Friday, October 29, 2010

Spinach-Artichoke Chicken Things

Wow. I should come up with a better name for these. Seriously. Who wants to make "Spinach Artichoke Chicken Things?"

But you do want to make them, I promise. These are soooo good! This recipe's on my top ten list for this year. I think. Yum, yum, and yum. It might have something to do with my love for crescent rolls. Maybe.

Recipe adapted from here.

2 chicken breasts cut into little strips/cubes
1 package frozen spinach
1 can drained artichoke hearts
8 oz sour cream
1 1/4 cups shredded Parmesan cheese
3/4 tsp Garlic Powder
A few pinches of salt
2 cans of crescent rolls
2 tbsp olive oil

1. Heat olive oil in a skillet and cook chicken strips on medium heat for 5ish minutes on each side (or until done).
2. Add in frozen spinach and drained artichokes and cook for 7ish more minutes. (I mashed the artichoke hearts with a spoon after a couple minutes so they would be in smaller pieces)
3. Add in sour cream, 1 cup of the Parmesan cheese (save the other 1/4 cup!), garlic powder, and salt.
4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Open up crescent rolls and unroll. Put a small amount of the chicken mixture on each one, and fold up (I folded the two big corners around the sides, and pulled the pointy corner over the top).
5. Sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan cheese over the tops of the rolls, and cook 10-12 minutes (or until crescent rolls are lightly browned).

And to make this recipe even better.... you'll probably end up with a little leftover chicken mixture, and you can stick it between two tortillas and cook it and a frying pan to make a GREAT quesadilla lunch!


Guest List Stats

When I was engaged I always found blog posts like this extremely helpful, so I figured I'd do one of my own now that the wedding is all said and done!

{NOTE: These numbers are the numbers that we had 1 week prior to the wedding, when we paid the final chunk of the Reception bill. We did have 6 people (included in these numbers) who had RSVPed yes but didn't actually come to the wedding - all for good reasons; hospitals and stuff!}

Total # Invited Guests: 205
(There were also 13 more invites that went to elderly family member who we knew would not be able to travel to Houston. These are not included in the numbers.)
Total # Attending Guests: 154 (75%)

Children: 20 invited, 17 attended (85%)
Adults: 185 invited, 137 attended (74%)

Out of Town Guests: 164 invited, 105 attended (64%)
Houston Guests: 54 invited, 49 attended (91%)

At the RSVP deadline there were around 15-20 RSVPs we were missing (around 30 guests unaccounted for). Most of them ended up being no's.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Wedding Week: Rehearsal Dinner

Oh, dear. It seems I've been being awfully slow with the wedding recaps. Forgive me? It turns out law school is really, really hard and time consuming. That's my one and only excuse, but it's a good one right?

Anyway, I'm back to tell you all about our Rehearsal Dinner! The first thing you should know is that it was huge. The large majority of our guest list was traveling from out of town. And the ones that weren't were mostly our immediate families and my half of the wedding party. Yikes, right? It seems like more and more brides are having this problem, and the etiquette rule that all OOT guests must be invited just doesn't work very well anymore.

We ended up limiting it to close family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, first cousins, immediate families), as well as the bridal party and a couple of Jeff's family's close family friends (of the "might as well be family" type). We also found babysitters and fun activities (Chuck-E-Cheese!) for all the under-age-10 family and they skipped the dinner. So we ended up with about 90 people (yeah... we have huge families).

Our Rehearsal Dinner was at Steamboat House, a true Texas steakhouse that doubles as a sort of Texas history museum.

Big statue of Sam Houston in the parking lot!

As everyone arrived, they walked around and looked at all of the cool Texas stuff, and enjoyed appetizers (Stuffed Mushrooms, Mini Crab Cakes, Fried Green Tomatoes, Onion Rings!).

The groomsmen arrived looking especially cute...

Apparently there was a "khakis, navy blazers, and pastel shirts" memo.

We had the guestbook quilt stuff out so everyone could get started on their squares (this was strategic planning to avoid crowds at the quilt table at the Reception!).

It was so much fun to be surrounded by all of our favorite people. I was just running around the room trying to talk to everyone and smiling a lot and just being so genuinely happy!

Jeff's granddad was genuinely happy too. :)

The wedding party table

See? Told you our wedding party became friends. 

My grandparents and daddy.

The room. :)

Father Al (Jeff's cousin, who assisted Father John in officiating our wedding) said a blessing...

This is an awful picture, but it's all I have!

