Thursday, November 27, 2008

1st Annual Hensch Thanksgiving Day Brunch

So as you probably know, Travis and I are spending our Thanksgiving Day in Seattle. We have already celebrated in Minnesota with the family (with yummy food and great company) a few weeks ago. Travis can't travel around Thanksgiving because everyone has to be at the store on Black Friday. Stupid retail. I wasn't about to leave Travis alone on our first holiday out here, so here we are in Seattle. I decided to make us something special for Thanksgiving, even though it wasn't a turkey.

Well, to start off with, this is definitely no turkey deliciousness. However, it didn't seem to make sense to make a full turkey feast for just me and Travis. Particularly considering Travis is not a huge fan of the turkey day food goodness. It's just not his favorite. So then I would have spent all day cooking for food that gets a "it's alright, thanks, honey" response. Not going to happen.

Thus the 1st Annual Hensch Thanksgiving Day Brunch was born! I made a pan full of baked French toast, complete with homemade caramel sauce and pecans, potatoes O'Brien and breakfast sausages. I guess technically those are all breakfast foods, but I don't want to limit the time we can hold this now annual event, so it will remain titled "brunch". It was the first time I made the baked French toast dish, and I have some more modifications to make to it for the next time I make it (get ready, Lisa and B!) But overall, it was pretty good.
The hardest part of making this meal actually was not having the right kitchen tools. The temporary housing we have right now has fairly crappy and really basic kitchen supplies, and we are missing a lot of essentials in my opinion. We don't have a non-stick skillet, so the potatoes O'Brien didn't get crispy like I wanted them to. I couldn't make any eggs because I didn't have another pan to make them in. Kind of lame...I cannot WAIT to have my own kitchen stuff back. I have all sorts of good stuff that is just sitting in storage now.

I hope everyone is having a happy and fun Thanksgiving! We're going to watch some football and just chill here.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Something I like about the Pacific Northwest: QFC!

One thing that is a little weird about moving is that while the new place has all of the store concepts you are used to, a lot of times, the store executions are way different. Take grocery stores, for example. When I visited Stacy and Cory this summer out in New Jersey, I went to their local grocery store to buy some stuff to make dinner. Everything was in the wrong place, and while they had the food items I wanted, they didn't have any brands I recognized!

I was worried about a similar experience out here in Seattle. I am a fairly brand loyal person, so I want my Country Crock, my Creamette and my Campbell's. So stores should have all of those things. I think I mentioned in a past post that I had a good experience at the West Seattle Safeway when I first moved out here, but it doesn't even compare to the QFC! (We currently shop at the one in University District, but I am sure we will go to the Kent one when we move...I hope there is one in Kent!)

QFC stands for Quality Food Centers, and they are a regional grocery store chain out here in Seattle. They are owned by Kroger, which is one of the largest (if not the largest) national grocery store chain. QFC has got all sorts of great stuff! Their produce and bakery sections always look awesome. Travis says he isn't sure how they always look so good, and even he is impressed by the QFC. To give an example, I went there last night (yes, the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving), and while they were really really crowded, they still had awesome selection. I honestly didn't see any shelves that were empty, and I went up and down every row while shopping. I was most impressed with the bakery section - they had dozens of cakes, pies, cookies and treats still in stock, and at least 40 kinds of bread and rolls for the big Thanksgiving meal. At 6pm! I don't think that happens at any of the grocery stores I went to in MN.

The QFC-made items have all been really good so far. They have this delicious nut and honey granola that we really like. They also have great produce (not cheap though) and a nicely stocked wine and beer section. (Yes, you can buy wine and beer at grocery stores, just not hard alcohol.) B, they also have a ton of kosher products. I even took a picture of the kosher bakery section for you (I don't really know why), but I haven't uploaded any BlackBerry pics to my computer, so you will have to imagine it.

I have devoted an entire post to this grocery store...that should tell you how impressed we have been thus far with them. They are a 24 hour store, the staff has always been super friendly and helpful, and the food is great. Plus they have the QFC Advantage card, which saves you tons of money. (Recent example: Buy 2 12-packs of Diet Coke and get THREE free. Insane deal.)

