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Friday, January 27, 2012

Five for Friday, vol 32

1.  You have completely embraced our MeaKen Team Weightloss Challenge so that we can do this together. And you're kicking ass, too!

2.  I've said it before, and I'll say it again: You make the BEST coffee. 

3.  It never fails to make me laugh when you tell me "I can't take you anywhere."

4.  You're charmingly nervous about having to take the puppy to her first grooming appointment.

5.  You work your ass off and it's really paying off.  I am in awe of your drive and ambition sometimes.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Reading makes the speaking words good.

Congratulations to St Louis for being named one of the top 10 most literate cities in the US by the Washington Post.  Seriously, I'm proud.

I like to think I have helped the cause since I have been reading like crazy lately.  I will read just about anything I can get my hands on, as evidenced by my Read shelf on Goodreads. I've alread read 6 books this year (pretty good considering I only finished 12 in 2011).


What are you reading right now?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Goat Cheese Ravioli



It's not pretty, but man was it tasty.  I've never made ravioli before, so I was a little intimidated at first to even try this, but Martha has rarely led me astray.  I'm very glad I trusted her!

 Goat Cheese Ravioli
6 ounces fresh goat cheese
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 small garlic clove, crushed through a garlic press
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Coarse salt and ground pepper
15 square wonton wrappers (3 1/2 inch)
     In a small bowl, use a fork to mash together goat cheese, ricotta, garlic, and nutmeg until smooth; season with salt and pepper, and stir to combine.Assemble ravioli: Arrange 6 wrappers on a work surface, keeping remaining wrappers covered with a damp paper towel. Spoon 1 scant tablespoon filling in the center of each wrapper. With a fingertip, wet edges of wrappers with water. Fold a corner of each wrapper over filling to form a triangle, and press edges to seal. Flatten area around filling to eliminate air pockets. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. Place on a baking sheet with parchment paper. (If making ahead, cover ravioli with plastic wrap; refrigerate up to 1 day. Or freeze on sheet for 1 hour, then transfer ravioli to a large resealable freezer bag; freeze up to 1 month.) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; reduce to a bare simmer. Drop ravioli into water, one at a time, stirring them gently to prevent sticking. Cook until al dente, 5 to 7 minutes. (Cooking time is the same for frozen ravioli.)Using a slotted spoon, transfer ravioli to a paper-towel-lined baking sheet, and arrange in a single layer to drain briefly. Divide between two plates; drizzle with sauce, and serve immediately. Adapted from Everyday Food.

    I made a simple sauce with a little milk and ricotta cheese heated together and seasoned with parsley and dill.  It was not the best part of the dish and next time I'll just drizzle with olive oil.  My only take away about the ravioli themselves is that they do not keep well as leftovers.  I don't know if this is common with won ton wrappers, but they were quite gummy and gross when I reheated them for lunch the next day.  I guess not everything is meant to be leftovers!

    Friday, January 20, 2012

    TDF pot roast

    Easy, delicious, fast.  You really can't do better than that.  Maybe that's why it's called "to die for." This is one of those recipes that has been floating around the WW message boards for at least as long as I've been visiting them, which is going on several years now.  I wish I had tried it sooner! 


    TDF Roast
    1 package each: ranch dressing mix, brown gravy mix, Italian dressing mix
    2-3 lb beef roast 
    1 cup water
    Spray or line a crockpot.  Add seasonings and water, mixing to combine.  Add meat, turning until coated.  Cook on low for 8 hours. Optional: after removing roast, strain juices into small saucepan.  Add a couple tablespoons of flour and cook over med-high heat until thickened into a gravy to serve alongside.  Adapted from WW message boards.
    It's the perfect time of year for this.   Although now that I am halfway through reading the Omnivore's Dilemma, it might be awhile until I make it again.

    Enjoy!

    Five for Friday, vol 31

    1. You spend halftime of the Sunday night football game evaluating the Miss America top ten formalwear with me.

    2. You said your Miss Illinois was the cutest.

    3.  You love the GoogleMaps feature on our new treadmill and keep sending me workouts in cool places like Versailles and Holland.

