dough and it made the other steps more challenging!)   To remaining dough, add a few drops food coloring. Mix well. Flatten into disc and wrap. Refrigerate both at least 30 minutes.

3. Place colored dough between 2 large sheets of plastic wrap; roll out to a 12×8-inch rectangle, about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with plain dough. Remove top sheet of plastic wrap from both doughs. Invert plain dough onto red dough. Gently press and trim edges.(** Place back in refrigerator for several minutes longer, which will make it easier to roll the dough up in a spiral next.)IMG_5737  IMG_5743      Remove top sheet of plastic wrap. Starting with short side, roll up dough into spiral. Wrap tightly; freeze about 30 minutes or until very firm.

4. Heat oven to 375°F. Unwrap dough; cut into 1/4-inch slices. On a greased cookie sheet, place slices 1 inch apart. Bake 8 to 10 minutes until set. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.

I then wrapped them in clear cellophane and tied off both ends with ribbon, to get the true peppermint effect. 😉

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They were a labor of love, but I think came out very cute…and hey, as long as you are happy with the results, any arduous task can be rewarding, right?  I think these would make cute neighbor/friend/teacher gifts during the holidays…which I will probably be doing now with all my unused cookies!

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baby shower

Well, almost eight months later, I am finally sharing the baby shower my sister Kate and I threw for our dear friend Katie–back in April.  She brought a beautiful baby girl into the world on May 28th of this year…so no time like the present to share the party we threw in her honor. 😉  It was so fun to plan and prepare for with my sister, and it was very rewarding to be able to celebrate such a good friend of ours.

Because Katie and Matt were surprised about the gender, we knew it had to be a ‘gender-neutral’ theme.  So we went with a carnival/circus/state fair look.  It helps that Katie (and the hostesses) happen to love ‘state fair-esque’ food  (soft pretzels, corn dogs, mac and cheese, sliders, popcorn, fries…) –it made the menu planning easy!  Here are some pictures from the day…_DSC0002

Kate and I created these paper “wheels” using card stock…

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….and the effect of a “big top” with red & white crepe paper:

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I used the same template from Emmeline’s first birthday to create the banner to welcome Baby D!

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Giant gumballs topped the cupcakes…

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…party favors were iced animal crackers…

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Kate has a really cool gold “trophy” that we used to hold our centerpiece…which tied in nicely with the food labels perched atop smaller trophies!

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We wrapped the silverware using carnival tickets:

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For drinks, we served virgin lemonades as well as an alcoholic version (lemonade+vodka+club in Mason jars. We called them “Baby Bliss” cocktails.

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Kate and I wanted to further play up the element of  surprise by having guests choose their paper straw according to their prediction of boy or girl.  We had so much fun designing and adding the little touches to the paper straws!

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As part of her shower gift I made Katie an alphabet canvas to match the baby’s nursery:

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Some of the party guests…(you can see a certain someone is losing it at this point)…

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Thank you for letting us shower you, Katie! What a wonderful day we’ll always remember 🙂

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birthday diy, part two

Here is the rest I promised from ECB’s big day!  Now that I’ve recovered (it was a lot of work, but so worth it), I feel as if I can type with eyes NOT held open with toothpicks.

I’ll leave you with that lovely image as you glance over these pictures…Image

As you can deduce, there was lots of *pink* that day!  Since we were surprised by Emmeline’s gender, it was my way to really go all-out girly. (Like I don’t do that every single day.) The garden stools are borrowed from my parents, but it is my dream to one day own a pair! : )

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The invitation…there were two versions I mailed.  The other had a predominantly pink & orange lattice border.  I was excited to do this very inexpensively!  I found the blank cards in the sale bin at Paper on the Avenue in Richmond, then just added the wordage and cute elephant motif at home.

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Pardon the lame food spread at the point at which this photo was taken…had to get a few snapshots in before all the food was laid out and the guests arrived!  The full menu included chicken teriyaki skewers, sesame noodles, potstickers and mini egg rolls (both Costco purchases!), edamame salad (a recipe I just “wung” but turned out well; I’d be happy to share!),  an Asian cracker & nut snack mix (also a Costco find), and of course birthday cupcakes!

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I made the food labels on Word, then taped them to napkin rings so they’d stand upright.  The how-to for the cupcake sparklers is featured here.

