Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Family Saturday

I somehow got lucky and got the day off. It is wonderful and I feel blessed for the time that I got to spend with my family today.

I started off the day going to the warehouse with my best friend, who is also my daughter's aunt, and my nephew. *For simplicity I just claim them as my own, also I have been in their lives since they were babies and they have called me Aunt Ash as long as they could talk. Telling them, or me, that we aren't family doesn't usually bode well for the speaker* We sorted through the clothes that were brought and ooohed and aahhed over the various things.

The warehouse is what we call it. The actual name is The Appalachian Warehouse. We accept donations of clothing, appliances, furniture, housewares and toys to send to the Appalachian Mountain region for the communities there. Once or twice a year the church that her dad attends will take semi truck loads down and distribute it. They will usually also do some manual labor, like house repairs, while they are there. It is a great cause and I love to volunteer my time, even if my church isn't the one who sponsors the cause.

After that we came home. My daughter managed to harangue her aunt into taking her home, mainly because Jaime and I were already planning on going out later on. Jaime and I ate our lunch together in the peace and quiet and then headed out to their house.

The great thing is that we are friends with the respective parts of the married couple. We had cauliflower and cheddar soup (which was delicious and a recipe is included in this post at the end) and chicken breast. Her husband had all of his top teeth pulled on Thursday and so he needed to have nice soft foods. Then we played a board game.

It's called Anybody's Guess. It is from 1990, and although parts of it are outdated, it is a great game. You can find it here if you want to try it next time you and your married friends get together.

We also decided we wanted to play The Newlywed Game. It sounds like it would be a lot of fun. We get together at least once a month and so some new games sound like a good idea. The other game we want to try out is Cranium.

Without further ado, here is that recipe I promised:

Cauliflower Cheddar Soup (from Fine Cooking)

Kosher salt
1/2 head cauliflower (about 1 lb.), cored and cut into 1-1/2-inch florets
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, small diced
1 medium clove garlic, minced
2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. packed, freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 tsp. cayenne
2 cups lower-salt chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 sprigs fresh thyme
4 cups grated sharp or extra-sharp white Cheddar (about 14 oz.)
Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the cauliflower until tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly. Trim the stems from 18 of the cauliflower pieces and cut the crowns into mini florets about 1/2 inch wide; set aside. Reserve the trimmed stems with the remaining larger pieces.
Melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and 1/4 tsp. salt and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, 10 to 12 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook until the aroma subsides, 2 to 3 minutes. Increase the heat to medium, add the flour, nutmeg, and cayenne and cook for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in the broth, cream, and 2 cups water. Add the thyme and bring to a simmer. Stir in the cheese until melted and simmer for 5 minutes to develop the flavors.
Remove and discard the thyme stems and stir in the larger cauliflower pieces and reserved stems. Working in batches, purée the soup in a blender. Return the soup to the pot, season with salt and black pepper to taste. Add the mini cauliflower florets and reheat gently before serving.

***We didn't add mini florets at the end. It was also soupier than we wanted so we added mashed potato flakes to thicken it up. Jaime and I want to try making the soup with some bacon and sausage like potato soup.

What are your favorite games to play when you get together with friends?

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