Friday, July 29, 2011

Brown Butter Banana Strawberry Bread

We were served this wonderfully tasty bread during our weekend in Maine last month, by one of Eliza's friends, Madeleine.  Madeleine has her own food blog, Kitchen in the Yard, which I intend to visit often over the next little while, as everything she made for us in Maine was more than tasty (including her latest post of grilled honey peaches with honey marscapone). Madeleine had gotten this recipe off of the Joy the Baker blog. I didn't hunt back far enough to see if Joy the Baker had taken it from some other blog. But apparently, there is no need for cookbooks anymore...

I've been meaning to make this bread for awhile, but haven't managed to get the combination of having both overripe bananas and strawberries in the house all at the same time, until this week. Somehow the strawberries just seem to disappear before the bananas get anywhere near ripe... In any case, I finally got a chance to quickly whip this together this morning. And Jerome informed me as I woke up that Logan had scarfed some down for breakfast... not my first choice for his breakfast, but I guess it won't kill him... and I suggested that Jerome perhaps not give him the sugary crumble topping (which is really the best part! No wonder why he liked it so much).
6 oz (1/2 lb.) butter, melted and browned to just over 1/2 C of butter
2 C all-purpose flour (I used whole-wheat)
3/4 C brown sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 C plain yogurt (any fat content) or buttermilk
1 1/4 C mashed banana (about 3 medium bananas)
1/2 C diced strawberries, plus a couple of strawberries very thinly sliced, for topping

Crumb topping:
3 tbsp. cold butter
1/4 C flour (again, I used whole-wheat)
1/3 C brown sugar

Madeleine suggested that she would make extra crumble topping the next time she made it.  Which sounded delicious to me, as the topping was excellent.  But with Jerome's diabetes, I didn't want to push it, so I stuck to her original amounts.

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Grease and flour a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

2.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Butter will begin to foam and crackle as it melts.  When the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown.  Swirl the pan as the butter cooks.  When the butter browns and begins to smell nutty, remove the pan from the flame and transfer to a small bowl.  Taking the butter out of the hot saucepan will stop the butter from overcooking and burning.  Set aside to cool. (Place it in the refrigerator to cool it more quickly).

3.  Whisk together eggs, vanilla extract and yogurt or buttermilk.  Whisk in the mashed bananas.  When butter has cooled, whisk in the browned butter.

4.  Mix in the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Fold in the diced strawberries, being careful not to overstir.  Spoon batter into prepared pan.

5.  Mix together the butter, flour and brown sugar for the crumb topping.  Place on top of the bread batter, slightly pushing down with fingers.  Top with thinly sliced strawberries.

6.  Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour.  Remove from oven and allow to rest in the pan for 15 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Bread will last 4 days, well wrapped at room temperature.  This loaf also freezes well.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Broccoli with Roasted Red Peppers and Feta

This is another vegetable side dish that I often make.  As with most side dishes I make, it only takes a second.  I tend to freeze main meals as I make them and then pull them out of the freezer for a quick, homemade meal, adding a side veggie and/or grain.  Or in the summer, we often tend to bbq and then just add side dishes to them during the week.  I made this tonight with pork with bbq rub and spinach salad for dinner.

broccoli, cut into pieces
roasted red pepper, cut into pieces
crumbled feta cheese (I use light)


I don't usually make my own roasted red peppers (except for certain recipes). For suggestions on where to get them, you can consult my roasted red pepper risotto post.

The recipe couldn't be simpler. You basically just cook the broccoli (I throw it into a veggie steamer for 10-12 minutes).  Chop the roasted red pepper into pieces and then heat slightly in the microwave once the broccoli is ready.  Place roasted red pepper on the broccoli.  Crumble feta over top of the roasted red peppers and it is ready to serve.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Brazilian Treats

You know that you like food (or are maybe crazy) when you find yourself walking 45 minutes, pregnant and in heels (what was I thinking???), in 38 degree weather, to get some.  Specifically, Brazilian food.  And that's exactly what I found myself doing yesterday afternoon.

