Wednesday, November 30, 2011

nostalgia wednesdays: sisterhood thanksgiving dinner

When I was a junior in college, my sorority did a "sisterhood Thanksgiving dinner" of sorts. Myself and one of the other executive board members were volunteered to do the cooking. Don't ask me how that happened, as we were some of the least domestically inclined girls in the group. Also don't ask me where we bought a frozen solid, fully cooked turkey. I honestly didn't know those existed. Point is, the odds were stacked against us here.

On top of all that, on the day of the Thanksgiving, she and I went in to the kitchen in the dorm, and realized the turkey was still frozen solid. We shared an "oh crap" look, and tried to attack the problem like the very analytical business majors that we both were. We came up blank. 

So we admitted defeat, and called the Butterball hotline. Yes, you read that right. Butterball has a hotline, and we called it. No shame here, people. The lady on the other end of the line laughed out loud at us, and informed us sympathetically that there wasn't much we could do at that point. So we cranked up the oven really high, wrapped the bird in foil, and cooked it for as long as we could before the dinner. Let's just say there wasn't a lot of turkey to eat...

I'm by no means making gourmet meals (or even regular meals sometimes...), but I've come so, so far since then. My diligence and skill still vary pretty wildly, but had you told me my junior year of college that I would recover from the sisterhood Thanksgiving disaster, and go on to serve Thanksgiving for several dozen in Italy, and prepare the entire meal for 25 friends here in DC, I'd have laughed at you while I was on hold with the Butterball hotline. 

I like looking back at those days, not just because they make me laugh at myself, but because they remind me that, for all the worrying I do about the future, I really have no idea what's to come. As much as I would've given you a skeptical look if you'd told me I would take up (and enjoy!) cooking, I'd have also never guessed I'd end up a) in DC, or b)in the line of work I'm in.  

And since that is far more cheeseball than I usually tolerate, I'm going to leave you with the promise of a couple good pumpkin recipes for the coming days!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

gratitude and glazed carrots

grateful for the countless lake house weekends when i was growing up
(slightly less grateful for these sunglasses...) 

I realize that both Friendsgiving and actual Thanksgiving have passed now, but it's still the season to be thankful if you ask me. Sometimes I forget just how good I have it, so I've been trying not to lose sight of that this year, even though things don't always go just as I'd like. 

I'm grateful for the big things, like my crazy family and their unyielding belief that I'm someone to be proud of, my amazing friends and their consistent grace in the face of my many quirks,  my childhood full of weekends at the lake house, my comfortable (if small) apartment, my (relatively) stable job, and the freedom and means to do what I please most of the time. 

I'm also thankful for silly little things, like the Bose noise cancelling headphones my Mom decided she didn't need, my bright pink rain boots, the holiday parties that give me an excuse to dress up this season, pictures of my sister and I from when we were younger that make me laugh, the Starbucks solo espresso macchiatos that remind me of Italy, the days I don't have to set an alarm clock, and the realization about a year ago that I can actually cook for myself if I put my mind to it. 

That last one is what brings us to the glazed carrots bit. A couple weeks ago, I was supposed to have plans with a friend, but bowed out last minute (see: their grace in the face of my quirks). I was so exhausted from one of the innumerable pre-7am meetings we have here at work, and just wanted to go home. I was headed for a night of cereal and soy milk, but my guilt complex kicked in, and instead I made garlic naan (from Trader Joe's, so good!), roasted potatoes tossed with this Moroccan spice mix and some olive oil, and these curried glazed carrots (both recipes from a favorite of mine, Dinner a Love Story). 

It involved only a tiny bit more effort than pouring myself cereal and milk, and was far more satisfying. I'm thankful that those sort of choices are becoming more normal in my life. It gives me hope that maybe some day I'll actually be capable of turning out edible dinners on a regular basis for my future family. Now I just need to work on more internet-worthy pictures...

ps-I've been adding any referenced recipes to the "LKTC-tested recipes" tab at the top of the main page, including those we used at Friendsgiving, even though I haven't detailed that adventure yet, so if you're looking for a comprehensive list, head over that way. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

nostalgia wednesdays: the OBKB lodge

one of my favorite pictures EVER from the early days at the lake
(no clue what we were doing!) 