The smaller elephants were a World Market find, painted white and donated to me for the day (thanks Mom!).  I found these pink “theme-appropriate” lotus votives at Hobby Lobby.

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Disposable paper products were a must, with 30+ adults and nearly 15 children in attendance!  The pink square Chinoiserie plates had been stockpiled from my Mom, and she kindly gave them to me when she heard I was in search of just those!DSC_0533 DSC_0556I was rather proud of my centerpiece, seeing as how I am a complete nincompoop novice when it comes to flower arranging.  I had ordered 2 1/2 dozen pink carnations (January’s birth flower), and fearing that they wouldn’t be enough, ran to Trader Joe’s and picked up 2 bunches of white mums ($3.99 each).  I’m glad I did, because they were certainly needed! I used Dollar Store floral foam and plenty of pebbles to get them to take shape, because I learned you don’t by Dollar Store floral foam…it will undoubtedly float.

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TThe paper lanterns were sort of a last-minute idea, when I realized the tablescape needed a bit more.  I relied on my first grade teacher crafting skills, and with scissors, scrapbook paper, tape and a hole punch, created these beauties!  Kate gave me a tutorial on how to create VERY easy tassels, which I will share with you in a future post! I used string leftover from my pennant banner.

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Drinks for guests of all ages…

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Smash cake for the birthday girl was created using a giant cupcake mold I found at Five Below.  It was rather easy to bake & assemble, but I hit a wall when it came to frosting the bottom half…sooo instead I crafted a “cupcake liner” out of aluminum foil, folded accordion-style.

At first, Emmeline was quite tentative when it came to eating her cake.  How can she be my daughter? But after a short time she dug…and I mean DUG…in.

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Wrist-deep in pure, unadulterated sugar heaven!

After we got her cleaned up (which required an outfit change), we were ready for presents!  Lots of lovely, special gifts from wonderful friends.

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You might notice the slight exhaustion mother and daughter were both feeling at this point…

Party favors for the guests!

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I have to credit Jason here for coming up with the idea of giving out fortune cookies…when the thought came though, we found it was too late to order online. So, we went to our neighborhood Pei Wei where they kindly sold us a box of 300 for $5! Speaking of which, if you have any, and I mean ANY need for fortune cookies, we have about 250 in our basement.

I dressed them up by dipping each in pink Candy Melts, and dusting them with two different kinds of pink sprinkles.  Tags created on Microsoft Word.

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Now Emmeline won’t remember her first birthday, but we sure will! And we’ll gladly tell her all about it and show her pictures from her special day.  Jason & I felt greatly rewarded by how it turned out, and to be surrounded by friends & family at this important event was the true icing on the cake! : )

halloween party

I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about Halloween by now (onto the Thanksgiving and Christmas blur!), but I just wanted to share some pics from our party the weekend before last. This took me a while to post–I need a few days to decompress from party planning! It was a great success–everyone went all out in the costume department, which always makes it fun!

On the menu:

-Witchy dip with ghoulish crackers (spinach dip served in a cauldron, with my homemade ghost crackers)

-Halloweenies (pigs in blanket served with ketchup & mustard)

-Mummy Mix (Utz’s Party Mix & Target’s cheese balls in their “Red Hot” flavor…obviously not a homemade dish and super easy, but boy was it a hit!)

-Blood & Guts (chili)

-Creepy Cornbread (cornbread muffins w/ pepperjack cheese, black olives, & green chiles)

-Sinister salad (spinach salad tossed w/ orange peppers, black olives, baby portabella mushrooms and shredded cheese, served w/ orange-dyed ranch dressing)

-Zombie eyeballs (Oreo truffle balls)

-Graveyard dirt (“dirt” pudding cups)
Here are some pics of the food & decor…most of what you see here was either purchased from the Dollar Store, Target’s “One Spot”, Homegoods, or DIY.  You might recognize the chevron runner from Kate’s shower.

Jason and I were sushi and Cole Trickle from Days of Thunder 🙂

Some gal party guests as people started to arrive…

Next year (because now it has to be annual!), I will do a better job of taking pictures of all the party guests…there were some really great costumes!  Thanks to our friends for a great night.  I’m already looking forward to next year!
I will leave you with some pics of Emmeline the lamb, taken on her very first night of trick-or-treating! 🙂

See ya next year, Halloweens!

homemade crackers

It was so beautiful outside today!  After swinging herself silly at the park, Emmeline went down for a nice afternoon nap.

