Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas decorations! (plus the Thanksgiving table)

Here's what the dining room table looked like for Thanksgiving dinner: My friend Katie came over today and helped me decorate the house for Christmas, and it was awesome! She's so good at this kind of thing - check out what she did to the table!
Isn't this centerpiece she came up with just awesome?
I love my chargers. I have red and green ones, so where there is a green charger, we used a red votive, and vice versa.
Mistletoe! And check out that bannister...

We did an ornament decoration thing in the bowl in the window next to the front door. It turned out cool!
The bannister really turned out great - we did garland, lights, snowflakes, ornaments and bows. It sounds like a lot, but it looks good.
This is a closeup of the bannister trimmings.
The tree! I did most of the tree myself - Travis hung a few ornaments on it with me last night, and I did the rest this morning. The lights are multicolored, but they do all sorts of cool things, and in this pic, only the yellow lights are on. Rest assured, there are more colors, and more lights than this picture shows!
I had to move the clock table to the other side of the living room so that I could put the tree up. I decided to put my Advent wreath on that table.
My Notre Dame snowman snow globe makes it annual appearance, and this year, it made some other snowman friends!

We also did lights and garland on the outside door - the house looks really nice from the street, because we have the door decorated, then you can see the Christmas tree in the front window, and the bannister in the background.

Thanks so much to Katie for helping me - it was really fun, and I am really happy with how the house turned out. Now I just need to go vacuum up the little green needles, and get a big wreath, and we should be all set!


Friday, November 27, 2009

Um...does Facebook know something I don't?

Check out this ad I got on Facebook...what the heck? Is it trying to tell me that my biological clock is ticking or something?


Sunday, November 1, 2009

New cooking goal - monthly menus!

I won't bother making excuses for my hiatus from blogging. I just didn't do it. Suffice to say, I am alive and we are doing just fine.

I've decided that I'm going to combat the "What should I make for dinner?" battle I have every day. I hate stopping at the grocery store on the way home, with no idea of what to get. I've decided that my goal for November is to create a monthly dinner calendar, so I always know what I am making for dinner!

I sat down and made the menu this weekend. I tried out the larger QFC in Covington (about 10 miles from our house), and they were having a big meat sale, so I picked up most of the meat for the month already! My freezer is pretty full right now, but with this dinner menu, I should remember either the night before or in the morning that I need to defrost something. Wahoo!

Travis has reviewed the menu, and is also excited to try out this monthly dinner menu planning - when he was reading it last night, he said it made him hungry, which I thought was a good sign.

Here's the daily menu (we'll be flexible if we decide we want to go out to dinner, or if we have lots of leftovers we need to eat):

Week One:
  • Sunday - T-bone steaks and roasted onion-coated potatoes
  • Monday - Mango-jalapeno sausage jambalaya
  • Tuesday - Leftovers
  • Wednesday - Chili and cornbread
  • Thursday - French bread pizza
  • Friday - Kebabs
  • Saturday - Chicken wild rice soup (my book club is here too, so I will make a lot)

Week Two:

  • Sunday - Lasagna
  • Monday - Chicken stir fry
  • Tuesday - Travis closes
  • Wednesday - Flank steak (I'll be getting a Bobby Flay recipe for this night)
  • Thursday - Pork chops sauteed in cream of mushroom soup
  • Friday - Ham steaks with pasta
  • Saturday - Smoky beef tacos

Week Three:

  • Sunday - Tuna casserole or spaghetti
  • Monday - Pork tenderloin (Luna suggested this works as a weeknight meal, I am trusting her!)
  • Tuesday - Travis closes
  • Wednesday - Enchiladas
  • Thursday - Stovetop lasagna
  • Friday/Saturday - Samantha in NJ visiting Stacy/Cory/Charlie so Travis will be eating leftovers!

Week Four:

  • Sunday/Monday - Samantha is still in NJ
  • Tuesday - Travis closes
  • Wednesday - Cheeseburgers and french fries
  • Thursday - Thanksgiving! Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Friday - Leftovers or grilled cheese and ravioli
  • Saturday - Carnitas

Week Five:

  • Sunday - Turkey noodle soup
  • Monday - Pork chops and pasta

So that is the plan for November! I hope it goes really well - keep your fingers crossed :)


Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

I've been a terrible blogger of late, but I haven't had much of a chance to take a breath lately.

I was lucky enough to have today (Friday) off of work for the celebration of our great nation's birth, so was looking forward to relaxing. And that's what we are doing! Travis decided to take the day off as well, so we are both just chilling on a beautiful Friday. Maybe we'll take the boat on Lake Washington. Maybe we'll just do nothing. Who knows???

Anyways, rest assured, I am alive. Busy, but alive. Amanda and Blair were here (awesome time), I had some really crazy weeks at work (productive), Clint visited (fun) and I was just in California for work (successful trip). That pretty much recaps the last month or so.

Looking forward to being in MN for some big events in two weeks - we're throwing Lisa and Beth a wedding shower, I have my 10 year high school reunion, my cousin will be in town, all sorts of fun times will be had! Oh, and I am working from MN for a week as well.

That's all I have for now...


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Got cookies?

I do!

I decided today that I wanted to bake some cookies after work. When I got home, I turned on the oven and popped in the Twilight DVD so that I could fully engage in self-indulgence...baking on a weeknight and watching a cheesy romantic vampire movie.

It was wonderful.

I made two different kinds of cookies: chocolate chip-walnut (these always seem to get snatched up at parties, and they are one of Dad's favorites) and oatmeal-raisin (Travis loves these) Did you know that a batch of chocolate chip-walnut dough makes six dozen cookies? That's SEVENTY TWO cookies, people. I made the oatmeal-raisin dough while I was transferring the chocolate chip-walnut batches in and out of the oven, then refrigerated it for a while. The oatmeal-raisin dough made five dozen cookies...for you math majors out there, this means that I have a total of 132 cookies at my house. Well, 130. I ate one of each. :)

Hope Travis likes them!


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

fishing widow

It's official. I'm a fishing widow again. Travis and his friend Buddy are now heading up to Curlew to participate in a tiger muskie tournament, so I am holding down the fort here in Kent. It's weird, almost everyone at work is in New York this week for a conference, so I am holding down the fort there, too!


OK, so for my first night as a fishing widow, I am watching some bad TV that Travis would not like, and eating food he isn't a huge fan of. So I am taking advantage of this!

Choir tomorrow night, a massage on Sunday, the first softball game on my work softball team this weekend...I'll keep busy!