    4.  Your decision to be healthier and more active immediately resulted in losing 4 pounds the next day (so unfair).

    5.  You make me infused water everyday.

    I love you.

    Monday, January 16, 2012

    Let's Fall in Love: Mr and Mrs

    The wedding reception was the party of our lives.  In spite of the details not being exactly perfect in my mind, it was beyond amazing.  Surrounded by friends and family, we danced the night away ... just what we had hoped it would be. 

    And then it was over.  Everyone says that it flies by, and oh are they right.  Kenny and I said goodbye to the last lingering guests in the ballroom as they left for home or hotel rooms, and then we followed suit.  I wish we had gotten a get-away photo in the elevator as the doors were closing, but alas, we went quietly into the night.

    Our room for the night was the same where I had gotten dressed that morning.  There was lingering evidence of the process all over the living space, but it had still been transformed.

    Rose petals, candles, lucky chocolate pennies.

    I mean, right?  

    Since neither Kenny nor I had the chance to eat any cake aside from the couple of bites during the cutting, the hotel staff was kind enough to send a couple of pieces up for us.  They included one of Kenny's tiger-striped groom's cupcakes too.  He let his bride eat it, such a gentleman.  My stomach had been in a series of knots for over 24 hours at this point, and in spite of small moments of ease throughout the day, I truly did not completely unwind until we got to the suite and it was just the two of us.  The three bites I'd had at dinner proved insufficient, and I was ravenous.  I housed that cupcake and a shameful amount of Doritos that had wandered over from the boys' suite.  Yup, in my wedding dress.  

    Kenny and I rehashed the day with our feet up. 

    There was a lot of "oh my God, we're actually married!"  I was strictly forbidden from discussing the flowers, and we solely focused on how wonderful it all had been.  I took down my hair, which I regret for the sake of the photo shoot we were scheduled for the day after, but when Kenny helped brush it all out, it was entirely worth it.  We had both been in our dress shoes all night - you know you have fun when you forget to put on comfy shoes - and we spent the better part of an hour sitting on the edge of the tub soaking our feet.  Yup, still in my dress.  Amazing all the anxiety that dress gave me, yet at the end of the day I still didn't want to take it off.  The only thing that convinced me to finally change?  

    You guessed it ...
    Fluffy, matchy hotel robes!!

    The next morning, we packed up the suite and headed to my parents' house for brunch with family and wedding party.  We were still very much in recovery mode - there is such a thing as Wedding Hangover - but it was actually nice to have the time with them to open gifts and recharge and talk about the whole thing.  We opted to not hire an official videographer, since I have an aunt and uncle who are amazingly talented with it.  The great thing about this is that we got to watch the video the next day.  Since so much had been a blur, it kind of brought it all back, especially the ceremony.  I think I have such clear memories of the day because we watched that video so soon after - it kind of filled in the blanks.

    And yay gifts!

    My lovely vintage birdcage cardbox ... all cards accounted for, birdcage never to be seen again after this.  I have no idea where it is now!

    One my mom's friends made this quilt for us.  Such a wonderful gesture, even though she lives across the country!  

    My grandmother had been in poor health leading up to the wedding and had decided not to attend, so she wanted to be able to ooh and aah over the dress and see the newlyweds.


    We said our final goodbyes to our family and friends and they headed home to enjoy the rest of their holiday weekend.  I didn't want the wedding experience to be over, and luckily it wasn't.  Time to put the wedding dress and the tuxedo back on and head out for one final stint in front of Matt's camera.  The perfect send-off!

