Friday, December 17, 2010

sleigh bells ring, are you listening?

Home is so close, I can feel it. I have been a major slacker, or maybe just consumed with so much school work as the semester has wrapped up to blog. I must give credit to my mother for the last entry which was so beautifully written. I cannot believe tomorrow after my last and final exam of the week (the fifth one this week, might I add) that the semester is over. It feels like just yesterday we moved in and had our first meal together.

I cannot contain my excitement to be home for break, so many things to look forward to. I am to the point of counting down the hours and the thought of not having to look at an educational book for a whole month and to not have a care in the world for a month for the first time since the beginning of the semester is just so exciting.

The holiday season is my favorite time of the year, hands down. The fact that it is blustering cold and snowing constantly is outweighed by the happiness and love that is all around. Speaking of ridiculous amounts of snow...that was what we experienced last week. Talk about awful. We were basically snowed in, minus the fact that good ole' Syracuse insisted that we still have class. Digging out our cars was a real treat, but on the bright side we got to play in the snow as we did it! Being snowed could of worked to our benefit, our cupboards were stocked of 6 pounds of coffee and three bottles of wine, it's suffice to say we would of been perfectly fine being snowed in! Being home during the whole month of December would be ideal, I love the feel and the look with all the decorations and the tree and the smell of cookies baking. Of course, we have had our share of baking despite how busy we have been.

The day we came back from Thanksgiving break up went the tree and all the decorations to get into the holiday spirit (I think we all wished Thanksgiving break to be over quick so we could come back and decorate!)

We also had a Christmas party which to say was a blast would be an understatement. We of course baked up a storm because what good Christmas party doesn't have cookies?!

 First we made Candy Bar Shortbread Squares (because we always have SO much candy and we thought it'd be perfect to slim down the candy drawer a bit)

We added some red and green m&m's which consisted of us buying five bags of regular m&m's and sorting them during the commercials of gossip girl but going to the real store was out of the question so we had to deal.

These were delicious, you can put any type of candy you want, of course we had to opt out of any peanut butter kinds because of me but I still think they turned out okay :)

 So they might not be the prettiest of cookies, but we tried. I'm not sure we even tried these, but just gave them right away because at this point it this was our third batch of cookies of the evening and the amount of dough and cookies we had consumed was getting to be excessive.
 Smores are my ultimate favorite, if you give me anything smores I'll be a happy camper. When we came across this recipe I knew we had to make them. They were divine and fun to make!
I almost forgot! Mariah and Emily took over the kitchen one evening and made me dinner! It was so nice not to have to cook, and they even waited on me hand and foot!

One of the most delicious drinks we were introduced to here was butter beer. It is butterscotch schnapps with cream soda, oh my is it tasty! We of course had this the night of the Harry Potter premier in favor of the movie. We also found butterscotch schnapps makes a perfect addition to hot chocolate at night which soon became a nighttime favorite.

This semester was by far one of the best times of my life, I have friends and memories that I will never forget. I am so thankful that this is where I am and that life is wonderful. I am one of the luckiest people alive and I would not change anything.

Being apart from my roommates will be difficult, Mariah left last night and I think we've called her, texted her, facebooked her a million times since she left. I am so very grateful that I get the pleasure of living with two of my best friends. Although we are just coming up on our one year mark in January I feel like I have known them forever. They are two of the most wonderful people and there is never a dull moment in this apartment.

