Archive for the ‘Holidays/Celebrations’ Category


Family BBQ

May 23, 2010

Saturday was filled with lots of family. It’s not often that Dan’s family gets together. Everyone but us lives in the bay area and occasionally we celebrate Christmas and birthdays – but that’s about it. My sister-in-law and bro-in-law had their second baby on April 14th and are moving to Connecticut in June.  My mother in law’s birthday is right around the corner and it gave us the perfect opportunity to have a BBQ.

Dan has 2 sisters and 1 brother. His brother was unable to make the BBQ, but Dan’s parent’s brought his daughter, our niece, Georgia.

She was very happy to be holding her stuffed Toodee – Yo Gabba Gabba! doll. She was not very happy that she couldn’t spend the day in the swimming pool. (It was too cold for swimming)

My niece Freja became fast friends with Higgy. In fact, I think he’s still alseep from all of the activity yesterday.

While the other kids ran around the house chasing Higgy – Baby Odin slept in his carrier, Grandma and Mom’s arms.

It sure felt weird to have a baby and little kids in the house. We entertained them with coasters, entertainment center knobs, dog toys, pillows, mirrors and just about every non-kid friendly item in the house, hah!

Mental note: probably shouldn’t have sold all of the toys, character sippy cups, placemats, plates, etc. that I used to have for my niece Abby.

While everyone was entertaining the kids, I cooked up a storm. I whipped up my Grandpa’s famous BBQ sauce. There is no recipe, he just threw things together in a sauce pot that looked 100 years old. He used to bring everything to the outdoor kitchen/BBQ area and the smells were out of this world. He introduced me to liquid smoke – smoke in a bottle? Are you kidding me? I remember thinking as a kid – that was the coolest thing ever!

I got my onions, celery and oil ready in the pot. I added my rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper, worcestershire, ketchup, liquid smoke and a little water. The sauce was bubbling up a storm and the house smells reminded me of my Grandpa’s cookin’.

I got all of the chicken breasts on the grill and set the timer for 5 minutes. On my 5 minute check, I realized that the BBQ was no longer hot. Dan asked if we had enough propane – I assured him that we were fine. Whoops! Dan and his Dad headed to the gas station for propane and I freaked out because I had timed the mac-n-cheese just right. I knew I was going to need to add milk to get it creamy again. Bummer.

Crisis averted. The guys were quick in getting the propane and emergency apple juice for the kids – I got the chicken cooking again and everything turned out fabulous.

On the menu:
BBQ Chicken, Mac-n-Cheese (kid style – nothing fancy), baked beans, green salad and rolls.

I was juggling everything and didn’t have time for Foo style photos…


My Mother in law loves anything Disney. She is from Southern California and she has a season pass to Disneyland. My SIL asked if I could get a German Chocolate Cake and do it up Disney style. I ordered the cake from the bakery, headed to Party City and holy kid zone – so much to choose from. I grabbed a couple of Mickey Mouse things and it turned out cute – she really liked it!

All in all, a great family get together. I was exhausted after a long day. I hit the tub for a relaxing soak around 7:30 and I was in bed by 8:30 :). The hostess with the mostess was one tired girl.

There was mention of using Skype for our families to stay more connected. I’m really looking forward to that.


Mother’s Day and Margarita Fruit Salad

May 10, 2010

First off…Happy Mother’s Day wishes to all of you amazing Moms out there. I was reminded today how blessed I am to still have my Mom in my life. Several dear friends have Moms that are really ill right now and my heart goes out to them. I actually picked up the phone last night (knowing that I just saw my Mom Friday night and that I would be seeing her again today) just to tell her how much I loved and appreciated her. Life is definitely too short to not let those close to you know how much they mean to you.

O.k…onto the food porn.

My brother decided to host a BBQ lunch for our Mom at his place this year. He is definitely the master of the grill. He even has a rib cook off medal to prove it.

I was asked to bring a fruit salad and rolls. Sounded easy enough. I put off grocery shopping until this morning. I wanted super fresh rolls and I had other things going on yesterday.

The grocery store parking lot was insane. People driving in every direction. The store had placed two racks of cards and 3 massive bucket displays of flowers, balloons and other last-minute Mom’s day gifts by the front doors. I counted 22 men, with children in tow, hovering around the same “Mom, you’re the best!” tri-fold cartoon cards…written in Español – hah! Seriously…wasn’t much of a selection.

I gathered what I needed and had an hour to clean, photograph, cut, prepare and photograph (again) my dish. Hmmm…probably why we ended up being 45 minutes late, whoops! What?  This food stuff takes time.

The Fruit:

The frozen peaches didn’t make it into the photo…can’t wait until peach and nectarines are back in season…

The Ingredients for the sauce

Margarita mix, honey and lime.

The super easy recipe called for the following measurements:
12 cups of fresh fruit
3/4 cup margarita mix
1/3 cup  honey
1/4 cup lime juice (I used less lime juice since the margarita mix had lots of lime already in it – I used the juice of 2 limes)

I whisked the margarita mix, honey and lime juice in a bowl and set it aside while I cut up the fruit. Pineapples are a big pain in the ass…I’ve seen the nifty pineapple cutters, but I don’t think it’s necessary…they are only a PITA when crunched for time…nothing beats fresh pineapple, yum!

Once I got the fruit cut up, I poured 1/2 the mixture over the fruit and lightly tossed it. I then took the bowl outside for its photo shoot.

It was kind of overcast today with a slight drizzle. None of that mattered, I could not wait to dive into the fruit bowl…the pool was looking pretty inviting too. The less than 60 degree water temp, not so inviting.

Sidenote: I actually tried kiwi with the skin on for the first time today. It took a little getting used to, and to be honest, I’ll probably continue to eat them sans skin. I’d seen so many food bloggers mention that they eat it like that, had to give it a try.

We got to my brother’s place and the tri-tip was close to being done. It smelled delicious!

They had bought some really pretty flowers and I couldn’t resist taking photos. Yes, I’m now “that” girl.

Star of Bethlehem Flowers – so pretty…

Godetia Flowers – super bright and cheery…these were part of their gift to my Mom…she’s definitely got the green thumb in the family. Let’s just say they went to the right house…I’ve chosen super hearty plants for my house/yard for a reason.

We were also greeted by the fur babies…

Max – he’s the tall tank…

Ozzie – He’s the short tank…the two of them are adorable and such loves…

Higgy stayed home, he’s not ready to play with the big dogs. He still has the drag with his left leg and down time is better for him. He promised to hold the couch down while we were gone. 😉

Lunch is served…

Tri-tip sandwiches, sweet potato fries w/lemon pepper and margarita fruit salad. We had sorbet and lemon cookies for dessert…

I had a great day spending time with my family. It’s back to the 8-5 grind tomorrow and menu planning for the week. Here’s to hoping that it’s going be a good Monday!