Monday, February 28, 2011

my beautiful birthday weekend.

happy 26th birthday to me! 

it truly was a so very lovely weekend.  my dad & ruth came to birmy to visit!  we saw the city, did historical stuff, ate a ton of food, & just spent time together.  everything i could ask for.

on saturday, one of our stops was the birmingham botanical gardens.  it really is a gorgeous place.  we walked around & enjoyed the 60 degrees & sunshine.  dad & ruth pointed out all of the plants & trees they have in their yard.  blake & i pointed out the neat looking plants & flowers.  i'm already excited to head back when the roses & peonies & tulips are in bloom.

{ruth & my dad!}

 {pretending i am a photographer}
flowers flowers flowers...

there is a Japanese garden with neat plants & a pond & turtles & bamboo trees & a bridge.  very neat.  made blakey remember last february when he spent the month in japan!

 {beautiful lettuce in the vegetable & herb garden}

 {the cactus garden made me feel like home!}

hope your weekend was wonderful too.

love love,

Friday, February 25, 2011

happy day before my birthday :)

people always tell me that "when i get older" i will be less excited about my birthday.  they say i will be more worried about getting older.  i always tell them this isn't true.  & here is a great insight as to why i am still excited about my birthday:

every year, you will trade a little of your perfect skin & your ability to look great without exercising for wisdom & peace & groundedness, & every year the trade will be worth it.  i promise.

{mrs shauna neiquist of bitterness}

some of my birthday favorites throughout the years...

{my first legal drink :)}

{no birthday is complete without my mom's birthday lasagna.}

{21st birthday in vegas with my dad & sister!}

 {22nd birthday @ club rodeo.  of course.}

 {23rd birthday celebration at work.
the beginning of barbie birthday cakes!}

{24th birthday work celebration.
pink & pearls office decorations!

{25th birthday celebration with a big fat chicken fried steak.
that is my kind of birthday meal.}

so happy birthday to me & happy getting older to all of us.

love love,

Thursday, February 24, 2011

thankful thursday #8.

my birthday {golden birthday:  26 on the 26th} is in two days & i have so many things for which to be thankful.

1.  25 was very very very good to me.  to recap the first 3/4 of the year, see #5 {here}.  throw in my first & super successful attempt at a thanksgiving meal & one of the most fun days i've ever had, another snow-filled christmas which happened to be "our first christmas", an actually fun new years party with our new wonderful friends, another road trip across the country which means 20 hours of getting to know my best friend & husband even better than i already did, a few on call nights snuggling with my t-man, & so much more.

2. a visit over the weekend, which i am SO EXCITED about.  i will tell you all about it next week.  promise.

3. my super amazing husband already told me about my birthday gift.  {he couldn't keep a secret if his life depended on it.  how on earth did i not know when he was proposing??}  blakey got me a wedding band to wear while baking!!! 

as it turns out, engagement rings don't quite follow health code, & my wedding band is attached to my engagement ring.  so i've been wearing a lovely purple plastic band in class for the last 4 months. 

before christmas, i mentioned that some day we will have to get me a new wedding band to wear while baking.  & i showed him a few i liked.  this amazing boy bought me the one i liked the most!  & it should arrive today :) 

seriously.  he is the best.  & i am the luckiest girl alive.  i count my blessing each day.

i hope you can think of something for which you are thankful today.

love love,

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

wedding wednesday # 28: barbie bride.

one of my favorite cakes of all time is the barbie bride cake my sweet friend, emily, made for me a couple weeks before our wedding. 

when i was little, my grandmother would make a beautiful birthday doll cake for me.  & this barbie bride cake absolutely did that wonderful memory justice.  from the diamond engagement ring on her hand to the pearl necklace & the pink ribbon in her hair, i just adore this cake. 

{barbie is a stick, after all}

thank you, friend.

love love,

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

springtime in paris.

every semester, the advanced pastry & advanced savory classes get together to host a buffet for our friends & family.  ours is in march with a "springtime in paris" theme. 

sounds lovely.

french macaroons & madelines, teacups & tulips...

here is my vision thus far...


& an adorable little blog i found, titled "paris breakfast" might be quite the inspiration.

what else, my friends?

love love,

Monday, February 21, 2011

urban is famous!

my friends & i at urban were on tv this weekend!