On a different note, I AM SO EXCITED TO BE REUNITED WITH MY FAVORITE PEOPLE. One of my very bestest friends decided it was a grand idea to go college on the other side of the world..well Nebraska but it might as well be the other side of the world, and she does not come home until Christmas every year. Needless to say I am counting down the seconds until she gets home and tal is reunited again. Although I did see Al over Thanksgiving break it was just not enough, break was so short and once Tess, Al and myself are reunited I will be the happiest camper, ever.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Tradition. That is what the holidays are all about.  In the Lembo family it means lots of fun, food and family.    It means doing things the same way year after year because that is what is comfortable and what you look forward to year after year.   For many years we would go to Gammy and Papas house for Christmas Eve.  We went to church at the Nursing home which was always a nightmare for my cousins and me.   My brother would do anything possible to sit in the lobby and avoid the ‘old people’.   Wondering how he would manage to get in the lobby was a favorite guessing game of my mom.  Dinner and gifts under the tree in the basement were next on the schedule.   Before we left to go home at night, my mom would gather the kids and read “Twas the Night Before Christmas” popup book.   Several of the pop-ups no longer pop due to the  excessive use but my mom secretly hopes for grandchildren one day so she can read the pop up book to them on Christmas Eve, broken pop ups and all. Christmas Day starts early, although my brother makes it later and later each year.   Presents under the tree and lots of love to go around!  Later in the day our grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins gather and we eat and drink and play some games.  The menu is always the same, don’t try to bring in any new recipes to the menu.    The only thing we can vary on is the type of birthday cake we make for baby  Jesus.  Sometimes it is ice cream cake and sometimes a regular cake in the tree pan.   So now to talk about cards…..every year my mom thinks about not sending cards.  Maybe a Christmas Email, maybe donate the money to a charity….and every year she thinks about the fun of coming home from work with a sense of anticipation to see whose card is in the mailbox that day.  Connecting with those we see all the time and more importantly those whose distance make the Christmas Card Catch-up so very special. Our photo cards are always a project, especially now that my brother and I are at college.   Mom has to figure out how to get the two of us in the same place at the same time and willing to pose together!  This year didn’t work out well and we’ll be using the three separate picture card frame so we can use pictures from throughout the year.   We will be including devil dog, a lab-husky mix who came to live with us in June.   She has some behavioral issues and lucky to still be with us but we’ll include her on the card  so she can help tell our 2010 story to our friends and family.    Tradition.  It’s was makes the season complete.  Our cards this year will be cards.  Yours can too…check out these websites.  
Merry Christmas Friends and Family.  

Thursday, October 28, 2010

a few pictures

I've come to terms with the fact that Otto looks more like a duck, so we say it's a duck.

seeds before the baking process.

 The process begins..
A little labor intensive..

 One tin short..a make shift one courtesy of Jared
 Someone underestimated their muscles and broke the spoon.

By the way, this frosting was so good. So so good. We looked it up online and kind of improvised and added pumpkin pie spice for a nice little touch.
 Team work
Final product.

how many dinner parties is too many dinner parties?

You can never have enough. There are few things better than everyone gathering around the table for a home cooked meal. I harp in almost every post about the importance of family and when I think of my family it is memories in the kitchen. While at school, we make memories in so many ways, whether it's going out on the weekend or fooling around to procrastinate during the week or just hanging out, enjoying each others company. Lately it seems we've been making memories around the dinner table, a lot. Like I said earlier people have caught wind of the greatness of dinner parties and we have been booked solid.

Normally dinner parties go as follows, we cook dinner, the guests bring a side or dessert and the drinks. This time it was kind of backwards, and I can't say I minded. If I've learned anything from having an older brother in college, through visits, is that cleanliness often falls to the wayside. I mean, it's perfectly fine if that's how you choose to live, but that just does not fly with me. Needless to say the boys did not want to have us over, rather they'd come here, cook dinner and bring drinks. K great, because if there house was anything like my brothers, I would be afraid to sit down, let alone eat dinner. So, we set the date for a Wednesday night at 8, we made the salad and dessert and all we knew was we were having burritos and gin and tonics. Now when the boys were in communication confirming dinner, the text we received went something like this..we got the chicken, pasta, rice and country sweet and drinks. Needless to say, we were rather nervous as to what we were about to eat. So around 8:30 the boys arrive, after they got half way here and forgot the burrito shells..and what we had hoped would be dinner cooked and ready to go was more like grocery bags of ingredients. We we're starving, so we quickly put them to work, and it was process to say the least. A very funny process to watch none the less. After about a half hour- forty five minutes on pans clanking, some hovering and a few "opps" dinner was ready to be served. We set up a nice little assembly line and learned the proper way to make a burrito. Now, this was no ordinary burrito. First you lay some rice down, then some pasta, then the chicken and then smother it with country sweet. Now, the boys raved about country sweet and how they put it on everything, I have never heard of this and was a bit apprehensive, but did as I was told. Now, if you can imagine, the three of us health conscious freaks eating all of this white pasta, white rice, white burrito shells, we were a bit out of our element. Finally we all went through the line and the burritos were complete, onto the nerve wracking part, the first bite. I was hoping for the best, expecting the worst, but this unique combination was actually quite good. So many different textures between the rice, chicken and the pasta and then the country sweet for a kick of both spice and sweetness, it was not too shabby. And, it turns out country sweet is made in Rochester, who'd of ever known! Now, a little back tracking. Our job: dessert and salad. Salad= nice and simple. Dessert, we had to go all out, when don't we? Mariah did some researching and found a recipe for oatmeal brownie bars, and oh my, they sounded so good! Needless to say we were all over that recipe. Since Mariah and Emily are the bakers, they went to work. I came home to the house smelling wonderfully, fresh baked brownies, yum. Of course we had to try them before we served them, must make sure they aren't poison as my mother always says! This is when things went from good to bad.