I had gone downtown to get a free hair appointment through a mystery shopping assignment I had taken on.  And since I was going to be close to a little Brazilian café that sells a Guarana soda that Jerome loves, I offered to go pick up a couple for him.  He asked me to also stop in at a nearby Portuguese bakery to pick up some Portuguese egg-style tarts, known as pastel de nata.  These are delicious little sweet tarts with a custardy egg filling.  He assured me that both were a short walk from the hair salon.

I found myself cursing him on my way back to the car after a 20+ minute one-way walk. In heels. Pregnant. In 38 degree weather. Have I mentioned that??  Had it not been 38 degrees out, I would have stopped to pick up some delicious poutine at La Banquise, which is, in my opinion, the best place anywhere to find poutine.  But even I (even pregnant!) couldn't stomach the thought of eating poutine in that kind of weather (though the place was still packed).

Anyhow, the point of this post is that the little Portuguese bakery where Jerome sent me was a little mine of delicious Portuguese (and Brazilian) foods.  Jerome's cousin grew up in Brazil and his mom's best friend is Brazilian.  He's been there a couple of times and has had many chances to sample delicious Brazilian food from time to time.  Both his cousin (Isabelle) and mom's best friend (Maria) always bring us yummy treats from Brazil via France.  And Maria always makes us tasty Brazilian food when we visit Paris, including her famous feijoada. Feijoada is a delicious Brazilian stew, for which Maria imports half of the ingredients from home.

So yesterday, as I was waiting to pay for my little egg custard tarts, I noticed that the restaurant counter to the left sold feijoada. And I knew that bringing home some feijoada would more than make up for me leaving Jerome home alone with Logan all day.  Maria, I have to admit that it wasn't quite as good as yours, and was made with kidney beans instead of black beans.  But it was still quite delicious. I ordered two portions, but thank goodness the guy didn't hear me. As he passed over one portion, I realized it was more than enough for the two of us, and it even provided left-overs for Jerome's lunch. For the bargain price of $9.

I also picked him up a chorizo sausage, winning wife of the year award for all of my treats (my words, not his).  In any case, all of this to say that if you like Brazilian/Portuguese food and are in the area of Rachel and St. Laurent, this little shop is worth a visit.  I didn't get the name of it, but it's on the north side of Rachel, just slightly east of St. Laurent. Enjoy :)  We finished our last custard tart this evening.  And I am now on a mission to find recipes for both the tart and the feijoada before the new baby comes.  Ones that can be made without importing ingredients from Brazil. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Watermelon Salad

My mom had this salad recently at a potluck and called me right away to give the recipe to me, because she loved it so much.  I made it this past weekend when my family was down.  It's a light, refreshing salad, nice on a hot summer day, such as those forecasted for the next few days. It only takes a few minutes to make, so it's a great recipe to make when entertaining.

crumbled feta (I used light)
fresh basil
freshly ground pepper

1.  Using a melon baller, ball 1/4 to 1/2 of a watermelon.

2.  Crumble a handful of feta into the watermelon.

3.  Chop a small handful of the fresh basil finely and add to the salad.  Add only a bit at first, and then adjust for taste. 

4.  Sprinkle the salad with freshly ground pepper.  Mix the salad and then sprinkle with a bit more fresh pepper.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Grilled Potato Salad with Ceasar Dressing

 This is another of the salads that I made while my family was down this past weekend. It's quick and easy to make and I much prefer it to a traditional potato salad (which I have to admit, I don't really like).  I wouldn't add any salt at all to the potatoes, as the store-bought ceasar dressing and bacon (even though I bought low-sodium bacon) have more than enough and the salad ends up way too salty if you add even a bit of salt to the recipe.

24 small new potatoes, red or white
2 tbsp. olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper
8 oz. cooked bacon, cut into pieces
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 C ceasar salad dressing (I use Renée's light)
shaved fresh Parmesan cheese

1.  Place potatoes with skins on in a saucepan.  Cover with cold water.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Drain well.

