Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Hope everybody had a happy valentine's day! I had work last night, so Nathan and I went out Sunday night. We had a living social coupon for a little place called Thomas Street Bistro. And I mean little! Everybody was squished in like sardines--the waiter couldn't even get to our table in the corner and had to hand us things over another guest's head! We had reservations, but we had to wait 45 minutes for a space to open up. Fortunately there was an awning over the porch so we didn't get rained on too much! Despite this, I really liked the place. Very cozy. We were seated on a bench with cushions and there was a live guitarist accompanying our meal. The food was delicious--the meal came with soup beforehand and desert after, which must account for the $20 price tag on a not very large entree. I would say this not a good place to go if you have eating restrictions (like lactose or gluten intolerance) because you get no option about the soup or desert, and there aren't that many entrees to choose from either. Maybe five. And maybe not a good choice if you are on a schedule or are a larger person. But since Nathan and I are not very big people, didn't have to be anywhere, and don't have food allergies, it was a perfect romantic spot for (pre) valentine's day!

The man at the restaurant thought there was enough light. Not so much.

Alright, I have to go, because the cat is very insistently demanding playtime. Looking forward to tuesday burritos night later. That's about the news from here!

Friday, February 11, 2011

It's been a while...

Sorry for the lack of updates!
Ok, so for the biggest news of all, Reid and Lindsay just had their 2nd on Feb 1st. CONGRATS to them!
Can't wait to meet little Fletcher Kane McCarthy. It will probably be a while, but I know that they will keep me updated on the nephews!
In comparison any news I have is pretty dull. I had the flu last week. I made some muffins. I had some apples and cranberries I wanted to use up, so I made apple cranberry muffins. I did not realize however, that even a double batch of muffins (I have TWO muffin tins now which I love thanks to Zena!) only uses one apple and a cup of cranberries, so now I have an even more awkward amount of apples and cranberries. Oh well.

I sort of used the recipe out of mark bittman's How to Cook Everything, except that I am totally unable to follow directions, so I replaced half the flour with whole wheat flour and a quarter of the sugar with brown sugar. And everything was kind of estimated because I am too lazy to measure precisely. But they still tasted good, so whatever!
Here is the original recipe, paraphrased by me:

1/2 stick butter
2-cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cups fruit juice or milk
1 tbls orange or lemon zest
1 egg
1 cup fruit, chopped, whole berries, shredded vegis, etc.
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

-Stir together dry ingredients. cut butter into bits and work in with hands or food processor or other method until there are no pieces bigger than a pea. 
-Beat juice, egg, and zest together. Stir into dry ingredients just enough to wet. Don't overwork it! Fold in fruit and nuts.
-Put into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 F for an hour
put into a greased 12-muffin muffin tin and bake at 400 F for 20-30 mins.
When they are done they should be golden brown and toothpick come out clean. 
Cool on rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan.

And even if you fail to read the directions and bake the muffins at 350 and then only let them cool 5 minutes on no rack, they still come out alright. As you can see it is a very forgiving recipe, which is good for me. 

In other news, I ran into Alison, a friend who I studied abroad with in Costa Rica at a mall of all places and so Michael and Emily came to visit and Alison and her boyfriend joined us for a mini Costa Rica reunion at a natural history trivia night. 

Here is a picture of us outside the pub on beautiful campus parkway...
Anyways, we totally dominated trivia night, by which I mean, we did better than I expected. In the end, the teams which knew that latin names of stuff and also had local pop knowledge won out. But we did valiantly. Did you know that the study of pollin is Palynology? I bet you didn't. Neither did anyone at trivia night. Factoid for the day.

Something else fun: I had my first book club meeting last weekend. My friend, Wylin, started a book club and we read White Teeth by Zadie Smith. It was a well written book about race and family and uncertainty and fate in London. A nice old lady saw me on the bus with it on my way to book club and it sparked a conversation that was really quite lovely, and then more lovely conversation with lovely people at book club meeting. Wylin and Michael hosted and provided SO MUCH fresh fruit which I ate SO MUCH of. It was really a treat. Next we are reading War Dances by Sherman Alexi, who is local to the Seattle area. The first used bookstore I tried didn't have it, so I have yet to pick up a copy. 

I didn't get a chance to take pictures of the beautiful fruit display at book club, but here is a picture I took of a honeybell orange that No and Gdad sent us, that was also delish.