Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cheesey Dishes

Well, we are back in the theme night family dinner mode.  Ironically, my son, Timmy, picked cheese as the theme.  I wonder if he thought about the Giants playing the Packers when he thought of the idea.  We all watched the Cheese get swallowed up.  Go Giants!  (How's that for cheesy text).  And while I'm at it, some cheesy lines we've heard (not mentioning any names) include "do your legs hurt?  'cause you been running through my mind all day."  or "can I read your clothes tag? - you must have been made in heaven."    Appropriate theme.

The large variety of dishes included a large variety of cheese:  feta, mozzarella, gorgonzola, ricotta, sharp cheddar, brie, parmesan, cream and good old yellow American.

The appetizers:
Cheez-Its, Cheetos, deviled eggs (standard fare, no cheese but my mother-in-law tradGritionally makes them for my father each time), Oogie dip (more about that name later), spinach dip with melted parmesan cheese,  and baked brie with raspberry jam topping.

Inspired by a facebook post of Tim's goddaughter, affectionately named Oogies, this salad consists of chopped cucumber, chopped plum tomato, olive, feta, Greek yogurt and freshly snipped dill.

Uncheesy deviled eggs.

Hand battered mozarella by the cheese master, Timmy.
We had several main course selections, but I missed photos of the cheeseburger sliders and Aunt Marie's mac and cheese which was revealed in a previous posting.  Nanny brought a brocolli/cheese/tomato dish.

Aunt Tracy stuffed the shells and topped with homemade sauce.

Meredith rushed in from work and put together this gourmet pizza with carmelized onions, gorgonzola cheese, pecans, bacon and pears.  Very edgy.

The desserts:

Sabrina's peanut butter dipping ball was a big hit.  What could be better than a peanut butter/cream cheese ball rolled in peanut butter chips and chocolate chips with animal crackers as dippers.

Need we say more? 

Seafoam Salad made into a pie (cream cheese, pears, lime jello and Cool Whip)

The uncheese desserts were brownies and chocolate covered pretzels -- family favorites.

This was the night we picked numbers for the next months' themes.  Tracy is up first.  We'll see what comes up.  We have done the countries before the blog started but there is talk of revisiting our favorites:  Greek, Jewish, and Southern Fried.  I'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Halloween Theme Night

We got together for a family theme night late in October and the theme, of course, revolved around Halloween.

Bocacchini and olives (Eyeballs)

Candy Corn Pizza with two kinds of cheese.

Timmy frying up some chicken fingers.

Meatballs in mustard and chili sauce.  Is think we named these  larva.

Worm salad.

A jello mold with gummy worms.

Fried bat (chicken) wings.

Mummy wrapped hot dogs.

Tim's fried fingers.

I am sure there was dessert, but I don't know what it was.  Something ooey, gooey, I'm sure.


Second Annual Burger Contest (September, 2011)

Meredith and her friends get together on Labor Day Weekend and participate in a burger contest.  Last year's winner was Michele with a macaroni and cheese burger.  This year the contestants stepped up their games.  Tim and I were lucky enough to be the judges, along with nephew, James, and friend, Dave.

The burgers were judged on creativity, presentation and taste.

Knife skills.

Heart shaped chicken burgers marinating in HOT sauce.

Various selections.

On the grill.  Buns and plates were the same for all to level the playing field.

The overall winner, Kevin, added various  accompaniments to his burger presentation.

Who but these two lovebirds would make a heart shaped  chicken  burger with Hot, hot, hot sauce.

Meredith's selection included a delicious side sauce.

The judges

Everyone was a winner.  Taste, presentation, and creativity.
Can't wait to see what's cooking next year.

Shrimp Fest (August, 2011)

Between the summer and now we've had a couple of theme nights.  Our social calendar was very busy with four weddings, but we still managed to get together for a couple of fun filled nights of food and family.

When Tim and I came home from NC in early August, we hosted the Shrimp Fest '11.
North Carolina shrimp with heads on.  If you have never tried these  cuties, just get past the eyeballs staring at you, pop the head off and enjoy some of the sweetest shrimp ever.  It took me a while, but I'm okay with them now!  Still not sure about Tracy, and Sabrina runs for the hills.  
Here's what they look like cleaned and peeled.  The taste is great!

A tray of everyone's favorite - fried shrimp.  You have to pop the heads of f and clean these before breading and the little buggers can be kind of spiky.  Be careful!
The Grillmaster's Frying Contraption.

The glorious side dishes include:

Nanny's homemade coleslaw with a dressing made with condensed milk.

Garden favorites dressed with vinegar and sugar.

Aunt Tracy is the best at making macaroni salad.

My always contribution - the green salad.

Individual pineapple upside down cakes.

Brownies (Timmy's favorite)

We pick up shrimp by the five pounds from the fishing docks in Wanchese, NC.  We bring it home and package by freezing it in water.  The shrimp stays fresher and moister this way.  It tastes just as good as we use it throughout the Fall.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


It's been months and months since my last post and before I begin regular posts again, here's some ketchup.

Tim and I spent almost two weeks in Nags Head at the end of July enjoying the beach.  Low tide was late afternoon and we found ourselves relishing the beach in a whole new way.  There was one un-beach day and we did some island combing to pass the time.
We visited the North Carolina Aquarium in Manteo.

Tim may be looking like he tangled with a shark, but those scratches on his head are from a body surfing experience.
 I spend an eventful week with girlfriends at the Beach in late August.  The perfect getaway before school started.  An earthquake on Tuesday and a hurricane evacuation on Thursday.  A lovely time in spite of the natural upheavals.  As we were headed home, Tim was headed down to shore up the house in anticipation of Irene.  I think we passed somewhere in Delaware.  He hit no traffic coming home.  I think he was one of the last to evacuate the island.  Will we try it again next year?  You bet.  Life on a sandbar can't be improved!

Me, Theresa, Lisa and MaryAnn.  The girls of summer!

A family reunion in Ogunquit, Maine.  Actually, I am a newbie at this reunion.   It is so fun to see my lovely cousins and have fun with my mother's brothers.  I really feel a connection to my mom here.  I've been visiting Ogunquit on and off since I was 2, so it is a definite part of my life.  A long weekend filled with eating lobster, shopping in the cutest stores, and visiting and "pregaming" in each other's rooms. 

The girls - Val, Nancy, Jen, Judi and Janet

Love the freezing beach of Ogunquit.

Enjoying an award winning lobster roll at Alisson's Restaurant in Kennebunkport.