2.  Cut potatoes in half.  Place in a bowl.  Add olive oil and salt and pepper.  Toss to coat.  Place in a grill basket and grill over medium heat 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned, turning occasionally.  Alternatively, you can cook them in the oven at 450 degrees Farenheit for 35 minutes, turning once halfway through.

3.  Meanwhile, in a skillet, cook bacon until crisp.  Drain on paper towels and tear into pieces.

4.  Place potatoes in a bowl.  Add bacon, onions and ceasar dressing.  Toss to coat.  Add additional salt and pepper to taste.

5.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Cherry Clafoutis

I've done quite a bit of cooking this past week or so, since we've been entertaining a bit.  I've recently added a new feature to my blog where you can check out what I've made any given week on the right hand side of my posts.  Hopefully, this will give you ideas of seasonal recipes to make that have been previously posted. I've been trying to keep it updated on a weekly basis and so far, so good.

This recipe is a French classic.  It comes from the cookbook Tout Clafoutis, which we had received from Jerome's mom several years back.  The book also has a delicious recipe for chocolate banana clafoutis that Jerome makes every year for a bake sale at work.  But I'll wait and post that sometime in the future when we make it.

The recipe says to pit the cherries. We generally don't bother, and just take them out as we eat the dessert.  Though I suppose that it is classier to pit them when you have company.  But our company this past weekend was family... so practicality won out over class.

This recipe isn't terribly sweet and is a nice summer dessert.  We try to make it once a year when cherries are in season.  I have been absolutely addicted to cherries for the past few weeks, bringing a big bowl to bed

500g of pitted cherries
20g butter
100g flour
100g granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
pinch of salt
3 eggs
1 C milk
2 tbsp. icing sugar

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  

2.  Wash and pit the cherries.  Butter an 8-inch pyrex plate.  Lay the cherries closely together in the bottom of the pan in one single layer.

3.  Mix together the flour, granulated sugar, vanilla and salt.  Mix in the eggs, being careful to not leave any lumps.  Then gradually mix in the milk until you have obtained a smooth and homogenous mixture.  Pour the mixture over the cherries, being careful not to displace any of them.

4.  Place in the oven for approximately 40 minutes.  Once out of the oven, sprinkle the hot clafoutis with icing sugar.  Serve warm or cold.  Do not take out of the pan before serving, as it will fall apart.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Broccoli Salad

5:30 yesterday morning and I can hear Logan's wailing rousing me to awareness... can't babies learn that anything before 6am (well heck, 7am!) is just too darned early???  It was 4:10 this morning...  I'm finding that since I've started back to work and he's in daycare, the early mornings are really getting to me.  Probably since I don't really get a chance to nap anymore, like I used to do with him every day.  At least when he was a newborn and then when I got pregnant again.  I can't wait until he is old enough to use my friend's technique of teaching him a 6 and showing him that he can't get out of bed until he sees a 6 on his clock. I am counting the days... months... oh God... please not years....

I guess one of the advantages of early mornings that wouldn't occur without a baby is that when your family is coming down for the weekend, you've had time to feed and dress your son, marinate the meat, make all of the salads and dessert and clean your kitchen... and all of this before it is even 8am.  How did I ever get things done before when I would sleep until 9 and then head to the gym until noon??  ;)

Anyhow, I've been making all sorts of recipes in the last little while, since we've been with friends and family lots on the weekends, enjoying the beautiful weather of summer. I just haven't yet had a chance to type them all up and post them.  But they will get here... Here's one to start you off though.

I decided to mostly make cold salads to go with our meals this weekend so that I didn't have the headache of trying to prepare dinner while at the same time entertaining and putting our little guy to bed. I haven't made this salad in quite awhile, but it's a nice summer salad.

