Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thanksgiving Week Events-11/26, 11/28, 11/30/13

Clayton and a birthday cookie skillet from Afton Tavern

For Clayton's 37th birthday, we went out to Afton Tavern to celebrate.  The Stewart family joined us.  We gave him some new shoes and golf pants but the coolest gift came from his mom.  It was a 1983 coffee bean roaster, lol.  Yes, I know that it sounds like a crappy gift but you have no idea.  CJ has been roasting his own coffee beans for a while now using a popcorn machine from the early 80s (he had to do some conversions to make it work).  If you want to know how, google it.  Newer machines don't work as well as the old ones so there is a marketplace on ebay for old popcorn poppers to be used as roasters.  Seriously.  They really do work! We have a nice Jura espresso machine and it serves the homemade roasted beans well.  Anyway, his mom managed to find an actual vintage roaster from the same time.  It has been interesting comparing it to his rigged up version.  His sister sent him some green Kona beans to roast and they are soooo good. 

I have been hosting Thanksgiving almost every year since we started dating in 1997.  To say that I have this down to a fine art, is an understatement.  You should see my crazy turkey day spreadsheets.  Heck if I will ever just wing it.  As long as I follow my plan, everything turns out perfect.  I go big so there is usually enough to feed a small army.  This year, I changed up the sweet potatoes, fruit salad, and corn.  These dishes were so much better this go round.  Here are the new recipes that I used:

My parents came to spend Thanksgiving with us and ended up taking the kids back home with them for the weekend.  We took advantage of our alone time by heading down to Matthews.  I had been wanting Clayton to experience the Carolina Beer Temple for some time now.  I had discovered it with my friend Jessica a while back and knew he would love it.  We were hungry when we arrived so we went to Royal Cafe & Creperie next door first.  Our first crepe was a delicious Philly cheese steak one followed by caramel apple pie crepe.  The one shown in the pic is the dessert one.  Both crepes were so big that we split them both.  At the Carolina Beer Temple, CJ had a Mexi-Cali stout from Bird Song in Charlotte and I had Cold Mountain from Highland Brewing Company in Asheville.  Yum!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Southern Women's Christmas Show---11/14/13

Me & My Mom

Every year, the females in my family attend the annual Southern Women's Christmas Show in Charlotte.  It is a tradition amongst us.  We've been going 20+ years.  Heck, I used to skip school to go with them when I was a little girl.  When I moved to Colorado, I missed out on this tradition for 4 straight years but that won't happen again as long as I am here in NC.  It is such a fun event to get into the Christmas spirit.  There are lots of vendors and food merchants that return year after year.  I always look forward to an Amish cheese booth, the wine marketplace area, a NC fudge vendor, and the many fun Christmas decor booths. 

Friday, November 08, 2013

Emerson's 9th Birthday---11/8/13

My baby boy is officially 9. :)

Sorry for being absent for so long from the ole blog.  Things have been crazy here and I slacked off.  My 2013 family scrapbook album is 2 pages from being done but my blog is way behind.  I am going to play catch-up over the next few days to get everything on here for posterity.  Please bear with me as I have a lot to post.

In November, we celebrated E's 9th birthday.  We didn't do a big party this year since we went really wild last year (Great Wolf Lodge).  I let him bring his friend Jacob with us to Red Robin for dinner and then we went home to eat cake.  He didn't have a preference for what kind of cake he wanted, so I baked him a secret rainbow cake.  He had no idea how pretty it was until we cut the first slice.  The oohs and ahhs made it worth the effort.
These silly boys were a riot at dinner.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Bon Jovi: Because We Can---11/6/13

Ok, so I know that we saw this same tour back in March, but I just couldn't resist going one more time when they decided to stop in Raleigh.  The last concert was 3/5 in Charlotte and I was 5 days away from my due date with surrobaby #3.  I was miserable but at least we got to see one of the last concerts that Richie Sambora decided to show up to.  I gotta say though, this second concert was wayyyy better and they did just fine without him.  We had kick-butt seats on the floor in section 1 so we could see Jon in all his glory without squinting (the pics I have suck but there's only so much you can expect from an iPhone).  

It was a great feeling to be back in NCSU territory while we were there.  PNC Arena is home to the NC State Wolfpack.  Ahhh, we had a such a wonderful night.  We stayed at a hotel near the arena and my mom & aunt stayed with our boys back home.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Sherried Tomato Soup

We tried this soup today for lunch and it got a big thumbs up from my hubby.  I thought it was rather tasty but I think it needs some noodles in it.  The flavor is very robust.  We both loved the little chunks of tomatoes in it but I think I will try it blended with an immersion blender next time.  Thanks Judith for this new recipe!

Cathy's Sherried Tomato Soup (via Pioneer Woman)
  • 6 Tablespoons Butter melted
  • 1 Medium Onion Diced
  • 1 bottle (46 Oz.) Tomato Juice
  • 2 cans (14 Oz. Cans) Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon (up To 3 T.) Chicken Base
  • 3 Tablespoons (up To 6 T.) Sugar
  • 1 pinch Salt
  • Black Pepper to taste
  • 1 cup Cooking Sherry
  • 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • Fresh Parsley chopped
  • Fresh Basil chopped
Sauté diced onions in butter until translucent. Then add canned tomatoes, tomato juice, chicken base, sugar, pinch of salt, black pepper and stir. Bring to a near boil, then turn off heat. Add in sherry and cream and stir. Add in parsley and basil to taste.
BTW-My friend omits the sherry and it is still good.  I opted to only use 1/2 C. in it.