Friday, May 28, 2010

I don't know about you but...




'tis the season for cookouts. I am wondering, however, if your skin crawls like mine does when you think about the typical, fattening, mayonaissish dishes that you find at your typical cookouts?

I thought so!

Once in awhile, like maybe every 10 years, this stuff is ok. But I am tired of conforming!

As we prepare for a beautiful Memorial Day Weekend including quality time with friends and lots of food, I decided to break the mold and serve some different, perhaps gourmet, healthier options.

To my friend and fellow foodie Susan- thank you. :)You inspired me and after much research, I came up with a few ideas.

For appetizers, I am serving sliced french bread with artichoke parmesian spread and cranberry horseradish sauce. With that, I am also putting out spinach and feta spring rolls.

Then for our main course, I am starting with something Susan purhcased the other day...none other than the Chili Lime Burgers from Trader Joes...mmmmmm. I also grabbed a pack of veggie hotdogs (stay tuned for Diana's reaction)

Along with our funky burgers and dogs, I am making a tri-colored (red, white and blue of course) salad and a new recipe...Quinoa Walnut Salad (although I am substuting almonds for walnuts)...see this funky recipe below!

Quinoa Walnut Salad
1 cup quinoa

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup frozen green beans, defrosted

1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

1/4 cup green onions, sliced

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Combine quinoa with 2 cups water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and continue cooking until all water is absorbed.

In a medium bowl, combine cooked quinoa, dried cranberries, green beans, walnuts, and green onions until well mixed. In a small bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and garlic until well blended. Pour over the quinoa mixture. Toss until well blended. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before serving

For dessert, to keep with our red, white and blue theme- I am making individual strawberry AND blueberry shortcakes :)

Thank you to our soldiers for fighting for and defending our freedom... a special shout out to my Papas and Rob's dad. xoxo

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

ZB Frosh Baseball

ZB Frosh Baseball

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Park :)












Sunday, May 16, 2010

Visit from the Vigs









and the girls had a BALL!! :)

Fun Day with Jenny G









So JAG is leaving the firm...we will miss her.... so had a nice little driving range....Windham....wine send off...just the two of us. Of course, our swings left much to be desired but our ability to taste several different California wines at Bella Vino made up for our morning handicaps!!! (Also got to smell a lilac....my Spring is complete AND now I can proceed towards Summer) :)

Mother's Day 2010







Friday, May 14, 2010

The Final 8!


337. I had the BEST evening with my pal Zack...the stepmom/stepson relationship can be very special and different...no one can take the place of his mom but what we have is something so unique and it brings me so much happiness!! We always have some laughs...bond over music and catch up on our gossip...just the best!

338. And that Ally Bean...my pal...had me in tears tonight, doing an impression of me from 6 years ago...the funniest thing of all? She is so DEAD ON!

339. A wise person once told me "the only thing that helps running is more running..." I am slowly learning how true this is!

340. Some of my favorite people? Okay...here goes nothing...Favorite Elementary Teacher? Mrs. Campbell- 6th Grade Stoneham. Favorite Middle School Teacher? Mr. Duncan- 8th Grade Andover. Favorite High School Teacher? Mr. Parker- Junior Year English. Favorite Principal? Mr. Grant- Elementary School Stoneham. Favorite College Professor? Toss up between Professor Marlow (oh my) and Dr. Travers. Favorite boss? Gotta be Bill hands down. Most inspirational educational professional? Kori. My most memorable mentor? Earl. The person that made my dreams come true? Angus Bailey (favorite rehearsal was with him and Billy as he blocked and choreographed Sue Me from Guys and Dolls). The person who changed my life? Robby B. My favorite chef? Tyler Florence. My favorite choreographer? Kenny Ortega. My favorite singer? Barbara Streisand. My favorite dancer? Vera-Ellen. My Favorite actress? Sandra Bullock. Favorite actor? Nick Nolte My favorite morning show? Matty in the Morning- Kiss 108. My favorite news channel? Channel 7 WHDH of course!