1 bunch of broccoli (3 C)
1/2 C chopped red onion
1/4 C sunflower seeds
1/2 C raisins
1/2 C feta cheese or cottage cheese (I use light feta)

1/2 C plain yogurt
1/4 C mayonnaise (I use light)
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together dressing ingredients and pour over the salad.  Chill and enjoy.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Willie's Guacamole

When you read the ingredients to this recipe, you’re most likely going to think that it sounds disgusting.  I have to admit that that’s what I thought when I heard what was in it.  But it is more than worth giving it the benefit of the doubt to make it.  This is the best recipe for guacamole that I’ve ever had.  It comes from my friend Willie, who is from El Salvador.  So you know that it has to be good.  He made this for us in Maine a couple of weekends ago and it disappeared in the blink of an eye.  I made it again at my sister’s when we went to visit her this past weekend and the same thing happened.  Despite the massive quantity that it makes.

5 avocados
6 hard boiled eggs
2-3 tomatoes, chopped
3-4 radishes, finely chopped
½ large red onion, finely chopped
Fresh coriander
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lime

1.  Mash the avocados and the hard boiled eggs, to obtain as smooth of a texture as possible.

2.   Stir in the chopped tomatoes, radishes and red onion. 

3.  Chop and stir in as much coriander as you like, to taste.  I like to use lots, as coriander is probably my favourite herb.

4.  Add salt and pepper and freshly squeezed lime juice to taste (I used about ¾ of the lime).

The trick to preserving leftover guacamole (if there is any!) is to put an avocado pit into the bowl with the guacamole and to put the saran wrap right down directly onto the top of the guacamole.  Both will help to minimize oxidization (which causes the browning of the guacamole).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Welcome to the world little Madeleine (Maddy) Grace Farrar, born June 19th at 7 lbs., 6 oz.!!!  We were so very excited to meet you this past weekend.  Our very first niece, and Logan's very first cousin.  A precious little cuddly bundle, who I did my best to snuggle up with the entire time we were with her over the past 4 days.

We enjoyed a wonderful  few days, snuggling up to a mostly sleeping Madeleine, hanging out chatting and enjoying some tasty treats.  More on those to follow over the next few posts.  Logan was unexpectedly more than ok with me holding Madeleine even for hours on end.  I have my fingers crossed that this means that he’ll adapt well to his new little sister.

Nothing better than snuggling up to a newborn.
Logan had a hoot during his visit, absolutely loving Ash and Eric’s dog, Loki.  He even quickly incorporated his name into his first few words.  He giggled incessantly while chasing him around their place, attempting to rip empty Tim Hortons cups out of his mouth, having howling competitions and face-offs for dominance and feeding him yogurt off of his spoon.  Something tells me Loki was more than happy to see us go.  And that Loki will have his own challenges with little Maddy as she gets older.  Logan continues to say 'goki' numerous times a day.

During our visit, Maddy was lucky enough to have the unique opportunity to hang out with all 4 of her great-grandmothers at an 88th birthday party organized for my grandmother.  My dad had the idea of making the birthday into a joint celebration of all 4 of Maddy's great-grandmothers, recognizing all of their recent birthdays.  What a wonderful, special occasion.  A big thanks to my dad, who had the idea and organized the whole thing.  I think I am speaking for everyone who was in attendance in saying that it was much appreciated and enjoyed by all.


Back to the point of this post... we brought these little French cakes, known appropriately as Madeleines, with us for Ash and Eric.  Maddy-cakes, as Ash likes to call little Madeleine.  We used a special Madeleine baking tray that we had brought with us once upon a time from France.  But I'm sure they could also be made in mini-muffin trays.


This recipe comes from the Larousse des Desserts, a gigantic French dessert cookbook that we bought in France before my husband immigrated to Canada.  Yes, Larousse, as in the dictionary Larousse.  Yes, essentially a full edition of every French dessert known to man.  Pure heaven.  Why haven't I used it more?  This is the first time I've ever made these, despite having both the recipe book and the appropriate pan.  I now have my eye on the strawberry eclairs that were on the same page as the madeleines...

