Saturday, October 31, 2009

Daylight Savings Time is Great

Damn does this feel like an extra long day. And it's not really. Tomorrow is. Daylight savings time. It's only 6:30pm on Saturday night. Halloween night. Not in this house though. We've already trick or treated and paraded until our masks and hats fell off and we made ourselves sick on Reese's peanut butter cups and an endless supply of lollipops.

Chad pointed out that daylight savings time is great because we get an extra hour of sleep. I guess I'm a wine glass half empty kind of girl. That may be the case if you don't have fucking kids that wake up at the same time no matter what. An extra hour of sleep? Nooooooooo. 7:30am becomes 6:30am which in turn becomes an extra hour of "Can I have something from my Halloween bag?" I hate Halloween.

When they were really little I could easily throw away the bulk of the candy and noone was the wiser. Now the little fuckers have everything sorted and cataloged like it's the end of the world.

Oh well, I have at least got them programmed to give me all of the Reese's peanut butter cups and peanut M&Ms. They know what's good for them.

Sunday morning update: 6:30am wake up became 5:30am. When I whispered to Lucy that it was a great day because it was daylight savings time and we get an extra hour of sleep she replied, "Remember when I threw up but I didn't throw up on Bunny??!!"

She was right. That was a great day.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween is Great

Ok, so I really do love Halloween. I love both kids and adults dressing up. I love decorating my house inside and out. I love all the fun themed food. I love scaring the shit out of little people.

You know what I don't like. Parades. I hate parades. For ALL holidays. But if I have to endure one holiday parade it would be a Halloween one. I parked way far away from the elementary school carrying way too many cookies and a large camera. I stood for way too long to watch kindergarten through fifth grade parade their costumes. Really cute. Blah blah blah. Class parties with jacked up little people high on sugar. Great fun. Then I moved on to a preschool Halloween parade. Cuter. Shorter. The people and the parade.

Then I drove around town and saw the signs for the town parade tomorrow at 10:30am. I have done everything I can to discourage my children from marching in yet another inane parade. I shall bribe them with Halloween candy, television and toys. Whatever it takes. I will only pull out the "mommy is about to stick her head in the oven" at the very last minute.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Farewell Piggies

Yesterday, Lucy and I returned our three guinea pigs to Guinea Pig Rescue. I have been planting seeds in their little minds (Sam, Henry & Lucy's) for awhile to get them to agree to getting rid of the pigs. Pretty much any toy they desired was theirs for the asking. I was so tired of cleaning up guinea pig shit and urine soaked pine bedding. The ammonia stench after a few days was awful. And the pigs were in the laundry room so every time I walked up the stairs I felt the call of the laundry AND heard "wheeking" from the pigs who were standing up and waiting for me to make them happy. And they were easy to make happy. They wanted food and a clean cage. If it were only so easy to make every one else who needed me as happy. Unfortunately, or fortunately, everyone else won.

When I returned the guinea pigs I told Julene that she was a very special person to take care of all of these guinea pigs. She told me that she was the lucky one and that they were her therapy. Everyone has their thing. I love to care for and nurture the people and animals I love but there is a limit and I guess guinea pigs were my limit. I'm glad someone like Julene knows that caring for guinea pigs is her purpose. I'm actually not sure what my purpose is yet. At least she knows what hers is.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Progressive Dinner

Last night was the annual Progressive Dinner for a group I belong to. There were 100+ people attending. Everyone showed up at one Appetizer House for drinks and apps and then names were randomly drawn at 7pm for Dinner House assignments. Houses hosted between 8-14 people. I hosted an Entree House for 12 people. I spent all day prepping and cleaning. Thank goodness for Sherry who did the bulk of the cleaning while I got rid of my piles and got the food ready. Our house looked great! !

Aside from holidays, I've never made dinner for 12 people, much less people I don't know. It was different. Fun though. And I did end up knowing about half the people. The food turned out really well so I thought I'd share my menu. I wish I had taken pictures of everything but it was a little chaotic.

Roasted Pear and Roasted Beet Salad with Blue Cheese and red wine vinaigrette

What a pretty and interesting salad this was! I absolutely love roasted beets for their flavor and color. I roasted the beets earlier in the day. Pear slices were tossed in butter and sugar and roasted for about 20 minutes right before assembling the salad so they were still warm. I thought the pears were kind of a pain to roast but everyone seemed to really like the salad.

No Peek Chicken
Grease a big casserole dish

Mix together:
1 box Uncle Ben's Wild Rice w/seasoning packet
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cold water

Put mixture in casserole dish and top with bone-in, skin on chicken pieces
(I used all chicken breasts , 6 per casserole dish , which was tight because the breasts were enormous)

Sprinkle top of chicken with a packet of Lipton Onion soup mix and then seal tightly with foil and bake at 350 for 2.5 hours. No peeking!!

Although not part of the recipe I decided to soak the chicken in a brine for about 3 hours before assembling the casserole. I don't know how much of a difference it made since I hadn't made this dish before but the chicken was very flavorful and moist. The rice was really good too. Kind of like a wild rice risotto.

For the Brine:
Dissolve 1.5 cups sugar and 1.5 cups salt in a gallon of cold water. I used a big stock pot. Stir in 2 medium heads garlic, outer papery skins removed, cloves separated, unpeeled and crushed. Crumble in 6 bay leaves. Immerse chicken and refrigerate until fully seasoned. It smelled so good before even cooking it!!

While everyone was eating their salads I roasted asparagus, tossed in olive oil, salt & pepper, in a 400 degree oven. About 10 minutes. I finished it with fresh lemon juice before serving.

I also served warmed fresh garlic bread and fresh potato rosemary bread. And lots of wine, of course. So good!!

Easy peasy lemon squeezy as Sam would say!

My girlfriend, Kim, who was in charge of organizing the whole event and her husband were at my house because she and I were "co-hosting". Our boys all play hockey together. Another girlfriend was stag so Kim made sure she ended up at my house too since she was in charge of "randomly" choosing the names. My dining table only seats 8 so we three girls ate in the kitchen which was actually really nice because I didn't feel like I had to "entertain" anyone.

Everyone was kicked out at 9:30 so they could head to the Dessert portion of the night. It was held at this awesome barn that is perfect for parties. Cool things on the walls, couches, huge flat screen TV with the Penguins game on, a band, a little side room where people were smoking cigars. Dessert and more wine. I went for about an hour. I was pooped. Good times.