Thursday, November 29, 2012

Raspberry Tiramisu

It's been several days since I've had any desire to post. We've been busy still with family and I've filled my spare minutes with reading. Knife of Dreams, done! I've moved on to The Gathering Storm and I've just had the idea to listen to the books instead of reading them so as to have the use of my hands for other tasks while listening. We'll see how that goes.

I thought I might update you on the recipe I made for Thanksgiving. I hummed and hawed over  a few different dessert recipes, but ultimately decided on Raspberry Tiramisu because it didn't need to be baked, and as the oven is frequently occupied for long hours on Thanksgiving by a large turkey (not to mention a plethora of other dishes), this seemed like a very good reason to avoid the oven. Thus, Raspberry Tiramisu.




Here's the recipe:
1 8 ounce package mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
40 or so store bought lady fingers
1 8 ounce jar seedless raspberry jam
juice of 2 lemons
raspberries, a lot, as many as you can get

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together mascarpone and sugar. Add a bit of cream and mix until combined. Add a little more cream and mix again until the mixture is well incorporated and very liquid. Pour in the rest of the cream and the vanilla. Change to the whisk attachment and beat on high until stiff peaks form.

2. Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch glass baking dish with half of the lady fingers, or however many will fit. Heat the jam and transfer to a small bowl and stir in lemon juice. Spread half of the jam mixture evenly over the lady fingers. Evenly spread half of the mascarpone and cream mixture over that, and top with half of the raspberries. Repeat the first layer with the rest of the ingredients. Refrigerate over night, or as long as you can before you can’t wait anymore.


We ate the Tiramisu fairly soon after making it and I don't think that the ladyfingers had enough time to soak in the lemon juice - jam concoction. But it was still delicious and all of it disappeared!


For the 25th I'm thankful for nice weather. It was perfectly lovely and we were able to take some family photos.

For the 26th I'm thankful for science. We visited the Space Center here in Huntsville and it was pretty fantastic.

For the 27th I'm thankful for family (a possible repeat there). We finally said goodbye to my sister and her family so they could drive home and not miss any more school.

For the 28th I'm thankful for my phone, which allows me to communicate with people all over the place.

And for today, I'm thankful for audio books, as I intend to go about using them very soon and they have always been something I've enjoyed.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving!

A few days late, but here are a few of our pictures from Thursday! It was a lovely day filled with good food and good company.

















And for yesterday I'm thankful for games, from which I derive a great deal of pleasure and entertainment. I could play games every day if there were enough people around to continually play with me. Although, on second thought, I'd perhaps prefer to only play games a few times a week. I like my quiet time too. :)

And for today, I'm thankful for hot chocolate. I prefer lighter herbal teas, but there is something wonderful about the sweetness and warmth of hot chocolate.  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Walk in the Woods at Green Mountain

We went for a walk in the woods around Green Mountain. Lots of fun. :)

And Happy Thanksgiving! I'll post a few pictures from today tomorrow. Today I'm thankful for quiet.










Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Quick Update!

Quick post for yesterday and today! I finally made the "most delicious" chocolate chip cookies from awhile ago and they did turn out pretty well. I'll make a few adjustments to the previous blog post about them and add my notes there. 

My sister and her family arrive today! The house is clean and Thor is basking in the all the open windows (although he somehow still prefers sitting in the windows to actually going outside. The protection of that screen....he just can't give it up.

For yesterday I'm thankful for the YMCA, as it allows me to go in at my leisure and take fun athletic classes, working harder and with more variety than I otherwise might (because, I'll admit it, running doesn't seem very varied).

And for today, I'm thankful for sunlight. I don't always appreciate it. I don't like being out in it for very long without sunblock. I don't like being over-warm in it. But it is beautiful and without the sun our planet would not function. Thus, me being thankful for both the sun and sunlight. And Thor seems to enjoy it. :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Oxford Commas

For your information, I absolutely adore Oxford commas.

It wasn't something I thought about in great detail for quite some time, but lately I've become more and more frustrated with the occasionally misunderstanding of whether it was commonly correct to use that last comma or not. At some point in the recent past I finally checked that particular point and was pleasantly surprised and pleased to learn that the little comma that I'd been so desiring was one and the same, an Oxford comma!

