Tuesday, December 27, 2005

A Very Merry Christmas

We changed our schedule a bit this Christmas. We planned on attending the Vigil Mass on Christmas Eve, but the kids were in such a hyperactive state, Vince and I decided to skip it and attend Mass on Christmas morning instead. Something I've never done. Christmas morning was always about gifts and food. But Christmas falling on a Sunday this year, it only seemed to make sense to go Christmas morning. Besides, the Vigil Masses are packed, and there is no nursery, so the kids (meaning Harrison), would be impossible to control during the entire service. So Sunday morning we got the kids up, dressing in their Christmas finest and went to mass. And I must say, it was very pleasant. It wasn't crowded at all, and it was just he right way to start the special day. We got home, had a quick breakfast of lox and bagels (yummy!), changed back into our pajamas, and resumed with our Christmas festivities. Our tree was loaded with gifts. Really, it was quite disgusting. There are actually more presents behind the tree that you can't see in this photo.

Sophia wanted to just rip through the gifts, we had to slow her down. Harrison would play a bit with whatever he opened, then move on. I remember when Sophia used to be like that. Annamaria slept through most of the activity, woke up to eat and scooch around, open gift with some help, then went back to sleep.

Later in the day, my mom and grandma came over. Then later my great uncle Joe and his friend Ruth joined us. My big suprise for my grandma and uncle Joe was Torrone. I can proudly say I made it myself. And it only took two batches to get it right. Now for those of you who don't know what Torrone is, think Italian divinity. It is a honey nougat with almonds and pistachios. And my uncle Joe said it tasted just like he remembered from way back when. I could have popped. Really, what do you get people who have everything? And if they don't they have more money than God to buy it for themselves? The older I get, the more people I have in my life that fit into this category.

I made an herb-roasted prime rib, parisian potatoes and baby asparagus for dinner. My mom prepared sfinga ( I know I'm not spelling that right) for dessert. Again, think Italian beignets. Harrison couldn't get enough.

I think Sophia's favorite gift was a Leapster L-Max, which Harrison would like to have too. Here is a picture of Sophia playing with her Leapster while Harrison watches. Funny how they're either getting along famously, or at each other's throats. Actually it's not really funny, it's more annoying than anything.

I was very spoiled this year. Among other things I got a new Cuisinart Food Processor. Now, I already have one, my mom bought it for me over 15 years ago. But just a little bit ago I broke part of the lid. I've been using it anyway, I just thought I'd get a replacement lid, but Vince bought me a new large capacity one. It's a thing of beauty. And major suprise was a Scooba. What's a Scooba you say? That's what I said anyway. O-kay, you know the Roomba? The little robotic floor vaccuum? I either wanted one of those or a Dyson, but in his research, Vince came across the Scooba. It's made my the same people who make the Roomba, but it is a hard floor cleaner. And I HATE cleaning the kitchen and wood floors, so this seemed more "gift like" to him, and I have to agree. The only bummer is that it's not here yet. It's being shipped by the producers. But in it's place I got a little Chinese take-out with a fortune cookie in it, and the fortune said, "A cleaner floor is the path to a clearer mind. Stop mopping. Scooba is coming." What the heck? He had to explain, but once he did, wow! How clever. But it doesn't stop there. A couple years ago, when asked what I wanted for Christmas I replied diamond earrings. So on Christmas morning, I open a jewelry box and find a diamond cross. It was beautiful, but not what I asked for. Now being the brat that I am, and not being one who likes suprises, I looked at my expectant husband and said, "but I wanted earrings". Now the good news is that he's still married to me. He was so proud of himself, he picked it out himself, and it really is the most beautiful cross I've ever seen, but it wasn't what I was expecting, and I popped his bubble. The bad news is that he told me he'd never buy me another piece of jewelry again. I think I deserved that. So last year, I received another jewelry box, but upon opening it, I found it to be empty. After thinking he was just cruel, Vince then told me that we would go down to our jewelers and I could pick out a pair of earrings myself. Well, that never happened. So this year I wasn't expecting anything jewelry related. Really, after the way I behaved about the cross, that I now wear all the time, I couldn't blame him. So I was very suprised to receive a jewelry box, and in them were a pair of diamond earrings. Just as colorless and perfect as could be. Did I mention that I'm spoiled?

Hope everyone out there had a wonderful Christmas too.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Happy Birthday Sophie-Wophie-Poo-Poo-Girl!

Today my first born turned 7 years old. Where did the time go? Unfortunately I had to cater lunch today, so I don't think she had the dream day she was hoping for. We did make it to the park for a little bit, and the Grandmas came over for dinner and cake. Sophia wanted a dolphin cake with blue frosting. I bombed the cake by trying a new recipe. Followed the recipe to a tee, Sophia even assisted. It was the dryest, hardest and toughest cake I've ever made. Sophia didn't care. She was more interested in the gummy dolphins I used to decorate her cake. O-kay, so they're really gummy sharks, but I didn't know where to get gummy dolphins. And being 7 years old, Sophia has adequate imagination to pass the sharks off as dolphins. All I can say is, thank God my cake decorating class is less than a month away. From the look of things, I really can use it.

In my defense, I let Sophia pick the decorative frosting from the tube to write with, and she insisted on the kind that is impossible to write with. It may not be too pretty, but everything else is from scratch. Except of course for the gummy sharks.

