dinner party

A Lot

Well, I think we tried to pack in as much as we could in one weekend. Sheesh. Friday night we got home from work and frantically cleaned and prepped for friends to come over for dinner. We made nachos. Yum!

Ground turkey meat cooked with taco seasoning, then of course cheese, black olives and red onions. Our friends made guacamole (it was really good) and we ate dinner, caught up on stuff and then played Cards Against Humanity. Randomly Michael decided to call the 1-800 number for the game and it was the funniest thing ever. If you’ve never called the number, you should. It was actually worth going through the phone tree. 😉

Logan fell asleep reading his current favorite book and it was too cute not to share:

On Saturday I went to the gym and then the three of us went out to lunch before naptime. Nap time was definitely needed! A bunch of chores and errands later…it was time for Saturday dinner and another pair of friends came over. Sam and John got married in August and they came over to our place Saturday to tell us all about their amazing honeymoon to London and Paris!

They took a cooking class when they were in Paris and I am so ridiculously jealous! 🙂 It sounded amazing. Anyways, I poured us all a glass of the Sokol Blosser sparkling rose to celebrate and we had the chicken that Michael smoked.

Sam made a really delicious slaw (fennel, granny smith apples, red cabbage and carrots) –seriously so good! And I made a Trader Joe’s harvest mix–it was red quinoa, Israeli couscous and baby garbanzo beans. Then I mixed in diced green onions, chopped almonds and dried cranberries. It all went really well together.

Dinner was delicious. Dessert was freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

Sunday Michael took Bella to the vet to get her stitches out. She’s thankfully feeling better and back to her normal self! While they did that, Logan and I did some art. 🙂

My brother got Logan a finger painting kit for Christmas and I figured it was a good time to test it out. He had a great time and then realized he could clap his paint-covered hands together and make splatter like Jackson Pollock. The entire kitchen had splatter. Guess who got a bath immediately afterward?

Oh my god. So dirty! It looked like a crime scene. There was paint splatter EVERYWHERE.

After that I went swimming, had lunch and then met an artist I’ve been following on instagram for awhile. Her name is Caroline Allen, you can check out her instagram or website. I drove out to her studio in the Estacada area and got to check out her space. It was really cool! She has a yurt in the woods set up as her studio. I bought a painting that she’s going to matte and frame for me. I can’t wait to pick it up and hang it at home.

Finally, for dinner Sunday night Michael did a pulled pork in the Traeger!

The pork was perfectly cooked! It tasted so good. We made pulled pork sandwiches with sweet potato “chips.”

Overall it was a good weekend, just way too busy. I hope next weekend we can find some time to chill!

Smokin’ Weekend

Over the weekend we got to try out our new Traeger smoker!

Saturday

We had another couple over for dinner to have ribs. Michael started the ribs at about noon and then we ate at 7-ish.

Michael has been really good at BBQing ribs, it’s one of his specialties, but smoking them for several hours first made them out of this world!

He used a combination of a BBQ seasoning rub and a recipe that the Traeger book recommended (honey, mustard, brown sugar) and then for the last hour of the cooking he added the BBQ sauce.

The ribs were absolutely perfect! The meat fell off the bone. The flavors were so rich and smokey. It was like nothing we’d ever had before. Smoking the ribs was sooo good.

Michael said next time he does ribs he’d do the timing a little different. I think he was saying it was a 3-2-1 process where you smoke them for 3 hours then cook them in foil for 2 hours then the last hour is cooking uncovered on the grill and using BBQ sauce. He said he wanted to play with the time a little bit next time.

Our friends brought a delicious Asian-inspired cucumber salad. The cucumbers were from her garden. The salad was really tasty and went so well with the ribs.

Sunday

Michael bought a giant hunk of brisket at Costco and started the Traeger at 7am. He followed the recipe in the Traeger book for the first time. A few years ago I bought him Franklin’s BBQ book so I think he’ll use that in the future, too.

This was definitely an all day process and he said he should have started it a bit earlier in the morning.

I picked the first batch of jalapenos from the garden and Michael pickled a bunch and then saved a few and made poppers as an appetizer. SO TASTY!

Michael’s mom and stepdad, sister and friend Jeremy came over to be guinea pigs for the first ever brisket.

Once the brisket was done, we wrapped it in foil to rest for almost an hour.

More wine:

And the unveiling!

Michael’s mom made potato salad from scratch and Michael’s sister made a delicious salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. It was all really tasty and went perfectly with the meat.

For a first attempt, the brisket was really, really good. There were a few tough pieces but for the most part it was great! The flavor was outstanding. We are all super excited to try again!