Tuesday, November 30, 2010

This is My Kinda Party!

Around this time last year I threw Hubs an
'Oh no, the BIG 3-0' party
and it was a success!!

I even recall making the comment 'we should do that again!' during our hungover clean up mission the next morning...

Having not created the blog then, you all missed out on the happenings...well a few of you at least, pretty sure some of my readers were present  ;)

Luckily for me we once again had reasons to put on another!

The Menu, a hugely important factor to any party...or at least the ones you have when you're 'all grown up' haha!

When considering the menu, I was initially consumed by the thoughts of going Martha-Ina style...oh how fun and different! 

I was seriously looking forward to the challenges of new recipes and gaining some great blog notes...a 'proper' party was what was on my mind  :oD

That is until Hubs was asked for his thoughts (it was his party after all)...
Being the wise man he is, his simple suggestion was that we
'give the people what they want!'

What do our family and friends love more than anything...
Our Korean Feast!

An all day process, it all began with 10 lbs of short ribs, 10 lbs of chicken, 6 lbs of ground beef and 2 cans of spam...

The short ribs and chicken were cut, marinated Korean-style, skewered and grilled.

The beef provided hundreds of yakimondu...which of course are fried (that's why they are so darn good!).

The spam...well that is for my mother's famous fried rice. 
Are you weirded out by it?  I dare you to try just one bite of this rice...you'll be back for more!! 

Blue Light went BIG for the party too and called upon her talents as a baker and provided an extensive array of sweets including:  Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting, Brownies, Pecan Pie and Sparklers (chocolate dipped pretzels with sprinkles!).

As you can imagine there was a lot of food, for a lot of people...and shame on me, I was so carried away with the evening's events that I forgot to take pictures.  I am very appreciative of Blue Light for snapping these few!!

Thank you Hubs, Blue Light and Mama Sox for your incredible contributions...I tend to get a little crazy in the final hours and your help maintained my sanity!


There is nothing better than bringing together great food, good drinks and fabulous family/friends!!

One Final CARE Package

This is a waaaaaaaay backlogged entry...actually part of my efforts to bring 'Taste of Home' to Hubs during his deployment. 

Taking place in perhaps his most liked season of all, my mission was to send thoughts of beautiful colors, sweet smells, and the cooling air.

Identifiers of Fall...

The Sugar Maples' leaves transform into a rainbow of colors and their sweet smell fills the chilled air...

and there is a bountiful supply of Apples. 
Delicious, crisp and freshly picked.
Hubs a sucker for fresh homemade apple pie and so over the years I have learned that when fall arrives, so must the Apple Pies.

It has taken a few years, but I've now mastered my very own recipe for homemade pie crust.  A combination of recipes from Joy (of Cooking) and an experienced eye.
As important as the crust is the filling...
My mother swears by Cortlands and my in-laws are fans of Honeycrisps.
As for us?  We go with what looks the best and for this year the in-laws pick made it to the kitchen.

However, the memory of my mother's sweet seasonings always wins this annual ritual.  I am not sure that I even use the same combination/ratio of spices-to-sugar-to-apple as her, but the entrancing smell of mixing the apples brings me back to her apple pies.

Sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice...simple I know, but delicious...heck yeah!

The motions of creating dough, rolling dough, mixing the filling and putting it all together for me these days now equals Hubs. 

When I make pies, he is the one who eats them...for breakfast, for dessert, it doesn't matter...He LOVES homemade apple pie.

So what was I to do this year?  I decided I needed to make one, just to embrace the season and keep my skills sharp. 

The intention was that this one would go to my father.

But there was extra pie crust...

so I made this one for Hubs :)
If I was bringing pie to Dad, I couldn't leave Mom out...so I also made some Pecan Fingers (with some set aside for Hubs of course).

The final touch to the package utilized my own fresh grown jalapeno...

Round II for homemade Beef Jerky!

The Korean Touch (Kalbi inspired marinade)

And a little Mexican spice...jalapeno & beer!

Everything was packaged up...

Using my cool new vacuum sealer.

There was even a bag big enough for this large, mini pie!

Everything made it to Hubs as 'fresh' as could be.  No dryer sheet flavored jerky this time around!

Needless to say he loved it...which was followed by a request to not send anymore food, cause I was going to make him fat haha!!

Love from home...priceless  =o)

Monday, November 22, 2010

First Time Since...Habits have changed

Perhaps my biggest fear, next to Hubs being sent overseas into the unknown zones of safety, was that we would change. 
Around the time of his departure I shared my fear that things would never be just the way they were then

My worry was that overtime, being the humans we are, we wouldn't be able to help but evolve... which meant we would ultimately change through our separate experiences. 

With this all said, does that mean, when the individuals' changes occur separately, it will cause the relationship to evolve and change as well?

Well the answer to that is YES. 

To be on the same page, we need to meet somewhere in the middle of all the change, leaning and calling upon our will to compromise.  Many relationships deal with change...change from day to day and over long periods of time.  For the soldiers and their families, these changes just come with the territory of deployment.  Some are experienced, others are naturals...and then there are those who struggle to make change work.

