Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

A couple of weeks ago Nancy and I hosted her 2nd annual BYOP party! That's right, bring your own pumpkin! Of course Nancy and I waited til the last minute to do everything including buying our pumpkin but by the time people started rolling in we were all ready. Luckily it wasn't raining since all of the carving was happening outside. It was cold though.

We kept the menu simple, chicken taco chili, cornbread, rolls and cake. The chili is awesome and not very fattening. Everyone loved it, even people who don't normally like chili. We had onions, cheese and sour cream as toppings and made a meat and a vegetarian version. Here is Nancy's chili recipe:

Chicken Taco Chili:
Drain and Rinse: (I like mine a little soupy so I don't drain out the beans, if you are not going to cook it very long definitely drain)
1 16 (or 15) oz can each of
Kidney Beans
Black Beans
Pinto Beans

Put in a crock pot and add:
1-16 oz can of Corn
2-16 oz or 1 32 oz can of diced Tomatoes
1 package of taco seasoning (hot is best if kids aren't eating it)
2 - 4 oz skinless chicken Breasts diced up (you can leave out to make vegetarian)

Cook on low until it smells great and the chicken is done - Usually 4 to 6 hours for me. You can also cook this in a pot on the stove top over medium heat (5 or 6) for between an hour or two and have the same results. We did stove top and it was great!
Tons of family and friends showed up and it was hard to pick fave pics so there will be a lot of them so you can enjoy the party also.

And some of the final products! In case you're wondering which one is mine, well, I did mention the cold so Kim said she would do mine for me. Then the wench decided since she did all of the work that she wanted to take it home with her also. The nerve! Here is mine, its the clown.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Portland part 2

So I woke up bright and early and decided to delve into one of the books that Linda the librarian has in the guest bedroom, LOL. It was the first book in Christina Dodd's Darkness series (I ended up reading all 4 books in 4 days, I think the 1st was the best of the series but they were fun books). While I decided to stay in bed and read Nancy and Linda went and ran some errands.

For lunch we ate our leftovers from the night before as well as some pasta salad that Linda had whipped up the day before (I love her pasta salads) and some sliced cukes. I also made some chimichurri sauce to go with our steak, it was a bit garlicky, no vampires would be biting us that night, LOL.

To celebrate the birth of Nancy and I, Linda took us to get massages. Did I mention what a wonderful friend she is? I should do that more often, LOL. It was a totally decadent massage and the only thing that would have made it better was if the masseuse had been a hot man barely clothed! My favorite part was when she massaged my hands, who knew?

It would have been nice to just luxuriate in our robes and sit on the chairs and relax we could not. We were going to meet Nancy's cousin Michelle for her bachelorette party dinner. So off we went to get ready. We went to a cool restaurant called Belly Timber. They had a bacon infused drink which Linda tried, it does have a lingering taste of bacon but I think the alcohol was whiskey so a no go for me. My favorite thing was the bone marrow aioli. You would think it was gross but the bone marrow really added a richness to the aioli and it was fab! They serve it to dip your fries in. Linda and Nancy looked fabulous! I didn't put on any makeup so no pics of me, I know, you're disappointed. Michelle was positively glowing! She had her makeup done like it was going to be done for the wedding. Nancy went to the wedding in South Carolina and she says that Michelle was gorgeous! Looking at her here, I can believe it!

Since we needed to get up early we skipped out on the bar hopping. Michelle's friends are a bit younger then us, LOL.

Sunday we went to Linda's parents house for brunch. I love Linda's parents. That Marie is a trouble maker, LOL. While Dale was giving Nancy a tour of the house and cars I just hung out chatting with Marie. I did get on them for going to pick grapes without me but I forgave them LOL. Linda made brunch with help from Nancy and I (she never lets us get away with sitting on our butts while she cooks, LOL). She made a dutch apple waffle in the oven and these fabulous club soda belgian waffles while Nancy and I did the bacon and sausage. The club soda waffles were fantastic. They were so light and airy. It's the only way to go.

