Monday, February 28, 2011

The Wedding Shoes

On Friday night, I set up appointments to get my wedding dress altered in Kalamazoo. The fittings will be the Tuesday's after I was planning to be in Michigan anyways, so all I need to do is extend my trips (easy enough without a job, will be a pain/impossible with one).

Unfortunately, one of these trips is coming up in 2 weeks. When the seamstress said "Make sure you bring your shoes with you" I had a mild panic attack.

Shoessss... somehow I had tucked this detail away with things like final guest count. You know, last minute stuff.

Faced with only two weekends left to find shoes, we went to the mall. I hate malls. There are two main malls here and they are both super crowded. Plus, they are full of 12-16 year olds. This is an age bracket I don't normally run into and I'm thankful for that.

The malls are not abundant in the shoe department, so I didn't expect to find anything. I also didn't think I was ready to buy anything yet.

But my hatred of spending weekend afternoons at shopping centers is stronger than I knew. The pure desire to not go to another mall next weekend compelled me to choose some shoes. And actually I couldn't pick between two pairs, so I got them both (both reasonably priced).

First up, I wanted something comfortable that I would wear again. I decided a wedge would be best for possible wet ground during the ceremony and picture taking. Plus these are so comfortable, which has never been my experience with heels. Although I know they aren't very "wedding," but they are so comfy and cute I couldn't put them back.

Plus, who really sees the shoes anyway? Dress hint: my dress is not short. It will cover the shoes.

But for the moments when the shoes might peek out.... umm if Aaron convinces me that a garter toss is necessary for the happiness of our reception.. I got these really fun Nina's (thank you for making narrow shoes for people with freakishly thin feet, like me).

Very sparkly and on sale! Aaron picked these ones out.

They look awesome, but definitely need a gel insert to help my foot fit in the right way. Also, they go with the grey "theme" "colors" whatever. I briefly considered forcing all of the bridesmaids to buy these shoes. But I changed my mind because I want them to be my friend's still when the wedding is over.

Oh, I also learned that I wear a 7 in heels and should stop buying shoes that are too big for me. The end.

The Willy St. Co-op

This weekend Aaron and I were determined to save money. Did you know weddings are expensive? Especially when one of you isn't working... and when you move to another state mid-way through saving for your wedding.

I created a menu for this week based mostly on food we already have and made the shortest grocery list ever. Our weekly grocery bill has been close to (or over) $100 every week we have been in Madison, which is at least $30 more than we spent in Farmington Hills per week. And we are shopping at the same store (Whole Foods). And we are not going crazy with food, although we have started buying two different milks.

Anyway... this week would be different, I make the list and Aaron complies by not trying to talk me into more expensive products everywhere we turn. Although this week he talked me into getting cheese curds (which I can't even eat) and a $7 box of tea (I'm weak). But taking that stuff out of consideration and my grocery bill was $50!

We wanted to check out the Willy St. Co-Op and decided to get all of our groceries there. I can't say that we will shop there more than Whole Foods, but their bulk food section was wonderful. You can bring in your own containers and they were not out of anything (WF has been out of rolled oats every week and ran out of dried black beans a couple weeks ago, scandal).

I have been getting into the bulk foods recently. I like the idea of only buying what I need and I especially like the idea of re-using containers. But... if you aren't a member, there is a 5% surcharge on your purchases, so I'm not sure that Willy St. will become part of our routine.

I made these granola bars (because granola bars with actual nutrients are expensive). They would have been better with rolled oats instead of the quick oats I had. I blame Whole Foods bulk section!
mmm. Combo of pumpkin, applesauce, honey, and chocolate.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Mom's Granola

I have been enjoying my mom's granola recipe for as long as I was allowed to eat nuts, but I never made it for myself. In college, I ate a steady breakfast diet of boxed cereal and yogurt, but after graduating I switched to toast, oatmeal, or smoothies. Part of the reason is the strange processed ingredients in boxed cereal. It doesn't seem like a good idea to put that into your body first thing in the morning (although I would eat Kashi Go-Lean Crunch in desperate times).