 This was the final product..
 and this is what happened when you tried to cut into it..nothing. it was that hard.

 and this is where they ended up, the garbage.

 Good thing we thought to taste test. Bad thing it was oh say 7:15 at this point. I made a quick trip to Goldstein, bought some brownie mix and we whipped them up, added some sprinkles and called it a day. Things can't always be perfect, plus it added a little thrill. In the end, everything worked out and the brownies were a success. And plans for next weeks dinner were in the works.  (in case you wanted to see how they were supposed to turn out)

Onto dinner party two of the week. So the first one was Wednesday then we quickly geared up for Friday with the Watson boys. But this time, I wasn't a solo chef, Jared and I hit the kitchen to make everyone chili.

Now, how did this all come about? You kind of have to known Jared and the way his mind works, well, not that we exactly know how is mind works or what in the heck goes on it for that matter but we have come to learn, expect the unexpected with that boy. Earlier in the week I get a bbm from Jared asking if I know how to make spicy, thick chili, I cannot remember exactly how it was phrased but the way it came out, I was so perplexed. So after going back and forth for a little, him being nervous (surprise, surprise) at the complexity of the recipes he found online, we decided we would make my moms chili recipe because we knew it was fool proof, and Mariah doesn't do spice. So we made our list and off we went to Wegmans, oh  Wegmans how I love you. I usually go to the one that's ten minutes away but it's not that great, this time Jared took us to one that almost resembled our Wegmans at home. If I let Mariah and Jared navigate us through there we would probably still be there, I zipped up and down the aisles got all the ingredients and we headed home. The next day Jared came over and we got to cooking. He deemed himself as sous chef and asked what he could do, and I knew exactly what he could do, chop the onions. Now, this was probably not very nice of me, but I can barely get through two chops before the tears start flowing. He gracious accepted this task until about half way through when he was tearing up. Have no fear, I enlighten him on the wonderful tip cousin and I patented.

 He claims he was looking around, checking out what our freezer had to offer, jokes. He just needed to stop the tears!

 Once the tears were dry, from us both, we continued on. Jared was such a good help in the kitchen, it was great! While Jared and I cooked away everyone else enjoyed some chicken wing dip that I had made up earlier which was a huge hit, always a classic. While the chili cooked up, Mariah prepared cornbread (she's getting good! She's the new cornbread-maker) Finally the chili was ready, we assembly lined through the kitchen and kind of had a low key, eat-where-you-want slash where you can find somewhere to sit kind of meal. I must say, Jared and I did a pretty good job. After some digestion and relaxation it was on to dessert. We were slacking a little and only made some chocolate chip cookies but little did we know, the boys came baring gifts! They brought two tubs of ice cream so it was time to get crafty. Some of us had ice cream with cookies on the bottom, or the ambitious ones made homemade ice cream sandwiches. Emily loaded them up with chocolate chips and they were baked perfectly.

chocolate chip cookies are just so comforting, and the simplicity of them, it's just a reminder that the simple things you have to take pleasure in sometimes.