CNN's headline news came down to check out three of birmy's up & coming spots, & we are one of them. i totally agree.

hope you had a fabulous weekend!

love love,

Friday, February 18, 2011

more sweets on this happy friday.

hope you had a most wonderful week & have an even more wonderful weekend.

a few more treats for your sweet tooth...

 {black forest cake}

 {sacher cake}

{my favorite dessert of all time}
{& i actually did it justice}

 {tarte tatin}
{apples, sugar, butter, & puff pastry}
{so good}

 {mandarin orange cheesecake
with orange bourbon sauce}

 {crepe banana with caramel sauce}

these two are from the valentine guest chef dinner my pastry friend, jess, & i had the opportunity to attend & assist.  we plated these:

 {chocolate & coffee bean petit fours}

 {chocolate & coffee mousse with an orange essence}

& from our final, my favorite plating this semester:
 {white chocolate bavarian cream
with a blackberry coulis & bubble sugar garnish}

happy friday :)

love love,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

thankful thursday # 7.

please allow me to preface this post by saying: i love pastry school.  at 5.5 weeks left, i am a little over night class.  {"senioritis", if you will.}  but i love pastry school.

last night after our final in class # 3 of 4 & a deep clean of the kitchen, we got out early.  almost 3 hours early.  & i am so very thankful.

blakey was at work, so i decided to hang out with my next favorite person/thing in birmingham: the coffee shop.  i headed to urban with my new book & sipped on a fabulous beer while reading a fabulous book.

isn't it amazing how the Lord knows exactly what you need, exactly when you need it?

i'm only one chapter in & am so deeply involved in the book.  among many favorites so far:

"bittersweet is the practice of believing that we really do need both the bitter & the sweet, & that a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth & your soul.  bitter is what makes us strong, what forces us to push through..."

"it has the potential to open you up, to open life up, to deliver you right into the palm of God's hand, which is where you wanted to be all along, except that you were too busy pushing & pulling your life into exactly what you thought it should be..."

"but if you can find it within yourself, in the wildest of seasons, just for a moment, to trust in the goodness of God, who made it all & holds it all together, you'll find yourself drawn along to a whole new place, & there's truly nothing sweeter.  unclench your fists, unlock your knees & also the door to your heart, take a deep breath, & begin to swim..."

i hope you can think of something for which you are thankful today.

love love,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

wedding wednesday # 27: worth far more than rubies.

these sweet cards are another fabulous find on etsy.  the company is red letter words: faith inspired art.  all of the wonderful women in our wedding received one.  because they were each worth far more than rubies...

& you are too.

love love,

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

my kind of valentine.

these adorable letterpress cards are my kind of valentine.  a friend at work is the super creative & super talented person who made them.  her company is four hats press, which you should absolutely check out {here}.  & to boot, she is just as sweet as the cards.

for my valentine,  i made little cookies.  we'll call them pink lemonade.  i hope he & the residents enjoyed them!

hope your february fourteenth was as sweet as you are :)

love love,

Monday, February 14, 2011

an ode to my prior cooking.

blakey & i were in the mood for some good ole' comfort food this weekend.  the kind of food that makes you smile, doesn't make you think or work too hard, takes few ingredients, few steps, & few dirty dishes.

& this was a fabulous meal.

first up, greek pork tenderloin.  marinate the pork for a few hours in lime juice, garlic, oil, salt, & dried oregano.  then bake to perfection.

next up: potato boats.  these will be my favorite thing to cook for the rest of my life, thanks very much to my baking & bible girls.  recipe {here}.

we also tried a new dish that the savory class next to my pastry class made the other night.  it was quite delicious.  cherry tomatoes, orange bell peppers, red onion, green onions, goat cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, evoo.  yummm.

& my mom's garlic bread to finish the meal: french bread slices with melted butter & garlic salt on both sides, broiled on both sides.  love it.

so happy the mcgowans joined us for the day!

 {lola & tanky had so much fun at the park!}

 {if ya like it then you shoulda put a ring on it...}

{& of course, the evening ended with a little shuffleboard}

who ever said dishes had to be complicated to be fantastic?  absolutely not.

love love,