Last week, my family came to visit!
They arrived Sunday afternoon, and we spent most of the afternoon relaxing and catching up. For dinner, I pulled out my lovely, lovely new find:
Two days before my family arrived, I found a 3-piece pasta attachment set for my KitchenAid stand mixer…for $30. Yes, $30. Typically it is around $250, but I found a set (that I believe was never even used, because the stickers were still on the shiny, clean attachments) at a garage sale for a mere $30. Oh my. I snatched it up immediately! Even though pasta is not my favourite food, making homemade pasta has been on my goal list for awhile, and who can pass up that deal?!
Cooking a homemade meal for my family seemed like the perfect time to experiment. (Plus, my brother has more patience when it comes to getting doughs kneaded to the perfect texture, so I thought he might come in handy the first time, haha.) We made a homemade whole-wheat spinach pasta. We forgot to lightly toss the cut noodles in flour after separating them…and for a short time, I thought we were going to have a giant squiggly green brain-looking mass. Fortunately, adding the mess to the boiling water mostly broke up the noodles. It wasn’t as perfect as it should have been, but it was more than edible. I topped the pasta with some basil pesto, chicken, and fresh tomato. Simple, and lovely. On the side, we had some steamed vegetables with basil aioli (recipe coming later!) and it was a wonderful, green meal. I really did not intend for everything to be green, but that is the way it happened, haha. Everyone seemed to enjoy their meal, and it had finally cooled down outside, so we decided to venture outdoors.
We took Isis down to walk along the river as the sun was setting. We turned back just in time, because a thunderstorm was brewing on the other side of the river. We stopped at a local ice cream shop, and sat on the porch to watch the distant lightning. It was a great end to the evening, and I believe Isis enjoyed herself too, despite not getting to share any of the delicious food.
The next day was a very busy day. We took a small tour of Evansville, then bought picnic supplies, and headed across the border to Audubon State Park. We feasted on rotisserie chicken, hummus, veggies, apples, and pita chips, then took a short walk by the lake. Next we headed back north, and went to Mesker Zoo. The weather was lovely, but we were all pretty tired. Fortunately most of the animals made it worthwhile, and the zoo is very well maintained. We even got to see a tiger stalk the zookeeper! From now on, when visiting a zoo, I am just going to trail a zookeeper, and watch them inadvertently stir up the animals. Much more exciting that way! After about 2-3 hours at the zoo, we headed back to my apartment to freshen up for dinner.
My brother’s co-worker has a brother who owns a restaurant here in Newburgh! Actually, he also owns the ice cream place next door that we had went to the night before! The place looked charming and the food sounded delicious, so we knew we had to try it. We met my husband there at 6:30 after he got off work. The weather was still lovely, so we sat at a table outside on the terrace. We organized ourselves and all ordered different entrees/appetizers so that we could share everything and try as much as possible. Gyros, zubideh, falafel, fresh pita, butter chicken, delicious Napa cabbage slaw, and chicken artichoke wraps were enjoyed by all. Even though we had consumed a great deal of food already, we knew we had to order dessert. We NEVER order dessert (unless specifically going somewhere for ice cream only or something), so this was a special treat. We shared a pineapple-carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, peanut butter Oreo cake (who can resist chocolate?), and an apricot Lithuanian cake. All were superb. The Lithuanian cake was the lightest tasting, delicious, and the most unique, but I would probably go with the carrot cake or chocolate cake most often. Old habits die hard. Afterwards, stuffed, we waddled home to bed, haha.
The next morning, my family arrived, and I enlisted my brother in a secret mission. I had told my husband that we should have a homemade sushi date night sometime, and he loved the idea. The only problem was that I have never made sushi myself, I didn’t know what ingredients I needed, and I was afraid that the ingredients at the Asian market would all be in….not English. This is where my brother, and his sushi-making skills and Japanese-reading/speaking/writing skills came into use. As soon as my husband left for work, we headed to a local international store that my brother had found online the night before. We had fun browsing through all the ingredients and great selection, and my brother helped me pick out proper sushi rice, rice vinegar, nori, and some extras like spring roll wrappers, a daikon radish, and some taro mochi for dessert. Then, sadly, it was time for me to head to work, and my family went home.
My husband seems excited for the sushi night. 🙂