So.  This clearly was not MoTW material.  But sadly, boxed mac & cheese is an easy fallback when the husband is out at sea.  Not exactly a detox staple!  Luckily for me and the future of this weekly series, Gwen’s birthday this week provided an opportunity for plenty of deliciousness.  I don’t have much in the way of recipes, but will share what I can, and provide updates as I get my hands on the recipes.

We started off the night with some mojitos and awesome appetizers.  I definitely need to plant some mint so mojitos can be a standard summer cocktail.  Soooo refreshing!  They were enjoyed alongside crostini with brie, as well as topped with handmade fresh mozz, tomatoes and basil.  My sister, the master behind last week’s Greek nachos, this time brought lettuce wraps to be filled with an awesome peanutty pulled chicken and bright pineapple salsa*.  We made an impressive dent in all of this considering we’d be following up with homemade pizza for dinner!  Note: this is not an instagram filter, but a result of the awesome lighting on Gwen’s porch.

After polishing off a pitcher of mojitos, we moved on to a very basic sangria.  I kept it simple, just lots of sliced fruit (two each lemons, limes, and oranges, and one apple) and one bottle each of shiraz and cabernet sauvignon, and then we topped each glass with some seltzer.  I didn’t bother with brandy or sugar and we still managed to enjoy it!

And now, the star of the night, Gwen’s first ever homemade pizza – including dough (I think she used this recipe) and sauce (from Giada’s Family Dinners) from scratch!  Our first (pictured here) was topped with shredded mozzarella, caramelized onions, and salami.  Awesome.  We went healthy-ish with the second, using a partially whole wheat crust, and topping it with goat cheese, more of the onions, as well as sauteed mushrooms and asparagus.  The pizzas were a hit and something I imagine we will be whipping up on a regular basis.

And, to end the night, Ultimate Chocolate Cupcakes.  Sadly, I completely overcooked the cupcakes and they were very, very dry.  On the plus side, the frosting was awesome – basically chocolate mousse.  Hard to go wrong with that when the only ingredients are good chocolate, powdered sugar, heavy cream, and butter.  I’m opting to not even try to calculate the calorie content.

I hope you all enjoyed the great weather this weekend, it definitely got me psyched for summer.  I’m working on a summer to-do list of quintessential summer fun and will post it later this week.  Any suggestions?

*Update for Lettuce Wrap “recipe”:

“i didn’t really follow a recipe, so i can’t give you amounts but here we go:

Chicken: broil large chicken breasts (2) until cooked through.  shred chicken using fork, then chop to make smaller pieces.  in a large frying pan, add a little olive oil, the chicken, teriyaki glaze (bottle from a&p, enough to coat the chicken), a dollop of peanut butter, chili lime hot sauce (to taste) and a sprinkle of mint.  let simmer (with lid) on very low heat for 30-60 min to let flavors marry

Salsa: dice pineapple into small pieces.  dice onion.  dice mint leaves.  mix.  add salt and pepper (to taste).”

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