New Year’s Eve Dinner & Games

I feel like for most of 2014 Michael and I were reclusive. We didn’t plan a ton of friend events because we were both so overwhelmed with wedding planning and life stuff and every weekend we had free was dedicated to planning the wedding. I still saw my friends here and there but we just weren’t super social. I definitely missed that and once we got back from Hawaii I started planning stuff and actually saying yes to things we got invited to! It was nice to be social again. šŸ™‚

In the past we’ve gone out to a nice dinner on New Year’s Eve but in the last few years we’ve decided to stay in and do our own thing. (I used to go out dancing for NYE with friends–my favorite thing was the Michael Jackson vs. Prince dance party at various clubs in town!) This year we decided to have a little dinner party with another couple and play board games.

For dinner we made Cornish Game Hens. I’ve done them before but it’s been awhile. I looked around for a recipe that sounded good (last time I did them I just used some butter, seasoning and herbs) and we got to cooking. I looked for a few different hen recipes and found this one that was great.

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I didn’t have a traditional roasting pan but thankfully Google solved that for me and I made a “roasting” tray in the Le Creuset pan with foil. This recipe was super easy to follow and it didn’t take too long. The hens we got didn’t have the giblets in them, so it was a lot easier to clean them.

I used fresh rosemary from the garden and lots of garlic. Some of the reviewers of the recipe said the minced garlic burned. I decided to use slivers instead of minced. I also used a lot more garlic than the recipe called for and honestly, I’d use more next time. I would also flip the birds over half way through so that they get crispy brown on both sides.

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Our friends arrived just as the birds were done. Michael cooked up some small red potatoes with onions, garlic and herbs. It went great with the chickens. I considered making a salad but it seemed liked a lot of food so I skipped it. Also, the hens looked really big but once you started eating them, it wasn’t as much food as it looks. The bulk of it was the bones and stuff.

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The meat was really juicy and mild in flavor. I’d use more garlic and a little more salt next time I make these. Everyone seemed to like the dinner, so I was happy! Our friends, Brian and Courtney, made flourless peanut butter cookies for dessert and they were delicious! I need to get that recipe.

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We got some new games for Christmas: Settlers of Cattan, Ticket to Ride, and Bunco. I was super excited to try them out. I ordered Ticket to Ride on Amazon and with Prime it should have arrived long before NYE but sadly, it did not. (I contacted Amazon and they were great about it, gave us an extra month of free Prime, but I was still disappointed the game didn’t arrive because that was the plan for the dinner party.) In the end, we ended up playing a card game instead, Spades, but it was super fun! I love that game and often play it on my phone when I’m watching TV.

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It was Brian and me against Michael and Courtney and when we called it a night our teams were tied! It was really fun.

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We had a white wine blend with dinner and I opened a small bottle of champagne (it was actually the other mini bottle of champagne that the hotel gave us on our wedding night–it took us that long to finally drink it). We didn’t make it til midnight to ring in the new year, which would have been nice but at the same time I was also happy to go to bed at a decent hour! Dang, we got old.

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It was a fun, easy going night and I love playing games so that was a great time, too. It also felt amazing to sleep in super late on New Year’s Day! Hope you had a great New Year!

Green Chickpea & Chicken Curry with Swiss Chard

Saturday morning I went to the Warrior Room for the Kettlebell Conditioning class. This class focuses more on the kettle bell moves and perfecting form. We worked on “complexes” this class. A complex is basically three or four moves put together in a sequence without putting the kettlebells down or resting in between the moves. The complexes are a lot harder because of this–no resting! Power through it!

Here is an example of one of the complexes: With one kettlebell, rack the bell (basically holding the rack position with the kettlebell close to your body) like this:

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Then we put one leg bag, kneeled down and put the other leg back and kneeled down. Then with one arm outĀ (similar to above photo)Ā press the kettlebell up for 4 reps, then stand back up and with the kettlebell still in the rack position, 4 squats. Then it was a set of lunges followed by 6 one-armed kettlebell swings. (Here is a good video of the alternating single arm swing to give you an example of good form–even though in class we didn’t do alternating swings.) That was one set. Then the same thing on the other side. Doing these complexes always gets my heart pounding and I do find that I fatigued quicker than when we do regular sets. But the complexes are fun to do and clearly are a good workout:

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The class also included lots of burpees, mountain climbers and hill sprints. It was a fantastic class and I felt strong throughout the entire class, which was nice!

Later that day I went grocery shopping to get a bunch of veggies and stuff to make this new recipe I wanted to try. I don’t know where I found this recipe–maybe Pinterest? But it sounded so tasty and I love curry.

I substitutedĀ kale for the swiss chard. It had been ages since I’d had kale and when I was in the grocery store looking at that glorious green bunch of kale, I decided to just get that instead. Plus I’ve never cooked with swiss chard (or eaten it I think…) and wasn’t really sure if I’d like it. I knew I loved kale. Also, I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts instead of thighs because we didn’t have thighs. I liked the breasts in this recipe better anyway; it was easier to chop into small bite-sized pieces.

The kitchen smelled so good while I was cooking this! It was a little higher in calories than I would have liked but it was a healthy, filling recipe so I tried not to give it too much thought. I used light coconut milk to lighten it up a little bit. Really, the calories come from the chickpeas.

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While it was cooking it seemed like there was too much liquid but I still followed the recipe as it said. When I added the kale it soaked up a ton of the liquid! Mystery solved. I let it simmer for another 15 minutes and then it was done.

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I served it with a piece of sourdough bread. The dish was delicious with one exception. OMIT THE SALT. I have no idea why the recipe called for salt at all. Maybe it was because I used jarred chili paste and green curry that already had salt as one of their ingredients, but it was JUST on the borderline of being too salty.

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I liked the spice in this and the flavors. I would make this recipe again but would not add any salt. I had a glass of crisp chardonnay to go with dinner, which was a nice balance to the spicy food. I’d also get some naan next time I make this recipe. Anyways, after dinner Michael and played a few rounds of the Sequence game. I love that game!

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We brought Bella’s bed into the dining room to try and get her to keep us company while we played. She kept going back to the couch instead. I think she likes staring at the Christmas tree lights. She finally came back in and relaxed once Fat Kitty took her bed. šŸ˜› They are too funny. Look, ALMOST cuddling. Almost.

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I got a few new board games recently and we’re going to have some friends over soon to play them. I’m excited! I will let you know how the new games are soon.