Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gazpacho with Basil Croutons

I've never been a big tomato fan -- especially raw tomatoes, like on a sandwich or in a salad. But for some reason, every summer I end up craving a chilly bowl of tomato-y gazpacho.....my favorite recipe is this one, topped with crunchy, delicious basil croutons.

After some chopping, the whole thing is made in the blender - which my daughter found pretty hilarious. She walked past me in the kitchen and said, "Eeeeew! Are you making a tomato smoothie?! YUK!"

Aside from the three tablespoons of olive oil in the croutons, this is an incredibly healthy and lowfat soup. Other than that, I guess I don't have too much to say about this recipe -- my husband likes it and my kids despise it. But I make it once a summer because I love it!

I can't believe I bought, but forgot to add, the jumbo cooked shrimp that I was supposed to chop and stir in just before serving! What a ding-a-ling! I'll have to find another use for those today....maybe I'll make an orzo salad recipe I saw in one of my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks.
I'm so happy that leftovers are waiting for me in the fridge for lunch this afternoon!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Steak Salad with Roasted Redskins & Sauteed Mushrooms

My husband's 4.0 tennis team competed this past weekend in the Midwest Championships down in Indianapolis. Sadly, they were edged out of moving on to National's by the team from Michigan -- but it was really close with many third set tie breakers over the course of three days of matches. This is the third year straight that his team has won the Wisconsin title and I know they really wanted to move on, but it just wasn't in the cards. Next year, boys!

We welcomed him home from Indy with another one of my favorite summer meals, the Blackened Steak Salad. Usually I make this more than once per summer, but for some reason last night was the first time this year....and it is gooo-oooooood! I was contemplating using chicken breasts to save on cost and calories, but tenderloin steaks were on special so I decided to go for it.
The original recipe (on Epicurious.com) calls for dunking the steaks in melted butter, then dusting them in the blackening seasonings, and searing them on a blisteringly hot skillet. Last night I skipped the butter step and just pressed the seasonings on the steaks, and tossed them on a hot grill. This worked well and we of course didn't even miss the butter step, although I wouldn't exactly call them "blackened" -- more like, just "spicy".

Alongside we had my favorite Roasted Potatoes with Garlic (yes, they're from Ina -- did you really have to ask?). I was kind of in a time crunch and didn't have the full hour to roast them, so I cut them into quarters, stuck them in a 9x11 Pyrex with a little water, covered them tightly and microwaved them on hi for about 6 minutes. Then I drained them off really well, and proceeded with the recipe. This worked like a charm and shaved off a good 20 minutes of roasting time.

Another favorite and natural accompaniment are these awesome Sauteed Button Mushrooms. These are incredible with any steak, but are especially good with this salad.

We're off to enjoy a hot, steamy day at the pool. I can't believe summer is dwindling down this quickly. My son starts school next Wednesday, eeeeek!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Turkey Jalapeno Cheeseburgers with Spicy Ranch Sauce.....

Jalapeno Cheeseburger with Bacon, Grilled Onions, and Spicy Ranch Sauce

We had a gorgeous Tuesday night at home last evening, and dinner out on the patio again. I was dying for a big ol' cheeseburger on the grill and decided to make one of my all time favorite burger recipes.

These Jalapeno Cheeseburgers (jcb's for short) are the BEST!! They were featured in the grill issue of Bon Appetit one or two years ago, and have become a summer tradition for me. I was feeling like lightening them up a bit though, and I tried them with turkey for the first time. I swear, they were just as good.

The original recipe calls for a coffee glaze that you brush over the burgers while they're grilling, but I've never bothered with that. Seems a little bit too putzy for me; besides, with bacon, cheese, grilled onions, and the amazing spicy ranch sauce, 'coffee glaze' might be a little overkill!

Don't be afraid of the jalapenos; my kiddos gobbled these up and even had seconds! Wish my husband hadn't taken the leftovers to work for lunch....I could go for one of these right now. Have a great day, everyone!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back to the Lake!



Well, the flood is over and we've cleaned up the aftermath....mostly. The poor lawn was drowned for three weeks, but hopefully it'll come back next spring. We've had to rip up the carpet on the first floor, and replace some mil-dewey drywall, but no big deal....and the dock.....well, let's just say that's a lost cause. That'll all be replaced in the springtime. For now, we're just enjoying the lake for what it is -- 'cause summer is fleeting and we have to savor every single second and not worry about stuff that just doesn't really matter!
SO! We spent the weekend out at the lake and we all had a total BLAST! The weather was amazing and the kids all got in a lot of tubing, wakeboarding, and skiing. I even got some time to cook in my little cottage kitchen.
Shrimp Salad Sandwich

One afternoon I made Ina's Shrimp Salad for the husband and myself. We both really liked it and I thought it looked pretty too; it was the perfect lakeside lunch.

