Thanksgiving Day 2011

Still on my recaps, but maybe I’ll finish one day?!  I’m currently sitting on the couch, drinking wine, blogging, while a James Taylor concert is on tv… Why isn’t this my life all the time?

First off, I want to start by saying my dog is adorable:

Anyway, Thanksgiving morning I woke up relatively early, considering I was on vacation, and woke up to watch my mom wrestle with our turkey, which my Mom, Cathi, Ali and I all agreed was named Thor (I’ll get to him later, he was DELICIOUS! Kind of like the guy that plays Thor in the movie is…). I also made a delcious smooth cranberry sauce by combining 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of water, boiling, adding 12 oz fresh cranberries, and then smooshing all that goodness through a collander.  Then you put it in a pretty serving dish and everyone thinks you’re a genius (myself included!)

After everyone was awake, Mom, Dad, Cathi, Puneet, Ali and I headed out for a nice, brisk 4 mile walk/hike.  At one point in the walk we reach a sign that basically says Absolutely No Tresspassing or We Might Shoot You…(Nick and I almost did get shot over Memorial Day weekend on this walk).  Anyway, the people must have hired guard horses, because this fine gent didn’t want to let us pass.  He literally said “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!” like Gandalf in Lord of the Rings.  Okay, no, he didn’t, but I did.  Showing you my extreme nerdiness, I hope you can appreciate that.  Anyway, this is him:

And along the walk we saw the typical beautiful sights of Lake Nacimiento (read: my personal paradise)

Again, Scout is adorable and stole the show:

I love these colorful trees! Check out how this tree still has green on its edges…

I spent the rest of the day crafting my most fabulous pies to date (yeah, Future Brittany, that’s me challenging you to make something more awesome).

First off, my new pie bag is a freaking life saver. I don’t care if you only make one pie a year or if you make 50, you need this gadget.  It basically saved me from having a mental pie breakdown like last year when the pie crust on my apple pie got a little bit too brown.

I then used pie crust presses that Nana picked up from Williams and Sonoma to make a bajillion leaves.  Thankfully my new favorite person in the world, Cathi, helped me with acorns.

Then, right before dinner I had a mad scramble to assemble my apple pie before dinner.

Yeah, thats butter on top.

If you’re curious, I used my great-grandmother’s pie crust recipe (if you’d like it, email me and if I really like you, you can maybe have it 😉 and the Joy of Cooking Apple Pie recipe. Anyway I tossed that in the oven when this came out:

He looks like a Thor, doesn’t he?? Happy Thorsgiving!  Well once that beast of a delicious bird came out. I was ready to eat.

We both look a bit impatient….  But my dad the carving master was working on Thor, and soon he was reduced to this.

And we ate him.

Then, after dinner, I took my marvelous apple pie out of the oven.

I couldn’t have been more pleased with how it turned out.  And then I put my pumpkin pie in the oven.

While the pie was baking, we watched Thor.  Could have guessed that one right?? And then my wonderful pumpkin pie came out of the oven, and I sighed a great breath of relief.

Yes, that is a pumpkin at the bottom and a turkey at the top, surrounded by a round of acorns.  For this pie I use a recipe my mom has had forever, except I used fresh roasted pumpkin, which really adds to the fluffiness and depth of flavor to the pie filling.

What a great day. By the way, at dinner, my dad gave a speech about how I’m his best friend and everyone was crying.  It was kind of like I was Hank Mardukis from one of my favorites, I Love You, Man.

Thanksgiving is the freaking best.  Less than a year until the next one!!

 

 

Pre-Thanksgiving

About 2 weeks before Thanksgiving, my family and I got together to do “pre-Thanksgiving”, since a lot of us go out of town and we still want to be able to spend as much time as possible because we’re the weirdest family ever and we ACTUALLY LIKE EACH OTHER! So anyway, I volunteered to bring the pies (because clearly, if there is one thing I’m good at, it is pies), and I ended up with these babies:

I used Ateco leaf fondant cutters to get the leaves around the borders of the pies, and I acheived the above look by using red and orange food coloring on the leaves.

