Friday, December 18, 2009

Thisters and Thai Food

During my time at home, I get to spend some afternoons with my sister in the valley, T'liese. She is fun to be around, and we always enjoy spending time together (whether we are shopping or eating or doing absolutely nothing). We are at each others houses often but have no photographic proof of such. Rather than feeling like Big Foot contributors, we decided to document one of our fun days spent together.

We usually try to plan something fun around food, and I was really wanting to try something new. T'liese and her husband, Joe, eat Thai food all the time and rant and rave about how good the curry dishes are. I love ethnic foods but am ashamed to admit I have never tried Thai. The true rumors that is is known for being spicy more than likely scared me away, since my mouth is pretty wimpy when it comes to heat. The meal was delicious! We accidentally went during the lunch rush, which was terrible. Over thirty tables and only two servers? Come on! When the food finally arrived at our table, T'liese dug in to her usual, the Chicken Green Curry. I tried a (mild, please!) stir-fry, the Siamese Basil with Chicken. It was simply wonderful. And just what I was looking for. I tried hers and she tried mine, but we were both happier to keep what we had ordered. And I can officially mark it off my list of things to do...Thai food: check.

After the lunch, we proceeded back to the house to watch what got us together in the first place...It's A Wonderful Life. However, due to the highly technical demands of switching wires and cables and things marked in Chinese lettering, we were unable to get the sound to work from the DVD. We settled on watching three episodes of Barefoot Contessa (my favorite cooker lady!) on her DVR and vowed to make up for missing one of the greatest Christmas movies of all time next Monday at my house. John has made my life easy...just putting the DVD in our player turns on the TV, receiver, surround sound and popcorn machine! Well, maybe not on the popcorn, but I am sure he could do that if I asked!

I like my sis. We always enjoy our time together. I don't mind the excuse to get together again this coming week. We might even get some shopping in there, too, since I live just a few miles away from the world's greatest TJ Maxx and Homegoods store. I think she is finally starting to come around!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Free Time = Christmas Goodies!

I love being home during the holidays. I think there are a few songs out there where other people voice that same sentiment. Being home this week has allowed me to work on lots of fun things. Unfortunately, I had my Christmas shopping done weeks ago (I love Amazon), and I wrapped the last things today. My parents are going to have a ridiculous Christmas from us kids, and most of it is already up there. I keep finding more I want to get them, so I wrapped that today as well. Hopefully I can fit it in my luggage next Wednesday...when we fly to UTAH for Christmas! I am really looking forward to it. And I have the Christmas Countdown Chain to prove it.

Today, since I had some time at home with a bag of M&Ms and some softened butter, I thought I would knock out the local neighbor and family Christmas goodies. I admit it may just be another excuse to bake something, but the neighbors have to eat, too. Come on.

When shopping a few weeks ago with my sister, I found these adorable gift boxes that I instantly fell in love with. After assembling them this afternoon, it was difficult to give them away! I like cute and little things, by the way. I filled them full of The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever, minus the chocolate chips but added M&M Christmas candies. After tying a little red velvet ribbon on top and adding a printed Christmas label, they were ready for delivery! It will be good for everyone involved when this holiday season is over. In the meantime, my oven and I will celebrate appropriately.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The 2nd Annual Family Christmas Snack Table

The much-anticipated night came and went. Fourteen tons of holiday food were devoured. Games were played. Visiting was accomplished. And we all went to bed with tummy aches (something to do with fourteen tons of food being devoured, no doubt) and hurt faces (from laughing so much over six hours).

The pratty began at 4:00 PM and didn't end until after 11:00. We have so much fun together, it is often hard to kick them out. As with most family time, the theme of the evening was eating. I even removed the kitchen chairs so as to reduce the items preventing frequent and easy accessibility to the Snack Table. The menu this year was amazing! T'liese and Joe brought her world-famous caramel corn, a fruit platter with dip (I know, we were shocked, too), and spinach artichoke dip with baguettes necessary to smother the (healthy) goodness. Jeff and Megan brought some Muddy Buddies and pickle ham wraps, which are always delicious. I hosted this year, which meant I had lots of excuses to make too much. We set up a hot chocolate bar and also had wassail in the slow cooker. On the table, John and I made mint Oreo truffles, lemon poppers, red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese and whipped cream frosting, homemade salsa with authentico fresh tortilla chips, and dream bites (kind of a blond brownie with coconut). We also had peanut and plain M&Ms, mixed nuts, and Hershey Kisses to nibble on. Needless to say, the table was packed. And everything tasted so good! I was a little worried when people said they were full after just an hour. Miraculously, they found their second (then third, fourth, and eventually twentieth) wind and hit the table time and again! I didn't want to be stuck with all that food afterwards (that's partially true), so I thought in advance to get some Christmas plastic containers to send some goodies home with them.

We played Scattergories, one of our favorite get-together games, and I learned a valuable lesson. Halfway through the game, do not announce your present score to the rest of the group as they will proceed to vote down every single answer you make from that point forward. I still managed to win, but it required some serious effort. My family is rather, how do you say, competitive? And they cheat if it means some extra points. I really have to be on my toes to make sure fair play is in effect.

It was terrible when the evening came to a close. Megan and T'liese ate so much that they looked pregnant! Megan just hit 35 weeks, and T'liese is at 31 weeks. Within two months, we will have two more mouths to feed at these family gatherings. I better start baking now in preparation...

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