Monday, May 18, 2009

President Obama's Commencement Address at Notre Dame

Text of Obama's speech from 5/17/09 (from the White House):
Well, first of all, congratulations, Class of 2009. Congratulations to all the parents, the cousins — the aunts, the uncles — all the people who helped to bring you to the point that you are here today. Thank you so much to Father Jenkins for that extraordinary introduction, even though you said what I want to say much more elegantly. You are doing an extraordinary job as president of this extraordinary institution. Your continued and courageous — and contagious — commitment to honest, thoughtful dialogue is an inspiration to us all.

Good afternoon. To Father Hesburgh, to Notre Dame trustees, to faculty, to family: I am honored to be here today. And I am grateful to all of you for allowing me to be a part of your graduation.

And I also want to thank you for the honorary degree that I received. I know it has not been without controversy. I dont know if youre aware of this, but these honorary degrees are apparently pretty hard to come by. So far I'm only 1 for 2 as President. Father Hesburgh is 150 for 150. I guess that's better. So, Father Ted, after the ceremony, maybe you can give me some pointers to boost my average.

I also want to congratulate the Class of 2009 for all your accomplishments. And since this is Notre Dame ...

(Speech is interrupted by anti-abortion protesters.)

We're fine, everybody. We're following Brennans adage that we dont do things easily. We're not going to shy away from things that are uncomfortable sometimes.

Now, since this is Notre Dame I think we should talk not only about your accomplishments in the classroom, but also in the competitive arena. No, dont worry, I'm not going to talk about that. We all know about this university's proud and storied football team, but I also hear that Notre Dame holds the largest outdoor 5-on-5 basketball tournament in the world — Bookstore Basketball.

Now this excites me. I want to congratulate the winners of this year's tournament, a team by the name of "Hallelujah Holla Back." Congratulations. Well done. Though I have to say, I am personally disappointed that the "Barack OBallers" did not pull it out this year. So next year, if you need a 6-2 forward with a decent jumper, you know where I live.

Every one of you should be proud of what you have achieved at this institution. One hundred and sixty-three classes of Notre Dame graduates have sat where you sit today. Some were here during years that simply rolled into the next without much notice or fanfare — periods of relative peace and prosperity that required little by way of sacrifice or struggle.

You, however, are not getting off that easy. You have a different deal. Your class has come of age at a moment of great consequence for our nation and for the world — a rare inflection point in history where the size and scope of the challenges before us require that we remake our world to renew its promise; that we align our deepest values and commitments to the demands of a new age. It's a privilege and a responsibility afforded to few generations — and a task that youre now called to fulfill.

This generation, your generation is the one that must find a path back to prosperity and decide how we respond to a global economy that left millions behind even before the most recent crisis hit — an economy where greed and short-term thinking were too often rewarded at the expense of fairness, and diligence, and an honest day's work.

Your generation must decide how to save God's creation from a changing climate that threatens to destroy it. Your generation must seek peace at a time when there are those who will stop at nothing to do us harm, and when weapons in the hands of a few can destroy the many. And we must find a way to reconcile our ever-shrinking world with its ever-growing diversity — diversity of thought, diversity of culture, and diversity of belief.

In short, we must find a way to live together as one human family. And it's this last challenge that Id like to talk about today, despite the fact that Father John stole all my best lines. For the major threats we face in the 21st century — whether it's global recession or violent extremism; the spread of nuclear weapons or pandemic disease — these things do not discriminate. They do not recognize borders. They do not see color. They do not target specific ethnic groups.

Moreover, no one person, or religion, or nation can meet these challenges alone. Our very survival has never required greater cooperation and greater understanding among all people from all places than at this moment in history.

Unfortunately, finding that common ground — recognizing that our fates are tied up, as Dr. King said, in a "single garment of destiny" — is not easy. And part of the problem, of course, lies in the imperfections of man — our selfishness, our pride, our stubbornness, our acquisitiveness, our insecurities, our egos; all the cruelties large and small that those of us in the Christian tradition understand to be rooted in original sin. We too often seek advantage over others. We cling to outworn prejudice and fear those who are unfamiliar. Too many of us view life only through the lens of immediate self-interest and crass materialism; in which the world is necessarily a zero-sum game. The strong too often dominate the weak, and too many of those with wealth and with power find all manner of justification for their own privilege in the face of poverty and injustice. And so, for all our technology and scientific advances, we see here in this country and around the globe violence and want and strife that would seem sadly familiar to those in ancient times.

We know these things; and hopefully one of the benefits of the wonderful education that you've received here at Notre Dame is that you've had time to consider these wrongs in the world; perhaps recognized impulses in yourself that you want to leave behind. You've grown determined, each in your own way, to right them. And yet, one of the vexing things for those of us interested in promoting greater understanding and cooperation among people is the discovery that even bringing together persons of good will, bringing together men and women of principle and purpose — even accomplishing that can be difficult.

The soldier and the lawyer may both love this country with equal passion, and yet reach very different conclusions on the specific steps needed to protect us from harm. The gay activist and the evangelical pastor may both deplore the ravages of HIV/AIDS, but find themselves unable to bridge the cultural divide that might unite their efforts. Those who speak out against stem cell research may be rooted in an admirable conviction about the sacredness of life, but so are the parents of a child with juvenile diabetes who are convinced that their son's or daughter's hardships can be relieved.

The question, then — the question then is how do we work through these conflicts? Is it possible for us to join hands in common effort? As citizens of a vibrant and varied democracy, how do we engage in vigorous debate? How does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we consider right, without, as Father John said, demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side?

And of course, nowhere do these questions come up more powerfully than on the issue of abortion.

As I considered the controversy surrounding my visit here, I was reminded of an encounter I had during my Senate campaign, one that I describe in a book I wrote called "The Audacity of Hope." A few days after I won the Democratic nomination, I received an e-mail from a doctor who told me that while he voted for me in the Illinois primary, he had a serious concern that might prevent him from voting for me in the general election. He described himself as a Christian who was strongly pro-life — but that was not what was preventing him potentially from voting for me.

What bothered the doctor was an entry that my campaign staff had posted on my Web site — an entry that said I would fight "right-wing ideologues who want to take away a woman's right to choose." The doctor said he had assumed I was a reasonable person, he supported my policy initiatives to help the poor and to lift up our educational system, but that if I truly believed that every pro-life individual was simply an ideologue who wanted to inflict suffering on women, then I was not very reasonable. He wrote, "I do not ask at this point that you oppose abortion, only that you speak about this issue in fair-minded words." Fair-minded words.

