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Our little five-day trip to New York was a blast.  We managed to do some fun things with both family and friends and got to see everyone we wanted to at least a couple of times.  I always like going up when it’s not Christmas because everyone is so busy doing the family thing that it’s hard to spend time with all of our friends.  Plus the weather is so much nicer in May, especially this year.

We got to T’s parents’ house right at midnight on Wednesday/Thursday, which wasn’t too bad.  Of course right when we walked through the door, we were greeted with an array of wine, which we sat up drinking with the family until 4 a.m.  It was fun to chat up with his parents and little brothers and catch up.

Thursday morning we woke up and decided to go eat lunch at the Culinary Institute of America, which has such a beautiful campus.  If only I’d known how much I’d love cooking when I had lived up there, maybe I would have considered attending school there.  We went to Al Forno, the casual Italian restaurant for pizza.  Since there was an open kitchen, we could watch the chef preparing our gourmet pies.  I opted for the Parma-Tomato, Mozzarella, Prosciutto and Arugula pizza, and it was delicious!  The crust was so light and airy and the toppings offered the perfect combination of savory and spicy.

After lunch, we decided to hit up the Walkway over the Hudson, which T’s dad has been trying to get us on since it opened.  We really didn’t want to go when we up there in the winter because we figured it would be cold and miserable.  It was a niceish day when we went, but of course when we were halfway across, a storm started blowing in so it got really dark and windy.  Since the weather was looking kind of sketchy, we decided to only go halfway across.  It was really cool to be up there and be able to see for miles in both directions.  I’d definitely go there to walk if I lived up there – the breeze is refreshing and the view is amazing.

Notice my hair from the wind?

On Friday, we went to the Yankees game.  We rented a van and gathered 13 of our friends and family and piled in for the two-hour trek to the city.  When we first got on the road, the van started sputtering and bucking, then the check engine light came on.  Everyone was worried we wouldn’t make it down to the city, so we ended up having to switch out the van.  An hour after our planned departure time, we were on the road.  Unfortunately, the AC didn’t really work too well, so we had to make the whole trip with the windows down.  Luckily we had some drinkies to make the ride a little smoother.

We tailgated for a little while before heading into the game.  Since there were so many of us, we’d gotten seats in the bleacher section.  We were all laughing and having a good time when one of T’s bros stepped on a ketchup packet and it sprayed about 30 people (one ketchup package did quite some damage).  People were pissed, there was almost a brawl, and the whole section was chanting “throw out the asshole.”  Yeah, it was awesome – of course I missed all of the drama because I was in the bathroom and only returned to see the aftermath.  Since people were pissy, and we weren’t 100% invested in the game, I took Ketchup Bro to the car where we had a couple of beers and bonded while we waited for everyone to get out of the game.

Happy at the game before the ketchup explosion

Saturday was T’s dad’s birthday, so we hung out on the patio with some cocktails.  At one point T’s dad brought out his guitar and played for a while.  This inspired T to bust out his old sax and try to play a little too.  Unfortunately neither one of us really remembered how to read music, so he wasn’t too successful, but we had a great time.

Later that night we tried a new place for dinner – Stephano’s Ristorante.  It was this teeny, tiny little restaurant and it was pretty crammed with people.  The food was good, but the portions were gigantic.  I almost had a heart attack when they brought out my single serving of zuppa de pesce that looked like it could feed a family of four!  They had to box my leftovers in a catering foil pan, that’s how much was left!

My leftovers seriously weighed like 10 pounds

Sunday was pretty chill.  We went to brunch at this place we’d never been to – Shadows on the Hudson – for T’s uncle’s birthday.  We sat on the patio and had a nice view of the Hudson while we stuffed our faces.  Then we spent the afternoon visiting with his mom’s parents and brother and sister.  Later that night, we had our friends over for a goodbye barbecue, where T and I prepared the food.  Not to toot my own horn, but people were raving about our food.

Sadly on Monday we had to fly back to head back to work.  We had a late afternoon flight, so we were hoping that we’d be able to get back to Atlanta at a decent time and hang out with friends.  That was wishful thinking…apparently there were crazy thunderstorms all up and down the east coast, so we were severely delayed.  We sat on the plane for about 2 hours before we were able to take off.  It was a really annoying way to end an otherwise amazing trip.

