On Sunday it was this guy's birthday:
This guy just happens to be my wonderful daddy! He turned 49 years young this past weekend... 49! He doesn't think he'll make it to 50, but we know he will. He is one tough cookie. I am so thankful that I have been able to have my dad around growing up. There definitely have been some really scary situations where the future was uncertain, but he held on and came out on top. He is someone who truly makes the best out of difficult situations and always has a positive outlook on life. He takes such good care of our family and I am so blessed to have such an incredible dad. I don't know what I would do without him.
Anyways, we celebrated his birthday all weekend and it was so much fun! Saturday night we ordered take-out from our family's favorite Chinese restaurant, Lucky China, and just enjoyed time together. Jordan, Amy, and Josh's friend Jordin all came over. Amy I made him some Pecan Bars from my new Better Homes and Garden cookbook. They were pretty much just blondies with pecans, and don't get me wrong, they were good, but not something that I would ever crave. My dad however, LOVED THEM, which is all that really matters right? I would say that if you are crazy about all things pecan then you would probably really like them. I topped mine with some vanilla ice cream, and I think I would have liked it even more if I would have had caramel sauce to drizzle over all of it. Anyways, give them a shot!
Chewy Pecan Bars
1/4 Cup Butter, Melted
2 cups Packed Brown Sugar
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Chopped Pecans
Spread butter evenly in an ungreased 13x9 inch baking pan (I sprayed with Pam instead). In a small bowl, beat eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually add to egg mixture. Stir in pecans.
Spread into prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until browned. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.
Sunday afternoon my grandparents came down for dinner, cake, and ice cream. Rachel, Mike, and Ashton surprised us all and showed up as well! I decided to make another bundt cake since I love my pan so much. I went with Red Velvet. Now, let's talk about Red Velvet Cake for a minute. I have never had Red Velvet Cake before this past Sunday, so I was pretty excited to bake it. Everyone goes on and on about how wonderful Red Velvet Cake is, so I thought I would escape to Red Velvet Heaven upon taking my first bite. Don't get me wrong, it was good, but not great. I frosted it with yummy cream cheese frosting which definitely made it better, but I don't know that I'm a fan of Red Velvet Cake. I wondered if I had messed up on the recipe, but Rachel, who has eaten red velvet cake before, said that it indeed tasted like Red Velvet Cake. So, If you love Red Velvet Cake, you will love this recipe! It was so moist and the rich red color was beautiful! Give it a shot. Oh, and don't forget to frost it with your favorite cream cheese frosting. YUM!
Red Velvet Cake
(Recipe from Kiss My Bundt Bakery)
1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon high-fat cocoa powder (such as Callebaut)*
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using an electric mixer, combine the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar and vanilla. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder.
4. Add dry ingredients to the wet 1/2 cup at a time. Do this slowly so that the batter doesn't develop clumps.
5. Pour the batter into pans that have been greased and floured. The recipe will make one (10 to 12 cup) bundt cake.**
6. Bake until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean and the cake doesn't jiggle when shaken, about 45 minutes.
7. Cool the cake in the pan for at least 15 minutes. Then invert onto a serving plate. If cake resists, cool for an additional 15 minutes. Cool completely before frosting with your favorite Cream Cheese Frosting, at least 1 hour for a single large bundt cake.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!! I LOVE YOU!!