Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fondue Night in Pictures

This is the same Fondue Night where I shared all the recipes from previously. Thought you might like to see them. Of course they are in the wrong order, so we will start with after dinner drinks, followed by dessert etc.
I found this drink in a discount bin at a small local grocery. It's called Jason and Larry's Evil Spirits, so naturally, I thought Jason and Larry should try it.

They toasted with great eagerness.
They no likey. Jason and Larry's Evil Spirits are hereby banished from our house.

The delicious Caramel dessert course.

I seriously thought they might start licking the bowl and their plates. I'm not saying I didn't think about it.
Coop Dawg enjoying the meat, vegetable, bouillon course.
Alas, there are no pictures of the cheese course. We hadn't thought to get out the camera yet. Larry didn't get any cheese, because he was too late and we were too hungry.

Our Newish Home in Photos

We moved in February 2008. I took pictures to share with you in December, and they are finally making it online. This is especially for my long distance friends who may never get to see it in person.

Unfortunately, I skipped a few rooms. They were probably messy or something. I just went and took pictures of my bathroom and kitchen to share in the future - which who knows when that will happen, but I hope to do it.

I loved being able to put up a Christmas Tree for the first time in 5 years! I just never could get into the spirit in a little apartment when the tree was in storage at Grandma's and dragging the other decorations out of one of those storage units -- bleh. I actually had my Christmas Tree up before Thanksgiving. I was always such a firm believer in no tree before turkey, but I was just too excited. Plus, the older I get, the faster the season goes by. I guess if I had a real tree, that wouldn't work so well.

The pictures aren't really in the order I want, but dealing with pictures on blogger takes forever and stresses me out, so in the interest of minimum stress, I will caption them as is.

This was after a big snow in January.

This is Jason with the pink hair that I mentioned in the forking post. This was at our housewarming party. Yes, on the t.v., that's old school Sonic the Hedgehog on an old Sega.

This is the only picture I have of my kitchen for now. That's Jason's Mom helping out at the housewarming party. She is a great blessing to us - always serving and giving.
Blue Skies. Green Grass.
I always wanted my Christmas Tree in a window. Finally happened.
We have this old sealed up a/c unit in our living room. It's not functional and it goes all the way through the wall and outside. Basically we have a hole in our house that will need to be sealed up. Maybe next fall we'll fix it, but for now, since I couldn't get rid of it, I decorated it.
From the dining room, looking into the living room.
Part of my teapot collection on the lovely shelves in my.......
...dining room. Those shelves made me fall in love with this house. The first thing I moved into the house was a lone teapot to put on the shelves.
This China cabinet belonged to my Great Great Grandmother. I adore it.
The living room.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Got Forks?

It was an average Tuesday night. My Mom left my house after our Summer Bible Study around 9pm. I always watch her get into her car to make sure she’s not abducted and all that good stuff. All was well. Jason comes home from Youth Group at 10pm and is furious! He asked “Did you see it?”

Alarmed I asked “see what?”

He led me to our front door and what a sight! Our entire front yard was covered with plastic forks, knives, and spoons stuck into the ground. Every square inch was covered! I was so shocked because I had been in the house the entire time it was going on! Upon further inspection we found little homemade signs taped to the garage and our lamppost. The high school seniors graduated from Youth Group the week before and were unable to return. Since they had nothing to do with themselves on Tuesday nights, this is how some of the girls chose to pass the time. They also included signs of Jesus hugging Jason “JB and Jesus = Best Friends”. There was another sign featuring Jesus on a flowery hill. It said “Forking is a sign of love! Only fork with those you love!” (I've taken some pictures, but I can't find the cord thingy to put them in the computer. I'll get Jason to help me later.)

I secretly thought it was pretty hilarious and was enjoying the surprise, but Jason was NOT relishing the idea of cleaning it all up! By the next morning he had come around and also thought it was pretty funny. He knew his Mom HAD to have played a large role in this fiasco and he insisted she help with the cleanup and, she was glad to.

One thing I was a little worried about is what the neighbors would think since we only moved in a few months ago and in that time Jason had already dyed his hair hot pink as an incentive for the kids to raise money for 30 Hour Famine. He had to mow the lawn with that hair! We did hear from a few of the neighbors about the forking and the interpretations were so varied and interesting, I’m sort of scared to know what other people thought of.

One lady walking her dog the next morning simply said to me “Boy! Someone must love you!” I explained to her about my husband being a Youth Pastor and she just laughed.

Our next door neighbor was like “What the hell!? What kind of friends do that? That sucks man!” He said this as Jason was cleaning it up.

