Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Culinary Work-In-Progress

My family is finally realizing - I ROCK IN THE KITCHEN!

Tonight I made a kick-ass Turkey Pot Pie.

My brother-in-law has never had a pot pie before. Not chicken. Not beef. In fact, he's never had anything that combines meat and pastry.

I know, it's tragic!

But he ate my Turkey Pot Pie. Two Slices. And loved them both.

I feel it's a great accomplishment. He's a very picky eater. So this accomplishment feels almost as great to me as I felt when I built an awesome pirate ship complete with dual functioning cannons and a periscope for my nephew.

Almost. It could've been a bigger one, I suppose... Except my nephew's face when I showed him how the cannons worked was priceless.

So yes, that wins.

Uncle Nano - 1. Chef Spenc - a close second!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Somehow We've Made It Through

I feel like I can finally say, without fear of the words coming to bite me in the ass, that the worst is over. The big parties are nothing but rooms of tissue paper, dirty champagne glasses, and little christmas trinkets whose origins are still unclear.

It is now, dare I say, time for vaca!

Today was the big day - the first ever Annual K. Family Party held at my sister's home. And it was wonderful. Truly.

It started of course with our own gift exchange. And by "we" I mean myself, mom and dad (visiting from Utah), my sister and her husband, and my freaking amazing nephew. I actually slept last night so I was more than happy to actually crawl out this morning when Jack was sent to fetch his Nano for Presents Time.

All of the gifts I gave were well chosen and all were well-received. I think the winner for the season is my eldest sister, Ann. She gave Jack one of those old school Cozy Coupes, and it was all over after that was opened! We couldn't get his attention back to save his life!

I got quite a few great things, but I'm not supposed to say anything about them. My older sister is apparently getting something similar to what I got - so mum's the word! She isn't getting hers of course until my parents and I are back in Utah on Sunday. Christmas Number 2 will be much more low-key.

Around 1:00 pm, the rest of the K. Family clan rolled in. Papa, Grandmummy, DJ, Jo, and KT. That was the start of Gift Exchange the Sequel. Again, lots of great stuff - including a gorgeous houndstooth cashmere scarf from Lord & Taylor, and figure skates! I know - so gay, but I love it. I've never owned my own pair and I'm eph-ing excited!!!

The entirety of the K. Family (extended aunts/uncles, etc.) were scheduled to arrive for a formal dinner at three. My sister and I planned a wonderful menu...

She did her popular Citrus Turkey, which was particularly moist and well-done this evening. I did a new recipe that was the HIT of the meal - it was a glazed ham recipe that Guy Fieri had featured on a holiday special. And seriously, it was AMAZING. I also did Bread Wreath's - something that Sandra Lee had suggested, I adapted, and served with a smile. My sister did a Roasted Chestnut Risotto that was delicious. Jo brought her (sinful) scalloped potatoes au gratin. Grandmummy showed up with some steamed asparagus with a Lemon Hollandaise Vinaigrette that was out of this world...

Ya'll know home much I love food. Well long story short - this dinner was HEAVEN.

Post dinner involved much drinking, and a hilarious Yankee Swap. The swap was especially wonderful this year - courtesy of B. His family is in Ohio, so I invited him to spend the day with us. His first present ended up being a make-up case, which was pretty funny. But the second gift he picked was a family photo from the summer on the beach. EVERYONE from the party, minus my parents and B himself, were in it. And he picked it. HILARIOUS. Seriously, it's nights like this that I am SO grateful to have such an amazing friend in my life. Hey Lady! :)

So post party we've been vegging, explaining SATC to my father, and prepping for tomorrow. And by "prepping" I do mean "sitting around talking about prepping".

So that's it. It's done. The stress level can now peacefully resume it's zero status. It was a crazy couple of days, but well worth it!

Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope your holidays were full of smiles and food and love. And gifts. After all, even baby Jesus got gifts - so it's okay for that to be a highlight... right?

Sending out all my Love and Best Wishes -

Monday, December 24, 2007

"Spencer?" .... "Here."

It is, right this second, 6:30 a.m. on Christmas Eve morning.

And I am awake.

What is it about the holidays that bring out the worst in an insomniac? And is it just me?? Is there anyone else out there so overwhelmed by the holiday bedazzlement that it goes beyond being tired to just being amicably present?

Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Holiday in Red

Christmas is around the corner. The Rockefeller Tree is lit, the first snows have fallen, and shopping in New York has become an act next to suicide. And I love this season. There are lots of great parties and needless celebrations, all because of one baby boy (or a bunch of Jew's low on oil, depending on which religious belief you subscribe to).

And as much as I love all the shiny happy people everywhere, this season there is something less cheerful to look forward to...

That's right kids! Guard your throats and don't shave too close...

I'm a big fan of musicals in general. I'm a big fan of movie musicals in general.

And THIS? Well, let me tell you...

I'm a huge Sondheim fan. HUGE. "Into The Woods" and "Company" are my two of my favorite pieces in Musical Theater. He also wrote some of the most brilliant musical numbers, like "Not A Day Goes By" and "Move On"!

Mix in a collaboration with the man who made "Edward Scissorhands", "Big Fish", "Beetlejuice", and the original "Batman" movie...

Throw a world famous A-List actor on the top...

And you're either walking into the best movie or the year, or the biggest let down.

A lot of what I've read has been mixed. Although, after a press screening a few weeks ago, there were quite a few positive things being said. Tom O'Neil and Jeff Wells both thought very highly of the film, both putting it in their contenders for best picture.
Who knows - I suppose it could be a major bust. I'll let you know on Friday!

"But Spencer, the movie doesn't come out until the 21st!"

Well, my friend had a plus one to a press screening, so I'll be seeing it on Thursday. Woo hoo! I kinda freaked out when he asked me to go - I don't think you understand how stoked I am about this film!
Like any musical, it won't be everyone's cup of tea.

But it sure is mine!

So here's to looking forward to something a little darker than 80 foot trees and mega-watt windows this holiday season!