Monday, July 5, 2010

Independence day is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate. I absolutely love my country and I praise the Lord that I live here! Putting aside the politics, this land is great and I am thankful that we have had many generations to choose how we worship, live, work, and so on. But there is lots to talk about so I'll stop my little rant!

My parents and my brother Jake came to visit us this weekend, and bring us some things from home. We were so glad to spend some time with them! Blake and I made them lunch on Saturday. Blake wasn't expecting to cook, but when I became short handed and running behind he stepped in and cut all of the veggies and the chicken and then continued to help lots more! We made Pioneer Woman's cajun chicken pasta! I made some jalapeno corm muffins to go along.

The pasta was amazing! I remembered to take a picture after we started digging into it, so it's not that presentable of a picture but you get the idea. I think it would be great with some gulf shrimp... too bad there won't be much of it!

The corn muffins were, well, not bad, but not worth the trouble of making again. Definitely made some better corn muffins before.

On Sunday evening we went to my aunt and uncle's house to celebrate! My cousin Jenny made an amazing red white and blue salad (strawberries, blueberries, almonds on spinach with yummy dressing). There was traditional corn on the cob, grilled meats, beans, and more. All wonderful! I made dessert! Cherry pies and a flag cake.

I made 2 cherry pies, one I wrapped the crust with foil, the other I used a pie shield. I decided the pie shields do not work. Don't have a picture, but that pie came out quite brown on the crust. The other pie was yummy but not exactly picture worthy. Crust was a nice color though. So I don't have one to post. But word to the wise: stick with foil.

The flag cake was super fun! I just used a vanilla cake mix, but I did make some cream cheese icing. It was amazing icing. Here is a picture. And let me tell you how to make it.

3 sticks of unsalted butter @ room temp (I know... quite healthy)
32 oz of cream cheese @ room temp
About 3.5 cups of powdered sugar
1.5 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix up the butter and cream cheese until its fluffy. (med/high) Then reduce the speed and add the sugar and vanilla. Mix it until it's amazing!

My second cousin Meredith helped me decorate our cake. Was a fun yummy treat!

And of course.... Blue Bell makes everything amazing!

We all sat around and played cards... don't know the name of the game. Herbshaw? I don't know, but it's a good game that doesn't take much thinking and lets ya be social. My daddy grew up playing it and he's taught it to us. I loved watching my daddy in his glasses. He hasn't worn them very long, and is starting to need his "reading glasses" more and more. I wish I could have captured his funny thinking expressions but this will have to do!

Anyways, it was a fun weekend! I feel so blessed to have such a great family and so many wonderful opportunities. Now Blake and I are getting to live and build our American dream. It's been a lot of fun so far!

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