I used my great-grandmother’s pie crust recipe, the same from last year.  Just wait until you see REAL Thanksgiving’s pies… you’re going to trip out!!

Silverado and Sarafornia

On Sunday morning in Napa, we got packed up and headed down for one last wine tasting at Dutch Henry.

The house we stayed in…

The cave hidden in the wall

Their awesome garden.  I want this!!

We were all sad to go, but we hopped in the minivan and when to Sarafornia (play on words- Saratoga+California), a delicious breakfast joint.

Fresh squeezed OJ mimosa?

YES please!!!

I got the crab benedict, and clearly it was delicous and artery clogging and I loved every bite of it.

Then we went to Silverado Vineyards, where we had a lovely tasting and a little tour.  Did I mention this place is owned by Mr. Walt Disney’s daughter? Makes me like it more.

Gourds!!!

Their tasting room- aren’t those beams fantastic?!

Beautiful Beth!

Don’t you love those vines?

Dream kitchen!!

What a beautiful place, right?!?

I am so so so lucky to have such amazing parents that would take me on a trip like this.  Gives me a reason to work harder so I can repay them one day (in the form of an amazing Napa trip, of course!

Saturday in Napa

I’m really looking forward to the day when I can start a blog post without apologizing for such a long hiatus… but until then, I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything in like a month and that it’s December and I’m posting pictures from a trip I went on in October.

Okay.. now that I’m done with that 🙂

Before I get going in this post, I also want to add an anecdote about dinner at Bottega that I forgot to tell you guys about.  So while we were eating dinner I looked over my shoulder and BOOM! There he was, the amazingingly good looking Michael Chiarello in the flesh.  Only like 10 feet away from me! So do I get up, introduce myself, and ask him to take a picture with me because it might actually make me a legitimate food blogger?  NOPE! My shoes were off under the table (typical)… so I sat there, scrambling to get them back on, frantically asking Beth what I should do and if I should approach him.  Next thing I know, poof, he’s gone.  My chances were blown, he didn’t come out again.  And now, every week I watch the Next Iron Chef, Super Chefs, and kick myself for being such an idiot/wuss. BOOO BRITTANY!!!

Anyway, on to the blog!! Once again, this will be more of a photo blog, just for catching up’s sake, with a little bit of commentary.

Waking up my first morning in Napa was probably one of the greatest experiences of my life… staying on a winery defintely has its perks. Like this:

I woke up just in time to watch the sun rise over the valley.  I made coffee, curled up under a blanket, and enjoyed this from my seat.

Not a bad view.  I also took the lamb from dinner the night before, and put it on a fresh baked (Trader Joe’s) croissant.  I got a lot of crap for this, so I had to include it. Because it was amazing.

That morning, we went to Beaulieu Vineyards and did some winetasting.  Frank is a member, so we were able to taste in the VIP room (although not the right VIP room.  We went in, said they didn’t have our reservation, but they got a table for us anyway.  Turns out we were actually in a different, special VIP room across the parking lot, but no one bothered to check if thats where our reservation was… a little strange.).  Amazing wine at this place folks.

Aren’t my Mommy and Auntie so pretty???

 Aren’t Bethy and I so pretty? HAHA just kidding! Seriously though, what am I doing with my hand??

After wine tasting, we headed back to Dutch Henry where we were going to attend a concert in their wine cave.  It was a guy with an acoustic guitar, Sean Garvey, who we all really loved and bought his CD, a woman with a harp, and another guy with a guitar.  They were all singer songwriters from the Napa area.

We got back in time to catch the sunset (we only had to walk about 20 yards soo….)

After falling asleep on a chair on the porch and freezing to death, I got up and got ready for dinner at the CIA.  I wish I could go back in time and tell young me that I don’t want to go t college, grad school, get a good job and become a responsible, tax paying adult, but that I want to go to school here and become the best chef ever. FAIL!!

