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Archive for January, 2012

January

Sundays are for food, for family. Maybe for football. A few weekends ago, I was able to celebrate all three.

 

Can you see the resemblance? The birthday we were celebrating was that of my Gibby.

My Gibby is a pretty amazing gal. She was raised in Columbia, SC where she met my grandfather while he was serving in the military and stationed there. She ended up following him back to the ‘burgh and spending the rest of her life here. She raised five children here, which in turn provided her with eleven lovely grandchildren. She still speaks with a Southern accent and if you look closely at the picture, you can see her proudly displayed South Carolina palm tree necklace.

I have gotten so much from my Gibby – my love of the library, my fondness of gossip magazines, my yearly vacation to the South Carolina coast, my talkative nature, my inability to pass up a Reese’s peanut butter cup. Gibby will talk to anyone and listen to their story. She will also be sure to tell you some of her own stories. If you meet her, you will surely remember her.

To celebrate Gib’s big day this year, we had potato soup, vegetable soup, and chicken noodle soup – loaded up in crockpots lined up in the kitchen. To accompany the soups, I made this a-mazing cheese-bread. Ben’s mom made it over the Christmas holiday and I could not wait for a fitting occasion (ie, NOT just me Friday night dinner with Ben – its way too addicting for that) to try it out.

Cheese Bread

(based off Ben dictating his mom’s recipe to me via text message)

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf/boulle sourdough bread
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 heaping tablespoons minced onions
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon beau monde spice (found at Giant Eagle)
  • .5-.75 lb baby swiss cheese, grated

Directions:

  1. Slice loaf but not all the way through. You can also cut horizontally across the loaf (but not all the way through) to create a cross-hatch pattern on the bread.
  2. Mix all remaining ingredients together over low heat until butter is melted.
  3. Stuff grated cheese in between slices of bread
  4. Pour butter mixture over bread and in between slices.
  5. Loosely cover bread with foil and bake for about 45 minutes at 325. You can remove foil during last 10 minutes of cooking for extra crunch.

Note: This amount of butter and cheese works for a small/medium sized sourdough boulle. You could increase the butter to 1 cup and cheese to 1 lb for a larger sized loaf. I have now made this multiple times and various loaf sizes and I think this general rule should work! All other measurements can stay the same.

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Christmas 2011

What a lovely lovely holiday.

The week before Christmas I sent Ben off to California and prepared for my own Pittsburgh holidays. Every year, the traditions are the same – Christmas Eve party with my dad’s side of the family, Christmas morning with the immediate family, Christmas afternoon with my mom’s side of the family, and a quiet dinner with my dad’s parents.

My mom hosted the Christmas Eve party this year and put on quite a spread. Antipasto platters, fruits, dips, ham, cheesy potatoes.  I ate way too much of course. We also had a visit from Santa. This was the first year for that tradition and judging by the terrified faces of the little ones at the party, it may have been the last.

(They did eventually warm up when bribed by presents 😉 – see photo above)

Christmas Day was great. I was really struck by the time and energy that went into all the gifts I received. Every gift I received this holiday season was thoughtful and given with love. To any gift givers reading – thank you, thank you, thank you!

Early the morning after Christmas, I left on a plane for Sacramento! After a super long travel day, I arrived at Ben’s parents’ house. It was full of welcoming family and friends and I settled into a wonderful Chico visit. We spent time with Ben’s family, squeezed in some yoga and hiking, ate great food (seriously enjoyed the 5th Street Steakhouse), and relaxed.

We also managed to fit in a quick overnight trip to Lake Tahoe. Amazing.

Lake Tahoe was actually pretty much deviod of all natural snow. Too bad for the skiers, but not so bad for the sight-seers.  We saw Donner Lake and Emerald Bay and Heavenly Ski Resort and Feather Falls and Echo Lake. As we toured around, I realized this was my first visit to true mountainous terrain. I tried my best to capture the majesty of my surroundings via photos, but I am not sure I succeeded. Actually, I am not sure its possible.

After Tahoe, we drove back to Sacramento and spent New Year’s Eve at Ben’s sister’s home. Pretty tired and needing to pack for the long journey home, Ben and I opted out of a neighborhood party and spent the night eating snacks and drinking champagne. We rang in the New Year with the East Coast and went to sleep. Pretty tame but kind of just what we needed 😉

This holiday season was so full of genuine love and fun and happiness. I think my car incident last Christmas really clouded my enjoyment of the holiday. Although having my car broken into was a pretty small incident, it was a mini trauma that reminded me not to take things for granted. I cherished every moment of my lovely break and all the friends and family that made it special.

On to 2012!

Unfortunately, 2012 is going to kick off with some really long work weeks. The good news is that I still plan to eat 🙂 . I hope to be back soon with more foodie news.

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