Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Holiday Progressive Supper -- Inspired by Pioneer Woman Cooks

After getting my new Pioneer Woman cookbook, I decided to use her recipes for a Christmas progressive supper.   Four families (we had 17 people) gathered on a December Sunday evening for appetizers, salad, main course, and dessert.  An evening of fellowship with friends over a delicious meal is one of my favorite holiday traditions.  Traveling to three other homes and enjoying their Christmas decorations and warm hospitality made it even more fun.

We started with appetizers at the Leland's. They made onion strings, and everyone ate them up before I got a picture--they were delicious.

Next, we went to Wheeler's for salad.  Ree doesn't include much for salad in the cookbook.  I'm pretty sure it's because salad and butter don't go that well together.  PW REALLY likes butter...a lot.   Roger and Lisa made a Ceasar and a garden salad, and they were both yummy.

The main course was at my house.  I made her meatballs, plus corn casserole and glazed carrots (which are not in the cookbook).  I had such a difficult time choosing the main course, because her recipes are all so appealing.

By the time we left my house it was snowing! We went to Zimmerman's for red velvet cake.  It was so beautiful for Christmas. It was the perfect finish for our evening.

We had a great time traveling around town to each other's houses.  Thanks to my friends for joining the fun.

And about the cookbook--
I can't recommend it highly enough!  It is so much more than a cookbook.  It's almost like a scrapbook, with tons of photography (by Pioneer Woman and Marlboro Man) and stories from the ranch.
Go buy one right now!  

 (You won't regret it.  Buy two... because you are going to want to give one to someone as a Christmas gift.)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Road Trip to See "Wicked" in Kansas City

I had the pleasure of traveling to Kansas City in early December to take my daughters to see "Wicked" the musical.  It was a great time, but seemed like a really long day.  We left Saturday morning by 10:00 and got back late the same night.  After watching the show in the afternoon, we drove to Kansas City's Country Club Plaza and looked at all the beautiful lights and horse-drawn carriages, and then had supper.  My son's friend, Jourdan and her mom joined us for the trip, which made for great company as we drove 3.5 hours each direction.  If you ever get a chance to see "Wicked", I highly recommend it.  Just make sure to watch "The Wizard of Oz" before you go, and maybe again afterward!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Road Trip to See The Pioneer Woman

If you haven't heard of The Pioneer Woman, please check out her blog You will likely never be the same after reading about her life of photography, homeschooling, cooking, and cowboys.  In October, her brand spankin' new cookbook was released, and she began a book signing tour around the country.  I discovered that she would be in Minneapolis at 1:00 on a Saturday in November and decided that I must go on an adventure.  I asked a friend to come along, and we each brought our teenage daughters.  None of the other three had much interest in PW, but the Mall of America and Ikea were enough of a draw for them to agree to join me. Lisa agreed to take the girls shopping while I waited in line to get my cookbook signed.

We drove to Minneapolis on Friday night and stayed in a hotel very near the mall (thanks to my hubby for setting that up).  The next morning we decided to have some fun.  Because our daughters are near look-a-likes with their mothers, we brought along matching clothes and went to breakfast dressed alike.  We felt like total losers, but had a blast watching people look at us.

What were they thinking when they saw this ...?

Dressing alike for breakfast was about all the dorkiness we could take, so we changed into our normal clothes and headed to the mall.

and now back to PW...
When we arrived at the Mall of America at 10:00 (for the 1:00 book signing), I was number 50 in line. I was elated that I would likely get my cookbook signed.  You see...even though I had come to Minneapolis for this purpose, I was missing out on hanging with the gals.  I needed to resume my normal life at 3:00, so that I could continue bonding with my daughter and our friends...  with or without my cookbook signed. (sigh)
The Nordstrom court filled with hundreds of women as the day progressed (we estimated that there were at least 500 people waiting).  We enjoyed visiting with others standing in line around us, since we all had Pioneer Woman in common.

After four hours, it was my turn!  My cookbook was signed at 2:00 pm. After all that waiting, I had approximately 60 seconds to bond with Ree.  I wish I could say we had a deep conversation about all the things we have in common--like homeschooling, photography, cooking, skin cancer, beautiful horses, etc.  Instead, I pretty much blurted out the things that I had rehearsed (so I wouldn't freeze up as my traveling companions predicted), and they sounded ridiculous.  She was ever so gracious, and smiled as she signed my book, and then... it was time for me to go.  Fortunately, we can all get our Pioneer Woman fix by going to her blog at any hour of the day or night.  And if we want to feel particularly close to her, we can just get out the cookbook and head to the kitchen.  I will post more about the cookbook later...