Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas Recap

Bill thought I should post this picture due to the range of emotions. Don't think I'm ungrateful. I'm holding a present from Bill's parents, but I was utterly confused when I opened up the package and found 2 of the exact same c.d. (that I really really wanted) (see confusion on my face). Bill's mom on the other hand was heartily laughing (see laughing woman on right side) because of the 2 c.ds. When she ordered the c.d, she didn't realize she already had one copy in her cart, thus she bought 2. She wasn't expecting Bill to wrap them both.
But as you can see, I'm not ungrateful, I was very happy and excited.

The big hit of Christmas this year was Rock Band. We love it! We have played it every day. I'll tell you what, my favorite part of Christmas this year was hearing Bill's mom singing along to Weezer and other such bands.
Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

love/hate relationship with Chicago, part III

This is totally me. Just kidding, I wish it were. Did I mention that we are staying in Chicago for Christmas. Did I also mention that it has been snowing, well you know the weather has sucked which equals snow and cold. But normally, I really like snow because: snow + mountains = skiing. skiing=ecstasy. Why do I live in a state that has the elevation of a pancake? I don't know what we were thinking when we came here. All I have to say is, I really want to ski, and I'm just feeling sorry for myself.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Love hate relaitonship with Chicago, Part II

shovel, hat
I got this picture from flicker, it isn't of my hood, but it works.

Are we tired of this topic yet? I sure am. But still, it haunts me. This morning, I went out to go to the gym at 6 am - to be at the gym by 6:15. Bill warned me that the car would take a lot of work. So I go out there back up a bit and drive forward. I think I'm good to go, so I turn my wheel to get onto the road, when I get stuck. My tires are spinning and there is a huge wedge of snow/ice touching the undercarriage of my car. I got out of the car and hammered away at the ice with my ice scraper and would then try to weasel my way out. I worked at it for 30 mins, then I gave up. I hate you Chicago. Why can't you salt or plow the roads.....................ever. I guess you just don't care about the southside.
Indoor parking is looking better and better. I'm accepting donations.

P.S. it was -5 out this morning and the doorman said 4 other cars were stuck as well.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Do you see what I see

Do you see what I see?
Lets look from another angle. Do you see it now?
Okay, here is a close up.
Here is a look at what happens to my Christmas tree everyday. He shmushes down the branches where he sits in the tree, and pulls the ornaments off.
He is a little weasel.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bill the house spouse

This is Bill my husband. Bill is also my little house wife, I guess house spouse might be more appropriate. Though he has worked hard this semester, he has had a lot of free time. So he goes to class everyday and then comes home to study and chill. But during the day he also does wifely things. He does things like dust, clean out the litter box, take out the trash, unload the dishwasher etc*. He is nice like that. He also runs errands so that come Saturday, I don't have to run all over Chicagoland in order to get groceries for the week. He makes all the trips to Costco to get milk and cheese, you know, the necessities. One day while at Costco, he ran into a friend from the ward. She was there with her baby (she is a stay at home mom (SAHM for those of you who like abbreviations)). Bill and the friend chatted for a minute, and the friend said jokingly "next time we should carpool to Costco." And that was when Bill realize that he is a house spouse. Too bad he'll only be a house spouse for a 1 more year.
So don't mess with the house spouse, I know your all jealous anyway.

*he refuses to wear cute aprons or carry cute hand bags. How boring.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Biggest Loser

I hate you Vicki and I've never been so happy that you lost.
But I love that Ed made it into the final by an 86% vote.

Monday, December 15, 2008

my love hate relationship with chicago

Courtesy of idle America at
This might as well be my car.