And in honor of such a New Yorkie post, I wanted to share a picture that I took this weekend during a party that JD hosted – I’m totally channeling my inner guidette!

Check out our big hair, fake nails, and smoky eyes!

Well, well.  Apparently I’m a blogging machine today! I’m about to have a 5-day weekend, which will be spent in New York, visiting friends, going to a Yankees game, and eating and drinking like champs.  I. Can’t. Wait!  Mentally I have checked out (sorry work), but I still have to get through today and tomorrow.  But I had the urge to write some posts on my lunch break, so by God I am doing it.

Friday night, T and I decided to go on a date night.  It’d been a minute since the two of us had gone out for dinner alone, so we thought it would be a nice way to start the weekend.  A few weekends ago, we’d been watching Chef’s vs. City All Star Atlanta.  One of the first stops on the show was Holeman & Finch Public House, which both T and I had been hearing great things about.  Catching a glimpse of the inside of the place during the show inspired us to get our butts there.  The show highlighted their famous house-made burger (they only make 24 a night and start serving them at 10 p.m.), but T and I were intrigued by the rest of the offal-centric (aka, the parts you don’t normally think to eat) menu.

Being German, means that I have been exposed to some more odd foods in my lifetime, so I guess you could say I’m slightly adventurous when it comes to certain foods, and the older I get, the more experimental I’ve become.

The place is very intimate and they don’t take reservations, so I’d recommend getting there early.  We arrived around 7:45 and were seated right away.  When you walk in, you are greeted by a glass-enclosed kitchen so you can see the chefs doing what they do best – making some damn tasty dishes!  We were seated by the window, which is great since we love to people watch!

As soon as we settled in, we dove right into the menu.  The dishes are served tapas-style, so they are great for sharing and it means you can sample a variety of items.  While we were perusing our options, we ordered some cocktails.  I opted for the Cloak and Swagger, a mixture of aviation gin, canton ginger liqueur, lemon juice + angostura bitters. It was a very refreshing and summery cocktail, perfect for a hot day.  T chose the the angora sweater, which is a mixture of myer’s platinum rum, campari, dolin blanc vermouth, fresh ginger, orange juice + peychauds bitters.  His had a bit of a bitter bite to it, which is not my style, but he really enjoyed it.

After careful consideration, we decided on four dishes – two from the Plates section and two from the Parts section.  We started the meal with the pot of chicken pate with honey/apple cider jelly and toast, and it was to die for.  It was so rich, creamy and flavorful.  We seriously could have eaten 10 of those little pots!  Following that, we were brought the hand chopped steak tartare with a farm egg, house-made creole mustard, and shoestring potatoes.  To be honest, I was a little skeptical about the tartare.  I’d never eaten it and was curious as to how tasty raw steak could really be.  Let me tell you something, I loved it.  It sort of reminded me of sushi texture-wise, and it had such an amazing flavor – it was creamy yet packed a little bit of a bite from the mustard, and the shoestring potatoes added a nice crunch.  I really enjoyed it.

For the second half of our meal, we ordered the griddled pork belly with anson mills grits and chow chow, and the gratin of marrow with parsley salad and country bread.  Both of these dishes were delicious, but I liked the first two items much better.  I am a huge fan of bone marrow and have been eating it for years before it was the hot new thing to try, and the marrow we had here was different from any other kind I’ve eaten before.  This seemed a little more gelatinous than I was used to, but it still had a great flavor.  The pork belly was tasty, but I have to say that I liked Kevin’s at Woodfire Grill a little bit more.  But the grits were amazing; so creamy and rich.  Yum!

If you are ever in Atlanta and feel adventurous, I’d definitely recommend Holeman & Finch.  T and I are planning to make a return visit with my parents one day to sample the whole pig’s head and of course try the famous burger!

I was going to mention our Saturday food adventures in honor of my mom’s birthday, but I just realized that I wrote quite the novel.  So, I guess I’ll save it for another day.

