So this past weekend was a very fun and exciting weekend for me.
My family and I had a very nice time celebrating my 18th birthday!
18… officially an adult. How scary and exciting.
Every year for me and my brothers’ birthdays my mom always makes us whatever we want for dinner and whatever kind of cake we want, and we all enjoy a great meal to celebrate. I always love meals like that, and for this one we made it a little more special.
Because you only turn 18 once right?
(Hold up you guys, I got this!)
Usually our family dinners are pretty relaxed, everyone’s tired from cooking all day and of course it’s just the immediate family, so why dress up? See I don’t particularly like that, I love dressing up! Call me a girly girl, but I love it. Which is why I made everyone dress up.
My parents also turned our outside patio into a beautfiul lit up peaceful dinner setting, complete with music and all. Seriously, it was perfect.
(My parents got me my very own Le Creueset Dutch Oven. Ah I know what i’ll be doing soon!)
Dinner consisted of bacon wrapped venison rolls, bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers, fresh mango salsa bruschetta, summer squash casserole, and a delicious pecan blue cheese and spinach salad. Can you say yum?
And of course, the most important part of a birthday, the cake! My mom made the most delicious 3 layer german chocolate cake. Oh my, nothing tastes as good as whatever momma makes.
It really was the perfect way to celebrate my birthday, and i’m so grateful to have such a wonderful family that would do something like that for me.
Now that i’m 18 I started thinking about what I want to accomplish this year. I have to say, it’s going to be pretty hard to top what all I’ve accomplished this past year as 17.
A quick recap of some fun stuff that happened, I got a job, I started culinary school, I had fun times in Colorado with the family, I got to speak at a UT writing class, I entered my first two 5K’s and this blog became a big part of my life.
That’s just a very breif blip of some things that have happened this year, but really there’s so much more.
And there’s still so much more I want to accomplish this year. Now that I am an official adult I will have more opportunities and we’ll see what happens.
Anyway, these eclairs weren’t part of my birthday celebration, but they are seriously so good! This was the first time i’ve ever made marshmallow fluff, and mmm. This stuff is so good. Seriously, I ate a fluffernutter sandwich almost every day until it was gone.
And ignore the horrible pictures of these. Sometimes, pictures just don’t work. It’s a sad day for all of us.
3 large egg whites
2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Beat egg whites together until light and frothy using an electric stand mixer with the whisk attachment. With the mixer running, slowly pour in 2 tablespoons sugar; beat until soft peaks form.
In a large saucepan, combine 1/3 cup water, corn syrup, and remaining 2/3 cup sugar. Place over medium heat and cook until boiling. Start cooking over medium heat stirring occasionally but never taking your eyes off it. Raise heat to medium high and continue cooking until mixture reaches the soft-ball stage, about 240 degrees F on a candy thermometer, it will take about 10-15 minutes. (The hot syrup may bubble up the sides, turn heat down briefly or remove pan from heat, once the syrup goes back down raise heat and continue cooking.)
Drape an old, clean kitchen towel over the front and side of the mixer, leaving one side open to pour in the syrup. With the mixer on low, slowly add hot syrup to egg-white mixture. Increase mixer speed to high and continue beating for 6-8 minutes. Add vanilla and continue to beat until mixture looks like marshmallow cream, 2-4 minutes more.
Allow to cool, spoon and store in tightly sealed jars in the refrigerator up to a month.
1/2 cup water
1/2 stick butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a small saucepan combine the water, butter and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and add the flour all at once and stir it vigorously with a wooden spoon. Cook until the mixture has formed a ball and has a slightly sweaty sheen to it and it has pulled away from the pan. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and let cool for 3 to 4 minutes. The mixture does not have to be cold, just cool enough not to cook the eggs when added. Using an electric mixer or lots of good old-fashioned elbow grease, beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Do not add the second egg until the first is fully incorporated. Add in the vanilla extract and beat for another second to combine.
Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag equipped with a large straight tip and pipe 1-inch balls onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. When done dip your finger in water and smooth the top of each ball where the pastry bag released the dough. Be sure to leave at least 1-inch between each of the balls. They grow! Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the tray halfway through the cooking time to insure even cooking. When done, the puffs should be light, airy and dry inside. Cool on a rack.
1/2 cup milk chocolate
3 tbls heavy cream
Using a double boiler melt chocolate together with heavy cream until smooth.