Sunday, October 24, 2010

Halloween Party

 Welcome to wonderland!  Friday we co-hosted the neighborhood Halloween party.  My biggest regret was that we couldn't invite everyone I wanted to.  My house just isn't big enough.  My only consolation is, I can always do another party.  Wanna come? 
 We played the game "Curses" for part of the night, and I thought I was going to lose it at one point.  We had one neighbor that just couldn't help herself setting off another neighbor --who was SUCH a good sport. 
 Sorry this picture is blurry, but it was the only one I had.  Leslie had to say "You're always after me lucky charms" whenever someone touched her.  Oh my gosh --Kelli probably poked her 20 times.  I kept thinking she had to stop, but she didn't and we just kept laughing.

We had some scary treats too. Goblin boogers and eyeball cake....

And a hot chocolate bar on the back patio.  We also had some great costumes!
Fancy Nancy

  The black-eyed......guess?

  The Super Mario Brothers family minus a few...
A couple of Katniss's

We did a bunch of games and crafts including a skeleton bone naming competition, cookie decorating, and the funnest photo opp: Donut Races!

My favorite picture: Jeff had to work really hard for this one, but we finally figured out Sierra's strategy for winning --it was her prehensile tongue!

Girls' weekend in Moab

I'm a little late and need to do two posts today.  I went with a group of girls to Moab last weekend to do some hiking.  I really only had a couple of people in the group I knew pretty well, and the rest were just acquaintances or people I'd never met before.  You'd think that would be a recipe for an uncomfortable weekend, but it was just the opposite.  I feel like I made some really good friends --especially with the people I rode down with.  They were so much fun.  We discussed crazy family stories, politics, college boyfriends, you name it. 
 The thing about Arches national park?  A lot of arches.  I thought there were one or two that the park was named after, but there are HUNDREDS.  It was UEA weekend, so it was too crowded to do the hike we were planning on, so we did three other short ones instead.  I couldn't believe the colors.  My camera doesn't do justice to the bright red against the bright blue.  Yum.  Breathtaking.

 We stayed overnight in Green River (that's how you know it was a girls' weekend --no camping, hotel.  Great breakfast too by the way --let me know if you need a good hotel there.  Really good breakfast.  Worth staying for.) and the second day we went to Goblin Valley.  We planned on hiking Little Wild Horse Canyon which I was a little skeptical of since I'd never heard of it.  Oh my gosh!  Go!  So beautiful.
 Don't go when it's raining though.  We kept thinking about how that canyon would fill right up to the top within minutes.  We passed some grown men hiking through there, and I wondered how they fit.  They must have turned sideways for their shoulders to make it through. 

 We had a little trouble coming back, we started the drive, and I fell asleep, and when I woke up, we were in Capitol reef national park.  Not really on our way.  We took a wrong turn (or two).  We estimate we drove through seven counties in Utah trying to get back.  Luckily I was with the funniest mother/daughter team on the planet, and another lady from South Africa that was a REALLY good sport.  So I THINK I could find my way back again if anyone (Meesh and the boys?) wants to go back, but we won't be going through Hanksville that's for sure. 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Butternut Squash Tortellinis and Whole Steamed Artichokes

So I wanted to tell y'all about a yummy dinner we made the other night.  We had 4 artichokes from my sister that I was excited to eat.  I think the last time I ate artichokes whole was in college.  I went and bought a 5th one so we'd all have our own, and steamed them.  Just get a big old stock pot and put about 6 inches of water in the bottom, cut off the bottom of the artichoke stems, and throw them in to steam for about 1/2 an hour.  You know they're done when you poke a fork into the base, and it's soft.
 Along with the artichokes we made butternut squash tortellinis.  I had a big butternut squash I roasted the other day to make these with, but I've been sneaking half cups into my morning protein shakes with cinnamon and nutmeg.  I figured I'd better make the tortellinis before it was all gone.  I mixed a little chicken boullion and a little brown sugar into it, then dropped 3/4 teaspoons worth of puree into the center of a wonton wrappers (talk about easy peasy homemade pasta!), folded and sealed the edges, then gave them a quick boil.  Served with sage and melted butter.....heavenly, and so quick. 
 I put one artichoke on each kid's plate and they all said "hey! I can't eat that big guy!"  The thing with artichokes is that you don't eat most of it.  You pull off a leaf, dip it into butter-lemon-garlic sauce (yeah! go vegans!  We could have purchased "Earth Balance" for this, but what's the point?  You're artificially hydrogenating vegetable oil to make that stuff, and so I'm doubting it's any better for you and you gotta have that butter flavor.  Huh.  I wonder how they'd be with a good quality olive oil?  That sounds pretty good actually!) and scrape off the bottom of the leaf with your teeth.  Notice the scraped leafs in the picture?  When you get to the purple leaves, you stop and get out your knife.  That's the "choke" and you don't want to eat it.  You carefully cut it off, angling your knife downwards and to the center making a circle.  If you see little hairs on the base that you missed, cut those off too.  Then you get to eat the "heart"  the best part.  On good artichokes, the stem is just as good, but a couple of ours had some stringy stems.
 So turns out that the kids liked them.  They almost always like things you "dip".  It was a lot of butter for one meal --I'm estimating we each had 1 1/2 to 2 T. , but it was worth it for a splurge, and really?  that's probably still less fat than a dish of ice cream or slice of pie.  Mmmm. Pie.  Thanksgiving is COMING!