Many thanks to the fabulous Hope for my site redesign. We met in September & she said that my site just didn't quite fit my personality & offered to work on it. She was very patient with my critiques of the colors & so forth. And we'll be adding & tweaking more stuff so keep your eyes peeled. Now my site has lots of piazzz!!
Speaking of piazzz, the Oscar race is under way & Tom & I are way behind in our movies. I just saw Brokeback Mountain & highly recommend it. It was beautifully shot & the acting was just superb. The basic story is universal even if it is between two men. I hope lots of people will go see it (esp. in the red states) because it really makes you think. And those boys (Heath & Jake) looked fabulous!!
In food news, January is national soup month so there's still a bit of time to get those pots a simmerin'. I only made a yummy lentil soup so far but, will make a carrot & fennel variety today. The lentil soup is in my recipe archive. A really good Minestrone recipe was posted on February 28, 2005. And here's a reprint of the Fennel and Carrot soup. Enjoy!!
Ingredients 2 bulbs fennel 1/2 cup chopped onion 3/4 cup sliced carrots(2-3 carrots) 3 TBSP olive oil 1 carton(1 quart) chicken broth crack black pepper
-Trim tops & bottoms of fennel bulbs. Save a few green fronds & chop for garnish. Thinly slice bulbs. You should have about 4 cups sliced fennel. -In large saucepan, saute sliced fennel, onions, carrots in the olive oil until tender, about 20 minutes. -Add chicken broth, cover & bring to a simmer. About 20 -25 minutes until veggies are very tender. -Remove from heat & puree with an immersion blender right in saucepan or in a food processor or add to a blender. May take a couple of batches. Transfer each batch to a clean saucepan or warm tureen. -Serve with sprinkle of chopped fennel fronds & cracked black pepper.
Sunday was a very active day. First I met with "my girls". Have I ever mentioned them before? Well, over 2 years ago 6 highly motivated, creative & intelligent woman (I'm included in that number) formed a SUCCESS TEAM. Our main goal was & still is - to help each other accomplish our dreams. We meet once a month and brainstorm, teach, listen, support, vent, pass on knowledge & connections. We are always just a phone call or email away if anyone needs a shoulder to cry on or to bounce ideas off of. There are only 4 of us left because 2 of "my girls" saw their dreams come true. One is living & working in Madrid & the other is California dreaming. My Life With Garlic is the result of one of our brainstorming sessions.
I then met my dear friend Alex for a cooking class at the Culinary Institute. Alex's boyfriend is a graduate & currently works there, so he gets me into any class that I want. That's a big plus. But, I had a feeling that something more was going on besides just cooking. Tom asked me a couple of months ago for Alex's phone number. When I asked him why, his response was, "Don't you worry about it." Weird... I followed up by asking Tom if he ever got in touch with Alex & he said, "Why, what did Alex say?" Weird, again... Then I asked Alex if Tom ever called him & he said, "Tom, who?" Freaky..
So, I entered the classroom with a little apprehension because I just didn't know what to expect. And there in the room were some close friends from work, Tom, Alex, Caryl & Mike (parents of cutie, Jacqui). And they were yelling SURPRISE!!! In the distance I could see Alen (Alex's man) prepping food. I think everyone was a bit disappointed because I didn't truly seem surprised & they asked me if I knew about it. Well, I told them that I was a bit suspicious & I turned to a friend & asked if Alen was going to teach our cooking class. It was then, 10 minutes after I walked into the room, that I realized that this wasn't a cooking class at all, but a shower for me! DUH!!! I totally brain farted! I didn't even notice the stunning tiered cake or table with favors wrapped in pretty bows or the presents. Tom called it my Jessica Simpson moment.
Everything was beautiful! My 2 best friends Caryl & Alex, who never met each other before this, planned the whole thing. They're attention to detail was remarkable. The table was set just so with grand floral arrangements. Caryl wrapped the favors (wooden spoons) in pretty ribbons that matched the invitations. She brought one for me to put in my scrapbook. And there were pretty gold bags filled with chocolate truffles. The cake was truly gorgeous. It had 3 tiers. The bottom 2 featured small individual cakes & the top was one large cake for Tom & I to take home. We're going to save it for our 1st anniversary since we are not having a cake at the wedding.
We drank mimosas & Bloody Mary's. We chowed down on bagels with a variety of cream cheese & smoked salmon while Alen & his assistants cooked our brunch. We had a choice of Eggs Florentine; green tip asparagus & Brie omelette served with crisp bacon & potato hash; waffles with fresh fruit with maple pecan butter & plum compote. HMMMM! It was so good. Tom & I got some gorgeous gifts, some generous gifts, some sexy gifts & some down right funny gifts. I really had a great time & felt so special. I'm truly blessed to have so many wonderful people in my life.
Our wedding invitations were sent out on Monday. This means all hopes of eloping are dashed. I did get into a little tiff at the post office, so I was a wee bit worried that the postal worker may have tossed all the invites in the trash! But, she did not (I think). I asked if she could hand stamp the invitations because I did not want to put 4 different stamps on the envelopes. Honestly, she gave me an array of flowers, stars, & George Washington stamps. It would have looked hideous. She told me that the line of customers was far too long & she did not have the time for that. Hey! I stood in that ridiculously long line for 35 minutes! So, after a bit of arguing, she put one big white label stamp on them. They didn't look too pretty. And at first, she was putting them on all crooked because she was pissed off. But, the invitations themselves are very pretty. We've been getting lots of positive feedback. Tom & I designed them together without any arguing or disagreements. Whoo Hoo!
In other exciting news, I'm feeling better & returned to work yesterday, although I did struggle to stay awake past midnight. My sleeping patterns have been messed up a bit. I usually to go to bed around 3am, but last week at home I was sound asleep by 12am and I took a couple of cat naps during the day. So yesterday, I was on a double & by 3pm I was ready to sit my butt down & put my head on a table & snooze. I wonder if the customers would have minded? I can't wait until I no longer work in this biz & can be on a more normal schedule!
Well, I tried my best to fight whatever sickness was plaguing me, but finally had to go for a doctor visit. I have an upper respiratory infection, accompanied by coughing, congestion, lovely green mucus & a low grade fever. My doc is pretty Zen & did not give me any antibiotics. Just some cough medicine, lots of herbs & a note for work. I had the whole week off, which sounds more fabulous than it actually was. Much of that time I was bed ridden. Even sitting up at a computer was strenuous. When I did manage to get something done, like taking down the Xmas decorations, it took me 3x the length of time it would normally take & a nap was needed in between to complete the project. But, just being away from that loud, germ infested, dark hole, that some call a restaurant was priceless. And Tom playing my nurse maid was a bonus, too. Today I'm going to attempt to do laundry, send out the wedding invitations & make a soup (not sure which kind, yet). We'll see what actually gets accomplished before I need to hit the bed.