Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas in Colleyville

On the first day of Christmas... left Austin late after I got off work and arrived at 3am.
On the second day of Christmas... attended church with Josh and Laura and ate lunch at Bread Winner's Cafe. Went home and played lots of cards and ate a lot throughout the entire week...too much, in fact.
On the third day of Christmas... we saw two movies in the theater; National Treasure Book of Secrets and Charlie Wilson's War. Neither struck my fancy.
On the fourth day of Christmas... Chris and I celebrated our annual Christmas Eve Morning Date with coffee and donuts, then went to the mall for some last minute shopping.
On the fifth day of Christmas... Marlow got lots of love and attention, lots of walks and trips to the park, and lots of toys. He turned 1 year old on the 26th!
On the sixth day of Christmas... we helped Josh and Laura move from one apartment to another.
On the seventh day of Christmas... I spent a day with my mother in law and sister in law. We got manicures, ate lunch, and went shopping. I found a few bargains at some after-Christmas sales.
On the eighth day of Christmas... we slept in a lot and took naps. I made sure not to cook too much and enjoyed several glasses of wine.
On the ninth day of Christmas... we sat down and made plans to get more serious with my business.
On the tenth day of Christmas... we went to a party and hung out with our great Strange friends.
On the eleventh day of Christmas... I realized that the 3 books I brought to read never got opened.
On the twelfth day of Christmas... we are glad to be home.

Christmas morning mimosas!

Sister Laura

our annual donut date

the clan after xmas eve service

my sweet boys

wilkerson duo

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What We've Been Up To

Taste and See Fine Dining has been getting more business during the holiday season, so with cooking for my job and for my own business, I've been quite busy. Chris and I both work from home on Tuesdays. I think he started staying home because he liked the benefits of my leftovers from the day.

We hosted our first Christmas Party and 40-50 people came. I cooked to impress and hopefully it inspired some potential clients for 2008.

We attended a wedding last Saturday and we considered it a milestone since it was the first one we've been invited to from friends here in Austin. We still really love living here. After the reception, we party hopped the rest of the night, hitting up others' Christmas get-togethers.

I hosted a Cookie Exchange on Monday at my house. It was fun to just talk with friends and swap yummy recipes.

Last night we had dinner with the Hekmans for the last time until next year. We won't see them until we get back from Singapore at the end of January. We had pizza at their place, then walked around Zilker Park for the Trail of Lights.

This week I'm cooking a lot for 3 more parties, then off to Colleyville we go! Chris and I both are really looking forward to vacation where we'll hopefully do a lot of sleeping and just relaxing with his family.He's all ready for Christmas!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Letter 2007

Our Top 3 Events of 2007


In February we drove to China Spring, Texas and picked out a tiny puppy to be part of our family. He’s an English Springer Spaniel and will turn one year old the day after Christmas. He’s now our 50 pound lap dog. Marlow has brought the both of us so much joy and lots of laughter, and I proudly admit that I am smitten with the little guy. He’s got the perfect energy level for us since we’re outdoorsy folks, but he’s also quite the cuddler and loves any attention he can get. I have especially appreciated his company when Chris has had to travel for work. It doesn’t get much better than a little, wiggly body happy to see you every day. We prayed for the personality of our future pet and God gave us our dream puppy.

Chef Carey

I (finally) graduated in July after a year and a half of culinary, enological, and nutritional studies. Upon graduating, I received a promotion to the position of Sous Chef at my job. It has been good to work under someone else’s management and to learn on someone else’s dime; however it has motivated me more so to get out on my own. Together, Chris and I have started our own personal cheffing business, Taste and See Fine Dining. I get to cook for weekly clients, dinner parties, showers, small catering events, and do nutritional consulting. Chris is my business manager, technical support, web advisor, and business accountant. J It has been very rewarding to work in an industry full of creative challenges, but also one in which I am able to use my gifts to bless others.

2606 Gets a Facelift

We have become good friends with the employees at the nearby hardware stores. We see them quite frequently and visit nearly every weekend. Since we became homeowners almost a year and a half ago, we’ve been going non-stop with remodeling. Both bathrooms received a complete makeover, we created a laundry room, and will soon be entering the demolition phase for our kitchen. I am constantly impressed with Chris’s abilities in the remodeling of our house. He has done an amazing job on everything. His dad has made numerous trips to Austin to help with nearly every step of the process. (THANK YOU!) It has been fun making our house into our home.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a year full of God’s blessings.