341. Who do I think are the best designers? For clothes- Lilly Pulitzer, Michael Kors and the designers at Ann Taylor, J Crew & Ann Taylor Loft. For watches- Marciano for Guess. For shoes-Bandolino, Nine West & DKNY. For jeans- Lucky Brand & True Religion. For bags- Coach. For belts- Gucci. For coats- Burberry

342. TV line up and must sees (and may I add thank God for DVR so I can see ALL of these every week) Monday nights Dancing With the Stars and Tori & Dean, Tuesday nights Dancing with the Stars and Glee, Wednesday nights Modern Family, Thursday nights Greys Anatomy and Friday nights is Netflix night for Mama :)

343. Makeup I swear by? Clinique foundation, Clinique bronzing powders, Clinique blush, Chanel Eyeshadow, Mac Eyeliner and Mascara, Bobbie Brown lip gloss

344. I don't know where I would be without God...my loving family...friends...daughter...stepchildren and my love Rob...I wouldn't have made it...they continuously love me, encourage me.....inspire me and show me why we need to push on....xoxo


326. Just celebrated 5 years at my firm and got the best card I have ever received...also get to do lunch with our head honcho next week, and I am so excited...even though we have had some fun social events over the last 5 years, we have never done lunch one on one :)

327. Have you ever seen the movie Drop Dead Gorgeous? Well it is a must see...just a fabulous, tongue-in-cheek take on a "small town/teenage pressure/pageant little world"...just hysterical

328. I didn't get to smell one lilac this year and that is pretty disappointing...one of my co-workers risked her life to pick me some and ended up in the hospital ;)

329. Planning a golf tournament right now and really enjoying that work...but CANNOT WAIT to get out there myself too!!! FORE

330. I don't know what it is or how to explain it but over the last few weeks, I have really been feeling a sense of inner peace...a confidence that I lacked for so long...and this thought of things being okay...as stressful and intense as they are right now...I just know that everything will eventually be okay

331. This summer....getting my clamming license...watch out! ....And don't forget to stop by the Bretons for some steamers and coronas!!

332. Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us - I can live only wholly with you or not at all - Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits - Yes, unhappily it must be so - You will be the more contained since you know my fidelity to you. No one else can ever possess my heart - never - never - Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves. And yet my life in V is now a wretched life - Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men - At my age I need a steady, quiet life - can that be so in our connection? My angel, I have just been told that the mailcoach goes every day - therefore I must close at once so that you may receive the letter at once - Be calm, only by a calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together - Be calm - love me - today - yesterday - what tearful longings for you - you - you - my life - my all - farewell. Oh continue to love me - never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.

ever thine
ever mine
ever ours

Beethoven

333. My grandmother's home...the house my Dad and Auntie grew up in burned down yesterday and it was all over the news...such an eerie feeling...and very sad...so many wonderful memories on Park Street

334. Excellent meeting with our lawyer this week!

335. I am waking up the world...from Andover to Harvard Square ;)

336. The logo is for you Robby B...don't you forget it!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ally's Junior Prom

Ally's Junior Prom

ZB Frosh Baseball

ZB Frosh Baseball

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Girls Night In....




and the awesome pix and a few recipes are included.....our featured ingredient of the night was strawberries....I am the luckiest girl in the world to have the bestest friends on earth xoxoxoxo



Grape Chutney (I served this with warm brie and toastettes)
Fresh chutney is a nice change from heavy commercial varieties. The grapes retain most of their shape in the thickened syrup.



* 1/2 cup chopped onion
* 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
* 1/2 cup dry red wine
* 1/4 cup chopped dried figs
* 2 tablespoons sugar
* 2 teaspoons hot paprika
* 1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
* 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
* 1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
* 1 cup seedless red grapes, halved
* 4 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
* 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preparation

Prepare grill.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil; cook 10 minutes. Stir in grapes; reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick.

White Strawberry Sangria (I added extra fruit like pineapple chunks and blueberries)
* 1 750-milliliter bottle dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
* 1/2 cup strawberry schnapps
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
* Ice cubes
* Whole strawberries (optional)

Directions

1. In a 2-quart pitcher stir together wine, strawberry schnapps, and sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add sliced strawberries. Cover and chill for 1 to 4 hours. Serve in glasses over ice. If desired, garnish with whole strawberries.

