Sunday, December 30, 2012
Christmas Up North
I found Maddy in a shed as a tiny kitten, all alone and with a bad cold and then my dog-loving family adopted our first cat ever. This was back when I was in high school and she's been with us for about 19 years. She looks a lot like Stinky but she's much daintier and smaller than he. Maddy stayed in front of the fireplace even when we had a rousing gift opening session.
It was such funny to see our niece enjoying the gift opening and to see her helping her little brother. The next day, there were more festivities with the extended side of my family coming to brunch. My grandma looked great for being days shy of 96 years old and, with several little ones in attendance, there were four generations represented. After dinner on Xmas Eve, we were off to Minneapolis to visit with Austin's family.
The stocking my grandma knit for me way back when now lives at my inlaws' and came out on Xmas morning. We opened stockings and gifts, went to a family event, and relaxed at home that evening. Austin and I were off late the next morning, bringing lunch to my aunt and uncle and then running a few errands which involved getting to see a friend. Then we hit the road and went back to IL, happy and sated.
Friday, December 21, 2012
All wrapped up
End of the Semester Dinner Party
We enjoyed fried spring rolls, Malaysian noodles, Italian flatbread pizza, a halal chicken dish, and more.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Friday, November 16, 2012
Monday, November 12, 2012
Friday, November 2, 2012
A nice thing about being back in the Midwest is that we're much closer to family and friends again. In mid-October, I was able to make the quick, two hour jaunt to IA to see a dear friend. You know you have a dear friend when she keeps a section in her recipe collection with your name on it. Wow!
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Today we purchased a few pumpkins and a few mums. It was chilly enough that I didn't spend a good deal of time contemplating the purchase. We can always get more!
With the cooler temps, some comfort food was in order. We decided on green chili mac and cheese. We've never found a great mac and cheese recipe but this one we sort of invented seemed very close to what we both wanted.
Lunderoy Green Chili Mac and Cheese (serves about four)
8 oz whole wheat elbow pasta 2 c. 2% milk 4 T butter 4 T flour 2 c. taco cheese (Mexican queso quesadilla if you can find it) salt pepper cayenne 1 small can chopped green chilies 1 c. panko breadcrumbs 1/2 c. parmesan cheese 2 T butter, melted
1. Boil the pasta until al dente.
2. Melt butter in saucepan; add flour, salt and pepper and whisk together until well blended.
3. Pour in milk gradually, stirring constantly until thickened.
4. Gradually add the cheese, stirring until incorporated.
5. Add dash of cayenne to taste.
6. Combine pasta, green chilies, and cheese mixture; pour into greased casserole dish.
7. Combine panko, parmesan, and melted butter. Top macaroni mixture with the crumbs.
8. Bake at 375º about 25 minutes until bubbling and top is golden brown.
Friday, September 21, 2012
Lady Moon 2012: The Deets
Without further ado, here is a rundown of our trip (though like Las Vegas, some things that happen at LM stay at LM!). 2/5 of our party got in to town first and, given that it's WI, they were instructed to meet the cabin in owner at his bar (dubbed "Cheese Daddy's") to follow him out the cabin. The less said about the cabin owner the better, but I don't think we'll soon forget him. I met my friend, Sharon, where our travel paths crossed so we could arrive at the cabin together and use my GPS and our two brains to navigate some detours and closed roads. Sharon and I made an easy dinner of taco salads at the cabin while the other three went to a cute, nearby town to dine at a Japanese restaurant.
Catherine, Tiffeny, and Amanda (aka Moroccan food blogger extrodinaire, MarocMama) met us at the cabin later that evening and we sipped some tea or wine while having a lovely catch-up session. We hoped the eerie, numerous stuffed critters hanging from the walls were not paying attention to us. Though many of us were tired, we talked later than we probably thought we would have, enjoying that easy kind of conversation that can delightful blossom among a group of new and old friends. We tucked away into the various beds around the cabin and Tiffeny and I happily shared her white noise app between our two beds.