We had a few days break from dinner parties until it was the next Wednesday, time for Willy and Jonny dinner. Again, they were in charge of making dinner. I'm definitely a fan, all I do is show up, and it's not like I even have to leave the house! Mariah baked up some pumpkin pie, and let's just say Mariah is learning when it comes to the kitchen, and she's doing a very good job. She took the pie under her control, bought the ingredients and made it all by herself! She didn't know the pie crust were in the refrigerated section, so she bought a graham cracker crust, a little variation didn't hurt anyone! So the boys came over, this time dinner, cooked and ready to go in hand. Willy cooked up homemade mac and cheese, now usually I'm not a huge mac and cheese fan but this was delicious. So creamy and tasty.  Then it was on to dessert, now I'm not much of a pumpkin pie fan, but I had to try some of Mariah's and it was delish! Bravo job, the graham cracker crust was a nice twist. Now, Jonny has never had pumpkin pie before (much to our disbelief..we're surprised he's ever been to Thanksgiving) he, too was delighted at how good the pie was!

So much entertaining and it doesn't stop there. Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting my parents and the Gropps for lunch before the Bona- 'Cuse hockey game. Since transferring to 'Cuse, my life has gotten a million times better, and one of the major benefits of living so close is the number of times I get to see my parents. Up until now I've gotten to see my parents almost every two weeks, whether they came here for the day or I went home for the day or night for one reason or another. I love getting to see my parents, which is obviously a given, but I love it. A lot. I especially love when they come to visit, and bring us lots of fun treats. This visit was like the others, but this time, my mother and I probably made four trips between the car and house bringing everything in. You name it, she brought it. Some stuff were essentials, my winter coat, gloves, some clothes I needed, and then came the fun stuff. No trip home or visit from my parents is complete without at least one loaf of pumpkin bread (that, much to our dismay, will be gone in less than a week) and sauce or soup. Not only did she save me a trip to Wegmans by bringing all the ingredients necessary for the meal we we're going to prepare but she even went to the market before she got here and brought me all my favorites. In the summer, Saturday mornings we wake up early and go to the market and load up on tons of vegetables for the week, fresh vegetables from the market are my favorite. They just taste that much better than those from the store and knowing its grown locally is comforting. It is probably because growing up my father and I have always planted a garden together, it has always been our thing. So in comes my mother with a tote filled with all my favorite things from the market, lettuce, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, you name it, she brought it. After all the excitement of goodies we had to get cooking because everyone else was going to arrive in an hour. My mother knows me so well, she went straight to cutting the onions (are we seeing a pattern here..?) I loved getting to be in the kitchen with my mother, it's just like we were at home, doing one of our favorite activities, well two of our favorite activities, cooking and hosting. My mother loves to have people over, especially in the summer, there is always an open invitation to our house, that is clearly where I got my love for hosting dinner parties from. We cooked up some of my favorites, chicken wing dip, guac and Mrs. Gerling's Manhattan Clam Chowder. I made butterscotch, pumpkin brownies earlier for dessert. Of course, I didn't take pictures of any of it, but it was all so good. After lunch we headed to the game, Bonas lost, but I guess I was indifferent because who to root for, Bonas or Cuse?! Overall, it was a great day, spending time with some of my favorite people.

The night before this, Friday, we went and saw one of our friends preform and planned to come back and carve our pumpkins and have a nice relaxing-go-to-bed-early kind of night. Ha. Like that would ever happen on a Friday, who were we kidding. Oh! How could I forget, we had dinner at Funk-n-Waffles before we saw Steve perform. I'm turning this into  my dad's blog real quick- Funk has so many waffle choices it's crazy. Who would ever think to put chicken or pulled pork on a waffle, and that it would taste good! Not only do they have savory waffles but also sweet ones- you name it, they probably have it on the menu, or will craft it for you. Last time we went, I opted for a sweet one, this time around Emily and I decided, since it was dinner, we'd go savory. We both tried the pulled pork waffle, and I must say, I was nervous, I didn't know what to expect. It was definitely something different, but it was good. My sweet tooth might out way the thought process of 3 square meals. Anyways, back to pumpkin carving. After a quick stop at Insomnia to get some cookies for the road, we were ready to carve. I decided to be gutsy and make Otto. Well, I bit of more than I could chew, clearly. We, being crafty and resourceful thought it would a fabulous idea to make pumpkin puree out of the pumpkin guts. So after we were all carved we sorted the seeds from the guts, such a tedious task, I did not realize due to the fact my mother is a saint and always did it for us! Once we got the seeds in the oven we moved onto the pumpkin. Now, pumpkin is our favorite ingredient, and by saying this, it is probably an understatement. There is almost always a baked good containing pumpkin made in the house and at least one jar of pumpkin at all times. After some careful deliberating we decided to throw it in the blender and blend it up- worked like a charm. Meanwhile as we're constructing the pumpkin, the boys are in the neighborhood and stop by, and this is when all chaos breaks out. If I stand in the middle of the kitchen and stretch out I can basically touch both sides- now that you have a visual, picture three girls and two boys in the kitchen. All. At. Once. This when the crafting of homemade pumpkin cupcakes began. If dysfunctional could be defined in a moment of time, this was it. So many laughs and such good cupcakes. Who would of ever thought being resourceful could be so great! Although the cupcakes didn't make it into the oven until well after 1:30 and we had company until 2:30, the fun we had instead of the sleep we could of gotten was well worth it.

