A Rooster, 4 Hens And A Chick....An Ambassador Meeting - No one can stop this beat of mine Blog at Allrecipes.com - 255431

No one can stop this beat of mine

A Rooster, 4 Hens and a Chick....an Ambassador meeting 
Oct. 31, 2011 8:38 pm 
Updated: Nov. 4, 2011 3:00 pm

On the evening of Thursday, Oct. 20, in the quaint smallish to medium sized town of Albany, Or., 3 of the All Recipes Ambassadors representing the West Region got together for a very nice, very upscale dinner party. Our hostess for the evening is the gracious and generous Candice.

Our out of state guest of honor, was the Grand Dame of AR, Marianne.

And then there was me. My name is Avon for those of you that don't know me. The other guests in attendance were all AR members, however not Ambassadors. They are, Candice's husband, Orangezest,

and daughter Christine NICU-RN and my own daughter, Ivon. It's here that I need to apologize to Christine, because I didn't realize until after I got home that I didn't have a picture of her, but I did take one of the gorgeous centerpiece that she provided. It is fall all wrapped up in pretty flowers.

Marianne was in our beautiful state, and incidentally, the state of her birth to visit friends and family. She and Candice had met prior on several occasions, first in Las Vegas, and again in So. Cal. I had never met her, but like so many relationships that develop on AR, I felt as though I knew her. When she contacted Candice about coming to visit, Candice went into hyper-overdrive to make everything just so. She called me and of course I was on board. Are you kidding??? Me not meet this beautiful woman??? No way. Since we were looking to entertain her for one day what could we do to make this memorable? Well as luck would have it, I was unable to take the time off of work during the day to be a part of the afternoon festivities, but I was surely available for the evening dinner. Candice and Christine put a lot of thought and effort into making the day time event a great and truly, Oregon experience. I won't divulge that part of the day, I'll let Candice tell you about that. But, I will gladly share with you the evening fun.

Ivon and I arrived at Candice's home around 5:15 in the evening. I came bearing my contributions to dinner. After the initial hugs and more hugs, and the excited raised voices of people that truly like one another, we thought, daylight is burning here...lets get on with it. The first order of business was to check out the hen house and the garden. How lucky she is to be the proud mama of 9...count them 9 beautiful hens that dutifully provide 9 eggs a day....IN THE CITY LIMITS!

There is just nothing like a fresh egg layed by chickens that have a nice easy life without living in cramped quarters and hand fed treats made especially for them! Orangezest is the gardner, and a master gardner at that. His small enclosed yard had the most amazing bounty of vegetables started by seed last winter in his makeshift hothouse otherwise known as the garage. He is such a wealth of knowledge, it was fun to tour the grounds with him.

Candice and Orangezest decided that our main course was going to be Ina Garten's recipe for Beef Bourguignon

She had asked me to contribute something to go with.....hmmm....well since buttered egg noodles are traditional, we could do that along with something else, but how boring. And how am I supposed to show off that yes, I deserve the title of Ambassador because dang it...I can cook! So, after looking that recipe over, I thought that something a little bolder might just be the ticket. I scoured AR for just the right thing and low and behold, it was hiding out in my recipe box and had been for sometime. Caramelized onion and horseradish smashed potatoes

Wowza....were these ever good! I also brought a Northwest inspired Salad that I must say was just plain delicious.

I used baby spring greens, toasted some hazelnuts (they are grown here you know), cherry infused, dried cranberries, sliced pears, and on the side, blue cheese for those that wanted it. It was dressed with another secret gem that was hiding out in my recipe box and came out of hiding.

Pear Vinaigrette  another keeper and boy, am I glad I found this one. A couple of baguettes, and some really different shortbread cookies (Candice's recipe), but with my own twist of an addition of finely chopped pineapple mint, and we were set.

In honor of our guest, Candice also made Marianne's signature yummy cupcakes Sweet Vanilla Cupcakes for dessert. Well not to be outdone, Marianne herself brought some dessert offerings because if you are going to have a formal dinner party, one can never have enough dessert. She brought a fabulous little cookie that has since been saved to my Recipe box and will be made as part of my holiday offerings;  Drommar and another spectacular one for the chocolate lovers among us, was a chocolate almond biscotti. Sorry that I can't link the recipe because I have no idea which one she used.

