We will be out of the office for the next several days due to a death in the family. We won't be able to respond to any emails or phone calls during this time. We tried to get in touch with everybody we had scheduled for the next few days, but we just wanted to put it up here in case we missed somebody.
Thank you so much for understanding. And if you pray, we ask that you pray for my mom as she's going through this terrible time.
The steam rose up from our Kenmore four-burner range. It swirled around us and hung thick in the air, taking audience with the goings on below. The stove was a veritable battleground, lined with the gallant calvary and dueling sides of a pre-wedding cookware. There were battle scars to be sure, these soldiers worn & weary. But here on this battlefield that stretched out before them, they summoned the courage to make one more stand. To fight the good fight . And wage just one more battle. It was North vs. South. His vs. Hers. Calphalon vs. Circulon.
And it wasn't going to be pretty.
The Calphalon wok stared down the Circulon sauce pan and dared it to bubble over. The Circulon cooker, in turn, boiled and hissed its outrage at the insult to honor and decency. Both sides were poised in fits of rage. And I....well I proudly wore the hat of General and called upon my troops to rally on. I barked the orders and strategized the plan of attack. The timeline would be crucial if success was to be the outcome. I sent in scouts and padded the front lines of defense. I was a master at delegating and keeping up morale. The battle was long. And at often times uncertain. It wasn't always clear which way we should go. There were loyalties to be considered and sacrifices to be made. But in the end... the hard-fought, glory-ridden end...victory was ours.
And it tasted so sweet. :)
What can I say? I am famous for my cooking abilities in the kitchen. No wait, not famous...better than that. I'm INFAMOUS for my cooking abilities in the kitchen. And the reason for that just happens to be that my best cooking skill in the kitchen is talking OTHER people into doing the cooking FOR me. See, it starts all subtly and stealth like. First, I ask them to hand me a cutting board. A simple little cutting board. And then and oh by the way since they're SO much closer to the (dueling) knife sets and all, would they mind just going ahead and chopping this one little itty bitty thing for me. And then while I run and go find us some music to put on and pour us a glass of wine, perhaps they could just ever-so-slightly stir that sauce that's just sittin' right there. Pretty please. Sugar on top.
And just like that, they have no idea what hit 'em.
And victory is mine!
Such was the case last night as I hosted Justin, Joey and (our Hallmark Assistant for the day) Malori, to a three course meal. See now, notice how there are the exact same number of guests as there are courses? See how that works? Strategery my friends.
And so it is that I've discovered what it is to be a great cook. It is to find yourself a Food Network. That is, a network of people who love you just enough to do all the cooking for you. And then let you take all the credit for it.
So there you go....just one more of life's many many mysteries solved on the Justin & Mary blog. :) Stay tuned next week for my thoughts on house cleaning.
AND since they did all the hard work, I thought the least I could do was post for your viewing pleasure the recipes they works so diligently to create:
For starters we had olive tapenade and bruschetta:
Olive Tapenade In a food processor mix one part pine nuts with two parts green olives, two cloves of garlic and olive oil. Serve immediately on sliced baguette. Seriously, you can't eat this stuff fast enough.
Bruschetta Saute one to two chopped tomatoes with three chopped cloves of garlic and some olive oil until it smells fantastic. Serve over toasted baguette and sliced mozarella.
And then it was on to the salad and pasta dish:
Mary's Signature Salad One package Spring Mix Greens, one each of sliced pear, apple, avocado, and half a bag of dried cranberries. Crumbled blue cheese. Raspberry vinaigrette. Voila!
Spinach and White Bean Pasta In a wok, saute spinach until it's all gross looking. Then add one can of white beans, juice included. Simmer down now. For the last two minute or so, add in a good helping of walnuts. While all that's happening boil up a box of your favorite wheat or plus pasta. Drain pasta. Mix in good stuff. Sprinkle with goat's cheese. It rocks!
And for the dessert, the crowning glory:
Chocolate Sin Delight One chocolate short cake (pre-made...hey I don't got all day) topped with fresh sliced strawberries and chocolate chunk gelato.
Mix in a wine of choice. Good friends. Crazy good laughs. And I'd say the recipe is just about complete. And may you always live a life that is as full as our tummies were last night!
And now, we're off to dinner with our good friends the Bragas. Because I've discovered it's ALSO really important to have amazing people like them in your food network who understand the value of just going out every now and then for some really good sushi!
It's taken us a little while to get caught up after a weekend off, but it was SO worth it. We all need days like that to rest and recharge and quiet our minds. So if it's been too long since you had a day like that, if every phone call or email makes you want to pull your hair out til you end up looking like an einstein version of yourself....then give yourself the time. You'll be the better for it and so will your business.
Today I'm especially loving this song. Not only because it is country music (and you KNOW how I love me some country music), but because it reminds me to find a quiet within the storm. So this one is dedicated to my Justin. Because he is my peace, my quiet, my soft place to land....and he will always be the one I run to.
Justin & I are taking off for two much deserved (if I do say so myself) days of R&R in the Berkshires with our friends the Herzbergers. We will not be answering phones, checking email, or otherwise working in any way AT ALL. So there! :)
But we couldn't leave without giving you a lil' Friday chuckle to start your weekend and a sneak peak of what's heatin' up on the back burner. It's coming, ohhh YES it is....so be prepared!
LOL, check out this guy! Hey, I don't blame him....Allison is H.O.T!! I'd stare too! :)
Married: Abby & Ryan at The Branford House (Part II)
And now....the rest of the story! :)
**Special thanks to the amazing Erik Maziarz for coming out to rock this wedding with us!
Super heroes! I was hanging out with the guys...
when this little one came wandering through!
In case you haven't noticed....the flowers ROCKED!
Justin spent some time hanging with the ladies
And then we got Abby & Ryan all to ourselves!
Don't just stand there, bust a move!
LOVE this one! I grabbed this one and the next two.(Shot them all with the 50 1.4 which is my new FAVORITE lens!!)
And Justin saw this!
Justin grabbed Abby for some shots by herself on the veranda (that's just a fun word to say....veranda!)
And then it was first dance time! LOVE the expressions on the bridal party in the background. This bridal party ROCKED!
C'mon how cute is she?!
I grabbed this one from the balcony and just caught Justin's flash. Makes for a pretty cool Old Hollywood look I think!
The toasts were hilarious!
And the cake was gorgeous (ummm AND delicious! Special thanks to Cloud 9 Catering who was AWESOME and took such great care of us all night! Thank you so much for always making sure that we were fed and had everything we needed! That really makes all the difference!)
LOVE this moment Justin grabbed of Abby & her dad!