I purchased my first "adult" car. I love my Jetta, and I'm sure at some point I will give it an actual name. Right now it's "Boo." Get it? Because it's blue? Ha.
My grandparents gifted us with several items from their home once they moved into an assisted-living apartment. Two of the best things we received were antique chairs that we reupholstered. They're like new, and we love them!
I left a job I strongly disliked, and thus took a huge pay cut. It was my decision, whether idiotic or not, and I stand beside it. I know things will be better because of it.
I had my first big family dinner at my apartment, that I planned for weeks. It went well, and gave me a sense of accomplishment that I had created good food and elicited fun from my family.
Michael and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary together by going to camp in the Eldorado Lake area of Kansas. What a fabulous weekend - especially with the one I love.
I've made new friends, gone new places and learned new concepts. I am excited to see what 2010 has in store for me, and I have a few resolutions to make. Keep reading!
More to come!
As you know, my mother-in-law gave us several sprigs of fresh rosemary a couple times this month. Thanks to Emily, I decided to make rosemary bread. Thank you to everyone else who sent suggestions!
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons rosemary
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
- Place yeast, sugar and water in large bowl or food processor and allow mixture to become bubbly.
- Mix in 1 T butter, salt, and 2 cups of flour.
- Add one tablespoon of the fresh chopped rosemary.
- Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or in food processor about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
- Add more flour if necessary.
- Oil a bowl, put dough in it and cover with a towel.
- Let dough rise in a warm place for one hour until doubled.
- Punch down dough and divide in half.
- Let dough rest about 5 minutes.
- Spray baking pan or cookie sheet with cooking spray.
- Shape the dough into 2 small rounded oval loaves.
- Sprinkle remaining 1 Tablespoon of rosemary over the loaves and press lightly into the surface.
- Let loaves rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned.
- Carefully remove from oven, brush with remaining butter or olive oil.
I got this recipe from Recipe Zaar, a website I haven't used before. It's modeled after the rosemary bread at Romano's Macaroni Grill, and I'd say it's pretty close. VERY yummy bread. It has a softened crunch to the outside, and it's light and airy inside. Great flavor. Worth the trouble!
Here's a look at our desserts:
My Green Tea Cake, which is their specialty.
John got the Coconut Ice Cream and Green Sticky Rice. The ice cream was excellent!
Sarah got the Coconut Custard with Green Sticky Rice. Very good, too!
I love that Mint uses green on every one of their plates, and it's usually a leaf or two of mint. Gorgeous!
I've been signed up (or signed myself up) for making several things during the holidays. Yes, I am going to list them again, much like I did for Thanksgiving. I'm slated for: spinach and artichoke dip, sausage balls (times two), caramelized onion loaf (times two), spiced sweet potatoes, and a dessert (not sure yet). I'm undecided on the dessert, and I need ideas. Pumpkin pie, pie of any sort, and cake are all out. Suggest away!
1 medium eggplant, peeled
2 red bell peppers, seeded
1 red onion, peeled
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp tomato paste
Preheat to 400 degrees. Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch pieces. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread them on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes, turning once. Cool slightly. Place vegetables in a food processor and add tomato paste. Pulse 5-8 times. Taste for salt & pepper. Serve with pita chips, or as I did, with toasted Challah.
I must say, I also had a lovely new drink (new to me) of sweet tea vodka (http://www.fireflyvodka.com/) and lemonade. I never thought that combination would be so light and refreshing. (I'm NOT a vodka fan.)
Also, I got to hang out with friends from work without having to talk about work! Yay! We ended the night by performing Journey's Don't Stop Believin' for the crowd. It was awesome!
One last thing - I decided to get AIM again. For those of you that don't know what that is (or are trying to forget), it's the instant messenger created by America Online. One of my friends asked if I would use it to message them instead of texting (Sigh. oh alright...), so I reinstalled it. (Side note: WHO DOESN'T TEXT?!) Long story short, if any of you use AIM, I'd love to add you to my pitiful three-person list. :)
My mother-in-law has a huge amount of the aforementioned herbs growing in her backyard, and cut handfuls for me to take home. Obviously something savory would be best. I'd appreciate the help!
I also got a poinsettia from Martie along with the herbs. I'm pretty sure they're poisonous to cats. Or children. Or both? I'll have to check into this.
On a side note, it's 63 degrees in Boston. It's 38 degrees here. Odd.
It's more important to keep someone close than to push them away.
It's best to show someone they matter to you instead of the moral disagreement you have with their lifestyle.
Sometimes it's best to keep your mouth shut and your heart open.
Especially when it's the ones you love the most.
Some say you hurt the people you love the most more often than anyone else in your life. This shouldn't be our nature.
We have to reach beyond our many differences and secure the bonds between us. It's the only way we can keep sane. It's hard to see the similarities when so much has changed over the years. Faded. Some similarities maybe have been eliminated.
We have to find common ground.
Then the complexities of life won't seem so oppressive, and our days will be brighter.
It's now time to gear up for the busiest time of year. News is always brought to every family gathering I attend, and I'm eager to know what's transpired after the majority of 2009 has passed. I'll be cooking for each event, so I hope to have pictures and recipes to share.
