Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Exciting Things

1. Coldplay, of course - only five days away
2. football season - only one month away
3. the possibility of going to Australia in September - I hope, I hope, I hope
4. the Latin dance gym class I discovered last night
5. the Hermes scarf I won from www.stephanieklein.blogs.com

Now if I could only decide how to wear the twilly scarf . . .

I know, the neck thing does not work for me.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

This Week's Dinner

Tonight's dinner was delicious! I invited my old roommate over and made Salmon Burgers with Spinach and Ginger and sides of sweet corn on the cob (fresh out of the husk) and baked potatoes with shredded cheese. Another recipe out of The Gourmet Cookbook:

Salmon Burgers with Spinach and Ginger

45 minutes start to finish

1 (1 pound) piece salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 1/4 inch dice
1/4 pound baby spinach, coursely chopped (3 cups)
3 scallions, minced
1 tbsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg white
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp drained sliced Japanese pickled ginger (optional, I left out)

Stir together salmon, spinach, scallions, fresh ginger, salt, and pepper in large bowl until well combined.
Beat egg white with soy sauce and stir into salmon mixture.
Form into four 1/2 inch thick patties.
Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add patties and cook, carefully turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, 6-7 minutes total.
Serve burgers (with or without buns and with or without pickled ginger topping).

For dessert, it was warm banana pudding. Mmmm. Easy recipe and very delicious!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Cook!

I recently decided to begin cooking at least one meal per week, because pb&j can only cut it for so long. So far, I have cooked two meals in the past month, one was gourmet, and the other was definitely not. Both revealed my nervousness over cooking times. How do you know when it’s just right? Not undercooked, yet not overcooked. I suppose it just takes practice.

My first meal was only slightly ambitious, as I found it in The Gourmet Cookbook, but it involved a small number of ingredients. Seared Salmon with a Balsamic Glaze. At least it sounds fancy. When I saw that the recipe involved “reducing”, I became very excited. “I know how to reduce! I know what that word means!” This is thanks, of course, to my roommate Lyn who has taught me everything I know in the kitchen. My mother tried, but I had a long list of excuses to get me out of making dinner, such as “I’m reading my Bible” or “I’m doing homework”. The latter she should never have believed.

The salmon dish turned out delicious, but I should’ve reduced the sauce just a bit more. I served it with steamed asparagus and Whole Foods Seeduction bread. I will only buy my seafood from Whole Foods, which means I won't be making it very often. Four fillets cost me $20. Here is the recipe:

Seared Salmon with Balsamic Glaze

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. brown sugar
4 (6 oz.) center-cut pieces of salmon fillets with skin
salt and pepper
2 tsp. vegetable oil

  • Stir vinegar, water, lemon juice, and brown sugar in small bowl.
  • Pat salmon dry and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat oil in 12 inch skillet over medium high heat until hot, not smoking.
  • Increase heat to high, add salmon (skin up) and sear until well brown (about 4 min.)
  • Turn over until just cooked through (about 3-4 min.)
  • Transfer salmon to plates and add mixture to skillet (liquid will bubble and steam). Simmer, stirring until thick and reduced to 1/3 cup (2 min.)
  • Spoon over salmon.

This week, I finally used my Trader Joe's pineapple salsa. I knew it would be amazing! There really isn't a recipe for this one, because all I did was stir-fry chicken, red and green bell peppers, and pineapple salsa. Delish! I will be keeping a jar of pineapple salsa on hand from now on!


Colleague to Russian girl we're interviewing:

" . . and this is Ned. He speaks Russian . .

. . and this is Lisa. She also speaks Russian; she lived there, right Lisa? . .

. . and this is L. She's our big waterskiier and just a really happy person. We need more people like her. "

I may not be bilingual, but I'm happy and I love to waterski. I think that's better than speaking multiple languages, don't you? *smile*

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Weekend Update

What a fun-filled weekend I had! And it began with me taking over the world! It appears I am an excellent Risk-player. I exclaimed to my roommate that I hated the game I’d never played before, but I still went over to her friends’ place to play. We ordered kabobs from a nearby Middle Eastern joint, and I made a pre-game announcement that I was about to dominate. Everyone laughed, but my statement soon proved to be accurate. I had taken over Asia (the largest continent), Australia, and was moving into Europe and North America. My red armies were all over the board! I was defeating armies larger than my own, and it quickly became apparent that no one stood a chance at taking me down. I love winning! Maybe I am more strategic than I thought.

Saturday was a lake day, but not at the usual spot with the usual guys. Instead I was at a beautiful lake in Warrenton with my old co-worker/Friend. Her realtor was having an annual party, and I left with a full belly and a new t-shirt! J I also left exhausted from the intense heat and not so much as a light breeze! A pint of Americone Dream at the convenience shop made me feel much better, as did the Coldplay tunes from her stereo. On a side note: Are any of you brought to tears by their amazing new album? Because Friend and I were! I’m not sure I’ve ever been moved so much by a secular album. I don’t know what he’s even singing about, but the music is incredible.

On Sunday, my bedroommate Lyn and I, took a road trip to Philadelphia to visit one of her friends. It was my fourth time to the city, and I was still able to see new things. We had lunch at White Dog CafĂ© on the UPenn campus, saw the Liberty Bell, and went through the Constitution Center and the Philadelphia Museum of Art (home of the “Rocky” steps), featuring an Ansel Adams exhibit. All that history made me want to go home and watch the History Channel, but I came home and crashed instead. I love short, quick trips like that. And it cost me under $20, food and all! (thanks to her friend treating us to lunch and ice cream, that is).

