Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Marley & Me...or our life story?


We saw the new dog movie, Marley & Me, last night - it was FANTASTIC! Super funny, but with lots of heart. Quite possibly one of the best family movies we've seen in a long time!

And more importantly, it mirrored A LOT of things that the hubby and have have gone through with Jonas - and it had both of us crying by the end - to think about what it will be like someday to lose him.

Seriously, go see it. Unless you hate dogs, you WILL LOVE this movie!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

We're IN! SKOL VIKINGS!!


Photo from espn.com, courtesy of Elsa/Getty Images

Photo from espn.com, taken by Jim Mone
Photo from espn.com, taken by Ann Heisenfelt

And I didn't even need to cheer for the Packers this time around (not that it did much good last week...)!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Al's latest escapades

Al, the green blowup alien that lives in our lab, has been showing up in odd places lately. For example...hanging in front of Pat's bench - with the stupid sailing picture that also keeps popping up!





And in the men's bathroom...


More to come later, I'm sure.

Jonas's Dilemma



Yum! Pig's ear! Here I go, out to my spot where I eat my treats. Oh wait, it's covered in snow. I don't want to lay down in the snow. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to eat it standing up. This is going to be a bit tricky...how am I supposed to hold it and chew at the same time? Crap! I dropped it...where did it go? Oh, yep, there it is, now if only I could get it without putting my entire head into the snow...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Stupid snow.

It took me 2 HOURS to get home from work last night. And we have to shovel again. And it's too damn cold to walk the dog, so we have been bringing him into the kitchen to hang out for a bit, but now he thinks he should get to come in whenever he feels like it! Stupid snow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Cookies

Christmas is coming way too fast! I just started baking cookies last week, and I haven't even switched out the dishes in my hutch for the fun red holiday ones yet! Luckily I was able to find some crazy evergreen boughs to fill the flowerpots at our main entrance when I was back home this weekend - and got them in while it was still relatively mild (and raining a bit) yesterday morning! Now they're already covered in snow! I was feeling a bit overly ambitious yesterday and made 2 batches of cookies, started some cranberry spice vodka infusion (for the New Year's Eve party!) with the leftover cranberries from one of my recipes, and made an ice luminary for my front steps! Maybe I'll get on the ball and take a picture of it all lit up this evening (that is, if I can stand to be outside that long!).

Here's the status of my Christmas cookie baking:

Done:
Peanut butter blossoms
Rosemary shortbread trees
Spritz cookies
Cranberry walnut pinwheels (hence, the leftover cranberries!)

To do yet:
Sachertortes
Peanut butter toffee turtle cookies
Christmas wreaths
Butterscotch haystacks

And maybe...
Peanut butter chocolate chunk monster cookies
Almond bark pretzels and pb ritz cracker sandwiches
Another round of caramel crispix, because we ate the first one!

Hmm...that's a lot of baking! I better get back to work so that I can be done for the day and start on the next batch of cookies!

What a fabulous show!



I went back home to see my friend, Liz, in the Christmas show The Winter Wonderettes. It was held at the old Sherburn Theater which, for those of you that know of the theater and remember it being fairly run-down and dirty (for those of you that are from the cities, think the cheap theater that used to be on Larpenteur, but even worse!), has been renovated and cleaned up to the point that it looks just awesome! The outside has a new front, the floors are no longer sticky, the seats all work - and have been re-stuffed and reupholstered, and one of the high schoolers designed an entire set of stage lights (after raising funds from the community), which were used for this play but will remain with the theater.

The show was fabulous - a ton of fun, the girls (four high school friends) were hilarious, but the details were even more amazing. The set was great - including massive candy canes made out of PVC piping that flanked the stage and a real fireplace! When we got to the theater we were greeted by a doorman dressed in suit and tie, and top hat! The costumes (wigs included!) were a riot. And best of all, I'm still singing songs from the show!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Oh no! George is leaving Grey's!


Check it out here!

Introducing Libby!


No, she's not ours. She's my parents' new kitty - they rescued her from the family farm (namely, from brother's overly-rambunctious dog, Joey) after they discovered that her mama had been accidentally run over. She quickly escaped from her box (which was covered with a laundry basket, smart kitty) and ran down to the basement. She lived there for a good few weeks before finally getting brave enough to make friends with my parents. When we went home for Thanksgiving, we brought Syd with us. After the initial meeting (which resulted in both cats scrambling in opposite directions) they slowly started to figure each other out. They weren't exactly friends by the end of the weekend, but they had at least come to some kind of understanding. If Libby got too close to Syd, he'd raise his paw and she'd take off, but as soon as he turned around to leave she'd run after him. I think she make actually win him over when we go home for Christmas! If nothing else, it's fun to have a kitten around to play with for awhile and amusing to watch Syd avidly watch her!

