Family Dinner

I have always been a fan of food. I like good food, I have begun to realize that what I like more than just good food is making and/or eating good food with good people.

I don’t really like eating when it’s just me. When alone, eating becomes just another function necessary to maintain quality of life. Kind of like brushing your teeth or taking a shower.

As a kid, mealtimes were always a production, and one that I hated being around for. Arguing over portions, fighting about who got to sit next to who, and other various things often made daily meals less than pleasant.

Now that I’m grown, I love making meals with friends and family.  I love planning dinner parties and get-togethers.  Even when I’ve been dirt poor, I’ve managed to throw together some pretty fantastic meals with some amazing friends.  I like the “throw open the cupboards and see what we can put together and call a meal” game.   Some of my best (and worst) recipes have been borne of those situations.

On Friday I went to Olive Garden with my sister, her husband, and some other friends.  My sister ordered their Steak Gorgonzola-Alfredo.  Yesterday as we were planning meals for the week, she decided she wanted to re-create her meal from the evening before. Since it turned out so well, I thought I’d share the victory with all of you.  I would also encourage everyone to plan a dinner party.   Have friends and family  over, make food together, eat together, and clean together. You’ll go home with good memories, a full and satisfied palate, and a happy pocket book to boot.

AND… make family dinner a priority.  The WHOLE meal.  It is hard to hate someone that you have to wash dishes with.

The Steak Gorgonzola-Alfredo Success

As a comparison I thought I’d include the photo and description from the Olive Garden website.  (Did you know they have recipes there!?)

Grilled beef medallions drizzled with balsamic glaze, served over fettuccine tossed with spinach and gorgonzola-alfredo sauce.

This is a bit of an involved meal, but the time spent is SO worth the finished product.  Here’s what we did.

1 London Broil cut into smaller pieces. (Meat aficionados will have our heads for that, but it was on sale.)  Marinate your steak for at least an hour in a mixture of Italian Dressing, Lemon Juice, and Rosemary (fresh if you have it.)  I’d do about 1.5 cups of dressing and 1-2 tablespoons each of the lemon juice and rosemary.  Cook the meat on a grill or in the oven to desired temperature. We baked ours in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, turning the meat once.

Boil 1lb fettuccine noodles.

You’ll add a balsamic glaze over the finished product. We used a 1/4 cup of vinegar and 1 tsp of sugar and let it reduce over low heat.

For your Alfredo sauce, start with 1 stick of real butter. Melt this in a sauce pan and add 1/2 a cup of cream or whole milk. Grate or add in about 8 0z of Parmesan  cheese.  Add more milk as needed to maintain a thinner consistency.  Add in 3 oz of Gorgonzola crumbles. Keep stirring the mixture to keep a smooth texture. Once the cheese has melted, add about 4 cups finely chopped spinach.  (We just grabbed a good sized bunch from the store)  Unless you’re working in a good sized pot, you’ll have to add it a cup-full at a time. Once the spinach has reduced into the sauce, add salt and pepper to taste and then toss the noodles in the sauce.

Place the pasta on a plate, and place some meat on top. Drizzle the glaze over the meat and garnish with fresh grated Parmesan.

The broccoli on the side  is a specialty of Pete’s. He sautes the broccoli in a bit of olive oil until just barely brown and then adds a little water and covers the pan for a couple of minutes, steaming the crowns until they’re not quite al-dente. Usually he just adds a bit of salt but tonight he tossed it with a bit of balsamic vinegar and it was soooo tasty!

Bon Appetit!

The Big Picture

The Big Piture

Up Close and Yummy

Up Close and Yummy

Family... Isn't it about.... Time?

Family, isn't it about.... Time?

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Nike

I had a conversation with my 9 year old sister the other day, at the request of my mom. Evidently she had a 2 page research paper that was due in a couple of days and she didn’t want to do the research or write the paper at home because “we work on it in school.”

Keep in mind that it has been MANY years since I’ve been anything close to a dedicated academic student. Life student, sure. I’m one of those every day, but in high school and college I was a bit lax in my studies (on a good day).

So, in my role as older sister, example, and the one who isn’t Mom, I got on the phone and started asking her questions about the report and why she didn’t want to do it.

She was being asked to do research on a historical topic that she had NO interest in. In a moment of pure inspiration I told her that it would be better for her to just listen to Mom and get the research done. Once the research was done she could write the paper and turn it in early to have the teacher review it and give her some extra help.  That way for the next 2 days before the paper was due, she wouldn’t have to think about it at all. She’d have the paper done. “Just do it, Eme, and you won’t have to think about it again.”

It all made sense as I was explaining this to my little sister, but I realized that I never take that advice when it comes to my own projects.  I am a professional procrastinator. If I think it will be difficult, lengthy, and uninteresting I will put it off until the absolute last minute.

Why do I follow this pattern? I find myself wishing that I had an older sibling who could have told me to “just do it.”

Nike was the winged Greek goddess of victory and daughter of Styx. She rose, along with her siblings Zelos, Kratos, and Bia, to the aid of Zeus during the Titan war.  Nike became Zeus’ charioteer while her siblings stood sentinel next to the god.

 

Nike and Quadriga Chariot (c. 5th Century B.C.)

 

If I were Nike, I can imagine that I’d be terrified of the task before me. Not too many months ago I might have exclaimed, “Drive who!? Into WHAT!? No way man, I don’t think so!”

No matter what the specific Titan may be (laundry, dishes, finding a job, or going back to school), my response has taken a more positive turn. “Absolutely. Why should I fear and shirk when I have God standing next to me and angels protecting my way?! I may be in the driver’s seat, but He is right there. Fighting all the time!”

Just Do It.

Once I have done my part, I don’t have to think about it any more. My Savior makes up for the rest.

So Much Color

This is a test post… My Cousin, Koji, works closely with Invisible Children to promote awareness of horrible situations that African children are forced into. I attended a show tonight for Invisible Children hosted by What Uganda Do. It was a great show! I am so grateful for all that Koji and his friends are doing to help! This is a video of Koji from a Rock Uganda event last July, singing Spring Song.