Friday, January 22, 2010

gleek

This year, in our family Christmas exchange draw, I picked my sister Tessa. My goal every year is to find the perfect gift for the perfect person, and I get SO excited when I do. This year I thought of the perfect gift for Tessa (the Glee soundtrack, volume 1 & 2) pretty early, and felt very sneaky as I contacted her husband to verify that it was, in fact, the perfect gift for her. I wanted so badly to tell her, but didn't want to ruin the surprise (and I am becoming much better at keeping secrets, ever since that one time in 7th grade...it's a long story).

Turns out the perfect gift this year for Tessa was the same perfect gift for Lauren's birthday! (so, I couldn't even tell Lauren about my perfect find! ugh.) When I did finally get to give Lauren her birthday present (and we listened to it all the way from Salt Lake to Montana), I made everyone in the car promise not to speak a word of it until after Christmas morning, when Tessa could open her own. (Turns out none of the secrecy was necessary, since Tessa knew about it all along--thanks, Duffy.) But, I digress.

I could hardly get the soundtrack for two of my sisters without procuring a copy for myself, since I, too, love the show and the music. And I have been listening to it non-stop since I got home. It is so much fun! I admit, I am a gleek. I just wish I were a soprano.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

baby shower

To celebrate the arrival of Baby Dellin (due to arrive any second now!), Jessica and I threw together a little shower. I love baby showers! And I can't wait to meet the little mush.

...a look at the spread...
On the menu:
italian chicken salad on croissants
hot spinach and artichoke dip
green salad with avocados and grapefruit
vanilla cake with chocolate frosting
cookies and cream banana bread
fresh fruit with vanilla honey mascarpone dip
veggie crudite
How cute is our train cake?!
...and our train cookie favors!...
...all the cookies had a "D" for Dellin and a baby conductor.

I think the winner of the food turned out to be the spinach and artichoke dip, if I do say so myself. So, I thought I would share the recipe that I used:

Here's what you'll need:
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped yellow onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup flour
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup 1/2-inch cubes rindless Brie
1 cup grated Monterey Jack
1 (6 1/2-ounce) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1/4 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch round dish and set aside.

Thaw the spinach and squeeze to remove all excess water. Set aside. In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, to make a light roux, about 2 minutes. Add the milk and cream in a steady stream, and cook, stirring constantly, until thick and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cooked spinach and lemon juice, and stir to incorporate. Add the cubed and grated cheeses, artichoke hearts, and stir well. Remove from the heat and pour into the prepared dish. Top with the Parmesan and bake until bubbly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve hot with assorted crackers or chips.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas in Monty 2009

We had so much fun in Montana this year for Christmas! So fun to have the whole family all together, which doesn't happen nearly enough. We spent a lot of time cozying up by the fire, watching movies, playing guitar hero, and eating delicious food! And, naturally, Reese got loads of attention from her aunts and uncles.

Our bi-annual service project at the food bank...we can pretty much have fun no matter what we are doing when we are all together and it is amazing how much food-sorting 10 people can do in a couple hours!
The gals jamming to band hero!
Dean as an official Eagle Scout! So proud of that guy!
Dean shows us that you can still be a one-man band if no one else can play with you.
Reese became quite the diva with her microphone! She loved singing along as we played guitar hero, but if you think she is putting her new baby doll down, you can forget it!

And what would a trip to Montana at Christmas time be without some ice hockey on the lake?!
Reese's first day on the ice...no major spills and she got to practice some of the moves she has been watching on tv! Next year we might even let her try some skates!
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After most of the family went back home, Reese and I stayed a few extra days with MommaCat. We drove to Great Falls for one of Dean's basketball games, and after the most horrendous dance team half time performance, Reese decided she could do better! She ran to the middle of the court and back about 5 times. (And it was far more entertaining than the dancers, in my opinion.)