3.29.2012

Slow Cooker Creamy Tortellini Soup

Yes. Yes times a thousand. I tried out this recipe today and it didn't disappoint one bit. I'm usually a little wary of making meals that include mushrooms (Ryan's not a fan unless they're stuffed with cream cheese and sausage or something). But I think this soup will go over well with him. 
Pinterest is such a good tool. I've found I don't even google recipes anymore - I just head to my Pinterest page, and search it up. Thanks to that ritual of mine, I this recipe came into our kitchen this week. I tastes really wonderful with little crackers, and I'm sure just the same with toasted bread. You probably don't even have to serve this with a salad with all that spinach included, eh? Plus, I used chicken tortellini to get in our protein - I'm sure you could go meatless, as well, and go with the cheese-filled tortellini if that tickles your fancy. 
-----
Creamy Slow Cooker Tortellini Soup
Recipe originally Pinned from My Favorite Things

1-1 1/2 - 2 ounce envelope white sauce mix
4 cups water
1-14 ounce can vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1- 7 or 8 ounce package dried cheese tortellini (about 2 cups)
1-12 ounce can evaporated milk
6 cups fresh baby spinach leaves or torn spinach
Ground black pepper (optional)
Finely shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

1.Place dry white sauce mix in a 3-1/2- or 4-quart slow cooker. Gradually add the water to the white sauce mix, stirring until smooth. Stir in broth, mushrooms, onion, garlic, basil, salt, oregano, and cayenne pepper.

2.Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 2-1/2 to 3 hours.

3.Stir in dried tortellini. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 1 hour more or high-heat setting for 45 minutes more.

4.Stir in evaporated milk and fresh spinach. If desired, sprinkle individual servings with black pepper and Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 servings.

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3.28.2012

Meatball Melties



I just had to bring these back. Ryan kept asking me each week if I was ever going to make these again. After all the recipe guinea pig torture I put him through, I thought I should probably oblige. 

Soooo glad I did. I had forgotten how utterly juicy these burgers are (no pun intended). I absolutely love the warm flavor the seasonings bring to the beef, and ciabatta bread has always been on top of my list (especially when it's toasted). Also, another thing this recipe has going for it is that one of my favorite sandwiches at Subway is their Meatball Marinara. I'm a complete sucker for it. With my craving for a burger + Subway Meatball Marinara obsession + husband's ever-needing desire for Meatball Melties.... I think it was just about dang time we make 'em again.

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Meatball Melties
adapted from Rachel Ray

1 1/2 pounds ground beef  
2/3 cup Italian breadcrumbs 
1/4 cup finely dried parsley 
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten 
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped 
3 tablespoons grated onion, finely chopped 
A splash whole milk 
1/2 tablespoon rubbed or ground sage 
Fresh nutmeg 
Salt and pepper 
Extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) for generous drizzling 
-
8 deli slices mozzarella cheese 
 -
One 15 oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
A few leaves fresh basil, torn
a pinch dried oregano
4 ciabatta rolls
  1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet or griddle pan over medium-high heat. In a large bowl, combine the raw ground beef, breadcrumbs, parsley, parmesan, egg, garlic, onion, milk and sage; season with nutmeg, salt and lots of pepper. Mix it all up with your hands. Form the mixture into 4 patties (thinner at the center and thicker at the edges for even cooking). 
  2. Drizzle the burgers all over with a liberal amount of EVOO. Place in the hot skillet and cook, turning once, for 10 minutes. Top each burger with 2 slices of mozzarella and tent with foil to melt.
  3. While the burgers are working, in a medium saucepan, heat the tomatoes. Stir in the basil and oregano; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the burgers on the roll bottoms, then top with the sauce and roll tops.
Enjoy these little lovers. Enjoy them well, my friends.

3.26.2012

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with Italian Sausage

The weather around here has it's own special way of reaching the high 70's, then dropping like a rock to the low 40's. Even though it made my run a bit less pleasant this morning, I don't really mind the change. I knew I had a delicious recipe for soup to try, and couldn't wait any longer!