Clearly, my love of giant gourds made me go ape sh*t at the sigh of this…Does anyone else notice Beth and I are both wearing lace dresses from H&M.  We didn’t pack them to match on purpose, but you can bet your ass we planned to match at dinner.

Brittany loves pomegranate mojitos.

If you are the chef that made this corn chowder soup with crab, and you are a good looking man, email me. We’ll go out.

If you are a different chef that made this seafood soup with basil broth, and you are a good looking man, call me and we’ll go out.

If you are the chef that made this, and you are a good looking man, please don’t call me because my ego could never handle being with someone who made dessert better than I do.

So these desserts were my highlight- starting from right to left- a fig tart, mango sorbet, panna cotta, italian wedding cookie, chocolate mousse on a caramel crisp.  YUM.

It was a wonderful night, but the funniest part were 6 people driving around in a mini van in the middle of the night in Napa looking for a place that is open and sells heartburn relief medicine.  Yes, we were successful.

Bottega

On the first night of the Napa trip, we had reservations at Michael Chiarello’s restaurant, Bottega.  I’ve had a mean chef crush on him since my unemployed days in early 2009, where he taught me all about sexiness and easy entertaining.

I fell in love with his sexy chefness even more after eating his delicious food.  I could write about this meal ALL DAY…

Appetizer: Ahi Tuna on a Himalayan Salt Block

This may have been my favorite part of this meal- a potato dough ravioli with fresh ricotta, spinach, egg yolk in a sage and brown butter sauce. OMG drool.

Beth and I split entrees- so our first entree was lamb with pesto and a veggie mash.

The second entree was beef short ribs- holy moly delicious!!

Our first dessert was a molten chocolate cake… we got two of these…  they should make a candle out of the smell of these.

Our second dessert are zeppelini’s- or mini donuts- with  lemon curd and berry dipping sauces.  If I’m ever on death row, these will be part of my last meal.

After dinner, we walked around the shopping center to let all that food settle, and we ran across this little guy.

Love my family!!

This is my Aunt Keana… How one falls when trying to take a picture, I’ll never know- but at the time I thought this was hilarious.  And I still do.  Her boots are cute though huh???

Wine Tasting Day One- O’Brien Estate Winery

*Note- this trip was WEEKS ago and I’m the worst blogger ever.  At this point, consider these photo recaps 🙂

On our first afternoon in Napa, the whole gang headed to a winery my parents are members of, O’Brien Estates.  We went on a tour and wine tasted the afternoon away.

I loved this winery.  The wine is amazing and the scenery is lovely.

Next post will be about how I ALMOST met my #1 chef crush- Michael Chiarello.

Napa Recap: Bistro Don Giovanni

2 weekends ago, my family and I went up North to the magnificent Napa Valley.  My next few posts will chronicle that magical weekend.

After leaving So Cal extremely early (okay, no earlier than I leave for work every damn day), we got up to the Bay Area, and after raiding Trader Joes for as many marvelous snacks as possible, we got in our sweet mini van and headed to the Valley, where we stopped for lunch at Bistro Don Giovanni.

Sorry for the strange, sun spotty pictures! This place was very beautiful, and they grow their own vegetables in their lovely vegetable garden!

Instead of jumping straight into the wine, us girls all tried a new cocktail, which was their housemade strawberry soda and vodka.  Is it sad that I want to buy a soda machine just so I can recreate a cocktail?? Don’t answer that!

For an appetizer we got a lovely frito misto platter…

Beth and I split the mushroom risotto (amazing!) and the lamb gnochetti (which wasn’t actually gnochhi… bummer)

Goat cheese, goat cheese, goat cheese!

This was an awesome meal, and I hope I can go back again one day! And now I’m hungry again…

Goodnight foodies!!

Happy Halloween, Little Monsters!!

Happy Halloween, friends!! I love Halloween, and always have, but this year it makes me sad underneath all the happiness… 3 years ago today Dolly Parton went on a date with a white rastafarian, and nothing has really been the same since…

I miss my friend… wah wah waaaaaah!

Anyway, in order to quell the sadness, I had to come up with a great costume….so I pulled some inspiration from my adventures a few weeks ago.  Remember this?

