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Cake Baking And Easter Eating

Hello Monday! I am back in Charlotte and back to the normal routine after an amazing weekend with my family. I love visiting my grandmother’s house. It was basically my second home growing up and it feels so good to have our family together there, especially on holidays. Whenever I visit I feel like I can totally relax with no expectations to do anything or be anywhere. There’s something about crossing the state line into Georgia that just brings me a huge sense of let go.

Here’s a (very photo-heavy…hang on!) look at the rest of my Easter weekend. (Part one is here.)

Saturday night dinner was prime rib that my dad grilled on the Big Green Egg with rice, asparagus and ciabatta rolls. My dad usually makes a point to feed me red meat when I’m visiting since I never eat it. I think the last time I had it was when I last visited in January. The prime rib was so delicious and there’s something about steak and asparagus that just goes together so well. Loved this dinner.

I passed out reading around 11 p.m. on Saturday and could not drag myself out of bed until 8:30 Sunday morning. I felt like I could have slept even longer but there was a cake that needed to be baked and a run to get in before all the family came over so I got up and made a bowl of oatmeal.

The oatmeal was perfect fuel for a 4-mile run and cake baking.

I baked Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake for Easter dessert and my grandmother’s birthday. It’s a lemon white cake with raspberry preserves and a whipped meringue buttercream. I had really high hopes for this cake but was disappointed to find that my layers did not rise the way they were supposed to. The instructions are to horizontally slice the two layers so that you end up with four but there was no way that was happening so we had a two-layer cake rather than four. It still tasted great but I’m determined to make it again in all of its four-layer glory!

In true “Jen form” everyone arrived while I was running and I had to quickly ice the cake in my sweaty running clothes while taking more than my fair share of samples from the frosting bowl! (Perfect post-run recovery food, right?) Luckily, I had a helper. 😉

The finished cake! Pretty and Easter-y!

An easter egg hunt was a must before we could sit down for our meal. So much fun.

And here’s a look at our fabulous spread! My dedicated father got up at 1 a.m. to put our ham in to bake so that I would have access to the oven to bake my cake in the morning. How sweet is that? What you see here is baked ham, deviled eggs, baked beans, salad and potato salad…all homemade.

I volunteered to be in charge of vegetables and ended up just doing a big salad. I tossed mixed greens with a homemade honey dijon balsamic vinaigrette, salt and pepper and then topped it with toasted pecans, avocados, dried cranberries, strawberries and feta. Everyone enjoyed it.

I requested that my dad make his homemade buttermilk biscuits to go with our meal and it was the best request I’ve made in a long time! I turned my ham into ham biscuits and ate two of them. Mmm….

My plate. A Southern feast!

After we ate it was time for my grandmother’s birthday celebration and dessert. Today is my grandmother’s birthday and it is truly a day to celebrate. For those of you who are newer to the blog, my grandmother had open heart surgery in June and has made an amazing recovery from it. I am in tears as I write this because I am so grateful to have her in my life. We have been incredibly close my entire life and I really value the relationship that I have with her.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEMA! She is PBRs #1 fan and reads the blog religiously. Wish her happy birthday!

I had a slice of cake and then said my goodbyes to make the long trip back to Charlotte. It was such a good weekend full of family time and delicious food and I’m still smiling from it.

What was the best thing about your weekend? Something you did? Something you ate? An awesome workout? 

{ 40 comments… add one }
  • 1
    Victoria April 9, 2012, 12:55 pm

    Happy Birthday to your Mema! It sounds like you had a wondeful time this weekend. Nothing beats spending time with your family 🙂

    • 2
      Victoria April 9, 2012, 12:57 pm

      *wonderful – i can’t spell today!!!

  • 3
    Bess @ Bess Be Fit April 9, 2012, 1:03 pm

    Happy birthday to Mema!!! You two ladies are so pretty 🙂 Glad you had such a great Easter weekend!!

  • 4
    LeeAnn April 9, 2012, 1:03 pm

    Happy Birthday Mema!! I too was very close to my grandmothers and miss them every day. You are both so lucky!! Looks like a wonderful weekend!!

  • 5
    Stacy @ Say It With Sprinkles April 9, 2012, 1:04 pm

    That cake looks awesome! I’m so glad you had a fun Easter with your fam!

  • 6
    Heather April 9, 2012, 1:23 pm

    I was super close to both of my grandmothers too. They both passed away in 2007, and I miss them both all the time!

    I was very disappointed by the Perfect Party Cake too. I’ve made it twice, into cupcakes, and both times they were basically little hockey pucks. Very dense, & not a lot of flavor. If you master it, please share your secrets!

    • 7
      Jen April 9, 2012, 3:10 pm

      grandmothers are the best. 🙂

      hmm…in that case maybe i won’t give it another try if it’s been a fail for you too. i had such high hopes!

  • 8
    Laura April 9, 2012, 1:47 pm

    There is nothing better than family time!! I love that you are so close with your sweet grandma! Did Sully get to make the trip with you, or did she stay with Brandon? She probably would’ve loved those biscuits too :). Glad you had a nice Easter w family

    • 9
      Jen April 9, 2012, 3:12 pm

      sullie came with me – check out my previous post for lots of cute golden pictures. my parents are obsessed with her and she always comes to play with their golden. she LOVES road trips!

  • 10
    Anne Marie April 9, 2012, 1:48 pm

    Happy birthday, Mema! This post was too cute. I had a great Easter with friends, but your post made me homesick for my fam!

    • 11
      Jen April 9, 2012, 3:13 pm

      aw…i’m sorry! i get so wrapped up in my day-to-day life here that i forget how nice it is to unplug and visit with family.