(I have to put the pictures in a different post because it won't let me add anymore)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

falling in love with autumn

I have never been much of an autumn enthusiast, summer has always been my season of choice, followed by spring, fall and lastly winter. I think I have always just taken fall for granted, Tess always tells me how lucky I am to have fall and how much she misses fall at home, that being said I decided to open my eyes and actually look around, so often we get caught up in the craziness of life and forget to stop and look around. Campus is just so pretty with all the trees changing and the weather has been great lately (watch me be jinxing it..). It's so nice to be able to put on a light jacket and be comfortable. Along with fall comes all the fun fall activities, like decorating our apartment on October 1st, it's never too early to start decorating. Haunted houses, hay rides, pumpkin and apple picking, carving pumpkins! Much to my dismay, we are going to fright night at the fair on Friday, I mean it would be all fine and dandy if I found being scared for fun, enjoyable..Enough fall ramblings and on to the important: what's been cooking!

Sadly, school has been getting in the way of our dinner routine but we've managed to prepare some meals the past week and a half..

 Staples in our house include variations of pasta and chicken mainly so we decided to switch it up and have turkey burgers.
 They weren't just any ole' turkey burger, they were stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes, spinach and feta with a sun-dried tomato mayo. Definitely a repeat.

Another side dish staple in our house: peas. Mariah might want to kill Emily and I due to the mass amount of peas consumed in this house..Also we had a sweet potato mash, probably could of passed for dessert it was that sweet, but it was delish!

One of my favorite meals at home is homemade chicken fingers, so simple yet so good.

 Some days we like Mariah to help in the kitchen, usually she hovers and makes me so nervous. Here she is touching raw chicken, we had to document because she said no one would believe her.
 Such a good worker bee!

 Another classic side dish at home, again, so simple yet so good.

I don't get to take credit for this meal, a quick trip home Thursday night for some laundry and a flu shot and of course a home cooked meal by momma

 Going home always means coming back with left overs, Mariah and Emily thoroughly enjoy all of momma lembo's creations. Emily thought this recipe should be made in mass quantities and sold in grocery stores.
My mother is one of the greatest people alive, all that she does in her crazy busy life, she always makes sure that we are happy. She wasn't even home for dinner Thursday, yet made dinner for my father and I, all we had to do was pop it in the oven. You never cease to amaze me mother :)

 Weekend mornings are one of my favorite things, our routine is usually as follows:
-Sleeping in, how great it is to not wake up to an alarm! I'm usually the first one up so then sends out the text saying come here and the two wandering in to climb in bed and cuddle, mind you my bed is twin sized, but the three of us fit so nicely.
-We finally get up after recapping the nights activities, usually dying of laughter, especially after looking at pictures
-Time for breakfast, Mariah makes the coffee, just right, might I add. This weekend was coffee cake muffins, yum. Another favorite is pancakes, and since it's fall and all, we are on a pumpkin kick, pumpkin, chocolate chip pancakes, yum, yum, yum. When we have them it always reminds me of the time I went to visit cousin last year and we made pumpkin pancakes..with special we are.

We got our days a little mixed up this week and had Sunday soup on a Tuesday..

 Because I'm a nutrition nerd, this picture makes me happy. Emily and Mariah had never had escarole before, good thing I have not picky roommates!
 Such big garlic cloves!
 Mariah, this is for you! You're all time fav food :)
 This was inspired by my parents who had this earlier in the week, I had chicken broth from mother and it just sounded so good and worked perfectly because I had a meeting at 6 and Emily has class late so we needed a meal that could be made quick.

