Tuesday, November 30, 2010


What did I cook this week?

 I made Manhattan Clam Chowder, using THIS recipe (well...sort of... I looked at, thought it over and did things just a tiny bit different. But I more or less "followed" it.)
Normally I am a HUGE New England Clam Chowder fan, but as one of my sisters cannot eat milk, a dairy based soup would be no good. So we went for the tomato base like the manhattaners do...

Pictures of the event...
Lots of chopping. Celery, onions, (I wish I had a picture of the massive pile of onions. SO many tiny onions pieces. So much eye pain!  I took one, put them in the pot and THEN realized there was no camera card in my point and shoot Olympus...) garlic, potatoes, and parsley.

 Garbage bowl.
Used 4 of these. Super fishy.

 Steaming pot of a rue (not in recipe but I started the soup that way because...it is the right way!) onions, celery, parsley, olive oil, tomato paste, and a vast amount of clam juice.

 Added this (home-canned stewed tomatoes. Canned by either my grandmother or my mom? Not sure) and one can of diced tomatoes into the pot. Threw in the rest of the herbs. Added potatoes (although I should of added them before the liquid so there would be less splashing. Duh, Bella.) and brought it to a boil. Covered and let cook until the potatoes were soft.

Last, I added the clams (do it last or they get rubberized. Like, even more so than they normally are.). 3 whole pounds of clams!

I love clams, especially when involved in chowder. Obviously fresh clams would be better, but there was no way I was going to buy, cook and shell 3 pounds of them. No, no, no.


Side note, NORMAL clam chowder (aka the Right  New England kind) has some sort of pork product in it. Usually the rue is done with pork fat and not butter, and quite often there is bacon or pork bits in the broth. But as you know, I don't do meat (and I cannot tell you how many times I've gone to a restaurant having a hankering for clam chowder and end up leaving disappointed because they only make a porkish variety). So, to please everyone, I cooked up some bacon, chopped it into bits (oh my did my hands smell meaty...), and served it on the side so that everyone who wanted meat in their soup could sprinkle it on top! Huzzah for innovation and meat removal!

Dinner was served with a salad and crusty Italian croutonish bread (cut in slices, brushed with oil olive and put under the broiler until crunch. Good for soup dipping.).  
All in all, very tasty.

What will I make next week? Well... I actually have no idea what I will make next. I am still thinking about that. Might be pasta. I haven't done pasta yet and we all (I) know that pasta is the best food in the world so...

Check the blog next Tuesday to see what I come up with on next week's Awesomemonday! Happy cooking, everyone!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree- part 1, THE HUNT

We went a huntin' and came back successful. 

Every year my family drives almost 45 minutes to go to a tiny little tree farm ( that my mom used to go to when she was a little girl) to get our Christmas tree. It is tradition. Our family of ten packs up, with hats, coats and gloves, the weekend after Thanksgiving and goes to find a tree. And we take as long as we need to find it. We walk up the hill to where the trees go and wander around in circles a lot, but finding the correct tree is important. We take our time. Then we saw that baby down, get it stringed up, and tie it to our Suburban's roof. Then we go into the itty bitty gift shop of all sorts of Christmas magic. It is always the same, but we go in anyway, oohing and ahhing at the glittering garland and ornaments all around. After a long while of wided-eyed child-like gazing we go home. But first we play THE CHRISTMAS TREE GAME. This is something I invented like 9 years ago, and I've won 8 of the years... (basically we drive for a mile-to be sure we are away from the tree farm- and then we all go crazy with our eyes fixed out the window looking for another car with a tree on top. If you miss call and shout out "CHRISTMAS TREE, I WIN" and it is say, a roof rack, you are disqualified. And I seem to be the most fixated and competitive, so I win. Every time almost. But my family humors me and plays anyway. You other competitive people out there can play too!) We drive our tree home, plop it in some water over night and typically get it all decorated the next day. Is it all pointless? Why yes, it is. Do we need a tree to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ? No we don't But it isn't Christmas without the ongoing family traditions. And I like it that way.

Many pictures! Check out my flickr (on the side bar) for the full 70 photos I shot!

 My favorite kind of tree. I don't know what it is called in reality, but I call it a Gherkin Tree, because it reminds me of pickles. I love pickles...

 *this, my friends, is what Winston Churchill meant when he said "Never, never, never, never give up."

 This is the kind we always end up getting. I forget what it is called but they seem to last forever. We kept last years up until almost March! Also, my father claims he likes this kind because it reminds him of some Muppet character's mustache? If you're a Muppet's fan, he means the guitarist from Electric Mayhem. Hmmmm...??

  Lumber jacks & jills

 Showing off the "lumberjill muscles"

Pictures yet to come of the decorating!!!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It is that time again...

It is the weekend after thanksgiving and that means one thing: IT IS TIME FOR US TO GET A CHRISTMAS TREE!

I do not like picking them out; it takes too long. When we get it in the house I am usually sneezing my head off. I don't particularly love Christmas lights. No one ever agrees with me on how it should be decorated. But wait, before you mark me off as a Scrooge, let me defend myself. Despite all my dislikes, I ADORE HAVING A TREE IN THE HOUSE AT CHRISTMAS TIME. I love pine trees. I would be totally be okay with having one in my house ALL the time (we get ours the weekend after thanksgiving and then keep it around as long as possible. Last year we kept it until February. Then it lived on our deck for another 2 months...). Were there a way to plant a forest in my bedroom, I'd do it. Trees are one of the coolest things that God created and pine trees for sure are at the top of the cool trees list. So I am excited to pick out a tree, saw it down, and bring it into our house again. Love it.

Couple inspiring tree shots via weheartit

 This makes me want to get a plaid blanket and drink hot cocoa. And I don't even LIKE hot cocoa.

 Trees always look best outside but...inside is nice too.

 This has got to be one of the most magical things I have ever seen! I don't even understand how this was done but it is GREAT!

 *okay, I DO NOT like artificial trees, especially when they are so far from looking like real trees, but what I do like about this picture is...you guess. THE BULBS ARE IN RAINBOW ORDER!!!

Tree made of wall art. :)

Don't worry. Pictures of our tree to come! Maybe it won't look this magical but I will still feel happy inside (and sneezey in my nose).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Day in Pictures, part 2- Thanksgiving Dinner

After our road race fun we went to my grandparents house and chowed down on food with our large family. Pictures. (sorry for all the noise. Really, really bad lighting.)

 This is just the appetizers. Yeah, we take food pretty seriously.

 Yes. Sushi. My uncle and I always eat Sushi on Thanksgiving. Why? Cause we love it!

 Packing food onto plates.

 Time with family.

 Sass is a dominant trait in our family.

 So is CUTENESS! I love this baby boy. I have a weakness for chubby babies. And my cousin here fits that bill. I spent most the day hanging out with/taking pictures of him.

  Do you see those big cheeks and pouty lip!? What is not to love!!!!
 Toothless smiles are my fave!

 It takes 3 very intelligent, grown men to turn on my grandfather's TV. 4 remotes...surround sound...cable boxes... lots of trial and error.
 Avi took advantage of the distracted father and did some pickpocketing.
After about 15 minutes they finally got the cable on and were able to watch football.
We all sat around and ate some more. Watched one football game. Then watched a futbol (SC Braga vs Arsenal) game. Ate more food. Food...food...food.

Typical Thanksgiving. :)


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