Thomas and I are down in New Braunfels for the weekend with his aunt and uncle and cousins :) Aunt Jenny cooked an amazing Thanksgiving meal, and she and Ben and Bekah each made an awesome pie for dessert.
A couple of pics around the table, trying to fit everyone in. If you click on them, you can see them a bit better.
Thai food has been my main squeeze for the past week. I can't get enough of it. I made this Thai vegetable-tofu stir fry with red curry sauce on Monday, and it was really good.
First, the chopping of the veggies.
Then, the saute-ing of the tofu cubes with some sliced onion & chopped garlic & ginger.
(In my fabulous new wok that was a birthday present from the hubby).
When the tofu cubes were golden brown, I threw in a can of coconut milk and some Thai red curry powder... probably 2-3 tablespoons.
After that was all mixed together, in went the vegetables that take a bit longer to cook (carrots, green beans, orange bell pepper, broccoli, the white part of the baby bok choy). A bit later, I put in the mushrooms.
When everything was cooked, I put in the chopped basil leaves and the green leafy part of the bok choy until they were gently wilted.
All ready to eat.
Served it up with some brown rice. I love brown rice, but I think Thai curries actually taste better with white jasmine rice. I just didn't have any white rice in the house.
Thomas liked it. Except for the orange bell peppers, of course. But I was happy to eat those for him.
Random postscript: These chocolate covered gummy bears made my week. At first I was like, ewww, chocolate covered gummy bears, gross. But then I tried one, and they are kind of awesome.
Once upon a time there was a girl called Sarah. She loved books. It follows logically that she loved bookstores.
One evening she was driving along and decided to stop at her most favorite bookstore - Half-Price Books, a whole warehouse sized bookstore full of like-new second hand books.
She went in looking for three specific books to complete a series that she had, but sadly they were out of stock. She did not come out empty-handed, however. It is nearly impossible for her to come out of a bookstore without at least one book.
This time, her favorite purchase was a beautifully illustrated copy of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". There was a whole display case full of copies of this book, and she could not leave without one. It was such a pretty book that she just had to take some pictures and share it with the world.
If you visit Sarah's house this holiday season, you might just find her reading it aloud by candlelight. She has decided to make it a family tradition each Christmas.
... is back after a long hiatus. Because I made an awesome dinner, and it happened to be on a Monday.
It's rainy and cold [relatively cold, I mean... this is Dallas we're talking about] at the moment, so I thought soup sounded wonderful. I rummaged through the fridge and pulled out a bunch of vegetables, and picked up two small pagnotta loaves while I was grocery shopping.
The vegetables... onion, cauliflower, zucchini (courgettes for you fellow non-Americans), a tomato, and an orange bell pepper (shhh, don't tell Thomas). I threw them all in the pot with some vegetable broth and chopped garlic, oregano, basil, and fresh ground black pepper, and let it cook until all the veggies were soft.
Then I pureed the soup in my blender, so Thomas would have no idea that he was eating orange bell pepper. Muahahahaha.
While the soup was simmering, I put the two pagnotta loaves in the oven to warm them up and give them a nice crusty outside.
When the loaves were nice and hot, I took them out and cut the top off of one and hollowed it out [saving the pulled-out bread to eat another time]. The original plan was to hollow out both of them so we would each have a bread bowl filled with soup for dinner, but I realized there was no way I could eat a whole one by myself.
I filled the loaf up with the pureed vegetable soup, added a little spring of cilantro, and we shared it for dinner. And we were both stuffed. And Thomas gave it two thumbs up, having no clue that he was eating orange bell pepper.
And we will share the other pagnotta loaf with soup for dinner tomorrow night :)
Last night we had our birthday dinner date at The Melting Pot. It's a fondue restaurant, which is fairly obvious to deduce from its name. I've been dying to go there for a while, and we figured a double birthday was a good enough cause.
It might just have been the best meal I've ever had. In. My. Life.
We did their "Big Night Out" thing... which is a themed four course meal for two. The theme is currently "France" which is GREAT because the French know their cheeses. My pictures aren't great because it was a little dark, but everything looked and tasted divine.
For the first course we had this to-die-for cheese fondue made with a white wine base, baby brie, Gruyere, Fontina, and Raclette cheeses, and white truffle cream, bacon and chives.
We dipped fresh veggies, rosemary-garlic bread, and tart green apples in it.
Are you drooling yet?
It gets better. We had amazing salads for the second course, which I forgot to take a picture of. Then the main course came out.
The platter had filet mignon, lobster tail, peppercorn NY strip steak, chicken provencal, roasted garlic-shrimp, duck a l'orange, ratatouille & goat cheese ravioli, and fresh veggies. Everything arrives raw - you cook it yourself.
We chose the Mojo sauce to cook everything in... it was citrus-y and garlic-y and delicious.
You stab something on a skewer and put it in the sauce pot to cook.
They also brought all these little sauces to dip the different cooked things in, one for the steak, one for the chicken, duck etc... and of course, melted garlic butter for the lobster and shrimp.
Everything was just so. darn. good. And it was fun to cook everything to our liking at the table.
The fourth and final course was the chocolate fondue. I'm still speechless about it.
We got the "Yin and Yang" - half milk chocolate, half white chocolate.
The dipping goodies... strawberries, bananas, brownies, cheesecake, marshmallows rolled in cookie crumbs, pound cake, cherries, rice krispie treats...