Our Christmas-y weekend!

The hubby and I had a Christmas date night this weekend. We had tickets to see The Blenders "Holiday Soul" concert at the Pantages theater in downtown Minneapolis, so we decided to try out the fairly new Seven, which is actually in the same building block as Pantages. Seven has a swanky steakhouse on the main floor and a sushi bar/lounge on the upper floor. We had reservations for the sushi lounge, but were happily surprised that you could still order from the steakhouse menu from upstairs (we stuck with sushi, however we may be back to try out the steak!). The atmosphere was great- swanky, but still fun and almost intimate, plus we appreciated the flat screen TVs mounted on the walls in the lounge (we were able to catch the end of the Florida-Alabama game). The food was awesome, and they had a full (top-shelf) bar, a sizable wine list, and a large sake list. All in all, a great start to the evening.

At the concert we ran into our good friends Ryan & Emily, and the rest of Em's sister-in-law's family. It was a complete surprise, made even funnier by the fact that they were sitting just a row behind us and about 20 seats down from us! The concert was AMAZING! We had seen The Blenders' holiday concert a couple of years ago, but this year was just as good!! In a moment of weakness I purchases 4 of their CDs, including their new Songs from the Soul CDs (which they had performed a lot of songs from that night), and two of their older Christmas CDs (which I just had copies of from my mom). So now I'm all set to groove to the Blenders for the rest of the holiday season (and then some!).

We also picked up our fresh Christmas tree Saturday morning (we did the usual - walked a half a block over to the tree lot located in the parking lot of our A&W, picked out the tree, and David hauled it back to our house on his back! and as usual, I offered to help, but he refused!) The tree was pretty cold, so we got it set up in the tree stand, filled it with warm water, and left it for 24 hours to thaw out and open up. We got it decorated during the Vikings game the next day, which involved 3 broken strands of lights, one trip to Walgreens to buy replacements, and multiple containers of ornaments (almost all of which did make it onto the tree!). I'm especially excited about the tree this year because we have ornaments from my grandma's tree (gingerbread houses and people - made out of Styrofoam, not actual gingerbread) and from my great great aunt Lucille's tree (crazy beaded Styrofoam balls and such). It makes for an eclectic mix of ornaments, which I love.











Syd likes to hide under the tree- I think he actually believes that one little branch is enough cover to completely conceal him!

We also managed to finish the Christmas cards, and I made up my Christmas cookie list, however I haven't started baking yet (and considering the length of the list, I had better get at it!).

This weekend we're heading back home for part of the weekend to go see my pseduo-little-sister's musical, The Winter Wonderettes. Liz and three of her friends are putting on the musical at the old Sherburn theater, as a fundraiser to keep the theater running - tix are only $10, so those of you from the area should try to attend!! Tickets are available at: Farmers State Bank of Trimont, Farmers State Bank of Sherburn, Triumph State Bank, Peterson Anthony Insurance in Farimont. The shows are Friday and Saturday nights at 7:30pm!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Holidazzle 2008

My parents came up to the cities for the Friday night after Thanksgiving and my dad suggested that we go to the Holidazzle parade. It was actually fairly nice out, so the parade was pleasant (compared to the frigid temperatures we experienced last year!). My parents, however, thought that this year's parade wasn't as good as the last one they had been to, which was right after the Holidazzle started. Evidently back then it was common to see TV and radio personalities walking in the parade, as opposed to the mass corporations that simply sponsor a float. Either way, it was fun!




Monday, December 01, 2008

YES!!

Just found out that my second paper has been accepted into the Journal of Immunology! Now I just need to actually write the remaining 2 papers, not to mention my thesis, and I'll be DONE!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Basic Beer-Cheese Bread

Almost as good as the Tastefully Simple beer bread!

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 c. finely chopped yellow onion
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
13.5 oz. flour (about 3 cups)
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. (4oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 (12oz) bottle lager-style beer
cooking spray
2 Tbsp. melted butter, divided

1) Preheat oven to 375.
2) Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion to pan; cook 10 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in pepper and garlic; cook 1 minute.
3) Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Add onion mixture, cheese, and beer to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.
4) Spoon batter into a 9x5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Drizzle 1 Tbsp. melted butter over batter. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes. Drizzle remaining 1 Tbsp. butter over batter. Bake an additional 25 minutes or until deep golden brown and a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

From Cooking Light, November 2008.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dayman Musical

Potato Gouda and Chive Soup

Another yummy recipe from the recipe swap! This is actually the first one I made, but I wasn't as actively blogging then, so here you go! Also, I have half of this frozen and I'm waiting for some cold winter night in December to finish it off!

