Ellie’s First Halloween

I’ll be the first to say that Halloween is not my favorite holiday (Christmas and Easter are!). Last year, we stayed in and watched a scary movie (No Country for Old Men). Having a child definitely makes for a different experience! This year, I’ve been thinking about the holiday quite a bit. Because Ellie can’t choose for herself yet, she wore two of her cousins’ costumes: an octopus in the afternoon and a flower in the evening! (George dressed up, too! See below!)

If that wasn’t enough, I got her a Carters outfit at Target that says, “I’m so cute, it’s spooky!” Who can resist polka dots, glitter, and a black tutu? Not this mama!

What’s great about Halloween is spending it with others. We had some friends over for stew and cider (and they brought Sweet Mandy B’s!!!)–not to mention adorable photo opps, then headed to the burbs for an open house party and more photos!!! 

Seeing all of the kids dressed up for trick or treating (both in person and online) was so fun! Keep the photos coming, and I’ll keep liking them!

It also got me day dreaming about when Ellie grows up: taking her trick or treating, seeing what costumes she’ll choose, making her give Mommy and Daddy all of the Snickers. Just kidding…she can keep some.

Hope you had a great holiday celebrating, and that you’re enjoying the extra hour of sleep. I’ve been up since 6 am…zzzz….

   
    
 

Taste Test: Carrot Cake from Eli’s Cheesecake

I’ve grown up loving Eli’s Cheesecake, but did you know that they have a lot more desserts than their signature offering?

I really didn’t either until last week when I tried their DELICIOUS carrot cake. I was still at work when that sweet package arrived, and Nate had to take a photo of it to show me how large it was. I peeked inside the box when I got home, and was impressed by how well it was packaged. And how tasty it looked. My mouth began to water…

Although this cake is portioned for 14 people, don’t be fooled—it’s huge! And do yourself a favor: ignore the nutrition facts. I mean, you’re eating cake, I don’t really think you should be worried about whether it’s healthy or not!

Because this cake probably weighed a few pounds, we had to call for reinforcements. We had some friends over on Friday night for a dessert party, with the carrot cake being the star of the show. I included some homemade Rice Krispie treats, cookies, candy, and strawberries (have to have one healthy option, right?) to balance out the offerings.

Back to the carrot cake. The presentation was excellent. Every bite was perfection. I love carrot cake, and this recipe did not disappoint! It was rich, moist, flavorful, and had a good balance of frosting to cake. (Three layers of cake, I might add. And, you’re crazy if you don’t love the cream cheese frosting!) And my friends thought it was great, too! Although there were eight of us, we only made a dent in the cake. So you better believe we sent some home with friends.

On Sunday, I brought the cake over to my parents’ house, as they love a good sweet. My dad didn’t hesitate at 2 p.m., and dove in for a full piece. When I asked him what he thought? “That’s damn good cake.” I couldn’t agree more.

Need a dessert for Easter? A Spring-inspired dinner party? Why do all the work—order a carrot cake or one of their other spring desserts like Tira Mi Su or Limoncello Cake from Eli’s!

Eli’s Cheesecake
6701 West Forest Preserve Drive

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Week #7 – Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras Party

So, the point of my blog is to see and do things I’ve never done in the city. Technically, I didn’t go anywhere new, but I did host my first-ever Fat Tuesday party!

Ten of my girlfriends came over on Tuesdsay to enjoy some of our favorite high-calorie indulgences. I prepared two new items for the party: jambalaya in my slow cooker (I put a little less heat than what it called for, and totally mushed up my rice…grrr!) and a signature cocktail I found on Pinterest called the No-So-Fat Tuesday Cocktail. I especially liked the cocktail because it felt like I was on vacation, and wasn’t overly sweet.

I didn’t do much on the decorating side of things, other than hang a garland of Mardi Gras masks over the sofa, put out some funny napkins (see below), and  a ceramic cowgirl boot my 2-year-old niece and I made at the Craft Studio in NYC. I got beads for everyone to wear too. Gotta accessorize!

The girls brought tons of food, including an authentic King cake shipped from New Orleans, paczkis with fresh whip cream and strawberries (Lauren did special research to find these beauties!), muffaletta sandwiches, decadent bacon mac and cheese with caramelized onions, twice baked potato bites, homemade rosemary bread, spinach dip, artisan cheese and crackers, hummus and veggies, and brownies. We were left with plenty of leftovers!

The King cake was a big hit because everyone wanted the plastic baby (whoever finds the plastic baby in the cake gets good luck!). My best friend Bridget was the lucky lady to get it! Mel (my sister-in-law who brought the cake) also said whoever finds the baby brings the cake next year, and everyone agreed that we should keep the tradition alive next year.

What did you do for Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras?

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