    I bought a dress and completely changed it.  We had a marathon final week of engagement.  I giggled my way through our rehearsal.  Kenny got grilled at our rehearsal dinner.  The groomsmen ran amok in downtown Springfield. The girls got gorgeous.  We exchanged mushy wedding-day gifts.  The guys got fancy and then got dancy.  I became a Bride.  There was a first First Look. I shared my Somethings.  The boys made the most of trolley-time. And did their thing on the Capital grounds. The girls took photos at the hotel. Everyone arrived at the church. We walked down the aisle. We declared our intentions and my cousin preached. We exchanged our vows. Our hands were blessed. Kenny put a ring on it and kissed his bride. We were pronounced Mr and Mrs! We left the church in a blizzard of confetti, and took a "just-married" trolley ride. We made it legal. We took pictures with our families, followed by wedding party portraits. I hit a low point and poured over reception details. We received our guests. The wedding party was introduced. My Dad checked his toast off of his to-do list. Our Best Man and Maid of Honor shared toasts as well. The we cut our cake and had our First Dance. We shared a dance with our parents. And had an Anniversary Dance to celebrate all the marrieds. The photobooth opened for business. I serenaded my husband. The dance floor opened. Kenny's grandmother rocked the dance floor. The party continued and finally rocked to a close

    Sunday, January 15, 2012

    First day of school.

    Penny (us) started puppy training classes today. For the next six weeks she (us) will be learning how to be a mannerly and behaved dog. We worked on sit and socialization.

    She hated every minute.

    She spent the first half quivering and the second half sitting on our feet, staring. It's hard to teach a dog to sit who refuses to stand up. She warmed up towards the end, at least to the point where I wasn't dragging her behind be during leash-led walking time. Knowing Penny, her nerves now will give way to brazen teacher's pettedness by next week.

    In the mean time, the events of the afternoon left her absolutely exhausted.

    But she's (we're) getting there!


    Friday, January 13, 2012

    Five for Friday vol 30

    1.  You (albeit bregrudgingly) take the fish oil pills I bought you every day.

    2.  You texted 5 five pictures from your rink-side seats at the hockey game last night, completely filled with glee.

    3.  You've completely ingratiated the dogs to you because you give them eat a lick of peanut butter in the morning.

    4.  You will not tolerate bad customer service, for yourself or those close to you.

    5.  You have the nicest blue eyes.

    I love you.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2012

    Thirty-six.

    On this day, many moons ago, these two crazy kids got hitched. 


    This was their wedding budget.

    I owe my parents a lot, but since getting married I have come to deeply appreciate the example they have set for us with their own relationship.

    Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad.  Here's to 36 more!

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Let's Fall in Love: With Drinks, Dancing, and Celebration to follow (part III)

    The reception is in full swing!  To this day we still get comments about how much fun the party was, as well as how much fun Kenny and I appeared to be having.  I think this is one of the best compliments you can give a former bride - everyone wants to know that their efforts in planning such a large event were worthwhile.  It's so gratifying to know that everyone had as much fun as we did.

    Seester even danced.  She never dances!

    Once Matt was off the clock, he joined in the fun too (just one perk of having friendors)

     
    I have one dance move ... and it's as awkward as it looks.

    Don't stop believin'!


    Just before the end of the party, Kenny and I shared one more dance together.  Things started to wind down, last call was made, and the guests headed up to their rooms or other bars.  "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" wrapped up the very end of the party.

    I could not have chosen a better note on which to end the best party of my life.

    In case you missed it ...
    I bought a dress and completely changed it.  We had a marathon final week of engagement.  I giggled my way through our rehearsal.  Kenny got grilled at our rehearsal dinner.  The groomsmen ran amok in downtown Springfield. The girls got gorgeous.  We exchanged mushy wedding-day gifts.  The guys got fancy and then got dancy.  I became a Bride.  There was a first First Look. I shared my Somethings.  The boys made the most of trolley-time. And did their thing on the Capital grounds. The girls took photos at the hotel. Everyone arrived at the church. We walked down the aisle. We declared our intentions and my cousin preached. We exchanged our vows. Our hands were blessed. Kenny put a ring on it and kissed his bride. We were pronounced Mr and Mrs! We left the church in a blizzard of confetti, and took a "just-married" trolley ride. We made it legal. We took pictures with our families, followed by wedding party portraits. I hit a low point and poured over reception details. We received our guests. The wedding party was introduced. My Dad checked his toast off of his to-do list. Our Best Man and Maid of Honor shared toasts as well. The we cut our cake and had our First Dance. We shared a dance with our parents. And had an Anniversary Dance to celebrate all the marrieds. The photobooth opened for business. I serenaded my husband. The dance floor opened. Kenny's grandmother rocked the dance floor. The party continued!