Tuesday, May 31, 2011

our little friend turned 1!

sarah & will's baby boy turned 1!  & we all got to join in the birthday celebration.  it was great getting to meet their families & eat hot dogs & play outside with our friends.  fantastic birthday party, mr asher!

{asher wasn't sure about the cake at first.
but as soon as dad helped him out with the chocolate,
he was a happy boy.}

{& then they took the cake away.
he is pretty darn cute when he cries.}

we discovered that the four of us always accidentally stand in the same order for pictures, so it is now a tradition.  our girl pic:

& our super hot husbands: {will was busy being a dad}

there was a big game theme this weekend {which you will see more of tomorrow!}.  saturday was full of cornhole: the bean bag tossing game of the south.  one point for getting your bag on the board & three for in the hole.  sarah's dad made this georgia version.  very nice!

& my stud of a husband...

happy birthday, asher!  & more memorial day fun tomorrow.  hope your weekend was fabulous too!

love love,

Friday, May 27, 2011

8. externship update: dinner desserts.

three nights a week, we have an upscale dinner service at urban.  the dishes include fun & interesting items such as rabbit three ways, grilled venison, & potato and chive pierogi.  to accompany the delicious menu items, i got to come up with three dinner desserts!

first up, a moist 4-layer chocolate cake with a creamy chocolate pecan frosting.

{note: i am not actually working during dinner service, so i don't have any pictures of these desserts plated up.  this is from us tasting the cake :)}

next is a key lime pie semifreddo.  {semifreddo = semi-frozen. so it's like ice cream but frozen by putting it in a freezer.}  this is actually an old picture.  we now have a chocolate ganache crust with a graham cracker crumble topping.  it is by far the best seller.  i got to take a few home for our easter dinner last month.  our friends enjoyed them!

lastly is the apple bread pudding served with a vanilla sauce.  all of you who know me are thinking "kendall - bread pudding?  no way."  i know, i know.  i hate bread pudding.  & all mushy, creamy, custardy things.  but sometimes you have to do what the people want.  & southerners want their bread pudding.

it actually isn't bad.  that might have something to do with the disproportionate amount of custard to apples & bread.  maybe :)

oh, & i decided the lemon cupcakes are an official urban standard {haha...an Urban Standard standard} now.  so i made them a hand-drawn sign to match the others.

happy friday, friends!  it is a birthday-filled weekend for us!  & you know i love that.  happy birthday to asher, amy, & julie byrd!! 

love love,

Thursday, May 26, 2011

thankful thursday # 20.

so many tornadoes lately!! 

on tuesday, my fb newsfeed was full of tornado talk again.  this time in my home state of oklahoma.  i learned you can get the live stream of our favorite weather man on earth, gary england.  so i jumped on that opportunity to hear & see the man in action {val castor, doppler radar, take shelter, & my new favorite: your helmet}.  it was marvelous.

but i quickly learned one tornado was just to the west of my mom!  so i text her & found out they had lost electricity & were in their hall closet.  {middle of the house, lowest lever, no windows.  obviously.}  i kept her up to date with news from gary.  the tornado went north of her, so she was safe to exit the closet.

{julie, me, & mom.
i got to chat with julie about gary during the storm too.}

but that meant it was headed straight for my dad's house.  since he was ignoring my texts, i text my stepmom, who kindly informed me they were home & safe.  dad started responding when i made fun of him to his wife {haha} &, being the stubborn man that he is, said they were fine.  {fine: both men in my life LOVE that word.}  the tornado was on the street his neighborhood is off of, about 3 miles west.  crazy!  but they were, in fact, fine.

{daddy byrd}

one of my dear friends, nora, was at her parents' house in norman through these shenanigans too.  nora loves crazy weather.  she text me during the alabama storms & said she had been keeping up with the weather channel all day.  she got a crazy storm of her own!  i was happy to get to chat with her & that she and the fam were safe.


another love of mine, miss armstrong, lives in okc, which was in the middle of the mess too.  so we, as per our norm, chatted through facebook.  i am happy to say she & her adorable puppy are just fine too.