After I read the doctor's letter, I wrote back to him and I thanked him. And I didn't change my underlying position, but I did tell my staff to change the words on my Web site. And I said a prayer that night that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that the doctor had extended to me. Because when we do that — when we open up our hearts and our minds to those who may not think precisely like we do or believe precisely what we believe — that's when we discover at least the possibility of common ground.

That's when we begin to say, "Maybe we won't agree on abortion, but we can still agree that this heart-wrenching decision for any woman is not made casually, it has both moral and spiritual dimensions."

So let us work together to reduce the number of women seeking abortions, let's reduce unintended pregnancies. Let's make adoption more available. Let's provide care and support for women who do carry their children to term. Let's honor the conscience of those who disagree with abortion, and draft a sensible conscience clause, and make sure that all of our health care policies are grounded not only in sound science, but also in clear ethics, as well as respect for the equality of women." Those are things we can do.

Now, understand — understand, Class of 2009, I do not suggest that the debate surrounding abortion can or should go away. Because no matter how much we may want to fudge it — indeed, while we know that the views of most Americans on the subject are complex and even contradictory — the fact is that at some level, the views of the two camps are irreconcilable. Each side will continue to make its case to the public with passion and conviction. But surely we can do so without reducing those with differing views to caricature.

Open hearts. Open minds. Fair-minded words. It's a way of life that has always been the Notre Dame tradition. Father Hesburgh has long spoken of this institution as both a lighthouse and a crossroads. A lighthouse that stands apart, shining with the wisdom of the Catholic tradition, while the crossroads is where "differences of culture and religion and conviction can coexist with friendship, civility, hospitality, and especially love." And I want to join him and Father John in saying how inspired I am by the maturity and responsibility with which this class has approached the debate surrounding today's ceremony. You are an example of what Notre Dame is about.

This tradition of cooperation and understanding is one that I learned in my own life many years ago — also with the help of the Catholic Church.

You see, I was not raised in a particularly religious household, but my mother instilled in me a sense of service and empathy that eventually led me to become a community organizer after I graduated college. And a group of Catholic churches in Chicago helped fund an organization known as the Developing Communities Project, and we worked to lift up South Side neighborhoods that had been devastated when the local steel plant closed.

And it was quite an eclectic crew — Catholic and Protestant churches, Jewish and African American organizers, working-class black, white, and Hispanic residents — all of us with different experiences, all of us with different beliefs. But all of us learned to work side by side because all of us saw in these neighborhoods other human beings who needed our help — to find jobs and improve schools. We were bound together in the service of others.

And something else happened during the time I spent in these neighborhoods — perhaps because the church folks I worked with were so welcoming and understanding; perhaps because they invited me to their services and sang with me from their hymnals; perhaps because I was really broke and they fed me. Perhaps because I witnessed all of the good works their faith inspired them to perform, I found myself drawn not just to the work with the church; I was drawn to be in the church. It was through this service that I was brought to Christ.

And at the time, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin was the Archbishop of Chicago. For those of you too young to have known him or known of him, he was a kind and good and wise man. A saintly man. I can still remember him speaking at one of the first organizing meetings I attended on the South Side. He stood as both a lighthouse and a crossroads — unafraid to speak his mind on moral issues ranging from poverty and AIDS and abortion to the death penalty and nuclear war. And yet, he was congenial and gentle in his persuasion, always trying to bring people together, always trying to find common ground. Just before he died, a reporter asked Cardinal Bernardin about this approach to his ministry. And he said, "You can't really get on with preaching the Gospel until you've touched hearts and minds."

My heart and mind were touched by him. They were touched by the words and deeds of the men and women I worked alongside in parishes across Chicago. And Id like to think that we touched the hearts and minds of the neighborhood families whose lives we helped change. For this, I believe, is our highest calling.

Now, you, Class of 2009, are about to enter the next phase of your life at a time of great uncertainty. You'll be called to help restore a free market that's also fair to all who are willing to work. You'll be called to seek new sources of energy that can save our planet; to give future generations the same chance that you had to receive an extraordinary education. And whether as a person drawn to public service, or simply someone who insists on being an active citizen, you will be exposed to more opinions and ideas broadcast through more means of communication than ever existed before. You'll hear talking heads scream on cable, and you'll read blogs that claim definitive knowledge, and you will watch politicians pretend they know what they're talking about. Occasionally, you may have the great fortune of actually seeing important issues debated by people who do know what they're talking about — by well-intentioned people with brilliant minds and mastery of the facts. In fact, I suspect that some of you will be among those brightest stars.

And in this world of competing claims about what is right and what is true, have confidence in the values with which you've been raised and educated. Be unafraid to speak your mind when those values are at stake. Hold firm to your faith and allow it to guide you on your journey. In other words, stand as a lighthouse.

But remember, too, that you can be a crossroads. Remember, too, that the ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt. It's the belief in things not seen. It's beyond our capacity as human beings to know with certainty what God has planned for us or what He asks of us. And those of us who believe must trust that His wisdom is greater than our own.

And this doubt should not push us away our faith. But it should humble us. It should temper our passions, cause us to be wary of too much self-righteousness. It should compel us to remain open and curious and eager to continue the spiritual and moral debate that began for so many of you within the walls of Notre Dame. And within our vast democracy, this doubt should remind us even as we cling to our faith to persuade through reason, through an appeal whenever we can to universal rather than parochial principles, and most of all through an abiding example of good works and charity and kindness and service that moves hearts and minds.

For if there is one law that we can be most certain of, it is the law that binds people of all faiths and no faith together. It's no coincidence that it exists in Christianity and Judaism; in Islam and Hinduism; in Buddhism and humanism. It is, of course, the Golden Rule — the call to treat one another as we wish to be treated. The call to love. The call to serve. To do what we can to make a difference in the lives of those with whom we share the same brief moment on this Earth.

So many of you at Notre Dame — by the last count, upwards of 80 percent — have lived this law of love through the service you've performed at schools and hospitals; international relief agencies and local charities. Brennan is just one example of what your class has accomplished. That's incredibly impressive, a powerful testament to this institution.

Now you must carry the tradition forward. Make it a way of life. Because when you serve, it doesn't just improve your community, it makes you a part of your community. It breaks down walls. It fosters cooperation. And when that happens — when people set aside their differences, even for a moment, to work in common effort toward a common goal; when they struggle together, and sacrifice together, and learn from one another — then all things are possible.

