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I’ve been assigned I requested “dessert” for our Saturday Easter cookout at my brother’s house and of course my brain is *buzzing* with opportunities and ideas and possibilities and “how dirty do I want to make my kitchen exactly…” Just for fun, here are some contenders:

Red Velvet Strawberry layer Cake

i am baker: red velvet strawberry layer cake
pros: boxed cake mixes, whipped cream (easy!), strawberries
cons: eh. not crazy about it. How moist would this cake be as frosted w/ whipped cream?

Pina Colada Cake

Smitten Kitchen: Pina Colada Cake
pros: seasonable ingredients, exotic ingredients, unusual combination, easter-ey?
cons: boring looking. like whoa. could I make it into a layer cake? cream cheese frosting or something? eh…?

Rich & Ruffled Cake

Sweetapolita: Rich Ruffled Chocolate Celebration Cake
pros: what a fantastic and somewhat springy color combination, I’ve never made a chocolate cake! LOOK AT ALL THAT ICING
cons: LOOK AT ALL THAT ICING, my husband isn’t crazy about chocolate cake – but then if I think about it he’ll eat anything I bake with a (forced) smile so whatever that’s a moot point.

Tres Leches Cake

Pioneer Woman: Tres Leches Cake
pros: looks delicious and unusual, love moist cake!
cons: calories WHOA have you seen this recipe? appearance wise, pretty boring. can’t make a milk-saturated cake into a layer cake :(

Strawberry Shortcake Cake

Pioneer Woman: Strawberry Shortcake Cake
pros: I’ve made it before and I know it’s a winner, strawberries are in season!, everyone loves cream cheese icing
cons: I’ve made it before (I like to try new things!), it’s a bit labor intensive as I remember it, must be kept refrigerated due to cream cheese.

Desk Doodle Cakes

Stickyheels desk doodle inspiration
pros: will use box cake but home made frosting (thats the key to an easy, delicious cake people). Possibly fill it with macerated strawberries? Use swiss merangue buttercream for not-too-sweet stability. Trying to decide between a “ruffle” effect with the butter cream like seen on the Rich & Ruffled Cake or if I should try to use those little round micro sprinkles or jimmies and encrust the cake with them (similar to what you see here).
cons: in the end I feel it will just be a little boring & I trust other peoples pretty blog pictures to help me end up with a worthwhile cake.

Any opinions on the above? Or other suggestions?

What a nice weekend we had! Absolutely one of the best I can remember…or maybe I’m just looking back on yesterday with rose-colored glasses?

Friday night I met some girlfriends out for sushi and wine, leaving T at home to play Call of Duty to his heart’s content. T, his brother, my brother, and our brother in law all play online so it’s hard to be annoyed with all the machine gunning in our house right now because it feels like it’s some sort of futuristic family bonding. Either way, Friday night was very “to each his own”, which kicked off the rest of a weekend full of hanging out together.

Saturday we were getting ready to go enjoy the UNC v NCSU game. Trying to decide how best to display my “BEAT NCSU!” pin that I’ve carefully preserved for about 7 years now, while T was sporting his red polo with the block S emblazoned on it’s front. We were heading to a bar for the game, in an attempt to keep the negativity of this rivalry out of our happy little home. One foot out the door and we received a call from my brother, who had a friend with 2 extra tickets! Off we go…straight to Chapel Hill to watch UNC play NCSU in the Dean Dome! These games are hard for me, since as much as I want my team to win (and win they did!), I have to watch T be almost distraught over the poor performance of the Wolfpack. I spent what felt like the majority of the game discussing with T the pitfalls of NCSU’s defense and trying to bolster him to cheer because “You don’t know what could happen! The game isn’t over yet!”. He wasn’t really buying it though…

That night we went to Jujube for a little Triangle Restaurant Week dinner and drinks. Headed next door to Bin 54 for some of the most creative cocktails I’ve had in a while. The night ended in my terrible, no-good attempts to master Spades. My team (SIL + I) lost fairly miserably but what a lo-fi way to spend a great evening.

T waiting patiently while I got a latte & some candies from the counter at Parker & Otis.

Sunday kicked off with brunch at Parker & Otis with my sister and her boyfriend, and then…NO FOOTBALL! The all-star/pro-game thing was on so T had no desire to watch that.I asked very sweetly if we could please not go home just yet and maybe spend some time walking outside and enjoying the sunshiney, warm day. He  decided we should make our first trip to the Sarah P. Duke Gardens. And what a fantastic idea that was. We found a field of yellow grass, with 4 or so other couples sprawled out in the sunshine and without conversation or hesitation I laid my jacket in the sun and we flopped down for a 30 minute nap in the 70 degree sunshine. In January. I kicked my shoes off and tried to soak in as much Vitamin D as possible.

Home again, home again where I mopped and cleaned while T played more of his video game. We grew restless around 4 pm and decided we needed to get back out there. Cut to Tyler’s Taphouse in the American Tobacco Campus where I pulled a pack of cards from my purse and we played Gin Rummy and Egyptian Rathskeller until we’d had enough liquid courage to go see Black Swan.

In a quiet moment, sitting at the bar by ourselves at 6:00 pm on a Sunday I realized that these are days and weekends we should try to remember and document. To look back on with happy memories of the quiet times and inside jokes we get to share between the two of us. Slow weekends with no agendas. We still have a good deal of time ahead of us before these sorts of days are long gone, but there is a feeling that our time existing as 2 people without much responsibility is fleeting, and should be appreciated more than just in passing.