  • 12
    Chris K April 9, 2012, 1:50 pm

    Happy Birthday Mema…and many many more!

    • 13
      Jen April 9, 2012, 3:17 pm

      thanks chris. it was awesome practicing next to you this morning. i am going to get crow to handstand. i’ve been thinking about it all day! 😉

  • 14
    Chrissy (The New Me) April 9, 2012, 2:01 pm

    Happy birthday Mema! Glad you got to celebrate with family and cake!

  • 15
    Ashlee April 9, 2012, 2:14 pm

    Happy Birthday mema!!!! You two are so cute!

  • 16
    Diane M April 9, 2012, 2:18 pm

    Happy Birthday Mema!! Your beautiful granddaughter inspires me each & every time she leads me on my mat. She is such a wonderful, givin person! II hope you had a wonderful Easter & birthday celebration!!

    • 17
      Jen April 9, 2012, 3:22 pm

      thank you diane! xoxo

  • 18
    Winifred April 9, 2012, 2:22 pm

    All the food looks amazing, but I am especially in love with the salad that you made. I’ve been “off” salads for a couple of weeks (very unlike me), but I think that your photo may have changed my mind! Have a wonderful start to your week!!!

    • 19
      Jen April 9, 2012, 3:23 pm

      i go through phases with foods too. i’m such a creature of habit and sometimes i just have to switch it up and eat something different!

      hope you had a happy easter!

  • 20
    Diana April 9, 2012, 2:38 pm

    Jen, the cake you made may not have come out the way it was supposed to, but it sure looks pretty to me! I’m glad to hear you had a relaxing Easter weekend. My favorite part of the weekend was just being lazy and enjoying some downtime with my family. 🙂 Oh, and the food was great, too! Happy birthday to Mema!

    • 21
      Jen April 9, 2012, 3:24 pm

      thank you diana! i was happy with the appearance but i’m such a baking/cooking perfectionist and hate it when things don’t come out exactly how i want them to! 🙂

  • 22
    Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope April 9, 2012, 3:37 pm

    What a fun weekend! And that cake looks incredible! 🙂

  • 23
    AJ April 9, 2012, 4:30 pm

    That photo of you with your niece (?) is adorable! Looks like you both had fun 🙂 Did Brandon make the trip too?

  • 24
    Laura April 9, 2012, 6:07 pm

    Happy HAPPY Birthday, Mema!! May you have many many more delightful birthdays. You and your granddaughter are beautiful. I love the blog!

  • 25
    russg April 9, 2012, 6:45 pm

    Happy Birthday Mema, you have a wonderful grandaughter to be proud of!! You and Jen could pass as sisters and her blog is addicting, I read it every day…

  • 26
    Carrie April 9, 2012, 6:54 pm

    That cake looks great!

  • 27
    Matt @ The Athlete's Plate April 9, 2012, 7:50 pm

    We always have prime rib on christmas eve. So good.

  • 28
    Courtney @ Fitness With A Fork April 9, 2012, 8:00 pm

    Happy Birthday to Mema! All of the Easter food looks so yummy! I love being able to go home and see family too. It is definitely nice to be able to truly relax and not feel like I should be somewhere, or studying, or working! Happy (late) Easter!

  • 29
    Sinead April 9, 2012, 9:40 pm

    Your salad looks great!

    Also, I love your wedges in the last picture. Where did you get them if you don’t mind me asking? 🙂

  • 30
    Emily April 9, 2012, 9:50 pm

    Looks like a blast! And omg, are those TOM wedges I see?!? I want.

    • 31
      Jen April 10, 2012, 12:40 pm

      yes! they’re so so so comfortable. get a pair!

  • 32
    Miriam @ Bellaspire April 9, 2012, 10:26 pm

    Happy birthday mema!! Looks like u had a delicious birthday cake. We all love your granddaughter /)

  • 33
    Shay @ Whine Less, Breathe More April 9, 2012, 11:39 pm

    Happy Birthday PBR Grandmother! Your cake looks so yummy.

    You have the Tom wedges I want!!

    • 34
      Jen April 10, 2012, 12:39 pm

      obsessed! i want to get them in another color.

  • 35
    Lisa April 9, 2012, 11:55 pm

    Happy bday to your Mema! How great does that cake look? Mm..Looks like you had a great time!!Hope you had a fab Easter celebration!

  • 36
    Pam April 10, 2012, 7:15 am

    Grandmothers are the best! Mine taught me to cook, sew, keep house, pray and exercise! She was 96 and still going to “Zumba”! How cool is that! Happy Birthday to your grandmother, she is beautiful! The cake looks good also!

  • 37
    kat April 10, 2012, 5:20 pm

    Happy (belated) Birthday to Mema and Easter! Who is the little girl in the pics w/ you? I didn’t think you had any siblings but I must be mistaken – is it a neice? Hope you are well!

    • 38
      Jen April 13, 2012, 6:32 pm

      hi kat! it’s my niece. my bro’s daughter…she’s four and super cute.

  • 39
    Sophie April 10, 2012, 7:03 pm

    Happy Birthday to Jen’s Mema!!! She is just beautiful and I love how close you are!
    My grandmother lived to be 97, celebrated 70 years of marriage with my grandfather, danced at my sister and my weddings, and got to know 2 of my 3 children. I miss her every day and am so happy for both of you that you have each other!

    And what is with the big green egg — does Mema have one? My SIL lives in Atlanta and talks up her big green egg all the time. Still not sure what it is. I’m up in Boston and we just have a regular ole gas grill. I feel like I must be missing something!

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