After all, I stand here today, as President and as an African American, on the 55th anniversary of the day that the Supreme Court handed down the decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Now, Brown was of course the first major step in dismantling the "separate but equal" doctrine, but it would take a number of years and a nationwide movement to fully realize the dream of civil rights for all of God's children. There were freedom rides and lunch counters and Billy clubs, and there was also a Civil Rights Commission appointed by President Eisenhower. It was the 12 resolutions recommended by this commission that would ultimately become law in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

There were six members of this commission. It included five whites and one African American; Democrats and Republicans; two Southern governors, the dean of a Southern law school, a Midwestern university president, and your own Father Ted Hesburgh, President of Notre Dame. So they worked for two years, and at times, President Eisenhower had to intervene personally since no hotel or restaurant in the South would serve the black and white members of the commission together. And finally, when they reached an impasse in Louisiana, Father Ted flew them all to Notre Dame's retreat in Land OLakes, Wisconsin — where they eventually overcame their differences and hammered out a final deal.

And years later, President Eisenhower asked Father Ted how on Earth he was able to broker an agreement between men of such different backgrounds and beliefs. And Father Ted simply said that during their first dinner in Wisconsin, they discovered they were all fishermen. And so he quickly readied a boat for a twilight trip out on the lake. They fished, and they talked, and they changed the course of history.

I will not pretend that the challenges we face will be easy, or that the answers will come quickly, or that all our differences and divisions will fade happily away — because life is not that simple. It never has been. But as you leave here today, remember the lessons of Cardinal Bernardin, of Father Hesburgh, of movements for change both large and small. Remember that each of us, endowed with the dignity possessed by all children of God, has the grace to recognize ourselves in one another; to understand that we all seek the same love of family, the same fulfillment of a life well lived. Remember that in the end, in some way we are all fishermen.

If nothing else, that knowledge should give us faith that through our collective labor, and God's providence, and our willingness to shoulder each other's burdens, America will continue on its precious journey towards that more perfect union. Congratulations, Class of 2009. May God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.


Wish I could have been there.


Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nice weather weekend!

I am hoping that the weather we've had this past weekend is a good indication of what summer means to Seattle! It's been gorgeous for the past two days - 70 degrees, slight breeze and SUNNY! (Who knew that Seattle got sun?)

I'm still working on getting my eye to 100% - I have these prescription eye drops that have bene helping a lot - so I have been taking a low key weekend. I've done all sorts of laundry (I'll hit up the bedding today) and cleaned the house a bit. We're having Travis' team over for dinner on Wednesday night, and that's also when Luna and Cat Wrangler arrive! (Yay, houseguests!)

I'm off to go prep some more rooms of the house for entertaining and guests - wish me luck :)


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wacked out allergy or something worse? Yikes

This morning on the train, I breathed in something that apparently did not like me. As a matter of fact, it appears that I must be allergic to something here. However, it seems like the allergy only affects my left eye and nostril - what the heck is that all about?

What happens with this allergy thing (?) is that it looks like I have been crying (because my left eye constantly tears up), my left nostril runs whenever the eye tears, and my eye gets all hot and puffy. Awesome. By lunch today, it was bugging me so much that I went down to the local Rite Aid and get some allergy medication. I spoke with Mom and the pharmacist, and I ended up getting Zyrtec D. I took it at 1:30, and have yet to see much improvement. In fact, I had to leave work early today and go work from home for the rest of the afternoon so I could take my contacts out and see if I could soothe my inflamed eye!

This are definitely not the most flattering picture ever (in fact, it's quite terrible), but I wanted
to show how puffy my eye got today. Two guesses as to which eye is affected!

I'm pretty sure it isn't pink eye, because it feels like something in my nose triggers the tears and runny nose.

Travis was very nice and got me some ice cream because he thought it might make me feel better. It didn't, but it did taste good! :)

Here's hoping this goes away overnight!!!!


First fire!

So we didn't have a fire on Saturday (the day I bought the fire bowl), but we did have one on Sunday afternoon/evening. The weather was nice most of the afternoon, so the fire turned out nice. It rained a bit later on in the evening, and that put the fire out, but it was good while it lasted. Here are a few pics of the fire bowl I built on our patio.

Here is a picture of some of the beautiful blooming shrubs we have out in our back yard area alongside the house. The azaleas (I think that is what they are) are particularly pretty (they're yellow!) We've got some pretty nice landscaping! :)

Some day this summer, Travis is going to actually dig a fire pit out in the backyard, and we won't need the fire bowl on the pavers. Until then, though, we'll be able to have lovely backyard bonfires right on the patio!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Fire bowl for the Hensch house

I realized today that I hadn't been to a Target store since Mom was in town. This means that I literally hadn't been to the Bullseye in over three weeks! Even worse, I didn't even realize it - Travis texted me today to see if I would go buy a fire bowl, and I thought, "Whoa, I wonder if Target even has the outdoor stuff out..." In Minnesota, this simply could not have occurred. In Minnesota, I went to Target at least 4-5 times per week. (The SuperTarget was less than a mile away from the house, it was super convenient.) I knew what was on display!

Target, I am sorry! I'd say it won't happen again, but it probably will. The grocery store aspect of SuperTarget was likely why I went to so often. Washington state doesn't have any SuperTargets.

Anyways, as the title of this post suggests, we are now the proud owners of a fire bowl! I picked up the Odessa (I think) fire bowl today, and was able to use both my employee discount (well, spousal discount) and a 10% off card that we had from using the Target pharmacy ten times. Sweet deal! I brought it home, and sat out on the patio to build it. It was surprisingly easy to build, even for me. I also picked up some firewood, so we should be set.

As I mentioned, Travis texted me today while he was out fishing, asking me to go get this so we could have a fire tonight. (The weather today has been gorgeous.) Ironically, he is now sleeping on the couch because he is tired from fishing and playoff hockey is on TV. We'll see if we have a fire tonight or not!! :)

Luna and CW, hopefully we will be able to have a nice fire - cross your fingers for good weather.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

First post of May!

Sorry for bad blogging of late! With houseguests and traveling and a really busy time at work, I haven't been able to find a lot of time to blog. Here are some updates of what's been going on in my life lately.

