Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Is He Really 20??

I will be the first to admit, I have been a TERRIBLE blogger over the past week or so.  It wasn’t that my life was boring and I had nothing to write about.  Quite on the contrary, life has been so busy that between school, friends, and a million activities I haven’t had time to write.  However, enough with the excuses; I am back so all of that doesn’t really matter.
The birthday boy and his girlfriend.
Last Thursday was my younger brother J.J.’s 20th birthday.  Crazy to think that he is no longer a teenager!  Along with his roommates, girlfriend and some friends we went to George’s (a legend in Waco) for dinner.    His roommates are quite a lively bunch so the conversations covered every topic imaginable, including one of their outfit choices (Hawaiian shirt with red basketball shorts and loafers) that would make any dad look stylish.
 The lively bunch.
After having his car towed earlier in the day, Austen learned that you really
do need to put your parking sticker on your car.
The highlight of the dinner though was my Oreo ice cream cake.  You take white cake mix and add 1 ½ cups of crushed Oreos and use 3 egg whites instead of 3 whole eggs.  You cook the cake in 2 13x9 pans and after it cools, leave one cake in the pan and cover it with Cookies and Cream ice cream.  Then add the other layer on top and cover with white frosting with Oreo pieces mixed in.  It is best if you freeze it for 12 hours.
The cake!!
J.J.’s birthday was a success and I am so happy that he is my brother!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

You Say Banana, I Say Cake

When we were in New York, our friend Jay from Baylor had us over for dinner at his family’s house in Brooklyn.  I remember it was so nice to be in a real home instead of a small apartment, but the true highlight of the night was his sister’s baking.

She made the most AMAZING banana cake from the Magnolia cookbook.  Magnolia is a famously delicious bakery in NYC that I actually mentioned in my Fourth of July Blues blog post.  I promised Jay and Lindsey I would make the cake once we were back at Baylor, so the other week I did.  And guess what, now I am sharing the recipe with you!

3 Cups of cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tsp. baking soda
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 ½ cups mashed bananas
6 TBS. Buttermilk
1 ½ tsp. vanilla

White Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 - 8oz. package of softened cream cheese
6 TBS. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. white chocolate (such as Lindt, not baking chocolate) melted and cooled to lukewarm temperature

½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven 325 degrees.  Grease and lightly flour 2 round 9” pans (or use a Bundt pan like I did)
In a small bowl mix flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder.
In a large bowl cream butter and sugar on medium, then add eggs one at a time.  Mix in bananas.  Add half of dry ingredients and mix well.  Add in buttermilk and vanilla and mix.  Mix in remaining dry ingredients.
Place mixture in pan(s) and cook for 40 minutes.
While the cake is cooking, melt white chocolate on low heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, on medium speed, mix cream cheese and butter until smooth.  Add vanilla and chocolate.  Use immediately or store at room temperature, covered for up to 4 hours.
Truth, I am not always the most put together baker.  Yes, I made my frosting in the sink because I was being a bit too efficient and didn't have the time to move the bowl from the sink after I washed the cake batter out and used the same bowl for the icing.

When the cake is done, let cool then place frosting in between the 2 layers and then frost the sides and top.  Garnish with walnuts and enjoy!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Like it or not, some things really are just better in Texas.  One of those is a little thing we like to call two stepping.  Every fall Pi Phi puts on Howdy.  It is a country dance for all of Baylor to raise money for their philanthropy First Book.  This year my roommate Emily was the Howdy chair, and she did an absolutely incredible job.
Chloe and I think Em did just the best job!
The Chris Story Band.
How many times can you wear overalls out?!  Peyton couldn't miss out on the opportunity.
Since it was the 50th anniversary of Howdy this year, Emily had an even more important job.  This year they completely revamped the event by partnering with student activities and holding the event on campus.  There was free BBQ, a trick roper, mechanical bull and of course line dancing and two stepping.  Oh and hayrides too! 
The Howdy Chairs: Emily and Kelsey
Red, white, and blue jeans.
Kappa Sisters!
The Roommates: Peyton, Emily, Bekah, Me, Chloe
 Faces of Howdy...
My little Lindsey.
 Emily and Dave.
Dave, Me, Josh, and Chloe.
Matt and I went to Howdy freshman year together but both with different dates....
so of course we had to take a picture.  Crazy to think how fast 3 years have flown by!
James and Chase.
Mr. Burleson
Chloe and Emily.
We had so much fun with the professional trick roper (I know that isn’t his title but it is what Emily and I called him).  He managed to lasso both Emily and I at the same time.  Later on my friend Matt tried to do the same because he claimed he was an expert lassoer in high school too.  I doubt that but then again he is from New Mexico and successfully lassoed us while we were running.
The professional "trick roper".
Matt the "trick roper"
 Chloe happened to catch this one right as I got caught.

The turnout was fantastic and everyone had so much fun!  Congratulations Emily, you did a wonderful job and all your hard work paid off!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Westfest...Home of the Polka and Kolache

Is it that we always find the most entertaining activities or is it just that we have the best attitudes about what we are doing?  Janae and I still constantly ask ourselves this, but I guess it doesn’t really matter since we always have the most fun adventures when we are together.  Whether we are traveling all over Europe or simply discovering the best of Waco, fun is the name of our game.
Janae...my partner in crime for all things fun!
This Saturday was no exception.  I was looking at my Facebook newsfeed and saw that Janae and her friend were talking about this thing called “Westfest” which they described as a Polka Festival, so naturally I invited myself.  Great decision on my part because it turned out to be one of the most entertaining nights of my college career.  We were expecting a Renaissance type fair with a Czech spin.  After all, the tiny town of West, TX is known for their Czech bakery and kolaches.
Westfest was not quite the festival of costumes that we expected, but rather more of your typical, small town state fair with Czech food stands, a small rodeo, tractor pulling, a dance hall with live band, and even karaoke.  You could tell that the entire town lived for this weekend-long fair because everyone and their grandmother were there.
Can someone PLEASE tell me what a skunk egg is??!!
I still can't figure out the purpose of a tractor pull.
Alex, Janae, and Rachel.
After grabbing a kolache (and for those of you who don’t know, a kolache is a bread pastry filled with anything from sausage and cheese to a cream cheese, fruit mix), we met up with some more friends and headed to the dance tent to see if we could learn the Polka.  The live band, an eclectic group of musicians, succeeded in getting everyone dancing.  While there was some Polka dancing, which I still do not fully understand, there was also two-stepping, salsa, and even the chicken dance.  By the end of the evening we were quite tired, especially because it was another 90 degree day.
Janae and her kolache.
Meet the band.
We finished off the night by convincing the karaoke people to let all 15 of us do the final song for their show.  “Brown Eyed Girl” sounded like a good option so we piled on the mini plank-board stage and began our performance.  I doubt we sounded that good, but they loved us.  In fact, half-way through the song we heard a CRACK and realized the stage was breaking.  Now most times, people would have been mad at us, but they were mad because we stopped singing and insisted that we finish the song.  I guess that is small town Texas kindness for you.  
Anyways Westfest was a success and my only regret is that I did not know about it my first three years at Baylor.