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Party Girl

La Quinta, California: With so many friends in town, we have been living the high life! Marcia and Red have had us over to their rental house to meet a group of friends visiting from Chicago.

Your correspondent, in her natural habitat

Another night, we had dinner out with the Chicago friends and another of Dave's college roommates, Bruce, and his wife, Lisa. Hail, hail, most of the gang was here.

The fourth Beatle, also named Terry, was in Mexico. The boys are planning a Big Reunion this fall - the 50th anniversary of their friendship!

When we weren't out partying or brunching... or golfing (we have been golfing quite a bit), I have been cooking. Still having trouble actually thinking of something to prepare, and it seems every time I use something "ready-to-go" from the freezer, a few more items seem to be placed into the freezer. Will I ever empty my freezer? So many stocks! Here are a few things prepared last week:

Buttermilk rolls

The grandkids (and their parents) went to a weekend Glamping trip with Lucile's class, so I sent a little Valentine gift box to the family before they headed out into the "wilderness" of Santa Barbara. I asked Lucy what she wanted me to send, and she suggested something chocolate, but that Leo would want bread... so chocolates and rolls were shipped off, along with treats for the parents. It wasn't too difficult to shape the rolls into hearts - they turned out okay. Lisa said she used the rolls for sandwiches in their school lunches.

Super Bowl Dinner

We watched the Super Bowl alone. It is easier to actually WATCH the game (or the advertisements) if one is not hosting. Neither of us had allegiance to teams in the contest, so we could just enjoy the sport. Except, you all know, I do not enjoy that particular sport in any way. The retro commercials were enjoyable.

We spent Valentines Day alone as well, and I kinda had the night off from cooking as Dave bought the sous vide lamb shanks from Costco. Already cooked - they only needed a quick reheat. Polenta was prepped in the Instant Pot. A few carrots were roasted in the toaster oven. (Well, I MOSTLY had the night off from cooking - and DT did the dishes!)

Costco Lamb Shanks

This meal will give us another "cook free" day. We did not finish the shanks, so the meat was shredded and the bones and gravy were made into stock (again, Instant Pot). This concoction was frozen (egads, Terry!) and will only need a can of cannellini beans to make a lovely soup night. We had a little gift from Mother Nature for Valentines Day: it rained a good three hours in the evening!

Last night's meal was truly outstanding and a real tribute to DON'T WASTE FOOD. We had also bought a tray of golf-ball sized tomatoes at Costco. When the tomatoes ripened, the skins were so bitter and tough. Yes, I realize it is February. The tomatoes were skinned (boiling water method), pureed, and cooked-down with sauteed onions, garlic, and basil from my kitchen garden (yes, still February, but our basil is going to town). After the sauce cooled, it was pureed again. To serve, I melted two tablespoons butter with two tablespoons tomato paste, added the pureed red sauce, stirred, then finished it with a splash of cream. Penne was the pasta of choice.


Our weather is still unusually cold. Like our pal, Simon, who owns a Shave Ice kiosk in Palm Desert says: people visiting from Minnesota think this is hot. But I do not. Though very happy with all the snow that keeps piling-up on the surrounding mountains, it is down-right chilly. Getting tired of wearing the same few sweaters in rotation, while sadly staring at my pretty sundresses hanging patiently in the closet. The temperature will only rise to 63 today, when it usually would be 76. (In July I will be complaining it is SOOOO HOT.)

Until my next update, I remain, your busy and chilly correspondent.

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