{i was going with a rehearsal dinner pic theme.
armstrong is a super important person for the thunder & had to miss the event.
this was my ode to her.}

 {but here is an actual picture of her.
from the bachelorette party.
looking like the rockstar she is.}

i am thankful you all & so many of our friends & our home town are ok!  prayers to those who lost so much through these tornadoes. 

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

love love,

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

the wedge.

the salad, that is.  it is one of my favorites.  probably because it usually has fabulous things on it like crumbly bleu cheese, creamy dressing, &, if you're lucky, bacon.  yep.  nothing healthy about this salad!

so last night i decided to make one for dinner.  it turned out mighty nice.  blake finished his & half of mine. this boy liking a salad = a good sign.

as all wedge salads do, this one started with a big chunk of iceberg lettuce.  i added some sliced roma tomatoes {yay for tomatoes being back in season!}.  quite a bit of finely chopped red onion.  i am a lucky girl, so bacon pieces were invited to the party.  of course, bleu cheese galore.

& then we had to get creative.  i found a recipe for a wedge salad dressing online & gathered the ingredients from the store.  after realizing some of my ingredients already at home were actually expired & using some substitutes, the dressing turned out really not good.  & because the grocery store is 15 minutes away, creativity stepped in.

thousand island dressing?  sure - it's the only one in my fridge.  cut it down with some cream.  ok.  throw in some minced garlic, lemon juice, & pepper to cut down on the sweet.  let's try it.  but still too sweet... worcestershire sauce.  really?  it actually worked.  & added a nice flavor.  success!

{when julie, haley, & i lived together, one of our favorite meals was "poor girl pasta salad".  the only rules were to gather whatever happened to be in our pantry & fridge and might go together & throw them all in a bowl.  sometimes it was more awkward than good.  but sometimes it was fabulous.  this evening really reminded me of that.}

the only thing missing was crunch.  & i love pecans.  let's try some candied pecans!  of course, i was almost out of pecans.  {you're catching my theme here...} so candied pecans & almond slivers!

to be honest, this was definitely the best part of the whole salad.  & the recipe i will share with you:

candied pecans & almond slivers!

2 c chopped nuts
1 egg white
1/2 c brown sugar
1 splash vanilla
some cinnamon

1. whip the egg white to a stiff peak.  don't be macho man - just use your mixer.  stiff.  seriously.
2. add the brown sugar & vanilla to the egg white.  stir until well mixed.
3. add the nuts & stir until well coated.
4. spread the nuts on sprayed parchment paper on a baking sheet.  bake at 300 for 15 minutes.  stir.  top with some cinnamon.  stir some more.  continue baking until most of the liquid is gone.  that was about 25 minutes for me.  keep in mind the nuts will get crunchier when they cool.  i promise.
5. eat & eat & eat.  you wont be able to stop :)

so not much "healthy" about this salad.  but very tasty.  i would still love any fabulous healthy recipes you have!  please?!

love love,

Monday, May 23, 2011

oh, do dah day.

 birmingham threw a party for tanky's birthday!!

this weekend was the 32nd year of birmingham's annual Do Dah Day.  this is the festival for dog lovers with great bands jammin out during a day in the sun.  it benefited the greater birmingham human society & was a fabulous event!

blake, tank, & i hung out on our blanket & chairs in the sun while listening to the fun tunes.  my favorite band was downright, which we will definitely have to check out again.

 {my boys}

of course, people & animal watching was at a prime...

 {oh yes, that is a goat.  on a leash.}

 {a hot pink & white dog.}

we did a little supporting with our awesome new "peace, love, do dah day" coozies.  love them.  i also had a fantastic corn dog.  yes.

i am pretty sure this was the best day of tank's life.  ever.   he got to hang out with mom & dad all day, sniff a lot of new smells, meet a dog or two, & be the total momma's boy he is sitting on my lap most of the afternoon.  happy birthday, t guy!