Easter and family visit
I already posted pictures of Easter Sunday, but I didn't say much about the family being here. Let me tell you, it was awesome!! Mom, Mary and Jessie were here for the whole week, and I took a couple of those days off of work. On my days off, we explored downtown Kent, visiting all of the little shops. We went to a used bookstore, Chair and Trellis (I got some more stuff to decorate the Hensch house), some fun local lunch places and more. It was lots of fun. When I had to work, Mom, Mary and Jessie visited downtown Seattle (including the Seattle Mystery Bookshop), did a boat cruise on Lake Washington and checked out Fremont (where they saw the Troll). On Friday, I took a half day, and we really enjoyed Tacoma. We went to the Tacoma Glass Museum - Chihuly is incredible, and had dinner at Katie Downs. Yum!

Fargo trip
I went to Fargo last weekend for the Fargo MS Walk - the whole family was there, and it was so much fun! I would post pictures, but they were taken on other people's cameras, so I don't have any yet. It was really great to stay with Amanda and Blair (even though their cat Smoky wants to kill least Faye likes me) - they were wonderful hosts. While in Fargo, we picked out our bridesmaid dresses for Lisa and Beth's wedding. (Oh yeah, have I mentioned that they are getting married in September?! Sweet!!!) I like my dress, now I just need to get shoes and get it hemmed.

American Idol and Dancing with the Stars
Yep, I love these two shows. I have been watching nearly every week, and here are my predictions. I think Adam or dark horse Kris will win American Idol, and I think Gilles/Cheryl will win Dancing with the Stars. In case you cared. :) Who do you think will win??

I'm making pulled pork tomorrow for the first time ever, I will keep you posted on how it goes.

Well, that's all I have for the moment. I will try to be better about blogging this month - if nothing else, I will have to give reviews of the awesome-looking summer movies coming out...we're seeing Wolverine tonight!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Whirlwind week before heading to Fargo

Yep, I had houseguests all last week, and then this week I have a whirlwind of stuff to do before I can head out to Fargo to see Amanda and the rest of the family. I am super pumped about going to Moorhead (I know, it's April and it's cold there, but hey, the family is there!)

I think I have my house about back in order after guests, and am about ready to pack up a few things for my weekend trip.

Then it's back to business as usual here in Kent until Luna and Cat Wrangler come out to visit at the end of May.

And happy early birthday to my best friend, Stacy!!


Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter 2009 was a success

Well folks, Easter Sunday has come and gone. For those who voted in my poll, I know you have bene wondering which set of china I decided to use. Honestly, I was going to use the white tablecloth and the platinum dishes, but discovered yesterday morning that my white tablecloth is too small for our new dining room set! This meant I had to use the gold tablecloth, and thus the gold dishes. However, I think it still looked great, I was VERY pleased. Here's the table with all of the food on it, and we surely had a feast!
Travis and I in front of my handiwork. (No, Travis didn't do any of this.)
I made these delicious (and cute!) berry cobbler desserts for everyone, so we had both carrot cake, and these. Yum!
Sadly, now Dad has left to go back to Minnesota, but I still have Mom, Mary and Jessie here, so we are going to have a fun time!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Cake decorating success!!

I channeled my inner Luna, and was able to successfully bake, assemble and decorate a three layer cake for Easter Sunday! Here are some pictures of the delicious carrot cake (yep, I had a little taste before I decorated, just to make sure it was okay for guests...hehe) - for those of you who don't know, I am NOT a good cake decorator, so this was a big win for me.

You probably won't see this in a store, but I think it looks yummy!


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter guests arrive tomorrow!

Mom and Dad get here tomorrow at around 4 - I am pumped! Mary and Jessie get here on Saturday afternoon. I am taking off Friday, Monday and Tuesday, and am really excited to show my parents our house. This will be the first time Mom's been to Seattle since I moved.

Fun times!!


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Which place setting should I use?? A reader poll

Please take a look at the two fancy place settings I have, and vote in the comments as to which one I should use for Easter (next Sunday!)

Platinum rimmed china with Waterford crystal stemware:

Or gold rimmed china with Reidel crystal stemware:

I realize that this decision might be life changing for some of you, so please take a minute to vote. I will take a picture of the "winning" table before I serve dinner next weekend. :)

Also, any opinion on tablecloth or no tablecloth? I have a gold damask tablecloth or a white linen tablecloth. I will be using white linen napkins.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Really delicious smoky beef tacos

I'm back on the food blogging, people. Today I made a pretty involved meal, though tacos tend to be easy. Travis and I found a picture that looked really good in the Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine, and I decided to try to make it.

Enter smoky beef tacos with two special toppings - crema cilantro plus tomato and corn salsa. I also made cumin rice (eh) and a spicy pineapple salad (which was really good). I made the beef by taking a boneless beef chuck roast, and putting it in a Dutch oven with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, tomato sauce, vinegar, garlic and salt. The beef takes about two hours to cook, so while that was roasting away in the oven, I started working on the other pieces of the meal.

Rather than make our typical tacos with ground beef and the basic toppings, this version really kicks it up a notch.

The spicy pineapple salad is essentially lightly browned pineapples plus thinly sliced jalapenos and pepper. It was surprisingly tasty - it is served warm, and the heat from the jalapenos really tastes good with the sweet pineapple.

Crema cilantro sauce is just sour cream with lime juice and lots of cilantro. Travis liked it on the tacos, but said that it wouldn't be very good on its own. That makes sense. The tomato and corn salsa clearly includes both tomatoes and corn (I quartered grape tomatoes and rinsed canned corn), and also includes some sliced jalapenos and red wine vinegar. It tastes really good on the tacos.

I toasted the soft corn tortillas, and then our meal was set! From start to finish (including grocery shopping and cleanup), the meal took about 3 hours, so it's definitely a weekend thing. However, now I have some chipotle beef leftovers, so we will have enough to make fajitas later this week. Yum!

Sorry, no pictures :(


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I don't have anything against the South

But apparently, I really don't go there!

Samantha has visited 36 states (72%)
Create your own visited map of The United States

Weird! Honestly, the only reason I have ever visited the southeastern portion of the US is because of work trips, and I was just able to add the Carolinas this year. Also, it is somewhat ironic that I haven't been to any of the states surrounding my current location. It's almost like Washington state is an island.

Kind of a funny little map.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Easter menu planning

Someone recently told me (OK, it was Beth) that she was sad that she didn't know what was going on for me food-wise lately. I went back and looked, and she's right. Apparently, I haven't talked enough about food in the past few weeks. Therefore, this post will be entirely devoted to one upcoming meal.