A couple of bottles of wine, great food, great conversation, good music, good friends and memories to carry us through til the next time we meet. For Candice, Christine and I that was the 4 days later when we hosted yet another out of state guest. Magnolia Blossom. More to come with another blog about that adventure, but I believe we have done what an Ambassador is supposed to do, represent an organization in the best possible light and enjoy ourselves in the meantime. I believe that this organization that we have all come to love would be proud of us.

Oct. 31, 2011 9:07 pm
Can you see me blushing from there? You make me sound rather like visiting royalty! How sweet this memory is! I made the potatoes and salad this weekend for special guests--reserved only for people I care about--in honor of you, Avon! Now the Beef Bourguignon will have to wait until I, too, have two days to prepare it! It was magnificent, as is Candice. I will post photos as soon as I can get my camera connection fixed so I can upload the photos. And I have one of the gorgeous Christine, too! Beautiful people, great memories. Thanks, Avon. You are incredible.
Oct. 31, 2011 9:09 pm
Thank you so much for sharing! Isn't it such a treat to get to "meet" these wonderful friends whom we've known here in cyber-space? I am so jealous! That is such a GREAT group of woman [and rooster (=]. Next time zeevon comes down to play, you'll have to come watch her so we can have another mini-roundup down here (= Although, I have a feeling WHEN you come down here (= the roundup won't be so mini =D
Oct. 31, 2011 9:12 pm
This is the recipe for the biscotti I brought. My good AR friend, Marie C., told me about this recipe. I follow it like she told me to, using 4 tablespoons of Amaretto and no water. (Marie C. has incredibly good taste!)
Oct. 31, 2011 9:12 pm
Oct. 31, 2011 9:19 pm
[Aren't the Drommar good?!]
Oct. 31, 2011 9:21 pm
AGAIN! the great northwest shines! good grief i gained 5 lbs just reading the menu! yes we maybe different ages, from different backgrounds, but we all share a common bond and isn't nice to be able to HUG somebody in person! i know i went hoarse after the southern roundup! great pictures!!
Oct. 31, 2011 9:26 pm
Russ just looked at the photos and drooled over the beef bourguignon---remember, he had rest-home spaghetti and water for dinner! Yes, xray, the Drommar are yummy! And Gary, it is so much fun to meet these wonderful people.
Oct. 31, 2011 10:04 pm
I do so wish I was there.....someday! Thanks for sharing.
Oct. 31, 2011 10:37 pm
Thank you ladies! It was such a good time getting to finally meet you Marianne, and as far as I'm concerned you are royalty. Barb, one of these days I will be down there. You all can count on that. And I hear there is room at your place so you'll just have to put up with me :) Gary, you are welcome to come and sit at our table any time you would like. I really hope that you plan a visit to Oregon next time you are up here. I'm sure that we can get Pelican to work with us to get something planned. And BN, you may not have been with us at the table, but believe me, you were with us! Lots of conversation about all of you California women. Next time my friend it will be a you that's our guest.
Oct. 31, 2011 10:41 pm
oh and Marianne, tell Russ that the next time, your friend at the home and he are welcome to come have something other than nursing home Spaghetti. Poor guy I bet this was torture for him to look at.
Oct. 31, 2011 11:08 pm
This is simply OUTRAGEOUS. Three AR ambassadors got together to cook a fabulous meal (and it looks fabulous indeed) and not one of you cooked up several packages of Barber foods frozen chicken breast entrees? Simply outrageous. (looks very delicious though) A great blog Avon!
Nov. 1, 2011 2:57 am
What a great looking/sounding dinner! Looking at those hens reminded me of the 6 hens we had about 15 years ago. They were my daughter's pets and we got 6 eggs a day for almost 7 years out of those wonderful hens! My daughter would go out on the porch and holler "Here Girls! Come see me!" and they would come running right up on the porch. So cute! Wonderful blog - thank you for sharing your good time!
Nov. 1, 2011 3:44 am