These are super easy to make.  The only catch is that they call for levure chimique, which we usually buy in little packets in France and bring with us.  In doing a quick google search, it seems that this is equivalent to baking powder, but I can't guarantee it, as I've only made it with levure chimique.  You will also need a food scale to make this recipe, as for any other French recipe I've posted.  But they're relatively cheap and it's worth investing in one just to make some of the other delicious French food my husband makes and I post.  Well... in my humble opinion, at least.

So here goes the recipe:

100g of white flour (I don't dare substitute whole-wheat flour for most French recipes)
3g of levure chimique (or baking powder)
100g of butter
1/4 of a fresh lemon
2 eggs
120g of white sugar

1.  Sift together the flour and the levure chimique/baking powder into a bowl (I didn't bother doing this).  Melt the butter in a small pan and let cool.  Finely chop 1/4 of the lemon zest (I used the lazy man's version of store-bought dried lemon peel, as I didn't have a fresh lemon on hand).

2.  Break the eggs into a bowl and pour the sugar over top.  Whip or mix with an electric mixer on high for 5 minutes in order to allow the preparation to mousse.

3.  Add the flour mixture, then the butter and lemon rind to the egg/sugar mixture, without stopping the beater.

4.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Farenheit.

5.  Lightly butter the madeline tray (or mini muffin tray).  Fill 2/3 of the way with mixture.  


I learned in making this recipe that when the recipe says to coat the pan beforehand, you really should.  I figured that since I was using silicone baking trays that they were likely of the non-stick variety and I didn’t need to.  Wrong.  I had to peel my first batch out and they didn’t look half as nice as the second.

6.  Put in the oven at 425 degrees Farenheit for 5 minutes, then lower the temperature to 400 degrees Farenheit and let cook for approximately 10 minutes (this was a bit long for my oven - I did 8 minutes).

Makes 12 madeleines.
I found that these went stale very quickly, so I would either eat them all within a day or two or put the leftovers in the freezer.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Lemon Squares

I've been craving all things lemon these days. Particularly, a frozen lemonade drink, though I have yet to manage one nearby that I love. I've tried Dairy Queen and Second Cup and found them too sweet, and tried Wild Willy's, where they don't actually make them. Grr... a few people suggested Tim Hortons to me, but apparently, they only make them here out east. 

I finally found what I was looking for at McDonald's this weekend - the perfect super lemony frozen drink :) And it was like heaven in my mouth. You know it's too lemony when Jerome takes one sip and makes a face. Mmm... I'm drooling as I write this.

This discovery of pure frozen perfection was while we were away on a long weekend visit to Eliza and friends in Tenants Harbour, Maine. Her family has this wonderfully beautiful property, right on the water, and we were fortunate enough to be invited down, yet again, to spend the weekend. 
Logan, enjoying the massive property.

This cottage is open for vacation rentals for anyone interested, as is an adorable
little apartment:
We spent a fabulously relaxing weekend just hanging out and... mostly eating??? It was great to get away and have a chance to catch up with Eliza and her friends again. 

The delicious 'boil' prepared for us for dinner by Dan. Mmmm...
Our wonderful dinner spread.

We did get a chance to get down to the water as well.  Though it was basically ice water, and only the two bravest of the men actually dared to swim. As you can see, Logan didn't love the freezing water!

Enjoying some time by the water.

Logan preferred eating rocks to all of the other wonderful food we devoured this weekend.

So all in all, we had a wonderful weekend, despite the super long drive with baby. There are a few new delicious recipes that I discovered while away that I will get up here over the next little while too. Always a side benefit of a fantastic weekend :)

But back to what got me started on this post in the first place... lemons... so I'd been massively craving all things lemon and unable to fulfill my craving for a super sour frozen lemon drink until just this past weekend (and, as a side note, I only remembered once we'd crossed the border back into Canada that I'd wanted to go back to McDonald's to get a 2nd one... boo...). So I decided to make this recipe for lemon squares in the hopes that this would at least calm my lemony cravings. And it worked pretty well. 