Have a happy, chilly day!
Yes, I'm one of the millions that have read the Twilight series. I admit it. They were a fun read, and I enjoy being in-the-know about this craze and all that goes along with it. However, I am very disappointed in the episode of Oprah today, which featured the author of the Twilight books, Stephenie Meyer. Oprah promised ME (a small exaggeration, but go with it) she would ask Stephenie if there will be a 5th installment of the series...NEVER happened.
I can't tell you how ridiculous it is that Oprah dangled this carrot of a revelation in front of all the fans (TWICE), and then never made mention of it later. Does she think she won't have the 13-year-olds blasting her on their LiveJournals, or the 10th grade English teachers giving her an earful on the Oprah Web site?! (Not to mention the married 20-something that DVR's Oprah regularly...)
I hope that someone will get through to Oprah, and in some Skype session, phone call or whatever - this burning question of Midnight Sun, or what ever name Stephenie Meyer chooses, and if it will ever be completed or restarted.
I hope I haven't scared you all.
I'll try to give a small summary of what we did: look and eat. Done.
Friday we got in to Austin just in time for dinner. Qas made us Pakistani home-cookin, which was amazing. That's even an understatement. It was like no other food I've eaten in restaurants, and so much more flavorful. I'm hoping to get the recipes to try them in my kitchen at home. We spent the rest of the night catching up and talking each other's ears off.
Saturday morning we woke up and went to Mozart's for coffee and a biscotti (http://www.mozartscoffee.com), on Lake Austin. That lake has HUGE fish in it! I wish I would have taken a picture of these fish - and not to mention the size of the turtles! It was like an aquarium! Then we took a car tour, with the windows down, of Westlake Hills. Located off of Red Bud Trail, this is one of the nicest areas in the city. It had some great modern homes, adjacent to older split-levels with tons of charm. We lunched at Blue Dahlia in the up-and-coming part of East Austin. We sat on the back patio, that was shaded by overhead reed mats and palms. GREAT weather. I had the fig, honey and ricotta tartine, and Michael had a chicken salad and dried cranberry tartine. Very nice. Later, we traveled over to Pedernales State Park for some hiking and relaxing beside nature. Dinner was at Ranch 616, where the nightly specials is where it's at! I had the mixed grill special, which involved barbecued quail, venison, sausage, smoked poblano mashed potatoes, and mixed vegetables. Michael and Jamie had the same special: filet mignon, pork tenderloin, asparagus, and lobster. Qas had another mixed plate of lobster, crab, duck and amazing sides. It was such a great meal! One of the hosts was a jerk, but every other person on the waitstaff was excellent. Then, in efforts to have a stupidly good time, we went to the bowling alley down the street for a little Buck Sisters versus the Men bowling action. Needless to say, The Buck Sisters were somewhat all bark and no bite, but didn't lose by much. A rematch is in order. Then we got changed and went downtown for some drinks and dancing. Dancing on Qas, Jamie and Michael's parts. I don't dance...well. We ended up seeing a few of my friends from college at the club, and got to have some fun with that.
Sunday we had brunch, home made by Jamie. I contributed a Challah, and she made eggs, sausage, Provencal tomatoes, and chai. Then we made a final tour of The Oasis and Lake Travis. It was misty, but still beautiful. Sometimes I forget those cliffs aren't in the Mediterranean, and are in the middle of Texas. Then we had an early dinner at El Borrego de Oro, and got on the road. We made a quick stop by Amy's Ice Cream (http://www.amysicecreams.com) before heading out of town for good so Michael could savor the flavor of Mexican Vanilla.
It was an excellent and tasty trip!
I'm excited to visit Austin and be shown around by two people that actually live there. I've been to Austin before and always did the tour of the Capitol (yawn!) and other usual things. This time I'm going to experience the city with people that know the ins and outs - where the good features are. I'm mostly excited about the weather and the food! I'll post when I return!
Saturday night we went out for drinks with Michelle and Corban at Gingerman. It was really busy, and we decided to move on. After drinks at our apartment, we went over to a mutual friend's housewarming party in Carrollton. It was a good time!
Sunday Michael chose his pre-birthday dinner: roasted potato and leek soup, crusty bread and Sprinkles red velvet cake cupcakes. What a menu! He looked through all of my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and decided on the soup. (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-potato-leek-soup-recipe/index.html) It had roasted potatoes, roasted leeks, arugula, creme fraiche, white wine and Gruyere. It was so completely subliminal, I thought it must have had several sticks of butter. But no butter went into the recipe! Also, I made the crispy shallots to go on top -- another simple but incredible outcome. Anyway, I made everyone jealous at work with my leftover soup. And did I relish that jealousy? Of course. I will definitely make it again. And again.
