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Happy Birthday Mom!

January 2, 2010 Leave a comment

And the inside says something like “Another Birthday? Don’t worry, it will be over in a flash.”

I’m not sure what kind of message this gives my mom about what I think about her, but this birthday card was just too funny to pass up.  I was mainly amused by the fact that this card uses the word “bitchy.” I can’t say I’ve seen many (or any) cards that use it.

Thankfully my mom has a pretty good sense of humor. Happy Birthday Mom!

Categories: Friends Are Forever Tags:

Farwell 2009, Hello 2010

January 1, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, 2009 is officially behind us and it is time to start fresh with 2010!  This year for New Year’s Eve, Andrew and I had the opportunity to spend time together and with friends.

We started off the evening with a wonderful home cooked meal. Andrew wanted to make something special, so I sat back while he busied himself in the kitchen making Lamb Chops with Mint Pan Sauce and Homemade Potato Chips.  After dinner, we headed to the movie theater and saw Up in the Air. A good movie (well anything with George Clooney could be classified as a “good” movie) with not your typical happy ending, which was both refreshing and unsatisfying.

We rang in the new year with Dick Clark and some of our friends from college. Our friends, Maggie and Aaron, were in town for Christmas and we wanted the opportunity to see them again (we saw them on the 23rd for a pre-Christmas party) before they left.  We played several rounds of Mafia, a game my friend Maggie is obsessed with and I happen to enjoy a lot as well. We got home a little after one and hit the sack. I’d been up since 5am (why we met my father-in-law for breakfast at 6am on New Years Eve is beyond me), so I was completely wiped out.

Happy New Year everyone!

Lamb Chops with Mint Pan Sauce and Homemade Potato Chips

December 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Andrew wanted to have a special dinner to celebrate the new year, so he picked out this recipe from Food Network.  The lamb chops were amazing and let’s just say homemade potato chips are our new thing.

Lamb Chops with Mint Pan Sauce
(Source: Food Network)

1/3 cup apple juice
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
8 lamb loin chops, trimmed of fat (about 1 1/2 pounds total)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 tsp canola oil
1 shallot, minced
1/3 cup reduced-sodium beef broth
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Tbsp mint jelly
2 Tbsp minced fresh mint, divided

1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine apple juice and cornstarch in a small bowl; set aside.

2. Sprinkle lamb chops with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chops and cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn them over and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into a chop registers 140°F for medium-rare, 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness. Transfer the chops to a plate and tent with foil.

3. Place the skillet over medium-high heat (take care, the handle will still be hot). Add shallot and cook, stirring constantly, until browned and softened, about 1 minute. Add broth, vinegar and jelly and bring to a boil, whisking to dissolve the jelly. Cook, whisking constantly, until the liquid has reduced by half, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir the cornstarch mixture; add to the pan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until the sauce is thickened, about 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and stir in half the mint along with any accumulated juices from the chops. Serve the chops topped with the sauce and the remaining mint.

Homemade Potato Chips
1 Large Idaho or Russett Potato
3 tablespoons olive, canola, or peanut oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2. Using a mandolin, slice the potatoes into a bowl and immediately toss them with the oil. Season lightly (we used sesame seeds and chili powder) and arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet.

3. Bake in the oven until golden brown — about 12-15 minutes. Season again lightly when they come out of the oven. Transfer to a rack to cool for maximum crispness.

Categories: I ♥ Food Tags:

Mushroom Potato Lasagna

December 29, 2009 Leave a comment

I’m not going to lie. When Andrew informed me that he wanted to try this recipe he saw on an episode of Julia Child: Lessons with Master Chefs, I cringed just a little bit. I don’t do mushrooms, but I promised him I would keep an open mind and give it a try.

And you know what? This recipe was really good.

I couldn’t find the recipe anywhere, but you can watch the video from the episode by clicking this link and then selecting “Mushroom Potato Lasagna” at the bottom.

Categories: I ♥ Food Tags:

12 Days of Cookies

December 23, 2009 Leave a comment

I took the plunge this year and participated in “12 Days of Cookies.”

Well, sort of.

I love the idea (in theory) of trying 12 new cookie recipes (that are almost guaranteed to be delicious) but, to me, Christmas isn’t Christmas without my beloved Spritz, Peanut Butter Blossoms, and all of the other goodies I grew up with.

So this year, I made 12 different cookies of my own choosing. Some were the classics I enjoy making every year, while others were new recipes I wanted to try. Some weren’t  Christmas cookies per say, but they were still yummy holiday themed treats.  Here’s a glimpse of the delectable goodies I made:



Holiday Cake Bon Bons

Peanut Butter Blossoms


Mint Truffle Brownie Bites

Peppermint Bark Cookie Tartlets

Almond Bark Pretzels

Minty M&M Cookies

Peanut Butter Balls

Gingerbread Bars

Cinnamon Sugar Cookies

To say this little projects was a lot of work is an understatement, but it was a lot of fun and I feel very accomplished.  By the end of it, we literally had cookies coming out of our ears. Thankfully I threw together goody bags for all my coworkers and some of Andrew’s. By the time we brought some over to our respective family gatherings, they were almost gone which means, thankfully,  I won’t need to worry about them wreaking havoc on my girlish figure.

Categories: I ♥ Food Tags:

Nutcracker Fantasy

December 19, 2009 Leave a comment

I have recently developed a mild obsession with ballet, and have been dying to go see the Nutcracker Fantasy. After our first ballet experience (we saw “Orpheus and Eurydice” for my 24th birthday, and it was more  of an interpretive dance than a ballet), I was sure my husband would cringe at the thought of going to another ballet.  But, much to my surprise and delight, he agreed to go (whether reluctantly or not, I’ll never know) and I assured him this experience would be a much better representation of what a ballet is actually like.

I spent the big bucks and got us front row balcony seats, and it was totally worth it. The show was absolutely magical and I enjoyed every single minute of it.  I can’t wait to make it a yearly tradition!

The Stahlbaums’ house

The guests dancing at the Christmas Eve party

Herr Drosselmeyer’s gifts to the children: life-sized dolls!

The dancing snowflakes welcome Clara and the Prince into their world

The Chinese Dance

Waltz of the Flowers

Categories: Just for Fun Tags:

O Come Let Us Adore Him

December 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Our Christmas present to our parents (and grandmas) was going to an annual Christmas concert the church we attend puts on, followed by a nice dinner.  We have done this the last 2 years, and everyone seems to enjoy it.  Andrew and I decided that our parents really don’t need more “stuff” (and they wholeheartedly agree!), so we give them the gift of time spent together as a family.

The concert, as always, was beautiful.  We normally go on Saturday night, but we decided to go to the Sunday afternoon show instead so that Andrew’s sister Amanda could join us.  We all had a great time, and dinner at Buca afterward was fabulous.  We had a very enjoyable time with the family (minus my dad, who was still in Arizona). I really look forward to doing this for years and years to come.  Maybe even some day our kids will be singing in the choir!

Categories: Marriage & Family Tags: ,