Since I was incubating, my family has had a lake place, fondly referred to as the OBKB Lodge. My mom was about my age when she and my dad went in with her brother and their parents on a "weekend place" in south Georgia. Now that I am that age, it boggles my mind to think of being a)married, b)pregnant, and c)a dual homeowner. I can barely afford ONE place right now, not to mention two. And don't even get me started on the whole married/pregnant thing. Let's just say that's a heck of a long way off.

But I'm so glad that somehow my parents had it way more together than I do at this age, because the lake house has become the crux of our family gatherings for decades. When my sister and I were little, and our family still lived in Georgia, we'd be down here every weekend with our cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. Now, it's become more of a compound than just a lake house, since my grandparents built their own place next door to the original lake house and retired here a few years ago, and my mom's second brother and his wife moved down here full time, too.

Every time we come to the lake, and turn in to the neighborhood where our house is, I remember how my sister and I would be SO EXCITED that we were finally allowed to take our seat belts off for the last mile to the house. The weekends were always a blur of my grandma's great cooking, endless hours swimming in the lake, and the cousins always getting in trouble for staying up late talking in the room where we shared a set of bunk beds. 

We've long since graduated from wearing swimmies and playing with American Girl dolls, but we still come back here at least a few times a year for the big holidays. Our already big family is slowly expanding, but it seems like yesterday that we would squeal as my (now-married) cousin Matt would grab mud off the floor of the lake and hurl it at the girls.  

Although our lives have all changed one way or another since the OBKB Lodge was first built, it is still a place of spotty (at best) cell phone service and minimal internet connectivity (aka a slow connection at my grandparents' house, next door to the lodge). When you come to the lodge, you eat, you sleep, and you talk. While that used to drive me a bit crazy, I've become so much more thankful for the chance to check out and relax since I moved to DC.

Anyways, I'm on dinner duty tonight, and I have meatballs and sauce to attend to back at the main lodge. So, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Hope you're surrounded by as much love, good food, and nostalgia as I am right now.

Monday, November 21, 2011

introducing walter

I'm sitting here trying to muster the energy to recount the many amusing details of the first annual Friendsgiving (which was this past Saturday), but I am completely exhausted. 

See, to prepare for the feast, we cooked from about 3pm to 10pm Friday, and most of the day Saturday. Then I went to bed late Saturday, got up early Sunday, and walked six miles around the city since it was such a nice day. Today I had to be at work before 7 am, then came home and made mac & cheese and pumpkin spice gelato from the many Friendsgiving leftover ingredients. Add all of that to my crazy pre-flight anxiety, and I'm beat. 

So I'm going to finish packing for my Thanksgiving trip home, try to revive my Nook from whatever coma it seems to have entered, and hopefully catch up on some sleep before another early alarm. Until I have more time and energy (and the whole slew of photos from Saturday's party), here are a few pictures taken while we were prepping Walter the Friendsgiving turkey (yes, we named him. Have you MET me?)

we decided we needed both wine and some plastic gloves 
to undertake the whole dry brining adventure

I realize there isn't much to help you determine scale,
but Walter is (err, was?) a 20lb beast

buttering Walter was, well, not my favorite
part of the prep 

Check back soon for actual updates worth reading! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

nostalgia wednesdays: turkey-gate '08

Not everything I'm nostalgic about happened in Venice three years ago, but a whole lot did. Including "turkey-gate '08," which you can read about here and here.

Rewind to the week(s) leading up to Thanksgiving 2008. I was student assistant in a huge palazzo full of college kids, and collectively we were putting on a traditional American Thanksgiving for roughly 70 people. Our budget was more in line with half as many guests, and we weren't exactly living and shopping in a country that stocked canned pumpkin starting in October. On top of all of that, the Italian ladies who ran the program were not quite on board with buying enough bird to serve the entire guest list.

We only had two old, unreliable gas ovens to cook and bake with, but somehow we made it work. There was an excel spreadsheet to track ingredient quantities needed, a detailed oven schedule, and a last-minute covert trip or two to an American Army base for extra turkeys. 

Having never cooked a Thanksgiving meal (or hardly any meals for that matter), nor spent the holiday away from my family, it was an undertaking I secretly dreaded. Despite my trademark fretting, it turned out to be one of the best Thanksgivings of my life. 