Anyway, we arrived at the ballpark, parked and went in. We bought a corn dog, beer, a lemon chill, a taco salad, margaritas and bottled waters (to round everything out). We began watching the game, and I was becoming bored. I commented to Michael that the players needed to big-time spice it up to retain my attention, and then...the fifth inning happened. I witnessed my first grand slam (all bases loaded, and the batter hits a home run), and then an almost-grand slam - all in the same inning! Then we scored several more runs to win over Tampa Bay. It was a good game, and I'm glad I was there to watch the possible record-breaking that ensued. Ironically, that isn't the end of the story. The announcer said there would be fireworks 15 minutes after the game ended, so we decided to sick around. We were both finishing our treats when people started to stand up and begin grabbing in the air. A red flash came towards us, and Michael snatched it out of the air. It was a hat. A sweaty, red hat. We looked around, trying to piece together what had happened, and someone said it was Ian Kinsler's hat. I was shocked. We had the quote "hottest" Ranger's hat, according to two fans who were my age. It has the number 5 written on the inside of the hat's white lining. I looked it up - it's the exact size too. So, of course, I wanted to eBay it, but Michael snatched it out of my hands and said it's going to be an heirloom. Ha. Right, like anyone is going to remember Ian Kinsler 25 years from now. Unless he does something amazing. I whipped the hat into my purse because people were starting to close in on me. Anywho, we now have a Ranger's hat to keep for all eternity.
Anyway, eating terrible food, catching an actual player's hat and watching fireworks was a fantastic way to create a memory of attending a baseball game. Even if I didn't make it onto the Kiss-Cam.
Gorgeous! I can't wait to go back again!
A short post today. I've got tons of things to do around the house, and not enough time to do it in!
Also, this weekend in the rain, I had a great time with a few of my favorite girls at The Porch and Old Monk. While out, I incurred a few scratches in my paint over one of my wheel wells. (Blame the rain?) I went to Boardwalk (my dealership I bought my car from) to get a quote on repairing the damage in case I was still covered in my warranty somehow, and it was pretty high. Does anyone know a body shop in town (Dallas, Richardson, Addison, Garland) that will do a great job without charging me an arm and a leg? Please comment if you do. I am going this morning to get a quote from a shop near my apartment (as in down the street).
I think I've written enough parenthetical sentences for today. Happy Wednesday!
Here is a view of the lake:It was great weather the whole weekend because it had rained the few days before we arrived. Mild during the day and chilly at night. Great camping weather for fire-cooked meals and cuddling under the stars!
I would recommend Kansas to all those that think it's just farmland and not much else. We spent some time in Uptown and Downtown Wichita, and it was a good time. We tasted wine on the square, ate beef shawarma in Uptown, and discovered Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers. It's clean, welcoming and homey. That's it's charm.
Michael almost completely handled the fried chicken (a wonder, I know), and did a special breading that I thought was inventive. I worked on the beans, cornbread and lemonade. The cornbread is my Granny/Mom's family recipe, and it was my first time to prepare it by myself. It turned out well. Following a recipe for homemade lemonade, I discovered that it takes a heck of a lot of juice to make a decent pitcher of this stuff! It takes a whopping 1 cup of lemonade for a pitcher-full! Well, my pitcher at least. Anyway, it all turned out well!
The photo is a bit skewed due to the angle I was sitting at - yes, it shows my apparent laziness as well as my eagerness to chow down! This is Michael's plate of course; you can tell by the HEAPING amount of beans. :)
Also, I just finished two books: The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte (Syrie James), and My Life in France (Julia Child). Let me attack The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte first. I was very skeptical of this book to begin with, due to the "biographical" nature. I knew it was a work of fiction by James, and I didn't know how an author could just flesh out the days of someone's life based upon the well-know facts like publishing dates, marriages, deaths, etc. Was I surprised! With many letters (the kind people never write anymore) and other documentation, James was able to produce a thoughtful, compelling, and sweet telling of Bronte's life. A little of a tear-jerker if you're not used to that time period's usual run-of-events, as it mirrors her life. Great book.
Secondly, My Life in France - this book has somewhat inspired me to learn another language...so I can understand what the dishes Julia cooks are titled! It was a little frustrating when you can't understand what Child is describing (unless it's one of the few points at which she'll translate for the idiot Americans who are reading), but overall it was a truthful and dizzying look into her life. She's an interesting and intellectual character. Towards the end I felt like she was a little unfeeling or in denial towards the outcomes of her co-author (of her first two cookbooks), her family or in-laws, and even her beloved husband. Did anyone else feel this way? Has anyone else read this book? I won't go into any more detail, in case people reading this are planning to pick up the book.
Tomorrow begins another week. Much to look forward for.
On a side note, I made Huevos Rancheros and cinnamon-vanilla pancakes for everyone last night. Michelle provided the BEST mimosas and fresh fruit. It was awesome!
On yet another note, my cat is sickly. Giada is yarking every few hours, and I'm thinking she has a virus. Has anyone's cat ever had a virus? It's already been 48 hours, and I was hoping it would be gone by now. I'm contemplating going to the vet, but I'm not sure if it's worth the time/money/further upsetting the cat, etc. Advice?
And here is the food, with my mom sitting in the stool at the bar:
We played a mean couple of games of Taboo (remember that one?), and then talked for a while. It was a lot of fun! I think I might do another one later. Great times!