I may or may not post tomorrow before jetting up to Po-town for a weekend of fun with friends and T’s family.  If I don’t get a chance to write, I’ll see you on the flip side lovelies! 🙂

Yesterday I had my Dove Visibly Smooth VIP party at Urban Body Studios in Atlanta for an urban bar class.  Most of us met up at the studio, and we were all really curious because none of us had taken an urban bar class before.  We were greeted by a firecracker of a woman who quickly told us to take our shoes off – all of us were walking around the room with our sneaks on.  We all quickly obliged and headed back in to begin our session.

She informed us that urban bar is a mix of dance, pilates and aerobics.  She cranked up the tunes and we all began to get stretched out and warmed up.  It really was quite hilarious because only a couple of us had ever even taken dance classes (I am one of those dance-free chicks), and some of us looked a bit goofy and uncoordinated. You should have seen us all trying to grapevine…it got pretty ugly pretty fast – I wasn’t able to get my camera up fast enough to capture it on film!  At one point she  realized that we were all wearing the same shirts (thanks to Dove – woot), and she really got a kick out of it, especially as we were all trying to get our coordination in check.  Some of us may have 2 left feet, but at least we looked cute in our tanks!

Since Dove also sent me a Flip camera, I (and some of the other girls) took time out from the class to film everyone in all of their urban bar glory.  Check out below for a short compilation of our hour in the studio.  Don’t be too intimidated by our lack of grace…

If you’ve never taken an urban bar class, I totally recommend you check it out.  It was a lot of fun and different from any other class I’ve taken before.  Plus it works muscles you don’t normally work out,(well maybe you do…me, not so much) and  I think most of us are pretty sore today.

I’ve been a Degree deodorant girl for years, but I will definitely be using Dove from now on.  A) It smells so good – even at the end of the day or after a workout. B) It conditions your underarms.  C)And I’m really excited how it is supposed lessen underarm hair after time.  I don’t know about you, but I hate having to shave everyday to remain hair-free all summer long.  My poor little armpits get a little irritated by daily razoring, and I’m looking forward to not having to deal with that anymore!

Of course the party didn’t end once we finished our urban bar class.  When we were done, everyone came over to the house for a little cooking out and hanging out.  Of course we had a few beers, which totally negated our workouts.  But it was too nice of a day to not have a couple of beers on the patio!

Thanks again Dove!

Don’t forget about my giveaway!

I am giving away five sticks of Dove Visibly Smooth to five lucky readers so you can be summer-ready and smell pretty too.

Here is how you enter:

*Go here.

*Leave a comment telling me what your favorite sleeveless summer-wear is.  Make sure to give me a valid e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.

*Up your chances with an extra entry by Tweeting about the contest.  Please leave a comment with the link to your Tweet.

*Increase your odds even more by blogging about my giveaway, worth two entries.  Please leave a comment with the link to your post.

The contest will end at 10 p.m. EST on Monday, April 26th.

Hello lovelies!

The wonderful folks at Dove have invited me to host a Dove Visibly Smooth VIP Party for 10 of my friends and readers.  I am super excited because they are giving my friends and me samples of Dove Visibly Smooth Deodorant,  sleeveless workout shirts (so we can show off our newly smooth armpits), and a fitness class – oh snap!

On Sunday, we super awesome chicas will be heading to an Urban Bar Class to show off our beautiful armpits and get in a little workout.  After our workout, I will be having the ladies over for some snackables so we can replenish our energy.  I received a Flip Video Camcorder to document the whole thing, and of course I will share all of the craziness with you on Monday!

I received all of my goodies in the mail yesterday, and naturally I opened everything up right away.  I am totally wearing the deodorant today, and it smells really good.  And I feel nice and stink-free, especially on this beautiful 80-degree day.

Now here is where you come in, readers.  I am hosting my first-ever giveaway (I know how excited you all are!).

I am giving away five sticks of Dove Visibly Smooth to five lucky readers so you can be summer-ready and smell pretty too.

Here is how you enter:

*Leave a comment telling me what your favorite sleeveless summer-wear is.  Make sure to give me a valid e-mail address so I can contact you if you win.

