Monday, September 11, 2017

Sister Weekends Are the Best Kind of Weekend

This past week I got my younger sister all to myself for just under 48 hours. It was blissful! Abby has lived in AZ for the past 8-9 years but she has been back in the Midwest for 6 months while he husband trains at an Air Force base in Fargo, ND. Her and her husband make a couple of trips back each year but it's usually for a holiday and they maximize their time with the whole family. So I don't exactly get her to myself, besides when we sneak away for a run or something like that.

Phil had his post-wedding bachelor party so it was the perfect weekend for Abby to come and visit. Here's how we spent our time!

On Friday Night Abby got to our place around dinner time. She was running a half marathon in the morning, so I made her the white wine chicken pasta dish that I always make the night before a race plus a Greek salad. I was so excited to dig in that I forgot to take a picture! We chatted for a bit after dinner and then headed to bed as we had an early morning ahead of ourselves!

On Saturday morning we left the house around 6 am, grabbed Starbucks to fuel us for the day, and then I dropped her off at the race start. The race was in the West metro area, along Lake Minnetonka. Originally I was supposed to run this race with her, but my body had other plans this summer. So while she ran, I read at a local coffee shop.

My latest read has been a great one!

I caught her at the end of the race, though, about 1/4 of a mile before the finish! She looked great and ran such a strong race!

After the race, we met up for brunch with my college friend, Heidi. She's met Abby multiple times over the years so it was fun for her to see Abby while she was in town. I love that my sister has gotten to know some of my closest friends over the years! Brunch was delicious. The place we went to had gouda hashbrowns and they were seriously the best hashbrowns I've ever had!!

After the race, we went back to my house, showered, and did some prep work for the Indian dishes we'd be making in the evening. On Saturday afternoon we did a little bit of exploring. Our first stop was Minnehaha Falls, which is a place where I take most visitors. It's such a cool area - not something you'd expect in the city!

We needed to go to an Indian grocery store next and it happened to be walking distance from my favorite distillery, Tattersall Distilling. If you like cocktails and happen to be in Minneapolis, you have to check this place out! They make a bunch of liquors, like gin, vodka, and bourbon, on sight and they have delicious, creative drinks! They also have fun n/a options, which is what I went with that day (I had a tamarind, ginger, peach soda drink).

After that we headed back to our house and relaxed for about an hour. Then it was time to make our Indian feast! We picked 2 recipes out of a cook book I had received for our wedding - Chicken Tikka Masala and a coconut chile shrimp dish. The chicken Tikka Masala required us to make the Chicken Tandoori dish, so we actually made 3 recipes.

First up, we made the chicken tandoori. It's made with bone-in chicken thighs. We marinated the chicken for about 5 hours in a yogurt marinade.

Next up, you had to carefully take the bones out of the chicken thighs and then you browned the chicken thighs in melted butter (this is NOT a light recipe!).

Then it was time to make the sauce, which is made from a puree of serrano chiles, garlic, ginger, diced tomatoes, and a bunch of other spices.

After that, you added some whipping cream and garam masala, and the chicken went back in the sauce to simmer away.

Next up we made the coconut chile shrimp. This was a very easy dish to make and it came together very quickly. The recipe calls for fresh or frozen grated coconut, which we were able to find at the Indian grocery store. I was surprised that the dish did not taste like coconut - the grated coconut mostly gave it some texture.

I served both dishes with basmati rice.

Here's my delicious spread!

It was so fun to spend 2.5 hours in the kitchen with Abby. We both love to cook and we love Indian food so it was the perfect way to spend the evening. Plus we both agreed that the dishes we made - especially the Tikka Masala - were as good as what you would get in an Indian restaurant!

After dinner we watched (500) Days of Summer (we both love Zooey Deschanel and are obsessed with this movie) and headed to bed early again!

On Sunday morning we went over to my garden so Abby could help me gather some fresh produce. I sent her home with some tomatillos, green beans, a zucchini, and some cherry tomatoes. I brought home lots of zucchini and tomatillos!

Then we met up with my friend Courtney and her little guy Leo, who is almost 2, and walked to the Farmer's Market and then to my favorite brunch spot - Hola Arepa. This is another place that I tend to take visitors - plus almost the entire menu is GF so I have so many delicious options to choose from!  I had a pork arepa with fried yuca which is pretty much the only thing I get there since it's so delicious! Mmmmm.

After that, Abby hit the road and I spent the afternoon doing some "adulting". I fly to Chicago for a 2-day work trip this morning so it was nice to have the afternoon/evening to do laundry and get things done.

The week ahead is another busy and exciting week as Julia Child Night is on Saturday night! It's usually in October or November but we are having it early this year! And Abby and her husband are coming for it so you'll finally get to see what Julia Child Night is all about. We'll have 32 guests this year so it's bigger than ever!

What was the highlight of your weekend?


Abby said...

Seriously that was such a perfect weekend! Thank you for being such a fantastic host. It was the perfect mix of fun/exploring and relaxation. And I ate some of the best food I have in a Long time!!!! You have always been such a good sister about showing me around and making our weekends special -- started when You would let me stay at DG when I was an annoying little "tween" ! Haha! I am very blessed that I have a sister who is one of my closest friends. Have a safe trip to Chicago - and I will see you next weekend!!

Marlys Dotzenrod said...

Sounds and looks like a perfect weekend! That food looked wonderful! Now we are gearing up for next weekend and more great eating! I am so happy that Ryan & Abby can share it with us this year!

Amber said...

That sounds like such a great weekend! Your food looks AMAZING! As I mentioned to you I haven't had much luck making Indian Food at home in the past but I think I will have to try again, maybe I should try to find some recipes from the cookbook you used. We went out for Indian Food for my birthday dinner and it was so so so good, I was SOOOO full afterwards but it was worth it. We had a fish curry and then a yummy chickpea dish and a lentil dish.

Lori Honeycutt said...

I agree with Abby you are such a wonderful hostess and you do a great job at balancing!!! All the food looked incredible!!! I'm so glad you were able to have such a special visit!!! You know my favorite posts ever are the Julia Child night posts!!! I hope your work trip goes well! Hugs!!!

Carolina John said...

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm Hola Arepa. so good. I'll take yucca fries any way I can get them but Hola was so wonderful when you put them next to the glory of a corn hot pocket.

Your sister is beautiful! I know you guys had so much fun hanging out this weekend. My middle brother actually came to Raleigh. It was supposed to be for the weekend, but hurricane Irma forced them back to SC after only a couple of nights. We still had a blast hanging out.

Leigh said...

Sounds like a fun weekend with your sister! Your meal looks delicious as well. Can you deliver to Calgary? :)The highlight of mine was spending time with friends on Saturday night (Alison and her family) and then going for brunch on Sunday with girlfriends

katielookingforward said...

I've never actually been to hola arepa, but now i'll just order what you get when i go. Also, where were the gouda hash browns?! those sound delicious!

Gracie said...

Sister visits are the best. She's beautiful like you! What a pretty family!

Stephany said...

That picture of the two of you is a FRAMER. Gorgeous! I'm so glad you got to have some one-on-one time with your sister. I feel the same when I get one-on-one time with my brother! It means the WORLD to me!

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

32 guests!!!!!!! WOW! That's craziness! I am so excited to see the Julia Child night spread :-)

What a nice time with your sister. You two look SO much alike! The Indian dishes look absolutely scrumptious. I don't think we have tried either of those two, but now I want to. We'll likely have an Indian weekend once the weather gets a bit cooler here.