Simple goodness.

We have gotten into this habit of establishing family meals with our friends. It all started with the Watson boys back at my birthday and we've kept that going and are having one Friday night but now we also have family dinner plans with Willy and Jon. Tonight they came over and made us dinner and are up for weekly Wednesday night dinners. We're going to have to make a family tree to keep all the different families straight!

I'll combine the two family dinners in the next post, partially because its almost 1:30 in the morning and because I may or may not of forgotten to take pictures tonight..

Monday, October 4, 2010

chaos, confusion and company.

Believe it or not, some nights we like to switch things up and have some nice wholesome fun, take a break from going out and stay in. Last night was our night to have the boys over for dinner, they had us over on my birthday for lasagna, which ultimately started our family dinner ritual, and it is just like a family, we go on road trips together (UVM), we go out together, we do it all, the seven of us.

Saturday morning I went off apple picking around 11, Emily was gone for the night and Mariah was going to head home for the afternoon, perfect, I could come back get some of my mass amounts of work done then start preparing for the boys. Major fail. Around 5:30 I decide I better get moving, the house was a bit of a mess, meatballs weren't made, I got back into my pajamas once I got home and the boys would be arriving in an hour and a half, eeks. First mess to tackle was the rather large amount of dishes that needed to be put away, and I knew I'd be making a mess so I should try and minimize it as best as possible. So I begin the preparation, and as we all know I am such a scatter brain, it's a miracle things come out the way they do sometimes! After phone calls to both parents seeing what time this and that need to be done I think I have a hold on the situation. Since the sauce was already made by my mother, obviously I could never make sauce like she can and everyone needs to witness momma lembo's sauce at one point in there life, it was perfect, convenient and I knew it'd be delicious. Meatball prep begins, as does the mess of the kitchen. For the recipe you need beef broth, so I made it out of a bullion cube, great, everything is fine, I only had to add half cup to the mixture and since I do not plan ahead and realize I need it later, I pour it out, go me. So finish mixing the ingredients and go back to make more bullion, good thing we have my handy hot pot from cousin that heats water super quick, it was only a minor set back.

Before the ground beef was added

 Then came the fun part, digging your hands in and mixing it all together to form these..

and while these cooked, this was heating up, and by this I mean pure deliciousness and one of my favorite smells, ever.

          And then Mariah came home to make apple crisp with the fresh apples from earlier today

Time check- 6:30, meatballs are out of the oven, sauce is heating, apple crisp is ready to be baked, Mel and Mariah? In pajamas. Family and dining rooms? A mess. No where near ready to have people over. This is when we freak out, oh just a tad. 6:45, Klin texts Mariah saying "Are Mel's parents really coming? Jared is getting really nervous!" Mariah comes running to my room asking if there is a reason the boys think my parents are here? Total confusion. So Mariah quickly tells him no, he tells us he is going to keep Jared in the dark and make him think they are here, make him nervous. Which, making Jared nervous is not a hard thing to do, him and Mariah in the same room equate to so many nerves. 7:00 o clock rolls around, we have our Tay Swift blasting, we know how much Jared loves his T-Swift, and we are finally ready and the boys tell us they are running late. So much running around for nothing.

Around 7:25 we get a knock on the door and in walk the boys, looking as dapper as ever. I mean button ups, sweaters and LOAFERS. And here Mariah and I are in jeans and t shirts, we suddenly feel a tad under dressed and question the occasion?

First thing the boys conclude: "So your parents aren't here?"
Mariah and I quickly answer, "1. We would never spring that on you guys. 2. Where did you get the impression they were here from?"
Klin,"Mel you texted me and told me when I asked if dinner was still at 7"
I was rather confused as I hadn't talked to any of the boys all day and told Mariah to text them around 6 saying don't forget dinner at 7. So we look at the conversation on Klins phone and it goes as follows:
Klin- dinner still at 7?
"Mel"- Yep. my parents are here, can't wait to meet you, dress up.
Klin- Okay. mojitos still good to bring?
"Mel"- Perfect. see you at 7. can you bring a red sharpie long story I'll tell you later.
Klin- Yes. see you at 7. first of all Klin and I never were texting today, or at any point last night. Second of all, boys start freaking out because they think my parents are here, they need to dress up and they are bringing mojitos, is it okay to drink in front of my parents? So we're like what the heck so I go through his contacts and low and behold he has a Mel, Melanie and a Mel Lembo all in his phone and he was texting Mel, a girl he hadn't talked to since freshmen year. We were all dying, and this girl totally played along with it too.