Chris and Carey Bonser

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Happy Birthday, Lydia

Sunday night was my friend's birthday dinner. I cooked a Kosher meal since we are right around Hanukkah time, even though none of us are Jewish. Scott & Lydia enjoy good food just like us, so it's always fun to eat together. The menu was:

Watercress, Avocado, Smoked Salmon, Pomegranate Seeds with Sherry Vinaigrette
Potato Latkes
Sparkling Rosé

Golden Beet Soup

Roasted Rack of Lamb with Lamb Sausage Crust with Grape Port Sauce
Minted Pea Spaetzle

White Chocolate Trifle with Spiced Pear & Mascarpone

Thursday, November 29, 2007

What Is This??

Is anyone out there knowledgeable about entomology? If so, could you tell me what kind of bug this is? I've been finding them on my carpet in our house. They are dead when I find them, and they measure to be about an inch long. Of course my first worry is that it could be harmful to my puppy, but it might be nothing. Regardless, they give me the heeby-jeebies every time I find one.

Tis the Season

The Christmas season seems so go by so quickly here in Texas since the weather isn't very cold and doesn't feel wintery, so I've started early this year to make it seem longer. We've never decorated or put up lights or had a Christmas tree until this year, so it's rather exciting for us. Okay, so it's exciting for me. I think Chris could care less about it all, but I enjoy the holiday season. Here are a few pictures of the Christmas décor we've got going on thus far. I'm really excited about our Christmas party that we're hosting this year. The theme is "Eat, Drink, & Be Merry with the Bonsers." Should be fun. 45 people are planning to come! Chris also invited his co-workers, so our humble 1300 square foot house should be quite cozy that night. Also some pictures of our updated rooms.

Looking at the front door from the front hall.

Our first Xmas tree! It's about 5 feet tall.

Finished living room with the new furniture. I'd still like to put something above the sofa and we need to paint trim along a different wall, but for the most part, it's done.

I love how the TV is hidden when not in use.

Simple greenery on the mantel. Eventually we'll sand down and paint the backdoor white. And the kitchen color will be a brick red color that will continue into this room and touch the fire place. It's the wall above the backdoor.
We installed a cabinet in the guest bathroom for extra storage. And once it was in, I switched the shower curtain back to the old one because there was too much white going on with the other curtain.

The master bathroom. Again, just some finishing touches like painting trim until it's completed.

View from the front door.

Thanksgiving in Indiana

I got to spend a lot of quality time with my friends last week. We were in Anderson for 7 days and I packed in the schedule with visiting people. It was nice to spend time with family, too, and see everyone on Thanksgiving. Chris got to go to Purdue one day and hang out with his crowd. We are very thankful for our Indiana people. We've missed them since moving here.

Andy & Mandy

Carrie, Abby, Carey

BFF: Jenny

Jen & her new beau

All 7 of us, minus Marley Poo

"The Girls;" me, Jen, Susan, Steph, Michelle

Thanksgiving Kisses!

I love my siblings.

And Chris Bonser.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

update on the important stuff

my two new favorite songs: "no one" by alicia keys, and "bubbly" by colbie caillat.


tar·ry 1 (tr)

v. tar·ried, tar·ry·ing, tar·ries
1. To delay or be late in going, coming, or doing. See Synonyms at stay1.
2. To wait.
3. To remain or stay temporarily, as in a place; sojourn. Archaic
To wait for; await.
A temporary stay; a sojourn.

God has been reminding me lately the importance of taking a Sabbath. My favorite days with Him are when I escape for a hike with Marlow. When I seek out that time of solitude, I always hear Him speak. Thinking of this, I am reminded of the hymn, "In the Garden." (Except for me it would be called, "In the Greenbelt.") What great words it speaks. The chorus goes: "And He walks with me, and He talks with me, and He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known." And humming it to myself, I get stuck on the word tarry. That's not a word I often use, but I love it. Isn't that exactly what God wants for us when taking our Sabbath?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

My Belly is Happy

This was another restaurant on my list of places to eat and last night we did just that. It was impressive, and neat to see the chef and pastry chef are both women. They had an extensive wine list and a nice selection of entrees, all highlighting seasonal ingredients.
We ordered:

Appetizer: Crispy Oysters on Yucca Root Chip with spicy aioli and brunnoised tomatoes. I'd read several great critiques about this particular appetizer and it was excellent.