Now it gets really interesting. A sweet older lady from across the street came over to get a closer look. From a distance, she had thought they were little crosses like some of the displays by Catholic Churches to symbolize lives lost through abortion. Jason explained it wasn’t NEARLY so controversial or heavy, just silliness and fun.

Another woman walking her dog WEEKS after this happened stopped in front of our house to address us as we sat on the porch swing. She said “I was just wondering about the display in your yard a few weeks ago. I’m a writer and I’m always on the lookout for interesting stories, what did they represent?” We told her how it simply represented a group of silly girls with some silly Moms having a silly time at our expense.

Overall, it was really fun and entertaining. I have to learn not to care so much what other people think. We are who we are, we live how we live and I happen to be very happy! Jason’s job brings its challenges, but also lots of fun things that keep us young.

The girls told us we had to recycle the forks and pass it on. We politely declined and returned the plastic ware to them for “recycling”.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The Proverbs 31 Woman

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
– John 10:10

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the LORD.
-Psalm 40: 1-3

These verses describe my life perfectly right now. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been - the freest, the most joyful, the most secure. We celebrated two milestones this year – my 30th birthday, and our 10th wedding anniversary. We greeted both with joy and thanksgiving. I love my husband. Our love is deeper and richer than ever. I respect him. I’m proud to be his wife. I miss him when we’re not together. Excuse the cheesiness, but I couldn’t be more sincere.

Now there is a verse (one among many) that does not describe my life:

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
-Proverbs 31:25

I definitely have room to grow on the strength and dignity part, but it’s the second part that really escapes me. When I think about how wonderful my life is right now, it is always tagged with thoughts like, “not for long” and/or “something terrible is sure to happen any day now.” Now, I don’t believe these thoughts are entirely untrue, because bad stuff is always going to happen in this world. The death rate is still 100%. People I love are going to die, hopefully not tragically, but anything is possible. All sorts of horrible things are possible – house fires, violent crime, sickness, etc.

While bad things eventually happen in everyone’s life, surely it can’t be good to worry about it in advance. And of course I worry about worst case scenario. It’s like I’m trying to brace myself, so that something can’t take me by surprise, or maybe by living out the scenario in my head, It’ll be easier to deal with when it comes. It can't be healthy to stress oneself out over imaginary trials. Yet, despite the realities of this world, of which she is surely aware, the Proverbs 31 woman laughs at the days to come.

The Proverbs 31 woman is pretty sweet. If you've never read about her before, you should check it out (Proverbs 31:10-31) I used to feel condemned when I read about her, about how I could never measure up. Romans 8:1 says: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. So I don't have to feel that way. She may not have been a real woman, but rather a portrait of the ideal woman, someone to emulate. I was reading the notes in my NIV Study Bible about the Proverbs 31 woman and I loved what it had to say. I’ll end this post with the authors notes:

Proverbs has a lot to say about women. How fitting that the book ends with a picture of a woman of strong character, great wisdom, many skills, and great compassion. Some people have the mistaken idea that the ideal woman in the Bible is retiring, servile, and entirely domestic. Not so! This woman is an excellent wife and mother. She is also a manufacturer, importer, manager, realtor, farmer, seamstress, upholsterer, and merchant. Her strength and dignity do not come from her amazing achievements, however. They are a result of her reverence for God. In our society where physical appearance counts for so much, it may surprise us to realize that her appearance is never mentioned. Her attractiveness comes entirely from her character.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Fondue Night - The Meat & Vegetable Course

Turns out the cheese fondue recipe was from in case you want to check out the original post.

The following recipe was found at:

Of course I added in my little notes and advice. I'm going to put a little asterisk by each dipper that I used personally. The Bouillon recipe is followed by recipes for sauces to serve with the meat. The Green Goddess sauce/dip is especially good with the veggies and is my favorite. I made all of the sauces the night before for better flavor and less work the day of.

Be careful with the raw meat and make sure it only touches the raw meat plate and your skewer which is then dipped in the simmering liquid until it is cooked through. No pink chicken please.

Court Bouillon Fondue

Tastes identical to the court bouillon at Melting Pot. After making the bouillon, transfer it to a fondue pot or saucepan on a hot plate. Then, over medium heat, add skewers of lean meats (chicken, pork, lean beefsteak, etc.) and cook until done. Delicious!

Enough for 10-12 people (I made the whole recipe for my party of 6 and refrigerated the rest for lunch the next day, worked out great!)

