Sunday, September 20, 2009

Spicy Menu

Yesterday was Sarah’s baby shower and it was so much fun. She loved it and we all had a great time. More details tomorrow (I want to upload photos for you!) but just because I wanted to say hi tonight, here is a quick look at the menu of the week. This week is going to be a doozy. I had big plans to get a bunch of work done by the end of September and all of the sudden it is the 20th!! You know that famous Einstein quote about relativity “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT'S relativity.” Well this month has been so much fun that it felt like a week. So for the next seven days I’m going to get as much done as I can because next week my mom and dad are coming to visit!! So that is a long winded way of saying that I am going to mostly make simple meals this week so that I can get to work.

This week at the CSA, Geoff picked up leeks, kale, pear tomatoes, a few baby potatoes, zucchini and some crazy-looking 6 inch long peppers as well as some serranos . Since we have so many peppers, we’ll be having some yummy, spicy food all week.

Monday: Zucchini and Spinach Enchiladas
Tuesday: Roasted Tomatoes and Cippolini Onions with White Beans (from smitten kitchen)
Wednesday: Kale, Spicy Chicken Sausage, and Potato Pizza (I love it as a soup, why not a pizza)
Thursday: Devil’s Chicken with Braised Leeks (also from smitten kitchen)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Isn’t Self-Aggrandizement what Blogs are Really All About?

For the several weeks leading up to Sarah’s wedding, I spent my knitting night working on crafts for the bridal brunch. (To clarify, I have a knitting group on Thursdays, I don’t assign each day its own craft - although I should.) Anyway, my knitting companions were curious how the brunch went and I’m quite proud of the results so I thought I would share some more details. The guests seemed to enjoy themselves too.

The centerpieces were a bit of a challenged because I knew that I wouldn’t have time to get fresh flowers in Colorado Springs (especially with the bachelorette party the night before!). So I ended up spray painting Starbuck’s Frappucino bottles silver. I’m not a big fan of the Frapuccino, it is a little sweet, so Geoff drank them. I love how they came out. I got the idea from a blog where they were painted to look like old-fashion milk bottles. Then I added some willow branches and tissue paper flowers in teal. The tissue paper flowers were more than a little finicky and I ended up making about twice as many as I actually used. The tables were adorned with personalized confetti made of pictures of the bride and groom plus silver and teal circles.

My favorite part was the individual place settings. On top are corsages made of fringed strips of teal and white felt sewn into a spiral. Then I used ink-jet iron on transfers to add names and relationships to the ribbons and added those. Because there were high school and college friends of the bride, bride’s family, and groom’s family all attending I wanted to make sure that everyone knew who was who. The corsages also acted as placecards.

You can see that there is a wrapped favor at each place. The favors were lace edged hankies that my mom and I hand embroidered with the first initial of each guest. I embroidered Sarah and Veronica their new full monograms (SMK and VLH, respectively) and I really like how they look. I’m a big fan of monograms. People loved their hankies and almost everyone had them for the wedding the next day. I’m a ridiculous wedding crier (I made it about 45 seconds into Sarah’s) so the hankie idea was pretty much self-serving.

Lastly, I realized that I forgot to mention it in my last two posts but I wanted to give another big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my Grandma Cris (who reads my blog) who turned 85 years young last Friday. Here she is last month with my cousins Abbie and Kimmie at Kimmie's baby shower. Grandma, you’re so amazing and I love you and I wish I got to see you more often!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fall Weather = Soup

The weather around here is just chilly enough that our jackets have come out of storage and the tree outside the bedroom window is tinged with yellow. The nights are cold enough I’ve been contemplating a heavier blanket (because I refuse to close the windows) and daytime is crisp and breezy in the shade but warm in the sun. It’s my favorite time of the year. I’m ready for butternut squash, apples and pumpkins. But in particular I’m ready for soup – I LOVE soup and have to restrain myself to make it just a few times a week. This week at the CSA we got: leeks, head of lettuce, lots of red peppers (my favorite), jalapeños, serranos, cherry tomatoes, baby eggplants, baby yellow squash, cilantro, basil, rosemary, and parsley. So this week I’ll be making:
Monday: Roasted tomatoes, squash, eggplant, red peppers, kalamata olives, and feta over pasta
Tuesday: Curried Chicken Soup with Corn, Peppers, and Mushrooms plus kale
Wednesday: Salmon and Leeks in Parchment over couscous with spinach, lemon, and pine nuts
Thursday: Big Crock Pot of Chili because we are having people over
Friday: Double Broccoli Quinoa

I have lots more for you all this week, so stay tuned!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

We’re Back!