*Up your chances with an extra entry by Tweeting about the contest.  Please leave a comment with the link to your Tweet.

*Increase your odds even more by blogging about my giveaway, worth two entries.  Please leave a comment with the link to your post.

The contest will end at 10 p.m. EST on Monday, April 26th.

Good luck and have a great weekend!

April has kicked off with quite a bang.  Of course I ended up getting sick last week and had to bail on the Third Eye Blind concert last Thursday.  Luckily I felt better by Friday, and T’s birthday weekend wasn’t ruined.

I don’t know about the rest of the country, but Georgia has jumped straight from winter right into summer (except today we have more spring-like temperatures).  On Good Friday we got out of work early, so I went over to my co-worker Mel’s house and we laid out because it was 80 degrees.  It was nice to finally be able to be outside without freezing to death.

That night, T and I had planned to go out to dinner for his birthday, but since it was perfect patio weather, we opted to have friends over for a cookout instead.  It was a meat extravaganza chez moi that night – burgers, brats, Italian sausages, chicken drumsticks, and steaks.  We had some potato salad as a side to give us one meat-free item.

Saturday, we headed down to my parents house to celebrate T’s birthday and Easter.  Since he is a fan of fondue, we decided to prepare  cheese and oil fondues.  Let me tell you, the cheese fondue was amazing.  You should have seen as all scarfing it down – it was like we hadn’t eaten in a month!

Fondue on the porch

After dinner, ASP and her husband stopped by to hang out for a bit, as well as our German neighbors.  The rest of the night consisted of consuming copious amounts of beer and German liquor, Williams Birne (a pear-flavored brandy, aka Firewater to our American friends) and Apfelkorn (a sweet apple flavored liqueur).  My dad got a little tipsy and was regaling us with all of his tales from the days when he was a young military police officer in Germany.  He had some pretty crazy stories that had everyone cracking up!

On Easter morning, we all got up and looked for our Easter baskets.  Yes, we are all in our mid to late 20s and my parents hide baskets for us to find.  I love it, even though I always suck at finding mine.  After we ate breakfast, we spent hours hanging out on the patio, playing canasta (we are a total game playing-addicted family).  If you’ve never tried it, it really is a cool card game.  Our German neighbors came over again and had Easter dinner with us.  All in all, it was a fun and relaxing weekend.

Monday I took a half-day so we could go to the Braves’ opening day game.  It was a gorgeous, sunny, not a cloud in the sky kind of day, and it was 86 degrees out.  I opted to wear a strapless sundress so I wouldn’t end up with a funky farmer’s tan and ended up burning my upper back and shoulders.  I seriously looked like a lobster.  I guess not wearing sunscreen was a bad choice.  We had a great time despite the heat (even though we peaced out a little early) and the Braves won, so it was a great day!

Tuesday, JD and I went to a Thrashers game with CMc and her boyfriend.  We had seats 3 rows from the ice!  It was pretty damn awesome to be so close.  Unfortunately the Thrashers sucked it up that night and didn’t score once.  But we still managed to have a fun night.  And nothing beats seeing grown men slam each other up against the Plexiglas and seeing their faces all smooshed up on the glass.  I love watching hockey!  I really miss watching T play – I think he needs to get into a men’s league or something.

We were so close!

So far April has been a pretty fun month.  This Saturday we are going camping for T’s birthday round 2 with a big group of friends, and I know that will be as insane and fun as it was last year.  I can’t wait!

So, how has April been treating you so far?

I really don’t know what’s wrong with me lately, but I have been such a blogging slacker.  I don’t know why – well, actually I do.  I’ve been super swamped with work because I picked up a new client at the beginning of the month, meaning that I know work on 4 accounts.  This means I am crazy busy all of the time (I used to blog during my lunch break) and when I’m not swamped, I need some mental downtime.  There is only so much creativity that can flow from a girl at one time.

I don’t really have anything super amazing to talk about, but I did want to share  some thoughts about recent events.