The Work Costume Party

My work had a Halloween pot luck and costume contest on Friday, so I decided to enter, and that is where I first unveiled my costume…

Lady Gaga, meet Corporate America!!

Gaga- that work isn’t going to get done by itself!!

Don’t give me that look!

Well, thanks to a lot of help from my mom we were able to make this costume the night before, and I won the “Most Creative” costumer, and $100!! So I will be taking my mom on a mommy-baby date of lunch and pedicures to thank her for her hard work!

Halloween Part Deux

That night, I drove out to Cathi and Puneet’s house, and met up with Lee and Ali there.  Cathi is a wonderful makeup artist, and she was kind enough to do our makeup to make us look fabulous.

And after all her hard work this is what we got…

Such a wonderful time- I love looking at people for uncomfortable lengths of time with blank stares!

The next morning, I hung out their house, and we ate pumkin flavored baked goods and watched I Love You, Man and Bridesmaids.  I love lazy days.  I met my parents and then rushed home to get ready for my third and final appearance as Gaga.

All Hallows Eve, Part Tre

My bestie Bre came into town this weekend, and her family threw a Halloween party, so I headed that way… WARNING… I had to do my own makeup and it looks nowhere near as awesome as Cathi’s does!

SO much fun!!

Now I’m here, sitting on the couch ignoring the football game, eating chili, and handing out candy to trick-or-treaters. Hope you are all having a safe and candy filled halloween!

What was your favorite Halloween costume growing up?

Why is there a corn dog in the front yard?

So as you can tell, I’m totally stoked to be back into my blogging. 2 posts in 1 day- go me.  It feels like I never left!!

Want to hear about my new obsession? Too bad you’re going to hear it anyway.

100 calorie cheese packets.  Otherwise I’d eat 1000 calories of cheese. These are pepperjack, and they are spiiiiicy.  They are the perfect little work snack for me.

Unfortunately, my other obsession has been huge amounts of Halloween candy…not good for my waist line.

I made it all the way through the day without eating any office Halloween candy.  Score one for BC!

My afternoon was filled with going to the chiropractor since I’ve been getting this horrible pain in my trap that shoots down my shoulder and up my neck and ends up giving me horrible headaches.  It’s from slumping over my keyboard. It’s really too bad I can’t bring my MacBook to work and type on my lap (like I’m doing now).  After the chiro I laid on icebags and cried a little bit from the cold and the pain. I’m such a wuss.

Then for dinner, my mom made salmon that was sprinkled with chili powder, and my favorite cabbage and brussels sprouts salad.

You can find the recipe here.  I made this about a month ago for my boss’ birthday- we threw her a salad party.

Roasted brussels sprouts. shredded cabbage, roasted pine nuts, cranberries, and parmesano reggiano. With a really tasty dressing that would be good on any salad. We don’t use all the oil that the recipe calls for.

So I’m sure you’re sitting here, reading this, and thinking, “WTF is up with the title of the post Brittany? You didn’t eat corndogs for dinner… in your front yard.”

Well yes, you would be correct.  Well my friends, here is the deal with the corndog.  My mom walks in the door and my dad says, “there is something weird in the front yard I want you to look at.”  So I’m not really sure where my mind went with this one, but I don’t think it went here.

Yup… someone threw a corndog in the front yard… WTF?

Now I’m off to give this little girl some love. Goodnight friendsies. Think on these tonight:

  • What is your favorite Halloween Candy?
  • What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever found and wondered, “How in the hell did that get there??”
I have to say I have a million favorite candies, but I love anything with chocolate and caramel in them, as well as sour patch and I LOVE LOVE LOVE candy corn and peeps!!
And clearly I think the corn dog in the front yard is weird. Who throws a perfectly good corn dog in someone’s yard??

Gaga Oh La La

As I hinted in my previous post, I did some spectacular things this past weekend…

Starting with a Ducks game!! Quack Quack Quack Mr. Ducksworth!!