I have a love hate relationship with Chicago. In the spring, summer and fall, I LOVE Chicago. But come winter, all allegiance to this "great" city sinks like a rock. This morning, I woke up early to go swimming with a friend from church. I woke up multiple times due to my fe-lion friend and in anticipation of my alarm. But every time I woke up, I heard a horrific wind combined with freezing rain. So when I made it out to my car this morning, I found my car to be covered with a solid sheet of ice. I reconsidered going swimming. I mean it was cold enough that one foot out the door caused your sinuses to ache. I also reconsidered going swimming because that involves squeezing myself back into one of my swimsuits from high school. (as much as I wish I were the same old me from high school, I'm not, and I always sized down my suits too) high school swimsuit + 2 sizes smaller than normal size + 7+ years = bad idea.
But with frost bite and a bit of sliding around the roads, I made it to the pool. And I swam my little out of shape heart out. It felt good, and I got a good whooping too.
Besides, I need to get in shape, marathon season is just around the corner.
So moral of the story, only live in Chicago during spring, summer, and fall, because winter SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Good Food Friday

Last night I hosted book club. We read The Chosen by Chaim Potak. I love this book, if you haven't read it, you should. Anyway, I felt like I needed to provide a treat that would coincide with the theme of the book, so I search the internet and found this.

Ashkenazic Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Streusel Topping:
  • 1/2 cup granulated or brown sugar, or 1/4 cup each
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cloves (optional)
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans, grated coconut, golden raisins, or chocolate chips, or 1 cup any combination (optional)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon double-acting baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup granulated or brown sugar or 1/2 cup each
  • 4 large egg yolks, or 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (optional)

Glaze (optional):
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons milk or water


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (325°F if using a glass pan). Grease one 9-inch square pan,9-inch Bundt or tube pan, or 9-inch springform pan. Line with parchment or waxed paper, grease again, and dust with flour.

2. To make the streusel: Combine the sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg if using. Cut in the butter to resemble coarse crumbs. If desired, stir in the nuts.

3. To make the batter: Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth, about 1 minute. Gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. Blend in the sour cream, vanilla, and zest if using. Stir in the flour mixture.

4. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the streusel. Carefully cover with the remaining batter and sprinkle with the remaining streusel.

5. Bake until the cake is golden and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 50 minutes. Set on a rack and let cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Wrap the kuchen in plastic and store at room temperature for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

6. To make the glaze if using: Combine all the glaze ingredients, stirring until smooth and of pouring consistency. Drizzle over the cake and let stand until set.

When baking and storing a cake containing acidic ingredients such as sour cream in an aluminum pan, line the bottom with parchment paper to prevent the juices from reacting with the aluminum and creating a metallic flavor.

Single-Layer Coffee Cake:
Spread all the batter in a 13-by-9-inch pan, sprinkle with all of the topping, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

Fruit-Filled Coffee Cake:
After adding the middle layer of streusel, top with 1 cup peeled, cored, and thickly sliced cooking apples, 1 cup peeled, pitted, and sliced peaches, or 1 cup pitted cherries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries.

Cheese Coffee Cake:
Combine 8 ounces softened cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 large egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Spread over the top of the batter, leaving a 1-inch border on all sides. If desired, spread 1/2 cup melted blueberry, cherry, raspberry, or strawberry preserves or pie filling over the cheese mixture. Sprinkle with the streusel.

So I just made the basic recipe and it was delightful. Chanukah is starting in a week, ( you can even make it kosher for Passover)!
Try it, you'll like it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My Birthday

It was my birthday yesterday. I'm old. We celebrated all weekend long. I made a 3 layer cake, bought some candles, and made Bill sing happy birthday to me. I'm so mean. But it was my birthday, so I had a free pass to do what ever I want.
I say birthday weekend because we opened presents on Saturday. You know, finals are coming up, so Bill is busy. But he insisted we celebrate on Saturday. So we woke up on Saturday and opened presents. He gave me a box with air fresheners and lint rollers.
air fresheners + lint rollers = cat
We celebrated on Saturday so I could pick out a cat.
Here he is, his name is Cassius (Caius Cassius Longinus) or just Cass. He is 4 months old and very affectionate. He likes to relax in your arms (see below)
He also has spots on his tummy, like a leopard. Why is it feline? He is definitely a fe-lion.