I also made her Orzo with Roasted Vegetables (always a hit), which we took when we had dinner with some friends at their cottage. With roasted eggplant, garlic, yellow and red peppers, and red onion, the orzo salad was a nice compliment to the ribs that my friend Jane made. It also calls for fresh basil (which I have a TON of) and cubed feta....yum! I'm just giving you the links because I didn't divert at all from either recipe. Ya gotta love that Ina!

Orzo with Roasted Vegetables

I highly recommend both of these salads; they taste just like summer!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Passing along some Yum!

I am so flattered that Lisa at Jersey Girl Cooks has given me a Yum Yum award! She must be one of my five readers, tee hee. ;-) It's so fun for me to know that someone else enjoys this little blog!

I'm going to pass this on to five blogs that I think are really cool. Each one of these ladies is a busy mom like me, and each one consistently posts family friendly recipes that I would absolutely make!

So, my choices for some Yum Yum are as follows:

Melanie, at My Kitchen Cafe

Pamela, at Cookies With Boys

Robin Sue, at Big Red Kitchen

Aggie, at Aggie's Kitchen

and Amey, at Dinners for a Year and Beyond.

Ladies, I love your blogs and check in often!!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ad'....and a blog award!

It's my youngest's 8th birthday today, and boy have we had fun!

The birthday girl and her favorite "friend who's a boy"!

We started the day with pancakes in our pj's at my friend Ann's house. Her son is my daughter's best "friend who's a boy" (NOT to be confused with a "boyfriend"!). It was a gorgeous summer day filled with fun and pals, AND this:

"Towering Sand Castle Cake"

I always say I'd never fit in with the Daring Bakers, and ain't it the truth. I was up to my elbows in icing and cursing a blue streak over this cake, but I have to say, I was quite pleased with how it turned out! Thank goodness her birthday only comes once a year, and lucky for me, my other two love Dairy Queen cakes! One of these fancy schmancy deals every 12 months is about enough for me. The recipe came from an issue of Family Fun Magazine. Click underneath the picture for the link!

Birthday Girl requested barbecued ribs and cheesy potatoes for her special dinner. I make this rib recipe all the time (including in the middle of winter when my son also requests the same dinner). It calls for "good quality barbecue sauce", but I'm partial to plain ol' Open Pit, so that's what I always use.

The cheesy potato recipe dates back to the mid-70's, when my mother-in-law didn't turn up to a potluck without a big batch of them. Read the recipe......it's a total throwback! It's not gourmet in the slightest but everyone loves them. I think I've given this recipe to about a dozen people in the past five years!

Chili-Rubbed Ribs

Cheesy Potatoes

Super Cheesy Potatoes
Serves: 6-8
Source: My Mother-in-Law, who probably got it out of a magazine sometime in the late '70's!

1 large bag of frozen diced hashbrown potatoes
1 medium white onion, diced
4 T. flour
1/2 stick butter, diced
1 jar (don't gag.....) Cheez Whiz (I know, I know!)
2 c. milk

Preheat oven to 375. Coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Put half of the potatoes in the pan. Top with half of the diced onion, 2 T. flour, half of the diced butter, and half of the Cheez Whiz (just plop it on, don't worry about spreading it around). Repeat the layers. Pour the milk around the potatoes. Cover tightly with foil and bake for one hour. Remove the foil, stir the potatoes until well combined, and continue to bake for an additional half hour, or until potatoes are thickened, browned, and bubbly. Serve them to small children and watch them disappear!!
I'm stuffed. Ribs, cheesy potatoes, and sand castle cake.....ugh! I'm done. But before I go, I need to thank my cyberfriend Lisa from Jersey Girl Cooks for the fun YumYum Blog Award! Thank you Lisa! I'm going to pass it on tomorrow, but now I have to get my Birthday Girl and her siblings in to the bathtub and off to bed. ;-)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Grilled Chicken Kebabs with Red Onion & Mint

We're getting back to normal here in the good old 'hood, and it felt great to make a real dinner last night! This is the only picture I got; sorry it's not the best representation of how good the meal actually tasted!

