Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happy Birthday to me! (LONG POST!)

Well... I am officially 26. Closer to 30 than to 20. Really an adult. Halfway to 52. Okay, so it isn't bad and I realize I'm not old, but for some reason this birthday has got me thinking about getting older. I'm not nervous about turning 50, but 30 seems a little too close for comfort! At least my dear husband will hit that milestone before me! (Love you, babe!)

My wonderful friends Monica and Erica treated me to a wonderful early birthday on Saturday. We gorged ourselves so much, but it was totally worth it. We had a big lunch with two Chili's copycat recipes (Boneless Shanghai Wings and Southwestern Eggrolls) and a delicious Asian Chicken Salad (thanks, Erica, for granting my request for this salad!). Then we indulged in the best birthday cake EVER! Monica graciously made a Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cake for me and it was AMAZING!!!!!! I found the recipe at Vanilla Sugar and sent the link to Monica. I know, I'm a weirdo, but Monica indulges me!

After lunch, we took the kids to see Wall-E. It was cute, but Anya and Lexie didn't seem to care for it too much. Oh well... they still had fun!

We came back to my house for a quick dinner (Chicken Pitas and Fruit Salad), got the kids (two 3 year olds, a 6.5 month old, 5 month old, and 3.5 month old!) in bed and played Settlers, ate another cake (past DB challenge to be posted on 30 Sep) and got slap happy until about 1030. I know that isn't late for most, but for me, I was living on the edge!!!

My wonderful hubby got me the pasta attachment for my Kitchenaid and I am so stoked! Of course, him being here would've been the best present, but only 3 more months until R&R!!! I was also gifted with 2 cookbooks, a tart and tartlet pan, a year subscription to Everyday Food, and a cookie cutter set from my wonderful friends (Thanks Monica, Erica, and Kristl!!!). Can you tell kitchen stuff is exciting for me?

On to the wonderful recipes that I know you are going to want to make!!!

Boneless Shanghai Wings, Southwestern Egg Rolls, and Asian Chicken Salad

Boneless Shanghai Wings

1 cup flour
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp paprika
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 chicken breasts, chopped

Ginger Citrus Sauce:
1 1/4 cups water
1 TBSP cornstarch
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 TBSP fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 TBSP lime juice
1 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

Wasabi Ranch Dressing:
1/2 cup ranch dressing
2 TBSP buttermilk
1 tsp prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp powdered wasabi
1 drop green food coloring

Combine flour, salt, pepeprs, and paprika in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together milk and egg. Dip chicken in egg, then dry mix; repeat process so that each piece is double coated. Arrange on a plate and chill 15 minutes.

As the chicken rests, prepare ginger sauce by dissolving cornstarch in water. Pour into saucepan with remaining ingredients and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool a bit.

Fry chicken in oil until done (5-6 minutes). Once chicken is done, place in sealed container with ginger sauce and shake well.

Whisk together all ingredients for dressing and serve with chicken.

Southwestern Eggrolls

1 chicken breast
1 TBSP vegetable oil
2 TBSP minced red bell pepper
2 TBSP minced green onion
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
2 TBSP frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 TBSP diced canned jalepeno peppers
1/2 TBSP minced fresh parsley
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
Dash cayenne pepper
3/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
Five 7" tortillas

Avocado Ranch Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup smashed fresh avocado
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 TBSP buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp dried parsley
1/8 tsp onion powder
Dash dried dill weed
Dash garlic powder
Dash pepper

Rub chicken with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook and set aside.

Saute red pepper through onion until tender. Dice cooked chicken and add to pan. Add corn through cayenne pepper. Stir well so spinach is incorporated. Remove from heat and add cheese; stir until melted.

Spoon 1/5 of mixture onto tortilla. Fold ends in, roll tightly; secrue with toothpick. Freeze 4 hours or overnight.

Deep fry eggrolls for 12-15 minutes. Mix all sauce ingredients and serve.

Note: I sometimes bake these instead of frying. No need to freeze; just pop in 350 oven for about 30 minutes.

Erica's Favorite Chicken Salad (Asian Chicken Salad)

4 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
2 cups slivered almonds
6 green onions, sliced thinly including tops
2 packages chicken flavored ramen noodles
6 cups boiled and chopped chicken breasts (chilled)
1 head finely shredded green cabbage

Keep all of the above separate until ready to serve.


4 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp white vinegar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 seasoning packets from the Ramen

Heat sugar and vinegar until sugar is dissolved. Pour into pint sized container. Add vegetable oil and seasoning packets.
My delicious cake!

Yes, I ate that whole piece! Mmmmmm!!!!

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cake

1 box (18.25 ounces) devil's food cake mix
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
Good pinch of salt
2 cups mini Reese peanut butter cups, chopped, plus 1 1/2 cups more for garnish (about 2 - 12oz. bags)


12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (used semi-sweet)
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
4 TB of confectioners sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray. Line with waxed paper; coat paper.

In a large bowl, beat cake mix, eggs, buttermilk, vegetable oil and salt on low for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium-high; beat for 2 minutes, scraping down side of the bowl after 1 minute. Fold in 2 cups of the chopped peanut butter cups.

Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 34 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let layers cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto wire racks and cool completely.

To make the PB ganache place chopped dark chocolate in a medium-size bowl. Bring cream just to a boil and pour over chocolate. Whisk until chocolate melts. Add peanut butter and confectioners sugar, whisking all till nice and smooth.

To frost the cake, put one cake layer on cooling rack and place on a baking sheet. Pour some ganache on top; spread evenly with a spatula. Then place remaining cake layer, and pour remaining frosting over the top, allowing it to spill over the sides. Smooth top and sides with spatula. Refrigerate 1 hour to set. Transfer cake to serving plate and garnish with the chopped Reese's PB Cups.


priscilla joy said...

sounds and looks like a yummy dinner! i made that same cake it was gone shortly after.:) great blog going...

The McBride Family said...

YAY I'm so glad you had fun!! I know I had a blast and I think once every couple of months we should do it Birthday or not! :) Love you girl! Happy actual birthday DAY!!!

Lot-O-Choc said...

Glad you had a nice bday :)
Your cake looks gorgeoussss!
Its my bday in 3 trying to decide what flavour cake to have hmmm...

Millers! said...

Happy Birthday Girl!!!! you do realize I turn 30 in 4 months, yeah I am a little weirded out aout it, but I totally want to do a Girls weekend, and of course something with Doug...but I really want to have a girls weekend! Love your recipes.. will be trying those!

sarah said...

i know it's not your birthday in germany anymore, but i wanted to say happy day anyway!! always some reason to celebrate!! your blog is awesome & so are you!! *hugs*

Anonymous said...

Oooh I'll have to try all of those recipes from your b'day dinner very soon. My hubby would love that cake...I think I'll make it for him as a surprise when he finishes his 747 training :D

Anonymous said...

UPDATE: I made the cake for my hubby and we celebrated his training graduation on Super Bowl Sunday. Oh. My. Gosh! This cake was FABULOUS!! Everyone loved it! Thanks for the recipe, its a keeper. I'll post a photo on Facebook soon.

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