Naturally I missed my family, but I got to do a handful of things that we never do at our family holidays, including dressing up for dinner, listening to a classical music recital after dinner, adjourning to a bar, and concluding the crazy day with a visit to the kabob shop and a spirited pumpkin pie fight. 

This year I'll be spending the holiday with our family in Georgia, but before I head south next week, my friend and I will be hostessing our first annual "Friendsgiving" this weekend. We're going to whip up all the traditional dishes, and have a whole mess of coworkers and friends over. Neither of us are exactly skilled when it comes to things like cranberry sauce (for example: "hmm, I guess that recipe looks good...I don't eat cranberry sauce..." silence... "me neither").  So if the meal falls flat, we're just going to pour generous glasses of wine and hope no one notices. 

Sadly I have basically zero pictures of the Venice Thanksgiving spread, which is a mistake I will not make at Friendsgiving this year. Because I have no evidence of the successful turnaround of Turkeygate '08, I'll leave you instead with some pretty Venice pictures. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

cake isn't supposed to make you angry, al

On Sunday, I drove back to DC from home. I did it begrudgingly, and only after seriously considering calling in sick to work on Monday, and staying home an extra day. Ultimately I decided my guilty conscience would outweigh any benefits garnered from the extra day hiding out at home. 

So, after I unloaded the innumerable pounds of laundry I took home with me to wash, I forced myself to go to the grocery. Might as well get ALL the unpleasantness out in one day, I reasoned.  (I really hate grocery shopping, in case you don't know me and/or didn't know that about me)
At the grocery, I grabbed a jar of molasses and a bag of chocolate chips on a whim. They were on sale, I was still brain dead from driving 400 miles, and next thing I knew, they were in my increasingly full basket. I think my subconscious was reminding me that I've really been wanting to bake something gingerbread-y lately. Or something. Go with it. 

When I got back to my apartment, I googled around for a good recipe, but all the ones I found didn't really appeal to me. Since google typically only turns up results from places like allrecipes, food network, epicurious, and the like, I sometimes go elsewhere. In this case, "elsewhere" was the Williams-Sonoma site. Sometimes their recipes are a little too elaborate for my taste, but this chocolate chip gingerbread one seemed totally approachable. I realize when I was pulling all of the ingredients out of my tiny pantry that I didn't have cloves, but decided that wasn't the end of the world, and went for it anyways. 

I'm so glad I did. Of all the baked goods I've pawned off on coworkers, this was by far the biggest hit. I don't know if everyone was just in the mood for a holiday confection or what, but the little bundt cake got glowing reviews. And, it gave me a chance to give poor, neglected Kitty the Kitchenaid stripper some attention. A win all around.

wheeeeeee (butter, sugar, vanilla)

flour/cocoa/spice mixture, molasses, flour coated chocolate chips

the holiday scented batter, popped in the oven 

45 minutes later, it looks like this (or prettier, if you're skilled like the W-S cooks)
and tastes like gloriousness 

ps-the title comes from what became a funny moment with my boss. We were having a little communication breakdown over how an upcoming meeting will be conducted, and he got a little brusque. Then he noticed the cake on the ledge of my desk, and harumphed about it. I said "cake isn't supposed to make you angry, Al!" and the woman who sits across from me got the giggles, and next thing we knew, he had snuck a piece while we weren't looking. He later admitted that "it was alright, I guess" (from him, that's a compliment, believe me!).

Monday, November 14, 2011

my other family

When I go home, I get to do a few things that make me extraordinarily happy: see my family (actual blood relatives AND the "Charlotte" family), shop, sleep with no alarm set, and cook in a big kitchen. I got enough of all of that this past weekend that a coworker actually commented that I looked "really refreshed" today. Glorious. 

Anyways, our "Charlotte" family is comprised of people we've known since we moved to North Carolina when I was ten. Because my family moved so much when I was growing up, the Charlotte family are some of the people who've known me the longest in my life. When they first met me, I was learning cursive and algebra, and acting like a mini adult. Now, we talk about mortgages and 401k accounts, and they get a kick out of the fact that I'm finally a real adult (debatable). The mind boggles at all the things we've seen each other through in the past fifteen years. 

So when we all have time to get together, we like to make it count. And I like to bake in my parents' large, well-stocked kitchen. Which brings us to the chocolate cake with salted caramel icing that I referred to yesterday. It was fairly simple, despite my general aversion to cooking on an electric stove. Not boxed cake mix simple, but these are my people. They deserve more than Betty Crocker. 

