Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dinner Club II

For a housewife, hosting a dinner party is the equivalent of an employee's performance appraisal or a student taking a final exam. A dinner party is the ultimate test of domesticity. The pressure is on and everything has to be perfect.

It's possible I was taking my role as hostess a little too seriously. Regardless, our most recent instalment of Dinner Club went off exactly as planned.

I felt it was important to establish a theme for the evening. Being a fan of the Surreal Gourmet, I decided to plan an evening of edible art and put my focus on the presentation of the food.

I decorated the table with a collage of famous works of art, torn from the pages of a cheap art history book I grabbed from the Bargain Books section of Chapters. It wasn't good for the health of the book but it was a conversation piece.

I didn't want to take the food too seriously, I'd have to be a better cook than I am to pull off anything sophisticated. I decided to shoot for a tongue-in-cheek menu of dishes I thought were fun and funny. After all, if I'm not entertaining myself, I'm not going to have much luck entertaining our guests.

We started with meatloaf cupcakes, frosted with mashed potatoes and decorated with chive sprinkles. I added some wild mushroom gravy as a savoury garnish. I thought they ended up looking pretty cool.

After our cupcakes, we cleansed our pallets with a little champagne gelatin. It was like fizzy Jello, and who doesn't love fizzy Jello.

Our champagne was accompanied by "chicken salad". This dish got a good laugh. Confession: I swiped the idea from Bob Blumer's website. He's THE surreal gourmet and I bow to his originality. I wish I'd taken a better picture but you work with what you've got.

When I was first searching for a theme for the party, I stumbled across this dessert idea and it ended up inspiring the direction of the entire dinner. Behold...candy sushi.

I had been worried that the presentations wouldn't come together properly so I was really relieved everything went as smoothly as it did. With the stress off my shoulders, I was free to enjoy my company.

It was an evening of good friends, good conversation and lots of laughs. It flew by and I can't wait to do it again.

Perhaps a random round of golf followed by Mexican food?..saaaaay Thursday?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Dinner Club

The first rule of Dinner Club: Don't talk about Dinner Club (obviously)

The second rule of Dinner Club: Never SURRENDER!!!!! Roooooaaaarrrrrr!

Now, back to the preparations already in progress.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Victoria Day Picnic and Roll On Dinner Club

Here is a picture taken at our picnic supper on Victoria Day weekend. You probably can't see it very well, but my mother's hat makes the whole affair look much more gentile than it would have if everyone had been hat-less.

"Pass the iced tea and cucumber sandwiches darling."

I did my best to provide a, relatively, clean dinner. We made paninis over the campfire. The boys had ham and cheese and my Mom and I had tuna melts. Nothing beats a good tuna melt.

On the side we had, potatoes roasted in olive oil, grapes, pickles, and frozen watermelon. Frozen watermelon is ridiculously refreshing on a hot day. I highly recommend it.

For dessert, I whipped us up some campfire peaches. It's just a bit of butter, or margarine, a bit of brown sugar and a few peach slices, wrapped in foil and tossed on the fire for a few minutes. It's super easy and tastes - divine.

I'm a little nervous today because tomorrow it is our turn to host Dinner Club. BA ba baaaaa Marcie and Dave are a hard act to follow, but I'm going to try.

The food I'm planning is relatively simple. I'm shooting for a dinner that revolves around its presentation.

The theme I'm hoping to achieve is "Nothing is as it appears." But, I've never attempted any of these presentation techniques before, so the whole thing could be a miserable disaster. Only time will tell.

Oh! Incidentally, I think I'm going to change my weigh-in day to Friday. I read yesterday that people tend to weigh the least on Friday and so if you weigh yourself on that day you can cruise into the weekend inspired by your accomplishments and (hopefully) not derail yourself over the weekend. Let's give it a try.

Monday, May 24, 2010

May 2-4

Happy Victoria Day everybody! What are your plans?

We're dining alfresco tonight. In fact, we're cooking alfresco too! We're settling in for a little campfire cookin'.

Everything tastes better infused with a little smoke, I find. So, we're making paninis and campfire peaches. I'll post pictures tomorrow.