Fondue Ingredients:
2 medium carrots
2 stalks celery
1 medium onion
1 - 2 cup dry white wine ( I used a cheap bottle ($5.99 on sale) of Pinot Grigio)
2 lemon slices
1 bay leaf
3 whole black peppers

Suggested Dippers (cut all into large bite size pieces):

  • boneless skinless chicken breasts *
  • pork tenderloin marinated in teriyaki sauce*
  • raw peeled deveined shrimp* (I bought it frozen and deveined, I thawed overnight and peeled them before serving)
  • salmon
  • filet mignon
  • lobster tail
  • duck breast
  • teriyaki marinated sirloin

Vegetables (these do not need skewers - just toss them in and retrieve with a slotted spoon after a few minutes):
  • Mushrooms*
  • Red Potatoes*
  • Yellow Squash*
  • Zuchinni

  • Pot Stickers
  • Ravioli

1. Slice carrots, celery, and onion.

2. In a 4-quart dutch oven, combine vegetables, wine, lemon, bay leaf, peppers, 8 cups water, and 2 teaspoons salt.

3.Bring to a boil. Reduce Heat. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

4. Strain broth through sieve and use for fondue.

(Store unused broth in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer up to 6 months.)


I used a bottled barbecue sauce that was great. I'm sure there are many bottled sauces that would be tasty.

Yogurt Curry Sauce
1 cup plain yogurt
3 Tablespoons mayonnaise
3 teaspoons curry powder

mix and store in the fridge for a few hours - overnight if possible. This sauce was a big hit at my party. I love it on the chicken.

Green Goddess

Makes 12 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus
1 to 2 hours to cool
Cooking time: 2-4 minutes
8 ounces cream cheese, cut into slices
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely sliced chives
In a microwave-safe container, microwave cream cheese and milk for 2 to 4 minutes, whisking after each minute, until cream cheese melts and mixture is smooth. Stir in sour cream, onion, parsley and chives. Refrigerate until cold, overnight to let flavors develop if possible. Leftovers would make a great dip for pretzels, chips and/or carrots.

For my party I did not have fresh parsley or chives. I had some green onion, so I cut up enough green onion to cover all of the onion and chives (4 Tablespoons total). I used dried parsley - generally a good rule of thumb is to use 1/3 of the amount when substituting dry for fresh. Ideally I will have all of these ingredients on hand next time, but it was pretty darn good even with the substitutions.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Fondue Night - The Cheese Course

Last night Jason and I hosted a few friends for a fondue night. Jason and I had made the cheese course, and chocolate course before with great success. I had never made the meat course, court bouillon style is our favorite, so I decided to invite some company and see what happened. I don't think it could've gone any better or that the food could've tasted any better. Jason and I go to the Melting Pot every year for our anniversary, and I honestly don't know if we'll need to go back, because the food tasted every bit as good for half the price, although it was a bit of work.

I use an individual hot plate and sauce pans for my fondue, because it's easier to control the heat, and I can switch out the pans with ease. I picked up a set of skewers at Goodwill a few months ago. I don't know how they got separated from their fondue pot, but it was nowhere in site, so I didn't feel bad swiping them - well it felt like a steal at $2 for 11 skewers. I picked up 6 more from the Pampered Chef outlet. So we were good to go.

I did all sorts of web searches to find just the right recipes. After testing them out, I'm ready to share. Let's start with the cheese! I believe this recipe was posted on a message board, sorry I didn't save the link and don't know if I could find it again. I edited it a bit to give more precise measurements and instructions:

Cheddar Cheese Fondue

(Courtesy of the Melting Pot)

a very simple fondue recipe shared by the melting pot on an early morning talk show!

Serves 2 (double and triple as needed)


4 ounces beer (I used cheap Miller Lite - tasted fabulous)

1 teaspoon chopped garlic

4 oz. cheddar cheese

1 Tablespoon Corn Starch

Five turns of pepper

3 shakes mustard powder

3-4 shakes Worcestershire sauce


any sort of yummy bread



whatever else sounds good

In a small saucepan (for 2 servings)

start with 4 oz of base beer
over medium heat

add garlic

add 3 shakes of mustard powder and stir

mix cheese with 1 Tablespoon of corn starch

add small amount of cheddar cheese mixture to pan

mix thoroughly (using figure eight motion until cheese is melted)

keep adding cheese until it reaches desired consistency – like ooey gooey melted cheesy goodness

add five turns of pepper grinder

add three to four shakes of Worcestershire sauce and stir

serve in fondue pot, or saucepan over hot plate on low

dip to your heart's (and stomach's) delight