{he is a little warn out from his fun.}

hope you had a fabulous weekend too!

love love,

Friday, May 20, 2011

7. externship update: the cookie battle.

i've been at battle with cookies for the last 6 weeks.  & the cookies are winning.  by a lot.

i can give you all of my excuses, if you'd like: the convection oven's wind is too much... our new silpats are succeeding at their job more than necessary... different shelves of the oven get significantly different amounts of heat...

but finally, i've won!  i've defeated the cookies.  & they are delicious!  & soft inside with a slightly crisp outside. & pretty too.  

{a new customer favorite.
thank you, miss helen, for the suggestion!}

by the way, the solution: bake at 25 degrees lower, rotate the pans half way through baking, & use dough only at room temp.  

who knew cookies could be so complicated?

oh, i also made some great coffee cake cupcakes with a streusel topping & milky drizzle.  yummm.

happy friday!  bake some cookies this weekend & let me know your favorite flavors.

love love,

Thursday, May 19, 2011

thankful thursday # 19.

today is tanky's 2nd birthday!! 

he is growing to be such a big boy.  & i love him.  & we are so very blessed to have him.

{happy 2nd birthday, tanky!}

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

love love,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

a man table.

blakey found a new man project for the loft! 

our coffee table was in sub-par condition.  nail polish remover had been spilled on it not once, but two times.  {yes, armstrong, you definitely aren't in trouble since i did the exact same thing shortly there after.}  & the finish on the top decided it didn't want to withstand anything any more.  a luke warm plate: white ring.  a wet cup: white ring.  annoying.

so blake decided what better way to fix the table than to make it an ou football table?!  

he ordered 12 sports illustrated magazines with ou football on the cover.  my favorite is the ou texas cover from 2001.  a knock down of chris simms... boomer sooner.  then we measured the top of the table & ordered a piece of glass from a local glass shop.  the piece is a 1/4" thick & very heavy.  even the t man can't knock it off.  

we need to come up with a way to make it water tight, so the magazine aren't ruined when {yes, when.  not if} we spill water {or wine or beer} on the table.  maybe mod podge the magazines onto the table?  other ideas??

very fun & festive.  way to go, byrds.  & the manly table might be the excuse i need for a new pink chair in the room :)

love love,

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

learning to make healthy = delicious.

doesn't it feel like forever since i've blogged about cooking dinner?  that's because it has been forever.  but one meal down this week & another already planned means i am back at being a housewife that cooks!

blakey is back on his "i want to eat healthy" kick, so i'm doing my best to help.  in my world, if i am going to cook, it better taste good.  & taste good usually means butter & cheese & other delicious high calorie loves of mine.  but i am determined to join the world of healthy still = delicious.

up first, spinach chickpea curry with couscous!

this recipe i found on all recipes was quite good.  of course, tofu is never a texture worth writing home about {& yes, i know, if i would plan ahead & put a brick on top for a day or two, it would be better.  but me & planning ahead don't always go hand in hand.} i do, however, like that it takes on whatever flavor i am cooking & fills me up.  {people who say they don't like the taste of tofu are lying.  it has no taste other than what it is cooked in.}

a few tips: 
  • a very large onion {because everything is better when sauteed onion is involved}.
  • i went with thai red curry paste because i love it.  & sriracha.  we like spicey.
  • add minced garlic.  obviously.
  • no idea what a "bunch" of spinach is, so i used a whole package.  i would actually add more next time.
  • dried basil, really?  no thank you.
  • if you've never cooked couscous before, it doesn't have much flavor either.  i added the juice of 2 lemons, some evoo, s&p, & garlic powder.  much better.
yeah yeah, some of these things sound scary, but they're really not.  quite delicious!  & healthy.  go us.

if you have any great healthy/low calorie recipes you love, please share!  blakey & i & our summer selves will very much appreciate them.

love love,

Monday, May 16, 2011

burgers & burgers galore!

blakey & i had a fabulous weekend with our birmingham friends!  & burgers were involved.  twice.  & that makes me very happy.

saturday night, we all celebrated sarah's birthday at flip burger!  the beautiful sarah turned 29, so we are going to have to start planning her next birthday very soon.  any ideas for a fantastic 30th birthday??

in case you don't know, flip burger is one of the restaurants my favorite top chef, richard blais, was consulted to create.  & you can totally tell.  liquid nitrogen here & there.  randomly delicious creations like tuna tartare burgers & foie gras milkshakes.  love it.