During her nap, I did what I do best: list-making.  I am a “to-do list” junkie.  Until I put pen to paper (or keys to keyboard?), I get this overwhelming “I’m going to forget everything I need to do!!!” feeling.  Making lists gives me a sense of calm, if only temporary! Then I’m bound to get stressed about something else, but that’s another story….

ANYWAY, my list du jour consisted of all the things I want to do in preparation for our Halloween party.  On that list was “make homemade crackers”.  Why, you ask?  Because I am a sucker for making things harder than they need to be?  Why drop $2 on a box of Wheat Thins when you can spend 2 hours making your own?

Why I really wanted to make crackers from scratch was because I needed ghost-shaped crackers to go along with my witchy dip I’ve planned, and until they sell ghost-shaped crackers at Safeway, I’m stuck doing it on my own!

The thought of making homemade crackers was a bit intimidating, until I found a recipe for Sea Salt & Pepper crackers on Lemons & Anchovies (a cute/interesting blog name, huh?).

Instead of waiting ’til the day before said party, like I normally do, I thought I’d take a crack at making a batch today and (hopefully) work out the kinks!  And hey, I had all the ingredients on hand!  Well, that is a fib.  I am out of sugar and just haven’t made it to the grocery store for more.  Thank goodness for Jason swiping a handful of sugar packets from Royal Farms the other night for me!  Very boughetto, people!  And in case you’re wondering, approx. 5 sugar packets = 1 Tbsp.

The recipe was surprisingly easy, and I’ve adapted it if you are crazy like me and don’t want to do regular squares.

Here it is:

Sea Salt and Pepper Crackers

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (or 5 sugar packets)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Sea salt to sprinkle on top of dough
  • 2 turns black pepper from a peppermill plus more for sprinkling
  • 2/3 cup milk (my milk was sketchily close to its expiration date, so I used half&half and it worked fine! someone needs to go shopping!!!)
  • 2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  1. Preheat your oven to 450°F.
  2. Using a food processor, pulse the flour, sugar, salt and pepper until combined.
  3. Add the pieces of chilled butter and process until the butter is no longer discernible in the mixture, a few seconds.
  4. With the food processor on, add the milk and process until the dough comes together.
  5. Turn dough out on a floured surface and knead for 5-6 minutes.
  6. Shape into a ball and cut in half.
  7. Roll out one half of dough on an inverted baking pan. I used a half sheet size pan and rolled out as thinly as I could until the dough came close to the edges of the pan.  Repeat for the second half.
     It is super important to get them thin, or they won’t seem very cracker-like! Like this thin:
  8. Sprinkle sea salt and more black pepper (like seen in above picture).
  9. Pierce the surface of the dough with a fork and score it with a knife into serving size pieces. Or, if you are cutting into particular shapes, use your cookie cutter, and peel the dough away from the cut pieces.  It pulled away very easily!
  10. Bake on the sheet pan for 10-12 minutes, making sure to rotate the pan halfway through the cooking time.  This is important or they will definitely burn around the edges!
  11. Take out of the oven and allow to rest on the pan for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  12. Cut into serving pieces (if you’re doing boring squares).

They reminded me of a water cracker, but with a nice salty flavor.  Self-critique: I will definitely concentrate on getting them very thin…my first couple batches were too thick, and while they still tasted good, they were a bit chewy.

I think I will use my family as test subjects tonight, and serve them with some nice Trader Joe’s soup for dinner!

This is the point where I realize I didn’t actually cross anything off my to-do list.  “Do trial run of crackers” was not on there.  Oh well.  At least I have less anxiety about making them now!  Cracker anxiety… admit me to the nearest mental institution.

 

happy october!

Rabbit rabbit! Well, one day late.  That is a saying I learned from my husband’s family, said to each other on the first of each month.  I have no idea what it means, or its origination, but it has now become a tradition in our family too.  Jason and I try to beat each other to saying it on the 1st. I won this month.