That's what I have to say about that.


Friday, November 21, 2008

A review of Twilight the movie

As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to reread the Twilight saga in honor of the movie that released today. I bought tickets via Fandango earlier this week, and I dragged Travis to the theater tonight. (Don't tell anyone that Travis saw this. It will ruin his street cred.)

First of all, the AMC Loew's theater in Aurora is not recommended by me. For some reason, Seattle doesn't seem to have many movie theaters, and this one was small and older. Only 6 screens...but the lobby was maybe big enough for two. In addition, they RAN OUT OF POPCORN. What theater does that on a Friday night? And they tried to make more to keep up with the crowds, but only had one of their three machines working. Weird.

On to the movie. It was a totally sold out show, and while there were some adults there, the primary attendees were teenage girls. Some were wearing Twilight tshirts, some had Team Edward or Team Jacob shirts on and some were clearly there because their other friends made them go. A theater full of teenage girls is LOUD. I seriously didn't hear the beginning of the Harry Potter trailer because they all screamed when it came on screen.

The movie was...well, it was okay. It stayed pretty true to the book, but it just seemed like everything was overly dramatic. Seriously, the theater burst into laughter many times...but the scene wasn't meant to be funny. It was just too much. If you haven't read the book, you will be put off by the over-emoting done by Edward and Bella. Bella always seems very confused, and Edward seems to be in pain at all times.

Here are the characters that were well cast: Mike Newton, Jessica, Angela, Charlie, James, Rosalie, Esme and Billy. Edward, Jacob and Bella are all sort of decently cast. Sort of what I expected from the book. The characters I didn't think were well cast were pretty much everyone else. Jasper was made to be particularly weird for some reason, and Carlisle was not at all what I anticipated. Oddly blond. And Victoria didn't have red hair. Not cool.

The biggest things from the book that I thought looked dumb in the movie? The sparkle Edward was bad. The running by the vampires didn't look great. The silver Volvo was a hatchback - NOT what I pictured. Edward comes off as very stalker-like...but that is true to the book.

The things from the book that translated well? Charlie's awkwardness. The vampires' perfect immaculate appearance. Esme and Carlisle's kindness. Jessica's attitude toward Bella. The Port Angeles scene. Prom was okay. Angela.

I think that if you have read the books, you will think the movie is okay. They didn't make massive changes, so the crazy fangirls can calm down. It's clearly set up to do an Edward versus Jacob theme for the next movie. They've also very much set up the Victoria going after Bella storyline.

I don't think I will be buying this movie on DVD. I don't really need to see it over and over again. However, it was worth seeing, particularly because I enjoy the books.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I have decided to reread the Twilight saga in honor of the first movie's release this Friday. If you are unaware (as in you have been living under some sort of rock), Twilight is the first book in a four book series by Stephenie Meyer. Check out Amazon's Twilight Store

Anyways, I first read the series this summer and fell in love with the storyline. I don't generally dig vampires and werewolves, but I was totally sucked in. It has a good blend of romance (ah, Edward), danger, paranormal and normal high school moments. I have all four books on my Kindle, and the Kindle makes it possible for me to read on the bus, even if I have to stand up on the trip. There's no fighting to turn pages while struggling to keep your balance - yay! Twilight absorbs me so much, I don't even really notice the other people on the bus, which is a sign of a great book to me. (Before anyone worries, I am still aware of my surroundings. I am not going to get mugged because the Wicked soundtrack? Let's just say it's good I don't listen to my iPod on the bus...that is such a good soundtrack I could see myself being 100% distracted.)

I have convinced Travis to go with me to the opening of the movie version of Twilight. He definitely does not want to go, but he is still going. :) Thanks, honey!

If you haven't read Twilight yet, I highly recommed it. It's a bit farfetched, but even if you don't like vampires or werewolves, I think you could still like this series. I did!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Do flu shots make you sick?

I stayed home from work today, sick. I can't tell if it is a cold, or if it something worse than that. I did get a flu shot last Wednesday - could that have made me sick? As I hate when people come into work sick (to get everyone else sick!), I stayed home. I spent a lot of the day in a hazy state due to cold medicine. I'm trying to beat this thing by sleep and rest!! Normally, when I get sick, I get REALLY sick. In an effort to stave off the near-dying stage, I am medicating early.

