Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas 2011

We didn't do Christmas officially until today, due to work schedules being a pain in the arse. I did make spiced sweet rolls for 12/25, but the family basically lazed about. Then this morning my father and I made a trip to the store for last minute ingredients for breakfast and the official holiday dinner. It was rather amazing to see the grocery store down the road from us so empty of, well, stuff! Luckily we found what we needed and could head back to the house with Starbucks drinks before getting to work.

After 20 minutes of cleaning the kitchen, we made eggs benedict, french toast, low sodium bacon, sausage links, and fresh fruit. It was quite nice to sit and eat breakfast at the table, we'd almost forgotten what it was like (those who know my family will find the situation just as hilarious as I did). It was a very pleasant brunch, and I was quite proud of my eggs benedict. Clearing the table and cleaning the mess from cooking breakfast took another 20 minutes; I do hate the small size of my parent's kitchen. I made up this pie, which was a big hit at Thanksgiving, and used the leftover pastry to do an apple tart-thing. I plan to enjoy a slice with this ice cream.
Ben was kind enough to take on the task of seasoning the roast, as I still don't like working with beef overly much. My parents managed to get a nice sized rib eye roast for about $25 USD. We're also going to have mashed potatoes, steamed carrots and broccoli, and this roasted cauliflower along with some homemade Challah bread a neighbor was nice enough to give us!

Anyhow, on to the loots! I received a sherpa blanket from my sister's gf, along with pink Tinkerbell slippers and a giant lavender candle. My sister got me a bag from our church boutique, which I'm pretty sure is 100% recycled fabric. Also I got a bottle of Bath & Body Works Twilight Woods soap, and an exfoliating mitt. My parents got me new measuring cups, a penguin flash drive, and foam shelf liner. The story with the shelf liner is that I'd bought some from Walmart to use for the cutting boards, since at culinary school we use the material as a means to prevent more knife accidents. It is amazingly effective at keeping the board stable while practicing knife work. My mother had gone and used up what I'd bought when she rearranged the kitchen about a month back, and of course I threw a hissy fit. So I suppose in apology they bought me more...

Sirenidi of course, made out like a bandit. Several people gave her books, clothes, and assorted bath goods while the family mostly bought her toys. Of note were some adorable Piglet socks and some fingerless gloves. Of the toys, she received a doll house, a toy kitchen, and some new stuffed animals. Here she is playing with a tin that some candy came in; there is no candy, but that didn't stop her much, she kept calling it "cereal" anyway. Also take note of the doll house in the background that she lost interest in after about 5 minutes:

My dad really enjoyed my infused pepper bacon vodka, thanks for the idea Brandon Matzek! My sister's gf and her family also got him a lot of train-themed items, including a gingerbread kit! I would find it interesting to see a train engine made out of gingerbread and candies...

The boys got clothes and apparently bought each other video games. My sister got pajamas as well, and my dad jokingly gave her and her gf a case of Bud Light xP

My mom got a bunch of random things from people at the church. Take note, my mother HATES Chardonnay and bright red purses. However she did like the chocolates and really big wine glass.

I'm sure there were other things, but I need to rest my back and order my family from the confines of a sitting position.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Birthday the Actual

I came into work early the other day, as I wanted to take extra time to have lunch with my mom. My boss was kind enough to not only give me the additional half hour, but to take as long as I needed! Mom took me to SK Noodle, a nice Chinese-Vietnamese restaurant. I had Szechuan Shrimp, which was much sweeter than I was accustomed to, and much more balanced with the heat, so it was a nice change from ohdeargodthefire! I also had a Thai Boba tea, but I think southern California spoiled me, as it seemed much to sweet and not as good as I'd hoped it would be.

My sister called while we were eating to ask what I wanted from the Chinese food establishment Twin Dragon for dinner. Now my sister adores Twin Dragon because they make a thick brown egg foo yung gravy, which she always orders on the side (she never actually eats the egg foo yung). However, I hate Twin Dragon as the prices are high for the quality and amount of food one receives. I would much rather eat at Szechuan Express or Egg Roll King (also near our residence), which I informed my sister of, but she would not be swayed. The exchange went something like this:
Me: "But it's MY birthday!"
Sis: "It's MY money, so there!"

I know, we're so mature for out age.

It occurred to me after this conversation that no one in my family bakes as well as I do, so I took pity on my folks and recommended the nearby Raley's store to pick up a cake. I chose a nice, small layered Red Velvet cake with white chocolate on top, as well as a mini raspberry cream cake to enjoy at the office. However, when I got back, there was a surprise awaiting. Despite only being informed of the fact it was my birthday that morning, the ladies had gone out and bought a chocolate strawberry cake for me (and a card)!

I'm so lucky to have a great place to work like this office.

I received a nice, shiny new electric spice grinder from my brother, Ben. I think he meant it more as a gift for him, so we can do nice spice rubs for the meats we buy. Unfortunately, we do not yet have whole spices to grind, so a trip to the store is needed to test out the new toy handy kitchen device. Sirenidi was a bit peeved that it wasn't her birthday, and I'm not sure if my efforts to get her to celebrate her un-birthday were successful. Anyways, we all enjoyed the red velvet Raley's cake very much.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Birthday in December

My birthday is coming up, but I think it's about time to start the old person habit of neglecting to tell people my age. In light of my closest friends and family being dirt broke, I took the liberty of ordering myself presents using online credit; also I enjoy receiving things in the mail.

Here are some of the things I got:
I plan on supporting this book

Also I keep track of other Groupon and Kickstarter offers that I'm interested in. On introducing my mom to Groupon, she was able to get discounted tickets to the local showing of the Nutcracker, pretty awesome.

I may end up making myself a cake too, as it is rather difficult to find a decently made strawberry cake with creamy white chocolate frosting that doesn't taste like butter and shortening where I'm at. Besides, isn't that a good use of my Culinary School skills?

As for holiday gifts for others, I'm going to be making bath salts, bubble bath, massage oils, or baked goods. People seem to enjoy homemade presents, and I do like being able to supply smiles on the cheap. If anything, I try to get people to either get me this strawberry beer, or contribute toward getting me a new, and therefore more amazing, cell phone.