In the first few days reunited, I sensed and knew there was change...

For instance Hubs shed about 30 lbs over in the 115 degree heat of the desert...and me, well I lost close to that due to a combination of pathetic 'meals' (I lost my mojo to cook after all) and my hobby of walking pups.  I am not sure what his thoughts were of me at first glance (he is not one to vocalize his feelings well), but he looked to me like the guy I met 12+ years ago in high school...with just a few more lines of character in his face. 

Perhaps there was also the fact we were not together, living in our world of food exploration/indulgence?  Maybe no longer being my guinea pig and held accountable for the Hubs Food Ratings was helpful, topped off by the fact he had time to hit the gym six days a week?  Whatever the reason(s)...there it was right before me, physical change.

Seeing physical change is one thing, but what about behavioral changes?  Still regaining his VT footing, it was not until the daily dance of 'what would you like to eat?' that I realized how much change had occurred. 

Being away for seven months, I would have thought indulgence would be on the plate for those first few meals I cooked up...our special burgers, braised ribs, mexican creations with lots of cheese, guacamole, so on and so forth.  Instead I was blind sided by a new Hubs...he was now a man 'conscious' of what he was eating.

So for the first meal I documented...we had fish.

For my longtime followers you know fish has always intimidated me a bit, perhaps even been my kyrptonite at one point...

and now here it was, in my kitchen AT THE REQUEST OF HUBS! 

A blue moon? No. 

Worlds colliding?  Perhaps to some degree. 

We now had Hubs...the red meat loving, 'a meal is not a meal unless there is meat' Hubs, asking for fish!!

He was specific however in how he wanted his fish...a white fish that was citrus and dry.  Can you imagine someone asking you to overcook and deliver a well, well-done steak?!?!?  Dry fish was now Hubs' taste. 

As for me?  I LOVE thick cuts of fish, when cooked are perfectly flaky...but NOT dry!  Lucky for me I was able to buy a filleted fish that offered thick and thin sections.

I seasoned it up with EVOO, garlic, lemon zest, parsley, salt and pepper.

Now the next change had to do with sides.  Typically we have one veg and some rice or potato...however the new Hubs requested 'double side of veg!'

We went with Zucchini and Spinach...'because he didn't get those overseas.'

There is nothing a little garlic and onion won't fix! 

He said he wanted everything steamed...ugh!  I had to explain to him that 'healthy' doesn't have to mean boring or flavorless...so I added my own go-to 'BAM!'

All to accompany of course...

Roasted Fish.

Our 'Fish Dinner with Double Side of Veg.'

Change being what it is, I am willing to compromise and go along with this new attitude about food.  I enjoy the feeling of eating 'healthier', but still need and want to indulge. 

Will Hubs give in?  Yeah I think so. 

Bottom line I do owe it to him and all his hard work toward getting healthy to also accommodate and respect his attempt to improve and health'ify our lives. 

Yes, change happens...sometimes it expected, good and beneficial. 
Do you have to love change?  No. 
Accept it?  I guess only if you want to.

This is now a new chapter to our lives with a new theme, or rather style, to lie in the background of its narration.  There have been several 'changes' we are dealing with...for instance another minor one is we've eaten cod and 'COD' (aka Call of Duty) has become a daily aspect of life.  All in all, I've been surprised at how many of our typical, or known habits, have resurfaced too!

Will the 'consciousness' of food stick?  I guess I hope to some degree. 

Do I look forward to our still to come indulgence?  Why yes, of course!

Change happens...well 'shit happens.' 
For better or for worse, you deal with it and move on :)

7 Months

Early April 8, 2010 the Hubs left his spoon on the edge of the sink...

as well as his beloved coffee mug...

and a half eaten chocolate croissant...

 from his favorite place in town.

 After days of packing bags, teaching me to drive a stick shift, and generally getting his affairs in order...he was leaving on a jet plane, only knowing he should be back in November.

 The departure was hard...

we were closer than we'd ever been and the thoughts of distance and change made the trip seem unbearable.

Not only did I take it hard...

but so did Pups :(

The next day we managed to make it into the office for a few hours...but still even Pups wasn't in the mood for to enjoy his favorite rawhide.

At home our mood was like the changing season...dead and depressed.

We hung our flag with pride, but knew the emptiness it stood for.

I tried to hang onto every bit of Hubs I could...his half eaten pastry sat on the counter for at least a week, the spoon on the sink and coffee mug for months...

I even attempted to have a taste of Hubs at home and motivated myself to make a burger in honor of him.

The Pups and I took up walking as a healthy habit for the body and mind.

That first Friday, April 9th I came home from my short day in the office to seven beautiful roses on the doorstep...

The next month we were down to six...

Then five, four...





Pups and I survived the 7 months at home...and Hubs his time away in the desert :o)

Hubs is home, now let the cooking adventures resume!