1.  St Patty’s Day – This year, it was kind of a wash.  In the past, we’ve gone out to the big celebrations whether they’ve happened the weekend before or on the actual day.  This year, not so much.  The Saturday before St. Pat’s, we met up with a bunch of friends at a little Irish bar named Stout. T and the guys all headed over around 5 p.m. in the afternoon, but I opted to wait.  I was tired and was enjoying my book, plus I didn’t feel like imbibing at such an early hour.  By the time that I got there around 9 p.m., the boys were all a little tipsy.  By 11, T was ready to head home, which was fine by me.

We had planned to take off on actual St. Patty’s and go to Fado’s big street festival, but T and I were both super busy, so we decided it may be smarter for us to work that day.  Of course it was cold and dreary that day, so when we went out to celebrate after work it was soggy and gross outside.  Of course Stout was packed to the brim, so we ended up across the street at a British pub that served no food instead.  I was pretty bummed because I was seriously craving an Irish breakfast.  We ended up ordering Dominos and had it delivered to the bar.  That was clutch because we were all starving.  It was a fun night, but not quite up to the caliber of past years.  Hopefully your St. Patty’s was a little more exciting.

2. Car drama – Right before New Year’s Eve, I was told that the front and rear brakes on my car were in need of being replaced.  This news sort of blew my mind because I’d just had them replaced in November 2008, so I decided to hold off on the repairs at that point in time because the repair shop told me I’d be OK for a few more months.  Plus I’d just spent a pretty penny on some other repairs.  Let me tell you, I’m so glad I waited.

My good friend ASP’s husband is a mechanic, so he told me to bring my car by this past weekend and he’d fix the brakes for me.  He was a sweetheart and fixed up my little car for a really reasonable price and then told me some disturbing news.  Apparently the place I’d taken my car to in 2008 (Goodyear, cough cough) had  installed my front brake pads the wrong way!!  WTF?!?!

I’d been driving around on pads that were incorrectly installed for more than a year.  No wonder they barely lasted a year before needing to be replaced.  Don’t even get me started on the safety issues this could have caused me.  And then I found out that the rear brakes were fine and didn’t need replacement like the GY mechanics had told me.  I’ve been a loyal customer with them for years, but now I’m starting to question going to them again.  Apparently their mechanics don’t know as much about repairing cars as they should.  I think I’m sticking to my buddy from now on, even though going to him is not nearly as convenient.

3.  The Weather – I am so sick of the crappy-assed weather that has been taking over Georgia in 2010.  We’ve only had a couple of warm days so far, and I am beyond ready for spring.  This Friday and Saturday we were blessed with sunny and beautiful 70-degree days, only to have the rug snatched out from under us on Sunday.

On the first day of spring, we were greeted by gray clouds, wind and rain.  It was only about 60 degrees.  I did end up seeing a super cool rainbow once the rain let up for a bit, but that was not enough to make up for the crappy first day of spring.  Yesterday, it was in the 50s and it snow flurried in the morning.  In Atlanta.  WTF?!?!  And people say global warming doesn’t exist…

I am so ready for warm and sunny days and patio weather.  April, please do a better than March with its BS weather.

4.  Upcoming Fun – This Sunday, JD, CGN, CMc and I are all going to see Chelsea Handler at The Fox.  CGN and CMc are huge Chelsea fans, and JD and I watch the show from time to time.  I love her super sarcastic and blunt personality, and I can’t wait to see how it translates into her stand up.  I expect to be laughing so hard that my sides ache and tears will be running down my cheeks.

On April 1st, T and I are going with a group of our friends to see Third Eye Blind.  I was a huge fan in high school, and their first few CDs made up a large part of the soundtrack when T and I first started dating 10.5 years ago (awww).  I am pretty excited to see them, and I am hoping that they play a lot of their older songs.  I know they have a new album coming out, and I glad to hear that they are still out there making music.

Anything interesting been happening in your life lately?

**Keep your eyes peeled – in April, this little blog will be hosting its very first giveaway!  Details to come…**

Does anyone else feel like today should be Friday?  No? Just me?  Alrighty then.

