Monday, December 10, 2012

Catching Up With Friends

There's nothing to fix what ails you like spending a weekend with friends. Granted, an obscene amount of food, cocktails, movies, homebrewed beer, and a rousing game of Jenga don't hurt either. After many busy months, we got to spend a weekend with our  friends Kurt and Nina. They came piling in the house with enough bags of food and games to last us a good month, and that was in addition to what we had in work in our own little kitchen.

For starters, we tried our hand at homemade pretzels. Surprisingly, the whole process was easier than I expected (with the help of my talented husband and a stand mixer), and I had so much fun rolling them out and twisting them.
Once they were done, I made a jalapeno cheese dipping sauce, and the large pile of pretzels quickly dwindled away to a few stragglers. Pretzels and cheese sauce are always a good idea.
Kurt and Nina also brought their world famous Reuben Dip (if it isn't world famous, it should be), and we spent the afternoon snacking, sipping on Hemingway Daiquiris (make one immediately), and letting the boys enjoy a cigar out on the back porch.
Meanwhile, a couple beautiful racks of ribs were hanging out in the smoker. When dinner time rolled around, they were finally ready.  Speaking like the Texan girl I am, you really haven't lived until you have smelled the aroma of spice-rubbed meat fresh off of a smoker full of mesquite. 
As you can see, we've successfully gotten our New England friends hooked on glorious smoked meat.
We sidled up to the table, next to our little Christmas tree, and enjoyed a fabulous meal of ribs, loaded mashed potatoes, and horseradish peas.
Once we couldn't eat another bite, we watched Men In Black 3 (which is surprisingly good -- funny, entertaining, and even sweet) and we played some very competitive rounds of Jenga (hats off to Nina, our crowned champion, with 5 consecutive losses -- undefeated at being defeated). We then managed to find room for a bowl of my great-grandmother's peach cobbler and vanilla ice cream.
Sunday morning, we started the day with coffee, mimosas, and an oh-so-easy-to-whip-up green chile breakfast casserole with hash browns  Kurt and Nina eventually headed back north to New Hampshire, and we spent the remainder of the day relaxing around the house. That evening we enjoyed our annual Christmas tradition of watching Love Actually (the movie that we watched on our first date, five years ago yesterday) while snuggling on the couch. Am I the only one that gets tears in their eyes roughly every 10 minutes during that movie? I love it. 

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