Sunday, January 27, 2013

Resolution Sunday: Engineer Speak

This Sunday I am thankful for my job. I have learned a lot in my year of employment and have experienced new cultures. Including the culture of biomedical engineers.

This week I am thankful that I had the adaptability and skill to learn how to speak 'engineer', as I am the only non-engineer on staff and that I have even learned a thing or two.

For example, normally, after purchasing this cupcake I would have exclaimed to my friends "Dude! Look at this boatload of frosting!"

But instead at work, my engineer speak kicks in and I say instead "Look! The ratio of cake to frosting is approximately one to one!"

(True story.)

Because who really knows what a boatload is anyway.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Recently...

[1]
Recently Enjoyed

Dollar hotdogs at the first Hurricanes game of the year.

[2]
Recently Gifted

At Christmas, brother Sam gave us dinners in Paris, including a trip to eat this. 
Calf foot soup. (Luckily he said we could substitute any other french delicacy instead)

[3]
Recently in Rock and Roll

 Kendra and I saw Dave Matthews back in December and had a rockin good time.

[4]
Recently on a Boat

My parents boat, at Christmas, with my fam and some warm sammies.


[5]
Recently Remembered

A walk in the snow a few years ago with my faves.


[6]
Recently in Hibernation

Us, in hibernation this month, staying in and conserving energy. 
Its a calm before the storm over here. 


[7]
Recently in Ridiculous

In the last two weeks it has snowed twice, and been over 70 degrees twice. 
And yet I live in a state that has outlawed (yes, its illegal) to use science in policy making around climate change.

[8]
Recently Redeemed

Me. After throwing an epic tantrum in Trader Joe's after hearing that they were sold out of Peppermint JoJos, (I may have called the stock guy a grinch), I got a box under the Christmas tree. To redeem my bad Christmas behavior at TJs, I sent a third of the cookies to Colorado to an equally JoJo dependent friend to spread the post-Christmas cheer.

[9]
Recently Regretted

Dollar hotdogs at the first Hurricanes game of the year


Monday, January 21, 2013

Inauguration Prayer

Today is the second inauguration of Barack Obama (woot woot).

A diverse set of faith leaders were asked to write 100 word benedictions, and I thought they were all written so well - with most including themes of love, unity, and progress.

This one is my favorite, but you can find the others here:

"Holy God, In this moment, we stand with President Barack Obama on the precipice of hope. Our bellies quiver and our teeth remain on edge, as we survey the brilliance of sky, sea and soil; as we realize our resources of energy, imagination, and intelligence; and as we recognize our longings for dignity, dialogue and deliverance. We pray for President Barack Obama as he spreads his wings. As he begins to fly, grant him—grant us all— the fortitude to do justice, the foresight to love mercy, and the forbearance to walk with humility. Amen. "

Onward!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Resolution Sunday: Honesty


This Sunday I am grateful for the ability to be honest in my marriage.

I am grateful that he is always honest with me, from the very very beginning.

I am grateful that nothing is off limits to talk about, no hidden corners of our minds or hearts. From the silly to the profound, everything is on the table.

I am grateful that I am free to be every aspect of myself, from the parts I am proud of to the parts that need a little, er, refinement. And I am never asked to be anything different.

I am grateful  that there is nothing that "we just don't talk about". This is not to say we agree on every detail, but what's the purpose of having a partner for life that you can't share every part of your life with?

And not everyone gets to be honest in their relationship - for fear of judgement, retribution, or dismissal. And sometimes, with two honest people, we have had to learn tact, timing, and forgiveness.

But today I am grateful for the privilege of honesty. 

(Even if I can't pull off jeggings. Thanks for confirming that.)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cookbook Challenge: Molasses Spice Cookies

I love baking. I am an emotional baker. As in, I have an emotion, and I bake. Sad, happy, frustrated, excited, nervous. You name the emotion and there is a cake, cookie, or pie that follows. Or an apple strudel. That's whats on the agenda for today.

But this week I made molasses spice cookies from a great cookbook, one of our very favorite wedding presents. I made the cookies for  girls night (don't judge- we watch the Bachelor, or rather the Bachelor's abs, have you seen them?). And then I made another batch for work. And another for a friend leaving for Tanzania who needed an airplane snack.

They may be our new favorite cookie. They are like Gingersnaps but the molasses makes them more gooey. And gooey just happens to be how I like my cookies.

