Just a Dinner

I’ve spent the last 12 days enjoying Christmas break by spending time in Colorado. Snowmobiling, sledding, hiking, skiing, cooking and, most importantly, spending time with family has occupied much of my time.

Homemade pasta for Christmas Eve Dinner

Sunset as Thunder Mountain

 Yesterday morning my grandmother, aunt, uncle and two cousins departed leaving only my immediate family here. My oldest sister, Sara, and I decided that a gourmet home cooked meal was in order. After debate and planning, a menu was set.

Appetizer: Stuffed Mushrooms

Soup: Japanese Pumpkin, Vanilla, and Garlic Soup

Salad: Baby Spinach, goat cheese, pom seeds, pears and a citrus vinaigrette

Entrée: Cider brined pork tenderloin with rosemary roasted potatoes

Dessert: Chocolate mouse with espresso whip cream and raspberries

 Portobello mushrooms stuffed, baked and cut into triangles

based off of this recipe

The table was set and it was time for the real food to begin….

Japanese Pumpkin, Vanilla and Garlic Soup

Last Friday, we actually went out for a nice dinner to celebrate my sister Katherine’s graduation. The restaurant served this soup and luckily for you and me, they featured the recipe on their website. There was no kabocha squash at the grocery store here so I used acorn. The soup ended up being pretty thick so we thinned with some chicken broth during the final step (part of this might have been because I used an immersion blender to blend the squash so I didn’t add any water then). It was a delicious and flavorful soup!

Main dish

 Cider Brined Pork Tenderloin with Dijon Brown Sugar Glaze

Ina Garten’s Rosemary Roasted Potatoes

Salad with spinach, pom arils, goat cheese, pears and a random dressing of orange juice concentrate (leftover from pork brine), olive oil, red wine vinegar, drizzle of honey, rosemary, dry mustard, salt, pepper, etc….just threw stuff in until it tasted good!

The meal ended with a delicious chocolate mousse. Yum!

Although I’d recommend serving much smaller portions of it than we did….so rich!

 Overall, a delicious dinner!! I highly recommend all of these recipes. I seriously love planning, preparing, and eating fancy meals! I especially love plating the food and setting the table to make it look nice! I seriously can’t wait to be married and have other couples over for dinner parties. Is that weird?

I’m so normal. Weeeeee

The only thing I don’t like is doing dishes and cleaning up. I’ll cook, you do the dishes. Sound like a plan?

What’s your favorite thing to do when you have free time?

I love cooking nice meals. I also love playing games. Quelf, Catch Phrase, spades, Last Word, and Bananagrams are just a few of my favorites!

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten this holiday season?

The chocolate mouse above definitely ranks high on my list!

Thankful Thursday

I’ve decided to start having Thankful Thursday here on my blog. I’m doing this for a couple different reasons….

1. I’m a sucker for all things alliterative. The double letter alliteration just makes me so darn happy (the only literary device I like more are puns; I LOVE puns)

2. It is always good to call to mind our blessings and thank God for all the wonderful things he has bestowed up on us.

Each week I will discuss a different thing that I am thankful for and I invite you to do the same. So, on this first installment of Thankful Thursday, I am thankful for my wonderful mother who cooks me amazingly delicious and healthy meals (of course I’m thankful for her for many other reasons too, but that is what I’m focusing on today).

Often times, with school and other things, I don’t have much time to cook during the week. Fortunately, my mom is always whipping up delectable and nutritious meals. She goes through great efforts to cook  healthful foods that I will want to eat and, if she is making something with dairy, she’ll leave it out of my portion. I don’t tell her often enough, but I appreciate everything she does so, so much!

A scrumptious dinner Mommy made recently. She even plated it up all pretty because she knows I like it that way.

An exquisite sandwich she made, featuring turkey, avocado, sliced apples, all grilled to perfection on cranberry pistachio bread. It sounds a bit odd but the creamy-ness of the avocado so perfectly compliments the crunchy-ness of the apples. Even if you don’t eat meat, you should really try the  avocado + apple combo.

She also helped me make this delicious bread. Okay, let’s be honest; saying, “she helped me make it,” is totally deceptive. She did most of the work! Not wanting to wreck our mixer motor, we decided to make it by hand and mommy dearest did pretty much all the kneading. She makes homemade dough regularly so she’s pretty darn good at it.

An awesome open faced sandwhich and some fruit

And let’s not forget about this soup.

The above are just a few things I happened to snap pictures of. My mom is always making nourishing yet saporous food!

Thanks Mom!

What are you thankful for on this lovely Thursday?

Any fun puns you’d like to share?

Here is an entertaining one I read. Greengrocers earn a meager celery, come home beet and just want to read the pepper, take a leek, turnip the covers, endive into bed.

Turnip the covers? Endive into bed? Please tell me that at least made you smile :)

~Ann Claire