This recipe is from Ash's friend Julie and it is quite delicious. The base is a wonderfully shortbready-tasting crust. Just perfect. And the topping is delicious and creamy. Next time I make this, I'll likely cut the sugar back a bit. Not because it was overly sweet, but because I love, love, love lemon (my mouth is watering yet again) and would like it to be just a bit more tart. But it was super yummy as is.

1 C flour
1/2 C butter
1/4 C sugar
pinch of salt

1.  Blend well.  Press into unbuttered 8 or 9-inch square pan.

2.  Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 15-20 minutes.  Let cool.

2 large eggs, beaten
1 lemon: juice and finely grated rind
1 C sugar
2 tbsp. flour
1/4 tsp. baking powder

1.  Mix together and pour over base.  

2.  Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 18-25 minutes.  Cool and dust with icing sugar (optional).

The cooking time depends on the size of the lemon and the amount of juice is produces.  Just keep an eye on the squares as they approach the end of cooking.  It doesn't seem to affect the taste if either the base or the top gets a bit browned.

This is very easy to make with a food processor.  Put flour, sugar and salt into container and spin briefly.  Cut butter in small chunks and add to flour mix.  Blend until mixture barely starts to clump; empty into pan.

Break eggs into container (no need to was it after making base); beat lightly.  Add remaining ingredients and spin until well mixed.  Pour over cooled (or warm) base.

Logan's first birthday bash

How is it that we celebrated Logan's first birthday only two weeks ago???? Wow... where has time gone?????? I feel like the days of me folding laundry in anticipation of his arrival were just yesterday...

And how has it already been a year since this tiny 6 lb. 4 oz. baby fell asleep in our arms??

Gone are the days of cuddling with him all day in bed. I often want to stay in bed much longer than he does these days. It boggles my mind just how quickly a tiny little helpless baby turns into an almost little boy (ok, I can't quite bring myself to think of him as not a baby just yet... one is still a baby, right?). A soon-t0-be-walking, starting to talk, full of personality, little boy. I'm sure that before I know it, he'll be heading off to university and I'll be wondering just where the time went. In the meantime, I'm trying to enjoy every single second that I get to spend with this precious little being. Life couldn't be any better :)

So my whole family (well except Scott, who was missed by all), came down to celebrate Logan's first birthday. We were joined by close friends and had lunch and a little party. Thanks to all who made the effort to come, as it was much appreciated, even if he had no clue what was going on (well maybe other than knowing that he was loving the sugar!).

My own decorations could never compare to Kelle Hampton-like standards. However, my sister Ashley may one day give her a run for her money and made Logan a beautiful birthday wreath:

and happy birthday banner:

to help decorate for his special day :)

And we picked him up some balloons to go with our monkey theme:

After spending an extraordinate amount of time decorating Logan's cake, I chose to make a variety of my quicker recipes for lunch. There's only so much that one person can get done with a one-year old underfoot :) So I served my mom's mac & cheese for the kids and tabouleh salad, chickpea salad, cucumber mango salad with cilantro lime dressing for the adults, to accompany the pulled pork recipe that I tried for a first time. Yes, breaking the rule of never trying a new recipe when you're having people over. But I was desperate for something quick, so I just crossed my fingers and prayed that it would be edible. And decided that I knew all of the guests well enough to just give in and order pizza if it wasn't ;) Lucky for me, we didn't have to eat pizza.

The pulled pork recipe comes from The 150 Best Slow Cooker Recipes cookbook. I doubled the recipe to make enough for the anticipated crowd... and have tons of leftovers in my freezer right now. Wow... I just realized that that means that the pork I made weighed about what Logan did when he was born :) I tried to get the liquid smoke at a local bbq store and was told that the only place I would be able to find it was on-line. And given that it was the day before the party, I just left it out.

Old South Pulled Pork on a Bun

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cracked black peppercorns
1 C tomato-based chili sauce
1/4 C packed brown sugar
1/4 C cider vinegar
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. liquid smoke
1 boneless pork shouler, trimmed of excess fat, about 3 lbs.
kaiser or onion buns, halved and warmed

1. In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until soft. Add garlic, chili powder and pepper and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add chili sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and liquid smoke. Stir to combine and bring to a boil.

