Sunday, April 11, 2010

Brent's A-Game

Thanks to the NCAA March Madness Tournament this year, Brent owed me a great dinner! Although our brackets were busted by the University of Northern Iowa game over Kansas, I still came out ahead in overall points in our competition. (I had Duke playing in the final game and Brent had West Virginia -otherwise our brackets were really similar this year.) And, since UNI is where Brent got his Masters Degree, we were still excited for their win over Kansas early on!

Our prize was that whoever won got to choose a nice meal, either eating out or having the other person prepare something at home. I knew right away what my meal would be if I won: grilled steaks, garlic mashed potatoes, a yummy veggie, and a great dessert. Mmmm..... makes my mouth water all over again!

While Brent started in on the preparation, I snapped a few pictures of the daffodils that I picked from our plants right outside the front door.
They've been a lovely sign of spring, and a great way to be welcomed home. There are still lots of blossoms, even after I brought a few indoors.
Mmmm..... getting the steaks ready. They were great all on their own, and made just a little better by adding "Alpine Touch -Montana's Special Spices". It's a great little combination of spices that I've only seen sold in Montana and also western North Dakota. We were so glad we picked some up on our honeymoon last summer.
Yup... they were pretty big steaks.
I love my mashed potatoes best with the skins on.
Brent found a great recipe that had you add the garlic right to the pot of potatoes, boiling it all together.
See the garlic cloves mixed in?
After draining the water, you mash up the potatoes and garlic....
and add in a little bit of milk, butter, and Parmesan cheese for a nice flavor.
I threw out a few vegetable options so Brent could pick what he felt most comfortable with, and he went with lightly glazed carrots.
Melting the brown sugar and butter was a good idea, but adding in a little bit of lemon juice was the best part, to help the glaze still feel light -not too heavy or sweet.
They turned out well!
I snapped this quick picture to show you our new butter dish. It's a Butter Bell, and has been a wonderful addition to our kitchen. The butter stays fresh, and isn't too hard or too soft. It's just right. I'd recommend one if you're in the market for a new butter dish!
Brent did a great job of bringing his A-game. The meal looked and tasted wonderful. (And yes, we made room for potatoes and carrots on our plates!)
My wonderful chef. By the way, he hasn't always enjoyed grilling, but wow, he's getting good! You should come visit us and see for yourselves!
Okay. So just ignore the lack of make-up and instead look at the very satisfied face enjoying that yummy steak, cooked to perfection.
After our dinner, we took a walk to the public boat launch a few lots down from our place. I needed to get the food digesting, but also just wanted to watch the sunset from there. It was a peaceful night and a beautiful sunset.
I finally remembered to take this picture of the sign right at the entrance to the dock. It's funny to me that living in Minnesota for so long around lakes where people swim and fish and really just enjoy the water, here in Appleton that doesn't really happen. The area is teeming with paper mills that have dumped waste into the water for 100+ years, so even though the city/state is working on cleaning it all up, I'm sure it'll take years to get it back to people-friendly water. We love living on a lake, but we'll never swim in it and won't choose to eat any fish caught in it. Here's why:
The signs (there are even more that I didn't take pictures of) warn about all sorts of diseases that can be spread through swimming, or also eating fish from our lake. This one that I zoomed in on shows that you shouldn't really eat any fish from our lake, but if you should choose to do so, you need to limit yourself to no more than one yellow perch per week, no more than one walleye, white perch, white bass, small mouth bass, or northern pike per month, and no carp at all.
So, you can see that this picture shows the best part of living on our lake: just looking at it. We are really thankful we get this awesome view!
We walked back to our home to enjoy dessert. Now, I love dessert. I think about it, plan it out, don't allow myself to have it very often, but then truly enjoy it when I do. I had thought long and hard about what to request for my victory dinner's dessert and just couldn't come up with the right thing. Brent isn't a big fan of chocolate, and well.... I am. I didn't want to request something too hard for him to make and I didn't want to request something that would leave too much chocolate in the house for me to go crazy on. I felt stuck. Then I realized that I requested the dinner for the right day. You see, the day before we helped plan a game night and I made the sweets to bring. I should've taken pictures of all that, but didn't remember in time. It was fun to make a variety of things that I knew others would enjoy and I ended up going a little overboard (who, me?). I brought my famous "Kari Bars", Club cracker bark, peanut clusters, chocolate/butterscotch/white chocolate chip cookies, and these chocolate-covered strawberries. Since we had a few things leftover, I told Brent he could skip making dessert and we could just enjoy what was left. It was a good decision!
I'm sure we'll have many little contests in life where the prize is a good dinner, but boy-oh-boy am I glad I won this one! Thanks for the wonderful meal, Sweetie!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Because He Lives!

Happy Easter! What a glorious day it is, Jesus Christ lives!

There are so many wonderful hymns and songs about Easter that I enjoy, but as I was spending a little time on YouTube this morning listening to them, I found the one I wanted to share with you today.

"Because He Lives"

Written by the Gaithers, here are the lyrics:
          God sent His son, they called Him, Jesus;
          He came to love, heal and forgive;
          He lived and died to buy my pardon,
          An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!
            Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
            Because He lives, all fear is gone;
            Because I know He holds the future,
            And life is worth the living,
            Just because He lives!

          How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
          And feel the pride and joy he gives;
          But greater still the calm assurance:
          This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

            Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
            Because He lives, all fear is gone;
            Because I know He holds the future,
            And life is worth the living,
            Just because He lives!

          And then one day, I'll cross the river,
          I'll fight life's final war with pain;
          And then, as death gives way to vict'ry,
          I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives!

            Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
            Because He lives, all fear is gone;
            Because I know He holds the future,
            And life is worth the living,
            Just because He lives!

Matthew 28
5The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.'"

Thank you, Jesus!