Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 31 - Groundhogs ( at least for a 5K)

This morning was one of the earliest Sundays Q and I have had in a while - we were out of the house around 7:45 A.M. and on our way to world's largest underground run.

Our destination was the 28th annual Groundhog run it is a fundraiser for the Children's Therapeutic Learning Center. Just last week Quinn asked me if I wanted to do the race with him - I was a bit unsure since I haven't been running as much as I used to, but then told him as long as we did the 5K and not the 10K, I was in and I am glad I agreed. It was fun to go for a run and not be on a treadmill or freezing.

Here we are right before it was time to start

Running through the caves - I was only a bit claustrophobic right before the start when we were all packed in pretty tight. Once we got moving it was actually really neat.

One last shot after the race

Other First: After the race we had a fun-filled day, first brunch at First Watch in Westport (this was the first time I had been here) then to Target and from there to stop by Kyle & Tiffany's to see the girls (we got to see Talia for the second time - the first time out of the hospital) we then ended up taking Mia & Remi with us to Cabela's (our first trip there) and they were loving it. Once we had our kettle corn and got them back home we stopped off at Costco (where we got our first rotisserie chicken, yummy).

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day 30 - Port Wine

Yes, I like wine :) (second new wine this week) Tonight our good friends Casey & Lindsey came over and we all had a wonderful dinner at this great restaurant, La Bodega.

Before they got to our house Quinn ran out to but some wine and beers and I asked him to also get a bottle of port wine since I had no plans for my something new - I thought I might be able to find something on the menu at La Bodega, but wanted to have this ready in case I still needed something once we got home.

We did try some new things off the menu that were delicious, but nothing worthy of my new experience for the day so once we got back to our house (and Casey & Lindsey headed home because Lindsey wasn't feeling too great) Quinn and I opened the port wine and got the meringues, whip cream & berries ready.

The port win was really interesting. I was expecting to hate it (which has a lot to do with why I have never tried it before) and at first taste I was still not sure about it, but after my second sip I realized it reminded me of a fig newton cookie and that made it so much better (funny how that works).

It will probably be a while before I have port wine again, but I am glad to know what it taste like.

Other First: Meringue with roasted berries - so yummy!

Quinn loved it too (he hardly ever has dessert) and finished his entire one - Success

Time for bed - early morning tomorrow . . .

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day 29 - My First Meringue

Not only have I never made a meringue, but I have never even had one. So tonight, I thought it would be fun to attempt to make them on my own and try them for the first time - a 2 for 1 night of firsts!

I referenced a Ina Garten recipe that I recently saw on the Food Network.

The ingredients:

4 extra - large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch kosher salt
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

I love how such simple ingredients can easily be transformed into something amazing.

(and for the berries, which will be on here tomorrow)
1 pint fresh strawberries
2 half-pints fresh raspberries
2 half-pints fresh blueberries
2 half-pints fresh blackberries
1/4 cup sugar
Vanilla bean, split and seeds removed
plus heavy cream to make whipped cream

Whipping the egg whites to form stiff peaks

Looks like we got it. Now to add the remaining sugar and vanilla

Next you put the mixture into a pastry bag (or large baggie with the end snipped off)

Pipe the meringue mixture onto parchment paper (I traced circles onto the parchment and then flipped it over to make a template). You start in the center of the circle and make a disk then pipe another layer just on the outter edge to form a little meringue bowl.

A lesson learned - always read the entire recipe. I did not get around to making the meringues until about 6:30 P.M. and they had to bake at 200F for 2 hours and then sit in the oven another 4, so tonight I only made meringues for the first time - check back tomorrow for the finished product

I did break off a little piece of the baked meringue to try it tonight - yummy, I am ready for dessert tomorrow to taste how it all comes together!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Day 28 - A New Sip (of wine)

A few months ago some girl friends and I decided to start a 'wine night'. Here is a fun picture of the pretty table Bethany and Lindsey set up for us tonight - so lovely.

Here's how it works - We select a new region or grape to try and everyone but the hostess brings a bottle to share. I have a game I got as a gift a couple of years ago called Wineopoly (just like Monopoly but it is all about wine) so we use that to choose the new wines and learn more about the new varieties

A quick pic of my friend Mary Jane and me :)

As we taste the new wines we pass around our wine journal and rate and comment on each one. Tonight the selection was Bordeaux.

Everyone loved this wine - it was probably the most popular yet :) and this was the first time I ever tired Bordeaux (I always stick with what I know and love - for example Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvigon blanc.) I love an excuse to try a new wine and tonight was one of the best yet! Another successful wine night!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 27 - A New Color for my Toes

Today I treated myself to a pedicure.

In the past I have always gone with a pretty shade of pink or red, maybe an occasional silver - but that's it. Never anything too crazy. So this afternoon as I was selecting my polish I had an idea - I could pick an outrageous color I have never chose before and have blue toe nails for the first time.

If you have ever used OPI nail polish, you know you can't help but take the name of the color into the decision process so when I looked at the bottom of a bottle that said 'Teal The Cows Come Home' and it made me smile I handed it over to the lady who was doing my nails and sat back as my toes were transformed.

