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The Julie/Julia party. The girls! That's me in the red. Notice the pearls, aprons and gourmet cooking school tags.
Oh the shame. For shame. For shame. For shame. How I have fallen the last couple of weeks. For starters my budget is out to lunch, or maybe I should say out to dinner. I am way over budget the last couple of weeks. Now I should point out that last week was Canadian Thanksgiving and this week I had a dinner party. But still - through the roof people. Through the roof. *sigh*

Yesterday was my dinner party and I don't think I drank any water. I was so busy preparing and fussing that I forgot. And then I got into the wine and the wine got into me and ohhhhh, the spring in my step has not shown up today. I wonder why?

I didn't have cream in my coffee, but I had enough butter to last a lifetime in one day - in one meal actually. I can actually feel the arteries clogging.

The only thing I did do was move with purpose. I had a purpose alright - people were coming over to my house! I was sweating I was running around so much. I at least did that.

Now for the success in all of my failures - I had a Julie/Julia party at my place with five girlfriends, my awesome daughter and myself. What a blast.

Here was the concept -
  • Dress Code - Pearls and Apron mandatory. Clothes under apron optional.
  • Copious amounts of wine to be consumed during the entire evening.
  • No boys allowed. (Side note, my hubby couldn't get out of the house fast enough. He was great though. He gave me my evening)
The food - Julia Child's ...
  • Chicken Coq Au Vin
  • Steamed red potatoes in butter and parsley
  • Romaine hearts with Julia's Roquefort dressing
  • Chocolate Mousse with Crème Anglaise (Made by moi prior) - that's a whole other blog post.
The entertainment ...
  • french music playing softly in the background,
  • watching my friends cook like Julia, and of course
  • enjoying the movie Julie/Julia after dinner.
Nothing like inviting your friends over and making them work for their dinner. What a brilliant concept if I do say so myself.

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I have to tell you how the evening started off though. I was rushing about in my red dress, pearls and heels. Full make up and hair curled. I'm ready to go. I'm running about setting up La Stations with their various items - knives, cutting boards, chicken stock etc. and Molly (my little obnoxious beagle whose going to be in Beagle Stew one day) was sitting on the couch wagging her tail at me. She could sense something exciting was going to happen soon and that usually means food. And food to Molly and me for that matter is exciting. So as I'm rushing about I hear this rather odd sound coming from the couch area. I look up only to see Molly open her mouth and spew fire hydrant force puke all over my couch and floor. It is 4:45 pm my guests are arriving at 5:30 pm. You see, little sweet Molly had been playing outside earlier with the neighbours. I guess she decided to drink the ocean water. Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, our dear sweet Molly. She sprayed ocean water and regular water and other little nuggets like a fire hose. I've never seen anything like it. In one 'spew' from that little body she managed to drench all three sections of the couch, the coffee table, the back of the couch, the pillows and the floor. I just stood there. Looked at Molly who was looking like she had just been caught digging in my laundry basket. Looked at the disaster that was my living room.  Looked at the clock. Then back at Molly. I wondered what  Molly Coq au Vin would taste like. I gulped down 1/2 a glass of wine and yelled "Molly!!!!!" Then I took a deep breath.

There I am, red dress, red heels, red lipstick and I'm pulling puke covered covers off of my couch and running downstairs to the laundry. Do you realize how difficult those cases are to get off under pleasant circumstances? Try it all dressed up. There was no way that I was going to have this laundered and dried before my company arrived. I started to panic. Then I thought "Who was I having over? The Queen? No." They were very dear friends and one acquaintance. They would be able to deal with it with no problem. So I stopped fussing and went to work.

My guests were just fine about it all and just laughed. When the couch was dry they all grabbed a case and stuffed away. It did throw me for a loop though. I don't think I was 'present' for the first hour and a half of the evening.

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My awesome daughter and dear friend prepping away.
I set up La Station Une, Deux and Trois. At each station there was a duty to be performed whether it be vegetable prep; browning the chicken (don't crowd the pan girls) or braising pearl onions (I actually found pearl onions - I was so excited). We laughed. Made a lot of mistakes, but I was there to bring them all back in line like the task master I am.  "Read people!" I would say. "Read the damn instructions." Lord.



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La Station Une girls.
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It takes a village to cook a Julia Child Recipe
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Waiting for the Coq Au Vin in the oven
The second little mishap, besides the girls NOT FOLLOWING THE INSTRUCTIONS, was when we were all sitting in the living room enjoying nibblies and wine waiting for the chicken to bake in the oven whilst the potatoes were steaming away. The buzzer on the oven went off. We all ran to the oven to get a whiff and taste our creation before the next flurry of duties began only to discover the damn oven wasn't on. The oven wasn't on. The oven wasn't on? What???? OMG PEOPLE? I"m telling you La Station Une, you're lucky your good friends and I adore you. I looked at the oven. I looked at Station Une friends. I looked at the clock. I looked at the Coq au Vin. Then back at Station Une friends. Then I took a deep breath. Oven on. Potatoes off. Back to the wine and the gossip.