In other news, Travis passed his first round of STL interviews in Portland today! He just rocked the interviews right out the park. They called him less than three hours afterwards to tell him he passed. :) Now it is on to regionals in January. That's AWESOME. I'm so proud of him!!

I am watching the Dancing with the Stars results show, and then going to bed. More NyQuil for me, then hopefully I will feel well tomorrow morning. (Keep your fingers crossed!)


Friday, November 7, 2008

Pictures from the ND weekend!

I took some great pictures at ND last weekend, and it's about time I post them! They are in reverse order because Blogger makes them be that way (boo!) and I didn't want to mess around with moving them around. So deal with it.

I took a lot of pictures this time because the fall colors on campus were really pretty. And I took quite a few "artistic" (or artistic for someone like me, artistically-challenged!) pictures, so enjoy.

Oddly, at the end of the game, during the first overtime, the sprinklers turned on on-field. What the heck? Come on, ND. Weird.
Dad and I at the game!
Dad and I in the stadium with Touchdown Jesus in the background.
Touchdown Jesus from the stadium.
Touchdown Jesus in the reflecting pool. (Artistic?)
Not sure why I took so many pictures of Touchdown Jesus this time, but I did. I like this one.
The greatest college football stadium ever...Notre Dame Stadium!
Dad and I in front of the Golden Dome.
Super artistic leaf shot. It's my desktop background right now. It's yellow and pretty, and very fall-like.
Pretty yellow/red/orange trees.
The Dome and Basilica from across the lake.
Another arty shot. I like the red.
Campus is pretty.
The Grotto. This is the first place I went after I heard the towers fell. Me and lots of fellow Domers. This place is such a great reflecting spot.
A fairly artistic shot of the Basilica, this is probably the best picture I have ever taken on campus. Well, maybe not ever, but close.
A pretty picture of the Dome. This could be in catalogs, that's how great of a photographer I am!
A picture of the leaves changing on God Quad.

I think that's all I will post. A beautiful weekend on's a great retreat. You get religion, sports and culture all in one weekend. :)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My friend's great post on keeping a rational head after today's results

My friend Luna had a seriously awesome post yesterday, and she is letting me post some of it here!

Here's the full post: A plea for a rational reaction to the election

There’s less than a day until the election, and just over 24 hours until it’s all over. Someone new will be elected president. And someone else will not. Some of us will celebrate, and some of us will not. But really, whether our “side” wins or not, we should remember to celebrate the process. That even if we don’t agree with the person who gets elected, that we live in a country where we get to vote. Where we can express disapproval over an election or a president.

I totally agree with this. It is amazing that we can express our opinion, and I am shocked by how many people do NOT do so via voting. PLEASE VOTE.

What I wish we could all do – on either sides – is this: first, see what happens during the first weeks and months of the new administration. It may not be the Evil Empire that the opposition painted it to be during the campaign. Plus, their own campaign rhetoric may not be what they truly intend to implement. Both sides have to play to their bases, and they may put aside what is most controversial once the race is over.

Awesome, a call for rational thought! I add my support to that call. The country will not explode on November 5, regardless of who is elected.

And last, a call to activism. The statement below is how I feel about the Catholic church as well as our government. You have to actively work to enable change. Make your voice heard.

Finally, if you truly disagree with the policies, instead of worrying, actively work for the outcome you want to see on individual bills. Spending election night upset and worried about the future, followed by 8 years of frustration and bitterness will not change the world. Accepting the outcome and then working within the framework of the government we have might. Being able to talk to the “other side” and about the leaders that you disagree with calmly and respectfully instead of from positions of fear, in speech filled with rhetoric, might lead to compromises that we can all support. But if we all become so entrenched that we can’t see that the other side may have some valid points, if we all dig in our heels even more every time we disagree with someone, we’re never going to make any progress.

Thank you, Luna, for your great and thoughtful post! Make sure to go check out her full posting. It's good.

Happy Election Day, everyone!!!