May Long Weekend Gatherings

It has been awhile since I have actually gone May long camping. I love camping but I just hate the fact that you always have to fight for a spot during this crazy busy time. Firewood prices are jacked up, and usually there is some fire ban or fire curfew that we must obey. Camping is ruined in my opinion if there is no fire burning past midnight (making smores, drinking beer, and music drifting through conversations between friends are the delight of outdoor living). We like to save camping for the slower seasons such as in the fall.

This May long we had a jam pack schedule with family and friends and that is exactly how it should be. Friday night after work we had a nice quiet dinner. We then went to throw the football in the field close to us to include some physical activity into our day. I made a simple salad for our dinner to accompany the left over quinoa kale patties.

Chopped Thai Chicken Salad: It was super easy to make and so delicious that I served it Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (I did have lots of cabbage to use up). Just omit the chicken and it easily becomes a vegan salad which still taste pretty amazing.

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fyum.com/chopped-thai-chicken-salad

Saturday morning started off with some yoga to stretch out those sore muscles. At noon we met my brother and his fiance for dim sum. It was delicious. Forbidden City in Calgary is known for it’s fast service and good traditional chinese food, or so I have been told. Well it lived up to it’s reputation for me at least. Can’t wait for the next dim sum gathering.

Imagehttp://www.urbanspoon.com/r/15/190598/restaurant/Marlborough/Forbidden-City-Dim-Sum-Seafood-Calgary

We went home after lunch hoping to avoid the predicted thunder shower that never did show up. I managed to spend almost 3 hours digging up those dandelions again…which I think we will have to spray after all. It is Monday morning and I can see a hundred more that sprouted (crying inside).

We had booked saturday evening months ago to hang out with our real estate agent and mortgage broker who are also close family friends. They requested years ago that they wanted to learn how to make vietnamese salad rolls. Well it finally happened. So our friend Chris (their nephew) was kind enough to pick up all the ingredients for us. They learnt how to make salad rolls but I think the night basically became a margarita fiesta. They bought the margaritaville machine from Costco and was trying it out for the first time. I am pretty sure we polished off at least 2 bottles of tequila, but at least it was between 5 people. It was so much fun!

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For dinner they barbequed steaks, chicken and potatoes. I brought over some of the Thai Chicken Salad I made the night before. They served dessert which consisted of mini Crave cupcakes and Costco Tiramisu (one of my favourite cakes EVER!). The salad rolls we made can be altered in so many ways but here is the basic recipe.

Ingredients:

Vermicelli noodles

Shrimp (any size, raw or pre-cooked). We used pre-cooked jumbo shrimp to keep it easy.

Ice berg lettuce shredded

Carrot peeled into thin strips.

Asian basil (Cannot substitute for regular basil, just doesn’t taste the same).

Rice wrappers.

Directions: Boil the vermicelli until soft, about 10 minutes. Don’t over cook as they will become gummy.You moisten the rice wrapper until it is soft enough to roll. Put all the ingredients into the middle of the moistened rice wrapper and roll.

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The more you make the better they will get. Depending on how much you put in the roll and how tightly you roll it will determine how they look. We each made one and all of us had different sizes. They were delicious! Peanut sauce recipe I got online and you can get it from the link attached.

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http://www.chow.com/recipes/10658-peanut-sauce

Sunday night we had grandma and a few friends over for dinner (and grandma eats at 4-5pm, so we were able to have a second dinner at 8pm because our amazing friend drove down from Edmonton to visit us all). Grandma is super easy with food. The way she looks at food is that it is to nourish your body (my husband has the same view but still loves good food). Every time we come over for lunch with grandma it is a random assortment of things (cheese, stale bread, olives, canned smoked oysters, etc). I love grandma but canned smoked oysters are difficult to eat, out of politeness I’ll have a few.

So for dinner I whipped up a few recipes from pinterest and tested them on Grandma before making a bigger batch for the second dinner group (hoping it would allow her to taste a few new flavours). So the chopped thai chicken salad made it’s appearance again. I also made Roasted New Potatoes and Asparagus: really easy to whip up (just chop ingredients and season), stored in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap until about 45 minutes before dinner. Then all you have to do is bake.

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http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/roasted-new-potatoes-and-asparagus/

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For protein I picked Sweet and Sticky Baked Drumsticks: Easy to make, make ahead of time to marinate. The only thing was I had to adjust the cooking time for the recipe because I don’t think it needed the extra 15 minutes which might have dried it out (but it depends on the oven I guess). I cooked it for 25 minutes, glazed it and popped it back in for 5 minutes (not 10) and I skipped the next baking for another 5 minutes and jumped to the last glazing step. They were juicy, cooked all the way through and a hit with both dinner parties.

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http://www.thenovicechefblog.com/2012/02/sweet-sticky-baked-chicken-drumsticks/

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Dessert was Chocolate Coconut Bars: easy to make. I even messed up by putting the coconut on before the condensed milk, but they still turned out great! A friend thought they were magic bars, pretty similar.

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And I always have a back up plan for those picky eaters, just in case! I made Cheese Stuffed Bacon Hotdogs. Need I say more. I don’t think I actually made enough of them because they were the first to go.

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The website for some reason has been taken down. But really so easy, slice the hotdog lengthwise, put slices of cheese between and wrap in bacon. Barbeque or bake until bacon is crispy. I don’t think you even need a recipe for that.

Monday morning I made a smoothie from a magazine and it will have to be my first failed recipe. Raspberry – mango smoothie. Easy to make, looked amazing, but tasted horrible in my opinion. I added a banana and more ice to see if I could make it tastier, but it still wasn’t good. It’s sad when a green smoothie taste better than a fruity smoothie. I won’t write out the recipe but if anyone wants to try it, it is in “Best Health” magazine May 2013 page 20. Image

Now back to a busy week of work. Looking forward to a fun time at a friends stagette party in Banff this weekend. Dressing up and going out for brunch and dinner, one of my favourite things to do! And this is why summer is amazing, non stop events every weekend.

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