Monday, November 30, 2009

Caution: Gratuitous Family Photos

So Happy belated Thanksgiving! I am thankful for oh-so-many things including you dear reader .. hi five. Anyway the weekend got wrapped up with mom and I going shopping.

Mom got all kinds of fabulous stuff and we both got fabulous dresses for our New Years Eve soiree at the Kennedy Center in DC. She looked AMAZING and had way too many cocktail dresses from which to choose. Life is so hard, isn't it? :)

We waited until Saturday partially because we were hundreds of miles in any direction from a mall at 3am Friday morning, and partially because we didn't want to be trampled by the stampede of people in an angry mob for discounted electronics and tickle-me-elmos.

On Friday I met up with my lady friends, one of whom was in town from Denver for the Holiday. Picture these people in scarves.
On Wednesday when I burned out of work at 5pm on the dot, the brother and I got home in time to decorate the tree.
My dad in all of his goofiness got us hats. We resisted but secretly liked them. That's right dad, I admit it.
Coming to a Christmas card near you.
After six hours of traveling in one day we finally made it to the family farm in Iowa. I didn't take photos of the food, but the meal looked approximately like this:

My momma and her sisters (shout out to three uncles lounging in the background). Because my mom is one of eleven, the family gatherings generally have about forty or so people. We are a huge family, it's pretty great.

Guess we forgot our pilgrim hats, huh?Around the corner from the farm is the 'graffiti barn' which has existed all of my life though I've never partaken (local high school kids?) this year we decided to brave the 28 degree weather (plus wind, brrrrrr) and make our mark. Hey... the family that sprays together stays together.
At home, early the next morning we went to water aerobics where my sister was the impatient instructor. a) it's not just for old ladies, it's serious business

b) we mostly goofed off.... i.e. 'freestyle'.

At home for our last family meal we had EGGS BENEDICT... mwwwwwwwah. I love it. Mom whipped up the hollandaise and I made sure everyone got one with traditional ham (yadda yadda yadda) and veggie with tomato and spinach leaves. This is becoming one of my favorite meals ever... minus how labor intensive it is.

And that my friends is all she wrote. How many shopping days until Christmas?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful for fennel/stuffing/date night

Actually I'm thankful for a whole lot of other things, but for the purpose of recapping the events of late, I will keep the gratitude to relevant things.

My boyfriend took me to Wicked!! But let's rewind, shall we.

I found Aida's recipe for vegetarian pot pie and I was intrigued. Growing up you couldn't get my brother and I away from those frozen delicous pot pies. I was excited to try the recipe with yet another produce item I had yet to purchase/use/knowingly eat. Fennel had a strong odor that reminded me of something, but I'm not sure what. All in all it was basically an onion, right? Vegetarian Pot Pie - Aida Mollenkamp, Food Network
  • fennel
  • onions
  • carrots
  • mushrooms
  • peas
  • potato
  • milk
  • broth
  • flour
  • parsley
  • pre-made pie dough sheets




I also got to see my friends including one with the world's most adorable baby. He's 9 months which is a hilarious and fun age. Seriously all this kid does is giggle and clap and get excited (well... and pull hair with a monster grip). When I asked Jessica if all babies were this happy she said not at all, that they had just hit the baby lottery. :)

With baby asleep, mom and friends had plenty of Margs..... and catch phrase. Nice :) On the way home from our fun girls weekend I stopped and went wedding dress shopping with my H.S. BFF. Doesn't she look pretty? Um yeah... as you can tell by her expression, this was not the dress that she chose. For the record, I loved it and resisted trying it on while she wasn't looking. What? I love dresses in all colors.

I also recently made this yummy recipe:
Stuffed acorn squash from Kaboose/All recipes

Acorn Squash
Brown Sugar
Dry stuffing mix
broth (i was out, so used water and it was totally fine)
garlic powder/salt/onion powder to taste
One for me...

One for my brother after picking him up from the airport. I thought it was heaven.... he sort of just ate the stuffing. *sigh*

Then.... Tailgate time!!!!

The food was very tail-gate-esque. Not so healthy, but appropriate and delicous all the same (holler boy scout popcorn!).
Mom made rice crispies... which have never been my thing, but I know for a fact that the ones on the far left with the gooey carmel layer will rock your socks off (Aunt Teresa's recipe!)
all together now..

Please disregard my mother straying from the black/gold attire that one is to wear to a Mizzou tailgate... she is an ISU grad. It's okay though, they lost and she did minimal cheering for them so she didn't get lynched by the MU crowd in the seats around us.

Perfect weather, perfect game, perfect outcome. Afterwards we headed to my alma matter who was playing John's team in an exhibition game. The teams were in way different divisions and unevenly matched, so it was no surprise when they lost.... However... it was painful... I was rooting for both teams, so I guess it all turned out okay, right? (sorry John!)

We stayed at my godfather's house where he fussed over us and with milk/brownies/breakfast, etc. I loved it!

