Friday, October 31, 2008

Harvest Treats

Betsy, Gabby, and I worked for several hours along with our friend Martha Stewart to create some fun harvest celebration treats. This is our 2nd annual making treats for the holidays event.

We had pulled pork BBQ sandwiches, coleslaw and homemade applesauce. Thank you for the great recipe for applesauce, Devanee. They really liked it. Tiny Gabby even had two sandwiches.

Gabby made Savory Pumpkin Puffs Bit All-purpose flour, for parchment
1 Standard package (17.3 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 1/2 Teaspoons paprika
1/4 Cup unsalted butter, melted
4 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 Cups finely grated Gruyere cheese
1 Cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
Dash Freshly ground pepper

Betsy and I made Midnight Moon Cookies

Vegetable oil cooking spray
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 pound confectioners' sugar (4 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup boiling water, plus more as needed
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

Betsy tried making Marshmallow Bones, but they were a tough recipe and didn't work too well for us.

Also I made John's Sugar Cookies pumkins. Betsy made the green stems and Gabby added chocolate decorations.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Week Nine and BT

BT has begun dancing lessons, (nope, i can't feel them yet) Most joints are formed now, BT will curve his fingers around an object placed in the palm of his hand, and if you can believe this BT already has tiny little fingerprints. Average size this week -- length 0.9 inch (2.3cm), weight 0.07 ounce (2gm). Isn't this fun!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Faith Builders Advance

Faith Builders, my church fellowship group, almost annually goes to Ventura for the weekend to spend time together and grow in the Lord together. We play games, enjoy the beach, talk, laugh, listen to preaching, sing, and eat plenty. We also had a just for fun softball game.

We shared a room with Monique and Fernando at the Hilton. Thanks, Steve, for using some of your points for letting us stay there. Plus they throw a great breakfast.

I thought it was great that so many of the people from our Bible Study were there. What a blessing! I greatly enjoyed getting to get to know Desiree better.

Onions and Orchids

Anna graciously hosted about 15 lovely young women to learn about home making skills and specifically meal planning and preparation. She provided skads of recipes and then she made lots of recipes with us so we could watch and learn and taste what the end result should be.

I can only say wow to the potatoes and gravy. Last night I whipped up her garlic mashed potatoes and might I just encourage everyone to give these a try. This was my own adaptation since I used what I had on hand.

For every potato add one garlic clove to the salted water to bowl, add a touch of sugar.
I did not peel my red potatoes as I want the fiber in the skins
Your one inch cubes are done when a fork can easily tear them apart.
Leave the potatoes, drain on low heat to allow evaporation of moisture so that the potatoes are fluffy rather than gummy.
Melt butter, 1 Tablespoon per potatoe and milk in a sause pan. Add seasoning like chives or season salt and pepper...
When no steam rises from the potatoes mush with potatoe musher, then add the milk/butter mixture and whip until the desired consistency.

Ok, for gravy I used a "just add water" mix, but it was so tasty!

Anna also encouraged us to try fish. Fish, especially salmon, have never been my friend. She made Salmon that literally melted in your mouth. This is the first time that I have understood why people rave about Salmon. Everytime I have tried it, it has been dry or too strong, or just plain yucky. I am going to give this recipe a try.

Anna used a tad of sugar in her veges to ramp up the flavor. She also made chicken, and pork chops in a crock pot. She made other things and it was amazing to watch. How fun to see this process in action.

One of the principles she uses in her style of cooking is to have about 30 tried and true recipes that her family loves. And primarily that is what she uses to cook. She will once in a while try something new, but she cooks what they love and everyone is happy. Secondly, some of the recipes are more suited to company. These she has worked on for presentation and more fancy flavors. A third principle she has incorporated is Make your good, better, then your better your best and then be content.

I further appreciated her reminder to start dinner early so when the king walks in the door, you are not frantically running around trying to get things done.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Friend

This is my gorgeous friend, Brenda Lynn and her handsome hubby Dan. I can scarcely believe that they are celebrating three years of marriage so quickly. Doesn't it just zip by? How much God has blessed them. I miss you greatly, sister! But I am so happy for you where God has planted you, cause, girl, you are blooming. Her church had a renewing of the vows Sunday to honor marriage between one man and one woman.

