Friday, July 2, 2010

Birthdays, BFFs, Boat Rides

So this will be a big of a random belated post, however I feel I must broach subjects about which I am passioniate: food, parties and triscuits.

Let me start by saying how much I love summer. I mean sundresses everyday, cheap fruits and vegetables, a million weddings/reunions/fun times planned... despite the fact I no longer get a summer break (like all of my fortunate coach and teacher friends), as according to socially accepted standards I am well into my young adulthood. However I enjoy these months as much as ever. We made dinner for emily in honor of the anniversary of her birth and I even OMITTED healthy ingredients. Am I a pal or what? Minus the fact it's clogging her arteries. But who is counting that?

See below, Giada's chicken tettrazini: It was good... real good (okay i doubled the amount of peas the recipe called for, so there).
Never mind that I had to call mom mid-cook because the cups upon cups of broth, whole milk, and heavy cream were NOT thickening. Tetrazzini soup! I dumped a truckload of flour in there, didn't use all of the fluid from the sauce and had a runny yummy dish anyway.

Emily liked it. She said she didn't want to turn 27 as god had intended, so we partied like it was 2008. I even went to the party supply store and got decorative silver wedding anniversary '25's to hang on the wall. We drank a couple bottles of wine and skyped with Kelly and Micheal in Denver so we could all sing with cake! Happy 25th amigo, you don't look a day over 24 1/2.

I also had a mini college reunion with the sorority sisters. Highlights include when Banks tries to impress upon us how good of a waitress she is by doing a spin move with a tray of shots and.. well... to the floor they went. Spillage of Exxon Valdez proportions, the bartenders were super impressed (not). Dance parties, late night burgers, and shenanigans that prove we have clearly not matured at all in the past few years.

Dancing at dive bars? Yes please.

The night ended something like this:

THEN my BFFs bachelorette party was at the lake. Her maid and matron of honors did a pretty bombtastic job if I do say so myself (pats self on back).

The cupcakes and cookies we had made were TO DIE FOR, and were made by Mandy at Peace Love and Cupcakes in KC. Her business is new and small so let me know if you want her info :) PS the cookie torsos were in different shapes and sizes (as are we), and the bride's was white. How pretty are they? Tasted amazing too!
The AM lingerie shower spread.

The PM bach party peni cupcakes. They were penis coladas and tasted like getting caught in the rain. and coconut.

It's all fun and games until the bride gets a black eye on a rough wipe-out while tubing. It's cool, it has since healed.

It was the greatest weekend ever though, with fun and minimal injuries had by all. In other news, I got John's grandma's dress form. Everyone, meat Beatrice. Beatrice, meet the internet.
She's my roomie. Someday when I get a sewing machine *cough* mom *cough* I can use her since she adjusts to my size. For now I will admire her antique fabulousness and even the original Singer sticker from the 30s that's on her. Neat, eh?
Also in the event I have somehow not mentioned this, I have become OBSESSED with triscuits fine grain original flavor. (is all caps too much? sorry to shout, but i feel strongly). Try it, if you don't like it, I will take what you don't eat.

Other posts coming soon PLUS guess what? A week from today I will be in CALIFORNIA!! Whoop Whoop!

Fancy LA eats + IOWA awesomeness 5000

I went to LA recently and it was fabulous. I know, I know, you're thinking 'Lauren all you're going to talk about is how you and Justin Timberlake ran into each other and fell in love', well don't worry, I won't bore you with stories about how I hung out with my hollywood BFFs (I did not), or how JT fell in love with me (status pending).

Actually While I was there I stayed on the Anaheim side which means that instead of fancy cars and designer clothes I saw a lot of Disneyworld fanny packs and scrunched 80s tourist socks. You know the kind I'm referring to. That's right Dad, the ones I weaned you off of earlier this year.