But I like to provide my guests (Grandma and Grandpa, in this case) with dinner AND entertainment. May 2-4 weekend is synonymous with one type of spectacle in particular and it is of the pyrotechnic variety. To that end, I have purchased a large variety of fireworks, which we will detonate after our hearty meal. Good times.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Clean Eating

Recap: I've been feeling like a big fatty since I got home from vacation, and there was a really ugly number on the scale a couple of days ago.

I mentioned, in the last post, that I have started researching the Eat Clean diet.

I don't know all the ins and outs yet but, from what I gather, clean eating is about choosing nutritious, whole foods, preparing them in healthy ways and cutting out processed food, as much as possible.

It sounds good.

It may be easier said than done, especially through the winter months, but I think I'm up to the challenge. My plan is to experiment with this lifestyle through the summer and see how things go from there.

Here are some of my fledgling attempts at clean eating.

Dinner the other night consisted of shrimp with cocktail sauce...

and toasted, whole grain baguette topped with homemade pico de gallo.

Dessert was a fresh fruit salad consisting of blue berries, strawberries and bananas, dressed in a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon.

I have to say, the cinnamon was a stroke of genius on my part and is destined to be repeated.

So far, so good. The food's been tasty. I'm not overly hungry. The only down side is the endless food prep. It takes quite a bit of time to prepare everything from scratch and I'm not sure how I'm going to overcome the lazy streak that is inevitably coming. I'm taking it one day at a time, right now.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Vacation's Over...Back to Reality

I have noticed, while I've been away on vacation, the distinct sound of crickets comming fromt the comments section of the Monday Weigh In. Can I take this to mean that others took a weight loss vacation too?

Well, I stepped on the scale this morning (in an unofficial way) and saw the ugly truth that has come from all my holiday eating. Put it this way, I have a lot of packets of crisps, fish and chips, pizzas and pasta to burn off.

While we were in England, I was on a crazed mission to try every unusual flavour of crisp I could find. I sampled such delicacies as, Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding, Haggis, Teriyaki, Paella and my personal favourite crisp flavour, African Chutney. That's a lot of crisps when I look at it all written out like that and I know the odd other packet or two crept in there as well.

I spent our week in Italy in food heaven. The whole country is delicious. I wanted to eat it all and I tried. I ate pizza, spaghetti, ravioli, gnocchi, and a different gelato every night.

Mmmmm tiramisu at Ciao Toto

I have to face the consequences now, however. The scale is a heartless master and it's time to get to work.

I'm inspired by the fresh foods that are appearing in the grocery stores, just now and by the approach of the May 2-4 weekend which is the traditionally accepted start of the gardening season around here. I will be planting veggies this week, mark my words.

As a result of this surge of inspiration, I have decided to investigate the Eat Clean Diet. I don't know very much about it and i don't know if it's a good fit for my family, but it sounds like a good idea, so I'm going to check it out and see.

I have been trying to get back on the workout train for the past couple of days. I have definitely lost some of my athleticism over my three week hiatus. Activities that should have been easy weren't so easy at all. It'll take a week or two, but I'll bounce back. I'm not looking forward to strength training today. I have a feeling I'll be exposed as a weakling. At least there won't be anyone around to watch.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Monday Weigh In

I'll be without internet tomorrow and for the next few days, infact. So, I thought I'd get a jump on the Monday weigh in.

Once again, I am without a scale. What a shame.

The food in Italy is WONDERFUL. I wish I had come to Rome for the sole purpose of eating, but I feel compelled to see the sights. As a result I have done a lot of eating AND a lot of walking.

What has everyone else been up to this week?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday Weigh In

It's Monday Weigh In time again. I weigh 65 stone....whatever that means, lol. I haven't weighed myself, but I'm pretty sure I'm down about 12 lbs this week.

I had half a Galaxy cookie crumb bar for breakfast, yum.

Yesterday I ran the Bupa Great Edinburgh Run. I managed to actually RUN the whole thing...I've never run 10 km before and I didn't think I'd pull it off this time, so I was pretty proud of myself. I got a shirt and a medal out of it, and they were giving out FREE Powerade!!!
How did you do this week?