Birthday and baptism

I started my weekend with an early morning flight to Dallas, where I was meeting my brother after some meetings to head to his house and celebrate a very adorable one year old’s birthday and baptism. Get ready for come cuteness overload in this post. While in Dallas I had a few hours to kill.

My first stop was The Sixth Floor Museum about JFK and his assassination. I toured the 6th floor of the old Texas School Book Depository where the shots were supposedly fired from. A very interesting and worthwhile tour. After that, I walked around Dealey Plaza and the West End district of Dallas that has JFK’s cenotaph.



After taking in so much history, I was hungry for some good southern bbq!


After arriving to my brother’s house, there was a meeting of the minds in the kitchen about how to best bake Hannah’s 1 year birthday cake. She is obviously in the middle telling her grandma’s what she wants and how to get it done.


While the ladies were busy in the kitchen, the men talked sports.


Saturday was a big day! Hannah turned one year old and got baptized. Here she is in her pretty baptism outfit.


After the serious business, it was play and party time. Most of the afternoon was spent outside playing on her swing and at her water table.

hannah1 hannah2

Then of course, birthday cake and presents!

hannah3 hannah4 hannah5

After all that excitement, the adults had to relax with some watermelon mojitos.


Hannah napped after unloading the dishwasher. Such a hard worker.


While Hannah napped, the adults did some work in the garden and observed a little nature happening.

hannah9 hannah8

Then it was play time again! Lots of new toys to explore. We finished off the afternoon with some time at the pool.

hannah10 Continue reading

Birthday weekend

What a weekend!
Yesterday was my 32nd birthday. Thirty-two. When did I get that old? Where has the time gone? I can’t complain. It’s been a good ride.
Friday, my co-workers surprised me with fancy cupcakes that we all indulged in.

When I got home Friday night, Brian surprised me with season 2 of the BBC’s show Sherlock. We watched an episode Friday night. The season is only 3 episodes long, but each episode is 90 minutes. The first episode was so good. We were on the edge of our seats the entire time.
We went out for BBQ for lunch yesterday. We ordered an appetizer of poutine then decided to split a sandwich. Holy cow. The poutine had a homemade gravy that is probably the tastiest gravy I have ever eaten, globs of cheese, bacon and pulled pork.

That hit my stomach like a brick. A few bites of cornbread and I was done. The sandwich we ordered was packed up and brought home as leftovers as well as some of the poutine.

We did a decent amount of walking after that, then I had to come home and lay down for an hour.
I was able to revive myself for a beer on a patio.


Followed by a delicious empanada.

We ended the day by seeing Iron Man 3. We both really liked it.
After yesterday’s food fest, I got up and went for a long walk today. Made a successful batch of spinach and mushroom veggie burgers:

After lunch, Brian and I rode our bikes up to my garden plot and got some things planted.

Then had a very fruit and veg heavy dinner. After yesterday’s meat and fat fest, it was a necessity.

I’ll leave you with a pretty picture of the pear tree blooms in our back yard.

Thanks to everyone who reached out with calls, cards, texts and messages to make me feel so loved on my birthday.

Pumpkin pizza dough and bbq chicken pizza

I love the blog {Never} homemaker. She is constantly being creative with what she has. Which, I try to do, but she seems to do it much better.

I recently planned to make a hybrid of her Pumpkin Garlic Knots and Pesto Garlic Knots by making Pesto Pumpkin Garlic Knots.

So, I made the dough.

pizza5 pizza6pizza7And then I let it rise. I put half of the batch in the freezer to use later(genius to have spare bread/pizza dough on hand) and went to grab my pesto out of the fridge. Uh oh. There wasn’t near enough left to make the pesto garlic knots. But there was enough left for me to make a delicious flat bread(you know, less surface area to cover than multiple knots).

So, that’s what I did. I pressed the dough out real thin, spread some pesto on it, topped with slices of tomato and a nice blend of Italian cheeses.


About a week later, I pulled the other half of the dough out of the freezer and made some of Brian’s favorite pizza with it. BBQ chicken. Our favorite BBQ sauce to use is Sweet Baby Ray’s honey chipotle. It has a little heat and smokiness that perfectly compliments the sweet. Top with lots of cooked chicken. Then load on the cheese. Bake until bubbling and has a crispy crust.

pizza1 pizza2

I pulled off a little ball of dough to make an individual pizza for myself, too. I rolled mine out extra thin, cooked it until slightly crisp in a dry skillet, topped it and finished it off on a pizza stone in the oven to melt the cheese.


This is a super easy pizza dough recipe and I like that it has the added nutrients of the pumpkin. I have also made neverhomemaker’s beet pizza dough with good success. I love that it makes enough for 2 huge pizzas, so I have leftovers to use when I’m short on time.

Easy oven ribs

I have had a wicked hankering for BBQ lately. However, most things barbeque aren’t all that healthy. So, in typical fashion I decided that if I made it myself it will be healthier than ordering from somewhere. While the ribs may not have been much, if any, healthier it let me control the sides that went with the meat. Most BBQ joints serve unhealthy sides of creamy coleslaw, cornbread, butter corn and baked beans. All delicious, but unnecessary if you are already having a main course splurge.

What better day than the 4th of July to set out on my first BBQ rib adventure? Well, probably a lot of days considering we were setting record high temperatures  with heat indexes around 113F. Our poor air conditioners couldn’t keep up with keeping our place cool due to the heat and then I had to leave the oven on for hours. Whew. But they were a delicious treat and totally worth it. Adapted from this recipe.


  • 3-4 pounds of St Louis style ribs
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes(optional)
  • a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce(you won’t use it all)

Preheat oven to 300F.

Mix together the sugar and spices to form a rub.

Apply rub to ribs on all sides.

Lay the ribs down on 2 layers of foil. I used Reynolds non-stick. Place meaty side down.

Lay two layers of foil on top of ribs and roll and crimp edges tightly, edges facing up to seal.

Bake 2 to 2.5 hours or until meat is starting to shrink away from the bone.

Take out of oven. Turn on broiler. Discard juices from pan.

Cut ribs individually. Return to pan. Brush with sauce.

Place under broiler for 2-4 minutes or until sauce is bubbling.

Pull out of oven, turn all ribs over and brush again with sauce. Place back under broiler until sauce again bubbling.

Remove from oven. Serve.

These were absolutely amazing. Fall off the bone tender.

We had sides of Iowa grown sweet corn and watermelon. Much healthier than your typical restaurant fare.