The next morning, Cath was on breakfast duty and made a delicious egg, sweet potato, and blue corn chip dish. It was initially meant to be a frittata but we were not terribly surprised to discover the oven didn't work and the idea had to be reworked. Fortunately, Cath is an amazingly resourceful woman and the stovetop version turned out to be really, really tasty. Cath even brought photocopies of her recipe, hand-decorated to boot! I can't wait to make this dish at home.
We ventured out to the cute town nearby with the mission of obtaining a few random items and checking out the numerous shops, galleries, and cafes. Cath found special, yellow yarn for her daughter and Amanda found traditional pasties for her mom. I think we all would have enjoyed strolling and browsing more but we also wanted to enjoy the cabin (in spite of the taxidermy that none of us found to be terribly exciting).
We also brought any items that we felt needed to find loving, new homes and had a swap. There were books, spices, tea, kitchen implements, decorative items, and more. It was interesting to hear the stories behind the items and what the new owner planned to do with her find. Personally, I scored bamboo steamers, BBQ sauce for Austin, a cookbook, and a novel. Now to find the time to enjoy them!
The next morning, Tiffeny prepared a fantastic breakfast porridge made with red quinoa. We topped it with dried berries and nuts and poured on a bit of almond milk. It was hearty and tasty, especially on a gray and drizzly day. We wished we could spend the day lounging and relaxing but we had plans to move on. We loaded our cars with our things; new treasures and newly-minted memories and I don't think I was alone in pondering what Lady Moon 2013 might bring.
P.S. Read MarocMama's account here!
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Lady Moon 2012
Thursday, August 16, 2012
In Pursuit of Pie
Well. The thin crust was tasty and I am of the belief that the crust is merely a delivery system for the toppings and not a big part of the show. The deep dish, then, was just too much with all the crust and what had to be pounds of cheese inside. The sauce was very tasty which is important to me, the cheese was good but... there as an issue. Austin pointed out a strange taste on the crust of both pies, like some sort of cleaning solution. As soon as the Super Taster said that, I noticed it too. It seemed as though the dough had been prepared on a freshly sterilized surface. As much as we were grateful for the efforts to combat contamination, well, it sort of ruined the experience. We may try it again later but for now, we'll try someplace else.
Friday, August 10, 2012
The First Work Week
moose shoes which were, alas, still packed away somewhere. I had a bit of a headache so it was a good excuse to curl up on the couch with Stinky, watch the Packers' preseason game, and play word games on my phone. It was a perfect evening.
Today, it's still cooler but not rainy. I'm on campus working on several projects that I need to get through. I'll be conducting training for the teaching assistants of all languages as well as another training session for the instructors of lower division Spanish so I have a lot of prep work to do, particularly as a new faculty member. Throughout the semester, I'll have coordinator duties related to the TAs and instructors along with teaching.
My work today will be rewarded, however, as Austin has announced a quest to research the pizza situation in town. We are in a college town in the Chicagoland area so there are numerous options and even more opinions on the pizza. Tonight we plan to go out to sample the first option, a nice end to our first work week.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
In better news, my parents generously offered to help us unload the truck. Austin and my dad did a lot of the heavy lifting and my mom helped me with some of the unpacking. It was nice that they were able to see our new home and community.
We are still surrounded by boxes but the piles are slowly shrinking. It's been a challenge to go from owning a home to renting a townhouse. First, it's a bit smaller so some of our things (e.g. Christmas tree and decorations) will have to go to a storage unit for now. Our kitchen is one of the smaller areas so that's been interesting to get set up. It's also really hard not to make changes to the place like we would if we owned. For example, there are numerous brass fixtures I'd love to swap out with something more modern and updated. There are other issues like very low water pressure, bubbling in the air conditioning pipelines, and a washing machine that sounds like it's trying to break free of the utility closet and march across the house. All of these things would be something we'd address if we owned the place or planned on being here for over a year but at the moment, we're just chalking them up to the renting experience. Over all, though, the townhouse is nice and will definitely suit us while we settle in and get accustomed to our new community.
Austin will be back to work full-time on Monday and his office is set up enough for that to happen. I will be going to my office on campus fairly regularly to get caught up with syllabus writing and preparation for the semester along with my ongoing publication and conferencing work. We're looking forward to getting back into a more regular routine and continuing to get to know the area.