Thursday, March 28, 2013

You must attend one of my candlelit suppers!

This past Saturday I hosted the first (of what I hope is many) Candlelit Suppers. It was a fantastic evening spent with friends. Jacob & Becky Shapiro attended as well as Logan Brand and Jamie Clark.

It is always fun to practice my etiquette skills. John set the table for us. It was beautiful:

I love having a reason to use my beautiful dishes and the glass glasses.

We had Appetizers and cocktails that included:

Ritz Crackers
Melba Toast


The menu was as follows:

March 23, 2013


Main Course
Fresh Bread

Roasted Carrots


Dinner was delicious (if I may say so myself.) Almost everything on the menu was something that I had never made before so it was an adventure.

I had meant to take a picture of the 6 of us at dinner, but I forgot. The cameras were sitting out on the coffee table, but apparently that wasn’t enough to remind me. Oh well. Learn from my mistakes.

It was nice having a formal dinner in.
I love cooking for others and trying new things.
I’m really glad I did this.

The next one is in May. I have already planned the menu and am pretty sure about who will be invited. I can’t wait to do it all again.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Don't run... they'll think you're scared.

Let’s face it…. So far 2013 has sucked. Royally.

We have both been sick off and on for the last 3 months. Mine started just after Christmas and John’s colds come and go, each of us taking our turn being feverish and ill.  We’re quite sick of it. Literally. But now that the end of March is rolling around we’re finally starting to feel better. YAY!! (Knock on wood.) I guess springtime is good for the soul.

What have we been up to other than being sick?
I had mine. Guess what I got for it?   
Laryngitis…. (for the next 6 weeks!)
…and Croup.
Sounds fun doesn’t it.
I also ended up with a Sewing Machine, an awesome Steampunk book, and a Cactus Kitty. 

John’s birthday came and went too.
I gave him some really awesome presents. Like the awesome thermostat that he installed for us, and a Night Wing Action figure.
There was something else I’m sure of it, but my brain is a bit fuzzy from that month.

We were supposed to have had a party for it, but the day of the party I was tired and still couldn’t speak so I canceled it.

We celebrated our 11th Anniversary with a trip to The Anniversary Inn in Salt Lake. We love that place, even though are usually only in Salt Lake it is nice just not to be home. We stayed in the Sun Valley Suite. It was super nice. All that was needed was the banjo picking and crickets from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and it would have been perfect. John did manage to find some Bluegrass music through the television that seemed to fit the bill.
What was really nice about it... I couldn’t talk louder then a whisper. So it was like a little secret vacation where all the words we shared were whispered. John had to listen harder to me, and I was able to have his undivided attention. It was pretty awesome.
John gave me a new wedding band for our anniversary, and I gave him a new pocket watch.

We finally had a party for our birthdays on March 9th. It was a Chocolate tasting social gathering. Several of our friends showed up, and my parents. I pulled out the Hot Wheels Track and everyone’s kids had a blast running cars down the track.
The chocolate was tasty too. We bought all different kinds at the store (although next time I do a Chocolate party I’m going to Tony Caputo’s for my chocolate.)

We have put together A LOT of furniture over the past few months. I love IKEA. I finally got some storage for the kitchen, a curio cabinet, and some new drawers for the bedroom. John hates assembling furniture. But I think that we’re good for a while so as soon as we get that last dresser together we shouldn’t have to assemble anything else for a while.

My elbow still hurts.

What else…

We have watched a lot of TV. We watched Downton Abby, and have been working our way through Keeping Up Appearances. (Both fabulous shows.)
However they have had an odd side effect on me . . . they have made me want to have fancy dinners.

I hosted Christmas Eve dinner at my house for my family. There were nine of us all together, and only one child so I decided to go fancy sit down dinner with glass glasses and real plates. And let me just say … it turned out awesome.

What did we have to eat?