OK, well, folks, it is time to get serious about Easter menu planning. I think I have a pretty solid idea of what I am going to make for Easter Sunday.

-Deviled eggs - because it is Easter, we have to have some sort of egg thing, right?
-Cheese and crackers - Target has some delicious crackers that I will use for this one
-Veggie platter with ranch dip (or maybe I will make a homemade onion dip?)

-Spinach salad with almonds, cranberries, perhaps strawberries and grated parmesan cheese with raspberry viniagrette

Main course:
-Slow cooked smoked ham - now, most people would add a glaze like brown sugar, peach, pineapple or mustard, but that certainly is not happening at my house. I cannot stand "sweet on meat" flavor combinations, and I HATE mustard, so that is out. I've always enjoyed smoked ham as is - it is so delicious and salty without adding anything to it.
-Mashed potatoes - because creamy mashed potatoes are so wonderful
-Either scalloped or au gratin potatoes - even though I don't like them, I know a lot of people look forward to creamy/cheesy potatoes at Easter. They will be satisfied at my house!
-Buttered corn - a good, traditional vegetable dish
-Steamed broccoli - I just like broccoli
-Rolls - I am going to go with Pillsbury's Grands Biscuits - I could eat a million (or a "meeel-yun", as Charlie would say)

-Carrot cake - everyone loves when I make this, and Easter seems like the perfect time to have carrot cake - I've got some plans on how to make it look more fancy than usual for the special occasion
-Berry cookie cobbler - I found the cutest little Easter ramekins at Target, and they will be perfect to make personal desserts for my guests. A few years ago, I made something called berry cookie cobbler out of Sandra Lee's Semi-Homemade Cooking cookbook, and it was ridiculously easy and really tasty. I'll serve it with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. It will be a great addition to the overall meal.

I think the menu is pretty close to set. Any suggestions for substitutes or additions? Let me know. :)


Sunday, March 15, 2009

We got a new GMC Sierra Denali!

Goodbye, Dodge Durango! This is the last picture we have of the Dodge (taken yesterday evening at 6pm):
Hello, new GMC Sierra Denali!! The lease was nearly up on our Durango, and so Travis and I have been test driving and researching trucks for the past few weeks. (Well, Travis has been doing more of that than me.) Yesterday, on a rainy (shocking) Saturday, we decided to pull the trigger and get a new truck. We spent the whole day on this quest, and even I test drove the truck finalist...just to make sure I was at least semi-comfortable with the truck we were going to buy.

The winning truck is the GMC Sierra Denali and we went with the sleek looking black one. It is tricked out, with pretty much every upgrade imaginable, including heating and COOLING seats, heated steering wheel, integrated navigation system in dash, back up camera, all sorts of stuff! Below are some pictures I took of the truck today when the rain broke for a little while. Travis and I took several drives thus far in the new's pretty sweet. We headed down to the State Capitol in Olympia today, and spent a little time down there. We checked out a little restaurant on the water called Tugboat Annie's. We also went to Tacoma and found some really great waterfront restaurant options that we are going to keep on deck for us, including Katie Downs. That's for another day, maybe when Mom/Dad/Mary/Jessie are here. (That's less than a month from now, by the way, I am SO Easter planning is going to go into overdrive soon!!!)

Yay for us! Travis is pretty excited about his new truck - he loves it.

Friday, March 13, 2009

A general update - pictures of the house and other miscellaneous stuff

Folks, I have been remiss in sharing recent pictures. I've been keeping busy, and haven't been too up on the blogging. (Sorry!) I am going to remedy this now, so take a look at some of the things I've been up to lately.

I made a homemade German chocolate cake with fresh cocoa frosting for the choir before we performed in the Saturday showing of Great Music. Apparently, people liked guy had three pieces! :) (Note the ultra fancy cake plate...aka the lid of a large Tupperware container that I used as my cake transporter. Hehe.)
Yes, friends, I got a Kindle 2. I know, I know, I already had a Kindle 1 (actually, that's Amanda's that is pictured below, but you get the point), but I needed the newest one! I must say, I love it. Even more than the original one. I've read a bunch of books on it already...I've really gotten into the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. They are hilarious.
The kitty I found in my garage spent a little bit of time in our house before making the journey to Minnesota. The now-named Lady June (fka Pirate, Outdoor Kitty and Junebug) explored a bit...the Ninja (aka Indoor Kitty) did NOT appreciate it. Doesn't Ninja look mad in this pic?
Outdoor kitty slept on me while I took a nap before the red eye flight back to Minnesota. What a little cutie. (I, on the other hand, look sleeeeeepy.)
This is what our dining room looks like. I really like the furniture, it looks very nice.
I bought a new rug for the living room, which was pretty brave considering the furniture for the room didn't come until today, and I bought red furniture. The paintings you see laid out on the floor actually tie the rug and the furniture together really well. We are hanging most of our art this weekend, so maybe I will have more pictures to share at the end of the weekend.
Ta da! The red furniture! I got it from LaZBoy, and I can't stress how bad their customer service has been over the past 8 weeks. I couldn't believe how bad the process was with them - if I had known how they worked in advance, I definitely wouldn't have bought from them.
This is the arrangement of family photos I have in the niche above the TV in the family room. I have a bunch more pictures that I am planning on hanging in the hallway, and am working on getting coordinating frames for that project.
Here is a view of most of the family room wall. And as an added bonus, you get a screen shot of Becoming Jane.
And there you have a run down of some of the things that I have been up to lately!

Monday, March 9, 2009

MS Walk 2009

That's right, folks, it's time for the annual MS Walk! This year, because I have moved to Washington, it was up in the air as to which walk I should lend my walking shoes to. And the answer is...Fargo, ND and Minneapolis, MN! (Both?! Whoa!)

I will be physically walking in Fargo, ND (and making a visit out to Fargo!), but collecting donations for the team I am captaining (AmandaJCR) in the Twin Cities. The rest of the team is doing two walks - the one in Fargo and the one in Minneapolis - but I can only make one trip out to Minnesota in such a short time frame.

There are several ways you can make a difference! You have several places you can sponsor me in the walks this year - the my personal page for the MN walk, the team page for AmandaJCR, or my sister Amanda's team up in Fargo, the Wildcat Walkers! Please consider making a donation this year - I know times are hard this year, and I definitely understand that. However, any size donation helps us get closer to finding a cure for MS.

