Thanksgiving, 2010

Our good friends, Eileen and Jim, were up in the Bay Area to visit family for Thanksgiving. They stopped by for dinner and an overnight and we spent some time catching up. Towards the end of the evening, we watched a dancing program which will remain nameless. We wanted to see if there was a right-wing dancing conspiracy. Luckily, there was not. But seriously, it’s enough to put one to sleep (or almost) as the picture shows.

Jim and Eileen
Sleep inducing TV for Eileen and Jim

The rest of the post will be about Thanksgiving. When choosing who would have Thanksgiving this year, Ryan decided to leave it up to Nathan. Nathan thought staying at home would be great so for the first time in 17 or 18 years I did not host Thanksgiving. It certainly made Thanksgiving a breeze for me. Cook a few dishes, arrive on time and my responsibilities were done. Ryan and Jon did a great job and the dinner turned out really well. We had butterflied turkey with sausage stuffing and gravy, mashed potatoes, rutabagas, roasted creamed onions, green beans with bacon and almonds, chipotle sweet potato gratin, death by broccoli, cranberry sauce, homemade rolls and Indian pudding. It was fabulous. Here are some pictures from the great event.

Around the Thanksgiving table
Around the Thanksgiving table

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My favorite children

Nathan, Ryan, Sam and Leigh
Nathan, Ryan, Sam and Leigh

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Brotherly and sisterly love

Best Thanksgiving friends
Huggable John

November 12-13, 2010 Visit to St. George

I’ve been a bit derelict in finishing up my posts on Jonathan’s visit to St. George.

Photo 2 - 2010-11-27
House at Entrada

Needless to say we played some more tennis. We ate another lunch at the Mongolian Barbecue. Driving the new car home was a lot of fun and we made it in record time. We are hoping that we will be able to make this trip a yearly event.

November 11, 2010 Visit to St. George

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures today. Guys went out and played golf. I went to the store for vittles (in my new car!) I made JonSauce. JonSauce is a spaghetti sauce with sausage and mushrooms in it. I figured that he’d like it. We had it with bucatini, a weird pasta that looks like a fat spaghetti except it has a hole in the middle. I also made shrimp cocktail with chipotle cocktail sauce. This is due to the fact that I was unable to find horseradish as I mentioned in a previous entry. There are three major grocery stores in St. George plus The Three Amigos and Dixie Nutrition. So it is kind of like a treasure hunt when you want to find an ingredient that St. Georgans find a little off the beaten path. But I digress. What else did we do on this day without pictures? Jon and I took a ride in the NEW car. We watched tennis. The Paris Masters is on. Roger Federer continues to do well. I am happy about that. The end.

November 10, 2010 Visit to St. George

When we got up this morning it was cold. I mean in the 30’s. We don’t experience much cold weather like this in California so we were a little wimped out. However, tennis was on the schedule and tennis it would be. So after waiting until it got to almost 50 we ventured out.

Chilly day
Chilly morning at the courts

Jonathan was in good form. He hits a very hard topspin forehand. And he, being a youngster, gets to every ball we hit!

The windup
Jonathan waiting for a forehand

John and I are a little slower, well, a lot slower. John’s hip is slowing him down although he still looks great hitting his shots. I look like the Michelin man in a tennis skirt so I decided not to post any pictures of me.

Backhand
Backhand

We played for about two hours. We don’t play games since we enjoy hitting around much more. That way nobody gets upset by less than stellar play and we get much more practice.

No hard feelings, Dad
No hard feelings, Dad!

Let’s see what else did we do yesterday. Went to the store. Made a great risotto. And, bought a new car! Yay! for new cars. Jonathan has really been a help this week comparing models and prices on line. He decided that we would really like a Nissan Murano but we hadn’t been able to find one. Yesterday he located a 2010 Murano at a nearby dealership and veni, vidi, vici! I am very excited since it has been a long time since a new car and I have the Clark “new car” gene. My sister and I are always plotting and planning the next purchase. I guess I’ll have to wait another 7 to 10 years for another new car, but I am not thinking about that today!

NEW CAR!!!
NEW CAR!!!

November 9, 2010 Visit to St. George

Today is another golf day. But, uh oh, Jon either has to wash and rewear his golfing clothes or get some new ones. Luckily we took care of new clothes yesterday when we were shopping. There were some excellent sales. However, the shirts in the store did not seem as bright as they do here today. The green is quite vibrant. We are wondering what the purple one will look like.

Green!
Green!

After the guys got back from golf, off we go for round two of looking for a car. You would think that we would be able to find actual cars to look at but, no. There are no luxury brand dealerships at all. There are very few cars that we want to look at. No Muranos, one Santa Fe Hyundai, one Mazda CX7. It must be that all the dealerships are afraid of ordering anything that they might have to keep in inventory. After a discouraging few hours, we decide to pull the plug and go grocery shopping. Of course, much like cars in St. George, you can’t always get what you want. For instance, horseradish. We decided to go with a traditionale dinner tonight.

