Party On

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My husband and I enjoy throwing lunch / dinner parties at home instead of going out, especially now that we have a little munchkin to think about. It saves money, we eliminate the need to look for parking, we can go overboard on wine if we want, and we can pass out on a couch immediately if we overdose on a little too much gluttony … and that’s precisely what I did this weekend.

After the “roll your own sushi” party with friends, I went straight to the bedroom and crashed for several hours, while my husband did the dishes, fed the baby and changed her diaper. I feel a little guilty that he did everything from start to finish – but I did contribute by making an appetizer platter of baguette, grilled asparagus, sliced cucumbers, prosciutto, smoked salmon, goat cheese, Havarti, and Asiago, which took all five minutes to put together. lol

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter if you celebrate it. If not, I hope you enjoyed those delicious Cadbury Mini Eggs!

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Running and Corned Beef and Cabbage

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I woke up early to watch the coverage of the Los Angeles Marathon this morning on television.  My sister and several of my friends ran the race this year, and I couldn’t be more proud of what they accomplished by completing the 26.2-mile race!  There was a high school student who completed the marathon in less than three hours.  What an amazing accomplishment for such a young man, and I have a feeling that many colleges will be calling him soon!

Although a part of me enjoyed being cozy at home and not putting myself on a self-inflicting torture, a part of me really missed being a part of the event.  I never thought I’ll say this, but I actually missed running!  My goal is to run a half marathon in 2014 and hopefully participate in the LA Marathon again in 2015.

Congratulations to everyone who completed the marathon today, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day! My husband and I enjoyed the traditional corned beef and cabbage for dinner!

A Sweet, Sweet Gift

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A group of wonderful ladies from a collegiate hockey team that Kevin coaches showered us with heartwarming baby gifts – a handwritten card signed by the entire team and a Kate Spade Stevie diaper bag!

This was a total surprise. You should have seen my face when Kevin walked in with a giant Kate Spade box one night. I now carry this bag everywhere I go with Pon Pon because it makes me feel like a chic mom that actually cares about style … which, in reality, am totally not. lol

We are so blessed to have such great people in our lives.

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Now that things are starting to settle down a bit (translation: we can sleep for an hour at night now — yipee!), I was able to sneak into the kitchen for a few hours this morning to bake my favorite chocolate chip cookies for the ladies as a thank you gift!

I used the Neimen Marcus recipe and made four batches of these heavenly munchies. I don’t think I’ve made such a large batch before — the entire apartment and I smelled like butter all day!

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I stuck a Lavender and Olive sticker on the box for a little personal touch! I hope they enjoy the sugar rush after their game tonight!

Steakhouse Dinner at Home

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As soon as the news of Pon Pon’s arrival reached my BFF Maya, she hopped on the next flight from Portland to come meet the little munchkin, and to rescue us from what is perhaps the most challenging time for new parents  – the first week!

It was a real blessing to have her in town, not only to be able share this special moment with my best friend, but so that we can receive a much-needed comfort and hands-on, practical advice from a mother with a track record raising a fine, young boy. In between consoling me while I burst into tears for no particular reason (lack of sleep + hormones = one hot mess) and helping me as I awkwardly feed Pon Pon (never thought feeding a baby can be this tough), she ran errands for essentials and even cooked an amazing steak dinner for us!

The last time I had Maya’s famous, restaurant-quality steak dinner was back in 2011, after I completed the Portland Half Marathon, as the meal has become a ritual for me and Kevin to indulge after running a race in the Oregon town. It didn’t require me to put on a pair of running shoes this time, but I guess childbirth can count as an athletic event!

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A perfectly-seasoned T-bone steak, cooked to perfection! I usually like my meat medium rare, but I resorted to medium, since I’m breastfeeding.

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Grilled asparagus with garlic. Look at the size of these spears!

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This is her famous potatoes. They taste so good, Kevin and I are convinced that they are laced with cocaine.

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She even prepared a decadent molten chocolate cake for dessert. The chocolate goodness oozed out from the middle!  She even went out and got the ramekins because we didn’t have any.

