Tuesday, December 22, 2009

even more holiday parties

IMG_6023 Sorry I’ve been MIA lately!  I seemed to have killed yet another hard drive, so I have been without a computer for a little while.  While the hard drive that I was using was an old one from Chris’ laptop, he let me borrow yet another laptop from his work.  Hopefully I can keep this one functioning until mine comes back again.  I anticipate that it will be back today, just in time before I leave to see my mom!  I’m actually hoping that it will break one more time though, because if it does I’ll be able to get a new one yippee!  I haven’t had the greatest luck with my new laptop, while I had my last one for 7 years with no troubles hmmm 

IMG_5988Anyway, I wanted to re-cap on some more holiday parties!  On Friday night we were going to have another couple come over for a fun pizza making party.  Unfortunately, our one friend got stuck at work till late and they decided to cancel :(  But, Chris and I still had a bunch of fun making pizza and drinking a little vino together!  It’s a super fun idea for a party though.  You simply make the dough and toppings the night before, take the dough out about 4 hours before the party to come to room temperature and then let your guests assemble to their liking.  This is also great if you have vegetarian guests because everything can be kept separate too. 

Toppings included: chicken sausage, mushrooms, roasted squash, roasted bell peppers, olives and cheese!


IMG_5987I have to say that the Willow Springs cab is THE best I’ve had, and it goes really well with a 5 year aged Gouda that I picked up from Whole Foods for a treat, & at $15.99/lb I don’t get it very often.  The cab is incredibly fruity and luscious with a nice balance of tannin and earth.  Pretty much any fruity red goes well with gouda though.  Chris’ parents got this cab for us from a wine club they belonged to, but I’m not sure if it can even be ordered anymore :( 


IMG_5973We also had some little munchie things for appetizers, including whole grain crackers, roasted red pepper hummus and bell pepper strips.  It was a lot of fun!  I had a glass & a 1/2 of the wine and I also downed a coconut water afterwards, I find it helps with hydration and any tummy issues :)


The next morning I had prepped this breakfast casserole (adapted from CookingLight) and it was super easy to just plop in the oven.  This is great for company :) I use 1/2 the bread it calls for and add in lots more veggies.



IMG_6061The next party was the cookie exchange with the SwankyRD!  It was so nice to see Kristen again and chat with everyone there.  Oh my goodness, there were cookies and goodies everywhere!!  I ended up filling up two plates full of them since Kristen said to take them away hehe I actually didn’t eat too much at the party surprisingly, but did have a glass of red wine, an appetizer sandwich, some veggies and about a bite from 6 cookies.  They were all delicious!


IMG_6000I decided to make the gluten-free chocolate chip cookies from Tam, which turned out to be phenomenal in my opinion.  I could hardly tell the difference between regular chocolate chip and to tell the truth I liked them better!  Check out the recipe here.  I also made chocolate baklava from Cooking Light and it was a huge hit too.  Even though this recipe is a bit time consuming with all the phyllo layers, I would highly recommend it.

Aren’t they just precious?  Yes, I talk to my food and love every aspect that goes into it.  It’s just so neat :)



The baklava was to die for with every heavenly layer of phyllo, melted butter, nutella, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, cinnamon and honey.  Yum!


IMG_2039After the party Kristen and I decided to check out Chef Guy Fieri’s Road Show at the House of Blues.  It was a lot of fun to see him in person!  I just wish he would have went on sooner because by 10 o’clock, I’m pooped.  We left at 11:30 and it still wasn’t quite over.  Afterwards, I wanted to grab something to eat and decided on a self-serve yogurt shop next door, I know not the best, but it was sure refreshing!  We decided to check out the lounge/club in the Mandalay Bay called the Foundation Room.  It was actually a lot of fun and the DJ was playing some great music.  Even though there wasn’t much of a dance floor, weIMG_2040 were sure getting our groove on :)  I love to dance, especially hip hop, and could dance all night practically, but knew I better head back before my body started to rebel from lack of sleep.  I didn’t get to bed until 2am!  I haven’t done that in ages.


There sure was a nice view from the top!


I didn’t even have any drinks, but the next day I tried to get up early and my head was throbbing, so I went back to sleep till 11am!  I haven’t done that in ages either, geezsh, I think I’m getting old :)  It was such a fun night though. 