Geoff and I got back on Tuesday night from Colorado Spring where one of my bestest friends, Sarah got married. The wedding was BEAUTIFUL – right up against the mountains, and thunder rolling in just at the end. It was so dramatic. So we got in on Friday night and Geoff stayed in Denver with his friend Gabe while I attended the bachelorette party. Raucous women that we are, we ate Tex-Mex then holed up in a secluded booth at an Iris pub for the rest of the night. It was so amazing to get to spend so much uninterrupted time with Sarah, Sarah, Veronica, and LeighAnn and our new friend Amanda (Sarah’s roommate from undergrad). We realized we hadn’t spent that much time together in five years or more. So although we didn’t get wild, we did wear some pretty ridiculous accessories.

On Saturday, the other bridesmaids (I was the maid of honor) and I hosted a bridal brunch. Because the wedding was so small, we invited all of the women who were attending. All of Sarah’s friends plus some of the women on both sides came and everyone had a great time. I made a whole bunch of stuff for the brunch which I’ll post soon. Veronica organized everyone to bring photos of Sarah and write out memories and advice which we stayed up that night putting into a scrapbook for Sarah. My favorite photo is of Sarah as a toddler with a classic bowl haircut looking extremely skeptical of some vegetables. It was a great opportunity to spend some relaxing time together before the rehearsal that afternoon.

After the rehearsal dinner, which was at a cute old home in Manitou Springs, Geoff and Mike (Veronica’s fiancé) went to watch the LSU game while Veronica, LeighAnn, Sarah M, and I watched a chick flick in our PJs - just like old times! Veronica and I had to be ready for hair and makeup at 7:30 the next morning so we went to bed early to get our beauty sleep. The wedding the next day went perfectly. Everyone cried (I lost it before Sarah was halfway down the aisle) and looked gorgeous. Sarah asked me afterwards “Did that go really fast, or was it just me? It must have taken a while, because me feet are numb.”

The reception was fantastic. The toasts were all so perfect and sincere. The groom’s brother circulated a photo of him potty-training which was quite a hit and Sarah’s dad Steve gave a heartfelt toast about Sarah growing up and some of the shananigans we all got into. My toast ended up going really well and I stood behind Sarah so I managed not to cry. It is really hard to summarize a twenty year friendship in just a few minutes! Mostly I just talked about how joyful and adventurous Sarah is and how much I admire that about her.

The day after the wedding, the dry mountain air caught up with us and we came down with colds, but we took a quick trip to Garden of the Gods and then headed back to Denver.

I had dinner that night with my friend Dee which was so much fun. I think it has been eight years or so since I saw her so it was great to catch up. She is so amazing, super busy doing a gajillion things at once. Sadly I didn’t bring my camera. On Tuesday morning we headed home and I’ve spent the rest of the week trying to catch up. More posts coming soon! If you’d like to see more photos, there is a whole album here:

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Rollercoaster Week

I’m sorry for the long delay since my last post, the last couple weeks have been really overwhelming. Briefly, for about three weeks now, I have known that my adviser was considering taking a job at another college starting in January. Thursday the 20th he told us that he would be taking a one-year leave of absence from Penn State effective the following Monday. He can remain my adviser but it means that he won’t be around for the last year of my research and my dissertation writing. Thankfully he can still sit on my committee and we are trying to work out how to keep in good contact during this year. My plan is still to graduate next August but I will have to be extra disciplined for the next year. I’m trying to look at this as an opportunity to really take control of my own research and be accountable to myself rather than anyone else.

To that end, I’m trying to figure out what needs to get done and create deadlines for myself. I have a bad habit of underestimating the amount of work I can get done in a day/week/etc., so I have started using this online to-do list that allows me to estimate how long a particular task will take and how much time it will take. (For example, I needed to prepare a bunch of data for analysis and estimated 4 hours, it took 12 hours, but I’m a much better perl programmer for it.) I’m trying to keep the daily estimate under 8 hours. If you want to keep track of what I’m doing (you probably don’t, and I’m fine with that), here is a public link: This week I am working on developing a set of genetic markers that reliably detect stratification in a sample so that it can be corrected for in analysis. Well, that is the long term goal. Really I’ve just been writing perl scripts to manipulate 2 gigabyte text files into something manageable. It’s a mental muscle that I haven’t stretched in a while and I’m finding it oddly satisfying.

In other good news from this week, our junior graduate student who decided to go with my adviser left a TA opening so I picked up a half TA-ship for Intro to Biological Anthropology which equates to a tidy little bump in my monthly paycheck and my NSF funding came through this week!! Within a week or two I should have the budget number to pay for the genotyping I need to do for my dissertation research.

This may sound like a downer of a weak, but though it has been stressful, it has also been productive. But I’ll be back soon with a bunch of fun stories and pictures from Sarah’s wedding. TTFN!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...