Monday, July 19, 2010

A Summer Weekend

I was crazy-busy this weekend with baking and cooking.  My friend Alison recruited me to help with her daughter's graduation party on Saturday.  Alison and her husband Michael provided the meat for grilling (barbequed chicken, hotdogs, and hamburgers), appetizers, and all the beverages.  I made the side-dishes and two cakes.  My typical self, I made way too much of everything, but it was all appreciated and left-overs are always good, right?  I provided salads:  macaroni, potato, confetti rice, bow-tie pasta, and a big green salad.  I also made baked beans with bacon and  baked ziti (one with veggies, one with meat).  This Irish girl's red sauce got two thumbs up from my friend Mike who knows his way around an Italian kitchen.  A dark chocolate graduation cake and a vanilla birthday cake rounded out the menu. 

Alison and Michael live east of Saratoga Lake, on a lovely piece of land among rolling hills.  It's not far from Saratoga but it feels a world away.  Their guests included 40 family and friends, ranging in age from 14 months to 92 years, and everyone had a great time.  Kids splashed in the pool, and, despite the heat, people sat outside around patio tables and had a very relaxing afternoon.  When the party was winding down, Alison and Michael helped me pack up my empty bowls and platters, and thanked me for taking part in their special day.  I loved the late-afternoon ride home along the lake.  If you are in the area and haven't taken that route in a while, treat yourself a go for a ride around the lake in the late afternoon/early evening.  It's beautiful.

I took Sunday morning to relax and rejuvenate, and spent Sunday afternoon floating in my sister-in-law Lynn's pool!  Her husband (aka Cabana Boy Rod) delivered us "Jamaica Smiles" drinks in tall glasses (the recipe comes from Tino, the bartender at a resort in Jamaica where Rod and Lynn recently vacationed), a wonderful concoction of strawberries, bananas, and coconut rum.  Oh man.  I sipped too fast and got the inevitable "brain freeze" that always hits me, not in my brain, but the bridge of my nose (?) and had to pace myself.

I came home from swimming and Katie had a pot of clam chowder ready to serve.  It was incredible.  With a loaf of crusty french bread and a tossed salad, it was just about the perfect meal.  Her blueberry cobbler for dessert made it so.

After dinner, we enjoyed time outside with Henry.  Bill tired out Oden, their black lab, with a long game of fetch.  Henry made me chase him down the driveway.  Every time I got close, he took off!  The driveway is very long and he gave his grandma a run for her money!

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