Summertime sometimes equals slacking in the dinner department at our house, and this family needed 'real' food -- not the pool food (popcorn chicken, mini pizzas, and cheeseburgers) we've been munching on since mid-June!

On last night's menu was a fantastic grilled chicken recipe that I love to do in the summer. It has some Greek flavors going on - mint, oregano, and garlic - and it's great paired with a big Greek salad. We also had one of my favorite redskin potato dishes, and although the picture is not that good, these are a standby for me in the summer and people always ask for the recipe! Toasted flatbread finished off the plate.

We shared this meal and a couple of bottles of wine with friends on the patio. We told stories about our friend Brad, and although there were a few tears, it does feel like things are starting to get back to normal in our wonderful neighborhood.
Grilled Chicken Kebabs with Red Onion & Mint
Serves: 4
1 1/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut into 1 inch pieces (I used thighs and they were excellent)
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. dried mint
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. salt
1 t. ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh mint
1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
Mix chicken, olive oil, garlic, mint, oregano, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Let marinate 30 minutes (** I let mine go for about two hours).
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Pull off the large mint leaves from stems. Alternate chicken, onion, and mint leaves on skewers; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill until chicken is just cooked through, turning occasionally, about 9 minutes. Serve alongside a big Greek Salad, Redskin Potatoes with Brown Butter, and Grilled Flatbreads.
Redskin Potatoes with Parsley & Browned Butter
Serves: 4-6
Source: I honestly have no idea but you MUST make these!
1 1/2 lbs. small redskin potatoes
1 very large pinch of chopped Italian parsley
1/2 stick butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Place the potatoes in a large skillet and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until potatoes can be pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes and return to the same pan. Sprinkle with parsley, and drop the butter onto the potatoes. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook the potatoes for an additional 25 minutes, tossing occasionally, and watching to be sure the butter browns and doesn't burn. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with additional parsley if desired.

Monday, July 28, 2008

One week later.....

.....and still no cooking.

I've grieved my friend Brad for exactly one week -- although I don't think the actual 'grieving' began until last Tuesday or so. Monday was strictly shock I think.

So, I've cried buckets for the past six days, but I think that for Carrie's sake I need to move past the sobbing, grieving friend and on to the rock hard, supportive friend she's going to need...easier said than done I guess. I've had moments today where I've broken down and lost it, but I'm trying to keep it together.

I thought I would share this nice article about Brad. The picture is one my husband took on the beach in Long Boat Key when we were all on Spring Break together back in March. You'll agree, they're a beautiful family. The one in the middle is my daughter's BFF.


I am planning on making something for dinner tonight, which I think is a good thing. A little normalcy would be welcomed in A Corner of My Kitchen. And thanks, everyone for your nice comments. It's so nice to have Cyberfriends!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sad News from A Corner of My Kitchen

I don't think I've ever blogged about how close knit our neighborhood is, but suffice it to say, we are all great friends, and our kids are all best pals. We've gone on ski trips together, had countless bonfires and parties, and been there for each other in good times and bad...and a bad time is upon us all today.

My dear friend Carrie lost her husband, Brad to a massive coronary sometime in the wee hours of this morning. He didn't stand a chance, it happened that quickly.

A few words about Brad -- he was a stand up guy...a 'guy's guy'. At 44 years old he was the chief of surgery at the hospital up the road, and a very well respected surgeon at that. More than a remarkable doctor though, Brad was a devoted and wonderful father to his three little girls. He was a good friend, and quite simply, a down to earth, all around nice guy.

44....what a shame. Three gorgeous girls have lost their father today. My friend is a widow at age 41. So, not to be dramatic or droll, I just don't know how much cooking is going to be getting done around here for the next little while and wanted to let you all know.

Everyone go hug your kiddos, life is short.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A healthy riff on taco salad....

Here's another recipe from the backlog....I'm making' my way through the pile of recipes that have piled up this summer! I'm getting to the bottom of the pile though, and pretty soon I'm gonna have to start cooking again to get more new material!

My family was totally snowed and had absolutely no idea that this was a healthy version of tacos -- well, tacos for them, salads for the Husband and me. I swear, you will never believe this is a Weight Watchers recipe!

This could not be easier to prepare, and while some foodies (you know who you are) will scoff at the use of pre-packaged taco seasoning, there are enough little changes in this recipe to make it taste more dressed up than your every day Ortega tacos (not that there's anything wrong with Ortega tacos!). I love how some of the meat in this dish is replaced with corn and black beans -- I can never get enough black beans!

Lovely on a summer night, family friendly, and perfect for a Mexican craving!