Yay for October! I am so happy you’re here.  I love fall, but most especially, I love Halloweens.  (A shout out here to my dear friend Sarah, who taught me to say “Halloweens”.  You’ll have to ask her for the story, but I’ve also used that term ever since I met her.  And as a fellow Halloweens-o-phile, we were just discussing the other day how it now seems strange when people refer to it just as “Halloween”.) By the way, Sarah has a fantastic food blog you can find here.

Anyway! The start to October means Halloweens is just around the corner, and our annual (well, second year) party is just weeks away! I will certainly post about that, but in the meantime, I have a little recipe to share with you.

I love baking, but I’ve been very frustrated with it.  Lately, everything I bake seems to come out too dry, overdone, or underdone.  But that hasn’t stopped me! (What is that phrase about insanity? The act of doing the exact same thing over again, expecting a different result?) And yesterday, I experienced a bit of redemption.

Backstory: I was sitting in Goodyear waiting for my car’s oil to be changed, and was checking out the lovely magazine selection while simultaneously passing anything to Emmeline that would distract her….toys, Puffs, paper, styrofoam cups.  I probably looked like a top-notch mother to the other patrons (seriously woman? You can’t TEAR your eyes away from Ladies’ Home Journal for one moment to interact with your child?)  But in reality, I had found a great recipe, people!  And come on, she was just fine.  Seriously,  I think if you drew a face on a styrofoam cup it could sub in as a suitable babysitter, at least for an hour.

So, I found this recipe for apple cake, took pics of it instead of tearing it out (don’t you think that’s unfair?), with the intention of making it in the upcoming weeks.  Then witching hour (approximately 4-7ish pm, or however long before Dad gets home) struck, and I thought to myself, “I think I have all the ingredients, why not put her in her high chair and attempt to make this cake while she experiments with all the fun foods she can eat now?”  So, we had a grand old time, me mixing and baking while Emmeline snacked on string cheese, bread with peanut butter, and corn.  And by the way, isn’t it a great feeling when you happen to have all the ingredients on hand?!

Now, I have to brag a tiny bit– this cake turned out WONDERFULLY! It was delicious! Just the perfect amount of the “m” word (I can’t say it! Too gross!), sweet & cinnamon-y but not too rich, and the apples were a great consistency.  Jason was a fan, and I was so happy with the results I want to make it weekly! Well, that’s a tad excessive, but I definitely felt the recipe is worth sharing with you all.

This is also a tribute to my dear friend Katie (who happens to be an excellent baker), because she gave me both the bundt pan and apple corer I used in this recipe. 🙂

Apple Cake (recipe courtesy of Ladies’ Home Journal)

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar (Note: I ran out of white sugar! So I had to use approx 1 1/2 cups of white, 1/2 cup of light brown…and I will definitely do this from now on! It added great flour and wasn’t too rich.)
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 1/2 lbs (3 large, or about 4.5 small) apples, peeled and diced into about 1/2 inch pieces.  (Note: they recommended about every apple species OTHER than the kind I had on hand–Mutsus, Winesaps, Empires, and Granny Smiths–but I used Gala and they were just as delish, I imagine! I also didn’t peel them first…certainly easier, and didn’t make a difference in my opinion.)
1 tbsp turbinado sugar (i.e. Sugar in the Raw)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
5 tsp milk

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bundt pan (or 10-inch tube pan), dust lightly with flour and tap out excess. Set aside.

2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, 2 tsp cinnamon, baking soda, and salt; set aside.  In an electric mixer cream together the butter, oil, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs on at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. Incorporate dry ingredients into butter mixture.

4. Fold in apples.

5. Spoon batter into the prepared pan.  Combine remaining 1 tsp cinnamon and turbinado sugar, and sprinkle over cake.

6. Bake until top is golden and an inserted toothpick comes out clean (about an hr and 5 mins).

7. Allow cake to cool approx. 15 minutes before transferring to a plate right-side up; allow to cool completely.  Whisk together confectioners’ sugar & milk to make icing, drizzle over the cake.

We had it for dessert last night, Emmeline had it for breakfast this morning, Jason took a slice for lunch, and there’s still plenty left over!