They are fun but I am glad I decided to try blue polish in the middle of winter since I am not so sure if I love it:)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day 26 - Welcome to the World Talia Noelle (meeting our new niece for the first time)

Today Quinn's brother Kyle and his wife Tiffany welcomed their third daughter into this world. Her name is Talia Noelle and she is amazing. She was born at 8:08 a.m. and is 8 lbs, 1 oz., 19 inches.

Mom & baby are doing great.

When both Mia & Remi were born, we were still living in Omaha so it was wonderful to be able to be at the hospital to say hello to this precious baby girl on the day she was born.

As Quinn was holding her the nurse came in to check all the vitals and commented that he looked pretty 'stiff' and that he could hang out with her for the night to learn a few things - Quinn passed, but it was nice of her to offer ;)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day 25 - New Valentine's Decore

Tonight, after work, I wanted to do something creative (to help me relax after a stress-filled day) so after searching the Martha Stewart website a bit, I saw this fun, easy & pretty project - Crayon Hearts (plus you use an iron, so I thought if I had that out, I might just get some ironing done too *this did not happen).

Supplies: Crayons, wax paper, pencil sharpener, brown paper bags (or craft paper), scissors and silk thread

Start by shaving bits of crayon color onto the wax paper

Protect your iron and apply medium heat to melt all the crayon bits onto the paper

Take the beautiful colored sheets and trace & cut out different heart shapes. String with thread and hang in window

This project took longer than I expected, but it was fun. Also, I need to add a picture of the hearts during the day - when the sun streams through the colors of the hearts look different, which is neat.

(This would be a great project to do with kids & a fun way to use up old crayons)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day 24 - Five Guys Burgers and Fries

After church today, Quinn and I thought a cheeseburger sounded good so I suggested we try something new. I have heard a lot about Five Guys Burgers and Fries and suggested that - decision made.

Note: the regular cheeseburger is actually a double

I was not sure what type of place this would be and the first thing I noticed was the simple menu (which I like). I also liked that any extras you wanted to add to your burger was included in the price.

My first bite - tasty!

Quinn enjoyed his too

Quinn realizing how many calories we were consuming :)

All-in-all it was a good meal. Pretty bad for you, but once in a while I say it's OK to indulge :)

Other Firsts: I successfully picked up drop stitches. I am actually starting to understand this knitting thing and will hopefully not have to bother my neighbors as much this next week (I have been over there at least 3 times since last Tuesday).

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Day 23 - Can Creations and Union Station

Today we headed to Union Station. A local charity, Harvesters put on a unique exhibit - CANstruction and many of the local engineering firms participated including Quinn's company Black & Veatch. Here is a picture of Quinn with Mr. Potato Head made out of cans.

What was really interesting was how every structure was so much clearer in our photographs than in person.

This one was inspired by Andy Warhol and my personal favorite

The only other time Quinn and I went to an exhibit at Union Station was when we were first dating and spent a weekend in KC and saw the Titanic exhibit. This was the first time we made it back since living here for nearly 3.5 years. So we also decided to go see the permanent exhibit about the old KC Union Station.

It was interesting to learn more about the history of KC and we also had fun taking some pictures as we went along.

Other Firsts: Our good friends Nick & Heathers little boy Grant celebrated his first birthday and we were there for the fun!

I also had my first 'bear' pretzel from the chocolate shop at Union Station. Yummy.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 22 - Sushi made by Quinn & Me

It is already day 22 and I only have made 1 meal and 1 dessert (this surprises me) so I knew tonight I wanted my something new to be some type of new recipe or something like that. I had not mentioned this to Quinn, but yesterday while we were talking he mentioned the idea of trying a new sushi place over the weekend and then the light bulb went off - we could make sushi at home.

I was so excited that Quinn helped me think of this and a bit surprised the idea hadn't come to me yet, since I have been wanting to try to make sushi at home for a while now. My parents actually got me a sushi set, Simply Sushi by Steve Pallett that included a recipe book, a makisu (bamboo rolling mat) and a dvd for a Christmas gift - over a year ago. So now that I had all the tools in place all I had to do was to buy the ingredients.

You have to make sure you have very sharp knives!

The sushi set my parents bought me a while ago came with this great DVD - it really is a good resource and I enjoyed learning from it.

Once everything was set out - we made the rice

As the rice was cooking we sliced the cucumber & avocado then we were onto the tuna & salmon. This was the first time I ever sliced either type raw and it was fun!

Slicing the fresh tuna

Adding the rice on top of the seaweed sheets

Time to add all the goodies to the roll

Ta Da!!

Enjoying our first sushi at home!

Other First: Fresh ginger root - Quinn was in charge of the fresh ginger; after peeling it & thinly slicing it he got the flavors just right by cooking it in a vinegar & sugar solution - much better! (Please note as I was setting up all the sushi stuff Quinn went upstairs and changed into his old hopkido outfit - this more than made my day - I love him!)