Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cooking: Irish Beef Stew

I've made this a few times now and I have to say tonight's batch of Irish Beef Stew was by far my best. I added 2 more tbsps of tomato paste than what the recipe said, a full bottle of beer & about 3/4 cup of beef stock. This made for a very rich and thick stew due to the flour in the beef. The bread was used to soak up every last drop of the sauce. Mmm.. Oh and the green beans? Garlicky with a touch of heat from the red chili flakes.

Don't forget to garnish your beef stew with the parsley. I totally forgot about it!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wine Tasting @ Savanah-Chanelle

Timmys had invited us to Savannah Chanelle for a wine tasting and tour that he won through a silent auction. It was a private tour and we got to see their vines to how they made their wine. It was an interesting process but not much different than what we've already seen in the Napa tours. I do have to say that their 2006 Pinot Noir is amazing. I loved it so much I bought three bottles of it. It's a tiny bit tart but definitely fruity and worked well with the cold weather. I had to have seconds of it which made me warm right up.

After the tasting we went to a nearby tree farm to get our Christmas tree. Finally! I've actually never gone to a tree farm to harvest a tree so this was fun. Despite the cold and heavy drizzle, I had fun sawing down our own tree. Justyn did most of the work though. You might notice that he's chopping the tree down near to the top. That's because we wanted a small tree. We'll probably start decorating it on Sunday once the tree dries out. To warm up, Justyn heated up some tomato soup and I made some grilled cheese sammiches. Mmm...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Dinner

We went to my parents house for Thanksgiving and took Justyn's Miata there. The weather was gorgeous. Not too cold suprisingly for a late November day.

A couple pics of the table settings with my placecards :)

Janice had given me a bottle of some nice Rioja from Spain so I brought it to share with her and everyone else. She also brought out some Italian white wine but we didn't get to it.

Here's the pork patty my mom made for me. It's one of the things I ate as a kid and she took time to make it just for me.

My mom was really busy cooking everything in the kitchen. I couldn't resist helping her out. She even told me to taste test her butternut squash and potato soup. It was really out of character for her to trust me with taste but I guess being a full grown foodie has its advantages.

Justyn had to watch a football game.

Mmm turkey... My mom put this in a brine and cooked this bird to perfection. It was sooo juicy.

Green bean casserole. BTW, Trader Joe's version of fried onions is WAY better than French's.

My absolute favorite Thanksgiving side. I call it Chinese stuffing but it's sticky rice with little bits of goodies like Chinese sausage, shiitake mushrooms & preserved mustard greens.

The spread..

Janice made a decadent chocolate souffle which I helped with. It was funny cuz when we were baking these, one of the souffles started to fall over onto the bottom of the oven. Justyn kept asking if the souffles were done so we gave him the poop looking stuff that fell.
It was a lovely Thanksgiving with our family but I am so full I'm going into a food coma right now.

NAC: Thanksgiving Placecards

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you guys have a fantastic feast with your friends and loved ones.

I made these placecards for Turkey Day. I ran out of red cardstock so I had to make different ones for the parents. They get more grown up ones and us kids get the more whimsical ones.
I'll take more pictures when I put them on our plate settings.

Monday, November 23, 2009

NAC: Paper-Pieced Turkey

I adored Kristina Werner's paper pieced turkey for the card she made last Friday so I decided to try out her technique. I can see why she only rounded one corner of the "feathers". I wanted to make the pieces completely rounded and it took me a bit to figure out how to do it. I tried a dozen ways before flipping over the corner rounder I had and eyeballing it. It's hard to describe but it worked.

The papers I used for the "feathers" are from the 8x8 pack from October Afternoon called Farm Fresh, IIRC. I thought it was fitting since turkeys live on farms :) Mmm turkey. Anyway, here's what I made.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pre-Thanksgiving with Friends

I'm not gonna post much because I'm not feeling well. I think I'm catching a cold or something but I feel a little better since Justyn took really good care of me. He brought me dinner & Little Big Planet for the PS3 so I've been playing that.

Yesterday Taryn & Will had their annual Thanksgiving for their friends and Ken invited us. Everyone there was so nice and fun it made the evening feel more like Thanksgiving than when I have it with my family. I think I said that last year too but it's true. Anyway, Justyn made corn pudding topped with bacon and I made Jamaican Jerk Beef Puff Pastries. These things flew off the two trays I brought and everyone loved them :) All the food was delicious including the pumpkin pie that Julie made. Look how she even made cut out leaves for the top :) Adorable! Big thanks to Taryn, Will, Taryn's mom and everyone who made the food. You guys rock!