2. Place pork in slow cooker and pour sauce over. Cover and cook on Low for 10 to 12 hours or on High for 6 hours, until pork is falling apart.

3. Transfer pork to a cutting board and pull the meat apart in shreds, using two forks. Return to sauce and keep warm. When ready to serve, spoon shredded pork and sauce over warm buns.

This recipe is freezer-friendly.

I also served both an alcoholic and non-alcoholic version of a delicious and super easy lime sherbet punch. I mean, really, what one-year old party is complete without an alcoholic punch?? Ash got this recipe from her good friend Julie, appropriately enough, for my baby shower before Logan was born.

Lime Sherbet Punch

2 bottles of gingerale
1 can frozen limeade
1 C vodka
1 pint lime sherbet (after searching all over, I learned you can find this at Loblaws)

You basically just put it all in a bowl and the sherbet melts into frosty yumminess.

So once we were done lunch, we moved onto the cake. Did I mention how long this took me?? I originally was convinced I would never make a cake like this again, but now that it is all said and done, I'm thinking I might possibly attempt it again if I had someone to keep an eye on my little guy. I figure it must get faster with practice and I was rather satisfied with the (though not perfect) outcome:

You can get the directions on how to make this cake on the Wilton website here. And you can rent the pans for $2 at Bulk Barn.

Logan ate his whole entire piece, plus some ice cream. Can you say tummy ache?? My original thought awhile back had been that I'd make him a super-healthy, sugar-free cake, but as the time approached, I figured, who cares... he only gets a birthday once a year and a bit of sugar once won't kill him.

The cake is my grandmother's recipe that she got out of the newspaper years ago. Super easy to make. She says everyone always asks her why the name. This is apparently really a recipe of Mike Harris'.

Mike Harris' Chocolate Cake

1 1/2 C brown sugar

1/2 C vegetable oil
1/2 C milk
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 3/4 C flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 C cocoa
Mix all of the above, then add:

3/4 C boiling water

Mix. Bake at 350 degrees Farenheit for 30-40 minutes.

This recipe is freezer-friendly without the icing.

I got my icing recipes from the Wilton website, using their buttercream icing and their chocolate buttercream icing.

We also served an ice cream buffet, complete with waffle cones, crushed oreos, gummy bears, smarties, sprinkles, whipped cream and cherries. Obviously, for the one year old ;) I served the following warm fudge sauce with the ice cream. This is a recipe that I got from Katie years ago, when visiting her at her parents. I canned a bunch of these before Logan was born, so I was able to just pull one out and heat it.

Fudge Sauce

1/2 C butter
2 1/4 C icing sugar
2/3 C evaporated milk (or cream)
6 squares of bittersweet chocolate

1. Add butter, sugar, milk and chocolate into a pot and put in a double boiler. Cook for 30 minutes. Do not stir while cooking.

2. Remove from heat and beat. Store in jars in the fridge and reheat as needed. If you want a thinner consistency, add more cream (never water).

I also served some Glutino gluten-free cupcakes for my sister, who has Celiac's disease:

We then headed to our newly finished basement to completely spoil Logan with presents:

We all got a blast over watching Logan on his new Elmo riding toy, oooohing and aaahing for several minutes, as he excitedly pressed all of the buttons and played with the propeller. Gosh, life is simple when you're one :) And it's crazy how the simplest of things can bring an entire room of adults to laughter.

And so that's that. A party. Time spent with family and friends. Wonderful presents. Being totally spoiled. And my little guy is apparently, not so little anymore. He's one:

And he's even got his own bike and cellphone now to prove it:

He's also soon going to be a big brother, as I'm pregnant again:

This is now officially the longest post of life :)

So we're going to have our hands full with two little ones running around here shortly. As of early November to be exact. And again, we couldn't be happier :)