I don’t know what’s up, but lately I feel like the work weeks are dragging by so slowly.  But of course this phenomenon can never happen on the weekends, which fly by in a flash!  Major suckage.

Speaking of weekends, this one is going to be quite the doozy.  We are going to be busy, busy bees.  Tomorrow night we are getting together with friends of a friend (along with some of our regulars – JD, CGN and her husband Dr. D) to grab some food and drinks.  We decided to try Ormsby’s, a new west Atlanta pub with an awesome game room.  Last night there was an alumni singles mixers there, so I accompanied JD to the event.  We opted not to actually attend, but just hang out and enjoy the scene.  We had a couple of cocktails and people watched, and had a grand ole time.  Before we left we decided to explore the downstairs area, which features another bar and assortment of games – backgammon, bocce (complete with its own bocce court and room!), darts, pool, and shuffleboard.  I think it will definitely be a lot of fun to hang out there tomorrow night – as long as the crowds aren’t insane!

Saturday will be the busiest of days.  T and I may have to pop by Little S’s place to help hang some new Sheetrock on her kitchen ceiling.  After we finish there, we will be heading to the Atlanta Snuggie Pub Crawl.  Laugh all you want, but I am super excited about this.  I am a sucker for all things themed.

Since wearing a Snuggie is just not enough, JD and I have decided to kick ours up to the next level by bedazzling them (T doesn’t want to wear one – what a bum!).  And making them all pretty is good and all, but they need something to make them scream “WOWW,” so we are doing them up Jersey Shore style.  We will rock the bumpits, big sunglasses and hoop earrings, and have Snuggies that scream guidette – mine will more than likely say the Princess of Poughkeepsie (sorry Snooks, but I used to live there too and I have seniority because I’m old and shit) in faux crystals and all the jazz.  Before we go out tomorrow, we will have to get our hot glue guns out.  Fingers crossed that it doesn’t rain on Saturday!

Later on Saturday night, T and I are meeting up with our friend SJ and some of his friends from out-of-town to go see Umphrey’s McGee.   I don’t know a ton of their songs, but we always jam out to them when we’re hanging around SJ’s fire pit and I liked them when we went to the concert last year.  Hopefully I won’t be too schmammered from the pub crawl to have fun! 🙂

Sunday, we will more than likely be hosting a Super Bowl party – our first one!  Little S was going to have one at her place this year, but she is remodeling her kitchen at the moment and her house is all torn apart, making it a less than ideal spot for a party.  Since no one else has mentioned doing anything, T and I invited friends over.  I figure since we have the kegerator and will be supplying the beer, other folks can bring the munchies.  FYI – I just ordered our 4th keg today!  Can you say Lushy McLushersons?

Now here’s where you come in lovely readers.  I do want to make a couple of yummy and inexpensive appetizers.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  I would love to branch out and try something new.  I figure we’ll have somewhere between 10-20 people coming by.  Thanks for your input!

So, in case you were wondering….we did get out of work on Friday!!!  I live at the top of a giant hill, which was all ice.  They actually closed the road until Saturday morning because it was so slick.  And since it never rarely snows in Atlanta, there aren’t enough salt trucks to de-ice the non-main roads – they only focus on the highway.  So all the little windy, back roads and neighborhoods were quite treacherous.  I may have exaggerated slightly about being stuck (even though the road was closed, I probably could have made it out the back way.  But I didn’t want to risk wrecking my car).  The three-day weekend was nice!  And I was even a good girl and did a few hours of work from home.

Fado was brave and ventured out into the snow – Project 365 photo 8

The view from my patio

The black ice in the parking lot and the closed street

Anyway…since Atlanta was in a deep freeze this weekend, there wasn’t too much unnecessary venturing outside going on.  We were pretty much holed up all weekend.  But just because we were home, doesn’t mean that we weren’t productive.

Saturday morning someone came by to look at the condo.  This meant that we had to be out of the house at 10:30 a.m.  We decided to head to West Egg for brunch to kill the time.  While we were there, JD, T and I decided that we should cook something really delicious for dinner.  We all voted on osso bucco.  We used a recipe from Giada De Laurentiis**, but of course we tweaked it to our liking.  The recipe called for 6 veal shanks, but we used 3 and then 3 beef short ribs (and thank God we did because the veal at Whole Foods cost a TON of money).

