Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Dinners

Happy Easter everyone! After a remarkably busy week I'm surprised to find myself sitting in my living room with my husband, sipping iced tea and checking our emails. I didn't expect to be this relaxed this soon! I'm glad I am though - I've only got a short break before another marathon week.
This week has actually been the week of food. My goodness there was a lot of food. It all started with Wednesday night when I was planning a tasting party at my house for a group of ladies I used to volunteer with. I had heard back from a couple of the ladies saying that they either would come or would try but I was nervous that perhaps no one would show up so I actually invited a few of my neighbours as well. Oh, and just so you know what I mean by 'tasting party', now that I've started selling Pampered Chef I will have to prepare some recipes at the cooking shows I do and since I have to use Pampered Chef recipes for those I've been making 4 or 5 of the recipes at a time and having people over to taste the food and let me know what they like and what they don't. This was supposed to be my second tasting party. I say 'supposed to' because, well, no one came. Not a one. It was 6:30 and my only for-sure cancelled and I had enough food for 20 people already made and not one person showed up. Mildly frustrating. Luckily I had planned all of the recipes to be fairly cheap so I hadn't spent a ton of money to put on the party, but that didn't help the fact that I now had a lot of food leftover and we were headed to Calgary the next day. However, I phoned my sister and she decided that we could just eat the food at her place the next evening for an impromptu appetizer party when Matt and I got to Calgary. Turns out, that was a pretty good idea! So Thursday afternoon Matt and I went to Calgary, we stopped off at Crossiron Mills and then went to my sister's place and ate a fantastic Crab Spread, some Apple Berry Salsa, and a Chocolate Chip Cannoli dip with fresh strawberries. My sister had also made a warm brie on top of that, so we all ate our fill (and alot of Crab Spread). That night, my sister and I also made soaps. In the April edition of Martha Stewart Living, there was a great article on making your own soaps using glycerin and pureed herbs or fruit. Neither of us had ever made soaps before but we gave it a try and it worked great! Super easy to make, super easy to clean up (it's soap - you just wash it off in hot water!) The next day I ended up back at my sister's house to make Easter Dinner for a small portion of our family: my parents, my sister's family and Matt and I. The time to cook one of my ducks had finally come. However, because not everyone likes duck we also decided to make up a chicken too. So at 1:30 I prepped the duck by cleaning, trimming, scoring and seasoning it and then I set it up on a veggie 'roasting rack', poured on a little white wine and put it in the oven. Next I prepped the chicken, which was going to be cooked on the BBQ. My sister had a Ricard's chicken roaster where you basically fill a stand with beer and seasoning, stick it up the butt of the chicken and set it on the BBQ like that. For dessert we made up a Glorious Mango Pudding with sweetened condensed milk, ricotta cheese, mangoes and lime juice and for the veggies we did green beans with caramelized shallots, steamed artichokes and potatoes wrapped in foil and roasted on the BBQ. There were a couple of hiccups with the meal prep (I forgot that the artichokes needed 30 minutes to steam, instead of 15, and then I forgot to check the water level and let the steam pot boil dry - whoops!) but we were all dishing up by 5:45. The duck was fantastic! So worth the wait! The chicken was really moist and didn't catch on fire (much to my mother's surprise). The veggies were all good, but the Mango Pudding was my favorite I think... and I don't even like mango! I meant to make up a second dessert (Martha's Little Lemon Souffles) but everyone ate so much dinner we didn't have room for more food! So instead my sister and I made more soaps!
Saturday morning we were going to a baby shower for my cousin and her new baby boy and I had pledged to make up 40 scones for the event. I have the world's greatest scone recipe which has a great make-ahead component, so when the time comes to bake them, all you do is add water and bake! The shower had so much great food (mini quiches, strawberry cream tarts, my scones were made into strawberry shortcakes) and then within a couple hours of the shower we went to Easter Dinner with the extended family! Today Matt and I came home in time to meet some of his family for lunch at a restaurant and then we had his sister and her husband over for supper - hamburgers, corn-on-the-cob and fruit with dip.
I'm very full :)
Now, this week coming up is a marathon week for multiple reasons. First off, our anniversary is on Tuesday (3 years!). Next, Gabe's birthday is on Wednesday (2 years!). We have doctor's appointments, meetings, deadlines and family gatherings all week long, including all of the work I have to do for a volunteer commitee I'm on and I've got a couple Pampered Chef shows I'm helping some friends plan. It's also my one month date since signing up with Pampered Chef this week and I'm hoping to meet a sales goal to get a bonus (I'm not sure about this one since my tasting party was a flop...)
It's definitely going to be a busy week! Good thing I've been fattened up for it, hey?

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

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