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 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.
My Mom’s apple crumb pie recipe is simple and delicious. I was craving it on Saturday, and then my sister B and her boyfriend unknowingly made the pie when we celebrated my mom’s birthday yesterday.
My mom had a lot of extra apples that she sent home with me, so I made my own last night. I made the pie crust from scratch, as well.
Andrés, his mom, and I all had a slice with our late breakfast.
- 5 to 7 apples (5 cups)
- 1 9-inch unbaked pastry shell
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons butter
Core the apples, and cut into thin slices. You can pare them, or not — I don’t. Put the apples in a large bowl and mix with 1/2 cup of sugar and 3/4 teaspoon of cinnamon until they’re evenly covered. If you want a more tart pie and you’re using sweet apples, like Red Delicious, you can add some lemon juice to the mix. Arrange the apples in the unbaked pastry shell.
Mix 1/3 cup of sugar with 3/4 cup of flour, and cut in the butter until it resembles course crumbs. I use my hands to cut in butter because I’m lazy, I don’t own a pastry cutter, and the two knives method annoys me. Sprinkle the crumbs over the apples.
Bake at 400° F for 35-40 minutes. If the pie browns too quickly, cover the edges with tinfoil.
Serve it warm with ice cream or whipped cream.
Last Sunday, my sister A & her partner M came to our house to cook us a traditional Scottish Sunday Dinner that’s very characteristic of the island they live on.
A described it as a topside/silverside cut of beef rubbed with salt and pepper, seared and slow cooked for 3.5 hours with two large quartered white onions in a broth of fresh thyme, garlic and a touch of red wine. It was served with sour cream mashed potatoes, boiled carrots, savoy cabbage and broccoli which was steamed and sauteed with garlic, butter and salt. The broth from the meat was boiled and thickened with Bisto gravy granules.
This traditional Sunday dinner from their island is particularly characterized by the lack of fancy techniques or things like Yorkshire puddings and a non-optional presence of mashed potatoes (although roasted potatoes are acceptable as an addition) and copious amounts of gravy and the meat NOT being pink at all.
It made the house smell amazing for hours. When we finally sat down to eat, the anticipation made it that much more delicious. It means a lot to M to have this dinner on Sundays, and A has taken the time to learn it, and even improved it in small ways. It’s a labor of love.