My parents bought us a one of those handy-dandy enamel cast iron dutch ovens for Christmas, so we thought it would be the perfect pot to use for the osso bucco.  The recipe says to cook the dish in the oven, after browning it, for 1.5 hours.  We wanted the meat to be extra tender, so we simmered it on low heat for 3.5 hours on the stove.  It turns out amazingly that way!

The osso bucco over pasta

Since we decided to throw in a few spoonfuls of crushed tomatoes, that left us with a giant can of leftovers.  JD volunteered to make a pomodoro sauce that we could use for dinner on Sunday.  We agreed that it would be a great idea, and decided to make mozzarella stuffed meatballs to eat with it – also another Giada recipe.  Everything turned out great! (FYI – I just made the amatriciana sauce tonight for the leftover meatballs, and it smells amazing!  I did use bacon instead of pancetta though because I already had that here.)

Sunday’s meatball extravaganza

All pretty (and delicious) on the plate

While the food was cooking on Saturday, we convinced T to watch Julie & Julia with us.  Let me tell you guys, the movie is super cute!  I liked it a lot, and it totally inspired me to get my butt in the kitchen and get cooking.  Plus it’s one of those feel good,make you smile kind of movies.

In honor of Julie’s and Julia’s kitchen conquests, I was inspired to get up on Sunday morning and cook a restaurant-style brunch (only there were no mimosas – damn GA and the no selling alcohol on Sunday policy).  I made oven roasted potatoes topped with fresh parsley, rosemary and garlic.  Then (with T’s help) I whipped up eggs benedict.  T made the poached eggs, while I slaved over the hollandaise.  The food was very labor intensive, and I don’t think I’ve ever used so many pots while cooking breakfast, but it was worth it.  It was delicious!  I will definitely make it again sometime soon!

So did you eat or make anything super tasty this weekend?  Did you see any great movies?

**Osso Bucco Recipe (with my edits)

Makes 6 main-course servings

6 1- to 1 1/2 – inch-thick slices veal shank (we do half and half beef short ribs and veal shanks)

2 1/2 teaspoons salt, plus more to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1/3 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 small carrot, finely chopped

1 celery stalk, finely chopped

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1-2 tablespoons crushed or stewed (if you want chunks) tomatoes

1 cup dry white wine

About 4 cups chicken broth

1 large sprig of fresh rosemary

1 large sprig of fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

2 whole cloves

1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Pat the veal dry with paper towels to ensure even browning. Secure the meat to the bone with kitchen twine. Season
the veal with 1 1/2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper. Dredge the veal in flour to coat the cut sides lightly.

In a heavy roasting pan large enough to fit the meat in a single layer (or do 2 batches), heat the oil over a medium heat until hot. Add the meat and cook until brown on both sides, about 8 minutes per side. Transfer the veal to a platen ad reserve.

In the same pan, add the onion, carrot, and celery. Season with 1 teaspoon of salt to help draw out the moisture from the vegetables. Saute until the onion is tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and crushed tomatoes and saute for 1 minute. Stir in the wine and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan. Add enough chicken broth to come two thirds of the way up the sides of the meat. Add the herb sprigs, bay leaf, and cloves to the broth mixture. Bring the liquid to a boil over medium-high heat. Once simmering, turn heat to low and simmer 2.5-3 hours, until the meat is fall off the bone tender.

Serve over pasta and top with grated Parmesan and parsley.

A few weekends ago, I had a pretty fun-filled weekend.  It consisted of cookie making, movie watching, tacky Christmas sweaters, and Cavalia.  As the weeks have passed, I just realized I never updated you guys on all that fun that was had.

Let’s just say, our Christmas cookie baking and movie extravaganza turned out to be a little more like get hammered and have the worst hangover of your life on Saturday.  We did bake cookies, and some of us tried to watch movies, while the rest of us sat on the patio in 30 degree weather drinking and smoking like champs until 2 a.m.  We were frozen.

