Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Happy Inauguration Day!

I hope that however you voted, you can realize the historical importance of this day. I'm not a very eloquent writer, so it's hard for me to put into words what it feels like to have such an overwhelming pride for this country that just tugs on my heart. I got to feel that today and it's sad how little that happens now. It's like a stirring inside that reminds you what an awesome country we have and how far we have all come.

I think our new president has quite a job under his belt, but he's going to need all of our support. I haven't always liked past presidents but they are MY president and to turn on the leader of our country is a little counter productive when we're so concerned with moving ahead and growing.

I hope we can all get behind our new president and realize It IS a new day =) It feels good to have hope.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Garlic Knots

Do you like the new layout? I'm trying out something new and I think I like it. I also need a blog header and since Casey has decided that he wants to learn Photoshop better, I'm giving him the task of designing my blog header. I get a header and he learns something new, we all win!

Now back to the recipe. I tried my hand at homemade pasta sauce and meatballs this week and it was interesting. It was good, but when you make pasta sauce out of whole tomatoes and crushed tomatoes your sauce tastes surprisingly tomatoey (weird huh?). I didn't like the sauce as a spaghetti sauce, but I think it would make a very good pizza sauce. When I find a pasta sauce that I really love I'll be sure to post the recipe. I did need a side for the spaghetti and meatballs so I took a chance at making garlic knots. They were so good! Casey absolutely loved them and he is actually eating a leftover one on the couch right now. They make a great side to any italian dish.

(Source: Amber's Delectable Delights adapted from King Arthur Flour)
Servings: 8 large rolls

3 cups bread flour
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1-1/4 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
2-4 cloves peeled, garlic
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon Pizza Seasoning or Italian seasoning, optional

1. For the dough - In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the dry ingredients together then add the olive oil, milk and water. Using the paddle attachment or dough hook, mix and knead to form smooth, elastic dough, adding additional water or flour as needed. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and allow it to rise for about 1 hour, until it’s doubled in bulk.

2. Divide the dough into 8 pieces, and roll each into a rope about 10 inches long; tie each rope into a knot (if you click on Amber's link above, she has great pictures to show you how to tie the dough into knots). Place the knots on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes to about an hour, until very puffy looking.

3. To make glaze - Unpeel garlic cloves. Chop the garlic in a food processor (or you can use a garlic press), with the melted butter.

4. To bake - Bake the knots in a preheated 350°F oven for 15 to 18 minutes. They should be set, but only very lightly browned. Remove the knots from the oven, and brush or drizzle them with the seasoned butter. (You can reheat the butter briefly in the microwave, if it’s solidified).

Clean Cut

This is the after picture of Tuck's haircut, he looks all cleaned up and they scooped out his eyes so that he can actually see what's going on in life.

I will address something else in this picture. We had a great idea last Wednesday during the beginning of our four day weekend to pull the mattress off of the bed in the spare bedroom and put it in the living room floor for the night to watch movies. This 'temporary' arrangement is currently where I'm blogging from right now. This bed has officially been in the living room for over a week. I like to pretend that Casey is the reason it's in the floor, but I am a fan. It's comfortable to watch tv on, I can bring my laptop down here, eat down here etc. Tuck loves it b/c he can hop on and off of it with ease and lay on my legs as evidenced belows. You can also see in the upper right hand corner where our tree was. We pushed our coffee table back there in order to keep things organized. We really have no excuse for our actions, we're just weird and we don't have many guests obviously.

Just in case you don't believe me, here's another picture of it. It rests right up against our couch almost like an extension of the couch. What grown people put a bed in their living room? My sister and her husband have a bed in their laundry room (and the sleep there every night) so maybe it runs in the family.

Here's another quick picture of us all dressed up before going to a wedding last weekend. We obviously spend so much of our time on a mattress in the floor that I have to show you pictures of us showered and all dressed up to prove that we're somewhat active members of society.

