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Dinner Party Diaries – The Annual Christmas Party

 I cannot help but think each year our annual Christmas party just gets better and better. Just when I think we can't top the year before, we do.Our 2007 annual Christmas party was a success with great food, even better friends and lots of laughs! To catch you up, I am turning to my Pamela Barsky Dinner Party Journal to give you the recap. (If you entertain a lot and don't have one of these journals, get one!! They are great!) The Occasion: Our annual holiday party with my original M.O.M.S groupGuests: Sara, Mark H, Kathy, Mark D, Bobby, Joanna, Tina, Dave, Nick and ICocktails / Wine: I didn't even keep track this year, but I can tell you I didn't have one bad glass of wine. They were all really good. I now wish I would have kept track!Menu:  Appetizers - Stuffed mushrooms, shrimp cocktailMain Course - Delicious salad brought by Mark H, Rosemary Clover Leaf Rolls (remember these tasty gems?), My famous Buttered Carrots, Tina's delicious potatoes au gratin, Crab Cakes with Lemon Garlic Aioli, Cedar Plank SalmonDesserts - Kathy's amazing Red Velvet Cherry Chocolate TorteMemorable Outfits: Everyone looked great and no one got made fun of like last year :)Memorable Moments/Conversations (too many to recount all of them!):Well, our oven catching on fire stands out as a big one! Nick was making the second salmon and since the weather was so bad, we had to change plans and he had to make the cedar plank salmon in the oven. He prepped the boards and made the … [Continue reading]

Grateful in Blogland

 New bloggers and veteran bloggers...there is still time to sign up for the Adopt-A-Blogger event! Click on the adopt-a-blogger icon above to participate. It was the summer of 2006 and some of my girlfriends and I were sitting around chatting when the topic of blogging came up. Among the six of us, not a single one of us had ever blogged. We just did not understand the point of blogging, and who has time for silly stuff like that anyway? Fast forward to November 26th, 2006... the day that I wrote my very first blog entry here at Dine and Dish.  I wrote in a post a few days ago about why I initially started the blog. Since that day, my reasons for continuing to blog have stayed the same... to stay connected, to have an outlet to express myself, and for the pure enjoyment of it.  I have been amazed over the past year the number of connections I have made through my blog. Some of these connections have lead to non food related paid writing and photography gigs. Some of these connections are long lost family friends who somehow stumbled upon the blog and put two and two together and discovered who I was. Some of these connections have come in the form of new friendships... both online and local.   One example of the greatness of food bloggers comes in the form of "recipe rescue". At one point in time I was looking for a really great pizza crust recipe. Several of you responded with a plethora of tried and true recipes to choose from. Claire was the … [Continue reading]

Modesty

  First of all, there are only a few more days to sign up for the "Adopt-a-Blogger" event. Click on the icon above to be directed to that post. We need some more veteran bloggers, so don't be shy and sign up!My husband and I celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary last week. We were married on November 19, 1999 and have been going strong ever since. Nick spoils me rotten, is a fantastic husband in each and every way, and is one of the best father's I know. He works extremely hard, is very good at what he does, and is a smart, intelligent, caring, thoughtful man. I am very lucky!As I was reflecting back on the past 8 years, I started thinking about our marriage and the boundaries that have been set.  There are things I have never done in front of my husband. Some things, I just think, are better left not shared between couples. One of those things is using the bathroom. I have never been one to be able to pee with the door wide open while chatting with others. I can't think of anything more awkward than that! I also do not floss my teeth in front of him and I don't shave my legs / underarms in front of him. I figure that in some situations, a little modesty never hurt anyone. (I know that modesty went completely out the window after my first baby was born and after a very difficult birth, my hubby had to help me and my big, fat, bloated mess, take a shower....I an only hope that memory isn't frozen firmly in his mind!)Modesty when eating is another … [Continue reading]

A Flood of Memories

 One of my fondest memories from growing up was the whole process of choosing and decorating the Christmas tree. If my memory serves me correctly, we would always go out to a Christmas tree farm. I vaguely remember my sister Kathy always getting the final say on which Christmas tree we got to bring home. She had very specific requirements. I was more interested in hanging out in the tree farm kiddie house and drinking hot chocolate. Even then, I was not fond of the cold weather. I always wanted to get the poor, lonely Charlie Brown trees anyway so it was probably better that Kathy got to take the lead on that. The first house that I lived in growing up was what we refer to now as the house on 30th Drive. I lived there from birth until we moved when I was in 2nd grade. I have very strong memories of the Christmas season at that house. I don't know why my memories were stronger there than any of the other houses we lived in, but when it comes to Christmas, the moments spent at that house are vivid in my mind.Tonight, as we were putting up the tree, Kelly begged to put the star up on the top. We don't use a star... I haven't found the perfect star tree topper yet, so for now we use a huge bow. As Nick lifted her up to place the bow on top of the tree, memories flooded back to me of those times on 30th drive. My sister and I would alternate years of who got to put the star on the tree. Being fairly close in age, and now being a mother and assuming that we were both whining … [Continue reading]

Soup Convert

 I have never considered myself to be a soup person. Given the option of soup or salad, salad would always be my choice. Soup seemed like a side item...not something that could be used for the main course. Well, I was not a soup person and now I know why. I was not eating the right soups. Over the years I have been introduced to various soups that have made my monthly menu more than once. I now have, in my repertoire, a great chicken noodle soup, an even better loaded baked potato soup, a delicious chicken chili, and now...the soup that I made last night and could probably happily eat every day for the rest of my life.The Zippy Chicken Mushroom soup is another winner from the October/November 2007 issue of Taste of Home magazine. This soup is hearty enough to star as the main course. The hot sauce and white pepper add just enough zip to give the soup a tiny kick, but not so much that the kids will think it is too spicy.If you are not a soup person, take it from me... you are not eating the right soups. Give this soup a try and I promise you will be a soup convert.Recipe modified from the Oct/Nov 2007 issue of Taste of Home magazine. Zippy Chicken Mushroom Soup 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped1/4 cup each chopped onion, celery and carrot1 can of whole kernel sweet corn, drained1/4 cup butter, cubed1/2 cup all-purpose flour5-1/2 cups chicken broth1 teaspoon pepper1/2 teaspoon white pepper1/4 teaspoon dried thymePinch dried tarragon1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce3 cups … [Continue reading]