Monday, November 28, 2011

A Vintage Tea experience

It has been Loooong overdue since I met up for tea with any of the girls. It is hard to get everyone together this time of year with all the holidays. My dear friend Felicia and I made sure to meet up for some tea time. She makes awesome custom made one of a kind jewelery with stones and for my birthday she is making me a custom ring with a tear drop shaped Rose Quartz in black wire that I picked out. ( I cannot wait to see it)
We usually have been going to Elise's Tea Room but we thought we would try The Vintage Tea Leaf in Long Beach.
This place is a lot higher in price than Elise's but you really pay for an experience here.

 When you come in you enter through their gorgeous gift shop filled with very dainty items. On the back wall there is a HUGE shelf FULL of vintage tea cups. First part of your tea room experience is choosing a tea cup. This is a picture of ONE side
 and here is the other side.
 Next there is a closet FULL of hats to choose (if you would like)
 More hats!!
 We got seated by the window and the chairs are Huge Cushy Victorian ear vintage chairs. I had to stuff some pillows under was kinda lop sided LOL. Felicia ordered a Apple Spice Jazz tea..I believe it is a blend of apple spice and Jasmine.
 This is my cup I picked out..I choose this one cause it reminded me of the tea cup ride at Disneyland
 I choose a tea called Berries in Snow. It was fresh brewed berries in a White tea. It was so insanely tasty. I loved every drop of it!
 Mixing my lumps of sugar. There was soo much to look at inside this place. They have some really cool events coming up too like a huge tea brunch with Santa Claus. The menu is a fun one for the kiddies. I am so tempted to take my little Ava.
 I ordered the soup Luncheon which included a pot of tea, 2 scones (cranberry eggnog and Mandarin) a bowl of Soup ( tomato artichoke Bisque) and 2 tea sandwiches ( California avocado and black bean and artichoke and cream cheese on a croissant). Felicia had the social tea with scones. The scones were delicious just as the devonshire cream and lemon curd. My soup was AMAZING (must get recipe) I was sooo full after eating it though..I went into a total food coma!

 cute window display. We spent about 3 hours there just relaxing and chatting. It was a very nice time.
Terry..the man at the counter took this photo of us before we left. After my departure I went and did some thrift store shopping and later that night Gabe and I went to the Saturday night event at Di Piazza's for the CnP scooter rally which i just discovered I took 0 pictures of!!!! It was a busy day..thankfully I had all that tea to keep me going on the rest of the day.

Free Day Friday

I love that my job gives me the Friday after Thanksgiving off. As much as I just wanted to lay around and do nothing I knew I had to get out and do SOMETHING. Parker was really intrigued about thee whole Black Friday thing so since Gabe was using my car to go to work on Friday I got the kids ready and on the bikes we rode to the Mall.

 Ava was excited about going bye bye on the bike. I LOVE my Wee RIDE chair. She sits right in front of me and the handle bars. She loves to sing when I ride the bike and say hello to EVERYONE and Good BYE to everything we pass by..I kept her little hand waving and hearing Bye Bye Red Truck, Bye Bye Kitty, Bye Bye Trees, Bye Bye house etc... It's pretty funny actually.
 After going to a few stores and doing a little xmas shopping Parker really wanted to go upstairs to the kid zone play area and I was really craving a cheese on a stick besides it was lunch time anyway. I got the kids a hot dog on a stick and a cheese on a stick and some lemonades..They even gave me a COOL card full of free items to get in 2012  SCORE!!!
 Ava was dancing in excitement...We don't go to the mall very often.
 It really was not that filled for Black Friday! I guess all the shoppers got in and out the night before or in the wee hours of the morning.
 In the coin op playground I let Ava go on a couple things. Parker wanted her to ride on the back of the motorcycle one...I guess he is practicing for when he takes passengers on his scooter.
 Hold on Ava
Ava of course wanted to do the merry go round..Um Parker ..I think you may be too big for this one...he didn't care.
By the time we left the mall it was dusk so it was a race to get home before dark. ..Poor Parker and his tiny beat up bike was having a hard time keeping up but we made it. Hopefully Santa will bring him one for Christmas.
Friday night was a pretty mellow one for us. Just kinda sat around the house and relaxed and had left overs. I took my mom to do some shopping earlier in the evening and soon called it an early night. Sometimes you just need those.