We had everyone over to our house for a happy hour of sorts in front of the outdoor fireplace, then went out to dinner, and finally came back to the house for cake. Even our one family friend who hates sweets had a piece. AND LIKED IT. I can't tell you how exciting that is for me (because I'm a grown up now, and get excited about things like chocolate cake, paint chips, and furniture shopping).

So if you find yourself in need of a good chocolate cake recipe, and want to top it with the oh-so-popular right now salted caramel icing, click this link straight away. Her pictures are far prettier than mine, but here are a few from my parents' kitchen:

it always surprises me that sugary water turns in to...

this salty caramel deliciousness


stacked cooling racks (i'm in love)

exactly the right size for our crowd (plus small leftovers for mom, dad, and i)

once again, pardon my poor food photography skills 
(it's far tastier than this makes it look)

really wish i didn't live 400 miles from this set up

PS-I'm on a roll with the baked goods lately. Check back soon for the gingerbread cake I made last night!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

little (kitchen that could) milestones

Huzzah! This is my 100th post on this blog. I don't know about the handful of you that read this sucker, but I must say I'm a little surprised that I've managed to keep rambling for this long after the LKTC Lent experiment first hit the internet. But here we are, 100 posts later. If you're still with me, well, thanks for that. I'm having fun making disaster (in the kitchen? in life? you decide). Hope you've enjoyed the ups, the downs, and the poor quality food photos from the comfort of your couch. 

I've always thought blogging was more than a little self-indulgent, but, I like writing, and my day job isn't exactly infusing a wealth of joy into my life, so, I'm going to just go with it for now. Once I owned the fact that I'm one of a billion bloggers out there, and that I don't plan on quitting any time soon, I decided to beef up the blog just a touch. Ironic, as I'm not eating meat on a regular basis right now. But I digress. 

Up there towards the top of the page, you'll see two new tabs: "About the LKTC" and "LKTC-tested recipes."  (Note: google reader audience, you'll have to click the links and/or go to the homepage to see what I'm talking about here). Since I believe my primary audience is people who are related to me, I'm going to guess that most of you are pretty familiar with a)my (little) kitchen, b)why I started this blog, c)me in general. But I get an awful lot of hits from people who have googled some variation of "how to make a saran wrap dress." So in case the brethren of you who want to be clad in saran wrap also want to know the backstory here, you're welcome. Side note: why are there so many people out there who want a dress made of saran wrap? Googlers, please enlighten me. (In case you don't remember, it's all because of this post)

That second new tab, the running list of recipes, is to compensate, in part, for the fact that I never really got in the habit of including full recipes in my posts. Instead of going back and editing every post, I put together what will be a running list of recipes I've tried. So if you remember reading about that tiramisu I won't shut up about, or that bolognese from a Sunday dinner long ago, but don't remember the original sources, now you can just click that tab at the top and find links to all the stuff I've made. Don't worry, the list is actually manageably short. 

On another note entirely, I felt my grasp on sanity becoming a little less solid, which tends to happen after too many consecutive months in DC, so I headed home for the long weekend. While there, I made a pitch-perfect chocolate cake with salted caramel icing. So cliche and trendy, I know. And yes, I'm bragging in a not so humble fashion, but for so, so many reasons, I could just use a win right now, so direct those judge-y stares elsewhere, people. 

Anyways, check back in a day or two for post #101, in which I will tell you alllll about the dessert-y goodness. For now, here are some pretty pictures of trees near my parents' house.  


yacht club parking lot

down the street from home

enjoying the view with the geese

little gracie, my sweet dog (and slow walking companion)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

nostalgia wednesday(s)

Ok, people, here's the deal: I'm all about some nostalgia. Pictures from when my sister and I were little, home movies my parents recently put on DVDs for us, my albums from my times in Europe, you name it. If it reminds me of the "good old days" (am I old enough to say that yet?), I will cling to it. 

So something new is happening here every Wednesday. And it's all about nostalgia. I will do my best to also link it to food (although if it's regular cooking-related posts you're after, I imagine you abandoned this blog long ago). It's just my small effort to break up my monotonous work week, and to snap out of this majorly blah mood I've been in lately.