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
Traditional Bread Sauce
Cranberry Sauce (not from a can)
Sage Stuffing
Grandma Mc’s Rolls
Pigs in a Blanket (lil’Smokies wrapped in bacon cooked with brown sugar)
Roast Turkey
Sausage Rolls
Lemon Tart
Panna Cotta with mixed berries

I divvied out a lot of the food prep between my sister, brother’s wife, and Holly. It was all delicious.
The food was good. The family was awesome to spend time with. Jessica volunteered me to make Christmas dinner from now on, and I was also told that Bread Sauce tasted like Christmas.

It was hectic and crazy and made my house so hot… but, turns out that I LOVED doing it.
So I decided that I wanted to do it again. And more often.

I had a talk with myself and we agreed that it would be fun. So I told John and have started planning for a fancy Candlelit Dinner once every 3 months or so.

The first will be this coming Saturday. We invited some friends and I have the menu all planned out. I’m not going to share it here yet because I don’t want to spoil the fun, but I’ll follow up and let you know how it went later.


And finally I’ll leave you with this recipe that was discovered in my search for natural remedies for cold/flu symptoms. I haven’t tried it on a cold yet because it wasn’t finished until we were feeling better, but I now have it on hand for next time.

Blackberry Vinegar
16 oz Vinegar (any kind: i.e. Cider, Malt, Red or White Wine…etc.) I used White Distilled Vinegar
1lb Blackberries **
1 Quart Jar with lid

Rinse the berries and stick them in the Quart Jar. Add Vinegar. Put the lid on. Shake Jar. Leave Jar on counter for at least 3 to 5 days shaking the jar periodically. I left mine for almost 2 weeks.
After it has hat time to sit for a few days (weeks) get your hands on a nice piece of muslin, a jelly bag or a sine strainer. I had some muslin in my fabric collection so that’s what I used.
Strain the berry/vinegar over a deep bowl, or measuring cup for 12 hours, or up to 24 until the liquid is all out. Trash the leftover berries.
Now, get a saucepan, and for every ½ pint of juice, add ½ lb of sugar. When I did mine I ended up with 1 ¼ pint of juice so I added 1 ¼ pound of sugar.
Bring the liquid up to boil, while at the same time stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Once boiling, simmer for five minutes.
If a frothy scum appears on the top of the blackberry liquid, skim it off.
Wait for the liquid to cool before pouring into a suitable bottle.

** You can use virtually any soft fruit or berries to make a fruit vinegar, and other favourites of mine are; Blackcurrant, Blueberry, Logan Berry, Raspberry and Strawberry. You could also use Apples, Pears, Peaches, Damsons and Plums.

These fruit vinegars are a lot like a good wine, improving as they age. So if the opportunity allows, let them mature for a few months or even a year or two.


Coughs and sore throats: Take 2 teaspoons of neat Blackberry or Raspberry vinegar as an expectorant cough mixture as and when required.

Colds, Flu, and Fevers: Fill a tumbler half full of Blackberry or Raspberry vinegar, top off with boiling water and drink.

As a marinade: Pour about ¼ inch of Fruit vinegar into a flat bottomed dish and marinade Pork chops, Lamb chops, Chicken and Turkey breasts, Prawns or White fish Fillets; Cod, Coley, Haddock, Sea Bass and Whiting, etc. Turn over after a couple of hours and marinade the other side, then grill or BBQ for a wonderfully fruity, sweet and sour flavour.

On a roast: Pour over the Sunday Joint before popping it into the oven. Goes extremely well upon Lamb, Pork, Chicken and Turkey, but it is absolutely fabulous on roast Duck, Pheasant, and Rabbit. The resulting gravy is divine.

As a Drizzle for: pancakes, leftover Yorkshire pudding, Ice cream, Quiche, Baked Alaska, Sponge, Cheese cake, on toasted nuts and roasted Chestnuts, or enjoy it warmed over a spirit burner as a dip with a cheese board, the list is endless.

** Some of my references I looked at while making this:  **
(I mostly made up my own recipe since I can’t translate fluent British when it comes to the metric system.)