December 31, 2010

Mea Culpa

How could I forget C's Flan from the Paella Party?! I have had flan before... in europe I believe... and my memory wasn't overly fond..... but C's Flan was out of this world. Absolutely delicious. This is not a picture of hers but close enough.

Yes, yes, I know we've had lots of posts this week. Lots of gatherings, and we are on vacation.... so this week we relax, next week I work on getting our school put back together.

Bad Pictures of Great Parties

Twice I went to lovely celebrations, twice I forgot my camera, twice I used my cell phone to take pictures. Now, on my wish list a cell phone that takes nice pictures because it is inevitable I will forget my camera (bad blogger bad bad bad blogger) but said phone with camera that works well but does not come with a full service computer and internet provider. The very last thing in the world I want is constant computer access to delete junk mail. Several times a day is enough for me. Just the same I did make a little effort to change the brightness and autocorrect the pictures best I could....

We celebrated a most delicious Christmas dinner with family. As always everything was set up very pretty. And the evening was alot of fun.
Please note the annual popper party favors.

See that snow man totem pole? Each head was a tiny little colored pencil. Ok, so I get a little thrill about neat things like that. A couple of the children decided to collect as many as they could so they had pencil heads 18 inches tall.


Although we had a much smaller crowd this year we still had the giant table, this time with ample elbow room. Those missing were missed. Of course the extra space was helpful to host over 20 courses... I kid you not!
About those party poppers.... Here is Pippin sporting a good number of the paper crowns. No.... he wasn't into the Gaffers Home Brew.

Bilbo and the giant toy soldier.

Pippin with the giant nutcracker.

Poppy and the cork.... no.... she didn't get the bottle too.

What? A sweet, angelic and innocent Poppy?

Then there was the rum cake.

In the process of lighting the cake.

Blue flame

Um... for future reference, remove the holly decoration, that starts a little fire... which is different than blue... fire. Ok.... I'm not the pyromaniac of the bunch. But I did enjoy the fun.

I took the girls yesterday to see Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Of course I thought it was brilliant... no pun intended.... to take a picture of the girls in their groovy 3D glasses (since this was afterall their 1st 3D movie). Note to dingbat self that the light should be behind the camera....
A friend of mine invited me to come to a paella party. Paella - I would like an explanation as to when you say "Pah-ay-juh" vs "Pah-ay-yuh" On the spanish program I was using (past tense is due to the lazy status of my study habits at present) I have heard the double "l" pronounced both ways and I've hard people "who grew up in the same house" say it both ways. Is the whole world out to confuse me? Just wondering! Anyway, from what I learned just last night, paella is a traditional Sunday meal in Spain (you know like the old fashioned chicken dinner in America used to be considered the traditional Sunday meal, butcher Saturday night, eat Sunday night) I digress...
Paella Party Friend set up her home beautifully. Please note the napkin holders at this table are little vases with flowers!

Table two.
Table three. Each table was set up with its own personality. My poor pictures hardly doing the scene justice.

I want one of those pans, the thing was huge. Why do I want one of those pans, it's just the right size for my family! We can do all the eggs in one pan! But that is a paella pan on a stand of some kind. Almost like a gas stove but from my limited observation there are a few rings of fire so the heat is distributed evenly.

I counted.... I kid you not.... TWENTY ingredients. Perhaps there were a couple more.

This particular paella started with sauteeing the chicken.... my first thought was... this is stir fry!

I won't pretend I can get 20 ingredients in order so I'll just mention some that are at the top of my poor memory. In addition to chicken (which was suppose to have the bones left in :D there was halibut, peppers, onions, shrimp, rice, some kind of other pepper things, squid (yes, I said squid), octopus (yes, I said octopus and in Spain you have to eat what you are served and I found out if you aren't served something you will be!!), let's see.... peas, clams (these were live clams... I want to thank Miss Y for eating the 1/2 of the clam off my plate that contained the sand...) and then there was some paprika and some saffron. I will talk about saffron later.

Now it is important to note that we (I am going to include me in there we since I stood there watching and making comments about "stir fry", I'm sure in my own way I was very helpful.) anyway, *we* were cooking this out in the garage. This is important to note because paella smells absolutely delicious.... for a very long time.... on your clothes, in your hair and everywhere.

Lots of rice was added. Of course this particular rice was from Spain which is what made this no longer "stir fry". BTW, I like stir fry, this was actually a compliment and what was going through my head was "I can do this!" But I learned later that it is preferred that men cook, they are considered the cooks. The very funny part of this is that I know some men who ... can't cook! :) (Aragorn can cook) By this point I was really getting hungry... though raw seafood wasn't part of this meal.

By this time I was called back out to witness that the clams were dead.... actually... I was told that the clams had opened so they were "done".

So at this point it was time for tapas which I gather is an appetizer. Yummy toasted bread, some with spanish ham (?), tomatoes and cheese, some with chopped olives and roasted red peppers. (I never thought I'd be hungry again after that huge meal but as I type I'm feeling like I might be getting hungry just thinking about this meal)

Now this was my absolute favorite part of the cooking process. Topping the paella with paper to finish the project. I could not look at it withouth laughing. Typically I learned that they actually top it with a big cloth. Is this because there is some property to paper or cloth that is important or that they lost the gigantic lid?


Served! And the protocol or so I am told is that you get served twice. It was absolutely delicious! Saffron was a taste I had never experienced and although it was good, I think I prefer a little cayenne pepper. But again it was an excellent tasting meal. There was also wine and champagne, salad, bread, tirimisu, fruit, hot cranberry cider. I drank water with ice. With ice.... with ice. Our ice maker has been broken ad infinitum and I miss ice so I was in ice heaven.

And just to make your head spin with the abrupt change of subject.... the wood man came to deliver a load of wood to cut up.

Ok.... so we are easily entertained.

That was fun.

December 29, 2010

On the 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th Days of Christmas

On the 2nd day of Christmas (I assume that the first day of Christmas is Christmas since it's a partridge in a pear tree) we have always had a quiet day with a movie. Because we had been sick we did a double feature. The first movie was Captains Courageous. Great movie in my opinion.

The 2nd Feature was Joan of Arc with Leelee Someone or other. It was excellent and for sure I learned to love Joan of Arc! What an amazing story.

This year I got drizzle corn to go with our feature. It's easy to make, just pop your corn and the drizzle melted chocolate, melted white chocolate....
The 3rd and 4th Days of Christmas were dedicated to Grandparents Gifts.

The 5th day of Christmas the plan was to make a ginger bread house from a kit (how hard can that be?) and make cut out cookies. We discovered we had no powdered sugar so that project is on hold til tomorrow.

So far so good.

Ooops, wait.

Ack, oops.

This is what the gingerbread house was suppose to look like.

Since we were failing miserably in this very difficult project I suggested they just break it up and decorate their cookie pieces.
Yum or ugh....

Sam decided to see if he could chisel out a gingerbread man out of his chunk.

The gingerbread man turned more like humpty dumpty.
Welcome to the reality blog. :)