The Pig Races, which you must find a seat for 30 minutes in advance (the below photo was taken 20 minutes prior to the first race), and which last all of 10 minutes. But yall: Those billy goats are CUTE.

…also local art, including (the newly?) Mr. & Mrs. Barrel Monster:

Also, the YESTERYEAR tent which I really REALLY did not want to go into but T begged and pulled me inside and OMG IT’S FULL OF CRAFTS. It’s like Etsybut everyone is old and wears leather aprons or something. I really wanted that hand carved wooden spoon (why? I have no idea).  I bought “icicles” from an old man who was cutting tin with a pair of garden shears. We paid $6.00 for 12 pieces of twisted metal (aluminum foil?) but I don’t care because the old guy told me I was charming, he liked my glasses, and he laughed at my jokes. Yes sir I will take those twisted metal Christmas ornaments please AND thank you.

Oh and, you guys, deep fried Oreos.

…but I love my husband so if scoring him some 45 yard line tickets + a parking pass to tomorrow night’s ESPN game (NCSU v. Cincinnati) makes him happy, then score the tickets I will! It must be said that the moolah for these tickets came from Mom & Dad who “purchased” them for T’s birthday back in June. He was given the cash, and I was given the task of  finding good seats, etc. Actually, the seats were my concern, not his. T would gladly sit crammed into the student section…anywhere really, as long as he can hollar “FIRST DOWN!” when the announcer says “…AND THAT’S A WOLFPACK…” – although in his defense, he yells it from our couch sometimes.

I do love UNC and Chapel Hill and the Tar Heels with all my heart (YES EVEN WHEN THEY’RE BEING SO DUMB aka NOW) but the Wolfpack fans do know how to throw a good tailgate! We’ll be heading out as early as we can…Carter Finley rules state we can go only 5 hours prior to the kickoff, but “work” rules state that we have to, well, work. So we’ll hopefully get off a little early, pick up some noms, and head to our SWEET tailgating spot to drink beers and throw the football and hopefully have some friends meet up with us.

BEST part of all of this? It’s supposed to be around 86 degrees so YAY football weather. I may even wear ::gasp:: boots!

This will be us, minus the tent...and (sadly) the snuggies.

I posted to twitter a photo of our dinner last night – a hobby of mine. If you can call proudly photographing your food and then showing it to people a “hobby” especially when it is strictly only the PRETTY food. Anyway, it was a zucchini, corn, and tomato salad and a pecan-crusted chicken breast. Yum! The salad was fresh and crunchy and sweet and just very summery in general. The chicken was moist and had a fantastic crust.

Yum Yuminess

…and then I had a few requests for the recipe. I also had a request by my husband, T, to “remember this one”. Which means he was SO smitten with the meal that YES he would like it again sometime. So here’s the breakdown for both items on the menu…
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Monday of last week, T announces that he’d like to go to Carowinds. I’d like to chalk this up to the Inception type process that took place when I mentioned going to a theme park about a month ago for his birthday –  but either way I was excited. And anxious. I mean, its like, permanently 100 degrees with 99% humidity at Carowinds. I know this because I went 3 or 4 times in my youth, but I haven’t been back since I was 15 or so. Plans were made, outfits were tried on, outfits were purchased*, jeans were turned into jean shorts**. We made a quick decision to take a Sunday trip as opposed to a Saturday trip since the lines were typically shorter and, well the two days were interchangeable to us.

Sunday rolled around and it was 75°. I’m sorry, did you hear me clearly enough? IT WAS 75°. I don’t know where you live, but here in North Carolina it hasn’t dropped below 95° in a month. So 75° was like “oh snap it’s winter outside”. And I got to wear JEANS to Carowinds – more specifically I got to wear my new, on sale, gorgeous and comfortable distressed jeans which just about made me the happiest girl in the WORLD because ew ew ew who knows who sat there and who touched that and people get SICK at amusement parks and everyone is sweaty so HOORAY for being able to be delightfully covered up and not sweaty.  OK, ok less about my outfits and more about the photos and roller coasters…

The Intimidator

So this is what I saw as soon as we pulled into the parking lot. This is the Intimidator. This is the tallest (232′ – 23 stories), fastest (75+ MPH), and LONGEST (5,316′) roller coaster in the southeast. This takes some serious guts to climb aboard. You sit down in your Dale Earnhardt-styled race car seat and then it’s chug-chug-chug-oh look now we’re going up a hill for our initial descent and then all of a sudden you’re lying on your BACK because “up the hill” is like a 75° angle (there’s that number again…) and then you squeeeeze your eyes shut because WHOA was it a good idea to get on this one right after that BBQ sandwich (and french fries sent straight from heaven, apparently WELL DONE CAROWINDS ON THE FRENCH FRIES)? Ya’ll. If you are roller coaster people then you MUST make the pilgrimage to ride this one. It’s all ZOOM ZOOM WHIPPING you around corners and its so fast you think “are my eyelids open against my will?”. And that initial drop is HORRIBLE (and by that, I mean AWESOME).

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This past weekend was full of friends that live close but whom I rarely see (my fault there), and those who were visiting. Started the weekend with an afternoon spent by the pool.

Me, myself, and my magazines.

Then I ran to meet and have some dinner with wine and much-needed girl talk. A lovely husband picked me up and drove my had-too-much-fun self home. Continue Reading »

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