Sundry information, thoughts and links to sort us out

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Congratulations, Mom & Larry!

At 1pm, at the First Presbyterian Church in Marshfield, WI, Mom Stahl and her beloved, Larry, exchanged their wedding vows. The ceremony was officiated by Pastor Don Houdeshell and Pastor Jorge Ramirez. Katy served as Matron of Honor, Larry's son, Greg, was his Best Man. His grandson Kevin was a Groomsman/Ring-bearer while 3 year-old family friend Jasmine was the Flower Girl. Bruce escorted Mom down the aisle. Katy's cousin Gayle sang (while playing Uncle Dan's guitar so that he could be there physically as well as looking down from Heaven). After the service -- which was conducted in both English and Spanish, depending on which pastor was handling that part of the ceremony -- the small group of family and friends sat down to a yummy lunch of Mexican food and wedding cake in the fellowship hall. Katy and Greg proposed toasts. Gayle sang "The Mother-in-Law Song." Carmen and the children led everyone through a traditional Mexican wedding dance. And the Huntwork/Howard family posed for a portrait with everyone holding up "bunny ears" to represent a loved one who was not able to attend.

Despite the cold temperatures of a Wisconsin winter, a warm and happy time was had by all.

Congratulations and best wishes, Mom and Larry, with all our love!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What's Cookin', Hot Stuff?

It may surprise folks to know that I like to cook. And, despite pulling a C in high school Home Ec, I'm actually pretty good at it. My cooking style is rather like Raechel Ray. Which is to say that while I'll follow a recipe, unless I am baking, I don't measure so much as eyeball or guesstimate the ingredients. (Unlike Raechel Ray, however, I am a mean baker. Cookies are my specialty, ask my friend Phyllis about some of our marathon holiday baking sessions!) I also take a tip from Sandra Lee (I really don't watch that much Food Network, I swear!) in that I frequently use pre-prepared items from the store -- like frozen diced onions, for instance -- to save on prep time.

As many people already do know about me, I have a darned good memory for detail-type stuff such as phone numbers or birthdays Once I've made something a couple of times, I can pretty much do it from memory. I've been making Christmas cut-out cookies the same way for over 30 years. But I don't have to do things the same way every time. I'm also pretty good at winging recipes once I get used to them -- substitute this for that, try it with a different sauce or spice, etc.. I enjoy putting on some music and puttering about in the kitchen getting dinner together.

In fact, two things have really upped my cooking happiness of late. First was our move this summer. The kitchen in our new apartment is gorgeous just to look at, let alone work in. Sure, it's an apartment kitchen, so it's small, but it's well appointed. I can move about cooking and cleaning up after myself at the same time, which you know is something that would make me happy! Second was the discovery that I actually like cauliflower.

We've been trying to live Low Carb for quite some time now and we generally do well with it, when we're preparing our own food. Back in the spring we took a trip to the local used bookstore and bought a couple of cook books to help out with our diet. My favorite one focuses on 15 minute meals and I love it! The recipes are super easy -- both to make and to modify -- and we haven't hit on a single "clunker" yet. Most, in fact, have been delicious and there is one we love so much that we make it every week! Many of the recipes use cauliflower in place of something else (like potatoes or pasta) and it is amazing how well that works and how yummy the dishes turn out.

There's nothing like coming home, spending your carbs on the glass of wine you pour yourself, and whipping up a delicious meal to share with your honey!

(And, by the way, I'm blaming the Home Ec grade on the sewing quarter! I've never been able to hem in a straight line in my life!)