Back in KC I had to get ready for my hot date! Prior to Wicked!! I made John a very man-friendly meal, courtesy of the hilarious Paula Deen, shout out to Paula, sorry you got hit in the face with a ham yesterday!
Lady & Sons Chicken, Paula Deen Food Network
  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts (i used two instead of four and just cut them in half... shhhh, don't tell John)
  • Swiss Cheese
  • Cream of Chicken Soup
  • Stuffing Mix
  • Butter

    This was so easy to make and was a quitessential 'guy' meal. It tasted very thanksgiving to me.... you can't go wrong with that, right?

Nom Nom NOm

And finally.... I purchased a vintage sewing machine table off of Craig's List. I'll be getting a sewing machine in the near future, but I've always wanted/needed a little more counter space in my place (i have zero tables, just an ottoman and various other trunks and storage items). This will probably be in the corner over by my bed when it's all said and done but I'm already a fan. Your thoughts?

Today I'm taking a 1/2 day... whoop whoop! TGITuesday everyone... one more day!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Master of the Cuisinart

So even though I have two degrees and all of the street smarts one can get in the rural midwest.. For the life of me I couldn't figure out how to assemble all of the additional blades on my 11-cup food processor. I needed to make perfectly even slices of potatoes. These inexperienced shaky hands just weren't going to cut the mustard (mostly because I was making homemade chips and if not even half will be sog-city and the other half with be totally burnt..... or so i assumed/read/feared)

I even tried calling my mother (the master) to whine about how the triangle thingy wouldn't fit into the blade squarish thing. Clearly, her direction to me was limited. She probably thought she tought me as a toddler with the whole round hole square peg thing. Her mistake.

Good thing I found the manual... and made some GLORIOUS chips. Those are sweet potato and russets. Holler.

I made Ellie Krieger's Cracked Pepper chips/dip

  • Greek Yogurt (I just used regular strained)

  • Mayo

  • carmelized onions

  • garlic powder

  • onion powder

  • S&P baby

I also threw some cucumber slices and some baked red peppers with laughing cow cheese on them. All of this was for the benefit of my friend Mallory, who was in town saturday for a bachelorette party but was alllllllllll QT with me Friday :) She called me Suzy homemaker and I felt so accomplished.

Other highlights of the weekend include:

  • walking around the plaza shops with my BF

  • loading up at the half priced book store (4 for $15... whoop whoop!)

  • cajun food

  • dance party with some random hilarious horrible middle aged dancers at the irish bar... where they were covering katy perry

  • wearing some new leopard print heels. RARRRR

  • meeting up with Mallory's bachelorette party (several were sorority sisters a few years younger than yours truley) were the bride insisited John and I be at the wedding. What can I say... we're pretty invitable.

  • catching up on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episodes via hulu

  • taking advantage of the ridiculously nice weather to visit the zoo, and my friends.

Mr. Leopard.... who was giving us love growls the whole time. He'd probably make a pretty great housecat... or shoes.

Mr. Kangaroo who was just hopping all over. Apparently there are no fences in that section of the zoo and they can get up close and personal. Nice. And the baby Joey (oh that's right, i totally made uncle Joey Full House jokes). Just looking at those pouches makes me wish I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

John wouldn't let me retake this. Photo op fun hater.

pssssssssssssssssssssssshhhhhhhhhhhhh meat eaters.

In OTHER exciting food news, the theme for the week was Mushrooms and Movies. Not together though.
Tuesday John and I went to see where the while things are.... EXCEPT they kept screwing up the projector. So they gave us coupons to come back and on our way out we snuck into cloudy with a chance of meatballs. loved it! Later I went with the girls to catch This is It. Is it too late for me to be a professional back up dancer? I want to dance to thriller every day of my life and get paid for it. *dreamy sigh*

Back to food. I found this recipe from for a Portabello Philly Cheesesteak Sammie

  • provolone cheese (i made the cheese counter guy give me two slices)
  • portobello cap
  • red pepper
  • onion
  • seasoning

    not too shabby! I had it on a sandwhich thin.

the next night I had sweet potato fries (a serious staple at my house) and a baked portobello with a laughing cow wedge and some yellow squash. YUM!

That's all folks! Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Monday, November 2, 2009

I heard it through the grapevine

This Halloween goes down as one of my favorites. Probably because we had the greatest costumes ever..... feast your eyes on these bad boys!
Behold the Inspiration:
Emily and I made them by going to a party supply store and getting vinyl tablecloths in dark purple, black, white, and blue. All at $1.79 each. With the addition of big gloves and microphones/guitar from the halloween store, we still came in under $20 overall. We cut the holes for the head, slits for the arms, and just stapled up the rest. We were pretty proud of ourselves.
Also we had a whole dance, because we're WAY into themes like that. Unfortunately by the time we got down to the bar there was no contest (we think, the details are fuzzy but i remember actively pursuing it for about 20 minutes before giving up and heading back to the dance floor where I accidentally kept flinging my microphone and sunglasses)

John was speed racer for the THIRD YEAR IN A ROW. I think he thinks it is hilarious. I fear he will now try to wear it every year.

soooooooooooooooo........ because my diet has consisted most of this for the past several days:

I will be making a grocery store visit ASAP. Hopefully good eats to come. Hope everyone had a BOSSY halloween! :)