Zai Jain, Beijing…Hellllleeeeew London!

Seems like it was only yesterday that my little family was enjoying the Beijing Olympics 2008 Opening Ceremonies over a Dinner of Olympic Proportions. Well, time flies when you’re having fun, kids. After watching hour upon hour of excitement: one fantastic swimmer getting a record 8 golds, beach volleyball, a Redeem Team who won more than the game, a cute-as-a-button powerhouse American gymnast (I’m currently trying to find one of her on Amazon because my sister would like to have one to carry in her pocket), a strikingly beautiful Russian-American gymnast with a gold medal pedigree (and now a couple of her own), a Gold-medal Diving Australian guy, a 41-year-old Dara Torres (go girl!), ping pong, and so much more…it’s all, as we say in this house, “Ova now.”

I had so much fun being goofy about our Opening Ceremony dinner that I had high hopes for the Closing Ceremonies as well: the menu was originally going to be fish n’ chips, in honor of the 2012 Olympics being held in London. But our little fish n’ chips plans would turn out to be (as our plans SO often are) upgraded when, of all people, my very non-Olympic fan husband Jim suggested that he could make Shepherd’s Pie instead. Yippee! He’s made it before (delicious!) and I forgot all about that, so I was overjoyed when he reminded me of it in relation to my Olympic Madness. The dinner plan took off from that point. We made our grocery list and invited my sister over to share the fun.

Here are just a couple of the things that we would use as part of dinner:

The Shepherd’s pie started out being a recipe off the Food Network called Mummy Boome’s Traditional Shepherd’s Pie, but I made my own specialty garlic cheddar mashed potatoes for the top and he used a packet of Colman’s Shepherd’s Pie sauce mix inside it as well:

To accompany our lovely Shepherd’s Pie, we had Branston Spaghetti Loops (sort of bland) and Branston Baked Beans (yum), keeping with the “use as many British products as possible” theme.

We went crazy on dessert, I have to say. I picked up British Kit Kats, for one thing. Those of you who have been reading me for a while will know about my special love for those things, and that my family even did a Kit Kat taste test. It’s all in photos, and it’s hysterical. Click here to see it (it’s 14 photos):

Kit Kat Taste Test

(Even if you saw this when originally posted, check it out again if you have time. You will no doubt be shocked just like I was to see how much my kids have grown in two years’ time!!!)

As if those little bars of chocolatey goodness weren’t enough, my sister made–NOT KIDDING–the best chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted in my life. It was a Chocolate Guinness Cake, though I do believe that she used the British beer pictured above instead (if she used both then I didn’t see the Guinness…I’m sure she’ll clarify.). Totally went along with the theme, ’cause that’s how we roll. My sister and our mom are the only two other women I know who can jump into my theme obsession with absolutely no hesitation and no lack of creativity.

For this one, Julie gets a ten.

Or the gold medal.

Or whatever.

Seriously. Look at this cake. (The raspberries weren’t part of the original recipe, but it tasted oh so right!)

Want a different view?

The inside, maybe?

With all of that food, we practically forgot about the Closing Ceremonies. Practically. But we watched them and said good bye–Zai Jain–to Beijing, an unforgettable Olympics. Now we–except for Jim–start the countdown to the 2012 London Olympics. Can’t wait!


  • Kat

    Mmmmmh drool laugh…Will you stop posting pictures and posts of your awesome chef skills already. Everytime I read your blog it is hours till dinner and it all looks so appetizing.

    The Kit Kat Taste Test still cracks me up. That is some serious testing you guys are doing in your house.

    Btw. the hubby just commented on your comment 😉

  • Melissa

    Seriously, I think I just drooled a little on my monitor!

    Jules, when are you making that cake next? I will be on your doorstep! Yum!

  • Anonymous

    Okay..,. so when are you gonna post the recipe for your sis’ choc. cake??? I love the messy inside picture… all that is missing is someone’s finger leaving a trail of icing behind just off to the side! ALL ABOUT YUM!
    –weather kim in dc

  • Susie

    It looks like you had a great time! I loved the Olympics…I am so sorry they are over.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog today and leaving such sweet comments:-)

  • angie goff

    what would’ve capped it all off: A pic of the WHOLE FAM around the table smiling with those redneck teeth inserts in your moufs!

    We all remember when Lisa Simpson was shown the “BIG BOOK OF BRITISH TEETH” by her Orthodontist.

  • Veggie Mom

    Can I come over in 2012 when you do the London-themed Olympic Dinner? I’m getting hungry just reading your post! And, thanks for coming by and visiting The Great State of Wisconsin today!

  • Melisa

    Kat: uh, sorry. I’ll try to put my food posts up later in the day, when you’re in bed over there in Deutschland. LOL

    Melissa: You have no idea. Seriously? SO GOOD. TOO GOOD. Really. Not kidding. YUM.

    Weather Kim: Ha! I’ll have to find out if she’s sharing. There are some recipes that we release and some that we keep close. 🙂

    Susie: Thanks for stopping by! Love your blog!

    Angie: HILARIOUS. That would have been funny. But slightly offensive and not in the Olympic spirit. LOL But funny. 🙂

    Veggie Mom: Well Thank YOU for visiting Illinois today! And sure…come on over! I’ll see ya in 2012!

  • Michelle

    Ok, I was trying to figure out how Kit Kats played into British food, but now I get it… and I loved the taste test. I totally get the spreadsheet, but if it makes you feel any better I immediately started thinking about what I’d do differently in my spreadsheet 😉 Yes, I’m a geek and I have a problem.

    The cake looks SMOKIN’! Any chance you or your sister would be generous enough to share the recipe for the special needs cookbook (see my first post from yesterday)?

  • lynn

    Looks like a fun dinner. I’ve always enjoyed watching the Olympics.
    Thanks for stopping by today on your BATW tour!

  • nukedad

    You missed your calling; you should be on all of the shows instead of Martha Stewart! You’re a Domestic Guru!