Molasses Spice Cookies

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
12 Tbs butter
1/3 c packed brown sugar
1/3 c sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup molasses

1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease baking sheets.
2. Mix together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.
3. Beat butter with brown sugar and 1/3 cup granulated sugar for about 3 minutes. Add egg and vanilla until just incorporated. Add molasses until just incorporated, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the flour mixture and beat until just mixed together.
4. Place 1/2 cup sugar for rolling in a shallow bowl. Roll the batter into balls about 1 1/2 inch across, drop the ball into the sugar and roll to coat with sugar. Place the balls onto the cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart.
5. Bake until the cookies are browned and still puffy. They will look underdone, this takes about 11 minutes.
6. Cool the cookies about 2 minutes before taking them off the wire rack to cool.

                                     This picture shows them ready to be popped into the oven. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Feel Good Friday

I feel good this Friday because of my sisters, biological and otherwise. Did you know that it is scientifically proven that if you have a sister you are 'better adjusted' (whatever that means)? I know its true because I read it in the New York Times. You can read it too, here.

 Yesterday was my sisters birthday. Woot woot for her.

On the actual day she was born, the family I was staying with took me to McDonalds on the way to the hospital and bought me an Egg Mcmuffin, which was a huuuuuge treat. I still remember that Egg McMuffin - not too much about that little baby.

And though we have had our moments, I wouldn't change having a sister for anything. Especially because now I am so well adjusted.

She is currently kickin it as a teacher in Costa Rica and surfing it up. So I thought I would remind her of the cold dreary weather we shared during our childhood.

Happy Birthday, Seester.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

There's no place like home

Dorothy had her red shoes.

I have a five dollar latte, a coffee shop run by hipsters, and my sweatpants (the nice pair).


If I squint just right into the rainy day outside, I can almost convince myself I am there.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Resolution Sunday: Besty

This year is going to be a tricky one. We have many big decisions to make and a few potential life changes coming. Like what kind of Subaru to buy. And if Marty really gets to name our new Irish Wolfhound D'Brickashaw Ferguson. 

Last year I chose the word "intention" to focus on, and this year its "gratitude". I think that the contemplation of what is possible is best complemented with remembering what we already have. And boy howdy, I have my fair share of things to be thankful for. So I thought I would write something each Sunday about this resolution of mine.

Starting with Besty.

Meet Betsy. She's my Besty. She's brilliant, high-larious, beautiful, honest, and determined.

At my seventh birthday party, my mom made me write all my friends names on cups so that we could use the same cup the whole time to pour out our Mug rootbeer. I wrote "Besty" instead of Betsy. She told me that I didn't spell it correctly. I told her I was just spelling out our destiny as best friends. (no, not really. I was still developing my quick wit at that point.)

We've done a lot together, Betsy and I.

At 3 we went to preschool together.
At 8 we counted Christmas lights on the drive to girl scouts.
At 10 we starred in the 5th grade production of Jungle Book (starred is a relative term).
At 13 we were mathletes. Nerd alert.
At 14 we dealt with first loves that were exhilarating in all the wrong ways.
At 16 I turned up the music in the car as we drove to HS and sang Weezer together.
At 17 we decided that "unchained melody" was our song.
At 18 we went to separate colleges and convinced ourselves we were grownups.
At 21 I surprised her for her 21st birthday by flying across the country.
At 22 we backpacked for 10 weeks through Europe and ate our weight in baguette.
At 24 she stood beside me as I made the biggest promise I will ever make.
And now, at 28? What's next?

Betsy has taught me....

to own your decisions for better or worse
Freshman year of College, 2003

to have faith in The Plan no matter what anybody says
Going to bed early, Italy, 2007

that a well timed joke, or moment of honesty, are invaluable
New Years, 2005

that sister-friends are real
This Year
Going into a big year, I am happy to have my sister-friend around. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Cookbook Challenge #2


For the second recipe during my cookbook challenge this year, I went to Signature Tastes of Bellingham a cookbook which is a collection of all the Bellingham-y recipes from the restaurants we all love there. Feeling a little nostalgic after returning from the holidays, it was a no brainer. We had a co-worker of mine over for dinner with her French boyfriend, who is a total European cuisine extraordinaire  So I turned to Mexican as something he wouldn't have a "well in Pairee we use twelve pounds of real butter in our food, so it tastes much better than this" response.

I went with Yam Alechilidas from Boundary Bay Brewery. There isn't any beer in them, they are just made in a brewery. Overall, it was hit and miss. The enchiladas were fabulous, but the accompanying mole was a disaster. Here is the recipe, followed by my hints for what I would have done differently.