And then there was food! Everyone got a dinner salad, and then we had to pick: 12 oz ribeye steak with garlic mashed potatoes or a baked potato? Or grilled salmon with mango salsa and grilled shrimp served over wild rice and sauteed asparagus? Yummm. I went with the salmon and shrimp. Jeff went with the steak. We planned it so we could both have both. :)

As dinner was winding down, each of our dads gave a little toast, and they both said such sweet things about how happy they were to see us getting married. Jeff's dad talked about how our relationship was solidly grounded in our friendship, and my dad talked about how happy he was to finally have a son. It was sweet. Then we all watched a slideshow with music and photos and video of Jeff and I growing up, being friends, dating, getting engaged, etc. It was really cute... I'll have to try to upload it to YouTube or something so I can show y'all. Anyone know how get videos into a blog?

Then it was time for dessert: key lime pie or bread pudding!

Steamboat Steakhouse gave us a wedding present... fancy steak knives with the Steamboat House logo!

Our wedding party (who had been enjoying the wines we picked out for the event) had a great time...

Yes. They are five years old.

Oh dear.

It was around the time of this picture that our Best Man and MOH concocted a plan to enter the reception on a pair of scooters and ride around the dance floor. Sadly, it never actually happened.

My bridesmaids even convinced the guys to take a shoe picture. Go figure.

And all too soon it was over, and it was time to get some sleep before the Big Day!

One last picture of the wedding party under George Washington...

...and it was time to leave! I scooped up the quilt supplies and my keys and walked into the parking lot. My bridesmaids were freaking out that it was the LAST TIME I'd see Jeff before our wedding day, so of course we had to document it photographically.

See? Bridesmaids freaking out behind us.

Sans bridesmaids.

I got into my car, bridesmaids in tow, and Jeff got into his with his groomsmen. I beamed a last little smile, and we drove home. I quickly hopped in the shower (I had to hurry so my hair would be sufficiently un-clean for the stylist the next day!), and climbed into bed.

I had one of my best friends in bed next to me, and one on an air mattress at the foot of my bed. My sisters were asleep in a room down the hall, my parents and grandparents were downstairs, and I could hear two more of my bridesmaids brushing their teeth in the adjoining bedroom. I was totally surrounded by support and excitement. 

I feel asleep remarkably easily. I was expecting that I would stay awake for a while just thinking about the next day, about getting married, about Jeff... but I didn't. Maybe I was just so ready to finally be married that I didn't even have to think about it. Maybe I was just really dedicated to looking my best for the wedding photos. Maybe I was exhausted from the weeks of preparations that got me to that moment. 

Whatever the reason, I fell asleep to the sound of BM Pilar and BM Amy talking in the next room about the wedding. I remember thinking it weird that my bridesmaids are way more psyched about this than I am? But it wasn't weird because at that point, I was just so sure and ready. No doubts, no butterflies, no anticipation... just a content knowledge that in less than 24 hours, I would finally be married to my best friend. 

Wedding day... here we come!

Coconut Cookies

If you like coconut, go buy some RightNowThisInstant. Because you are so going to want to bake these cookies!

Okay so this is an awful picture. But trust me, just bake these. They're good. 

Recipe adapted from here.


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flaked or shredded coconut (I used the sweetened kind)


1. Preheat over to 350 degrees
2. Cream together the butter and both sugars until smooth. Beat in the egg and vanilla until light and fluffy.
3. Gradually add the flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix well.
4. Mix in the coconut.
5. Refrigerate dough for 15 minutes or more.
6. Shape dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place on cookie sheet sprayed with Pam.
7. Bake 10ish minutes, or until coconut is lightly toasted. Cool on wire racks.

Using rounded-tablespoon-ish-sized cookies, I got about 4 dozen out of this recipe! So yummy.

The law students devoured these, so your friends will probably like them too. Happy baking!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Look what came in my mailbox!!!

I recently won a blog giveaway from Jill @ Stay Calm, Have a Cupcake! I was hugely excited because I've never won any sort of raffle thing before. Ever! I'm like the most unlucky person ever.

By the way, you should check out Jill's blog... she writes all about cupcakes and recipes and decorating and icing and it's just a joy to scroll through. So you should go have a look. :)

The giveaway was for an assortment of goodies from Bake It Pretty, a website that sells all sorts of fun baking goodies!

Bake it Pretty has such cute packaging!

Well, thank you!

Look at these cute cupcake papers! LOVE. 

And these ones are for mini cupcakes!

Ahhh sugar flowers! So excited!!

A rose candy mold...

Rainbow sugar!!

So the question is, how should I put all these fun things to use?? My 10-year-old sister (and baking buddy) is coming over on Saturday, so I think we'll use some of this cute stuff and make some cupcakes! I feel like I should make cute girly cupcakes though to go in those cute papers... maybe strawberry ones? Thoughts?

Jill's having another giveaway on her blog for the next week or so... I'd love to win again and get MORE FUN CUPCAKE STUFF because I love-love-love baking, but I probably can't win again. But you should try!