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Thursday, February 21, 2013


This week has been full of birthdays.  Aaron turned 29 today and his father turned 76 yesterday.  Since one should celebrate on one's birthday, we have been enjoying fine company and delicious food for the past two days.

Last night I prepared two pans of chicken stuffed shells and a batch of garlic knots to share with Aaron's parents and his sister-in-law for dinner.

Chicken stuffed shells

Garlic knots

I was so exhausted from working on dessert that I forgot to take pictures of dinner before we served it, but it was worth it because dessert was out of this world!  I found a recipe for Mississippi Mud Pie on Pinterest, and since Aaron's dad has been asking for months if I know how to make it, I figured it would be the perfect recipe for his birthday "cake".

I debated taking some shortcuts on the recipe and using a pre-made Oreo crust and instant pudding mix, but in the end I decided to go all out and make everything from scratch.  I'm so glad I did.

In case you've never heard of Mississippi Mud Pie before, it has a chocolate cookie crumb crust, a layer of flourless chocolate cake, a layer of pudding, and homemade whipped cream on top.  It is super, ultra rich and delicious.  I only changed one thing in the recipe.  The recipe calls for the use of a spring-form pan.  Since I don't have one, I used two pie pans and divided everything between them.  When it came time to bake the cake layer I reduced the cooking time to 30 minutes.

Aaron's dad would certainly qualify as a chocoholic.  He had THREE PIECES of the mud pie.  I was surprised anyone could handle so much of anything so rich.

For Aaron's birthday dinner he requested roast beef.  Now, my mom makes roast beef in a crock pot.  I have always loved her roast.  In fact, she made it on Tuesday night, not knowing that I had it planned for Thursday dinner.  Since I'd never made a roast in the oven I had to ask Aaron's mom how she makes hers.  I was surprised by how easy it is.

I just rubbed some garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper all over the roast.  Then I put it in a baking dish and let it cook in the oven on 300 degrees until my meat thermometer said it was done.  I know it seems like cheating to use that thermometer, but it left me free to spend the afternoon playing blocks with Bailey.

Roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, macaroni and cheese, peas, and honey yeast rolls.
Aaron could eat macaroni and cheese with mashed potatoes every night so I made those, and for some reason I really like peas with roast beef and mashed potatoes.  Since Aaron is one of those people who could consume nothing but starchy carbs and meat and be absolutely content, I decided to go all out and include some honey yeast rolls.  The whole meal was just a perfect southern, home cooked, dream come true.  It turned out exactly how I had hoped.

Honey Yeast Rolls
I'm really thankful that Aaron is so perceptive.  I was starting to get a bit frazzled from all the complicated recipes (the mud pie in particular) and from having to carry an entire meal to his parents' house for the second time in five days.  He noticed how flustered I was getting and asked if I would wait until the weekend to make his birthday cake.  It's not like we are short on desserts around here anyway.  We kept part of the mud pie and brought it back home with us, and we have chocolate muffins and sugar doughnut muffins in the freezer that thaw in the microwave in 25 seconds.

So, since I feel like I've been working nonstop for the last four days, I decided not to post a recipe today.  Not to worry though.  I'll be back tomorrow with a recipe for the best pizza crust you've ever had!

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