I can’t believe we are leaving to see my mom tomorrow!!  I’m so excited to just get away for a little while.  We don’t get back till the 2nd, but I still plan on blogging if my computer doesn’t break first. 

I may be doing my first blogger meet-up too!  I’ve been talking with Laural and Diana who both live in the same area as my mom, so that should be fun.  I’m really looking forward to it.  I just adore all of you guys and all you do. 

In other news . . . I’m hoping to make a final decision on a thesis topic, dun dun dun. . .   Here’s what I’m thinking so far, let me know what you think . . . Emily gave me the greatest idea to look at the use of probiotics in athletes and then I want to look at the rates of URTIs/sick days in athletes in a collegiate winter sport.  Or I was wanting to look at the benefits of corporate wellness or do something with corporate wellness because I have an interest with this as a future career.  I have to figure out how I would even do these studies along with research, research, research.  Thanks for all your ideas and encouragement!

I have also finally purchased a new blog template for Wordpress!!!!  I’ve been wanting to do this and spruce up the blog for a long long time now.  I’m a bit overwhelmed with how to use it and transfer everything over, but hopefully I can figure it out over the little break.  I also contacted Zesty to see if he can help out, so stay tuned!  Maybe I’ll have to do some kind of new blog giveaway?  It will be a surprise!

Many thanks for all your support and wonderful comments.  I love everything about this blogging community, and while we may get a few negative comments here and there, all the positive ones make all the difference in the world to me.  I send you wonderful holiday wishes, yummy food and dishes, and happy new beginnings all year through :) 





tam said...

Yay to the cookies! I'm so glad you liked them and they turned out well!
They look delish so does all the food x x

Andrea@WellnessNotes said...

A pizza making party sounds like a great idea!

And gouda & cab is my kind of combo! I LOVE cheese...

Wow. There were a lot of cookies at the cookie exchange. The baklava looks amazing!

Your possible thesis topics sound both really interesting to me. My grad degree is in a totally different field, but my suggestion would be to choose something you are truly passionate about. But also take a good, honest look at how "painful" it is going to be to actually research it, etc.

Have a good trip!

Alyson said...

Yay, I'm so glad the chocolate baklava turned out good! And that casserole looks fantastic, definitely going to try that one!

MelissaNibbles said...

I want all of those cookies.
Looks like you've been enjoying the holidays to the fullest!
Can't wait to see the new blog design.

Gina said...

I love the idea of a pizza making party, so clever! The cookie party is also fantastic, I read about it on The Swanky RD's blog :) I was impressed with those gluten free cookies, you stole my heart!

Probiotics and athletes sounds like a FANTASTIC topic. I would love to read a thesis on that, and hear what you find. I can't wait to hear more details. I've been working with division 1 athletes here in Columbus, and I'm learning SO much about sports nutrition. Keep us posted!

Emily said...

Sounds like you've been having a great time celebrating the holidays. I know what you mean about going out and feeling it the next day...I feel like I'm getting oooold, too, haha.

Your breakfast casserole looks amazing. I might have to try that around my house this Christmas. :-)

I hope you do get to look at probiotic use in athletes. I don't think it's been very well studied. Then maybe you and Dan can collaborate on some kind of energy bar with probiotics. :-)

Anonymous said...

aww what fun parties!!
so jelous you met GUY.. i LOVE HIM!!
your bfast casserole looks awesome..my fam loves bfast casserole..mom makes a french toast one every year!

Anonymous said...

That baklava was amazing!
Thanks for coming to the cookie swap, I had so much fun hanging out with you!

Shannon said...

I'm excited about the gluten free cookie recipe. I'm going to try it! I have been drooling over all these yummy holiday treats I can't eat. I just have to make my own!

Looks like there's been a lot of celebrating in your family. Enjoy and have a very Merry Christmas!

*Naomi* said...

pizza making party is the BEST idea!!! and so is the cookie swap..such goodness!

kiss my spatula said...

i'm dying over that chocolate baklava! happy holidays to you and happy new year!

Kati said...

Yum! Everything looks so tasty! And I think your thesis idea is great! Probiotics are of great interest these days. Good luck! :)

~Kati, Around the Plate