Meet the Sullivans: 2010

December 30, 2010

2010: Our Year in Photos

2010 has flown by! It has been a big year for us, and we've been lucky enough to experience quite a few big events this year; Keith's graduation, his first job as a PT, THE BIG DAY and not just one, but TWO of our very close friends are having baby boys. Gee, when I think back on this year I feel a little overwhelmed by all the fun and happy times we've had. Don't believe me? See for yourself...

In January we rang in the New Year with our close friends Anne and Jaeson, and Jackie and Blair in Napa at the Chandon Winery at the Glitter Ball. As you can see, we had a blast! 


In January my Grandpa celebrated his 84th birthday surrounded by his 3 daughters, sons-in-law and all of his 10 nieces and nephews.

I went to the California Kindergarten Conference in January and met "Miss Bindergarten", who is very popular among Kindergarteners all over!

In February Keith and I celebrated Valentine's Day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

We also celebrated my sister Kathee's 25th birthday with the family at the Olympic Club. 

In March we showered our friend Jackie with love and gifts at her Bridal Shower.


In March Keith and I spent the weekend in Menlo Park at the Engaged Encounter marriage preparation retreat. We gained so much from that weekend and look back on the experience fondly. 

March was also the month for my Bridal Shower! My sisters-in-law hosted it at one of their homes. It was absolutely prefect. I felt so loved and spoiled! 


In April we threw Jackie's Bachelorette Party in San Francisco. The weekend was filled with fun: we had a special table at a wine bar, we went to a fancy and delicious dinner, and we raced around the city in little go-carts. Needless to say, we had a grand time with our friend before she tied the knot.


In May Mr. and Mrs. Smith got hitched at the Mountain Winery. It was a beautiful wedding!

In May my Kindergarten class threw us a bridal shower at school. They spared no detail in planning the party. The cupcakes were homemade and a piece of art! The kids were so excited and each wrote me a little note with a picture telling me what love is. Their interpretations are precious, and hilarious, so we displayed the book at our wedding alongside the guest book. I was spoiled again when they gave Keith and I our KitchenAid stand mixer. Spoiled, I tell you!  

In May Keith graduated with his Doctorate from Physical Therapy school! He studied so long and hard, he was so relieved and proud that day. Friends and family were there to celebrate.

In May we also made a trip up to Napa with our friends Anne and Jaeson. It was a warm weekend and the wine was flowing like water! 

In June we ran the Muddy Buddy Ride and Run race in San Jose with our friends Matt and Amanda, Arlene, and Ted. This was our second year doing the race and we'll be back in 2011 for more mud!

For my Dad's birthday we took my dad to a Giant's baseball game at Pac Bell Park. My dad is a huge San Francisco Giant's fan, having grown-up in the city, and goes to games often, but this was a special day because we spent it together. I love him with all my heart.

In June we also celebrated Keith's 31st Birthday with a big party at my mother-in-law's house. 

In July, as we quickly approached "the big day", I went with my mom for one of my final dress fittings. 

On July 16th Keith and I went to city hall for our Marriage License! 

In July my bridesmaids threw me the most amazing Bachelorette Party in Napa! They planned every last detail with me in mind. I have amazing friends that know me so well. Pink, cupcakes, champagne in Napa...I enjoy it all so very much! 


 On August 6th 2010 Keith and I rehearsed with our closest friends and family for the biggest day of our lives.

 

The next day, on August 7th 2010 at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, we tied the knot. See more pictures of our wedding here.
The next day we left for our honeymoon. Can you guess where we decided to go? Here's a hint, it's the happiest place on earth...

In September, after I started another year teaching Kindergarten and Keith passed his board exams and began working at the hospital, we threw a Birthday Bash for our friends Hilary, Blair and Anne. It was a Martini themed party complete with cocktails named for each birthday boy and girl and a green / blue / white / black candy buffet.

In October Keith and I made our annual trip to the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival. We picked pumpkins, enjoyed pumpkin pancakes and I started a glass pumpkin collection.

We also moved into our new apartment.


In October our friends Allison and Jordan announced they will be having their first baby (A BOY!) 

Our Halloween Jack-o-Lanterns...