I'm starting with the place I found myself in exactly three years ago today: Salzburg. 

the beginning of The Sound of Music tour

the trees from which Maria and Von Trapp children sang

proof that I occasionally embrace my real hair color 

the strudel-peddling restaurant that was probably a tourist trap, but
a very welcome one after a day of traipsing around in the cold rain

Salzburg was the third of four stops on a ten-day trip away from Venice in the fall of 2008 (which was when I was living in Italy and serving as student assistant to 20 college kids). I didn't know it at the time, but I was about to come down with a nasty cold, probably due to nearly ten days of traveling in the frigid weather, eating poorly, and sleeping even worse. 

Despite the impending cold, Salzburg was beautiful, still showing some colorful signs of fall while people simultaneously geared up for the ubiquitous outdoor Christmas markets. We went on a whirlwind Sound of Music tour with a crazy guide and a few funny van-mates. After a flurry of piling in and out of the van, snapping umbrellas open and closed, and taking a million pictures, we all packed in to a small little restaurant supposedly famous for its apple strudel. 

If I remember rightly, the strudel was pretty overpriced, and we recognized it as a tourist trap off the bat. But we were our little fingers and toes were frozen solid, and we were tired, and hungry. It was subsequently the best strudel we'd ever tasted. Just thinking about how warm and sugary and restorative that snack was makes me want to give this strudel recipe a shot. 

Because my family didn't ever place a huge emphasis on cooking, nostalgia wasn't really something that was linked to food for me before I lived abroad. Now I eat a good bolognese and think of all the times we went to the neighborhood restaurant in Venice and were served by what I think must've been the island's most hilarious family. I eat a certain type of pizza and remember all the late night visits to the little shop near all of the bars we would go to. I get my hands on authentic gelato and I remember the innumerable cones we consumed in our effort to determine the best gelateria in the city. 

Anyways, speaking of travel, I'm doing just that for the long weekend. Nothing as glamorous as Salzburg, but an impromptu trip home. An effort to snap out of the aforementioned mood I've been in lately. A weekend to make some strudel.

Monday, November 7, 2011

something old, something new

So, my lazy Sunday was a semi-success. I did pass a somewhat excessive number of hours at Starbucks, watching a few episodes of tv on Hulu, sipping my overpriced drip coffee, marveling at the relentless deluge of customers, and generally ignoring all of the things stressing me out in my life right now. 

But then, around lunch time, I gave in to my "must stay busy" tendencies and popped in to Whole Foods to pick up the ingredients for this pasta with roasted red pepper sauce recipe. I walked home, picked up my apartment a bit (no, really, HOW does it get so messy every week?), and made my bajillionth loaf of banana bread ever. Yum. 

{Side composing a list of LKTC-tested recipes, I came to the realization that I haven't actually tried all that many new recipes. I think that's partially by virtue of the fact that I've done a lot of group meals in which I provide just a dish or two, and partially due to the fact that I'm a creature of habit (a pattern I've also noticed in the places I choose to eat out and/or go to happy hour)}

So I hesitated to make my bajillionth loaf of banana bread, but the nearly expired bananas staring me in the face made the decision fairly easy. I consoled myself that the roasted red pepper pasta sauce would be the "something new" to balance the trusty old banana bread recipe.  

After I made the bread, cleaned the kitchen, and avoided the raging temptation to cut in to the warm, chocolate chip-filled loaf, I got started on the sauce. 

I bought a pack of three small red peppers at the store, and from outside the pack, they looked perfect. Once I opened them, however, I realized one was all moldy at the top, so I settled for two (while cursing Whole Foods and swearing to call them up and complain...which I never did end up doing). I threw them on a cookie sheet and subjected them to whatever passes for "broil" in a gas oven. 

They say impatience is one of a cook's biggest enemies, and I have to agree...I pulled
these out before they were sufficiently charred 

mmmm, toasted pine nuts!

the aftermath of peeling and de-seeding steaming hot peppers

pureed peppers and pine nuts, yum!

garlic, olive oil, onions...aka my idea of heaven

the finished product!

So, I have to say this wasn't my favorite pasta sauce, but I blame myself. I didn't roast the peppers long enough (see: lack of patience), and my pine nut to roasted pepper ratio was off. I also used too many onions for what is a pretty thick sauce. It was by no means gross, it just didn't look anything like the Pioneer Woman dish (which is where I got the recipe), and I'm a raging perfectionist. 

