29 July 2007

I don't want to lick my finger! You lick my finger!

What a weekend! Birthday celebrations have ceased and now it's back to normal, just sitting here with Brad eagerly awaiting the start of Shark Week. I woke up this morning, pulled out my lovely plastic lounge chair, and came pretty close to finishing Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I don't think I've ever been so sad to finish a book. I'm planning on drawing it out a few more days... I'm just past the part where the turkeys get. it. on. Interesting stuff. On a related note, my new plants are still alive (they made it a whole day! I'm on a roll). I even realized I hadn't lost the care card and now know I have to keep the "strawberry" plant moist. I also borrowed a few gardening books from my mom today. I have no aspirations to be a gardener (ha! me?), but I am curious about plants and stuff. I can't wait to crack this the 1961 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens New Garden Book.

Bday Recap 2
Mexican Fiesta Bday BBQ

I spent a few hours yesterday afternoon chop chop chopping for the quesadilla fixings, which is just fine by me because I love to chop (I need to find me a big awesome chef's knife!). Luckily, I remembered the handy little gadget I picked up this winter and haven't had a chance to use yet: a tomato slicer, which works equally as well with onions. Just be careful, or you'll end up with a multi-sliced finger, too (luckily my "worst" knife tragedy so far). The time saver was great because I had a ton of tomatoes to chop, as I was making salsa and guacamole from scratch. I've found it's nearly impossible to find store-bought anything that doesn't have garlic in it, so homemade is safer. The guac was a big hit, and I was quite a fan of my first-time salsa impromptu recipe. Both were super simple but tasty and fresh.

Steph-Safe Guacamole

6 avocados
Juice of 1 lime
1 small tomato, chopped
Salt, pepper, oregano

That's it! Just mix it all up (I like to leave some avocado chunks) and dig in. It makes enough to fill a medium-sized bowl; enough for 12 people to munch on for approximately two hours.

Steph-Safe Salsa

5 or 6 small tomatoes (or, I suppose, 2 or 3 large ones! ha ha)
1 red pepper
1 green pepper
1 jalapeno
Fresh basil
Salt, pepper
1 small onion

Same as above, just chop and mix! With the tomatoes, make sure you don't lose the juice that runs onto your cutting board as you dice -- dump it all in the mixing bowl. I chopped all but two, which I literally squooshed with my hands in the bowl to give the salsa some sauciness.

The main course was grilled quesadillas, but I also cooked up a dozen ears of corn. I prefer to grill them in the husk, but for efficiency's sake, I baked them in the oven (in the husk, at 375, for 25 minutes). Props to Brad for being the evening's master griller!!

BBQ Quesadillas

Anything goes! Here are the fillings I put on the buffet (to feed 12):
2 green peppers
2 red peppers
1 jalapeno
1 small onion
1 small tomato
1 package sliced mushrooms
1/2 sliced eggplant

2 packages big flour tortillas
Bowl melted butter
CHEESE (we potlucked the cheese, asking everyone to bring a block of their favorite kind!) -- I like smoked Gouda best!

Fire up the grill to medium.
Lay your tortilla flat, layer half with your fixings, and fold over.
Brush melted butter on each side, then grill for 2-3 minutes, flipping halfway through.

A pizza slicer comes in handy for the perfect quesadilla cut!

Brad and I made these solo a few weeks ago, so they're quick and easy for just two people, but it's also a fun way to feed a big group -- everyone seemed to like it, too. Then, of course, there was the ice cream cake Brad bought me. Mmmmmmm.

Thanks to Brad, Birgit, Lisa, Amy, Ryan, Rachel, Don, Fred, Tracy, Jason, Krissy, and Tony for coming and joining in for the bday fiesta fun. I'm lucky to have such great friends, and I love you all!

Anyway, it was a really nice time, and you can always count on Fred for the quote of the evening (see this blog's title). Heidi even enjoyed herself, staying out of trouble for the most part (sorry about your quesadilla, Lisa!). And I officially feel 29. Not in any particular physical way. I just woke up this morning, looked at myself in the mirror, and felt 29.

To top off the weekend of celebration, Brad and I drove out for Chinese dinner with my mom, Larry, and Jordan. And more cake. Ha ha! Jordan is such a sweetie, and his personality develops more and more every time I see him. I'm upset because I forgot to take my camera (I never forget to take my camera), especially when Jordan fell asleep mid chew at the dinner table. Funny little guy. An interesting side note, apparently I'm the only person Jordan will pose for photos for. And if you've seen my photos of Jordan, pose he does. Love that little guy. I also love visiting Manchester more and more, hoping some day Brad and I can find just the right house out in the "country" but still be five minutes away from Target.

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