Thanksgiving Cooking!

So I really didn't take very many pictures of Thanksgiving because I was just too busy cooking..But I did take some photos of my cooking.

 Wednesday night Thelma came over and we had some wine and she helped me bake some pies for Thanksgiving. I never made apple pie by scratch before and I really been dying to make one. We actually made two! The first was a caramel Apple pie. The crust I made I used cream cheese rather than shortening. It came out delicious. The other pie was just a traditional apple pie but I added dried cranberries to it.
 I originally wanted to make it a lattice top but It was just way easier to throw the crust right over the pie. We kinda had to add more dough here and there but it did not look toooo bad.
 I ran out of pie crust and did not have all the ingredients to make another so I began to panic a little thinking Oh what am I going to do with this OTHER pie...then a light came on in my head and I thought   CRUMBLE!! I baked the first pie with the crust that night. I saved the crumble to bake right after dinner. However...In the morning when I went to pull the pie out I notice half my crumble topping was missing cause a certain little sneaky toddler decided to open the fridge up when no one was looking to grab a taste ..or two .or three... Luckily I had enough time to make more crumble.
 This Thanksgiving everyone made items for the dinner. I did (besides the pies) The Turkey. It came out sooo good we didn't really have any left over. I prepared my turkey by first stuffing some garlic cloves and sprigs of fresh rosemary under the skin. I then made a mixture of melted butter,lemon juice, garlic salt,white pepper and nutmeg and use a HUGE syringe and injected the turkey all over with that juice. I then rubbed honey all over the skin and in a bowl mixed up a whole container of whipped butter, minced fresh garlic,rosemary,thyme,parsley and bay leaf, white pepper, a whole lemon juice and smothered all that on the turkey and tooth picked in some fresh lemon wheels and drizzled honey all over that. I put it in the roasting pan with a half container of Chicken Broth and inside the turkey put in more rosemary and a whole lemon.
When we took the turkey out it was so tender it was falling apart.
 My other dish I made was a sweet potato maple mash. I never used sweet potatoes before. I soften them up by putting them in their whole form with nothing added for an hour and ten minutes. I then took them out peeled them and mashed them up with brown sugar, heavy cream, maple syrup, a pinch of salt and chopped pecans and back in the oven it went. It was Pretty damn good if I say so myself.
 Once I was done I started working on some apps. Traditional in my family we always have out a tray of olives and pickles. I remember as a kid always putting black olives on my finger tips..I tried it out but my fingers are much too big now..they were all breaking and falling off..I told Gabe QUICK take a picture while they are staying on for 2 seconds!
 Soon everyone was showing up. My brother and Jessica came. She was preparing some cheesy scallop potatoes and brought over a homemade cheese cake. Ally soon arrived and then my parents as well. Once our food was prepped and cooking we all did a Thanksgiving Shot of Godiva Chocolate Raspberry vodka..yummy and made cocktails and opened up some champagne and wine.
Once it was dinner time we all went out to the tables set up in the patio and ate outside. My dad went to pick up his uncle Jr and we all sat around the table eating. Later on My brothers Twins and Jessica and Teressa came over for a little bit.
 Once my parents left and the twins and left ..Gabe,myself,Ally,Jess and Alex got into a heated game of Cocktail-opoly. It was a gift that my brother and Jess got me for  my birthday. It is just like monopoly but instead of property you buy drinks, instead of start or Pass GO it is Cheers and instead of Free Parking it is HAPPY HOUR!
We made a rule that anytime you land on Happy Hour or Cheers we take shots!
It was a fun night..just like monopoly this game takes FOREVER!!!! Gabe ended up winning.
This was one of the funniest Thanksgiving I have had in awhile!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Iris In Wonderland 35th Birthday Celebration

This Saturday we celebrated my birthday in Wonderland. It took so much time to plan and it seems like the party just blew by so quickly. There was a lot of other stuff that I had planned to do and just ran out of time but all in all I think my vision came out pretty much as planned.