Thank you, Maya, for everything!  You are truly our angel! 🙂

Super “Bowl” Party

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My husband and I hosted a small Super Bowl party tonight at our place.  It was an intimate get-together with just us and our friend Nicole, but we had an absolute blast! I am not at all a football fan — in fact, I think the last football game I watched in its entirety was back in high school and that was only because I had a crush on a boy on the team — but I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to host a fun home party with a wonderful friend.

Instead of a traditional football viewing party with nachos and hot wings, Kevin whipped up a variety of “bowls” for the occasion lol, including unagi (eel), oyako (chicken and egg), and poke (tuna). The idea was a little tongue and cheek, but the food came out delicious and the party was a touchdown!

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Unajyu (eel bowl)

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This is “Oyako don,” which loosely translates to “parent and child bowl” because the egg (child) comes from the chicken (parent). It’s kinda gross if you really think about it .eek

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Poke, made with chopped raw tuna, onion, and cucumbers.

We spread the toppings on the dining table, buffet-syle, and we created our own bowls. I couldn’t eat the poke bowl because it’s made with raw tuna but the unagi and chicken definitely hit the spot!

Special thanks to Nicole for coming over (with fabulous gifts), and Kevin for doing all the cooking (my only contribution today was smashing avocados for guacamole and open the container of salsa) … I’m the luckiest girl in the world to be married to such an amazing chef!

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Of all the Super Bowl commercials, my favorite was the Budweiser’s “Brotherhood.”  Thanks to my prenatal hormones, I got so emotional watching it. I definitely got teary eyed, especially when two soul brothers reunite at the end!

New Year’s Eve 2012

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I may not have been a Santa’s little helper this year — slaving over a stove for holiday meals or baking up a storm like I usually do during this time of the year — but I was definitely an Osechi elf on New Year’s Eve! I spent a few hours on Sunday and an afternoon on Monday to partake on this annual ritual, as part of the Osechi-making crew!

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I got to take on a few new tasks this year. I got to help make lotus flowers, crane-shaped potatoes, roll a freshly-pounded mochi, and other fun tasks – quite a promotion from last year. I was amazed at the detail that goes into each individual item. Osechi is definitely a work of art, and it makes me appreciate this traditional Japanese New Year culinary ritual even more.

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We wrapped things up around 6:30 p.m. and Kevin (who joined us after he returned from work) and I headed to my parent’s, then to his friend’s, for a quick Osechi drop off.  We got home an hour later, and commenced our ghetto New Year’s Eve party with Domino’s pizza and hot wings. We toasted to the New Year with a bottle of apple cider. By the time the world welcomed the arrival of the New Year, we were peacefully passed out on a couch in a living room, waking up just in time to wish each other another happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013 together.

Wishing all of you a wonderful 2013 filled with good healthy, peace, and love! Thanks for your continuous support of the Time for Dinner blog, and looking forward to sharing more fun times together in the new year!

Happy Christmas

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I guess it wasn’t just me who didn’t feel all that festive this Christmas. Kevin thinks having Christmas fall on a Tuesday had something to do with it, and I completely agree. Good for those people who took the Monday the 24th off, or even better, the rest of the year off. It was strange to work on Monday, take a day off to celebrate Christmas on Tuesday, and back to work on Wednesday.

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We spent Christmas Eve at my parents’ house and had a wonderful holiday dinner. My mother roasted a 2-pound chicken (which I forgot to take a picture of) and feasted on tonkatsu (pork cutlets) and other appropriately green side dishes like her famous spaghetti salad, string beans tossed in sesame, steamed Brussels sprouts, and spinach. The spread wasn’t very Christmas-y but everything was delicious. My father picked up a decadent chocolate cake from a bakery owned by a Persian family. He asked to have “Merry Christmas” written on a cake but the pastry chef didn’t know how to spell it, so we ended up having a cake that read, “Happy Chrisms.” I thought that was hilarious.

We were invited to Kevin’s sister’s house for an amazing prime rib lunch on Christmas day. I was so into gulfing down the food that I forgot to take pictures. The meat was perfectly cooked, and the green salad and the sweet corn casserole served on the side were absolutely to die for. She definitely knows how to cook! Thank you so much for the amazing meal and thoughtful gifts.

I hope you all had a happy Christmas, and getting ready for the new year!