I made my couscous dish again for today's family dinner/birthday extravaganza, and this time I made a few modifications. I didn't cook the sweet onion first, just chopped it. I used corn, petite diced tomatoes, fresh cilantro, and half of the aforementioned onion, plus I used fresh juice squeezed from two limes. I added all of that to two cups of couscous (precooked measurement), and I served it cold, although I think warm would be delicious as well. And they liked it! I was curious to see what the extended fam said about it, and they all responded well (except my dad, who didn't eat me, but he's not exactly food-adventurous) and asked me how I made it. It may have helped that my mom, aunt, and uncle had tried the couscous at the baseball game on Friday (yes, they sat in swanky seats with ritzy food at the Braves game, courtesy of my dad's work connection - did I mention that we could see them on teevee throughout the game?).
Big Girl's cake turned out well, although the caramel icing was a bit thicker than I had intended. I tried a new recipe using sweetened condensed milk, since I couldn't find that can of evaporated milk that I know I bought a couple of weeks ago. It was very sweet, and kind of like candy - a bit chewy, even. I used my rose Bundt pan but the lovely rose shape was largely obscured due to the thickness of the caramel icing. When I make cupcakes for Big Girl's party, I'll aim for a slightly thinner icing, plus I'll serve the cupcakes upside down, since I'll be using fancy bakeware for those, too, and they'll look like rosebuds on the bottom. It'll go with the whole flower theme.
Mind like a steel trap: she's been talking about planting flowers at her party, even though I only mentioned that once when I ran the idea of a flower party by her. My mom already has some pots, and I'll pick up some plants - probably annuals in six-packs since those will be easy for the girls to manipulate - later this week. I don't want to run the risk of buying a flat of flowers only to have them die before next weekend.
In other news, a friendly random black lab, roaming loose in the 'hood, stole Hubs' brown leather dress shoes off the front porch as we were leaving for church this morning. An amusing scene in which I chased the dog, and said dog ran and encouraged the fun game, ensued. We didn't make it to church on time, but the shoes are now safe and intact. The dog chewed into a bag of potting soil (?) while we were gone, and busted open a jug of windshield washer fluid. Hubs shooed him away around lunch, and he apparently went down the street a couple of houses to see if our neighbors wanted to play, and stuck around their house all afternoon. He had a collar but no tags. We're hoping he just escaped from his yard while his people are out of town for the weekend - I hope he wasn't dumped out because his owners got tired of him, but unfortunately that happens all too often. We would have invited him to stay, but we have more than enough canine companionship at present, in the form of two ravenous blond bums. Hubs would be furious, so I squelched the voice in the back of my mind that thought he was a very sweet puppy who needed someone to love him. But I'm still a bit worried and will keep an eye out for him tomorrow.