My wee baby sister (she's taller than me (only a little!), just quite a bit younger) has been working on a paper this evening and when she asked me a question about it, the resolution to her question resulted in a tangent conversation concerning the use of commas. Granted, I fully recognize that I am an abuser of commas. I use them far too regularly, inserting them wherever they feel appropriate, as opposed to when they are always fully grammatical. And perhaps that lends itself to why I so fully appreciate Oxford commas. They encourage more usage.

Anyhow, in our tangent conversation I read and regaled her on the inner workings of the controversy between the pro-Oxford comma party and the anti-Oxford comma party. I was perhaps just a little overenthusiastic. But I love grammar. And I badly need to pay more attention to the proper use of commas. Our conversation was some sort of renewed evidence that my heading in the direction of Linguistics as a major in college was rather well substantiated, even if there were other interests that I might have done well to have heeded.

And as a conclusion, let me just say that, for today, I'm thankful for the Oxford comma.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Progress and Sugar

Success! I finished Winter's Heart last night and moved on today to Crossroads of Twilight, which I am now approximately 200 pages in to. I will finish these books!

Today I'm thankful for sugar. I adore sugar and on some physical level it is very satisfying. There is a slight lack presently, a situation which perhaps shall have to be remedied in the near future. ..

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Life Lately - Books and PT Hours!

I've been rather lacking on the pictures lately. Life has been full of observation hours and reading. I'm about three quarters of the way through Winter's Heart right now. My attention span seems to sporadically come and go, but at the very least I expect to be finished with it by the end of Sunday.

Thanksgiving is almost here and that means we'll have more family here! :D

And as I've been terrible at blogging these last few days, here are my thoughts for the last few days.

For today, I'm thankful for quiet. I'm thankful for my earplugs which enable me to get some sleep each night. I'm thankful for the varied schedules that allow to have some "me" time on most days. I look forward to having my own room, but for now, things are working out just fine.

For yesterday I'm thankful for sleep...it's entirely possible that I'll repeat some of my "thankful" items, as I'm not keeping any sort of list. I'm thankful for sleep because it allows me to feel rested and well. I woke up on Friday tired and came home from observation and took a nap. And it was wonderful. And I still went to bed early-ish. It isn't easy to do, as there almost always seem to be better things I could do with my time, but when I wake up in the morning feeling fully rested, I can't help but want a repeat of the feeling.

And for this past Thursday I'm thankful for jobs and work. I'm still furiously looking for my own job, although I've been a bit lax this week with other responsibilities getting in the way. I know I'll find something.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Classes! Ready, go!

This afternoon I finally sorted out some of the classes/pre-req scheduling I needed to! I've got a few online courses and plans to take a few classes in person, but I should have all of them done well in time to apply for PT school this coming fall.

I was tired and hungry when I came home from PT observing today, but a much needed reality check with my mom helped to get me going. I'm relieved to have it mostly sorted and excited to see the process continue!

And as a reward, I'm headed to Zumba in just a few minutes! :D

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Home Again

And I'm back! Back to this little interesting city in Northern Alabama. And you know what? Even with two-ish feet of snow in Utah, it feels colder here in Alabama. What's with that?

In other news, we watched Brave this evening. Wonderful movie. :)

And today I am thankful for my cat Thor. He is wonderful. And warm. And cuddly. And playful. As long as he doesn't claw at the window tonight, I'll still think that. ;)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Brazilian Shrimp Soup and another Birthday

Hello lovely people!

I've been rather pathetic at blogging this week, which I can offer no excuse for other than that I've been otherwise occupied spending time with a certain previously mentioned someone. :)

And hey, I made it to 24!

To celebrate we made Brazilian Shrimp Soup last night and finished it off with some carrot cake.



Here's the recipe for the soup.

Brazilian Shrimp Soup

Ingredients:
  1. 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  4. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  5. 3/4 cup long-grain rice
  6. 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
  7. 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  8. 1 3/4 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (from one 15-ounce can) (we used an entire 32 oz can)
  9. 5 cups water
  10. 1 cup canned unsweetened coconut milk (we just used an entire can)
  11. 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, shelled and cut in half horizontally (we used frozen shrimp, but I think it might be better with fresh shrimp, either cooked or raw - the recipe leads me to think that the shrimp would be cooked in the soup if they weren't already) 
  12. 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  13. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  14. 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley (or cilantro, but that's obviously not what I picked) 
Directions: 
1.  In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes.
2.  Add the rice, red-pepper flakes, salt, tomatoes, and water to the pot. Bring to a boil and cook until the rice is almost tender, about 10 minutes.
3.  Stir the coconut milk into the soup. Bring back to a simmer and then stir in the shrimp. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp are just done, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the black pepper, lemon juice, and parsley.