Entrees: Duck & Shrimp with Strozzapreti and Brandy & Quince Glaze and Green Peppercorn Ahi Tuna with Baby Artichoke Ragu & Fingerling Potatoes

Desserts: Pear, Huckleberry & Brie Pie with Pear Sorbet & Rosemary Anglaise and a medley of Peanut Butter, Cappuccino, and Vanilla Ice Creams with delectable cookies for each.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

You'll Want More of This Stuff

I am cooking from home today for a few clients and I made a dish that I must say is pretty darn good. I was so excited about it that I thought I'd post it here for you to try. It's not anything amazing, but the flavor profiles of it blend so well together that is just melts in your mouth and makes you want more. This is great especially during the colder months.

Sable with Creamy Leeks--about 4 servings

Combine 1/2 c. sour cream (I used fat-free and it turned out great!) and a pinch of flour in a small bowl. Set aside.

Season with salt and white pepper (or black if that's what you have) 4 servings of sable (or another firm to delicate white cod or pollock), about 6 oz. each. Set aside.

Prep your leeks by thinly slicing them.

Sauté leeks in butter (about 2 T.) until they become almost translucent and light in color. Season with S & P. Add 2/3 c. water to pan and stir with leeks, simmering. Add sour cream and stir. Cook 3-5 min. Add fillets of fish to pan. Cover with lid and continue cooking about 5 minutes or until fish is opaque and begins to fall apart. (You don't want to cook too long or you'll lose the integrity of the fish texture.) Remove from heat. Spoon into bowl. Sprinkle with a little bit of chopped dill. (Not too much or you'll overwhelm it.) Eat with a nice, soft dinner roll and a glass of a buttery, oaky Chardonnay. Yum!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween Grill-Out

We grilled out last night with several of our neighbors and passed out candy as kids stopped by. I overbought on candy again this year, so Chris took the rest of it to work this morning so that it wouldn't be home alone with me.

I work long days today and tomorrow, but I've got Saturday and Sunday off, which is really nice. It's been quite awhile since I've had a weekend off, and it's just getting busier with the holiday season coming up.

Monday, October 29, 2007

An Arizona Getaway

We were in Phoenix for the weekend. We took off work Friday and flew out early that morning and got back late last night. The purpose of the trip was to visit friends, Mark and Shannon Krenz, and TJ Fech. Mark was my Youth Pastor in middle school and high school. They were both very influential people in my life and especially had an impact on the way my faith was shaped growing up. They have been married over 8 years now and have two little girls. TJ and Chris have been friends for a long time, and I met TJ when I was at Purdue. We all went to Mexico together in 2004 for a mission trip and that bonded our friendship closer. He's engaged now and it's amazing to see the way God has changed his life for the better by moving to Tucson.

Both friends moved out there for the purpose of planting a church, individually. It was so interesting to see the stark contrasts of each philosophy of ministry and the way they are going about pursuing their callings. It was so helpful for Chris and I to see the major differences because it gave us a better understanding of what God might be calling us to next...whenever that is.

I got to cook for the Krenzes, which they enjoyed. They hadn't had an "adult meal" since the girls were born, so they pulled out the champagne glasses and table linens to celebrate.

Though short, the weekend was a great time for Chris and I to reconnect and get away from house projects and the never-ending "To Do" lists that haunt us when we're at home on the weekends. We got to catch up on sleep, have great conversations, be silly with each other, and laugh a lot. I love my husband.

We really missed our Marlow, but our awesome neighbors and friends took good care of him. What a blessing not having to board him!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

He's Here!

Our good friends, Rachel and Randy, had their baby boy today. Jaxson Reese Spinks arrived at 12:45pm, weighing 8 lbs. 8.5 oz. and 21 in. long. What a cutie he is! After being induced, Rachel popped him out in an hour and 15 minutes! We're so excited for them.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Happy Engagement Day

Friday and Saturday I worked long hours preparing and working an event for Saturday night. Sunday we worked sun up to sun down on the house. We're making progress slowly but surely. Chris is so smart about remodeling, it amazes me. The master bathroom is almost done. We just need to get the toilet in, the cabinet, and the hardware. And the trim for the window. So close. Chris finished putting up all the insulation in the ceiling and walls for the laundry room, and the drywall is almost all up. This weekend Chris's dad is coming again to help out. He has been such a huge help to us! They have fun working together and it goes a lot faster with at least two people knowing what they are doing, and I just get to help hold things, fetch things, measure things, and feed them.

Today I embark upon a marathon of working 2 weeks straight without a day off. Sometimes it's draining, and I'm sure by the end I will feel exhausted, but for now, I'm feeling optimistic about it. The hardest thing is coming home and not feeling like I have enough time/energy to keep up with the house, cook, and be a good mom to Marlow.

