Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Happenings

Thanksgiving weekend went by in a flash like always.

We headed to Toledo to Brian's grandpa's on Wednesday afternoon. We left at 1:00 pm and drove the 512 miles in 9 and a half hours. We had about an hours worth of stops in this trip. I took an apple pie with us, having an excuse to finally use my new pie carrier. We then got a really good nights sleep there.

On Thursday, we had lunch with all the Eddies (except Brian's dad who wasn't feeling well). We then drove the couple of hours to my great uncle Dave's house and had dinner with most of the Banters. My sisters then dragged me to see a late showing of New Moon. I made them wait a whole week since its opening, and Erin couldn't stand to wait anymore. Brian and I spent the night at my Banter grandparents this night.
Grandpa woke us up with good smells of pancakes and a roaring fire on Friday morning. I then did a little bit of Black Friday shopping with my grandma, mother, and sister. And shared an awesome Butterfinger milk shake with Erin. I'd never really had a milk shake before, and this one definitely made me get ideas for my new blending obsession. I got to hit up East of Chicago later that evening with Mariah and Ashley. We really could just talk for days and never be totally caught up with each other. Too bad we can't see each other more. Brian avoided these girly activities by spending time with his siblings, and watching a new toilet get installed. It was his parents birthday gift. Cori enjoyed playing with her cousins. I absolutely love this picture that I stole from Emily... Cori looks like she is such a good girl. We spent this night at my parent's house. Saturday put us back in the car driving to Uncle Charlie and Aunt Marrianne's. We made pretty good time, and enjoyed the Hutson Thanksgiving there at noon. There were at least half a dozen kids under 2 there... the Hutson family has been exploding with kids lately. Our boy will have plenty of older second cousins to play with, most of them boys. Being the dork that I am, I decided to graph this population growth. This chart shows the growth (through marriages and births) since I started dating Brian nine years ago. We got a couple of our first official baby gifts here, including this beautiful quilt from Brian's godmother.
This is a graph of the family since I started dating Brian in 2000. I'm one of the data from 2006.We then had to leave early to head to Fort Wayne for my cousin's wedding. The wedding was held at a Lutheran church in Fort Wayne, and the reception at the Hayloft in Hoagland. I really liked this venue, and we had a really good time at the wedding. The dj did a good job of getting us all dancing and having fun. Everything was really nice and pretty. I was dead on my feet by the end of it. We headed back to Huntington and spent the night at Brian's house.

Sunday we awoke to the smell of pancakes again. Brian's dad sent us off with a breakfast of these and some maple syrup to go. We later realized we should have been cooking for him, considering it was his and Brian's mom's birthday! After a stop to fill our cooler with meat, we headed back to Newark. We left at 10:08 am, drove the 615 miles through the day, and got to Newark at 10:28 pm. The worst traffic was where the Pennsylvania turnpike runs along with 70. We made a total of six stops that took about an hour and a half altogether (including lunch at Steak & Shake).

And after a very tiring work day on Monday, we vowed to never get back within 10 hours of having to be at work.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Blenders Amaze Me

So, Rachel Ray inspired me to try another fall soup recipe this year. This one called for the ingredients to be blended with an immersion blender in the final step. I have never used one, but really wanted an excuse to buy one, so when my mom sent me a Target birthday card for the exact amount of an immersion blender I wanted, I finally had an excuse Brian couldn't argue with. (He thinks I get too many kitchen gadgets that our tiny kitchen can't handle and I never use. I say we can deal with it.)

I picked out this immersion blender while I was down in Dover for a training earlier this week, and hunted down the vegetables I would need to slice and dice for the soup Tuesday and Wednesday. Technically, I never did find celery root. My encyclopedic husband tried to tell me that celery root was just a fancy name for celery. I however, have discovered that it is a different ingredient altogether.

On Wednesday night I commenced making the soup-remembering why I made Brian cut up the butternut squash last year (it is impossible!). By the time my husband got home (soaking wet from the rain), the soup was just about ready to be completed. I was too skittish to actually try my new gadget, so I let Brian do the honors. He had a lot of fun with it. Luckily, I picked out a really good one, that was pretty powerful. And we had a pretty good, healthy soup, full of nutrients, blended to perfection.

Following that episode, I decided I should actually use our full size blender as well. We got this awesome one from Brian's Aunt Linda for our wedding, and it hasn't got to see much counter space. On Friday morning I made a strawberry/orange smoothie that Brian said tasted like Jamba Juice (which is just what I was going for-I wish we still had these in DE). It amazes me how the blender can combine all the ingredients so quickly with just the turn of the switch.

Now I'm looking for more recipes so I can keep blending...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Last Birthday before the baby...

Brian took me out to Ole Tapas for my birthday. We haven't been here since our anniversary when I told Brian we were expecting, but we had the same waitress and table, and just as good a time. I always like taking pictures of the food here. The menu had a lot of new things and we tried a few new tapas. Our entire dinner included:

  • Chefs Complement: an eggplant tapa
  • A trio of cheeses including: Valdeon, Queso Jerezano (seared Miti CaƱa goat cheese with Sherry reduction), and Curado Pimenton

  • The Empanada of the day
  • Chiluetas Cordero (baby lamb chop)

  • Higos Cabrales (bacon wrapped figs with Cabrales)

  • Serrano Croquetas (ham croquettes)
  • Fish N Chips (the only one we don't recommend.... we're not big fans of smelt apparently)
  • Bread Pudding & Espresso (with cinnamon ice cream)
We had a little more ice cream at home, so I could make my birthday wish.

We also hit up the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon. It is a pretty cool marketplace, you see a glimpse of it in National Treasure (when the girl is hiding from the bald guy). We ate a gold old fashioned meal served by Amish women at the rib place, and browsed the many cheese and meat counters. We bought a few spices at the Spice Terminal, and some more seeds for Brian to plant our own herbs. We also took part in the Unforgotten Food festival, mostly so Brian could have some Teaberry ice cream. Apparently, teaberry is a local thing, it grows on the mountains in PA. Brian loves it. We tried a few other things, including another local specialty:  Pepper Pot Soup. I'm now looking for a recipe for this tasty dish, preferably one that doesn't include tripe.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

25 at 25

I'm almost to the last third.... here I am 25 weeks pregnant at 25 years old.

Cori wanted in the picture too!