Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Day of 2010

Happy 24th Birthday to my beautiful, smart, sophisticated, sister Leah!
I love you!

The most interesting thing about having a blog is being able to look back and see what the year was like.  2010 was my first full year of blogging, and it was a good year.  I started 2010 on a beach in the Dominican Republic. It was a great way to ring in the New Year.  We learned a week or two later that my 101 year old Great Grandma had passed away.  What an extraordinary life she led.  

In April the hubby and I traveled to New York City for a trip of a lifetime.  We loved it so much that we will be returning this Easter.  We spent the hubby's 29th birthday at the Letterman Show seeing Steve Carell and wandering the streets of Manhattan, eating great food and taking in the sites.

On April 17th my Mom went into the hospital.  She has been struggling with an aggressive, and progressive form of MS for about 8 years now, and it was very scary to receive a phone call that she had gone into the hospital.  She stayed there for about 5 months and it was really hard. Eventually a long-term care home was ready for her.  She is the most amazing woman that I know.

I thought a lot about life this year, and what I really care about... what truly matters, and what I want out of life, and how I can live a better life.

I tried out running this year, but I wasn't a huge fan.  I did run a 5K in May, and it was alright.

One of my favourite things to do is to entertain, whether it is a dinner party, a breakfast, or a backyard BBQ.  We did plenty of entertaining this year, and even participated in FoodBuzz's 24, 24, 24 in which the entire dinner party was paid for by FoodBuzz.  I did a Saskatchewan themed feast.  
We love having our family and friends over!

We went to two weddings, and had a blast at each one!  
My sister Leah got engaged to Sal - they are getting married this summer!

I got accepted into grad school, and completed my first semester this year.  The hubby became an Ironman.  
I was interviewed for Canadian Grocer Magazine about Chocolate - I am an expert :-)

We did some camping, and celebrated our 6 year wedding anniversary and my 1 year bloggiversary.

I did a LOT of baking this year, and made some ghoulish goodies for our friends' Halloween party.

In November I had a lot of firsts.  I traveled alone for the first time, and had my first blogger meet-up at my first blogger festival!  I took off to San Fransisco for a long weekend, and ate some pretty amazing food with some even more amazing people.

And if that wasn't enough ... I ate some RIDICULOUSLY good food this year.  
This is a food blog after all.

10 Recipe Highlights of 2010

What was the highlight of 2010 for you?
How are you spending New Years Eve (or how did you if you read this late)?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Recuperating and Dinner Party with New Friends


fter a busy Christmas, and a 2 day trip to Saskatoon to visit family, I am finally starting to catch up on sleep.  The holidays took a lot out of me this year, and I am physically drained. 

We have been enjoying turkey dinner leftovers, and a few meals out with friends and family.

This evening we went to a dinner party at our new friends Emma and Dalton's house.  The hubby met this hilarious, friendly, and cute couple through his triathlon training, and I met them for the first time tonight.  They welcomed us, along with about 8 other people over to there home for a fabulous dinner party.

We started the evening with wine and appetizers:

The main course was a flavourful, healthy spread of delicious dishes:

I was in charge of dessert, and brought sopapilla cheesecake pie:



I also ate one of these little cream cheese filled balls of wonder that another guest brought:

We had a wonderful evening with great food, and fabulous new friends!

Have you recovered from Christmas yet?  Are you still on a sugar high?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

From our house to yours ... Merry Christmas!

We had a wonderful Christmas eve with my family, followed by a lovely, relaxing Christmas with the hubby's family.  We have had 2 turkey dinners, and delicious brunches, and now we are full, exhausted, and ready to sleep.

Check out this stocking stuffer I got today ...


Heck yeah!
(I wonder if it would be good in oatmeal??)

I hope you all had a magical Christmas, and that Santa was good to you.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Tips for Staying Healthy over The Holidays - Jolene Style

All sorts of magazines, websites, and television shows spew restrictive tips for staying healthy during the holidays: avoid the chocolate, eat veggies before going to holiday parties, eat white meat instead of dark, do jumping jacks while making gravy, bench press your Christmas tree ...