So after that was all figured out, bartender Klin started his drink station on the coffee table because finding counter space in the kitchen- not gonna happen. We all enjoyed some drink and each others company until dinner was ready..

Since Friday was October 1st we decided it was appropriate to decorate for Halloween. We also decided paper products all of one design was better than our mixed matched plates, plus easy clean up!

 Almost ready!
 So much pasta. We never fill our pasta bowl up, always been a goal and we finally did it, we now know it takes 2 pounds to fill.

This is the extend of my pictures because at this point we were all starving and wanted to dig in! As we ate dinner the apple crisp got put in the oven so as we ate there were so many delicious smells.

Everything was delicious, everyone raved about your sauce too, momma! It was so great to be able to share a piece of home with everyone.

After dinner we all decided we were going to stay in and we just all hung out and talked about everything and anything, it's so nice that we all get along great and can talk about whatever, and not have to go out to have a great time. Around 11 the boys left because Koji had a project due at midnight he had to hand in so they went on their way, then about a half hour later they texted us and invited us over to their house so off Mariah and I went in our pajamas and blankets in hand. We got to Klin and Jareds, who thankfully we're in their pajamas too, and then Koji showed up in his pajamas with his blankets, too! We relived our childhood and played Mario Kart, I am clearly not as good as I used to be.

Mariah and I always joke that we got our friends handed to us on a silver plate, which technically we did, we didn't have to do any work, Emily and Claire introduced us and the boys welcomed us with open arms. I could not ask for better friends, they are wonderful. The fact that they would dress up to meet my parents first of all, who does that!? They are just the nicest, most respectful boys, ever and we are so lucky that we are friends with them.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

what's been cooking thus far

We're now into our fifth week being back,  feels like just yesterday we packed the car up to move in. It has been such a wonderful five weeks, I cannot complain one bit, well maybe the mass amount of work getting in the way of my social life and the rain, but other than that it has been great. We've got our routine down, as crazy busy as we are we always sit down and have dinner together at night and talk about everything or nothing and just enjoy each others company and a moment of relaxation. Weekends are a little less structured when it comes dinner as opposed to weekdays when I have the whole week planned out ahead of time. Our eating schedules are a little screwy anyway when since we usually don't roll out of bed until 11 Saturdays and Sundays. One tradition from home that I wanted to bring back to school, because it reminds me of fall and winter time at home and because its a perfect weekend meal, is Sunday soups. As fall comes and before we know it, winter, there isn't anything more comforting than curling up on the couch with a bowl of soup and a blanket.

We've had many delicious meals, but only some were photographed due to my forgetfulness..that's my goal, to remember to take pictures of both the cooking process and the finished product.

To say I love pasta is an understatement (thank you daddy for that lovely trait) so I'm always looking for new recipes that are quick, delicious and healthy (for the most part..)

 Grilled chicken and pesto farfalle with grape tomatoes from Cooking Light, so delicious. The sauce was a basic pesto mixed with milk, half and half, parm cheese, so good. We had some left over yellow tomatoes from the market that my mother brought us earlier that week so we threw those in too to add some more color.
The left overs were just as good as the first time!

Another staple in the Lembo household is homemade calzones so of course I wanted to get Mariah and Emily hooked too! These are a perfect weekend meal and we all get to pick and choose what we want and everyone is involved in the cooking process.

The prep station


All done!

Thursdays meal was Mushroom and Fettuccine with red pepper flakes from Cuisine at Home. Another hit, a bit too spicy for Mariah but we're slowly teaching her spicy is yummy.

 Mushrooms, anyone?

Finished product!

Tonight the boys are coming over for pasta and meatballs and apple crisp with the apples I picked today. So exciting, we love entertaining! I'll remember to take pictures this time!