Thanks for the great surprise, Bill!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Things I should have known

Picture circa 2005

During my sophomore year of college, my roommate Vanessa was engaged. Our bishop was awesome, he provided them with a list of questions to ask each other so that they would better know and understand one another. I thought that the list was a great idea and wished that the bishop in our ward when we were engaged would have done the same. But lo and behold, he did no such thing. Well he kind of did, he told us "YOU MUST FIGURE OUT YOUR CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS" such as a star or angel on the top of the tree. That was it.
And three plus years later, I still wish we would have had a list because apparently I married a stranger. Tonight while heating up leftovers from thanksgiving, I pulled out the can of jellied cranberry sauce. I LOVE jellied cranberry sauce from a can!
So I'm standing in the kitchen eating cranberry sauce out of a can (with a spoon, I'm not a heathen), and I say "Bill, don't you love cranberry sauce from a can?"
Bill - " (silence) ."
I said again, but louder "Don't you love cranberry sauce from a can...........Bill?"
Bill "no I don't"

Who is this man, how did I marry someone who doesn't like cranberry sauce from a can, ridges and all? I'll keep him, but this definitely should have been disclosed during the dating period.

So, has your significant other surprised you with any news since you've been together?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Martha Stewart

Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I was watching Martha Stewart's Holiday Special. It was disturbing. She made eggnog, which I really like, until I saw what goes into eggnog. Here is the recipe


So what I realized was eggnog is really bad for you. Whole milk, heavy cream, loads of sugar. Yowza.
I also realized that Martha is a drunkard. Why else would you add all this hard liquor to something so good and pure.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Festivities

Happy late Thanksgiving! We had a great thanksgiving this year. Liz and Derek came out from DC for the holiday and we had a great time together, I'm sad they are gone. The festivities started when they arrived on Wednesday night. I finally got to meet the new cat. The funny thing is that I usually hate cats. Cats are so.........sassy and ridiculous. They almost seem to mock their owners, but not this cat. He was adorable. His name is Teddy as in Teddy Roosevelt and I've fallen in love. My mom's cat Pal is pretty great too. Thus, I think I'm going to need to get a cat very soon. Teddy was not only a hit with me and Bill, but the little kids at thanksgiving shook with joy when they saw him (so did I).
Teddy Roosevelt
Bill made the turkey, I made the stuffing and rolls, and Liz made some delicious pumpkin and apple pies. We also had several families over which made Thanksgiving a big success!
We took a trip into the city on black Friday (was it actually a black Friday?), and the city was full of crazies. We had protesters of all sorts scattered around Michigan Ave. Aren't you glad I posted this picture of Derek pointing to the disgusting posters?
We also made it out to the Frank Lloyd Wright neighborhood in Oak Park. There are quite a few houses that he designed in this city, as was his home and studio which we had the opportunity to tour. His house and studio had various statues around including a few of these (see above) they are supposed to be people breaking free of mediocrity, but all I see is Rodin's Thinker.
Here we have Bill and Frank's heads.
Here we are looking at some incredible houses, it was cold.
Here is one of the incredible houses.
And lucky for us, after the tour, we found a Five Guys! We didn't know there were any in Chicagoland. So we had delicious burgers and fries and might be making more trips out to Oak Park in the very near future. In case you were wondering, there is a Five Guys in Sandy and Midvale, UT, and lots in the DC, area. That's why we are moving to DC................okay, maybe not, but it is a nice perk.
And now the holiday is over, everyone is home, and work starts again tomorrow. Bummer.
Can't holiday's last longer?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

New Haircut, New Shirt, New Home

So I felt it was time to reveal my new haircut. Oh hallelujah, my last haircut was......ugly, I hated it. Luckily, I found Dave, my great hairdresser, who had changed locations, thus my last crappy hair cut. But he has been found and great yet expensive haircuts can resume!
Oh, what? You don't care about my cute vogue pose to showcase my hair? You are wondering about my adorable shirt? Well it is worth wondering about because this will be our location for the summer. Well kind of, the location for the summer will be in Washington DC, but all the cool people I know live in Virginia and Virginia IS for lovers. I'm a lover, not a hater. So there you have it. Bill will be working for this firm (see below), and we are really excited. So if you live in the vicinity, or will be in the area for the summer, let's be friends.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Good Food Friday

