Thankfully, things were improving the very first day of 2011.
To make amends for a disastrous New Year’s Eve, we cooked a quiet meal at home the next night. Ben grilled steaks, I whipped up creamed spinach and the oven baked potatoes. It was fantastic.
As a Christmas gift we received a box of four bacon-wrapped Filet Mignon from Omaha Steaks, courtesy of my brother and his fiancée.
Unsure how the mail order meat would rate compared to the local grocery store variety, now I’m a bit more convinced of their superior quality. And although Ben is a grill master, the filet cuts were rich and tender. Having a package of steaks delivered directly to our doorstep didn’t hurt either.
2011 is tasting better already.
1 t. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
12 oz. fresh spinach
3 T. unsalted butter
3 T. flour
3/4 c. milk (I used 2%)
salt and pepper
dash of Tabasco, if you want
In a large non-stick pan saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil. When tender, add in the spinach and cook until wilted. Scoop out the vegetables into a side bowl.
In the empty pan melt the butter, add in the flour and cook for about one minute to create a roux. Pour in the milk and let thicken. Scoop the vegetable mix back into the saute pan and incorporate with the sauce.
Season to taste with salt, pepper and Tabasco.
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Christmas detox is in full swing.
Over the holidays we spent three and a half days in my hometown of Kansas City.
Decorations have been taken down, suitcases unpacked and there’s no more holiday music on the radio. To recap before December slips into January, these are the top ten reasons why Christmas in KC rocked:
1. An endless supply of cookies
To prepare for our visit my mom baked two batches of cookies, chocolate chip and snickerdoodle. She is also a teacher which means she received many homemade gifts and a large cookie tray at school. There was a mass quantity of cookies at my disposal and I am a cookie monster.
2. Being lazier than a cat
We had been in the habit of waking up at 6 a.m. to workout in Jackson, but didn’t roll out of bed before 9:30 a.m. while in KC. Pajamas were standard. I only ran once.
3. Freezing, sub-zero weather
In the Midwest nature cycles through all four seasons at regularly scheduled intervals. Spring time is balmy, summer is blazing hot, the humidity disappears in fall and it usually snows during winter. Kansas is cold in December and that’s how it should be at Christmas.
4. Smooth air travel
Flying is a crap shoot. Trips can be as smooth as glass or spiral into despairing mayhem like Snowgate ’10. We were lucky this time, unscathed by delays and cancellations. The opposite of the spectrum was witnessed while sitting in Midway, as weary East Coasters formed long lines at airline counters desperately trying to get home.
5. The fine art of film
Watching Tron at the IMAX in 3-D was a superior viewing experience (Avatar wouldn’t have been nearly as cool without it either). I had no idea what was going on during some parts of the movie, but having gigantic magic motorcycle wands fly at my face was awesome. And following tradition, we also saw Christmas Vacation and Elf which are hilarious every time.
6. Christmas booty
No, that’s not what you think it is. Gifts don’t make the holiday, but they sure are fun to receive once a year. Among many things my family spoiled us with Omaha steaks, an assortment of Penzy Spices, gourmet hot chocolate, and four months of Harry and David fruit.
7. Men in tights
My little brother scored us tickets for the Chiefs/Titans football game at Arrowhead on Sunday. We sat at the 40 yard line 20 rows up. Bundled up in four layers of clothes and sitting outside in 20 degree weather while faint snow flurries fall is football as it was meant to be. Dome schmome.
8. Good eats
We ate our way through Christmas starting with a meal at Brio, then Christmas Eve snacking, Christmas morning brunch, a Christmas dinner feast, Bo Lings and First Watch. In between we consumed cheese, sweets, dips, Garrett’s popcorn, barbecue, and more cookies.
9. The reason for the season
As cheesy as that saying is, every year I enjoy going to the candle light Christmas Eve service at church to sing, reflect, and bask in the peace.
10. Good people
Separated by distance and busy schedules makes it harder and harder to catch up with people. I enjoyed every moment hanging out with my family and friends. We shared Christmas dinner with my brother’s future in-laws and friends, the more the merrier.
Top that David Letterman!