I'm convinced I'm cursed. I never can seem to master two kitchen feats in one day. Then again, maybe that's what I get for refusing to embrace the lazy Sunday concept.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

occupy starbucks

The lazy weekend is a concept that's kind of lost on me. I'm pretty much biologically incapable of sleeping past 7 am, and I inherited my dad's unrelenting need to be a)in motion, and b)accomplishing a task. 

But for the past three or so weeks, I've been operating at an unsustainable pace. Life has been a blur of all day training sessions, happy hours, dinners, brunches, movie nights, nights out, shopping, and fretting (about my living situation). 

So I put a moratorium on making any sort of plans past dinner time yesterday. After dinner, I went home, watched a little bit of football, and went to bed at an hour that most people my age would just be gearing up to leave for the night. And then I slept for an amount of time that I'm not entirely clear on (that whole fall back thing perplexes me more than I should admit). 

When I woke up, I decided to compromise with my overactive self, and spend a lazy morning at Starbucks (along with the rest of Arlington, it seemed). This has as much to do with my need to at least feel like I'm accomplishing something as it does with my recent frustration with my coffee pot (pictured below in an old LKTC photo). 

I've had the little 4-cup machine for probably two years now, and it makes decent enough coffee. Normally I'm not too discerning when it comes to brew quality, as I'm normally not conscious until after a full cup. But, the machine's output is veering from "acceptable" to "ick" pretty quickly. I'm finding more and more grounds in my coffee every day, and it just tastes blah. There have also been a few occasions in which the machine has tricked me in to thinking it was done brewing, then peeing coffee everywhere when I tried to remove the carafe to pour a cup. Tisk tisk. 

That is no way, I've decided, to treat the illy coffee that I brew every day these days. High quality beans demand a decent machine. I'm not sure what the best replacement is, though. I don't want something large, since I rarely, if ever, drink four cups of coffee, especially in the amount of time between alarm clock and departure. I'm thinking about going the super convenient (if a bit unnecessary) "pod" route. I know the Keurig machines are the most popular, but I have my eye on this guy (after all, he's RED!):  

sold by amazon

I know single serving coffee machines aren't the most economical, but, a girl can have her wish list, right? 

Speaking of wish list, in the spirit of having a plan-free, frivolous, lazy weekend morning (with a ground-free cup of Starbucks coffee in hand), I've been playing on Pinterest, adding things to my boards, including the "kitchen covets" one. If you've never been on Pinterest, I imagine I sound like I'm speaking in some sort of code. I have to admit, I heard of the site long before I actually allowed myself to explore it, so I'm a bit late in touting its virtues, but I'm here to tell you now that you should check it out. Be fully prepared to lose a few hours of your life, because it's like a black hole of recipes, creative ideas, and pretty pictures (which is precisely why I tried to hold out on exploring it). 

It's totally worth it, though. After all, it's a lazy Sunday... 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Good news: my breakfast potato addiction seems to have abated. Bad news: it's been mostly replaced by a weird preoccupation with Corner Bakery's Asian Wonton salad (sans chicken, these days). I think I've eaten it that salad just about every week day for the past two weeks. 

But the point isn't that I have a one-track mind when it comes to food. The point is, I haven't done much in the way of cooking lately (too many happy hours and Corner Bakery salads, not enough time in the LKTC), so I don't have anything recipe-related to discuss. 

Unless you really want go for a stretch here, and call this a recipe for a 30th Anniversary Celebration Kit. And naturally, I do. 

About a month ago, we celebrated my parents' 30th wedding anniversary while in Vegas. In preparation, we put together a little gift box: 

"Picnic box" from Container store +

Lots of duct tape to reinforce it + 

(no, really, lots of duct tape!) + 

A photo album spanning from the time the 'rents met to present day +

Lots of their favorite things + 

A few craft supplies +

Personalized labels + 

Labels added to favorite things +

Incriminating photos + 

Even more incriminating photos 

A few recent photos +

A little happy hour fuel +

A few mixers +

A few finishing touches

The celebration kit made it safely across the country during the road trip, and was well received upon arrival. And don't worry, we got the parents a REAL gift, too! 

Oh and with Friendsgiving and maybe a holiday dinner party coming up, I'll make up for the obscene dearth of cooking-related posts lately, I promise. Riiiight after I find a place to live...