Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Soup Night!

Okay, after a recent FaceBook poll convinced Karen to try cauliflower one more time for her health's sake, we decided to host Soup Night and make NPR's suggested cauliflower soup recipe!

Brian was our only friend brave enough (or crazy enough!) to navigate the roads for Soup Night since it's been snowing ALL DAY! (Anita, Kirsten, Julie, and "Other Brian"...eat your hearts out!)

Emeril's Senegalese Peanut Soup. (Mom, this one's for YOU! You slung a cravin' on me the other night!) You can find Chef Lagasse's recipe at http://bit.ly/4oQiri .

The cauliflower soup discussed on NPR the other day......get the recipe at http://bit.ly/6Vf3U5 .

Toasting the walnuts in the toaster oven for the Cauliflower Soup garnish...

May Bee took refuge from all the clanking of pots and pans...

...while Ben hovered around Brian, his new best friend.

Molly folded the napkins, dreading the cauliflower experience to come...

Two delicious soups. The cream of cauliflower soup is topped with brown butter, toasted walnuts, and tiny cauliflower florets "blanched in salt water." (Right. As if.)

Anticipation! Will Karen like it? Will she be able to swallow CAULIFLOWER?

Preparing to taste the first spoonful of Cauliflower Soup. Drum roll, please.

Okay! Here she goes!

It's IN! Cauliflower is now coating her taste buds with its cruciferous deliciousness!

RELIEVED! It's actually NOT as awful as expected!

Second bite! Look who's being so brave! (And setting a good example for her new granddaughter, Willow, making her way into the world AT THAT VERY MOMENT. Joelle was in labor throughout dinner, and Karen kept running to check her phone for baby updates. Soup Night was WAY more exciting as we all waited for incoming texts & calls!!)

Third bite...and no "Reversal of Fortune" so far...

In most pitiful Dickensian orphan voice: "Please, mum...may I have some more?"

Love those high-class foil bowls. (You can't hide money.)


The wreckage...

So, Soup Night may not have had lots of participants, but it was still judged to be a HUGE success. Plans are already in the works for next month...so...see you at Soup Night, January Edition! (BYOB!! Bring Your Own Bowl.)

Friday, December 25, 2009

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

And may God bless us, every one...


P.S. Thank you to Kirsten, photographer & Christmas card designer extraordinaire!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Christmas card rejects!

Too blurry.
(HUGE dogfight right after this was snapped, btw.)

Too unruly!

Yikes. Ghost dog! Too scary.

Too smoky.

Hey, finally! A good one! Oh, wait...you can see the package of turkey hot dogs I was using to keep May Bee's attention.

Oh, cute! I'll use THIS one! Wait...hold on. On second thought,
that hot dog package could NOT be more unfortunately placed.


This reject has been so unanimously popular,
it might actually make it onto the card.


That third cup of nog was a mistake.


CUTE! Oh, wait. The stupid hot dog package ruins yet another photo. (Maybe I should put the hot dog bites in my mouth, like the dog trainers in the movie Best in Show!)


WRONG!!!! This will NOT be on anyone's Christmas card.
(This one made Karen laugh hysterically as she tried to sputter, "CANIS!" Remember the SNL commercial for a cologne called Canis? No? Good.)


Argh. May Bee! Quit obsessing with the stupid hot dogs!
They're TURKEY dogs, anyway.


"Okay. Let's call it a wrap. May Bee just ate the ball off the Santa hat."

Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm in!



Count me IN! I know my parents and (AMAZING) siblings will be so relieved that they won't be getting a lame tie or knick-knack mailed from Texas this year. (Right, Russ? Remember how much you liked those stuffed Mexican frogs?)

So, anyway, this year, the grownups in my family are only getting a Christmas card, but my nieces and nephews are all getting DVDs. Cinema classics that everyone should watch! (Also known as "lame ones.")

Saturday, November 28, 2009

God in my bloodstream...

This passage from Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love stopped me dead in my tracks:

"If faith were rational, it wouldn't be--by definition--faith. Faith is belief in what you cannot see or prove or touch. Faith is walking face-first and full-speed into the dark. If we truly knew all the answers in advance as to the meaning of life and the nature of God and the destiny of our souls, our belief would not be a leap of faith and it would not be a courageous act of humanity; it would just be...a prudent insurance policy.

I’m not interested in the insurance industry. I’m tired of being a skeptic, I’m irritated by spiritual prudence and I feel bored and parched by empirical debate. I don’t want to hear it anymore. I couldn’t care less about evidence and proof and assurances. I just want God. I want God inside me. I want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on water."

Wow. (Betcha' wish you had this book in your hands, huh?)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Kake-1. Kristy-0.

Oh, what a horrible night! Apparently, old ladies should not eat kake at Kake & Karaoke and then expect to sleep. I had an all-night tummy ache after sampling so much "kake." (Maybe spelling it with a "k" is what did it. So wrong.)

In happier times, before the kake sampling began. This red velvet cake, with a DELICIOUS secret ingredient in the frosting, was fun to make because Kirsten and her trusty KitchenAid came to the rescue. (I don't know that I've ever made frosting from scratch before. Or a cake, for that matter.) So fun! Check out the swans filled with Red Hots...yum!

And while my cake got points for sentimental value (honoring the upcoming nuptials of Lloyd & Dianne--the FIRST wedding in our new building), it didn't win. An amazing peanut butter & Oreo cake with chocolate drizzle was the clear crowd favorite, meaning that the youth group leaders win again this year. (They're gonna' be so conceited.)

