Stu's Birthday - February 9th
I woke up that morning and made my sweet birthday boy blueberry pancakes for breakfast. :)
Then, I immediately started preparing for tonights dinner. The original guest list was 2, just him and I. And then we thought we should invite Stu's flying buddy Jeremy over... but Dan and his wife are in town to so we should invite them too... this process continued until about mid-morning when Stu told me to expect like 10 people! I certainly did not plan for 10! So I had a little bit of a freak-out moment, going "I don't have enough meat!" -- "I don't have enough sweet potatoes!". To help easy my mind the birthday boy took me grocery shopping again...
In trying to plan for this little shindig I had managed to take trips to the grocery store everyday for the last 4 days making sure I was fully prepared, and still he throws me a curve-ball-change-of-plans! I was planning to make mashed sweet potatoes with all the buttery and cinnamon goodness whipped up inside the dish, but Stu informs me, that same day, that he wants baked sweet potatoes, not mashed. Another swift alteration needed to be made, but I continued to move diligently, because I wanted everything to be just the way he likes it for his birthday.
do I look frazzled?
Just to make things a bit more interesting/entertaining/chaotic the kitchen in his apartment on base is a joke. It is seriously the size of the playhouse kitchen set I had when I was a toddler. So I have limited space for everything. Oh and did I mention we don't have a oven. Which is an obstacle I knew ahead of time and was prepared to work around, but with more people I needed more space. In an attempt to help fix this new dilemma, Stu asked Jeremy if we could cook and have the party at his place. Jeremy kindly agreed and said that we were more than welcome to do whatever we needed over at his place. Jeremy is also living on base, but his family visits him on the weekends so he has a much nicer and much bigger living arrangements. The best part though...is that for the last week or so Jeremy has been staying in a Best Western in town because the running water doesn't work in his base housing. Awesome. He assured me that the oven and electric and everything works but I just can't wash anything or use the bathroom. :) ha!
I had started cooking my BBQ ribs in the slow-cooker at Stu's apartment around 9 a.m. and after finding out that Stu was requesting baked potatoes I had to flip the script on that recipe a little bit too. I washed the potatoes. Instead of using all the ingredients I had bought to mix into the (mashed) potatoes, I mixed them separately to make a delicious sweet and cinnamon butter, which had to let set and cool after I mixed it. Because we had to run to the grocery store and get more meat I had to quickly cook more ribs on a skillet and toss them in with my already slow-cooking ribs in the Crock-Pot. We had enough meat to feed a small village!
So after shopping for last minute necessities and transporting my entire kitchen to Jeremy's kitchen, I was ready to get this show on the road!
Now at Jeremy's, it was about 4 p.m., I started immediately on my sweet potatoes. I coated them in Virgin Olive Oil, wrapped my cooking sheet in tin foil and popped them into the oven right away! These sweet potatoes were HUGE, I'm talking potatoes on steroids! We had six potatoes total and decided to cut them in half before serving. With the potatoes getting all warm and delicious in the oven I moved on to my fruit salad. This was the fruit salad of all fruit salads! At Stu's request this fruit salad was comprised of apples, bananas, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, peaches, mangos, blueberries, and mandarin oranges, served tossed in a strawberry pudding! It was delicious and I made a ton of it!
Things got a little frantic when I looked at the clock and it was 5:30. People are coming over at 6:00 and in a tizzy to get everything going I haven't even started getting ready! Thankfully I had showered earlier that morning, but I was still in sweats and my hair look like a hot mess!
I popped a couple bags of frozen veggie steamers in the microwave and let those heat up, while I quickly tried to tame my mane, fix my face, and dress myself. While getting ready I continued to check on my sweet potatoes and they were still hard. I started to panic because guest would be showing up any minute! I realized this was a desperate moment and I need a lifeline, so I called my mom. She told me that they just need a little more time in the oven and I should probably crank up the heat. I also cut them in half at this time to make sure the middle of the potatoes were getting cooked throughly. I shoved those potatoes back in the oven and threw my steamed vegetables into a serving bowl. Everything was coming together.
steamed broccoli and cheese
At Stu's request, I wore my hair up, because he thinks I look cute with my hair up. :)
People started walking through the door at 6ish and my potatoes were getting soft. It was great timing. Everyone sat around the living room and visited with each other for a little while. During this time I had to spread some garlic butter over my texas toast and warm those up in the oven. It only took a few minutes for the bread to golden and everything was ready to serve!
Stu and his Air Force buddies
It was my first attempt cooking for a big group and everything was wonderful!
Happy Birthday to my Sweet Boyfriend!
I love you!