Fresh basil is so heavenly. I want to be one of those people with a beautiful garden full of fresh herbs. I'd fill it with lots and lots of cilantro, rosemary, Italian parsley, and basil (for starters). For now, I'm going to have to just stick with my summer plans of filling my window with these fresh herbs in little pots. How easy would that be to just take some scissors for a little snippity snip whenever you needed fresh herbs in the kitchen? Much better than a trip to the grocery store, me thinks.

This soup is pretty simple. Okay, extremely simple. Alright - PAINFULLY simple. It's worth it, however, to splurge a little on the marinara sauce. I purchased Mezzetta. As much as I wanted to jump off a bridge for buying a $5 bottle of red sauce, it was very very very worth it. Hunts wouldn't have given the soup the depth in flavor that Mezzetta so graciously provided. Also, we bought the Italian sausage in links (less expensive that day), and just squeezed the meat out of the packaging. Unfortunately, as with any recipe with sausage, there will be a little ring of oil lining your soup. It's the nature of the beast, I guess. I tried my best to drain the heck outta the sausage before adding it to the soup, but oh well, man.

-----

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup with Italian Sausage


2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb Italian Sausage
10 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
1 26 oz jar of your favorite pasta sauce (or homemade)

1 cup water
1 1/2 Cups half and half
Pinch of salt and pepper


1. Place olive oil into a medium sized dutch oven over medium heat. Cook sausage until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in basil leaves, pasta sauce, water, half and half, salt and pepper. Cook until warm then reduce heat to low. Simmer until ready to serve. 

We served these up with some toasted ciabatta bread.  I imagine this soup being absolutely dreamy with grilled cheese as well.

recipe source: picky-palate.com 

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Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

I'm a big fan of 'all-in-one-bite' desserts. These fit that bill perfectly. In each bite, you get a healthy dose of strawberry, a creamy dose of cheesecake, and a tasty texture from the graham cracker crumbs. Plus, it honestly took 15 minutes to make these, start to finish. I can't believe how addicting they are, too.

I've made these before - I brought them to Thanksgiving this past year. However, I cursed the little strawberries the whole time I was making them. I didn't have a melon-baller. I had to carve out each individual strawberry with a knife.... and that took ages. We received a gift card a month later at Christmas for Bed, Bath & Beyond and guess what item I headed straight towards? Yep. The melon-baller. And we've been best friends ever since.

-----

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites


1 pound large strawberries
8oz. block cream cheese – soft
3 – 4 tablespoons powdered sugar (depends on how sweet you want the filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or use almond, lemon, etc. )
Graham cracker crumbs

Rinse strawberries and hull out the middle of the strawberries with a melon-baller. Slice a bottom out of your strawberries so they can stand up. One strawberries are prepped set aside.

Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla with a mixer or by hand. Add cream cheese mix to piping bag and fill strawberries.  Once strawberries are filled, drizzle your graham cracker crumbs over the little lovers.  Devour.

Easy Peesy.


3.24.2012

Lava Flows

Ryan and I are still counting down the days until peaches are back in season.... I know... we're a ways off. I really love making fruity little drinks (non-alcoholic, of course), and we became utterly addicted to my Roasted Peach Lemonade recipe last year. Ryan's parents have a wonderful peach tree in their backyard, and they'd send up a couple bag-fulls of beautifully ripe peaches every so often. So many peaches! Luckily we found the peach lemonade recipe to use them all up.

Now, this recipe has absolutely no peaches in it, but it's just as tasty, nonetheless (plus it soothes our wanting taste buds until peach season comes around). The creamy coconut milk was a perfect compliment to the sweetened strawberries. (You can also use fresh strawberries - they're on sale this week).

I've seen these Lava Flows pinned on several Pinterest boards I follow, and wondered if anyone had actually tried it yet. Lucky for us, Ryan handpicked this recipe for us this week (I sometimes open my Dessert board when I'm making my grocery list and have Ryan choose which recipe he'd like to eat that week).

We really loved these, but we were on quite the sugar kick yesterday. They weren't sweet enough, so we added some sugar to our liking. It's totally your preference with the sugar thing, but our sweet tooth is a very needy compared to some. This recipe makes A TON of smoothie, so if you want to slice it in half, you'd still have plenty of drink to go around.