Pasta con polpettini e broccoli
Pasta con polpettini e broccoli

Actually, it’s just Jonathan’s favorite meal in the whole world, noodles with meatballs and gravy. To make it absolutely perfect we needed to get green beans, but the green beans were looking pretty sad. However, Jonathan looks pretty happy.

Always a 5
Always a 5

November 8, 2010 Visit to St. George

Today we had a lot of plans. First up was a lesson from the tennis pro here at the club. Then there was shopping to do and then maybe look at some new cars. But, you know what they say, the best plans are, are, something… which means it doesn’t always work out. It was not raining today but it was very windy and the tennis lesson was called off. No matter, we would find other things to do. We decided to go over to TJ Maxx and the Zion shops in search of a Le Crueset pot. In fact, the very Pot-opotomus we have at home. Success! We find the pot and a bunch of potential Christmas presents for Nathan and Sam. Then it was off to the Zion Shops (discount mall) and the first thing on the agenda was lunch at the Mongolian BBQ.

Mongolian cooking
Cooking at the Mongolian BBQ

We really think that the Mongolian BBQ is the best place to eat in St. George. Jonathan agrees. It totally follows Utah Rules – first, you get to pick out your own fresh ingredients; next you personally decide how to season them; third, they are cooked right in front of you with no embellishments; and then you eat it. They have three sizes, the Little Khan, the Mighty Khan and the Barbarian. We always go for the Mighty Khan.

Mighty Khan
Mighty Khan

Here’s a picture of John and Jon waiting for their Mongolian bowl of goodness.

John and Jon at the "Q"
John and Jon at the “Q”

After lunch Jon bought some more golfing outfits and then we stopped at the store for dinner ingredients. Tonight’s dinner is basically from Lazio (Rome’s area) with some beans from Tuscany. It turned out pretty well and we gave it a “4.”

Pork saltimbocca with cannellini beans
Pork saltimbocca with cannellini beans

We couldn’t find veal so we substituted pork and we used a no soak version of the beans. We brought some sage from our herbs at home and enhanced the flavor of the beans with some salt pork. Got to say, though, the best part of dinner was the pan sauce that John made after cooking the pork cutlets.

We are hoping for less rainy/blustery weather tomorrow.

November 7, 2010 A visit to St. George with Jonathan

On Saturday, November 6, John, Jonathan and I left Pleasanton at 6:30 AM for a road trip to St. George, UT. I brought along my “Trip Tickles,” a compendium of fascinating factoids along the seemingly endless route to St. George. John drove the first leg to Santa Nella (not named after a saint but rather after the Spanish word for sentinal, sentinela) and then we stuck Jonathan with the long trip down I-5 to Lost Hills (the last place that James Dean stopped before his fatal crash.) John took over at this point and due to some car trouble ending up driving the rest of the way to St. George.

Today John and Jonathan went out to play golf. Here’s Jon at the course.

Jon and scenery
Jon the Golfer

Jonathan was the winner of the day. It appears that John found the rough quite rough.

Uh oh
Uh oh

Later we went to the store for the ingredients for tonight’s dinner. We decided to theme our dinners after the different regions in Italy. Last night we had pasta with a Bolognese sauce. Tonight we decided to try dishes from around Venice. Unfortunately, neither dinner scored higher than a 3 on a scale of 0-5.

Men at WorkJon in the kitchen
Appetizer time

Our first course for our Veneto dinner was Funghi Misti with Puntarelle. It was pretty good.

Funghi Misti with Puntarelle

The second dish, Sweet Shrimp with Soft Polenta, missed the mark because Mario Batali told us to make the polenta in a 6:1 ratio and it came out like soup. We all thought the shrimp was quite good. Tomorrow night we try a new region, I am hoping that we score better.

Sweet shrimp with soft polenta

October 31, 2010 Halloween

On Halloween, we went over to visit Sam and Nathan in the morning. I figured it would be a good time to give them Halloween treats and see them in their costumes. I went in costume as well. I decided to dress up as The Inspector, a heavy equipment yard inspector that figures large in my pretend games with Nathan. I knocked on their door and when Jonathan came to the door I shouted, “Where’s the guy with the trucks?!” And although I think Nathan knew it was me, his eyes were all aglow when he first saw me in my fake glasses, moustache and cap. I also had on an official Inspector badge.

The Inspector and Nathan
Beeba the Inspector and Nathan

Nathan was willing to show us his costume. Sam not so much. Sam dressed as a skeleton and Nathan was a bucket truck. His bucket arm was a great way to capture Halloween loot.

Nathan the Bucket Truck
Nathan the Bucket Truck

We had a good time visiting and the kids enjoyed the treats we brought them.