This week I made corn chowder, it wasn't that great. In fact, I threw the rest of it away. Oh well. So to counteract my failure dinner, we decided to check out Greek town. I figure, we might as well experience all that Chicago has to offer. So we headed out and had some delicious gyros and baklava. Oh do I love both of these items! I had to have baklava, because they had it, and I love dessert (can you tell I'm feeling better, and it's okay, because I didn't eat for 3 days this week). Bill had never had this dessert, but I made him try it and he loved it. So my recipe recommendation for this week is to not make your own baklava, but go out and buy it, because you'll be sick when you find out how bad it really is for you and it is quite labor intensive.
Try it, you'll like it!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

I'm sick

fine, I'll post it. But I'm back at work today, and I even managed to eat breakfast.
I think I've got food poisoning. It totally sucks. I've left work early two days in a row because I thought I could hack it, but I couldn't. Nothing is worse thank taking a day off or two when you can't enjoy it.
Sometimes it is nice to work around doctors. Today I went to work for a couple of hours and my coworkers were convinced that I have the stomach flu. But lucky for us, a doctor was close by and started asking me how many times I pooped. Really awkward. But he confirmed my diagnosis and told me to go home and drink lots of fluids.
So here I am, at home, drinking and drinking (I've got to get over this, I only had 5 hours of sick pay worked up), and watching sleeping through the first traveling pants movie. I know I'm sick because I haven't eaten in 2 days, and I suck at fasting. I even turned down a yummy cookie at work, and I never pass up a good cookie.
What was the culprit? I don't know. It could have been this yummy chicken dip from Treasure Island or could it be.......Chipotle? I sure hope not, but what ever it was, I won't be eating it for a while. Hopefully the Ben & Jerry's in the freezer will settle my stomach.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Poll Results and Late Good Food Friday

Well the poll is closed and it looks like mayo is the winner. I suppose the results weren't too surprising, but I was surprised when I asked my mom what she voted for, knowing full well that she would say miracle whip. To my chagrin, she said MAYO. My mom is turning out to be a closet lot of things, a closet member of the green party, a closet cat lover, and now a closet mayo lover. (I was kidding on the green party, but everything else is true.) We are a split house hold, Bill loves mayo, I love my miracle whip.
On to the next topic. It is good food Friday/Sunday. I haven't made anything exciting all week until today. But it is never too late to post a good recipe.
This weeks recipe was Couscous with Sweet Potatoes and Yellow Squash.
I thought it was pretty good. Bill thought it was good, but doesn't love couscous as much as I do. But he is a good spouse and eats what ever I make. He admitted it was good, but wasn't "his cup of tea".
So for those of you who would like a Moroccan type recipe and involves yummy couscous, try this. And besides, this give you an excuse to eat sweet potatoes year round.

Couscous with Sweet Potatoes & Yellow Squash:

16 oz canned tomatoes (w/ juice)
1 medium sweet potato
1 medium carrot
1 small yellow summer squash
1 Tlbs olive oil
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup water
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
ground red pepper (to taste)
1 cup cooed or rinse and drained canned chick-peas
1 cup couscous

Use a fork to break up the tomatoes right in the an and set them aside. Cut the sweet potato into 1" cubes. Peel the carrot and cut it diagonally into 1" lengths. Cut the squash into thick slices. Set vegetables aside.
Place the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat for 30 sec. Stir in the onions and cook them, stirring frequently, until they begin to brown. Stir in the garlic, then the tomatoes (w/ juice), water, cinnamon, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper.
Add the sweet potatoes and carrots. Raise the heat and bring the vegetables quickly to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook the mixture for 15 min.
Add the squash and chick-peas; cook for 15 min, or until sweet potatoes are tender.
While the vegetables are simmering, coo the couscous according to the directions on the package.
Fluff the couscous with a fork and place it in a shallow bowls. Ladle the vegetables and broth over the couscous.
Here is the finished product.
Try it, you'll like it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My quest for domesticity

I got a flu shot a few weeks ago, but despite I precautionary efforts, I'm still sick. I'm sick with domestisits or craftoidosis (an inflammation of the desire to cook, craft, and other wifey things). It is serious. It all started this summer while we were in Las Vegas and I was desperate for something to do. I signed up for a knitting class. It then spawned into other crafts and here I am, searching for the nearest JoAnn's to satisfy my crafting needs.