For anyone who missed it last year, I did an interview with Amanda and her experience with MS. Please take a minute to (re-)read this post, because I think it is important that you understand why I walk - it's for Amanda!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Pirate has a new home and a new name

Pirate has made it safely to Minnesota, and is starting to settle into life at its new home. The other cats are not enthusiastic about this new addition...lots of hissing right now. The kitty has been renamed - this afternoon, the kitty was dubbed Junebug. Cute! Sadly, that's not related to swashbuckling or thievery, but that's okay I suppose. Junebug is a cute name.

Now I am hanging out at Lisa's STP place for a couple of minutes (hello, Guitar Hero!) before I hop on a plane back to Seattle. The time at home was great - all the Schmid kids were in the same spot at the same time for several hours yesterday, which was fun. It was awesome to spend time with my parents...definitely miss the family a lot.

By the way, I saw the movie Taking Chance last night. See it, it's INCREDIBLE. It was so amazing.

Anyways, good weekend. Too short. Very whirlwind. But glad I made it home :) Lisa told me that Minneapolis wasn't the same without me, and I told her that I wasn't the same without Minneapolis!


Friday, February 27, 2009

Minnesota, here I come!

Yay, the countdown has finally come to an end. I will be getting on a plane in four hours, and I will be back in Minnesota in 8 hours.

I will have a busy weekend back home, spending as much time as possible with my family, singing with the GA choir on Saturday night at Mass, and meeting with the new renters of our Chaska place to sign the lease and finalize a walk through. All in 36 hours!

I'm very excited to see I just have to pack!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I have decided to plunge fully into Twitter. Crazy.

Follow me at

Be prepared for 140 characters of fun.


Friday, February 20, 2009

Great Music for Great Cathedrals Seattle 2009

If you are interested in attending a neat concert/performance, mark Friday, February 20 or Saturday, February 21 on your calendar.

The St. James Cathedral Choir (of which I am a member) along with all of the other cathedral musicians (choirs, brass, soloists, organs, et al) will be performing the annual program entitled Great Music for Great Cathedrals at St. James Cathedral in Seattle. This is my first year participating, but according to the press (and choir members who have been involved in the past), it’s really awesome. (Check out this article about last year:

St. James Cathedral presents

February 20 & 21 8:00 pm


This popular Seattle tradition returns with the renowned Cathedral Choir of St. James and Women of St. James Schola leading an evening of sound, light, movement, poetry and above all—MUSIC, with all of the Cathedral choirs, 16-member Cathedral Brass, and three pipe organs. directed by James Savage. Jeff Robbins, lighting designer, Kitty Kavanaugh, scenic designs.

Suggested donation $25.00, students and seniors pay as able. 206-382-4874


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pirate Update: Ahoy, Matey!

I'll be in Minnesota for the weekend of February 28-March 1! Why, you ask? Other than I desperately miss my family, I am also bringing a new little family member back to my parents.

No. I am not preggers. (Lisa, I am telling you that on MySpace someday. If our MySpace accounts are still active may need to change to Facebook.)

I am bringing the kitty I rescued back to Mama Bear!! I took Pirate to the vet tonight, and it got a clean bill of health and a bunch of vaccines. It's officially a girl, and other than being on the skinny side, the vet said she was just fine. Travis is now miffed with me because I have let it into the house (only into one of the three bathrooms in the house!) until next Friday night, when I take the red eye to MN.

Who knows, Travis may relegate it to the garage again...but at least it won't go to the out outside...I picked up a cheap litter box for Pirate, and technically, we would put that in the garage and keep the garage door all the way closed.

But for now, Pirate is living in STYLE.


PS. I personally vote for the Pirate name to stay. Though Aunt Sandy did come up with a cute name with Abby. Luna, you always have good names - any ideas???

Monday, February 16, 2009

Made me laugh

I saw this on a blog, and it made me laugh out loud:

Edward Cullen vs Harry Potter.

Let's view the pros and cons.

Edward Cullen.

Pros - Very handsome. Can save you from ultimate danger.
Cons - May crush you and is prone to bite pillows

Harry Potter

Pros - Can save you from the evil Voldemort. What? He's already dead? Then why's Harry good? Oh, yes. Potter has good character. Have to admire that character...
Cons - Can kill you with a stick if angered



Sunday, February 15, 2009

FOUND: Cat in Kent, WA

So when Travis moved the boat to our house in Kent, he discovered that he would need to make a very small modification to the garage to make the boat fit. He hadn't made that change yet, so the garage door had been open about 6 inches along the bottom for the past few weeks. Last week, I discovered that a stray kitty appeared to be hanging around the house, and yesterday, I confirmed that the kitty has been staying in our garage.

The kitty seems really friendly and comes right up to us and meows pitifully at us. It's clearly starving; when you pet it, you can feel all the ribs of the poor thing. It seems to me like it was somebody's pet...its fur is pretty thick, and it's pretty clean overall. It also seems to really like being around people. We set up a little towel bed next to the furnace in the garage so it could stay warm, and gave it some food and water (which it CLEARLY had tried to get in our garbage last night before we discovered it really was sticking around our garage.) Now that it has been fed, and has a little bed out of the cold rain, it's a very purr-y kitty!

We don't intend on keeping this cat, even as an outdoor cat (though I did give it a nickname...Pirate!) - I will have to call the Humane Society this week to figure out what to do in this situation. I wonder if it is microchipped. It doesn't have tags, but like I said, it seems like it at least was someone's pet at some time. I REALLY hope that someone didn't just get sick of having this sweet kitty and toss it outside, but in all likelihood, that's probably what happened. :(

Anyways, here are a bunch of pictures of the cat. If you know whose cat this is, please email me at (Who knows, someone might find this blog post because they were searching for their lost cat near Kent, WA!)

This cat really chowed down on the food and water I gave it.

The kitty cried - "I'm hungry and cold and wet!"

Kitty sitting on the rocks next to the garage.
Wandering near our garage door.