Turkey Taco Salad
Serves: 4-6
Source: adapted from Take-out Tonight! by Weight Watchers, page 107

1 t. cooking oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 lbs. ground skinless turkey breast (I confess, I used a mixture of light and dark ground turkey)
1 packet of taco seasoning mix
1 t. adobo chili powder
1/2 c. water
1 c. black beans, rinsed and drained
1 c. frozen corn, thawed
1/4 c. chopped cilantro

Mixed greens (I used green leaf and red leaf)
Julienned red onion, chopped tomato, sliced avocado and black olives
Shredded reduced fat Mexican Cheese blend
Baked tortilla chips (for the salads) and a box of taco shells (for the kiddos)

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Swirl in the oil, then add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, 7-10 minutes. Add the turkey and seasoning mix. Cook, breaking up the turkey with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in the water and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the water has evaporated, about 3 minutes longer. Stir in the black beans, corn, and cilantro; heat through. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Place a generous bed of greens on your dinner plates. Top with the turkey mixture and desired vegetables. Garnish with baked tortilla strips.

If your kids are doin' the taco thing (as opposed to the salad thing), bake your shells in the oven, and assemble their tacos with whatever they like.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fabulous Summer Berry Fruit Tart

Would you believe that this not-so-daring baker pulled off such a pretty fruit tart?! Any of you 'regulars' know that I do not usually do baked goods, but when my high school girlfriends were visiting last week, I decided we needed a summery dessert. And berries were on special for a really good price, so how could I resist?

The beauty of this tart is that the crust is made in the food processor, and then simply patted into the tart pan. No rolling needed, which of course is right up my alley! It couldn't be any easier.

I've done this before with bananas, kiwi, mangoes...anything you have on hand would work. There's also a glaze, but I've never bothered with it -- it would have added a pretty shine I guess; maybe next time I'll give the glaze a shot.

Serves: 10-12
Source: An Occasion to Gather, Milwaukee Entertains by the Junior League of Milwaukee

3/4 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 c. flour

10 oz. white chocolate chips or vanilla chips
1/4 c. heavy cream
8 oz. cream cheese, softened

sliced bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, sliced kiwifruit, sliced peaches, blackberries

1/4 c. sugar
1 T. cornstarch
1/2 c. pineapple juice
1/2 t. lemon juice

For the pastry, beat the butter and confectioners' sugar in a bowl until blended. Add the flour and beat until smooth, scraping the bowl occasionally. Press the pastry over the bottom and up the side of a 12-inch tart pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until light brown. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

For the filling, combine the white chocolate chips and heavy cream in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 2 minutes and stir. Add the cream cheese and beat until blended. Spoon the filling over the baked layer.

For the topping, arrange the desired fruit in a decorative pattern over the top of the filling.

For the glaze, combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan and mix well. Stir in the pineapple juice and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Drizzle the glaze all over the fruit to prevent browning. Chill, covered, in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Grilled Cajun Chicken Salad....al fresco!

Can you believe this? Three posts so far this week. This must be a record for me! I told you on Sunday that I had a backlog of photos and recipes to share, so here's another great summer dinner for you.

My only regret is that I don't have a photo of the composed salad with all of the components, but as they say, the natives were restless, starving, and annoyed that I was shooting their dinner while all they wanted to do was dig in!

This was a hit with my family! The recipe makes a ton of dressing, and it was a little spicy for my kids. Hub and I loved it though. All it needed alongside was a loaf of toasted French bread. Delicious!

Not the greatest chicken picture, but as I said, the DamFam was hungry and impatient!

Here's a link to the recipe:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Favorite Flank Steak, Couscous Tabbouleh, and a BONUS!

My family just returned home yesterday after a long weekend in Ohio. My husband was nice enough to take himself and the kids on a road trip to visit his mom and siblings so that I could have the house to myself to entertain my high school friends.

The road weary DamFam needed a good dinner after eight hours in the car, so I marinated everyone's favorite flank steak, and tried a new salad to have alongside. Both were outstanding, and there was just enough left for the hub to take to work for lunch today.

This flank steak is one of the first 'real' entrees I learned how to make; I got the recipe from my Aunt Trish way back in 1991, and I've made it several times a summer ever since. The couscous tabbouleh recipe is from Epicurious. We also had a blueberry crumble, but there aren't any pictures because it disappeared way too fast!