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Moi and my very dear friend Eva
The third little mishap was when I was (yes it was me this time) straining the finally cooked Coq au Vin into a bowl. My La Station Une girlfriend was using a spoon to get every last bit out of the pot. The pot being a very heavy cast iron dutch oven. I lost my grip. It crashed to the counter. Right on to a wine glass, which of course smashed, along with my spoon rest - never liked it anyways. My girlfriend swore that the glass smashed outward and not upward and there was no worry of broken shards flavouring the Coq au Vin. I looked at the broken glass. I looked at my girlfriend. Would have slapped myself if I had not been holding that blasted pot. I looked at the clock.  Then back at the broken glass. Then I took a deep breath and got back to work. There was sauce to make.

On a side note, my daughter's lovely boyfriend (who was dog sitting downstairs on a Saturday night and got a plate of Julia's food for his efforts) found a big hunk of glass on his chicken. oops. That's what he gets for being a boy at a girl's only party.

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Le Table. Awesome salad by the way.
Dinner was finally ready. We sat down. Cheers and Bon appetite. We began to eat the fruit of our labour. We became very quiet. The french music was playing softly in the background. The food with all the mishaps was delicious, fabulous actually. The sauce was to die for. Heavenly. We were transported to Paris. It was lovely. I looked at the food. I looked at my friends savouring each bite. I didn't look at the clock. I looked back at the food. I took a deep breath to soak it all in. Then I chowed down.

After our fabulous dinner, and I mean fabulous, we talked. and talked. We are girls after all. I made some 'french roast' coffee and pulled out the dessert. Again it was quiet. Something about chocolate and women. More heaven. We capped the evening off watching Julie/Julia. What a great movie. We all laughed when Julia talked about drying the meat before sauteing (something La Station Une got in trouble for not doing at first) and then again for not crowding the pan (again La Station Une) - truly they should have been on a team with Molly the Beagle.

It was a real girls night out, and the mishaps just added to the evening ... except for maybe the puke, I could have done without the puke.

Now I'm back to my reality. I have fallen off the wagon, actually more like leaped off the wagon - I am crawling back on. I am back on budget damn it! I'm cheap remember? Today I'll get all my water in. Moving with purpose will be an issue, it's already two and I still have slits for eyes, but I'll try. I'll interval tomorrow I mean come on now, lets not be cruel. I have to come up with another small change for next week - let me think ... here it is.

Week 6 - No evening munchies

No snacking in the evening. That one is going to be tough. But it is a bad habit for me, and I'm sure the source of a lot of blossoming. So that's my next challenge and a challenge it shall be. I'll let you know how it goes.

 


Comments

Sonja
10/16/2011 5:23pm

Hi Honey,

You know, I thought of you today. I was wondering how you felt about how it all went off last night, and well now I have your answer! I know you actually. I sensed your energy and I know, as all women do, that there is alot of work involved. But in this case there was more involved. I love the originality of the idea. And I love that you went through that effort and that expense. OK, I don't love that you went through that expense, but I realize these things are costly, all the details. And actually, good for you for deciding this is what is important. More than money. I must adopt this more in my life. You are my inspiration. So...... I vow, I am going to come up with an original concept for a dinner party and you are the guest of honour. Thank you for a lovely evening. At the risk of sounding weird,I love you my dear.

Sonja

Reply
Cayla
10/16/2011 6:11pm

Sonja,

My La Station Une girl! :) You have to read the rest of my blog to understand the whole budget thing. I've been rather strict with myself lately - except for the last couple of weeks of course.

I loved having you and the rest of the girls over last nights. It was tres fun, no? The expense is nothing compared to the companionship and laughs. Girlfriends rock.

And its not weird, I love you too!

Cayla

Reply
Wendy
10/16/2011 9:47pm

Dear Cayla.

What a lovely evening.
I learned a little about cooking but even better, I got a new perspective on what perfect really is. We all want events to come off 'perfectly', we have an idea in our mind that everything will go smoothly. We perfectly place objects so that everything appears ideal and then snap! life happens.
In the end, the evening was perfect, just like life is perfect (including Molly). The challenges are what make us strong, competent women; and you are certainly in that category. As Julia commented in the movie - If a dish doesn't turn out, never apologize. (paraphrasing, of course). I love this!
I also appreciate all the work it took for you to set up a fun evening and am impressed at what a success it was. Good food, entertainment, and really lovely friends.

Cheers!
Wendy

Reply
Cayla
10/16/2011 10:02pm

You're right Wendy. Life happens. But it is perfect, in it's own weird way...even Molly. She certainly adds character to our home.

Really, the evening was about friendship and I am very thankful for my friends of which you are a dear one.

Cayla

Reply
Sandy
10/17/2011 8:08am

Cayla,
What a fabulous evening! It was so enjoyable and fun is an understatement. You went to great effort to make the occasion a night that I will never forget! and all the sideways mishaps just made the experience even more memorable. Such lovely ladies to spend an evening with. Thank-you so much. You are an amazing person and I am thankful to have met you.

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