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Fun Family Nights: Grilling, baking, & pizza making

When I was trying to come up with a title/subject for this week's blog, I turned to Jerry; he said it should be about family night. Initially, I was hesitant to use that title as we aren't officially married yet --can I call us a family? He assured me that I can and that we are.

I love planning little special occasions to break up the monotony of the week. This week is the twin's 13th birthday, so I wanted to ensure that their time with us was extra special. I normally cook or bake at least one dish with the boys the week they're at our place, but I wanted to plan more.

On Monday (Memorial Day), we barbecued. Jerry grilled up some cheeseburgers and hot dogs, and the boys helped me make homemade lemonade with freshly squeezed lemons and boiled simple syrup. It was so good.

On Tuesday, we made a No Fuss Lemon Tart (recipe by It's ironic that "no fuss" was in this recipe's title, especially since we experienced one baking mishap after another. Seriously, it was insane.

First, I left the pretzel-graham cracker pie crust in the oven too long. Luckily, it was fine. Then, lemon filling boiled over (we lost a bit of it) and wrecked our glass stovetop (I miss working on a gas range).

Then, just as we were about to pour the cooled filling into the pie dish, we realized that I had accidentally used Half & Half, instead of heavy whipping cream (in my defense, the cartons are the exact same size and were right next to each other in the fridge) Major fail!

We had to start all over with the lemon juice-lemon zest-honey-vanilla-infused filling. After an hour (the allotted time the filling should've set), we were all anxious to finally try this dessert, that ended up being the biggest pain in the neck. But it wasn't ready. It took over 2.5 hours set (maybe because I used a pie plate instead of a tart dish, I dunno).

Geeezzzz.... I've never had so many things go wrong with one dish. Unbelievably, the filling set by morning and it tasted great.

Last night, we had PIZZA & MOVIE night. Hunter had been talking about wanting to make homemade pizza, so that's what we did. We used Pillsbury pizza crust and I set out a topping bar comprised of burrata, shredded mozzarella, garlic, basil, pepperoni, tomato, Parmesan, and pizza sauce.

It was so fun, especially seeing everyone's creation.

Here is my burrata, basil, and pepperoni pizza.

We also made delicious air fried BBQ wings, which Jerry coated perfectly in BBQ sauce using the bowl toss-flip method that Amy Schumer's husband Chris Fischer uses on their cooking show, Amy Schumer Learns to Cook.

Great job, babe! See, we learn stuff from TV all the time.

After dinner, we watched The Call of the Wild and took a few intermissions to whip up dessert.

Since we still had most of the 5-pound bag of baby carrots we bought in order to be more health-conscious, I finally prepared carrots the way Jerry likes them -- in a cake. We used a simple Paula Deen recipe: Grandma Hiers' Carrot Cake.

This is only my second time making a three-layer cake and it turned out pretty good. (This time, my cake didn't implode. Yay!) I think we did a great job. I was also excited to use my new Crate & Barrel cake stand that Jerry just bought me.

I have a few more sweet treats planned for the boys this week.... their birthday isn't until Sunday.

Stay tuned to see what I whip up next!

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