We had our last Christmas celebration on Saturday night with Don and Roberta. I suppose it’s a sign of a good night of laughing and chatting that I don’t have any pictures of the evening. I managed a few food ones, but that’s it. We brought out our Waterford wine glasses and used two more wedding gifts (gold napkins & the white casserole dish). I think the only thing left that hasn’t been used is the cupcake tree. Maybe Greg was right about that one.
I’m trying to not just collect cookbooks but actually use them, so for the dinner I dug into Gather, which I’ve had for probably a year and never opened. It’s arranged by seasonal meals, with four or five for each season. It’s a great concept and makes it very easy to plan a dinner party.
I started with the Winter Holiday meal and adjusted it some. I made the Pomegranate & Walnut Salad and the Yorkshire Pudding Muffins from the menu. Instead of prime rib, which we had had twice this week and turns out my in-laws had had it as well, I made a Balsamic Marinated London Broil. (First meat from our quarter cow!) The menu included two veggie dishes (candied yams and roasted cabbage), but I wanted to use veg I already had so I went with roasted beets and acorn squash. Overall I think it was pretty tasty. I had never made a London Broil before so it ended up being a little under cooked. I threw a few slices back in the pan for those that prefer more well done meat and it worked.
I can’t believe Christmas is over. It came so fast this year, but with hitting three families all in a week it seemed to last a little longer than usual. I’m ready to get back into routine and see what 2014 has in store for us, but first it’s NYEE and a wedding.
I finally had a weekend with time for playing in the kitchen. Which was convenient as I realized we’re already in October and I have yet to make any of the five new soup recipes on my fall bucket list. I’m sticking to my October Whole30, so I needed to find something compliant. After browsing my favorite food websites, I settled on Nom Nom Paleo’s Curried Cream of Broccoli soup. This food challenge is already off to a better start than my summer BBQ recipes since the first one is worthy of sharing.
Chopping these ingredients reminded me that I used to make a delicious broccoli soup from my Betty Crocker cookbook. I’m pretty sure it used a heavy pour of cream though. Also, I recall it making my apartment stink of broccoli for a few days, which did not happen at all with this recipe. Big bonus.
Now is the time that I confess I dumped in a tablespoon of what I thought was curry powder but turned out to be cumin. Not wanting to waste a giant pot of soup, I added a tablespoon of curry too and let it finish cooking.
Verdict: It is really good! You can definitely taste the cumin and it probably takes away from the curry flavor, but luckily my mistake didn’t ruin the soup. The coconut milk didn’t result in a coconuty flavor at all, but did help give more of that creamy soup feel. It is fairly light and a perfect side dish. We had it with two new recipes, both of which were delicious: pan-roasted chicken and sautéed chard that was amazing. Go make the chard. Now. Because of the Whole30 I skipped the wine and the cheese, but I can only imagine they’d make it even more delicious.
And my favorite: leftovers for a quick side dish all week. Here’s hoping the next four recipes are worth sharing as well.
Week 38 (Sept 16 – Sept 22)
When I look at these pictures I feel like I’m regressing in my photography skills. Sigh. Right now getting the album updated weekly and taking crappy pictures of it is about all I have the energy for, so I guess I should just be happy I’m getting it done.
On to the fun. Week 38, or the week of our first anniversary! How fun is that? The week seemed to have two themes: finishing a few projects around the house and a very low key anniversary celebration.
We finally got a new rug for the office. Out with the old blue rug that was impossible to vacuum. The rug was one of my first purchases when I moved into my Marina apartment in 2008 and I love it fiercely. But after five years, a dog, and residing in a very high traffic area it was time to let go. Our nightstands finally went on sale at West Elm and I snapped them up after a four month wait. And in perfect timing, the headboard I ordered from Target several weeks ago was back in stock and shipped. Once we get a few items up on the wall our master bedroom will be complete. On Saturday we drove up to Bellingham to use a wedding gift from Jon and Amanda. We stayed at the Chrysalis Inn, had a fun dinner with a gorgeous view at the Oyster House, and were super lazy on Sunday morning with mimosas and cable TV. We couldn’t freeze the pie from our wedding so we saved the bottle of champagne that was in our room post reception. We topped the trip off with Mexican food for lunch, of course. (We had sushi for dinner Friday and Indian for dinner Sunday, ensuring we got in all of our favorite food groups during the anniversary weekend.)
We decided not to do gifts and instead got each other cards. I cut out a 3×4 section of each card to add to the album. And then I mostly missed the 22nd when trying to stamp a heart on a calendar card. Perfection is overrated.
I started a second album for 2013 because the first was full and very heavy (it weighs over 20 lbs!). I quickly created a title page for the album using pictures from our anniversary trip (enjoying a drink on the terrace while we waiting for our room to be ready) and a few cards I had from other kits. I still need to create a last page for the first album. We’ll see if that happens before the year is over.
Supplies used: Seafoam project life kit; Studio Calico Double Scoop & Steinbeck kits; Kelly Purkey August + September kit; stamps and free quote cards from EliseJoy.
Besides time with family and hot weather, one of my favorite things about a weekend in eastern Washington is coming home with produce from the orchard. This weekend it was nectarines and a massive zucchini. Sadly I forgot to pick a bag of peaches on our way out.
As we walked back up to the farmhouse from taking Alfred down to the river, Cathy and I decided to check out Carlos’ garden. He has some of the most unusual looking squash growing – is there such thing as a watermelon squash? He also had several plants with tomatillos, but I didn’t want to take anything that was still on the vine and growing.
Enter my luck: I found a huge zucchini sitting on the ground, no longer on the vine. I made Cathy pose with it. Side note: how beautiful is the scenery out there? I could sit at the orchard for hours just looking around. Actually, that is what I do when everyone else works at harvest time.
It weighed in at two pounds, ten ounces. I didn’t really want to eat zucchini every night this week, so I cut up enough for dinner on Monday then hit Pinterest for an idea to use up the rest. It ended up turning into 8 spears plus four cups of food processed zucchini.
The winning recipe was chosen mostly because I had all the ingredients on hand and it only required baking for 18 minutes, a plus on an 80 degree day with no AC. Definitely recommended for using up large stashes of zucchini or if you just want to pretend to make a healthy muffin. I would like to be eating a muffin in London right now.
And just for fun, a picture of the doodle since he was hanging around my photo shoot. This is his most common expression. He takes life very seriously. So strange he got partnered with footloose, fancy-free humans like us, huh?
i have three recipes left to meet my ten new BBQ recipes goal this summer. i decided to do something unusual for the last three. first up: grilled pizza. i used this dough recipe, from elise’s blog. i had to add a little extra water to keep it from being too dry and crumbly.
just having fun while waiting for the dough to mix.
dough ready to rise.
i hadn’t planned to make my own pizza sauce, but safeway didn’t have fresh sauce like i was hoping to find. i used a very easy recipe i found, also on elise’s blog.
four hours later, the dough is ready.
dough, about halfway through the grilling process. i used these instructions for the grilling.
toppings on, ready to go back on the grill.
final product. overall, it was pretty good. the dough needs to cook a little longer and the pizza sauce was a little runny. room for improvement means more pizza making in our future.
yes, i know you might not expect pizza from me. today was the first time in probably two years i bought flour at the store. greg asked when he got home if “this was some kind of gluten free pizza”. no, it isn’t. for a few reasons, i’m branching out from my paleo ways. perhaps i’ll get around to writing about it in the future.