I’m sure the hangover wouldn’t have been so bad if I had not decided to try a new festive holiday cocktail – the poinsettia.  This lovely beverage is a mixture of equal parts cranberry juice, champagne, and vodka.  Let me tell you, adding vodka to champagne is a bad choice.  It seriously intensifies the normal champagne headache by about 10,000.  Don’t get me wrong, it was good…damn good.  But I was hurting the next day.

I finally did recover from the living hell I was in.  This was aided by copious amounts of Gatorade (red, the flavor of champs) and a KFC extravaganza that included the grilled and original recipe bucket (the grilled is super tasty), mac-n-cheese, coleslaw, green beans and biscuits.

After JD and I bounced back, we got to work on updating covering up the stains on our Christmas sweaters.  Since they are handmade and include an assortment of non-washable items – ornaments, gift bows, foam gingerbread people – they can’t be washed.  And they are white.  This means that stains are very visible.  And what do you do when you can’t remove a stain?  You cover it with more festive decorations.  After we updated them and covered ourselves in gold glitter hairspray, we were definitely the tackiest people at the party.  Gotta love it!

JD and me in all of our tacky glory.  I even went extra festive with red and green coordinating pieces.

That’s one thing about JD and me, we don’t do anything theme related half-assed.  Along with our sweatshirts, we also made shoes, bought socks with Santa faces on the back, yard candy canes as accessories, and holiday gift bags as purses.  Our earrings are also homemade – candy cane ornaments attached to earring backs!

Would it be weird to take my sweater to get dry cleaned?  I’m just saying….

That Sunday we went to Cavalia, which was really amazing.  Some of the acts included a woman commanding 10 white horses to move in a variety of synchronized moves.  They would all run around the stage, horse hug each other (one horse put his muzzle on the next horse’s back), they would run in concentric circles in opposite directions (I always worried they’d crash), and they’d all stand in a straight line and bow.  It was cool.  Other tricks included guys standing on 2 horses at a time as they ran full speed around the ring – one even jumped off the horses’ backs, over a pole and landed again.  One act featured 2 girls on white horses mirroring each other’s movements.  It was so in-sync, that in the beginning I didn’t realize that they weren’t performing in front of a mirror.  The show also included a lot of cool Cirque-esque acrobatics.  Trapeze work and ribbon and rope work.  If the show comes to you, I recommend that you go see it.  It was one of the coolest things I have witnessed performance wise between humans and animals.

I’m wishing all of you a wonderful weekend!  Got anything exciting planned?

This has been a long week!  I haven’t made it to bed before midnight this whole week.  I’ve been crawling, half-dead, into bed between 12:30-1 a.m. at the earliest.  I’m too old to not be sleeping more!  Anyway, I’m so glad it’s Friday.

As I stare the first weekend of December in the face, I realize that I have a lot of stuff planned in the next few weekends, starting with this one.  Tonight we have decided to have a little holiday film festival chez moi.  We’re picking out some of our favorite Christmas movies and will watch them while we create some delicious holiday-themed cocktails and bake some cookies to munch on.  We’re talking about making hot buttered rum, but I just don’t know how I feel about butter in my drink…ick.

Tomorrow we’re gathering with our other SEC friends to watch the SEC championship game.  Sadly I don’t like either team, but I guess I’d rather go Bama than Gator (ugh, Tim -Jesus- Tebow).  After that, we are going to a birthday party featuring my favorite holiday theme – tacky Christmas sweaters!  A few years ago, T, JD and I all made our own, and they’re always a big hit.  Since they are 2 years old, some of the tacky crap is falling off.  That just means we’ll have to glue some new stuff on them tonight!

My homemade tacky sweater complete with shoes – this is from 2 years ago when it was freshly made.  This year I will take some pictures in it!

On Sunday, the whole family is going to see Cavalia. I’m so excited because I am fascinated by people who can do crazy acrobatic tricks and I love animals.  What more could you want?

So, I’m just hoping the rest of this day will go by quickly so I can jump right into my fun-filled weekend!

Do you have any exciting plans this weekend?  Are you going to any tacky Christmas sweater parties?

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