 ----

Lava Flows

Approximate Ingredients:
46 oz pineapple juice
40 oz coco lopez - (coconut milk. can be found at your local latino food market)
1 pint half and half
ice
frozen strawberries in syrup (or fresh strawberries sweetened with sugar)
2 tablespoons water

1. Mix one can pineapple juice and 3 cans coco loco (amounts should be roughly equal).
2. Add half and half to this mixture, until it turns white (approx half a pint).
3. In a blender, puree strawberries in syrup with a bit of water.
4. Pour 1 inch worth of pureed strawberries in each cup.
5. Pour the pineapple/coco loco mixture in the blender with some ice and blend.
6. Fill the remainder of the plastic cup with the coconut mixture."


Recipe source: TheCoterieBlog

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3.23.2012

Roasted Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup

I know it's warming up a bit outside, and the hard-core soup season is practically over.... but this soup was so light and tasty, I couldn't resist making it yesterday for dinner. The creamed corn creates such an excellent flavor undertone to the whole soup, and the surprising zing of the sesame seed oil is so addicting, it's hard to not think about having another bowl-full before you even finish the one your working on. The broth was divine. Another excellent plus: I made this soup in 30 minutes. No joke.

Oh, dear corn. What history we have together. While I was growing up, I remember my Mom would serving corn pretty frequently. My Grandma and Grandpa have a giant garden, and they'd fill it mostly with corn. Obviously the two of them couldn't eat it all on their own. So around harvest time, the family would come together, shuck that corn for hours and hours, cook it up, slice the corn off the cob, and bag it for everyone's freezers. I think it's safe to say corn was a huge part of our meals because of it - especially Sunday dinners.

Roasted Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup

2 cans creamed corn
1 box chicken stock (we use Rachel Ray)
8 oz ditalini pasta
3 cups chicken, roasted, shredded (I roasted mine up with McCormick Monterrey Chicken Seasoning)
1 onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
salt & pepper
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 cups water
1 veggie & herb bouillon cube

I didn't start off with store-bought roasted chicken (you surely can, if you want to, it would be much easier), add a teeny bit of olive oil to your soup pot on medium. Add your chicken, season with salt and pepper (and whatever seasoning is to your liking - this soup is very flexible), and cook until your chicken gains that rich, roasted color. Remove your chicken to rest. Add chopped onion and garlic to the pan turn down your heat a little (don't want to burn your garlic), cook until your onion is transparent. De-glaze your pan with little of your chicken stock, it will sizzle right up. 

Next, to your pot, mix in your 2 cans of creamed corn, the rest of your chicken stock, salt and pepper, sesame oil, water, and broken up bouillon. Bring to a boil, stirring every so often, then add your ditalini pasta to the soup. When the noodles are cooked through, it's ready to serve.

3.22.2012

'Pineapple Upside-Down Cake' Inspired Mini Cupcakes with Coconut Milk Reduction Vanilla Frosting

I've been to dreamy mini-cupcake heaven and back today making these. Ever since I was little, my all-time favorite cake has been Pineapple Upside Down Cake. I think I can pinpoint this love of mine to pure nostalgia.

When my family was still pretty young, we'd hook up our boat (which seemed completely humongous to us 3-12 year olds at the time) and make the long trip to beautiful Lake Powell. My Mom fed us almost every night from the dutch oven - including dessert. It was then was when I was introduced to Pineapple Upside Cake for the first time. The fluffy and moist yellow cake smothered with brown sugar-soaked warm pineapple and maraschino cherries melted in my mouth. Since then, no other cake can come in at a close second in my eyes.

Tonight the ladies are having a little get-together, and have been asked to bring cupcakes! I, of course, went straight to the store to buy the never-failing Pineapple Supreme Pillsbury cake mix. I was surprised to not see it anywhere on the shelves. I was so confused. How could they have box after box of carrot cake mix, and NO pineapple? Cue the panic session.