after our delicious dinner, we headed to the j clyde for some beers.  this weekend was surprisingly cold, but we sat on the patio anyway.  it was a nice little change from the 90 degrees. 

on sunday, blakey & i tried a new wings place {pretty good} & read at barnes & noble for the afternoon.  then we had a fun cookout with the mcgowans!  grill master, ogden, cooked up some fabulous burgers on his grill.  man, i miss homemade burgers.  so good.  the puppies played & played &  played in the backyard, while we sat & chatted in our fleeces & boots.

a happy weekend for us.  we hope your weekend was a happy one too.

love love,

Friday, May 13, 2011

6. externship update: adapt.

the word of the week @ urban was ADAPT. 

the compressor of our bake case broke, melting all of my cupcakes in it one morning.  trashing cupcakes is always a sad day. & then discovering how to deal with the situation is, well, frustrating.

we tried putting the frosted cupcakes in one of our back fridges.  after a complaint about the cupcakes tasting funny, i tried one.  oh yes, they were freezer burned.  the fridge we had recently inherited was at 35 degrees, & much closer to a freezer than a cooler.

plan # 2: leave the cupcakes out at room temp.  buttercream has so much sugar in it that it is safe to leave it out at room temperature.  safe, yes.  stable at 90-something degrees, not so much.  more melted cupcakes!

plan # 3: new buttercream recipes.  how do you make buttercream more stable?  lots & lots of powdered sugar.  although that resulted in cupcakes a little sweeter than i would like, it worked.  so we put a display cake plate out with our options to entice the sweet tooths of our customers.  you know i love cake plates, so that part made me happy.

we also decided to try a new frosting method.  tom, urban's owner, wants the frosting to cover the entire surface of the cupcake top.  a reasonable request.  i am already using the most gigantic piping tip i can find & it wasn't doing the trick the kiss piping way.  so something new: a happy little swirl atop our cupcakes.

i actually think it's pretty cute.


not so bad after all.

oh, the bake case got fixed last night.  & i now get to display my sweets proudly.  yessss.

{cherry limeade cupcakes!}

happy friday, friends!

love love,

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

thankful thursday # 18.

i am so thankful for my wonderful & amazing husband.

you probably are so sick of hearing it... but he really is.

when nothing seems to be going my way {while baking.  i am a little dramatic.} & i am being a complete baby about it, he is so supportive & encouraging.

so, baby shower customer of this weekend, these are not the best french macarons i will ever make.  {or red velvet cupcakes.  somehow...  i make these multiple times a week.}  but as much husband says, i am trying my best.  & they will be fine.

exactly what i needed to hear.

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

love love,

a date above the rest.

blakey & i have been longing for a good rooftop bar in birmingham.  we would love to hang out & see the fabulous sights around downtown birmingham, red mountain, & sloss.  being up above is such a fun place to be.

& we finally found our high up patio!  above is the rooftop bar in the penthouse at the redmont hotel.  it claims to birmy's only rooftop bar.  & that is fine with us - this place has a fantastic 360 degree view of it all!

{my husband is way cool}

{leer tower is the tallest building, on the right.
our loft is just below & to the right.
you can see our window!}

{beautiful uab campus & red mountain}

{sloss furnace.
we still need to go there!}

there is swanky outdoor seating & a fun bartender.  on thursday nights it has the chill vibe that we love.  super excited to go back with our friends!

love love,

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


blakey joined a soccer team in birmingham this spring!  the vulcan united squad wasn't exactly the greatest soccer team ever, as they were last in the league last year.  but the first game with my husband resulted in a W!  

my husband, the soccer stud.

the guys on the team are a lot of fun & i've gotten to meet some neat friends/girlfriends/wives.  blakey has gotten back into one of the biggest loves of his life & gotten a little exercise too.  &, best of all, tanky gets to run around for 2 hours each sunday while i get a tan!  

this past weekend, blakey scored two goals!  one for me & one for his mom on mother's day :)

{blakey playing a little offense}

{& a little defense}

{so proud}

love love,