Club Soda Waffles
2 cups good quality biscuit mix
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/3 cups club soda
Combine ingredients and blend with a large spoon, being careful not to overmix. Spoon onto a HOT waffle iron and when done, you will have a delicious, fluffy waffle. These also freeze well and can be heated up in the toaster. Prep, servings and cooking time is approximate.

Voila! Try it, you'll love it! I didn't even put syrup on my seconds and they have home made syrup!

As we left they loaded us up with a bag of apples from their tree and string cheese, LOL. After we dropped Linda off it was time to head home, thus ending another whirlwind trip to Portland!

This weekend we three along with Su and Linda W will be outside of San Francisco to celebrate Barb's 60th birthday party! I will take pics and blog about the party eventually. OK, I won't make you wait too long. That would be cruel and unusual punishment.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Call off the search party...

I'm sorry if I worried you. I've been getting emails and phone calls lately from worried Mannions because I haven't updated my blog in awhile. There is nothing wrong, I promise. I don't have any excuse for not blogging, I have tons of things to blog about! I'd just gotten out of the habit of blogging. I will try and not let it go so long before my next update.

A couple of weeks ago Nancy and I went to Portland to visit with Linda who is back in town and also Nancy's cousin was having her bachelorette party that weekend but before I left I opened the door to start to carry things into the car and was greeted at the door with this!I saw the words king cake and had to stop packing up the car and grab some scissors so I can rip open the box. For those who don't know, king cake is currently used to celebrate mardi gras and to me like a giant cinnamon roll, only better! My friend Debbie who lives outside New Orleans and has been trying to get me back there sent the king cake. Now all of my friends know, the way to my heart is food, glorious food! So I look and drool but decide to wait til we get on the road to eat. I head out the door and go pick up Nancy at work. I scoot over to the passenger side and she immediately sees the cake in my lap. ROAD FOOD!

See how pretty and how big the king cake is? Well, I was very hungry, I hadn't eaten anything and Nancy was very hungry and she hadn't eaten anything so we ate a lot of king cake and a couple of hours later when we were hungry again we ate even more king cake. I got the baby so I'm responsible next year for the king cake. BTW, the king cake stayed soft for days, it was awesome! You know what we had for breakfast and snacks LOL.

So once we finally got thru traffic and made it to Portland we went to Linda's to grab her and neighbor Jim and we were off to Morton's to celebrate Nancy and mine's birthday since Linda was out of town for them. Now Linda wanted us to behave since Morton's is one of her favorite haunts. You know that can be hard for me but I tried, LOL. I did turn pink though when I mentioned something to our waiter about my birthday spanking *G*.

The food was fabulous. We had a cold seafood appetizer which we all shared. Do you see the size of the shrimp! The lump crab meat was awesome as was the lobster. The only thing not fabu was the oysters but they were still good. We all ordered steaks and had some wonderful sides to go with it, mushrooms and spinach, asparagus, garlic potatoes and roasted potatoes. It is hard to figure out which I enjoyed the most. Unfortunately, the drinks I had gave me a little bit of a stomach ache so I couldn't eat a lot of my steak (don't worry I ate the rest of that monster the next day for lunch, LOL). We also shared a dessert. It was a souffle (I can't remember the flavor) and Nancy made a comment about wanting extra whipped cream. So he gives her more but she wants all that was left. She was so excited. She wasn't so excited when we made her eat every bite of it. You saw all of the food we had. That was a mountain of whipped cream. Maybe if she didn't make him give her ever more whipped creme we wouldn't have made her eat it all. She says she doesn't know if she can ever eat whipped cream again. Don't worry, that only lasted a day!

After our meal we went into the bar to have a drink of champagne and Linda's friend and my old tango dance partner Bruce joined us. While there the people sitting next to us were buying cigars and offered us one. We all declined but they still bought one for neighbor Jim. Nancy and I were intrigued since we had never smoked a cigar before. We both tried a couple of puffs, mainly for the picture opportunity.
The problem was, you couldn't see the smoke! So of course we had to do a video!

It's late so I'll have to share the rest of our weekend with you on my next post.