I digress. I love traveling for work because I can order fabulous food that I would not have the resources or know how to make at home. Below was a once beautifully presented tower of fruit and seafood (mango, avocado, crab) from M&S grill. I remembered to take the picture post first bite. Just use your imagination. It tasted absolutely glorious.
I also ordered the red velvet cupcake because any slight reference to Steel Magnolias and the armadillo cake gets points in my book.
So I was in LA for a trade show and generally speaking trade show food is continental breakfast at the comfort-inn level in quality so pictures are not generally necessary. But there, out of the blue, came another installment of : ADVENTURES IN NEW FRUIT. I was intrigued. Apparently that fruit with the Encino man hairdo is called a Rambutan (similar to a lychee?) It was the same texture as a grape, with little to no flavor and with tons of work to get to the edible part.

It was gloriously sunny and perfect weather the entire time I was there. Ahh palm trees, so vacation-esque.

One of John's old roomies and friends from college lives in the area so we grabbed dinner one night at a fun Sushi place in downtown Fullerton.

Yummmm...... Sushi......

Except when they load it up with mayo-like substances. Dude, that ruins the flavor.

Although the majority of the rolls were DEE LISH, this one tasted like crab salad on top of the roll. Both hard to eat and kind of bland. Not my scene.

This was my date for the evening. Jackson, aren't you happy that I've showed the world such a completely flattering photo of you eating? It reminds me of the time I went to a sushi place for a first date. TERRIBLE idea. Not only is my hand tremor not conducive to graceful chopstick usage, but they make rolls the size of your fist, and you don't have much choice but to shove the whole thing in your mouth and hope you don't displace your jaw.

Soon after my return to the Show Me State, I left for the annual Carroll Sister's weekend. My mom and her SIX SISTERS have been having an annual sister's weekend every year since I was in junior high. The date and location changes, the jokes and the people are generally the same. a winning combo. This year there were 7 sisters + 4 nieces + 2 aunts + 2 sisters-in-law.

My godmother/aunt/summertime roomie hosted this year and made it so fabulous!

There was a murder mystery the first night. My character was Cinderella (Beth to her friends) which meant that I got to bring out my MORP dress from college. MORP = prom backwards, which we used as an 80s theme. Mom has been trying to get me to throw this out for years (as, obviously, I've been storing it at her house). By the grace of god it fit and if it wasn't so uncomfortable to sit down in it I'd wear it all the time.

What is a weekend together if not ALL about food! We had lots of healthy options this year, go us! (and go Aunt Anne for coordinating it!)

Other highlights of the trip include: Yoga, taught by yours truly (mostly stretching, but it counts), water color lessons, decoupage art time, a HILARIOUS talent show where I played the spoons. As usual, my great Aunt Marilyn steals the show and I even videoed but I couldn't get it to post here so just imagine Betty white dancing to NOW that's what I call music 2010.

We went to a charming house on a charming street in a charming town (star's hollow, anyone?) that a Russian family had converted into a restaurant. I suppose there is a reason that the Russians aren't known for their culinary skills (or healthy eating, yikes), but the ambiance and the company made it a thousand times better than any chain restaurant we could have gone to. Below were our Russian eats.
A potato salad in a kaiser bun that had Beet eyes that stared at me. Plus a cream of mushroom soup that was SO SO SO GOOD. I'm pretty sure it was heavy cream with mushroom flavor, but I'm not complaining.

I got the vegetarian option and am so glad I did. I hadn't had acorn squash in forever! It had honey, brown sugar, butter and cheese on it. I picked around the cheese as the squash was plenty flavorful with out it. Also the asparagus came wrapped in a puff pastry, cute and delicious! That other thing was a combination of four cheeses and was uber heavy. Lots of flavor but after a couple of bites I literally had to get up and walk around the block.

Can't wait for next year's Wisconsin adventure!!

In other news, I have been playing Words with Friends like it's going out of style. I play John, my brother, my cousins, my college buds, and John's sister. I freaking love it. I also documented my highest scoring game to date, where I got nearly 600 points. Nerdy scrabble high five!

Also last week I made Jenna's (of Eat Live Run) Vegan Lentil Loaf and it was SOOOOO GOOD. Even John begrudgingly approved. It made an awesome weeknight meal in the following days too.
Two thumbs up!

Currently it is 85 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, my calendar is chalk full of fun stuff going on and I am happy as a clam. YAY summer!