In November we attended my school's dinner dance auction.

We celebrated my mom's birthday, Thanksgiving, and I barely took any pictures! What a shame :(

We also found out in November that our friends Nicole and Brian are due with their first baby (ALSO A BOY!) in April!

In December we sent out our first "family" Christmas card,


 decorated for our first Christmas as husband and wife,

But most importantly...
 We celebrated with our families!

We wish you all a VERY Happy New Year! See you in 2011!

December 29, 2010

Ricotta and Vanilla Bean Puddings

This is a Giada de Laurentiis recipe. You can get a printable copy here

I made these little puddings for a Christmas Party I had a earlier this month. They were really moist and had the greatest flavor. Enjoy!

PUDDINGS:

  • Butter, for greasing the muffin cups
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 vanilla bean

SAUCE:

  • 2 cups fresh, or frozen and thawed, cranberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 large orange, zested and juiced
  • 1/2 cup sugar, plus extra, as needed
For the puddings: Arrange an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.


Butter 10 nonstick muffin cups and line the bottom of each cup with a disk of parchment paper. Set aside.


In a blender, combine the ricotta cheese, mascarpone cheese, eggs, heavy cream, maple syrup, sugar, and salt. Using a paring knife, split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds into the blender. (Reserve the seeded vanilla pod for the sauce.) Blend the mixture until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until puffed and lightly browned. Remove the muffin cups from the oven to a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes (puddings will deflate during cooling). Refrigerate the puddings, in the muffin cups, for 2 hours. Using a thin, flexible spatula, carefully remove the puddings from the muffin cups and discard the parchment paper from the bottom of the puddings.


For the sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the reserved vanilla pod, cranberries, water, orange juice, orange zest and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and gently simmer until the mixture has thickened and the liquid has reduced by half, about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 20 minutes. Remove the vanilla pod and sweeten with extra sugar, to taste, if necessary.


To serve: Arrange the puddings on small dessert plates and spoon the sauce over the top.

December 28, 2010

Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Frosting

 You can find a printer friendly version of this recipe here

Now, I know Christmas is over, but I promised I would share this recipe and it does solve the problem of what to do with all of those leftover candy canes!

I made these delightful little things for my Girls' Annual Christmas Party earlier this month. Keith and I each sneaked one before the party and they were delicious!

INGREDIENTS

CUPCAKES:
1  cup  packed brown sugar
6  tablespoons  butter, softened
2  large eggs
1 1/4  cups  all-purpose flour (about 5 1/2 ounces)
1/2  cup  unsweetened cocoa
1  teaspoon  baking powder
1/2  teaspoon  baking soda
1/2  teaspoon  salt
1/2  cup  low-fat buttermilk
1  teaspoon  vanilla extract

PEPPERMINT FROSTING:
2  cups  powdered sugar
1/2  cup  (4 ounces) tub-style light cream cheese
1/8  teaspoon  peppermint extract
16  hard peppermint candies, finely crushed (about 1/3 cup)

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare cupcakes, place brown sugar and butter in a large bowl; I like to use my KitchenAid mixer for something like this.

 

beat with a mixer at medium speed 2 minutes or until well blended. 


Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk.




Measure the buttermilk. 


Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in vanilla extract.



Doesn't that just look like heaven??


Spoon batter into 18 muffin cups lined with paper liners. 


Bake at 350° for 12 minutes or until cupcakes spring back when touched lightly in the center. 


 Mine cracked a little :( But that's nothing frosting can't fix!


Now,  on to the frosting! 4oz cream cheese,


2 cups powdered sugar, 


1/8 a teaspoon peppermint extract (and no more! it is strong stuff!)and now whip it up! 


Now you can unwrap all of those peppermints! This took a few minutes, so it might be something you'll want to do while the cupcakes bake OR something your husband / wife/ significant other / child / helper can do while you are busy cooking!


Now put them in  zip lock bag and place the bag in you cutting board and whack those candies with your meat mallet (or heavy pot or rolling pin). 


I spooned the frosting into a piping bag and after my cupcakes cooled I  iced them in a swirl pattern.

 

Then sprinkle with crushed peppermints! 


Don't they look purty?! They taste great too :)

Enjoy!