Friday, January 25, 2008

Pizza and beer would be fine, too

I have not even looked at my blog in about three days.

Bad. I know.

It's been crazy busy at work.

Not to mention the party planning.

I am a bit behind schedule with it, but I am not worried.

Stuff is getting done.

And as I told the manfriend, if it comes down to it, I already have the beer and wine. If I get pressed for time on the food, I will just order some pizzas.

But really, it should be fine.

It has been raining on and off here for a few days. That seems to make everything crazier for some reason.

I do love the big, puffy clouds that we get between the rains.

But the rain has made some party prep tricky.

Like the part that I needed to make on the grill.

So today I was grilling flank steak (for the party) before going to work. I was in my back yard, in my pajamas grilling steak while the rain had stopped.

As soon as the steak was done and I was taking it off the grill... DROP! DROP! DROP!

Big, fat drops of rain.

They were slow at first, just long enough for me to turn off the gas grill, grab my tongs and steaks and run for the house.

Then the downpour.

I also made bruschetta today.

Then I went to work. There was snow on Saddleback Peak today, which for those who are not in this area, is a not-too-high mountain in O.C. So it was a surprise to see snow there.
It looked quite cool.

Tonight I may just do a little cleaning and leave any more food prep until tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuesday is my Monday

Man, the weekend went so fast.

Sunday was pretty much done before it started for me.
It was fun, but jam-packed.

I had the stamping group over for our monthly gathering. We made it a tea.

Everything was so yummy.

All I had to provide was the tea. And I made a pomegranate-lemonade that was a big hit.

For food we had little sandwiches and a frittata and pasta salad and scones and fruit and cake.

I love a good tea. Having a good tea lets me connect with my girly-girl side.

Plus I got to use all my favorite teapots and fancy dishes and all the cute mismatched cups and saucers.

So we stamped and we ate and we talked. It gets surprisingly rowdy sometimes.

After the tea, I had to run up to my favorite local bakery and pick up a cake for my grandmother's birthday.

She wanted carrot cake and this place makes a good one.

Then I came home to wash teacups and dishes.

But I only had about 45 minutes before I was off again to my aunt's house for grandma's birthday party. My grandma is now 89.

We had a feast of fresh crab (Grandma got a nice lobster, as was her wish).

My uncle cooks them all outside in one of those giant turkey fryer things. Instead of oil, he fills it with water.

Then we round out the meal with some rice and salad.

Sorry, no crabby pictures. My hands were too messy from cracking crab legs to operate the camera.

Maybe next time I will do a before and after shot. The after is a huge pile of crab shells and dirty napkins. Nice.

I was home by about 8, but really exhausted from all the running around. Plus my tea caffeine buzz had worn off hours before.

On Monday, I was determined to get shopping done for the party this weekend.

So I hit Costco, Trader Joe's and Ralphs.

I got mostly everything. There are a few things I want to get the day of the party so they are fresh or because I will not have room in my freezer.

Like the ice. I figure on getting at least 30 pounds. I need ice to ice the beers and I need clean ice for drinks.

My car was loaded by the time I got home.

I unpacked it all and put away most of it.

Then I made the spinach-gouda bites and stuck them in the freezer. That way on Sunday I just have to thaw and bake them.

I did some chopping of other things and made a pate and the olive tapenade for my crostini trio.
I also got the hoisin sauce ready for the meatballs that I had already made and stuck in the freezer.

Then I decided to take a break. Of course, it was already dark by then and I hate to do chores after dark.

My plan for the rest of the week:

today - do some more cleaning around the house, fold laundry and run a couple errands before work. (Luckily I work late today.)
Wednesday - start marinating the flank steak for the chevre-mango steak bites.
Thursday - grill the steak.
Friday - make the bread cups for the mushroom tarts, make bruschetta for the crostini.
Saturday - slice the steak and prep the other ingredients for the steak bites, roll the asparagus spears in the ham so they can be roasted quickly on Sunday. I also will do any last bits of housecleaning.
Sunday - pull it all together. This is where my double ovens will go into overdrive.

I am really looking forward to this party. The last time I did a good, nighttime party was my birthday in 2006.

Now I am off to my chores. I have a good two hours of time to get some stuff done.