Side note: I bought a "normal" size block of smoked Gouda and shredded all of it before realizing that it was twice as much cheese as I needed! So, I dumped all of it in (because really, what are you going to do with an extra cup of shredded Gouda??) - still tasty! However, I probably recommend just using the suggested 1 cup and eating the rest of the block while you're making the soup! ;)

Ingredients
8-10 med-large Yukon gold potatoes, sliced
49 oz. Swanson's chicken broth
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup shredded smoked Gouda
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives
Salt (as desired) and freshly ground black pepper (good with lots of pepper)
1 onion, carmelized
Additional chives for garnish

Preparation
Place the potatoes and 2 cups of the stock in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours, or until the potatoes are just tender.

Transfer two-thirds of the potatoes to a food processor or blender, along with the cooking liquid. (Let it cool before blending.) Add the garlic and carmelized onion. Blend to the desired consistency: a blender will yield a smooth texture, a food processor a rough, rustic consistency. (Or use an immersion blender—so you don’t have to wait for it to cool.)

Return the potato purée to the slow cooker and stir in the shredded cheese, remaining stock and the chives. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes, or until the soup is well heated. Add extra stock or water if the soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper.

You can do the whole soup on the stove in a stock pot - there's no reason it has to be done in the crockpot!

Ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle with the chives, and serve immediately. Serves 6-8. Freezes well.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

End of an Era




Last game in the Dome. Worst Gophers loss I've seen. Super freakin' cold tailgating for 2 1/2 hours before the game. Lots of drinking just to stay warm. At least we had fun while it lasted!

I think I may have an obsession...


I just finished season 2 of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman this morning, and now all I want to do is watch season 3 - immediately. But, unfortunately I'm on a waitlist (yes, more than one person wants to watch Dr. Quinn!) at the library and I don't have a movie to send back in to Netflix yet so I can't get it that way...I did discover, however, that they recently released the complete series megaset! So now, for a meer $150 I can own all 6 seasons!! (Which is actually a pretty good deal, considering each season is $50-70 on its own!) Crap, I can't wait - I really want more Dr. Quinn!

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Seriously, the funniest show ever. How do you make an entire season finale based on this crazy song??

What is going on with ABC?


First they fire Brooke Smith (Dr. Erica Hahn) from Grey's Anatomy because they no longer like her gay storyline, and now they cancel three shows mid-season? Pushing Daisies, Eli Stone, and Dirty Sexy Money are all ending! This cannot be a good sign for the network. I bet Kate Walsh (Dr. Addison Montgomery)is just hoping her new show, Private Practice, makes it through the season with good ratings in order to avoid getting axed for next season!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wine

So today I've been thinking a lot about wine. Probably because we're about to enjoy a nice bottle of pinot grigio that I brought back from Napa last spring for the lab, but also because after that I'm off to Surdyk's to re-stock our wine for the house. (We're down to 2 bottles that we brought back from Napa, which we're saving for awhile yet, and 1 bottle of a MN zinfandel...)

Which brings me to some exciting news...Surdyk's is carrying wine from not just one, but TWO wineries that we visited while in Napa! They're now carrying two wines from Artesa, a chardonnay and a cabernet sauvignon, and one wine, a merlot, from Rutherford Hill. Unfortunately, we did not actually purchase any of these wines while in Napa, however I may pick up at least one of them tonight! Yeah!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Ah!

Don't freak out. I just changed the template, but you are still at the right place! Sometimes you just need a change, ya know?

Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup

Another recipe swap recipe, this one is from my cousin, Jan. The notes in parentheses are from her, but I followed accordingly and liked her version!

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half (I use heavy cream)
2 cups chicken stock or bouillon
1/2 pound fresh broccoli (I use mostly tops)
1 cup carrots, julienned
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I don’t always add the nutmeg)
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar (I use shredded cheddar and monterey jack)

Directions:

Saute onion in butter. Set aside. (I put the onions in a bowl and use the same pan to make my roux. The onion juice adds a caramel flavor.) Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly and slowly add the half-and-half (this is called making a roux). Add the chicken stock whisking all the time. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Add the broccoli, carrots and onions. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender for 20-25 minutes. Add salt and pepper. The soup should be thickened by now. Pour in batches into blender and puree. Return to pot over low heat and add the grated cheese; stir until well blended. Stir in the nutmeg and serve.

Super good! My only complaint is that it only made about 5 bowls of soup, which was enough for 2 meals for the hubby and I, and one extra lunch. I may double it next time!