Fabuloso chica! Wonderful blog! I felt like I was at the dinner table along with you all! and may I say that those mashed taters look awesome, that is going straight into my recipe box after I post this comment! and glad Marianne chimed in with the biscotti recipe - you are well aware I am a biscotti nut!! :D Thanks for letting us peek into your dinner party and Ambassador get together! I am so very jealous... :P
Nov. 1, 2011 3:53 am
Great blog, Avon! And those are some beautiful pics of some very fancy food! So heart warming when I see you guys all get together! XOO
Nov. 1, 2011 5:03 am
so happy for you all, sounds like a night of fun. The bourbuignon (had to double check my spelling 3 times and it still looks wrong) looks delicious and the back of my throat felt a tingle when you mentioned horseradish-did I ever mention that is my favourite condiment? I am so glad you all had a good time, always wishing I was at these, but greatful to just read about them:) Candice, your hens are beautiful girls, when my turkeys were taken in before gobble day, I bought hens to replace the empty pen with more poultry. Now I am patiently waiting for them to start laying....tap, tap, tap, no egg yet. Watching a chickens butt, waiting for an egg is like watching grass grow:D
Nov. 1, 2011 5:44 am
LMAO RNG!!! I choked on my tea at your chicken butt comment :D
Nov. 1, 2011 6:13 am
I am so jealous! Food looks great!
Nov. 1, 2011 8:40 am
Anne is "spot-on" in describing our Ambassador Dinner Party! It was truly a colaborative effort and turned out beautifully. I couldn't believe it when I looked up at the clock and it was 11:30pm! We drank, we ate, we talked, we laughed and formed close bonds that will last a life time. I love all these ladies very much. Thank you Anne for a writing this fabulous account of our evening together.
Nov. 1, 2011 8:46 am
Oh, And I'm still going back and forth from laughing to feeling guilty about Russ having RestHome Spaghetti and Water for dinner the very same night! We need to "create" an AR recipe titled "RestHome Spaghetti." Would that be Politically UNcorrect?
Nov. 1, 2011 9:20 am
Great pictures, great story, great blog! and obviousley some great food.
Nov. 1, 2011 9:21 am
Looks wonderful Avon. I am so glad you had a great time. Wish I could have been there. Would love to host Gary and Claire at any time, you too Avon. Have a little apartment downstairs and it is always available. I love meeting up with peeps.
Nov. 1, 2011 9:32 am
Hey, Candice, it wasn't so collaborative on MY part, unless you call being chauffeured, waited on, served being collaborative! My only regret was not being able to take leftovers "home" with me! (For those who don't know, we stayed in a very senior living home in an apartment close to a very dear friend of ours for two nights.)
Nov. 1, 2011 9:46 am
Wow, what a stunning table! The food and the guests! Thanks for sharing your lovely evening together.
Nov. 1, 2011 10:53 am
This was such a great day. We really enjoyed showing Mariann around our beautiful Oregon (especially the winery). And the dinner was outrageously good! I can't believe I didn't get home until after midnight. Such great friends and good laughter. And as always, Avon, you are a total hoot! And I really enjoy Ivons company too.
Nov. 1, 2011 11:28 am
BTW, Avon... I love the title of your blog. Orangezest is happy you didn't put "old" in front of Rooster.
Nov. 1, 2011 1:18 pm
Nice party, it looks like
Nov. 1, 2011 3:22 pm
Isn't that centerpiece just gorgeous?
Nov. 1, 2011 6:52 pm
As much as you gals described your get together at OUR get together, I felt like I had been there. Plus getting a taste of Marianne's cookies and Candice's cupcakes... awesome!
Nov. 1, 2011 7:08 pm
This is the first time today I've had a chance to get back here and see all this activity. Thanks everyone for stopping by and having a bit of our evening shared with all of you.
Nov. 1, 2011 7:10 pm
Raedwulf.....you totally crack me up. I love intelligent humor, thanks for that! Mother Ann, you would have loved these chickens. They are some of the most spoiled things I've ever seen, but they really are faithful producers too. Thanks for stopping by.
Nov. 1, 2011 7:12 pm
Gitano, and RNG.....the potatoes were some of the best dang things I've ever eaten. They really were perfect under that beef. I know both of you would love them, and if you love caramelized onions the way I do, you won't be sorry. Cindy, thanks for stopping by. You are quite the traveler to these events too!