If you're still not convinced of my diehard love of this cake, let me tell you how the rest of the morning went down: I drove to 3 other local grocery stores to find this cake mix (only to be stabbed by the shelves loaded neatly with ANY other cake mix imaginable... but no trace of Pineapple Supreme). At the last store, I called it quits, and left with yellow cake mix. Apparently my fetish wasn't worth mass production of Pineapple Supreme cake mix, or perhaps everyone knows how awesome it is, and bought out all the 4 stores I visited. Not likely, but I'm praying that's the reason.

I know pineapple upside-down cake isn't typically served right side up (hence the name), or put frosting on it (hence the name, again) but I wanted to do something different. So I broke both the aforementioned rules. And I think it was a tasty success. I can't wait to take them to the girls tonight!

----

'Pineapple Upside-Down Cake' Inspired Mini Cupcakes
with Reduced Coconut Milk Vanilla Frosting

cupcake:
1 box yellow cake mix (I prefer Pillsbury Super Moist - the pudding in the mix is to die for)
3 eggs (according to whatever box mix you buy)
1/3 cup oil ''
1 jar maraschino cherries, sliced in half
1 can crushed pineapple
about a half cup of brown sugar
about a half cup of butter


frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup reduced coconut milk (I found it in the Latino section), room temperature
Seeds scraped from 1 split vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut, lightly toasted (for garnish)

For reduced coconut milk:
Bring coconut milk to boil in large deep saucepan over medium-high heat (coconut milk will boil up high in pan). Reduce heat to medium-low; boil until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, stirring occasionally, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat; cool completely. Transfer to small bowl. Cover; chill (coconut milk will settle slightly as it cools). DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. 


For cake:
Preheat oven to 350 (I did 325 because I was using a non-stick dark sheet). In a mixing bowl, add cake mix, eggs, oil, and pineapple juice (from your crushed pineapple - I had almost a cup) and mix until there aren't any little pockets of powdery mix. Add your mini cupcake liners to your mini cupcake pan. In the bottom of each little cup, add a teeny bit of butter, and brown sugar. Add one cherry to each cup, then add a little pineapple. Coat the pineapple and cherry with enough cake mix to barely cover*. I have 12 cupcakes to a pan, so I only put them in the oven for 10 minutes. Let them cool, and frost!

For frosting:
(adapted from epicurious.com)
Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar, 1/3 cup reduced coconut milk, seeds from vanilla bean, and salt. Beat on medium-low speed until blended, scraping down sides of bowl. Increase to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy. Using pastry bag fitted with large star tip, pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. (Alternatively, top each cupcake with 2 tablespoons frosting. Using small offset spatula, swirl frosting over top of cupcakes, leaving 1/2-inch plain border.) Sprinkle with coconut. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Store in airtight containers; chill. Bring to room temperature before serving. 

*Alright - it's very very very important to not overfill these things. With everything in the cup, you should be about 1/2 at least, or 3/4 at most full.

 
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3.21.2012

Mexican Chicken Stuffed Shells

Mexican food + Noodles. How strange.

Strangely awesome, I say!

The first time I saw this combination on Pinterest I was very curious. I'd never really tried the two components in the same dish, but I couldn't just throw the idea out altogether. (You never know what awesomeness awaits - or what disaster approaches). Thankfully, this recipe is the former.

We tried this recipe this afternoon, and Ryan (once again) gave it the 'husband approved' stamp right on the forehead. They came out great! What an odd, trendy little dish this turned out to be.

We had already had beef this week, so instead of using ground beef as the recipe suggests, I used shredded chicken. I was craving cilantro and olives while stuffing the shells - I think next time we'll have both on hand to sprinkle on top after these little lovers come out of the oven.

The only other time I've tried working with shells is while stuffing them with a light ricotta mixture for manicotti (my Mom makes a killer manicotti). I've found a couple recipes on Pinterest for pesto stuffed shells... must try it soon, me thinks. Does anyone else a shell here and there while stuffing them? If so, you just kicked up your awesome points a few levels.

As you can see, I served the shells with some crispy shredded lettuce. Gave it the crunch it needed. 