As far as other stuff going on in our life, we just signed another 6 month lease at our apartment. I'm actually a big fan of our complex. We know the people so well, we've had no problems here, it's well kept and fairly new, and it's convenient to our work. We've been getting e-mails from our realtor of extremely low interest rates being offered by a couple of local banks so we may start looking again. We planned to look in the Spring and our current lender said that she feels that rates will stay low through the first quarter of this year so I hope that she's right. We're keeping our eyes open now, but we definitely want to be a little more financially cushioned before we take that kind of leap. Our plans from last Fall were to hopefully be in a home by this Summer but if we see an awesome deal we might jump on it before then. I'll post any updates, but you can expect us to probably be here for the full remainder of our lease.

I also finished wedding photobooks! It only took 7 months! I'm quick, what can I say. We ordered two photobooks from MyPublisher and we'll give them both to each of our parents. We're going to make our own at some point. We have absolutely no proof of a wedding in this house. It's kind of sad. My FIL did give us a beautiful wedding picture of us printed out on canvas that I love, so there's one picture!

It's Friday night and I'm blogging, what a dork =) Friday has kind of established itself as our break night. Sometimes we order pizza or some other kind of food and rent movies and just hang out (on the mattress). It's something I look forward to by the end of the week. Having to be at work at 6:45 *really* takes a toll on you by Friday. I'm going to post a recipe I made earlier this week and then I'm going to relax for the night, have a good weekend!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year! (a day late)

I hope you all had a good New Year. We ended up going over to a friend's house and watching the ball drop. I'm glad we didn't go too far from home b/c it was entirely too cold!

I can't complain about 2008, it was actually a great year for us. We got married, we got to go to Hawaii, we got Tuck, my niece was born, and we both were lucky enough to have jobs and keep them during a sucky economy. I can't wait to see what 2009 brings us. I can probably assume it's going to be much calmer than 2008, but I may be proven wrong. As far as resolutions... I've made a couple of personal ones and I really hope I'm able to follow through with those. I know my life as a whole would greatly improve if I can accomplish my goals. I won't really mention my resolution, but just pray that I can conquer some personal issues and I'll be glad to share my progress once I get started with my 'attack plan'. I probaly sound really suspiscious right now haha.

Casey and I both got a 4 day weekend so I'm pretty excited about that. We took our tree down yesterday and exchanged ornaments with another couple (Kara & Brandon) and Mason (their dog) and Tuck exchanged presents. We decided to exchange ornaments just as another way to save money and I kind of like the tradition. I love adding ornaments to our collection and I love the one they got us! It's a JMU boy and girl snowman. Aren't they cute?

I made an appointment for shaggy dog to get groomed at 12:30. We plan to go see Marley and Me and maybe do a little shopping while we're waiting on him. I really hope it doesn't take them long to groom Tuck b/c he developed a little anxiety about being left after we got him neutered. I've tried taking him in the car to a lot of fun places lately so that he won't always associate the car with taking him to bad places. I feel like he's just now getting used to it and now we're dropping him off to do something that I know he hates. Why do the things that are good for your dog (personal hygiene and the vet) have to be such traumatic experiences for dog and owner? I think with a dog you can't really say "Hey, I'm taking you to get groomed, but you're starting to get matted and you'll be so much cooler with your hair trimmed and you'll be able to see really good." Oh well, I was hoping that by doing it today, he would forgive me b/c we have a four day weekend with him and he still has the rest of today and the weekend with us to make up for it =) He's laying in the spot where our Christmas tree used to be chewing on his toy that Mason got him right now.

I'll post later to let you know how the movie was if we go and also to post pictures of my clean cut little buddy. I can tell he's ready to get a hair cut when he's little paws get long and his feet start to look like the Grinchs' haha. I guess I should go take a shower or something seeing as how it's almost noon and we have to leave at noon. Hope everyone had a great New Year and good luck with those resolutions if you made them!