Nov. 1, 2011 7:13 pm
Sassy, you are going to have your own good time this weekend with the folks from Michigan, can't wait to hear how that turns out for all of you too. Linda, it was wonderful, thanks for stopping by.
Nov. 1, 2011 7:15 pm
Candice, we can't thank you enough for opening your home to all of us that evening. It was such a great time and I'm really blessed to have met you and your family. It's been a year now since our first meeting!
Nov. 1, 2011 7:17 pm
Pelicangal, I'm not going to let another year go by without making a trip to the southern coast. I dearly want to meet you, and I will. I'll bring the bourbon :) Cat Hill, you are the one that knows how to throw a party...good grief you don't just have a dinner, you have an event that lasts a weekend! You are the one that's an inspiration.
Nov. 1, 2011 7:23 pm
Christine, you are the one that is such a fun time. Thanks for sitting next to me at dinner and staying up as late as you did....you only had to drive across town, we had to drive back up here and not have to listen to Ivon complain about how "she's never gonna get any sleep tonight..." And again...I'm so sorry about not getting your picture.
Nov. 1, 2011 7:24 pm
King Sparta, thanks for dropping in. It was a lot of fun. And Magnolia Blossom...(well STB), glad to see you drop in too. Just wait woman, your turn is coming.
Nov. 1, 2011 7:25 pm
Candice, tell Orange that he's lucky I didn't use the title I really wanted to use. (no doubt I would have been sent to the disposal)
lisa j 
Nov. 1, 2011 7:38 pm
Where was my invite?
Nov. 1, 2011 7:43 pm
I just keep coming back to relive this whole evening. Candice, Orange, Christine, Avon, Ivon----memories. Oh, and don't forget the hens!
Nov. 1, 2011 7:45 pm
Lisa, you have a standing invite ALWAYS. You already know that. You are the one that said, "not during football season".....
Nov. 1, 2011 8:55 pm
What an amazing gift of friendship you all share. So nice that we get a glimpse of the food and fun with the pictures and blog. The smiles are infectious...
Nov. 1, 2011 10:43 pm
About Candace's comment about the time - I always say I'm glad this group runs long! (Especially the time we were FIVE hours late to Marianne's [stupid car!]) And LOL about RNG's eggless chicken butts =D
Nov. 1, 2011 10:54 pm
One of these days, Annie, one of these days (= Can't wait!
Nov. 2, 2011 10:21 am
GREAT blog Avon. I cannot get enough of these AR get togethers. What a wonderful experience for all. I so hope to meet you soon and send my love to Candice and Christine. They are fabulous women.
Nov. 2, 2011 12:17 pm
LOLOLOL! You know it all started because of Magnolia Blossom! She took a chance on me as a co-host. LOL, I had to have the weekend to work with since I had overnighters. I wouldn't change a thing, though! I feel blessed to have met the ladies that I have and hope to meet so many more :)(:
Nov. 2, 2011 1:44 pm
And, Cat..... I'll be there next June. Count on it!!!! We love our Magnolia Blossom. She is the funniest person for sure. Wait until you read THAT Blog!!! Oh My!!!
Nov. 2, 2011 3:24 pm
Sounds like you had an awesome time! You are in great company. I love those 3 ladies!!! They are just awesome. Can't wait to see them again. Glad the meal, was devine!
Nov. 3, 2011 3:28 am
Great Gathering! Looks like a lot of fun!! Thanks for the pics and sharing them with us!!
Nov. 3, 2011 6:40 am
Thanks so much for sharing your tales of adventure and food, friendship fun together! Love it!
Nov. 3, 2011 8:10 am
Oh, And, the Pear Vinaigrette Anne brought for the salad,.... I KEPT IT!! Oh yes I did! We ate it gone! Most yummy!
Nov. 3, 2011 3:11 pm
I'm so glad you all had fun and ate well! I've been throwing it back and forth on getting chickens. But I figures since I can't stand cleaning the litter box whats gonna make me want to clean up after chickens? And this if BEFORE any kids! :) Thank you so much for sharing....I love seeing all the LOVE!
Nov. 3, 2011 8:58 pm
Marie C., thank you for sharing that recipe for the biscotti with Marianne, it was fabulous. You are another one we would love to meet sometime. Marianne spoke very nice things about you.
Nov. 3, 2011 8:59 pm
Maui (Julie) Thank you so much for dropping in. You are the next one to be treated. I sincerely hope that it's not too long before you are back in the PNW.
Nov. 3, 2011 9:00 pm