These "healthy" tips have always bothered me.  Christmas only comes once a year, and life is too short to not enjoy it and relish in all the goodies that come with the season.  Instead of freely enjoying a little chocolate, baking and dark meat, people become wrought with guilt if they savour anything with reckless abandon during the holidays.  I have never been one to deprive or restrict myself.  I enjoy all foods, whenever I want them, but in reasonable portions.

Jolene's Tips for Staying (Mentally) Healthy over the Holidays

1) Stick to the 4 main holiday food groups and don't worry so much about it:

a) Cookies
b) Cheese
c) Chocolate
d) Gravy

2) Spend as much time as possible with the people that you love.

3) Eat the dark meat if you want.  Heck, eat the crispy skin too.

4) Wine is made with grapes, so it is a fruit.  Drink up.

5) Relax.  You don't have to do it all, be perfect, or have the cleanest house on the block.  Relax and have fun, and your guests will too.

In other news ... today I had a very productive day. 
I fueled up with some French toast this morning before cleaning the house, and wrapping gifts.

I made cranberry sauce ...

Started to thaw the turkey ...

Baked 4 loaves of bread ...

Set the table for Christmas Eve turkey dinner with my family ...

And made a pecan pie for Christmas day ...

Tomorrow we will be spending the day with my family, and having our Christmas together.  

What do you do on Christmas Eve?  
Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Girls Night Out, and Goodies for the Kiddies


ast night 3 girlfriends and myself got decked out, hopped in a limo, and went for dinner together.  We are 4 best friends, who have been friends since childhood, and we rarely get a chance to get together like we used to.  The limo picked us all up at home and drove us around while we sipped on wine.  We headed to the restaurant where we immediately ordered some bread baskets to fill our growling bellies.

Next we shared some shrimp and calamari.

For the main course, we each got a 4 ounce steak with a side.  I had the horseradish potatoes with mine.

We played paparazzi (myself, and my friend Mel):

I also made a red velvet cake for the first time last night.  I used Jessica's recipe, and brought the cake to work to share with my colleagues.  Although the cake was good, I don't get the fuss about red velvet - it is nothing special.  I had a teeny, tiny slice.  

What is special are the cookies that I made for my students.  I used another of Jessica's recipes, and made them some hot cocoa cookies.

These were the ooiest, gooiest, chewiest, cookies I have ever made. 
The hubby and I shared one so we would have enough for my students.
I want them all.  I don't want to share!

I also made my students cake pops, and little goody bags with Toblerone, hot chocolate, jelly beans, a candy cane and a couple other chocolates in them.

Tomorrow is my last day of work before Christmas holidays!!  2 weeks off!!


Do you get any time off this holiday season?  

Sunday, December 19, 2010

50 and Fabulous

If there is anyone who can make 50 the new black it is Samantha Jones (SATS) and the hubby's aunt, Charmain.  Happy Birthday Charmain!  I hope I am just as fabulous as you are when I am fifty!

The hubby and I had a fun-filled, jam-packed weekend.  Yesterday we spent the evening at our friends' parents house for a Christmas party with great food, drinks, and company.

This morning we had the hubby's parents and aunt over for brunch.  We started with some munchies and then had bacon and Camembert tarts for an appetizer.  Our main course was Wifesaver breakfast, sausage, and pull-apart cinnamon rolls with mimosas and coffee.

This evening we went to the hubby's aunt Charmain's house for her 50th birthday celebration.  The food was outstanding, and the company was classy.  We had a wonderful evening.

"The Hubby" and Moi
This week is going to be a whirlwind, and I am so excited!  

Myself and "The Hubby"
What is on your agenda for the week?
What is "the new black" in your opinion?
I am thinking it is bacon.  And jeggings.