 The keg I was a little concerned about if it was going to be finished and luckily the next day Rich and Gabe were able to kill it off. There really was not much left. In the Keg was is basically just like Blue Moon. We of course had oranges on the table to go with the beer.
 Jessica came up with some fantastic whimsical ideas for appetizers that would keep with the Alice in Wonderland theme. She is currently in Culinary school and a couple of friends from school came over early to help prep all the apps.
 Her friend making the lady bug crackers.
 After they were done they got dressed for the party and started taking out the food
 Fried Zucchini medallions with a special eggplant puree I believe with asparagus tip and tiny carrots cut out to look like flowers..these were so delicious
 The green Caterpillar was filled  chicken,broccoli and cheese and the Orange Caterpillar was filled with jalapeno and cream cheese. So yummy
 The booze table..we had orange slices for the beer, limes for cocktails and Berry Skewers for drinks as well.
 A vegan veggies stack..The layers were mushroom, eggplant and cashew puree, tomato and zucchini
 Twice Baked Potato White rabbits with parsley whiskers and Mozzarella cheese ears
 We of course had a real tea table set up and hot apple cider . On the tea table were also finger sandwiches, lemon and honey and fresh mint to add to your teas.
 We had a bunch of EAT ME Petite fours of berry flavored or chocolate..very decadent!
 Getting the table ready for guest
 The lady bug cracker..these were ritz crackers and I had mixed the whipped cream cheese with Chives and garlic and had grape tomato wings,black olive heads with chive antennae. I could have ate like 100 of these.
 The Hookah area ..I bought several different Shisha's for the hookah..we started the hookah with the Jello flavor then I remember ending the night with the lemon head flavor.
 My centerpieces were different tea pots filled with glittery fun flowers..Toni and Thelma made the flower arrangements
 I love them
 I also had a white rabbit on each end of the table with candles
 This one is my fave I think..
 The 3 chefs of the evening..They did great!
 Once the dj set up and the lights were going and the bubble machine was going we were ready to get this party started. I am so glad it didn't rain all over my paper lanterns. Which with all the left over colorful lanterns and tea pots it looks like I will be converting Ava's bed room into a Alice in Wonderland theme.
 Hi gals!!
 To enter inside the party my brother created a rabbit hole tunnel to come down in. We had the fog machine going and glow sticks and colorful the end of the tunnel there was a tray of  UNbirthday Cake Shots with a drink me sign that everyone had to take...Did you all get your shots??
 I had no sitter for Ava unfortunately but she was pretty well behaved the entire evening. She wore her Alice in Wonderland dress and had some snacks and danced, and had her juice and watched Alice in Wonderland on the projection screen we had going on.  She did get into quite a few eat me cakes and had chocolate all over her face.
 Pretty ladies
 There was a lot of guests in ad out throughout the night whooping it up..
 I was very surprised that by the end of the party all the food was eaten up. It was Just enough!
 Sean and his Whimsical attire
 Hookah time!!
 I think everyone had to make a pit stop at the Hookah lounge at some point of the night
 I loved all the hats everyone came in..we even had a huge box of hats available for those who needed one.
 I didn't get to try these...
 eat up
 Brian looking dapper!
 Gabe djing a bit while Josh is supervising
 Dance time..
 Lots of dancing..
 This is great! That hookah was going all night!
 I love this picture
 The fabulous GIGI and VICKIE!
Not that is not a ghost on the wall in the is part of the projection of a ton of different Alice in Wonderlands playing.
It was a great night and I remember taking lots of shots and drinking champagne and cocktails and all I know next thing was I woke up in Ava's bed with Ava LOL.
Thanks to everyone who posted these pictures cause I totally blanked out taking photos. Everyone really made my night memorable!