Proud parent of a kidney bean

Proud parent of a kidney bean? That is the size of BT this week. He has translucent eyelids that almost cover his eyes, and his still slightly webbed hands almost can meet in the middle.

Steve had a job interview today, so we wait to see. He also has another on Thursday.

Faith Builders is having the Annual Advance this weekend, where our fellowship group gathers at a hotel for the weekend and we get to know each other on a deeper level. Steve and I are bunking with the Rios family. They promised they don't snore much, but offer no guarantees on other noice problems. We are looking forward to the neat, neat fun, and opportunities to say "Queso!"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

BT --baby tao

So we are 8 wks pregnant on Wednesday. We are calling the little alien BT-for Baby Tao. We had our first doctor visit last week. Saw his/her little heart beat, and I really think he/she looks like Steve. --just kidding. I am feeling super well, depending on what time you ask me, as long as I don't get too hungry. I guess the theory is if you empty your stomach you start to feel sick, and that has been the case. Though I did find out that morning sickness usually starts around week 8.

Anyway, Mr. Tao has a job interview tomorrow, and he is taking a tax exam today. He loves that Hi stress living!

El Centro

Cameron, my nephew is established in El Centro, CA. We dropped him off for a two year visit in the middle of the dessert. I know, you are wondering what is a navy base doing in the middle of the dessert. If I told you I would have to kill you, so I can neither confirm nor deny anything. However, I did see that this is the winter training ground of the Blue Angels. Isn't that too cool. My nephew is a MP, that is military police. We are proud of him, good work, nephew. He is almost all grown up. He would also like a if anyone is interested, he is 25, 5'9 blue eyes, light brown hair, a super interesting flying eagle tatoo on his chest, and the boy can cook and do laundry and iron. Not a bad deal! Oh, and he likes children.

We took him for Chinese food. He really wanted Chinese buffet, but we couldn't think of where there might be one in our neck of the woods.

The Kiss

Ok, today I learned that the passionate kiss in the movie "Fireproof", and it is a doosey, was Kurt Cameron and his wife. That makes me feel better. She stepped in for that scene. Please go see the movie. You will really enjoy it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Phoenix, AZ

Steve and I zipped over to see my sisters and dad in Phoenix. What fun we had. Cathy was painting my toesnails on the front steps when dad ran out and said "photo moment." Dad pretended to paint my toes for the photo op, too. Thus we all arranged ourselves and of course, laughed and giggled in our typical fashion.This is Cathy, my #3 sister. I call her my bling, bling sister. She is our family glamour girl, and social hub. She calls everyone I think every week, and passes on pertinent information to the rest of the family so all stay in the loop.This is Keni, #5, in her kitchen. She is in nursing school and will graduate in May. Horray for Keni! Go sister. In case you didn't notice, we identify ourselves by our chronilogical order number ( I am #4), except for Cindy. Once you meet her, you just know she is the eldest.
Here is some of Cathy's stuff. She packed her things in Vacuum bags and now that she is opening them and trying to find a place for them, they are everywhere. She called to tell us about the shelves and closet spaces they are designing. Poor dad, he has done that for everyone of his daughters. In my case, he once had to drive to MA, and another time he had to go to Guam. When we were growing up, dad almost always made breakfast on Saturday mornings unless it was hunting season. Here he is in keeping with tradition. No one makes a better breakfast than dad.

International Potluck

This year Steve and I helped supervise the food line of the IP. We had a great group of people to assist. Lots of interesting dishes from many place came in. Debera and Neil helped cut the food and prepare it for the buffet tables. Steve and I honored the place we met, Guam, with our tropical wear.
Avo and Ani are friends we met at the Pastor's annual BBQ.
John and Sandra are friends who introduced us to the nursery supervisor job on Sunday mornings that we love.

Neil was great for recruiting lots of kids for washing dishes. In this case he is carefully monitoring the taste of the frosting quality. Paul and Nora also helped to label the food and make sure it had it had serving utensils.
One service we offered free of charge was scoring people's presentation of their plate. We also monitored people to make sure they got their vegetables. One job we had that was not fun was fighting people off the desserts until the appropriate time. Though really it was all fun!