Thursday, December 29, 2011

Dinner and a movie

Yesterday we had a movie and dinner date with my youngest sister, Wilson. We went and saw The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which was excellent and disturbing all at the same time. Afterwards we killed a little time at our house before heading over to the Pour House which is a new restaurant in the old La Salsa building at the corner of East and Cohasset. 

I ordered the Drunken Chicken sandwich which was a grilled chicken breast with avocado, cheese, and a chipotle aioli  sauce on grilled sourdough. I brought two slices of the special sourdough Wilson brought me for Christmas and swapped it out for restaurant bread so I could enjoy my sandwich without the morning after consequences. The Canadian ordered the beef au jus sandwich and Wilson got the pulled pork sandwich. Servings were generous and tasty and they even served their own house beers that Chris really enjoyed. Having only tried one of the five house beers I'm sure we'll be going back! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

No coal for me!

Since the weather was good and the Canadian and I both had the last week of the year off we were able to spend Christmas at the 'rents. We drove up on Friday because that night we were going to have a little mead-fest with neighbors of the 'rents, Buck and Patty, that we'd met in October because they're fellow dancers of the 'rents.
Look who's excited to see me! Chase!
Chris and Buck going over the fine intricacies of mead brewing. We brought three flavors to sample and Buck brought some of his own to share - all delicious.
Mum had put together a delicious spread of food for us all to munch on that evening. Dips, deviled eggs and meatballs - yum!
See, on rare occasion we can be presentable.

On Saturday we just kicked around the house, Mum and I went to Macy's for any last minute sales I couldn't live without. Found myself the new Clarks I blogged about and some lipstick from Clinique. It surprisingly wasn't that busy for the last shopping day before Christmas. In the afternoon Mum and I got the salads for Christmas dinner started. She made a potato salad and I was in charge of the gluten free pasta salad.
That night, following family tradition, Mum made us a seafood Christmas Eve dinner. Crab salad heated up on sourdough bread (I ate mine with gluten free crackers), sauteed shrimp, and green salad.
After a Christmas breakfast of grits and poached eggs, we got busy ripping into the gifts that Santa left us.

Santa was very good to both of us - tools, books, jewelry, what more could you want? Afterwards we had a late afternoon Christmas meal that Mark came over for.
We left Monday morning and headed back for the homestead. Wilson and Mom came over that evening to open presents with us and have dinner.

NorCal Flat Stanley even got to meet SoCal Flat Stanley to share a little holiday cheer. I scored with lots of gluten free baking mixes and cookbooks while the Canadian got lots of beer, sweaters, and edible treats. For dinner I made Wilson run over to Left Coast Pizza and pick up one of their gluten free pizzas.
We had quite a wonderful Christmas weekend spending lots of time with family and that's what it's all about, right?!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

New kicks!

Mum and I braved the crowds for our traditional trek to Macy's where I found some nice, neutral walk around shoes by Clark that were on sale with the benefit of no sales tax in this glorious state. Bless you Oregon, bless you.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Doing our duty

Even though tonight's football game is less than stellar - Texans vs Colts, we're doing our part by cheering on local P-town boy, Jeff Maehl #15, of the Texans as he finally got called up from the practice squad.
You like Flat Stanley's new beanie? He got it after we visited Chico State yesterday for an early morning photo shoot. Yes, I too am impressed with my craftiness.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Day 2 of vacation

After a busy day of shopping, lunch dates, and blood donating I talked the Canadian into going to the movies tonight to see Sherlock Holmes since I can't workout the same day I give blood.
We enjoyed it just as much as the first Sherlock Holmes. Afterwards we cruised over to Wendy's for a little late night frosty action.
Then back home to gorge ourselves on cookies I got from Kari and Lulu today.We always do a bible study cookie exchange this time of year, but since we weren't able to meet the last two weeks we called it off....or so I thought. Now I'm the loser without any cookies to give.

Oh well, I won't let guilt keep me from gobbling up their deliciousness!

