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Brent turns 29

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Today was Brent’s 29th birthday. I make a big deal out of birthdays. Brent thinks of them as just another day, but I like to make them special. I started out waking up early so I could make Brent’s breakfast before he got up. I made some biscuits with bacon gravy. The biscuits were delicious. I’m not sure about the gravy because I do not get down with gravy, but Brent seemed to enjoy it. I just ate a plain biscuit and some coffee because I had plans to run later in the morning.

While Brent was at work, I made use of my time off and made a ton of stuff in the kitchen, including Brent’s birthday cupcakes. I love to bake – especially for birthdays, so I basically insisted Brent find something for me to bake for his birthday. He skimmed through Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World, and decided on Lemony Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream. He’s really been into citrus flavored sorbets this summer, so he wanted something that would taste “refreshing” when he bit into it.

These were wonderful, and I thought they looked pretty cute too! Brent really seemed to like them, so I was happy.

Of course, we had to have dinner before dessert. I’m slightly ashamed to say, Brent actually made his own birthday dinner. He decided he wanted Steak & Frites, and I’m not great with cooking meat or frying things, so he chose to do it himself. He made steak au poivre from Alton Brown and french fries from Serious Eats. The fries were a production. He started them yesterday! They involve frying, then freezing, then frying again. I do have to say these were some freaking amazing french fries, so if you’re looking for a salty, crispy, stick of potato goodness, I recommend these. The steak was good, but it was probably my least favorite part of the meal. I was just too enamored with the fries and the arugula, beet & goat cheese salad I threw together to add color and veg to the plate. I LOVE this salad.

An impressive looking plate, right? Enjoyed every bite! 🙂

After dinner we went out for a drink with some friends and it was way more trouble than it was worth. We got there at 8:30 and they were out of the first 4 types of beer Brent tried to order, and then when we finally got a drink, the bartender told us they were closing in 3 minutes at 9pm. The bartender felt a little bad for us, so he let us hang out a have a drink with our friends while he closed up. It was very nice of him, but what kind of bar runs out of most of their beer and closes at 9pm?!

We’re now ending the evening watching Futurama in bed… it must be Brent’s special day, because I can’t stand this show! I’m making freezer jam with my friend tomorrow! 🙂

Christmas Breakfast Biscuits

Last night at my in-laws, when I told my mother-in-law that I was making Brent some biscuits for his Christmas morning biscuits & gravy, she patted me on the back and said “You’ve come a long way.” I believe she may have been referring to the first Christmas I spent at their house, like 4 years ago, when they all had biscuits and gravy for breakfast and I kind of just stared at them.

Unfortunately, right when I woke up and came into the kitchen this morning, I remembered that my mother was still in possession of my Kitchen-aid mixer from cookie-baking day. Oh no! I figured people have been making biscuits without a mixer for years, so I should be able to handle it. It sucked. I also do not own a pastry cutter, so there I was Christmas morning, two butter knives in hand, trying to cut the butter into the biscuit dough while my husband found a camera and said “let’s take a picture of Victoria making old-timey biscuits.” At least I was wearing my cute new apron.

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Luckily the biscuits seemed relatively unharmed, and tasted delicious. Although, I think they turned out flakier last time.

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To go with the biscuits, Brent made gravy, which I obviously had nothing to do with. The sausage was pretty gross, although it did smell pretty good.

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That sausage eventually turned into gravy, to top the biscuits.

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I just had some biscuits and eggs. Gravy, *shudders*, is just not my thing. To go with the biscuits, we also had the Monroe family tradition, or at least our tradition until we have kids, according to Brent. Mimosas! Unfortunately, we always seem to lose or break our champagne flutes. So here they are in our wine glasses. Delicious!

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And… I got an awesome Christmas gift from Brent: a 7 quart cast iron dutch oven! I have been wanting one forever and I am so excited! Brent of course, likes to torture me, so he pretended he didn’t get me anything, and I believed him (it’s not that far-fetched).

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The dogs also got some gifts. I think we have officially proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Larry cannot have nice things:

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Here he is introducing himself to his new best friend, Mr. Pufferchucker. All of his stuffed animals have ridiculous names.

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He proudly surveys the damage he has caused.

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We didn’t even know Mr. Pufferchucker had a tube inside him, but Larry managed to find it and pull it out. The pufferchucker squeaks no more.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Christmas Breakfast

Not to worry. I haven’t lost track of time. I know it’s not Christmas yet. I’ve just stumbled upon a recipe that will definitely be on our holiday table though! Every Christmas my husband’s family eats biscuits & gravy for breakfast. I’ve tried to continue the tradition in our house for his sake, even though “biscuits & gravy” kind of grosses me out. I guess it must be a regional thing. I’ve just never been a big fan. It’s not the biscuit part that creates the problem; it’s much more an issue with gravy. As I may have stated before, I’m just incredibly picky about sauces, condiments, dressing, anything like that. Biscuits are delicious though. So this morning, I made a batch of Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits. So, so good! Flakiness is my number one biscuit requirement.

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These definitely fit the bill. I did not actually have buttermilk, so I used just about 3/4 cup of skim milk and a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Also, I’m not in possession of any biscuit cutters, because I always just use a drinking glass. As a result, I did not make 1-3/4 inch biscuits. I think mine were more like 2-1/2″, so I only got 9 biscuits, which is really a shame because they’re so yummy and versatile. I had one for breakfast with strawberry preserves, which is my preferred way to eat biscuits.

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Last year when we hosted Thanksgiving, I made biscuits to go with dinner. I believe they were Chive Biscuits by the Barefoot Contessa. This Cooking Light recipe contains less butter, and no cream or half and half, but I think tastes way better, and the folding method with the dough must be what creates such awesome flaky layers. I highly recommend trying this recipe. I think next time I may try one or more of the variations.

Brent is still sleeping, so he has not tried them yet, but I’m sure he will love them. I’ll have to freeze half of them or something so I can make them last.