Oh, and the karaoke...who knew it was so much fun? If you have to be up all night, sick to your stomach, it's no small mercy to still be chuckling at the thought of "Love Shack" and "Crazy Train"...and your sister performing"Play That Funky Music, White Boy."

Sunday, November 01, 2009

You missed the NPR puzzle? No biggie.

Did you miss this morning's NPR puzzle? No worries! It was my day to type up the NPR puzzle transcription and send it out across the globe. (And by "across the globe," I mean lots of people in the U.S. and that one guy in Australia. Oh, and I think there's some lady in Deutschland.)

Click HERE to read the puzzle and play along! And if you'd like to get the puzzle delivered to YOUR email Inbox each week, look for the "Join this group" option after you follow the link.

Sunday so far: Up early to tape/type/transcribe puzzle, walked two dogs in the GORGEOUS sunshine, bought work gloves at Big Lots (isn't it great how weird Big Lots is...have you seen the plastic Elvis guitar filled with popcorn? Deliciously tacky!), and listened online to
Sunday Baroque and Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!.

Next up? Finishing up the church bulletin, working on an online 8th grade scavenger hunt, and setting up a VCR to tape tonight's America's Funniest Home Videos so I can catch Linda's cat, Archie, tonight!
Linda and I laugh about our love for our flawed animals...we don't think they are mean, but rather
misunderstood. When people call Archie "Satan Spawn" or when May Bee is referred to as "Devil Dog," we are the first to jump to our pets' defense. And if you love flawed creatures as much as we do, you will LOVE Berke Breathed's latest interview. (He doesn't give interviews often; you'd better check it out!)

Who knows if Breathed is awesome because he is a Texan or Texan because he is awesome (chicken vs. egg), but he has been a hero of mine for ages. There is no telling how much money I've dropped on Bloom County-related books and merchandise over the years...I'm a sucker for that penguin. (So is Harper Lee! She actually wrote Breathed and asked him to reconsider sending Opus off gently into that good night.)
Can't wait for church tonight, btw. I know there's going to be a surprise announcement that's going to elicit GASPS of disbelief. As church bulletin-typer-upper, I'm sometimes privy to the congregational grapevine. (Karen's face as the announcement is made will probably rival anything Archie is going to do on AFV!)

P.S. If you really did read that Berkeley Breathed interview, you'll know how a picture snapped of one of the dogs rescued from Michael Vick's foul compound inspired the comic to write his first novel. That photo is HERE.

P.P.S. Please consider supporting the Best Friends shelter or subscribing to Best Friends magazine. NO MORE HOMELESS PETS!!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Let's terrify Yankees fans this Halloween by dressing up as Cliff Lee

Why not have TWO Philadelphia-related blogs in a row? Happy Halloween, everybody!
Hope you aren't egged or TPd tonight!

(Take in your pumpkins, y'all...)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

FUN weekend!!!

Linda's 50th Surprise Birthday Party Weekend started with a trip to BILLADELPHIA'S (restaurant review here) with the Bush family (full story here), where you can get real Philadelphia-style cheesesteaks on Amoroso rolls...with birch beer...

...and Italian water ices (WAAAY better than snow cones)...


...and TASTYKAKES!!! The HOLY GRAIL of Pennsylvania cuisine!!!

They were out of my favorite, Koffee Kakes. (Yes, that's how they spell it...quit rolling your eyes.) I usually wouldn't tolerate such spelling tomfoolery, but these are a blast from the past!

In fact, Koffee Kakes are so amazing, it wouldn't matter if they called them "Cough-y Kakes."
I would gladly purchase them by the shopping cart. Or kart.

The karnage...a pizza steak wrapper, a Kandy Kakes sleeve--and a smile. :-)

Dan looked so content! They must be sneaking something narcotic into those Krimpets.

Then it was off to Plano to attend Linda's surprise party. (The Hostesses with the Mostest pose for a photo above.) We had a lot of fun getting to know each other and put faces to names while we waited for the birthday girl. Anne even got to hug old family friends!

Finally, after a few false alarms, the birthday girl arrived. Jessica answered the door, and the look on Linda's face when I stepped around the corner was one of pure puzzlement...and then everyone yelled "SURPRISE!"...and she finally realized what was going on!

Hugs all around!

Linda's baby picture, matted and awaiting notes from all the party goers.
(What a great idea, Anne!)

We laughed (and snapped pictures) ALL NIGHT LONG.


Professor McGonagall in the house!
Anne made the COOLEST movie, all about Linda's Favorite Things, plus a trivia quiz about the year 1959. (Seems like Linda actually *shares* a birthday with some of her favorite things, like Barbie, Alan Rickman, and Simon Cowell.) You heard right. She loves Simon Cowell. There's no accounting for taste...


CAKE!


Her gifts from the Abilene gang? English "biscuits" and tea...and
Seth Grahame-Smith's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Staying up and talking with Falisha until 1:00 in the morning...
and still making it to church ON TIME!!


And finally, taking time to thank God for such wonderful friends, great food, and safe travels. I was able to stop at Central Market on the way home, get Karen two pounds of Seltzer's sweet Lebanon bologna, and still get the church bulletin printed on time!

The bushes outside Falisha's church were COVERED IN BUTTERFLIES this morning...
what a glorious way to start a Sunday...hope your weekend was wonderful, too!