Saving Lives

Flat Stanley went to give blood today and got a fancy band-aid from the nurse that says "give".

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Lunch date

Mmmm, Flat Stanley loves T-Bar!

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Bidwell Mansion

Who's enjoying a chilly morning at Bidwell Mansion?

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Foiled again!

Flat Stanley and I were going to do a little shopping downtown, but apparently none of the shops open until 10:00 a.m. so we're cooling our heels at Starbucks in the meantime. Epic downtown fail.

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Flourless chocolate cookies

I follow a food blog who's author makes a lot of delicious gluten free goodies even though she doesn't have to follow a gluten free diet. A couple of days ago she posted a Chewy Chocolate Peppermint Cookie recipe that, much to my delight, doesn't use flour. Instead, the base is made of powdered sugar, cocoa and baking powder which is mixed with egg whites and a tiny bit of milk. She tops her cookies with peppermint chips, but you could choose any flavor - peppermint, toffee bits, peanut butter chips, etc. Since I didn't have the mini Andes peppermint crunch chips the recipe called for I substituted some chopped up Nestle mint chips.
These are so ridiculously good! Chris ate four right off the bat and I've got three more packed up in his lunch box for tomorrow. It's the perfect size recipe since it just makes 12 cookies which is completely manageable for two people. You wouldn't even know these were flourless, they're chewy on the inside with a slight crusty outer shell. In case you're not catching my subtle hints, you should really make these cookies!


Guess Flat Stanley is out for the night since apparently Chris didn't lock up his drugs.

House rules

Sorry Flat Stanley, you're going to have to take that outside.

Come and get it

Really Flat Stanley, really?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Flat Stanley's introduction to football

Since Flat Stanley arrived at our house naked the first order of business was to get him hooked up with some clothes. Since Chico is Aaron Rodgers' hometown, Flat Stanley really didn't have any other choice but to wear a Green Bay jersey like everybody else around town. Flat Stanley was so excited to root for a winning team instead of those less than stellar Seahawks so he put on his jersey, and settled in for a little Sunday football.
Then the devastating news was reported - the Packers lost their first game of the season to Kansas City. It was more than Flat Stanley could bear and the next thing we knew we could hear rattling around in the booze shelf in the kitchen.
I know he's got a smile on his face, but inside he was crying. Understanding his hurt, I made him a Malibu and orange juice to help ease the pain. Chris even shared some of his home brew with Flat Stanley. 
Flat Stanley is currently passed out on the couch, but will hopefully wake up refreshed for a little meatloaf dinner. 

The saga of Flat Stanley

Chris and I are hosting "Flat Stanley" for two weeks as part of my nephew Tyler's class project where they are reading the Flat Stanley book about a boy who is squished "as flat as a pancake" when a bulletin board falls on him. Because Flat Stanley is so flat he's able to fit in an envelope as be mailed to different places for exciting adventures.
Our job is to dress Flat Stanley to reflect where he visited and to take him on adventures (while taking photos) to write about and send back to Tyler's class. So prepare yourself for recaps of Flat Stanley's time here in Chico.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Brew club Christmas party

Tonight was our brew club Christmas party out in Durham at the house of one of the members.It was a potluck so we brought some chicken caesar pasta salad I bought from Safeway and then repackaged into one of my own bowls so that nobody was the wiser. It was also a gift exchange so we each brought a gift bag with a 22 oz beer, a bag of chocolate crunch beer brittle made with Sierra Nevada pale ale, and a beer magazine.

After dinner we started out gift exchange. The Canadian's number was called first and his chosen gift turned out to be a beer bread mix.
When it was my turn I stole our neighbor, Cathy's, gift of three He'Brew ales, a bag of chocolate grain, and a large jar of malt extract.
But about three turns later somebody stole it from me! So I stole somebody else's magnum of Anchor Steam  2010 holiday ale. 