Favorite Flank Steak
Serves: 4-6
Source: Aunt Trish's Recipe File

3/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 T. molasses
2 t. dried mustard
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 T. minced fresh ginger

1 1/2 lbs. flank steak

Mix all marinade ingredients in a big Pyrex measuring cup. Place the flank steak in a large ziplock bag and pour the marinade in. Squeeze out all the air and seal the bag; marinate in the refrigerator for at least four hours, and up to eight hours.

Allow the steak to come to room temperature before grilling over medium high. I usually do 6 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove steak to a large cutting board (with a rim for catching juices, if possible). Cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing thinly across the grain. Transfer to a nice platter and pour any juices over the meat. MMMMMMMM!!!

The Couscous Tabbouleh recipe can be found here:


And now for the BONUS RECIPE I promised! My daughters have been asking for a turn to be Guest Bloggers, and just look at the delicious dish they thought up while away in Ohio over the weekend! It's called Pond Scum Surprise!

They gathered this fantastic organic scum from the pond at my brother in law's place, plated it up, and staged the perfect photo shoot - complete with a drink and fritos from their real lunch. I thought this was just too hilarious, so I just had to post. Ah, good times!DIG IN!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Panzanella & an Amazing Cheesecake

We've had kind of a revolving door of parties and social functions going on around here for the past week and a half. I looked forward to this time for about two months, and it's been great, great fun -- out of town company, a huge 4th of July celebration, my big Four-Oh, dinner with friends in and out of the neighborhood, and a ladies tennis social. This weekend four of my favorite friends from high school came for a visit (an annual event for our little group), and that was a blast too! The partying with everyone was so, soooo much fun. I haven't laughed so hard in the longest time!

However, this morning I woke up and my voice was completely gone....this girl is partied out. I'm having a peaceful and quiet evening tonight at home, and have just enough energy to update the ol' blog. I've got a back log of photos and recipes that I'm going to try to get to this week.

I made these two recipes when my brother and his wife were here a couple of weeks ago. One is for my favorite Panzanella Salad (yep, that's from Ina), and the other is for my mom's cheesecake. People RAVE over this cheesecake, I'm not lyin'! I think the recipe is from 1968 (Mom, you can correct me if I'm wrong); it's tried and true, and you'll love it too.
One of the beautiful things about this recipe is that is has a sour cream topping that can cover a multitude of baking sins (your cracks, namely -- tee hee). I'm not a careful baker and inevitably, my cheesecakes always end up with massive fault lines. This topping disguises those beautifully, and you'll look like a total pro.

Serves: 12
Source: Barefoot Contessa Parties! pp. 102-103

3 T. olive oil
1 small French bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 t. kosher salt
2 large, ripe tomatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 English cucumber, seeded and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1 each red and yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
20 large basil leaves, coarsely chopped
3 T. capers, drained

1 t. finely minced garlic
1/2 t. Dijon mustard
3 T. champagne vinegar (which I could not find, so I used Sherry vinegar instead)
1/2 c. good quality olive oil
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the bread and salt; cook over medium heat, tossing frequently, for 10 minutes, or until nicely browned. Add more oil if needed.

For the vinaigrette, whisk the ingredients together. I used my stick blender to get it perfectly emulsified!

In a large bowl, mix the tomatoes, cucumber, red and yellow pepper, red onion, basil, and capers. Add the bread cubes and toss with the vinaigrette. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Serve, or allow the salad to sit for about half an hour for the flavors to blend.

My Mom's Cheesecake
Serves: MANY!
Source: A long since gone newspaper clipping circa 1968!

1/2 lb. graham cracker crumbs
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. melted butter

1/4 lb. butter, room temperature
3 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature
5 eggs
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. vanilla

2 pints sour cream
12 T. sugar
2 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325. Mix the crust ingredients together in a medium bowl. Press into and up the sides of a 9x13" pan; bake for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, beat the butter and cream cheese together until blended. Add in the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until well combined. Pour mixture into prepared crust. Bake for 1 hour, or until center of cheesecake is very slightly jiggly. Cool for 10 minutes but maintain oven temperature.

For the topping, combine remaining ingredients in a medium bowl and spread over the top of the cheesecake. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely before covering and chilling overnight.

**Note: I ALWAYS cut this recipe in half and make it in my 10" springform pan. When cutting it in half, I use three eggs.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Birthday, Part 2.....or, give the drunks what they want!