Snow included, the world outdoors has been absolutely beautiful. I was reminded that it snowed the day before my birthday last year, only we were in Indiana.

Oh, and for two days ago (the 10th), I'm thankful for pizza, for being such an easily acquired meal and for so frequently being wonderfully delicious.

For yesterday I'm thankful for being born and for living is such a fantastic world.

And for today I'm thankful for my computer, which makes it easy for me to accomplish so many of the things I wish to, as well as keeping me connected with all of you.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Snow!

Today I am thankful for snow. I don't always feel thankful for snow, as it is cold and damp and frequently makes driving inconvenient, but it is so beautiful outside that I can't help but appreciate it. Just walking through it I can't help but smile and the beautiful crystals and the land and melt on my hair and coat.

I'm a romantic, what else can I say.


 






Thursday, November 8, 2012

Books, books, books!

Missed a day!

For yesterday I am thankful for patience and understanding, two things which I most appreciate when they come from Brandon. I'm sure I've said this before and will say it again, but I am very lucky to have him.

For today I am thankful for books. I love to read and a good portion of my excess belongings are boxes of books that I read growing up. They are in all kinds of conditions, having been bought at various stages of their lives and read many times over, but I can't bring myself to get rid of the bulk of them. I suspect that this process will continue for most of my life. I don't mind lending them out or leaving them in boxes for years, but when it comes right down to it, I want to be able to read them again, and if, in the hypothetical future, I ever have children and they are even remotely interested in reading, I want my books to be available to them.

In the meantime I've been rather terrible at fully appreciating books, having read perhaps the fewest this year ever. I think I must be at a stage where I need just a little more structure in my life to feel obliged and able to spend the time I'd like to reading. In other words, it is difficult to ward off the slightly guilty feeling, the feeling that I could be slightly more productive and apply to a few more jobs, during the time that I read. Soon. Soon that won't be a problem.

In the meantime, today I'm going to spend some time finally picking back up in the Wheel of Time series. I read through Winter's Heart many many years ago and reread many of them again since then, but I'd really like to work through the rest of the series to be ready when the final book comes out. And it's coming soon! January!

Also, let me just say that I am so glad the elections are over! Drama on facebook officially reduced. :)

Yum!


And we went out for Thai tonight at Sawadee and had the most delicious Thai custard and sticky rice as out appetizer.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Early Voting!

Today I'm thankful for early voting which has made my voting experience in the last six years very easy. In the three times I've voted, I've yet to vote on an official election day and I've always been slightly more informed about the candidates as a result of having the forms in front of me along with access to the candidate and issue websites.

I'm also thankful for the ability to apply to jobs online. It often feels like I'm simply sending applications out into the void, but when I do finally get some responses, it seems worth it.


Tonight we're getting together with some friends for dinner and I'm taking along one of my favorite salads, Mozzarella, Tomato, and Avocado, found here.

Mozzarella, Tomato, and Avocado Salad
Ingredients
 
1 container cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 carton fresh mozzarella cheese pearls, drained
1 avocado, peeled and diced
1/3 cup basil, julienned
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
baguette-optional

1. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and parsley. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, oil, salt and pepper. Pour over tomato mixture. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
3. Just before serving the salad, stir in the chopped avocados. Serve salad with toasty bread.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Enjoying the Temperature Change

Today I'm thankful for my body's ability to distinguish between temperatures. I love the warm feeling that sinks into your skin when you enter a warm room or sit beside a fire after being cold, and I love the crispness of cool air as it washes over you, particularly when you've been exercising and your body is warm or hot.

I'm cold a lot of the time. Ironically I love the cooler seasons more than the warmer ones. This is mostly a result of the fact that I love bundling up in layers of clothing, drinking hot chocolate and tea, and making glorious baked goods. Not to mention blankets, piles of warm laundry, fire, and the plethora of other warm things. And I tend to appreciate the warm sunny days a lot more during the cooler months than during the summer months.

And there you have it.