Walking towards me - it seems to come when you call it. (a la "Here kitty, kitty")

It really is a pretty cat. It has gray, black, orange and white markings.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Visit to Charlotte, NC

I was lucky enough to be able to extend my business trip to Charleston, SC so that I could stay on the East Coast for the weekend. I took the opportunity to drive up north about three hours to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins who live in Charlotte. So now I can say that I have driven through the Carolinas (Charlotte is really on the southern border of North Carolina, but I am counting my sojourns through Charlotte as counting towards "The Carolinas")

It was awesome to see Doug, Nicole and Lexi and then to meet the newest addition, Spencer. He's only six weeks old. He's so adorable! Despite having the cold from hell, I powered through and had a great weekend. I got there around 8:30 or 9 on Friday night (I got lost when I got close to their house, it added a half hour to my drive time), and Nicole had made a delicious pan of lasagna for us. After the late dinner (sorry I was so late, guys!), Lexi and I read from the American Girls books that I got her for Christmas. I got her the Kirsten series, and I was very impressed with how well Lexi was reading. She was comprehending the story as well, which was great to hear. Once Lexi had read for 15-20 minutes, she was allowed to stay up extra late to watch a movie with me. She picked out Bridge to Terabithia, which is really a sad movie. Of course, Lexi fell asleep in the middle (it was midnight, and she is six, people) but we still had a fun time.

The next morning, Lexi desperately wanted me to wake up, and kept tiptoeing in my room to check on me. She'd shut the door quietly, then sort of yell to her dad, "Everytime I go in there, she's still sleeping, but she keeps rolling over!" Hilarious. I got up around 9 or so, and we hung out during the morning. In the afternoon, we went to uptown Charlotte, which is their "downtown" type area. That's where the majority of the city's banking industry is. We did quite a bit of walking around, saw that there was a circus in town, saw some horse-drawn carriages and went to Imaginon, which is this neat children's theater and library. We stopped at a Baskin-Robbins on the way back home, and enjoyed a little ice cream treat.

That night, Doug, Nicole and I went out to an adults-dinner in Charlotte. We went to a place called Encore Bistro and had a really good time. We got an appetizer platter, salads/soup, main course AND dessert. Yum! After dinner, we went to a place that is sort of like Dave and Buster's - it's an arcade/bowling alley/general fun place, and played some games. We initially wanted to bowl, but the wait for a lane was almost two hours! We said no thanks to that, and ended up playing some mini-bowling, air hockey, skee ball, basketball and even a little Dance Dance Revolution. We had a really fun time, probably better than if we had just bowled.

We went back home after that and just hung out. I had to leave for the airport this morning around 8:30 ET, so didn't want to stay up too late. I had so much fun in Charlotte, and was really excited to see the entire family. Great times were had by all!

Now I am back in Seattle, and it was really nice to see Travis for the first time in ten days. (He was in Minnesota and didn't get back until I had already left for Charleston.) I'm not sure why I missed him so much this trip, but I did, so I am glad to be home with hubby.

We're watching the Super Bowl now, and then it is Vick's VapoRub, here I come!


PS - I will post pictures at some point, just not tonight. The ones I have are on Facebook, and Nicole will be sending me hers sometime soon, too.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Great times, great eats at Chai's in Charleston

I'd like to state for the record that Charleston has great restaurants.

I went to a place called Chai's Lounge & Tapas last night, and it was AWESOME. I was there with several fun people from the Charleston office, and we shared something like eight dishes, all of which were delicious. I particularly loved the short ribs - it's enough to make me want to come back to Charleston.

The people I was with know the executive chef Derek Falta really well, so we got a few special items from him as well, including this awesome bourbon pecan ice cream. Mmmm. Thanks, Derek!

Off to Blossom tonight!


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Upcoming visitors? Sweet!

I've been a bit of a bad blogger, but I have an excuse! (Well, a bit of an excuse...)

I meant to post last night, but lo and behold, our cable is out at home. Yep, all of our cable things - TV, internet and the never-used phone. This means no internet at home :( It can't be fixed until at least Saturday. Comcast did offer to come out today or tomorrow, but couldn't give a time window that was shorter than four hours. Since I can't actually work from home without having the internet, that really doesn't work for me. Travis is leaving for Minnesota today, so he was also not available to be at home during the Comcast schedule.

Anyways, here's some big news: we're having more guests! The Lisa and Beth Suite will be seeing some more use. :) Here is our guest schedule:

February 5-8 - Erin Jane in Sea-town (and yes, she is welcome to stay with us)
April 9-13 - Dad
April 9-19 - Mom (she gets to stay longer!)
April 11-18 - Jessie and Mary (Easter is going to be fun)
May 20-24 - Luna and Cat Wrangler (we'll likely be taking a day trip up to Vancouver)

Who else wants to come visit???

I also have big weekend plans with people who actually live in Seattle. I'm going to a hockey game on Friday with a coworker, I have coffee on Saturday with another Minnesota transplant and I am seeing Rachel Getting Married this weekend with another coworker (I think).

Then next week, I am spending three days in Charleston (for work), and a few days in Charlotte (for fun) - I am going to get to meet my new cousin Spencer! (I need to find a Seattle-related gift for him and for my aunt and uncle who are hosting me in!!!)

Busy times for me :)


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Washington resident?!

Holy Hannah, I am a Washington state resident now.

I got my license in the mail today. (That was fast, I just went to the DMV on Saturday to file all of the appropriate paperwork!)



Sunday, January 11, 2009

On a food mission

Well folks, I am on a food mission. I am trying to find some new dishes to add to our old standbys that are tasty, easy, fast and relatively healthy. I usually make dinner at home 4-5 times a week, and we don't generally eat leftovers here, so I am going to try to be as careful as possible to make only enough for just Travis and I.

I am accepting all idea submissions :) Keep in mind that I will generally want to make these on a weeknight, where time and energy are both in low supply. To give you an idea of what is on our "old standby" list, here are some of the things I make at least once or twice a month:

-stovetop lasagna (this is Travis' favorite)
-porkchops sauteed in cream of mushroom soup with stuffing and veggies
-stir fry (any kind of meat, some stir frying sauce, and any kind of vegetables, served over's never the exact same flavors, but it is fairly close each time)
-grilled meat plus flavored rice (sounds original, doesn't it?)

Yesterday, I started my mission by preparing halibut in spicy squash and tomatoes. I know, crazy, Samantha making fish at home? And it wasn't tuna casserole?! People, I am trying to branch out here! Here are a few pictures of what the halibut dish looked like while in process as well as the end result:

I thought it turned out pretty darn good - the jalopeno pepper give the overall dish a bit of a kick, and I enjoyed it. I told Travis that I would order it in a restaurant!

Tonight, I am going to try to make risotto, which I have never prepared at home, but generally love in restaurants. I am pretty excited, the recipe I am going to try is a garlic asparagus risotto, and I am going to make garlic chicken breasts to go along with it. (Travis wouldn't be too thrilled if a meal didn't have some form of meat in it, so that is why I am making chicken, too.)

If you have any suggestions or ideas, let me know! Wish me luck on the risotto :)