Time is a strange and wonderful force. What else can turn two tiny bundles unable to do anything but basic body functions into two happy, intelligent, curious individuals capable of more and more every day.
Desperate newborn cries have turned into the sweetest “Mama” sounds I’ve ever heard. Flailing arms and legs have turned into strong limbs capable of pulling themselves up and almost walking. Yes, 365 days, 8760 hours is a magical amount of time.
I know it’s a cliché, but I simply cannot believe how fast the year has past. Long gone are the sleepless nights and near constant feeding, diapering and changing. Our days now arrive and end at an almost normal rate, and we have settled into a routine that includes long breaks for me to play with Little Guy (and occasionally sleep). Life is good with one-year-old twins; it is, as they say, a good age.
Their birthday party was certainly a day of celebration. Everyone knows that 1st birthday parties are for the parents, not the babies, and we decided that with twins, we deserved a BIG party. Decorations and ideas were easy because of the easy to use and S-U-P-E-R cute party printables available at Simone Made It. When you buy these printable theme packs available in many different themes, you buy a PDF file that is customizable with your own text. You then print out only what you need instead of buying expensive (and usually wasteful) decorations.
Since our life is still a little short on time these days, I wanted an easy menu but one that was also tasty and not too unhealthy.
Recipes for the Salsa Roja and the Firecracker Coleslaw are from this site. Both recipes are favorites, and I find myself making them over and over again. They are always a huge hit when I’m entertaining. The pimento cheese is my father’s recipe; and can be found at the bottom of this post. It’s a mild version of the southern classic and was devoured at an alarming rate!
The Herbed Potato Salad is a Cooking Light recipe. I made a double recipe and it was more than enough for the twenty adults at the party. It is full of bright herb flavor and tart acidity. I enjoyed the salad more warm than cold, but it was a good healthy mayo-free salad either way. I made it exactly by the recipe except that I doubled it. It holds well for several days so it’s the perfect make-ahead recipe.
We pulled out several pounds of the grass-fed ground beef we purchased and made sliders that were dreamy covered in oozy melted cheese. The sliders were so good, I wanted to go a bit beyond just run of the mill corn dogs. Regular hot dogs are full of nitrates, nitrites, and dubiously sourced meat. Granted that I didn’t look very hard, but I couldn’t find antibiotic free corn dogs anywhere. So, I made my own.
I’m a fan of Applegate hotdogs. According to my 4-year old, the blue package tastes the best!
I got the idea from The Village Cook to bake the corn dogs in an old-fashioned cast-iron corn stick pan. It was a fantastic pan for baking the dogs and keeping the corn dog-like shape, but the recipe used just a quarter of a hot dog per muffin tin which seemed a little bready to me and it used instant muffin mix instead of a healthier homemade version using whole-grain flours.
This recipe freezes easily. I made the corn dogs for the party a week ahead of time and kept them in the freezer until right before service time. Then I reheated them by placing them on a baking sheet and reheating at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. You can also reheat them quickly in a microwave, but you don’t get the nice crunch you get in the oven. Enjoy!
Baked Corn Dogs
You can eat these fresh out of the oven, or freeze them and reheat in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. I use spelt flour in this recipe because of its soft texture. It does not have a whole wheat flavor or texture. If you want more whole-grain flavor, use whole wheat or even graham flour instead of spelt flour in this recipe. Of course you could always just use white flour too.
Makes 12 corndogs
1 cup corn meal
1 cup spelt flour (or other whole wheat flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
8 hot dogs (your favorite variety)
12 wooden skewers
Place a cast-iron corn stick pan on a baking sheet and put in the oven. Preheat oven with corn stick pan in it to 400 degrees. In a large bowl mix the corn meal, spelt flour, salt, sugar, baking soda and baking powder. In another bowl or large measuring cup combine buttermilk, eggs and vegetable oil and mix well. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well. Set aside to rest for several minutes.
Cut 1/3 off of each hot dog. Press a skewer into each of the 2/3-sized hot dogs, then skewer the short pieces of hot dog, using two per skewer to make 12 hot dogs on skewers. Remove the corn stick pan on the baking sheet from the oven and thoroughly spray with non-stick cooking spray or brush with oil. One at a time, dip each hot dog into the corn batter covering all of the hot dog with batter. Place the hot dog into one of the corn stick slots and repeat with enough of the hot dogs to fill the pan.
Spoon in additional batter if needed to fill the bottom of each corn stick slot. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and turn out onto a baking rack or board to cool. Wipe any residue out of the corn stick pan and re-grease it. Repeat the process with the remaining hot dogs, using any remaining batter to fill any empty slots. Once the corn dogs have cooled, you can trim the edges if needed.
Classic Pimento Cheese
12 ounces medium cheddar cheese, shredded
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup pimentos, chopped
Combine ingredients in the bowl of a mixer. Mix on medium speed until thoroughly combined and softened. Season to taste with cayenne. Serve with bread rounds or butter crackers (like Ritz).
You can add a pinch of cayenne to this to give it a little (or a lot) of a kick.