Lets go Ducks!! My dad got club level tickets from one of his clients, but since he was out o’ town I took Lee and Ali and my friend Mitchell.  We had a blast.  Lee & Ali told Mitchell an excellent story as well about the last Ducks vs. Sharks game with my parents, there was a hockey player on the Sharks who had a mullet- his name is Mike Ricci.

That’s right. Mullet. No teeth. So my dad was right by the box and starting pointing at his and yelling, “You’re Joe Dirt.” With a straight face.  For the rest of the game.  Needless to say, Mike Ricci got a little riled.  So Mitchell thought it would be a good idea to text my dad, “You’re Joe Dirt.” Unfortunately, he got the number wrong, and ended up getting a phone call from an angry boyfriend wondering why he had texted his girlfriend she was Joe Dirt. CLASSIC.  In addition, I ate a $6.50 brownie, drank a lot of beer, and the Ducks won!!  In addition to all that goodness, I got the surprise of a lifetime from Mitch…

We were going to go see GAGA!!! … Okayyyyy, Gaga plus other people… but my brain heard GAGA and just kind of exploded and stopped working.  It was actually the Decades of Difference for the Clinton Foundation.

The concert was wonderful… Stevie Wonder, Kenny Chesney, Juanes (who?!?), K’Naan, Usher (Usher Usher- clearly Usher can’t be said just once, it must be said 3 times.. kind of like Beetlejuice), GAGA, and Bono and The Edge (barf).

Clearly that is Stevie Wonder

I thought it was Cee- lo at first because of that guy in the white. Then I noticed the guy behind the piano and I flipped out A LOT! Stevie WONDER?!? Probably the coolest “opening act” ever! He played Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours), Superstition, and a couple others. I was singing up a storm.

Usher…being all Fabulous.. YEAH yeah yeah!

Gaga at the piano

Gaga went off on some tangent about how she wanted to have a threesome with Bill and HIllary.  Apparently some thought it was scandalous (LA Times), but I thought it was just enough Gaga but not over the top to offend the former President and Secretary of State. Although she did drop a few F bombs and middle fingers, so what do I know? She rocked Born this Way, You and I, Bad Romance, and beer makes my mind fuzzy and remembering 3 out of 4 aint bad.

I don’t even want to talk about Bono here, so as I don’t offend and U2 fans (Mom, Dad, Lee, Ali, anonymous U2 fan readers) but I can’t stand the man, especially when he rambles about MacBooks and says “we are one half of U2”, forcing me to ask does that make them U1 or U1/2?? Blah blah quite shoving your goodness down my throat.  The guy next to me said he was “here to see Bone-O”.  So I made dirty jokes in my head (and out loud to Mitchell) for the rest of the night. Use your imagination, friends.

Anyway, after the concert, Mitchell and I went to a bar called The Edison.  We were incredibly starving, and the line was so long that we decided we’d just go to this nasty little restaurant next door. Luckily for us, a bouncer caught us trying to sneak away and said that if we were willing to meet the minimum they could get us in right away. $50 for VIP treatment, yes please.

So anyway, this place is amazing because it’s in the old downtown Edison power plant, the first private power plant to light up downtown LA.  They kept the old generators and all the good historical stuff in there, but added a ton of coolness, making for a fun, vintagey vibe.

Source

Source

We at over by this boiler.  It was so much fun- and the music didn’t suck!  Plus look at this list of all that was consumed:

  • 2 orders of the truffle mac & cheese (OMG YUM!)
  • Kobe beef sliders
  • french fries
  • chocolate chip cookies
  • churros
  • 2 glasses of Educated Guess Cab

All of that on top of copious amounts of beer and half of a soft pretzel from the Hollywood Bowl…I’d say all in all it was a glorious, calorie and fun filled evening with a good friend.

By the way, if I have ever hated on downtown LA before, I take it all back.  I love it. End of story.  Perhaps I will go into more detail on that on my next downtown adventure.  Or when Mitchell and I move there… just kidding (or am I??)!

Now go listen to ‘Paparazzi’ and tell me you don’t love Gaga.