----
Mexican Stuffed Shells
with my alterations

1 lb shredded chicken
1/2 package low-sodium taco seasoning
4 ounces cream cheese (half a package)
20 jumbo pasta shells
1 1/2 cups salsa
1 cup enchilada sauce
1 cup cheddar cheese
1 cup Monterrey jack cheese


toppings: olives, green onions, cilantro, sour cream

"Preheat oven to 350°.

In a pan brown the ground beef; add taco seasoning and prepare according to package directions. Add cream cheese, cover and simmer until cheese is melted. Stir together and mix well. Set aside and cool completely.


While ground beef is cooking, cook the pasta shells according to package directions; drain. Set shells out individually on cutting board or baking sheet so that they don’t stick together.


Pour salsa on bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Stuff each shell with 1-2 tablespoons of the meat mixture. Place shells in 9×13 pan open side up. Evenly cover shells with taco sauce. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.


After 30 minutes, add shredded cheese and bake for 10-15 more minutes with the foil removed. Top with green onions or olives if desired. Serve with sour cream and/or more salsa."



I found this recipe on The Girl Who Ate Everything, but it looks like it isn't her recipe. The original recipe is found on The Way to His Heart. Both great websites, but I wanted to make sure the original got it's fair dues.

3.20.2012

The Never-Ending Green Onion Supply

Yep. It actually works.

You know how you pin tens or hundreds of those "clever/need to do this/didn't know this/why didn't I know this" kinds of ideas on Pinterest? Ever try them out? Did they actually work?

Here's one less one to wonder about. I put this Pin to the test: After slicing up your green onions, save the white ends, submerge them in water, place in a sunny window, and watch them replenish themselves.

This picture was taken one week after I dunked those little white nasties in water. And look what happened! I felt like I was in my own little mini-mythbusters episode.

I never have to buy green onions again.

Cowboy Cups

 
Okay, I admit it. I'm completely addicted to cooking in muffin pans. It's just really easy to throw down some refrigerator dough and fill it with savory goodness. This recipe is no exception, and it's beyond delicious! We gobbled these up with some fresh pineapple and salad for lunch this afternoon.

Rewind to this past Sunday - we made another one of my muffin tin recipes (Meatball Sliders - one of Ryan's favorites), and I had about a dozen Italian meatballs left over. I'm a huge believer in using leftovers for an entirely new meal, so instead of buying ground beef for this new recipe, I cooked up the meatballs, pulsated the heck outta them in my little lover, and added them right in with my chopped onions. Bam. Leftovers transformed.
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Cowboy Cups

1 medium onion, chopped finely
About 1 lb ground beef  (we snuck by with half, so use whatever matches your meat preference)
2 cans/packages of refrigerated biscuit dough (we love Pillsbury, but generic should do just fine)
1 can sloppy Joe sauce
shredded cheddar cheese and green onion for sprinkling on top after

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large pan, add a teeny bit of oil and cook your onions until transparent. Add your meat cook thoroughly. Add your sloppy Joe sauce and simmer that pan of heaven for about 5 minutes. While the mixture is simmering, pop your refrigerator dough (always scares the heck outta me), and press them into your greased muffin tins. After your little cups are ready, add about an 1/8-1/4 cup of your hot mixture into each cup. Cook in the oven for about 15-17 minutes (until the biscuit dough is golden). Sprinkle with cheese and chopped green onions, and enjoy!
 

 This recipe was chosen to be featured on Wednesday's Wowzers! Visit the feature on OopseyDaiseyBlog.

3.15.2012

Delicious Crispy Cheddar Chicken

Source
So we've seen this recipe bouncing around on Pinterest for a while, and I thought we'd give it a try. I'm making so many of my pinned recipes, that I'm now having to actively pin more (always a plus, I mean, who doesn't love Pinning?) I love how much I've learned from the recipes I've completed so far, and love to hear when a reader has tried them along with me! You guys are the best!