Roy's Beef

I participated in a recipe swap recently (via email, not snail mail!) and I have tried only a few of the recipes, but they've been so good that I wanted to share! This one is from J-funk , and it's AWESOME! It makes a ton of beef, but my hubby and I took down half of it in one meal! :) Thanks J-funk!!

Roy's Beef

3 lb. chuck roast
1 jar of pepperoncini (banana peppers)
1 packet zesty Italian dressing mix

Put roast in crockpot, pour banana peppers and juice over roast.

Cook on high for 8 hours.

Remove stems from peppers (you can remove roast and peppers to do this, but I just left them all in and dug out the peppers individually).

Add in Italian dressing mix, stir into juices.

Cook on low for 1 additional hour.

Enjoy!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

State Volleyball 08

The state volleyball tourney was last weekend, so the hubby and I spent a good amount of time in downtown St. Paul watching my cousin's team. They lost the first game, so they ended up in the consolation bracket, but they won their second game so they got to play a third game on Saturday morning for the consolation championship. We had Gopher football at 11am on Saturday, but we decided to go to the 9am volleyball game and then fly over to downtown Mpls to get to the game a little late. Unfortunately the girls lost the third game, but they gave the other team a run for their money! MCW was down 2 games (you have to win 3 of 5), then they came back to win the next 2 games, to force it into a 5th game, which they lost. But it was fun! Hopefully they'll make it back next year, considering they're only losing 3 seniors and the majority of the starters are sophomores!!


Oh, and I made all of the 'cousins' t-shirts out of blue duct tape! They were a hit!




Sunday, November 02, 2008

STATE!

We went to my cousin, Taylor's, volleyball game last night in St. Peter. They were playing for the section championship, and chance to go to state - and they did it! The coolest part - the team is primarily sophomores (including my cousin, who is the setter) - so hopefully this is just the beginning of some pretty amazing volleyball for them!





We were hot.

Pretty sure I will never wear this much grease paint again...

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

The hubby and are I celebrating by hitting not one, but TWO, Halloween parties tonight, then going downtown to the bars!

I'm going as the Wicked Witch of the East (yes, the one that gets hit by the house, but has the stellar ruby red slippers!) and

David is going as Dwight Schrute from The Office.
It should be fun. We'll post pictures later!
Have a happy Halloween everybody!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'm in!

My first paper is getting published in Biochemistry!! Woo-hoo! And, I just got the reviews back on my second paper, which are not too bad, so as soon as we get those revisions made I may be on to number 2! (And just that much closer to being done!!!)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Go Gophers!

Okay, I've restrained myself thus far, because it seemed too good to be true. The Gophers are good this year? They lost all but one game last season. But, believe it or not, they are 110% better than last year! They're 7-1, with their only loss to Ohio State, they're bowl eligible, and they're ranked for the first time in 3 years! They're 17th in the BCS rankings and 20th overall! So, all I can say now is "Go Gophers!!" We've got 3 of the last 4 games at home, with our road game at Wisconsin, so it should be one hell of an ending!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oops.

Yesterday I managed to lock my keys in my car. With it running. For three hours while I ran into work. Luckily I was only running in for the morning because I had barely gotten any sleep the night before, so I was leaving early to take a nap, otherwise who knows if my car would have been there or not. Or if it would have had any gas left by the time I got back to it at the end of the day.

Granted, my lack of sleep may explain this occurrence, or possibly it was the fact that I was making phone calls between my brother (who was heading to my house to borrow a suitcase) and my in-laws (who were currently at my house, and I felt the need to warn them that my brother would be stopping by). Either way, it's not an occurrence that I'd like to repeat. Thank goodness my hubby was already off work, too, so he could grab my spare key and bring it down to me!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Omaha

The lab headed down to Omaha for a conference last week. The only good thing about Omaha? The Christmas store across the street from the hotel - where I found this really awesome Alice in Wonderland Clothtique figurine! Okay, so maybe there was more than that to Omaha, but that was definitely my highlight. The conference was only so-so - and it lasted 3 1/2 days. It was supposed to be on Gram Positive Pathogens, but it could have been retitled Regulation of Genes made by Gram Positive Pathogens. And since I have no desire to EVER study regulation - it was a stretch for me to sit through 15-20 talks A DAY about it!

But look at my fun new Christmas decoration!!

Vikings Game

Gabe found cheap tickets to the Vikings game yesterday and invited us along. The seats were midway up the upper deck, but we still got to experience the fun pro football atmosphere - not to mention the numerous "Fire Childress" chants that were started. The Vikings played Detroit, but only managed to eek out a win at the end (oh well, a win is a win!).

The most exciting part of the game happened early - the Vikes forced a safety!