We got out of there around 9:00 p.m. which is much better than we feared. Our group gets really rowdy and disorganized after about the second drink, but everyone must have been on their best behavior tonight. Good  grub and good prizes - can't ask for much more than that! 

Friday, December 16, 2011

A different kind of pizza

One of my favorite foods I've had to ease up on because of the wheat is pizza. I've found some decent frozen gluten free pizzas on a rice crust, but decided to a try something new tonight. I found a polenta pizza recipe in one of my Weight Watcher cookbooks that has you overlap slices of a tube of refrigerated polenta in a circle and bake it under the broiler to firm it up before topping it with ricotta, mozzarella and tomatoes.
It was really good and even the Canadian liked it. I mean it's not the same as a bread crust, but it's very tasty for what it is.

Girls' Christmas Party

In all of her newly discovered time as a recent retiree, Kari planned a Christmas party for all the ladies at work both past and present. All we were asked to do was bring a present not over $10. It could be funny, white elephant, naughty, anything you wanted. Kari supplied the grub which turned out to be chips and dip and chimichangas with some margaritas and sangria to wash it all down. For entertainment we played bingo on old style wood boards.

First to get bingo got to pick a gift from under the Christmas tree and open it in front of everyone since the next person to win could steal the gift or pick a new one.
When I finally won I choose a gift wrapped in what looked like a Chinese takeout box and found this little cutie inside.

A ceramic kitchen pig with a scrubber in his mouth. Cute and useful! As exciting as winning was, it was nothing compared to the anticipation of somebody choosing my gift from under the tree. I didn't have to wait long until somebody was tempted by my cute gift bag and was greeted to....
Edible pasties!! Hahahaha!! And just my luck that the exact person I wanted to win it, did. She was laughing hysterically while turning bright red in embarrassment. Then of course it had to get passed around for everybody to get a good laugh out of. The best part was that somebody else got the blame for buying them. Nobody suspected sweet, innocent me. :) 

To wind up the evening Kari treated us to homemade margarita ice cream (made without an ice cream maker!) and brownies. I had a blast and brought home lots of loot (I also won the last game and more prizes) to commemorate my crushing victories!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Feliz Cumpleanos a mi madre!

Today my mom became part of an elite group in our society - those old enough to be eligible for a senior discount. To celebrate such a monumental occasion Chris and I took her out to lunch at Hula's, where I failed to cash in on her elderly savings, and then whisked her off to Corning to Lucero Olive Oil where we sampled oils and vinegars and had a personal mill tour.
Mom and I getting ready to dig into our steaming bowls of meat and veggies.
Yesterday was the Winter Crush at Lucero where they did a special Meyer lemon and mandarin orange oil press hosting over 1500 people, so in contrast, we had the whole place to ourselves today.
Mom and the Canadian sampling different flavors of olive oil. There were mini dispensers for every flavor oil and vinegar to sample as well as wheat thins with which to dip in the samples.
I went straight to the tapanade samples. Lemon artichoke, roasted tomato, black olive, and green olive tapanades. Lemon artichoke was the clear favorite with all of us and both mom and I ended up with a jar. We're taking our jar with us up to the 'rents for our little Christmas festivities.

They had some times listed for mill tours, but the gal in the tasting room said those were for yesterday when they had so many people and that she would take us on a little tour whenever we wanted. The tour basically consisted of going in the neighboring building and listening to her tell us about their operations while looking at some photos on the wall. But it was still interesting to hear how their olive oil is made. And the special Meyer lemon and mandarin orange oils they'd just made smelled wonderful! They throw the fruits in whole during the press so all of the essential oils from the rinds put off the most amazing aroma and flavor. Mom picked up small bottles of each for home.

Back at home we ended our afternoon with some generous slices of lemon meringue pie which is mom's favorite even though I think meringue is the devil. Then I pointed at the door and told the old lady to get out, but sung like Jesus in the Jesus Christ Superstar when he's kicking all the vendors out of the temple square. Or at least that's how I wish I'd done it. That would have been so much cooler.