Yam Alechilidas

Mole:
2 anaheim peppers
1 jalapeno pepper
2 poblano peppers
1 red bell pepper
1 roma tomato
1 yellow onion
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 dried chipotle
1 ancho pepper (I used an add'l chipotle)
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
3/4 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp dried thyme
2 cups veggie stock
1/2 bunch cilantro
2 6" corn tortillas
6 oz unsweetened chocolate

1. Seed and rough chop peppers and tomatoes.
2. Rough chop onions; tear tortillas into quarters
3. Put all ingredients except the chocolate into a medium size pot and simmer with lid on for one hour.
4. Break chocolate into pieces and place in a bowl large enough to place on top of the simmering pot
5. Place the bowl of chocolate on top of simmering pot to melt chocolate (or somehow melt chocolate)
6. After half hour drain the liquids from the solids.
7. Puree the solids in a food processor or blender. Add the liquids and the melted chocolate.

Filling:
2 1/2 lbs cooked, peeled yams
4 Tbsp roasted garlic
1/2 cup caramalized onions
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper (I used black...)
1/4 tsp cayenne
2 oz cheddar, shredded
2 oz monterey jack

1. Puree the roasted garlic and caramelized onions in a food processor (preferred) or blender. (I couldn't really get mine to puree, but it was okay in the end)
2. Mash the yams in a large bowl. Add cheese.
3. Add processed ingredients and spices to the mashed yams to thoroughly combine all ingredients.
4. Fill tortillas, roll and place in oven-proof pan. Bake at 325 for 25 minutes. Top with mole and serve.
__________

Okay, the enchiladas themselves were really great and we would totally make these again. We left the cheese out because one of our guests (ironically the Frenchman) couldn't have it and sprinkled it on top instead. That worked fine.

However, the mole just didn't work. Granted it could totally be our fault some how. But when we finished the recipe as written, it just tasted like bitter chocolate. So we had to add another portion of chipotle, more salt, and after a frantic interweb search of what could possible save our mole - raisins. And it turned out to be serve-able  but not much more than that. If you are going to do the mole, I would recommend that you make a half batch for one recipe of enchiladas.

Also, I blatantly stole this picture as I didn't take a good one due to aforementioned dinner guests.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Home

Here is a little picture recap of our time home at Christmas. 
It was full of family and friends who may as well be. 

Cookie makin'

I won Most Improved Cookie decorator this year.
Which is always the Fat Kid award, am I right?
Marty assured me that the Fat Kid award is the highest honor in cookie making


That's a real reindeer.
And a real cool seester.


Beautiful Betsy gets my need to be a cheeseball.


Out to Taylor Shellfish Farm for Christmas Eve dinner supplies. 


Fam getting ready for Christmas church services.


I LOVE CHRISTMAS. 
And I really love Christmas Morning aftermath.


I Mustache you a Question.
Should we use this next picture for next year's Christmas card?


Celebrating mom-in-laws birthday by looking fine.


Kickin off the new year with pork, sauerkraut, and our best buds.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Bucket List Update: 2012

We just got home from a couple weeks home. It was a very full time - a lot of family, a lot of traditions, and a whole lotta PNW love.

Before I can go into that though, I wanted to update things I crossed off my Bucket list this year. Here is the update from last year.

1) Get a big kid job. 

This year I was very fortunate to find a job after I graduated last December. Its a great job for me. I am doing what I learned in my Masters and I get to travel a bit too. I am doing program evaluation and planning for programs in 4 countries. I am learning a lot, including how to speak 'engineer'. Oh, did I mention it has benefits of the big kid variety (like health insurance!) Here I am jumping for joy that my employment brought me to the Carribean ocean!


2) Have a cute boy win me a prize at the fair.

Every girl imagines a cute boy winning them a prize at the fair. I just didn't imagine I would have to be married to one before my turn came. Nor did I imagine it would be a rastafarian banana.


3. Get a 'hair-do'.

Unless you count the crazy afro I have had for the last four summers as a result of living in the South, I have never had a 'hair-do' before. So I went for it and got bangs this year. It took some encouragement and I have had to endure six months of this song but it was worth it. Here we are celebrating our third anniversary the day the bangs made their appearance.


4. Host an American Newbie

After having such an amazing time being hosted in Kenya in Summer 2011, I was very eager to return the favor. I have traveled quite a bit and have enjoyed getting to know many places, but I have always wanted to show people America for the first time, or at least my very small corner of it. I was fortunate enough to host my good friend Ben this summer, for a week at my house and a few days up in DC. I learned so much about America just by having my rather inquisitive friend around for 10 days. What a treat! Here we are after teaching Ben how to feed the ducks chocolate cake.



2012 was a great year. 
If I had to make an educated guess, 2013 is going to be a BIG year!

BRING IT ON 2013. 
WE ARE READY FOR YOU.