Dinner Party for Lauren and Kitten- 3.3.12

Since I was in Colorado when Lauren was pregnant with Henry, I didn't get to see much of her pregnancy, or be involved in any showers or parties for her.  So this time around, since a shower isn't typical for the second baby, I thought a dinner would be just perfect!  On my flight back from Korea, I was reading Real Simple magazine, and saw these dinner party menus already planned out.  The taco one sounded amazing!
I mean, look at that (picture from Real Simple).  It's just so colorful and delicious looking!  And the menu was already planned out for me, duh.  Click here for all the recipes from Real Simple.

Since Lauren was due in 2 weeks, she didn't want to stray far from her hospital, so we had the dinner party at her place.  I prepped everything at home and brought pretty much everything all ready to go to her place!  Just had to saute veggies, and cook the rice!  But here are some prep pictures.
Chopped onion and garlic ready to saute
The rest of the ingredients for the shredded beef (I used beef instead of pork)
Searing the beef on all sides, all the cumin and oregano on top of the beef
Beef searing on the other side
Beef to the side, add the onions and garlic to the pot to soften
Onions and garlic and all the seasoning, softened a little
Pour the beef broth in there, re-add the meat.  I put this in a slow-cooker while I prepped everything else.
More garlic, scallions.  Ready for the red rice.

Red onion, poblano peppers, and more garlic- for the sauteed corn and poblanoes
We were too busy visiting and eating for me to take the "after" shots of the food, but you get the idea from the Real Simple pictures of what this all became.  It was all delicious, oh my goodness.  And instead of the pineapple flan Real Simple recommended, I made my typical Mississippi Mud Brownies.
Wait, I need a closer look.
Yeah, that's better.  I doubled the recipe so instead of an 8x8 pan, this was a 9x13.  Since that's not exactly double they were thicker than the other batches I had made, and I think it made them too decadent.  I know, I know, they're already decadent, but the thinner brownie didn't make them feel over the top.  So if/when I double them again, I will make two pan's of 8x8 instead of combining them again.  Learn from me!

Here are some adorable shots of us.  Lauren and Kat looking radiant in their pregnancies :-)
 And me!
Lauren's blackboard wall behind us in her kitchen- lots of notes for her mom and mom-in-law when they will be alternating staying with her to help out when the baby comes.
Henry, Rob, and Lauren
Zak and Kat
It was a great night!  We ended playing Scattergories, which we all struggled with.  I swear, they made those lists way harder than I remember.

So if you need to plan a dinner party, cheat a little and look to Real Simple for some help :-)  I highly recommend it!

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