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I love Google!

Due to lack of love life, I’m living vicariously through my friend right now. She’s out in San Francisco and was just asked on her first date since moving there four months ago. I got the scoop on the guy from her, tried to see his tiny picture on Facebook, but then decided to do a little research on my own. Much to her surprise, I sent her an email the day of her date letting her know at which law firm he worked, how long he had practiced law, where he attended undergrad and law school, and that his childhood friend was a Marine who sadly lost his life in Iraq a couple of years ago.

“I’m confused. If he’s still practicing law, why did he tell me he’s involved in football recruitment.”

“He does entertainment law.”

If anyone needs me to do some snooping, I charge by the hour.

Speaking of a love life and me not having one, The Kansan is actually still in the picture. As a friend. One that consistently asks me to hang out (just the two of us) about every other week or so and occasionally calls me to see how my day was. Strangest thing I’ve ever experienced with a guy, but I feel like I’m on the exact same page. I really enjoy just being his friend . . and hearing how awesome and smart I am on a regular basis is pretty nice, too. We agree on everything from politics to our least favorite college football division, which makes for great conversation. Plus he brings me free copies of US Weekly (sent to his house’s previous tenant) every time we hang out. It’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask me! Now if he would only invite me to see Coldplay with him next month . .

Happy Early Birthday to me!

And it’s much earlier than usual that I’m getting excited this year, because my gift has already come in a way: my plane ticket to New Hampshire has been purchased! I haven’t seen Best Friend since Christmas, the longest we’ve ever gone by far, but I decided a weekend with her is all I wanted for a gift. So although it will be a bit weird to not get any tangible presents from my parents or grandparents, it will be more than worth it to visit her over my birthday (one month from today!). I won’t start planning my itinerary yet, but she does have sole permission to use her in-laws beach house that weekend, so I know some sand and sun are in my future. And hopefully Boston, too!

The last time we celebrated my birthday together (three years ago), it involved a “Rocky Mountain” dinner at a new restaurant and re-runs of the Cosby Show. Exciting, yes . . but clearly this year will be way better!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Pictures from Home

Hi!  I feel like I never "see" you all anymore.  I've hardly had any time to read your blogs, and if I haven't commented, I apologize, because I've probably been at work, and that is one thing I refuse to do at work.  It's ok to read blogs occasionally, but noooo commenting.  
Today I turned in a 10-page proposal at work, and I get to wait all weekend before finding out what my "boss" thinks.  He did say, upon a brief glance, that it was exactly what he was looking for and lengthwise, much more than he expected.  So I'm optimistic.  Except that after he tells me he likes it, I have to really start doing my job and executing all the "action items" I recommended.  Maybe ten pages was a little long.  

I am still getting familiar with the MacBook and probably will be for the next six months, because I just don't have as great an urge to be online anymore.  We'll see how long that lasts.
I do want to share a few pictures from my trip to Nebraska.  It's hard to choose which ones,
 because I had such a wonderful week and every picture seems to have some story behind it.  
This is downtown Omaha, the Old Market area.  Cobblestone streets and old buildings.  Unique shops and restaurants.  I like it.
My sister and I, still downtown.  Look at those big buildings! :)
Pontoon ride at Grandma's lake on a perfect summer evening.
The cake for my sister's lingerie shower.  It was made by my friend, Anne, who just started a cake business.  It was delicious!  Vanilla with chocolate mousse filling.  Plus chocolate cake truffles that were to die for. If you live in Omaha, you've gotta get your cakes from her!
My cute sister and me at her rehearsal dinner.  We made it casual and grilled out Omaha Steaks burgers and chicken at the lake.
On top of the obvious slalom skiing I did, there was also a hotdog ride with my cousin and aunt.  We were whooping and hollering the entire way, attempting to stand up, and laughing when we fell off.
The Fourth of July means fried chicken and lots of yummy sides.  Followed by lots of yummy cakes and homemade ice cream.
Minutes before walking down the aisle.  Doesn't she look pretty?  I mean, she IS pretty, but with that fab make-up job I did, she's beyond pretty. ;)
They took some great pictures!  The ceremony was one of the sweetest I've been to . . and I've been to some incredibly sweet ones.  

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

back and unmotivated

I've been back since Sunday, but I'm too busy playing with my new black MacBook to talk about my wonderful week at home! There are plenty of pictures and stories to share, of course, and hopefully this weekend I'll sit down and do it.

For now, can I just tell you who added me as a friend on Facebook? The Texan! Ha. I think I'll make him wait for a bit.

Friday, July 04, 2008

last days

Hi! I'm here in Nebraska enjoying the last few days of my sister's singleness. We've had brother/sisters bonding day, an evening of wall painting at her apartment, a day of decor shopping (my gift to her), a fun lingerie shower/bachelorette party, and a mostly smooth rehearsal followed by a fun little BBQ at Grandma's lake. It's all been flying by too quickly, of course, and I can't believe I only have two full days left. Crossing my fingers that crying does not enter the picture at any point within those two days! So far, I feel far from tears, but we'll see if that changes once I see her in her lovely dress. I can't wait to celebrate!