They also brought us a birthday surprise... our server was quite amazed that we have the same birthday
Needless to say, we were (and still are) completely stuffed. I realized that we didn't have any recent pictures of "us" so we snapped a few while lounging on the couch when we got home. We figured we may as well do something while we were immobilized from the food. They all turned out awfully, of course. But I'll share a few.
A series of unfortunate pictures:
Thomas: "hang on a second my shirt is choking me"
Then we turned the flash on and blinded ourselves
These are our food coma faces
And a few more pictures, for good measure.
Sigh. Well I guess birthday week is really over now. Good things can't last forever. If it was birthday week all the time, it wouldn't be very exciting at all. Back to normal life this week... and more healthy eating habits :)
It's ok, though. We have lots of fun things to look forward to... Thanksgiving down in New Braunfels with the cousins, and then Christmas in Oregon with the Congdon/Driver clan!
On our actual birthday (Tuesday) we didn't do much because Thomas was gone from 8am - 9pm at work and then at a certification class. But, the people he works with did take us out for a birthday lunch in the middle of the day, so we got to celebrate a little bit. When he finally got home we ate dinner and then had ICE CREAM CAKES!
Yep, we got two of them. We meant to only get one, but we couldn't agree on which one, of course. So we got two. Because, what the heck, it's our birthday.
Thomas got a peanut butter & chocolate one, and I got a double chocolate one.
Mmmmm.... ice cream and chocolate.
We even did candles. Because we are still little children at heart.
Nom nom nom. Be jealous.
It was a good day, despite being apart. We got to talk with our families on Skype and on the phone. And it's not over yet... it's still birthday week!
Random postscript: I was feeling industrious today, so I made salsa and guacamole from scratch. And this is what my kitchen counter looked like.
Thomas and I have the same birthday. Yeah, I know, it's weird. And it gets weirder. Not only were we both born on November 9th, but we were born the same year, so we are exactly the same age. If you're being precise, Thomas is two hours older than me. It took quite a bit of work figure that one out, since we were born in two different timezones - me in England and him in Illinois.
When we first met in 7th grade at boarding school, I thought it was terribly embarrassing to have the same birthday as a BOY. Especially because of a certain tradition they had at school - on your birthday your name was called out in assembly/chapel and you had to walk up in front of the whole school to get a special "you-get-to-cut-to-the-front-of-the-lunch-line-in-the-cafeteria-because-it's-your-birthday" slip of paper. It was kind of mortifying. AND I had to walk up there with a BOY.
Obviously, I got over it and married him. I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about never having a birthday all to myself... but so far it hasn't been too bad. It's kind of fun to wake up and say happy birthday to each other. And to have two birthday cakes. And double the presents.
This year is kind of our first "real life" birthday. Thomas has a job so he's gone all day, and it just so happens that he has a class on Tuesday nights, so today he will be gone until around 9pm. To make up for the fact that we will be apart all day, I declared it to be "birthday week". We are spreading out our celebrations to make it more fun.
We got to "open" our presents on Sunday, and yesterday I made our at-home birthday dinner.
Anyone wanna guess what it was from the table setting in this picture?
No? Well I'll tell you then. We had chinese dumplings!
And they are a heck of a lot of work for just two people. But we had fun making them together.
Wrapping the meat mixture up in the wonton wrappers
This is what they look like when they're cooked
We used chopsticks to pick them up, dunk them in the dipping sauce, and stick them in our mouths. We felt very accomplished.
Speaking of that dipping sauce, it might just be one of my favorite things in the world.
Soy sauce + sesame oil + vinegar + chopped up garlic cloves, ginger root, and jalapeno peppers = amazing explosion of tastiness.
All ready to eat
I figured I'd better have at least one picture with one of us in it, so I snapped one of Thomas while he was skillfully dunking his dumpling.
Today Thomas's work is taking both of us out for a birthday lunch. There are only 4 people in the engineering consulting firm he works for, so it's more family-like. And tonight we have our ice-cream cakes!
As I was climbing into bed, the already-sleeping Thomas rolled over and said:
Thomas: it was 3 or 4 missiles Sarah: oh yeah? Thomas: they killed me dead Sarah: uh huh...*snorting with laughter* Thomas: why are you laughing? Sarah: because you're funny Thomas: well I get it from you... Sarah: yeah? Thomas: yeah, by reverse osmology Sarah: *dies laughing* I think you mean reverse osmosis Thomas: mumble mumble... *snore*
I really have no idea where that all came from. He get his funniness from me by reverse osmology? Of course, he meant reverse osmosis... but still... ???
About ten minutes later he started off with this one, which makes me think we have been watching too many MONK episodes (a TV show about a detective):
Thomas: I didn't do it!
Sarah: you didn't?
Sarah: who did do it then?
Thomas: nobody... it was a murder... somebody saaaaave meeeee (to the approximate tune of the "Smallville" theme song)
Sarah: ok I'll save you, don't worry *sniggering*
Thomas: I didn't do it!
Sarah: I know, I know
Who really needs TV when you can get all your laughs from a sleeping Thomas?
This morning I woke up and thought "I want muffins".
So I made muffins.
I looked through a few different recipes and kind of invented these:
They have pumpkin, diced apples, and grated zucchini in them. And agave nectar and honey. And cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla extract. And they taste like a pumpkin pie. And they are really good.
I still need to work on the recipe a little... they are more like a pie on the inside than a muffin. But then, I kinda like them like that. Next time I'll change the flour ratio up a bit to make them more muffin-y and see what I think.