What is a middle-aged woman who is worried her house will be empty sooner than she wants it to be to do? Get another child. That's right. Isn't this the obvious solution? Well, my fifteen year old niece, Ruby, only has two weeks left here in my house before she is supposed to board a plane and head back to England. So, I decided to figure out a way to enroll her into the school my kids are in and talk her mom into letting her spend at least a year living with me. I wasn't sure if I could do it but I knew that I could be very persuasive if I set my mind to it.
My first hurdle was to get the principal of the prestigious performing arts high school, which gets over two thousand applicants and auditions, but accepts only 200 people each year, to think it would a great idea to add a foreign student. I made a few calls. I was able to talk them into this. Yay! Next, I needed to convince Ruby that living in the United States would be a great experience for her. That was pretty easy. The conversation went kind of like this, "Ruby, would you like to go to school here with your cousins here in Las Vegas?" She responded, "Yes, that would be amazing. I'd love to." Done. Then, I needed to spend many evenings talking my husband into realizing that adding another teenager to our household was a fantastic idea. Everyone wants to have another teenager, right? Well, maybe not. That part was not as easy but, as I mentioned earlier, I can be fairly persuasive. I accomplished that. I think the winning argument was when I reminded him that he told me years ago, some day I could adopt. I never forgot that promise. I know I am not actually adopting. I am pretty sure this is going to be much easier than an actual adoption; but I will take it. I talked him into it. Finally, I was faced with the challenge of talking Ruby's mom into knowing this is a great experience and opportunity for her child and that I will love her and take care of her as if she was my own. I already do. I was successful in accomplishing that as well. So, the Monro household has grown by one more member. We have a new child to take care of. Ruby Blue Monro now lives with us. I could not be happier.
This weekend, we decided to have a party to celebrate life and love. Any time anyone would ask what the occasion for the party was, I would say, "life and love". I am pretty sure they all thought I was nuts. Now, we had the added excitement of celebrating that Ruby would be staying with us for at least the school year. So, the theme changed to, "life, love and Ruby." The event started out as a small dinner party. Soon, we had forty people on the list. Claud and I sat down and created the menu. We would start with appetizers. The appetizers included smoked salmon, sushi and bruschetta. Then, we would have two types of salads. I made an Israeli salad and a Shopska salad. This way, the vegans would have something delicious to eat and everyone else could enjoy the feta cheese. Next, we made marinated mushrooms over Basmati rice for the vegetarians. We grilled an entire filet mignon for the meat eaters. We also made roasted potatoes. In addition, I served some small sweet peppers stuffed with feta cheese. Finally, my daughter's best friend, Josie, made cupcakes. They were beautiful. I really appreciate people who can bake. Not only did everyone love eating the cupcakes, but they were really beautiful too.
Stuffed Peppers with Marinara.
The stuffed peppers were inspired by the restaurant Forte here in Las Vegas. I just can't stop thinking about all of their delicious food. They have two stuffed pepper dishes on their menu. One version is served with rice and meat. The other version, and the one I order, is stuffed with egg and feta cheese. I decided to make my own version. I added finely chopped celery and onion to the mix. I also sprinkled in some oregano to give it an extra kick. In the restaurant, they serve the peppers with sliced tomato and marinara sauce. I served mine the same way.
I didn't get feedback on the peppers alone from any of our guests. However, Claud did come up to me and tell me mine were much better than the peppers served at Forte. I know, he is biased. All I know is that by the next day, when I ventured out to look at the damage to my kitchen. There was not one morsel of food wasted. Nothing was left to throw out. Everything was consumed. Like my task of getting Ruby to stay living with us, I'd say, the celebration of "Life, Love and Ruby" was a success. Mission Accomplished!
Stuffed Peppers With Marinara
Time: 30 minutes
20 small sweet yellow and red peppers
2 cups crumbled feta cheese
1 stalk of celery, finely diced
cup yellow onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon oregano
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Slice the peppers in half lengthwise. Place these peppers onto an ovenproof tray. Bake for ten minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. In a bowl, combine the feta, celery, and onion. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs. Mix the eggs into the feta mixture and add the oregano, salt and pepper. Rinse the seeds out of the peppers. Spoon the feta mix into the peppers. Return to the oven for ten minutes. Serve with ready made marinara and sliced tomatoes.