2. Makes 5 servings

Strawberry Salsa (I served this with white and blue corn tortilla chips)
Ingredients
1 English or seedless cucumber, finely chopped
1 thinly sliced green onion
1 Tbsp cilantro, cut into strips
3-4 Tbsp seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and diced small
1 yellow pepper

Mix cucumbers, green onion, cilantro, vinegar, and pepper. Cover and chill at least one hour.

Just before serving, add strawberries.

We enjoyed these appetizers first and then dined on a light spring supper of strawberry and grilled chicken skewers, wild green and strawberry salad and coconut rice....delish!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

For Julie on Mothers' Day...we learn from them and they are the only things keeping us going...

Mud Puddles and Dandelions

When I look at a patch of dandelions,
I see a bunch of weeds that are going to take over my yard.
My kids see flowers for Mom
and blowing white fluff you can wish on.

When I look at an old drunk and he smiles at me,
I see a smelly, dirty person who probably wants money and I look away.
My kids see someone smiling at them and they smile back.

When I hear music I love, I know I can't carry a tune and don't have much rhythm so I sit self-consciously and listen.
My kids feel the beat and move to it. They sing out the words.
If they don't know them, they make up their own.

When I feel wind on my face, I brace myself against it.
I feel it messing up my hair and pulling me back when I walk.
My kids close their eyes, spread their arms and fly with it,
until they fall to the ground laughing.

When I pray, I say Thee and Thou and grant me this, give me that.
My kids say, "Hi God! Thanks for my toys and my friends.
Please keep the bad dreams away tonight.
Sorry, I don't want to go to Heaven yet.
I would miss my Mommy and Daddy."

When I see a mud puddle I step around it.
I see muddy shoes and dirty carpets.
My kids sit in it. They see dams to build,
rivers to cross and worms to play with.

I wonder if we are given children to teach or to learn from?
No wonder God loves the little children!!

"Enjoy the little things in life,
for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."
Just a reminder about the important things in life.

I wish you mud puddles and dandelions!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Mother's Day


"A mother's love for her child is like nothing else in the world. It
knows no law, no pity, it dares all things and crushes down
remorselessly all that stands in its path."
-- Agatha Christie

To my mother...thank you for having me...for putting up with all of my drama over the years and for still being my biggest fan. Thank you for all of the advice and for helping me to raise our beautiful daughter...I am so thankful that I have been able to share this perfect miracle with you and Dad...and only hope that Diana and I will be as close as you and I have been over the years...through all of the tough times, one things remains true...there will never be another mother like you xoxo

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

...yeah almost there!


316. I truly believe in under-promising and over-delivering!

317. Always do what you say what you are going to do. Doers who communicate build credibility

318. Diana has a boyfriend- SO CUTE!!! We ask her "Diana, who is your boyfriend?" and she says "Jo Jo!" xoxoxo

319. I got to speak to a group of elite HR Directors in the Boston area this week...I was so nervous before the meeting and it ended up being so much fun...I am so glad I did it and so happy it was great exposure for our firm too!!

320. jello shots anyone? Wow...we used to make those for our parties in college...I made them a few years ago for a company trip to Foxwoods...going to attempt them again for girls night on Sat...stay tuned!! (seems like I am desperate for fun huh? Hey I digress!)

321. The pic above is from Sel De La Terre

322. Started training for a 5K again...on a long-term Boston Marathon training program with a very special friend...we hope to run it by next year but it may take us 2 to get there...nevertheless, we are working together and very motivated!

323. I am so proud to say that our firm is doing business with several of the fastest growing and most profitable companies in Massachusetts right now...woohoo!

324. Elmo still rocks!

325. I was just taught what russian olive is and just realized it has been one of my favorite smells for years...need to get some in my yard asap

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Springtime Fun

















































We thank God for our generous friends...that is all I have to say...we have been afforded so many wonderful times because of our give and take relationships....here are some pix from the last month of fun.....to our "peeps" thanks and we love you!!! xoxoxo

Baby Alana made her debut...Mama had a great golf day with her work peeps...Diana enjoyed another playdate with her pal and mama enjoyed a "playdate" with her chef friend Laurie...we have started to enjoy the beautiful weather!
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