So to celebrate her birthday properly, I'm taking her to Disneyland tomorrow. Just the two of us. A grand Girls Day Out. Shhhhh, don't tell her, it's a suprise.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

The Case of the Missing Advent Calendar Chocolates

In celebration of the season, both Sophia and Harrison were bought Advent calendars to count down the days until Christmas. They even got to pick which design they wanted. Sophia picked out a snowman motif, while Harrison chose the Santa at the Christmas Tree design. Each and everyday, they both get to open the one door on their calendar that corresponds to whatever day it is, and get a surprise by what shape the chocolate is, then they get to enjoy the treat. Yesterday, I walked into the den to find Harrison sitting on the floor with Sophia's Advent calendar. At first glance, the calendar was fine, just on the floor. Upon closer inspection, I found that the doors had been opened and the chocolates removed. The doors were then pushed back closed. "What did you do?", I asked. "Did you eat your sister's chocolates. Did you open all the doors on her calendar?". "No", he replied. "Then where are the chocolates?", I asked. He replied by pointing to his stomach. Apparently the chocolates mysteriously vanished from Sophia's calendar, and reappeared in Harrison's stomach. Spooky.

Monday, December 12, 2005

How Did This Happen Again?

Here is what my week looks like . . .

  • Monday - Catering
  • Tuesday - Catering
  • Wednesday - Bible Study
  • Thursday - Catering
  • Friday - Catering
  • Saturday - Catering
I swear, I don't know how this happened. The only thing I can think is that when a client would ask if I was free on a certain day, I would look at the specific day they were asking about, and not look at the rest of the week. Therefore I never got a clear view of the big picture, the grand scheme of things, the whole enchilada. And no, no one ordered enchiladas. Although I still don't know what I'm making for Thursday's lunch order, so you never know.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Holiday Eating Tips

My friend e-mailed this to me last year, and being the foodie that I am, I thought it was brilliant. Enjoy.

Christmas Eating Tips
1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single-malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-aholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have the nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple. Pumpkin. Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have the two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread the tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Toothless Wonder

The toothfairy strikes again! I forgot this picture was in my camera in all my catering drama. Sophia lost another tooth last week. That makes six total, four currently missing. One of Sophia's classmate's mom gave me the phone number for the Toothfairy, so for all you out there with toothless kids, here it is . . . 619/275-7195.

So it occured to me that if she gets sassy and needs a little discipline, a great punishment would be corn on the cob for dinner. I'm so mean.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Seems Like It's Been A While

It seems like a while since I've posted, but only a few days have passed. What does that mean? My days are so busy, my life is just flying by? I hope not.

This week has been pretty good. O-kay, it's only Wednesday, but it seems like the end of the week to me. Maybe it's because tomorrow is my last catering job for the week, so technically today is Thursday for me. Or maybe my sense of time has just completely flown out the window. I took it pretty easy on Monday, didn't start shopping for Tuesday's lunch job until about 1:30. That gave me most of the day to catch up on paper work and such. Catered lunch for 15 on Tuesday. Today I had a luncheon for 19 at a client's home. She is the nicest woman, volunteers with the Assistance League and has this end-of-the-year luncheon for her trainees every year. So this is the second year I've catered this lunch for her. It's not "drop-off" catering though. I have to get all dressed up in my black and white catering attire and be presentable, while serving these well-to-do ladies who volunteer their time for the less fortunate. How good of them. Her driveway was loaded with Mercedes and Lexus'. And her home was designed and built and Frank Lloyed Wright's son. It's not at all pretentious though, but it is fabulous. I love her kitchen! I wish my cell phone was a camera phone, because I could shoot some photos of that place let me tell ya.

I just dribbled egg nog spiked with bourbon into my key board. Oops. The fact that I waited until a quarter to 5:00pm to make myself this sticky concoction says something. Because it was sounding good to me at about 9am. Yes, that is saying something, and I'm afraid it's not good.

I have to go prepare dinner and start prepping for tomorrow's lunch. But it's all downhill from here. Happy hump day!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

More Catering Complaints

O-kay, so my last minute headcount of 60 got bumped up even more last minute to 80 the morning before the event. I get a phone call the morning before at 8am with the news. I was so bent. The organizer of the Christmas Social was asking me, "What should I do, what should I do? Should I go to Costco and get some trays to fill in?" And I kept thinking, "Great, so people think I can't handle a party of 80 and have to be supplemented by Costco." I don't think so. So I told her I would make it "happen". Don't worry about it, there will be enough food for everyone. So she told me, "Oh, you're my hero, and of course we'll pay you for the extra people." Darn right you will! I'll be billing for 80 people, don't think otherwise. So after 36 hours of hell, I can now confidently announce that the party was a success. And there was plenty of food. So much food in fact that we're going to my mom's house tonight, she's invited my grandma and a friend of ours over, and we'll be eating the spoils of war (that's what I call catering left overs), and drinking apple martini's. Both Sour Apple martinis and Golden Delicious Apple martinis. Take your pick. And the good news is I cleared just under $1,000. Food costs = $225, my time and aggravation = priceless.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Picasso He Ain't

After getting today's lunch for 15 in the oven this morning, I walk into the den to find this . . .

I guess since he couldn't find any paper, so he decided to use his face.