Stay tuned Cat, we have a story to tell about her. :)
Nov. 3, 2011 9:02 pm
Mis7up, thank you so much for dropping in. We'll do an all Oregon meet up sometime soon.Count on it. Mickdee, thank you for dropping in. And have a wonderful time tomorrow. We'll be looking forward to hearing about that event too.
Nov. 3, 2011 9:04 pm
Mamaw, thanks for stopping in. It was a lot of fun and if you have the opportunity sometime, make sure you attend one of these regional meetings. You won't be sorry.
Nov. 3, 2011 9:06 pm
K-Dub, nice to see you. You are a seasoned veteran to the round-up scene too, so you know how much fun they are and what a great bunch these 2 women are. Congrats on the wedding also!
Nov. 4, 2011 2:48 pm
Great food good times. Butt what? Neither one of you talked about the garbage despoal. Ivon came up with the all recipes eqivelant for 'the wood pile.' Give that girl some credit.
Nov. 4, 2011 3:00 pm
Great food good times. Butt what? Neither one of you talked about the garbage despoal. Ivon came up with the all recipes eqivelant for 'the wood pile.' Give that girl some credit.
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About Me
I'm a single mom of 4. My oldest is 24 (son). Followed by 3 daughters ages 23, 19, & 15. The two older ones are on their own now, I have one in college and a soon to be sophomore in high school. My college aged daughter attends a school here in our city, so even though she technically lives on campus, she is here quite often. Mostly for a home cooked meal, or laundry purposes, or just because. I'm kept very busy with my youngest one and her activities. She is very involved in her school, and is an athlete. I have the luxury of having a home based job so even though I have to be disciplined and do my work, I have the ability to arrange my schedule so that I have flexibility to come and go, or most importantly, I'm always home when my kids need me. Rarely do I ever miss anything they are doing. I'm also the caretaker of the 2 cats that rule the roost around here.
My favorite things to cook
My mother was from Morocco and I was born there as well. My father is of Irish decent, so I really got a mixed bag of different foods that I was exposed to early on. Because of that, I began a 50+ year love affair with foods of all kinds. I love, Middle Eastern, Italian, French, Asian, Indian, Mexican, and good ole American.
My favorite family cooking traditions
When I was married, and kids were born, we decided that holidays would be at our home and that all were invited. We wanted to establish the tradition of everyone comes to our house instead of spending the day or days arriving somewhere else and then having to leave. My goal was to have the kids grow up with memories of waking up Christmas morning in their own home and spending the day savoring the sights, smells, sounds and joy of the holiday at home. All guests are of course welcome. This is especially true of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Generally Thanksgiving is a week long event for us. A cousin in Portland Or. hosts "Pre-Thanksgiving" on Wed night, for all out of town guests arriving for the weekend. Because he and his wife have their own plans with her family for the big day, "our side of the family" always does the warm-up so we can all be together. My brothers family, and my Dad and step-mother who live in Washington, always come on the Wed, and we are all together until Sunday
My cooking triumphs
Pie Crust.......I always struggled with this until about 3 years ago. Don't ask what I did different, it just finally seems to work. Also have managed to master my mothers Moroccan hot sauce, which is like a very spicy tomato jam. More flavorful than you can imagine. I'm hoping my kids want to learn to make it properly since I'm the only one in the family that knows how to make it. Everyone seems to be content with me making it and canning it so they can have it whenever they want. That needs to change.....
My cooking tragedies
Walking away and being distracted by something and having a pot of soup boil dry in a favorite pan, not only ruining the soup and my pot, but the lingering smell in the house for days. Also there was the time that a microwave bag of popcorn caught fire inside my microwave. Now that was a terrible smell too.
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