This week I've tried a couple new recipes. My friend Natalie's beyond-tasty Lasagna Soup (to be featured on here sometime over the next couple weeks) and of course, this yummy Crispy Cheddar Chicken. I think it's kind of hilarious how this whole "recipe blog" thing works out. First of all, I pinned the recipe. I go to the recipe on their blog, then the recipe source is from another blog. I click on that blog, then the recipe source is linked to another website, so I head on over to that website (so turns out the original recipe source is from Real Simple Mag. Interesting). I guess that's how it goes, eh?

The sauce was beyond easy. Three ingredients. That's it. And you really don't have to babysit it while your chicken is cooking in the oven. I just left mine simmering on the stove on Ultra-Low while the chicken made it's crunchy journey in the oven. Oh, the chicken, you ask? We really enjoyed it. It wasn't as crunchy as I imagined it would be, but the sauce-chicken combo was fantastic. We actually used trimmed chicken thighs (less expensive than chicken breasts that day). Very yummy - and I would imagine 'kid friendly', too. I mean, our little guy gobbled up the chicken like nobody's business. Pretty good clue there.

One thing I found a little strange is that I've never used just plain milk while coating meat as this recipe calls for. I usually use an egg mixture. I was skeptical (especially because the recipe didn't call for coating the meat in a little flour before dunking in the wet coating) but it turned out just fine. I guess there's more than one way to dunk the meaties.

Anyway, I loved how this recipe was SIMPLE. It took minutes to throw together, and tasted delish. What more does a woman need in that department? Besides chocolate...

Crispy Cheddar Chicken
Adapted from Jamie Cooks It Up

Chicken:
4 large chicken breasts - again, we used chicken thigs (about 9 medium pieces)
2 sleeves Ritz crackers - we used one, and it was plenty.
1/4 t salt
1/8 t pepper
1/2 C milk
3 C cheddar cheese, grated - we used about 2 cups, and it worked well.
1 t dried parsley - fresh out of parsley. random, I know. so we used Italian seasoning instead.

Sauce:
1   10 ounce can cream of chicken soup
2 T sour cream
2 T butter
"1. Cut each chicken breast into 3 large chunks. 
2. In a small food processor grind up the ritz crackers.
3. Pour the milk, cheese and cracker crumbs into 3 separate small pans. Toss the 1/4 t salt and 1/8 t pepper into the cracker crumbs and stir the mixture around to combine.
4. Dip each piece of chicken into the milk then the cheese and finally the cracker crumbs. 
5. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and lay the chicken inside the pan. 
6. Sprinkle the dried parsley over the chicken. 
7. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove the tin foil, bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until the edges of the chicken are golden brown and crispy. 
8. Into a medium sized sauce pan combine the cream of chicken soup, sour cream and butter with a whisk. Stir it over medium high heat until the sauce is nice and hot. Serve over the chicken. 
Enjoy!"

Recipe and Picture Source: Jamie Cooks It Up 

3.11.2012

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Party


Sugar-free devil's food cake mini cupcakes with cream cheese frosting
Yep. It was our little man's very first birthday party. I decided to base our theme on the very adorable "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" children's book by Eric Carle. It was such a wonderful afternoon with family, and there were plenty of tasty treats to be had! Thank heavens for Pinterest, as well.

The Birthday boy's cake! Sugar-free devil's food cake with sugar-free frosting. All frosted and ready for him to stuff in his little baby face.
 Strawberry & cream cheese Cake Pops with white chocolate frosting
Invitations
 
 Caterpillar Food party favors

 My third attempt at covering a fondant cake. Second attempt using gum paste. The gum paste dried out quicker than expected, but I think the fruit still looked like fruit, eh?
Table before the punch and fruit dips arrived, and before we sliced up the fruit.
 Caterpillar mobile using Chinese lanterns. I found them online super-cheap, then added the eyes, mouth, ears, and little feet with regular scrapbook paper.
 Strawberries
 Plums
 Fondant cake topper. What a cute little guy!
 Pears
 Oranges
 Apples
 Table from the left
Table from the right
  
Picture montage as #1
8 layer vanilla cake with butter cream frosting.

I loved throwing a birthday party for my little guy! It was a blast, and everyone was so generous and fantastic - love you guys. Happy birthday, little man!