Also, happy Guy Fawkes Day! Plans tonight include concocting some sort of fire/heat source, roasting Starbursts, and watching V for Vendetta...

Update: We made Focaccia Pizza with Caramelized Onions, Tomato and Rosemary for dinner! Our Guy Fawkes Day went off a little differently than expected. We found a location to do our bonfire but when push came to shove, we decided to stay in instead.  And then we were going to roast the Starbursts and watch V for Vendetta, but we skipped the Starbursts (they're still waiting to be roasted) and watched Amelie instead.

 

Focaccia with Caramelized Onion, Tomato and Rosemary Recipe (originally from here)

Ingredients:

1 package dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp honey
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp kosher salt, divided
1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 large onion, thinly sliced
1 medium tomato, cut into 1/4-inch slices
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, needles removed from stem
1/3 cup (packed) finely grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium bowl, stir together yeast, warm water, and honey. Let rest until yeast blooms and bubbles form on top, about 10 minutes. Stir in flour, 1/4 cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Turn the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead until dough is smooth, 5 to 10 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rest in a warm place until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Remove dough from bowl and press it into a lightly oiled 9- by 13-inch baking sheet until it touches the edges. Using your finger, poke holes all over the dough. Drizzle the dough with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Let rest until the dough becomes puffy, about 20 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add onion slices, cover and cook until onion is golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.

Top the dough with tomato slices, caramelized onions, rosemary, Parmesan cheese, and salt. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Bake until the focaccia is golden brown, about 20 minutes (15 is usually enough for me). Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack. Cut into pieces and serve.

Serves 8.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Warm Water and Hot Springs

Today I'm thankful for warm water.

Yesterday we took the morning easy (after going to see Wreck-It Ralph last night!) and the drove up to Logan to walk around Brandon's old stomping grounds at USU. Beautiful campus and area. We got to say hello and catch up a bit with two of my cousins which was also wonderful. And then dinner at Le Nonne!





Back to warm water, we also went to the Crystal Hot Springs last night and it was wonderful. There were lots of people, but it didn't matter. The water was warm and inviting and the company excellent. As chilly as it already is, it would be fun to go when it is snowing. :)

And then, of course, the easy convenience of a warm shower was wonderful this morning. Particularly in the winter, it's nice to be able to warm up before heading out into the cool.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Novemeber: A Month of Thanksgiving

So...I'm coming to the "Month of Thanksgiving" idea late...but I like the idea...so I'm going to start now.

Realistically, as much as I do like this idea, it's something that we should be doing all of the time, rather than for one month of the year...so perhaps I'll try and do it with each of my posts from here on out. It would be good to increase my awareness of the things I often take for granted. But that might be an empty idea that only lasts...for a little while, as many of my blogging ideas do.


For the 1st of November, I'm thankful for hoodies of all types. I received a hoodie dress (I know, that sounds ridiculous, but it's awesome) for my birthday from my parents and it's awesome. I love being comfortable and warm.

For yesterday, I have to say that I am incredibly thankful for airplanes. It is so easy to feel frustrated when I don't get on a flight or when tiny details of travel don't work out quite the way I want them to. But when it really comes down to it, I'm getting into a metal box of sorts and I'm being flown across thousands of miles in a very short space of time with access to a clean bathroom, food, and beverages. Easy, convenient.

For today, I'm thankful for Korean pop music. Between Super Junior from back during Sophomore year and the more recent Psy, it's something that I think is wonderful.





Thursday, November 1, 2012

This Man


There's this man...and I love him...so much...and I get to see him tomorrow (Friday)! And I can hardly wait. It's so difficult to be patient when I know that just a few days and an airplane ride away and I'll be able to hold his hand, play with his hair, and feel his arms wrap around me. Silly small details that make my world a brighter place. I'll be out in the West about ten days. The weekends will be busy busy, and perhaps the week (job hunting and interviews for me!) as well, but I'll try to post regularly! I may schedule some little posts ahead to fill the week, but hopefully it won't take me too long to get pictures and events up as they happen.

Just know, if I don't get around to posting, there's probably a good reason. :)



And hey, it's November! It's my birthday month! :D It's hard to know how much my preference for the month is straight forward bias because of my birthday and Thanksgiving, or a result of my love for the fall weather. Regardless, I'm happy it's here!