Finally, for today, I just wanted to let ya'll know that 3 years ago today Chris and I got engaged. Here's the proposal story in short:

I was house-sitting for the Lemans in West Lafayette while they were out of town. I'd go to class then stay the night at their house. I was working as Office Manager at the time for Purdue Christian Campus House. Chris surprised me by delivering a dozen red roses to my desk. That was a Wednesday. When I got to work that day, it was such a sweet surprise and it made my day. The next day, Thursday, when I woke up, I came down the stairs from my room in the house I was sharing with two roommates, and found another dozen of the same roses in a vase on the table. That was also a surprise! Two days in a row...something was going on. Low and behold, Friday morning I received another dozen, this time hand-delivered from the boyfriend himself. A note was attached that read, "Join me tonight for dinner and dancing. 7:00. Wear something nice." Ooh la la! Indeed all these flowers and now a date was leading up to something special. So I finished classes and work for the day and went to my house that day to get ready for my date. He picked me up that night and we drove away. I was suspicious once we turned into the addition, street, and then driveway of the Lemans' home. He punched in the garage code (he had called them and asked for permission to "use" their house that night--they were more than happy when they learned why) and we went inside. He had set the table, lit candles, and had more flowers were on the table. The best part was that he had gotten Thai food from our favorite place and it was in the oven keeping warm. So we had our dinner. Then onto the dancing. He had put together a CD of a bunch of songs that we ended up dancing to. In the middle of one of the songs (For some reason, I think I remember it being Sarah McLachlan's "Your Love is Better Than Chocolate.") he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I can't say I was shocked just because of all the events leading up to it, but it was indeed a good question to be asked and I, of course, said yes. I have a wonderful husband and it's been a great journey for the 2 years we've been married so far.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

More Fun with Marlow

If you're an avid blog-reader of my site, you already know how much I love my puppy. He's 9 months now. Tonight his best friend, Ace, came over to play. They are so cute together. We went on a long walk, then to the park where they can chase each other off-leash. It's the perfect place for them to run off their energy. It cracks me up just watching them interact. Ace can far outrun Marlow even though he's a lot smaller. Marlow is fast for his size (45.3 lbs. at his most recent vet visit), but Ace's little legs know how to tear it up.

Since today is Tuesday, I cooked all day from home. We are in the middle of several home-remodel projects, including the sanding and painting of all interior doors. We have a tarp duct-taped around the doorway to block off the kitchen from the garage to keep the air in. Last weekend Chris worked more on the painting and installation of the pocket-door-to-be that will soon take its place between the kitchen and laundry room. I'm looking forward to having an enclosed laundry room at last, and a new closet for all my catering/personal cheffing equipment. It will feel much more sanitary not storing it all in the garage where moth and dust destroy.

Molecular gastronomy, anyone? I'm currently reading the book all about the science of flavor by the pioneer himself, Dr. Hervé This (pronounced "tees"). He is the only person the the world that currently holds a doctorate in molecular gastronomy. It's really a fascinating subject that combines the worlds of food science, physics, and culinary arts. Here's a snippet from the introduction: "What exactly does molecular gastronomy deal with? And how does it differ from the well-established field of food science? Some historical perspective will be useful in answering these questions, but generally speaking it is correct to say that food science deals with the composition and structure of food, and molecular gastronomy deals with culinary transformations and the sensory phenomena associated with eating." If this kind of science were offered in high school, I think I would have been much more interested in the subject.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Tonight's Grub

We had over one of Chris's co-workers tonight for dinner. He requested a classical French menu since that's what I went to school for, and here's what I made:

Cabernet-Braised Short Ribs with Mixed Herb Gremolata
Gorgonzonal Polenta
Shaved Brussels Sprout & Shallot Saute
Apple, Chevre, Honey Tartlets

...with a wonderful Mondavi Reserve Pinot Noir 2006 to accompany.

Also, we are dog-sitting Ace tonight so that Rachel can get some sleep. She's due in 1 week!!! But it sounds like she'll be ready in more like 2 weeks. I'm so excited to be Aunt Carey!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fun with Family

It was a quick weekend, but good to spend time with family and see people at the reunion in Dixon, Missouri. I got to meet my newest little cousin, Cole Andrew. He's now 4 months. We all went to the St. Louis Zoo yesterday with a ride on the carousel and train to top it off.

Some animals...

My mom and we look alike or what?
Sweet baby Cole. He's so cuddly.
What about us? Do we look alike? My twin brother and I.
My grandma will turn 99 years old in a month!
I love her. She's the best sister-in-law ever.
My whole family, minus Chris and Marlow.