(we’re still working on the whole table manners/wiping your mouth thing 😉 )

I think it was the perfect fall treat to celebrate the coziness that comes with cooler weather!

some recipes to try…

I don’t post about food very often; but I realize that I should start, considering how much I love it! A few weeks ago, I finally got around to organizing my recipe binder….it was overflowing with recipes I’d torn out of magazines, copied from my mom, or that had been given to me by friends.  They’re much happier now, each in its own clear plastic sleeve and organized in color-coded tabs by type of dish.  The dividers are perfect because they have pockets–so I can stick loose recipes in there if I’m in a hurry.

I feel I need to issue a disclaimer–I am a big fan of semi-homemade meals (just call me Sandra Lee without the crazy themed kitchens).  When scanning a recipe, it rarely makes the cut if it has more than about three specialty ingredients.  I am just drawn to the stuff that looks good and practical to make, and builds on store-bought items!  I’ve had a few recipes turn out really nicely recently (isn’t that a rewarding feeling?), so I thought I would share with you.

Last weekend I had a few girlfriends over for wine and snacks while Jason was out of town.  I found this recipe for spinach lasagna rolls and thought I would give it a whirl!  Of course I don’t have a picture, but they looked very similar to these:

They were super easy to make, delicious, and the perfect meal for a get-together or weeknight dinner.

Here’s the recipe with my modifications: (I always laugh when brands are suggested…I mean I know why companies do it, but it comes off like “the meal will be completely different if you don’t buy Kraft!” And it never is.)

 

Adding the pesto (homemade by my mom using basil from her garden) was a great touch and I highly recommend it!  And these rolls make wonderful leftovers. : )  Also, you can make it healthier by using Neufchatel cheese (which is the same as cream cheese but with 1/3 less fat) and 2% milk mozzarella, which I did.

 

With Cinco de Mayo rapidly approaching, I just HAD to honor the holiday with a Mexican-themed dinner.  We had our good friends over for dinner and I made these AWESOME creamy spinach enchiladas! I was so proud of myself! For being able to follow a recipe!  Haha but seriously, you have to celebrate even the little achievements : )

I happened upon this recipe in January’s Real Simple issue, in an article about takeout foods ‘made over’.

Again, I didn’t think to snap a picture, but this is almost exactly how they turned out:

And how to make them (with my modifications):

Ingredients:

– 1 ten ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (frozen chopped spinach always takes longer to thaw than you think!)

-1 cup frozen corn thawed (although I’m sure you could use canned corn too)

-1 cup 2% milk grated Cheddar cheese

-2  4. 5 ounce cans chopped green chiles

-1 1/2 cups heavy cream (the recipe called for 1, but I made it ahead of time and the tortillas absorbed a lot of the cream, so I poured an additional 1/2 cup over top of them right before sticking in the oven)

-1 lb. ground pork (the recipe was meatless, but I wanted to add this for the guys. I must say it was a nice touch and made it more substantial)

– 6-inch corn tortillas (the small guys).  The recipe called for only 8, but I used so many more than that AND had a ton of filling left over (see instructions)!

-sea salt and black pepper

To-Do:

1. In a medium bowl, mix the spinach, corn, 1 cup of the Cheddar, and 1 can of the chiles.

2. In a frying pan, brown the ground pork and add this to the mixture.

3. In a small bowl, stir together 1 cup of the cream, the remaining can of chies, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper.

4. Put one heaping spoonful of the meat and spinach mixture in the middle of each tortilla, spread it out going along the diameter of the tortilla, and roll them up.  The recipe said to warm the tortillas, but I found this made them split open. I think using cold ones (out of the fridge) worked better.  Place rolled tortillas seam-side down in a shallow baking dish. I sprayed the dish with Pam first, just in case.  Like I said, I filled up the whole dish with tortillas and there was still a ton of the meat and spinach mixture left. I saved this and served it mixed with black beans and brown rice for dinner earlier this week–also delish!

5. After you have lined up all the rolled tortillas, top with the cream sauce and another cup of the Cheddar.

6. Bake covered with foil in a 400-degree oven for 15-20 mins. Then uncover and bake for an additional 10-15 mins.  The tortillas should be golden brown and the cheese and sauce mixture should be bubbly!

I just thought these were so good…the enchilada filling was great, and the corn tortillas added a sweet, almost tamale-like flavor.  It was a nice departure from the usual red sauce and bean enchiladas.