Sorry, my dear three readers. My local-yocal friends have asked for more party pics. So, by popular demand, I must do a party picture reprise. The funny thing is that all these friends think that my having a blog is so 'interesting' and 'cool'. I just laugh. I tell them that there are probably blogs about sock folding, weed pulling, and ditch digging, and that if they wanted to, they could have one too!
Anyway, give 'em what they want I guess, and back to food tomorrow!
My sister-in-law Megan, cozying up to Jose Quervo. He was a popular guy that evening. Go get you some limes and salt, girlie!!

Yes, I know my eyes are closed and this is not a flattering picture of me. But even though I AM THE BIRTHDAY GIRL, I sacrifice, because Adam, my YOUNGER BROTHER (yes, you're noticing his grey hair by now) needs attention and I'll accept looking queer with my eyes closed, even though he's looking handsome despite the GREY HAIR, nevermind he's almost two and a half years younger than me! WHICH ONE OF US LOOKS 40?!?!?!

My husband, Rob and our dear friend Mike. You can call him Waldo. He's married to Ann. She's in the next shot, looking guilty!

Yeah. She's going home with Waldo, if he's claiming her!

Lisa & Eric.....two of my favorite people on the entire planet! I love to split a 12-pack with Eric and then have an 'intellectual' conversation with him....he went to Yale Law, so he could have 24 beers and still sound like a genious! I love it. I know he humors me.

CONGA IN THE KITCHEN!!!!! A first! I'm going to try to get my kids to do this sometime. I think they'd dig it.

Julie and Kris.......

"SLAY-DAY! You bring me up when I'm down (up when I'm down!)" This is Slade. He's the party spin-doc.

Oh look! Two more of my favorite people, Jane and Ann. Love them!

Sorry you three loyal readers; you know who you are. I've TOLD all these fools that IF THEY WERE VERY, VERY LUCKY, that MAYBE, just MAYBE......Peter, or Krysta, or Stacey would drop by and leave them some sort of comment or critique on their outfit or their inhebriation.
I have a backlog of food photos to blog on.....good God, if this birthday week would ever just go away, I would be able to post on them.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Lordy, lordy, looks who's 40...or, pass the Botox!

Surprise! This is me, (Jane is behind me, you can't see her), Ashley, & Kris

** a note about this post: I'm having trouble with blogger tonight. I think it's because I'm trying to put too many pictures on this post. Apparently I'm not a very good blogger because it's taken me forever to do this post and it's still not the way that I want it, but I'm so tired of working on it, that this is just the way it is!! If it seems confused and jumbled, well....that's kind of how the party went too!!!

Well, my Husband got me good on Saturday night when he threw me the mother of a birthday celebration. Here I thought we were meeting up with a group of friends, and then heading downtown to see Tom Petty (uhm, I was also duped in to thinking that we had amazing seats).....instead, I was surprised by 40 of our very good friends, waiting for me in my backyard.

Party go-ers......

I wish I had pictures of the tent and decorations....I think someone does, but these are some of the pictures that were taken on our camera. Dinner was done by a local caterer who brought huge grills and did whole beef tenderloins (so big that at one point one of my friends said, 'oh, look! he's grilling alligator!' -- she was totally kidding, of course!) with sauteed mushrooms and onions, grilled asparagus, a roasted yukon gold and blue cheese potato salad, and a fabulous caesar with giant garlic croutons......yum. No pictures of any plates, but believe me, it was a perfect 40th birthday dinner!

Ann, a co-conspirator who helped to pull it off!

Julie, me, Sarah, & Ashley

Uh, things are starting to get interesting.....mind you, it's about 12:45 am in this pic!
Lori, Ann, Shelly, Lisa (in front), me, and Julie

The evening wrapped up at around 1:45 (with some friends staying until 2)! One very dear friend (Lori; she's pictured above) was so kind that she delivered an Egg McMuffin and hashbrowns to me in my bed the next morning at around 10:00, which I gulped right down, and went back to sleep.

Our next door neighbors, Fred & Jane.....what could they possibly be looking at?!

......hhhhmmm, maybe they're horrified because they've spotted the birthday girl, dancing on her breakfast bar with a dollar sticking out of her top?

Rob, me, and my sister in law, Megan...it's getting late. Notice the oily shine!

I awoke a few hours later to enjoy the Wimbledon final (well done, Rafael!), go for a four mile run, shower, and enjoy a delicious Mexican dinner downtown.......I was in bed by 9 p.m!!!

Here's a very sad picture that in no way does justice to how gorgeous the flowers were! I loved them!

Forty isn't so bad....my actual birthday is today and I've had a blast!! I hope that everyone has girlfriends and family as dear as mine. I am truly blessed, and don't think that I don't know so!