Here is a little bag I made to hold my sewing crap.....scissors, needles, thread, seam ripper, etc. I couldn't start any projects until my sewing stuff was contained.
Here is the scarf I learned to knit while in Vegas. Bill thinks it looks christmassy, it isn't, it's gray and red, not green and red. Here is the bag I made, I love it. I'm just going to tell you, just in case you can't tell, it is really cute. It has pleats, cute fabric and nice big pockets. It is also really big. Big bags are in. Wouldn't this have been the perfect size to take on a sleep over back in the day.
Are you wondering why Bill looks so.....solemn? Well I tried to make him model my new bag and he refused. He said modeling my bag would be like me modeling a jock strap. Enough said. I made him model my scarf instead.
My current craft, I'm knitting a beanie for Bill. My first time using circular needles. My quest for domesticity continues.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Eat your heart out

Did you know that I'm an accomplished golfer? With wiffle balls that is. Eat your heart out Christa.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

New Poll

This is going along with Good Food Friday. I'm just curious as to what you prefer, Mayonnaise or Miracle Whip. See the bar on the right.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Good Food Friday

It is good food friday. Sorry I've been such a slacker lately, it's just that I've been......busy. But because of a request, doing a post. So thanks to Pioneer Woman, I'm going to share with you her yummy recipe. She calls it Penne a la Betsy, I call it Pioneer Woman Pasta. So what ever you want to call it, here is the recipe.

Penne alla Betsy

1 lbs of shrimp
3/4 lbs of penne pasta
olive oil
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 C chicken stock
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
1 C heavy cream
fresh basil
fresh parsley
salt & pepper

cook penne pasta until al-dente
Peel, devain, and rinse (under cold water) 1 pound of extra large shrimp. Heat about 1 Tbsp of butter and olive oil in a skillet. Add shrimp and cook for a couple of minutes until just opaque. Do not over cook them. Remove them to a plate and let them cool for a bit.
Finely dice one small onion. Mince two cloves of garlic.
In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp of butter and 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and saute, stirring occasionally. Now put the cooked shrimp on a cutting board and cut into bite sized pieces and pull off the tails, and set aside. After the onion and garlic of cooked for a bit, add the chicken stock. Let it cook for a down for a bit, stirring occasionally.
Now add the 8 ounce can of tomato sauce. Stir until combined. Then add 1 cup of heavy cream. continue stirring. Turn heat on low and let simmer while you chop your herbs, about 1 Tbsp of basil and parsley.
Now add your chopped shrimp back into the tomato cream sauce. Give it a stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Throw the herbs in and stir until combined. And finally, add the pasta.

Try it, you'll like it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

President Elect

Well, all I have to say is, I'm glad I got this. Does this mean the southside will be safer than ever?

*Sorry, this is the last time I'll post this

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day Live

Click on this picture for a detailed view (see above)
Since Obama lives just up the street from me, I thought I would post about the madness that is going on here in Chicago, specifically southside. I told Bill to go out and take pictures of the area, and when I looked at the pictures he took, they were mostly of flowers? I have no comment, though he did get the pictures seen above.
  • The road that runs past the Obama mansion is blocked off for 4 blocks each direction.
  • Police everywhere
  • Helicopters have been over the city all day
  • The major roads of Chicago have been closed (Michigan Ave, Lake Shore Dr, etc)
  • Half a million people are on the scene of the Obama party
  • 13,500 police officers are on the scene of the Obama party
We'll see what the rest of the night brings.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fall at the U of C

Fall is a short season here at the U of C, in a week the campus will be brown and dead.
Some of these pictures are of the Rockefeller Chapel, where graduation is held.