On the side, I served a simple cabbage salad (also taken from Real Simple). I had never made a cabbage salad before and I have to say, I was skeptical about how it would turn out as I was preparing it. But I had no reason to be–it was great! And even better the longer it ‘sat’ in its dressing…I thought it was still wonderful the next day!

Ingredients:

-1/2 small red cabbage, thinly sliced (this makes enough for 4 and then plenty leftover!)

– 2 scallions, thinly sliced)

-1/2 cup pepitas (which are roasted, hulled pumpkin seeds…couldn’t find them at our regular grocery store so I got them at Trader Joe’s

– 2 to 3 Tbsp olive oil

-2 Tbsp fresh lime juice (or you can always use the bottled kind…I just happened to have fresh on hand from my cookies..read on for those!)

To-Do:

1. In a large bowl, toss the cabbage and scallions with the pepitas, oil, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  If you’re making this a little ahead of time, I would add the pepitas last so they don’t get soggy.

This was the perfect accompaniment to the enchiladas!

Now for the dessert, I am pretty proud of myself because I really went out of my comfort zone.  When I make cookies, they usually come from out of a tub or are of the ‘break-and-bake’ variety…usually because I am lazy in a hurry, or I can never get them chewy enough for my liking (although I read recently that substituting shortening and brown sugar in place of butter and white sugar helps achieve this?)

However, I recently caught an episode of Giada, in which she made a very quaint ‘boat picnic lunch’ for her and her family (sigh.)  One feature of the meal were Lime and Cornmeal Cookies with a Citrus Glaze.  They looked so scrumptious (and fitting for my pre-Cinco de Mayo meal) that I just had to attempt them.  They really were not complicated, just a little labor-intensive…which makes it all the more rewarding when they turn out well!

I actually do a have a picture of the cookies, or what is left of them!  The presentation was better when I served them though. 🙂

Once again, the recipe with my modifications:

Ingredients:

– 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened

– 1 cup sugar

– 3 large limes, zested

– 1 egg at room temp

-3 Tbsp fresh lime juice (2-3 large limes). Again, I am sure you could use the bottled kind, but I needed limes for my margaritas anyway, and it was an excuse to use my cute juicer I got on sale at Anthro a few summers ago!

– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

– 1 1/2 cups rice flour, plus more for dusting…I scoured two grocery stores for this stuff before doing an Internet search in which I found often times all-purpose wheat flour is a fine substitute. And it was!

– 1/2 cup cornmeal

– 1/4 tsp sea salt

For the glaze:

– 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar

– 2 large limes, zested

– 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice (or lemon juice)

To Do:

1. The recipe called for lining a baking sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper…neither of which I happened to have, so I heavily Pam-ed the cookie sheet and that was just fine.  Do not use waxed paper coated in cooking spray as a substitute, despite what the Internet tells you…it will start to burn, smoke up your kitchen, and set off your smoking alarm while your baby looks at you with a mixture of confusion and horror.

2. In a food processor, pulse together the butter, sugar, and lime zest until combined.  Then add the egg, lime juice, and vanilla, processing until smooth.  Add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt, processing together until the mixture forms a dough.  Take the dough out and knead for about 20 seconds on a lightly floured surface.  Then wrap in plastic and put in the fridge for 20 mins.

3. After 20 mins, put dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out until the dough is about a quarter-inch thick.  It calls for a round cookie cutter to cut the dough, which I didn’t have, but an inverted drinking glass worked just as well!

4. Place dough circles on greased baking sheet, and then put in a 350 degree oven for about 15-20 mins (until the edges are light golden).  Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely.

5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, lime juice, and lime zest until smooth. Spread approx. 1 tsp of the glaze onto each cooled cookie.  Allow glaze to harden for about 45 minutes before serving.

I thought the cookies turned out wonderfully…the tartness of the lime combined well with the buttery flavor of the cookie.

Last but not least, I’ll share an easy family recipe for great margaritas!

1. Fill a blender with ice.

2. Empty one can of frozen lime juice.

3. Fill that can back up with orange juice and empty into blender.

4. Fill that can back up with tequila and empty into blender.  Note: you can use less than a can of tequila if you are a lightweight prefer less booze.

5. Blend together and serve in a salt-rimmed glass!

Here is my BFF Katie, Emmeline and I before sitting down to our dinner 🙂

I hope you’re able to try some of these recipes over the coming months and enjoy them as much as we did!