I tracked down the exact same cookbook my mother’s mom gave her in 1974 on Ebay for $11. The same edition, and everything. It’s even worn, just like hers. I made apple crumb pie (the best apple crumb pie) from it a few weeks ago. I feel closer to my mom when I use her recipes. I feel like I can cook for my family. I can crank out fabulously flaky homemade crusts. I can learn to cook from scratch. Having this cookbook makes me feel like I can be a wife and mom like she is.
I turned twenty-five yesterday. That’s kind of amazing.
We celebrated with two of my sisters and their partners, and my bestie over amazing Vietnamese food and decadent red velvet cake. I feel so blessed.
(ps: I have this theory that life begins at 20, so I consider 25 halfway to 30. Goofy, huh?)
We recently hosted a family dinner with my family and Andrés’ mom. We served a 10 lb. turkey roulade with homemade gravy, creamy mashed potatoes, seasoned black beans, my dad’s famous Caesar salad, Tuscan garlic bread, and rosemary olive oil bread. We had rum cake and apple crumb pie for dessert. It was the best dinner we’ve hosted yet, and we might replicate for Christmas dinner this year.
My sister B and her fiancé had their engagement party last night, a candlelit wine and cheese party with rum cakes and fancy cupcakes. B made some amazing chocolate cup cakes with goat cheese frosting and drizzled with a red wine reduction. It was so much fun! They’re truly surrounded by support and love as they take the next step.
My sister B and her boyfriend, AF, are engaged!
He spontaneously popped the question last night in their dining room, then they went to tell their puppy, he grabbed his mom’s ring, and sweetly knelt down on one knee and asked again, just to be sure. She, of course, said yes.
My big sister, B, my partner-in-crime, my best friend, my former roommate/shower buddy/chauffeur/coworker, the lil to my kidd … getting married. To this awesome guy. This guy she’s been nuts over for almost 4 years.
So excited to help her with the planning and be there for her. So thankful she’s my sister from the same mister.
My mom makes an amazing rum cake that’s a family favorite. I started making them this year, and they’re always a smash. I’ve made two for work, one for Andrés’ family’s Thanksgiving, and one for our home. My mother-in-law and I could probably eat a slice every day. It’s the best.
- 1 box of yellow cake mix
- 1 3.4oz box of instant vanilla pudding mix
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup of cold water
- 1/2 cup of spiced dark rum (I use Kraken)
- 1 cup of chopped walnuts
- 1/4 lb of butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1/2 cup of spiced dark rum
Prepare the bundt pan by covering it with Crisco, and sprinkling it with flour. Pour the 1 cup of chopped walnuts into the bundt pan. Mix together the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, vegetable oil, water, 1/2 cup of rum and pour the batter over the nuts. Bake at 325° F for 1 hour.
Let it sit for 30 minutes.
In a saucepan, bring the butter and sugar to a boil and stir continuously for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup of rum. Using a pot fork, poke all over the bottom of the cake (while it’s still in the bundt pan). Slowly pour the glaze over the bottom of the cake and let it sit until the glaze is absorbed. Turn the pan over a plate, gently shake the cake out, and serve.
This Thanksgiving was one of the best I can remember. We did a early afternoon potluck dinner with my parents, two of my sisters and their boyfriends, and Andrés’ mom. Andrés and I made two turkeys (herb rubbed traditional and a pre-cooked Cajun turkey from Popeyes), herb stuffing with beef bacon, bread rolls, and homemade gravy. His mom made black beans, seasoned rice, and mashed potatoes. My sister B and her boyfriend brought adorable muffin tin apple crumb pies and pumpkin pies. My sister Y and her boyfriend made a corn, green onion, and lima bean succotash. My parents brought Apple Mallow Yam Yums (a family Thanksgiving classic), Caesar salad, and broccoli with sautéed onions. All that food made for a colorful plate!
Andrés, his mom, and I went to his aunt’s house for an evening dinner catered entirely by his aunt. She’s a pro when it comes to cooking for large crowds, so of course this meal was fantastic. I don’t know how she does it.
I couldn’t be more thankful for this year. Thankful for my husband, my family, my puppy, our home. Thankful for our beautiful wedding. Thankful for this life we’ve built. Thankful for the opportunities to continue building.