4 cups oats
1 cup sesame seeds (optional, good but stick in teeth)
Haven't used them!
1 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup bran
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup peanuts, cashews, almonds, or walnuts
1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/2 cup of honey (recipe calls for 1/2 but I usually use 1/3)
Agree with Mom, 1/3 is enough
1/3 cup powedered milk-
I haven't used this and it still tastes good.
2 tsp. vanilla (optional - I usually forget to add this, still tastes good)

In a large bowl, mix oats, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, bran, wheat germ, and your choice of nuts.

In a small sauce pan, heat oil, honey, powdered milk (if using), and vanilla. Heat on medium low until honey and oil become one!

Pour warm mixture over dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Spread evenly on baking sheets or pans.

Bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees, stirring a few times. Leave it in the oven longer if you like crunchy granola (20 minutes works pretty well for me).

Remove from oven and cool.

Mix in 1 cup of dry fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, cherries, blueberries... etc).


Here is a fun fact about Wisconsin: you can't get a driver's license at the Secretary of State. You have to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles. I didn't know DMV offices still existed.

Aaron learned this the hard way when we first moved in, driving to three different places trying to get a license. Oh and he still didn't get one. Don't think you can use your lease as proof of residency in Wisconsin. Apparently anybody can get a lease and its not proof that you actually want to live here.... huh? You need a paycheck, school schedule, or heating/electric bill.

Great for me since I had none of the above! Discrimination of the unemployed.

We had to switch the electric bill into my name.

Anyway, we both needed to get licenses so we went to the DMV yesterday when Aaron got out of work. Aaron was supposed to get a Wisconsin license within ten days of moving into this apartment. We have lived here for almost a month, so obviously they weren't super serious about the ten day thing.

I need to get a license so I can establish residency and not pay out of state tuition for the full two years of grad school. It's definitely too late for the fall and probably too late now for spring tuition (you have to be a Wisconsin resident for one year to qualify). I'm not sure what their standards are, but I'm assuming a driver's license is part of it since leases mean diddly squat.

We headed to the DMV with our proof of residency and Michigan licenses. It was packed and smelled like poop. We stood in line to get a number for about 20 minutes. When we got to the counter, the clerk put two applications in front of us and asked: "Do you have birth certificates or passports with you?"

"ummm.... no."

"We can't do this today then" she said as she snagged the applications away from us.

Let me mention now that the DMV normally closes at 4 and is open until 5:30 on Thursdays only and we did not want to wait another week! We ran out to the car, drove back to our apartment and Aaron ran upstairs to grab our passports. Back we went to the DMV.

Luckily the line had pretty much died down, but at the counter when the clerk asked for our drivers licenses, Aaron couldn't find his. He said he must have left it in the car and went out to look while I got my picture taken.

After ten minutes, I realized Aaron was probably turning the car upside down looking for his license. He came back inside and turned my purse inside out, then ran back out to look in the parking lot (it was getting very close to 5:30, when they lock the doors). The clerk started yelling for Aaron to get his picture taken and it was turning into a circus, with me going back and forth across the DMV and Aaron going in and out.

Luckily, Wisconsin can request drivers information from Michigan, so after a few tries they were able to contact the Secretary of State in Michigan and confirm that Aaron's license was not suspended. 54 dollars and a lot of stress later, we were able to leave the DMV with printouts of our new Wisconsin licenses.

And where was Aaron's Michigan license?

Laying in the living room, right next to the drawer he grabbed my passport from.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Revelation on Self-Cleaning Ovens

I finally understand why self-cleaning ovens were invented. I used to think they were stupid and smelled bad and took forever to clean. That is, until I actually had to clean our oven by hand this morning.

Umm how come no one told me that its really not that easy to wipe your whole oven down with a wet cloth? Hmmm? The bottle of cleaner made it sound so easy..... "Spray on, coating entire oven. Leave for 2 hours to overnight. Wipe off with a wet cloth, rinsing frequently in warm water."

What they didn't add is reaching into your oven is extremely awkward and this product probably won't work well on butter-burnt-to-the-bottom-of-your-oven messes. Especially if the oven probably hasn't been cleaned since the 1980's.

The beer bread I made yesterday had two tbs. of melted butter poured into the bottom of the bread pan and two more poured on top of the dough. This made a puddle of butter around the bread and when I opened the oven after 50 minutes to check on it, there was smoke. AHHH! I am unreasonably afraid of grease fires, dating back to age 12-ish when I left a greasy pan in the top of my dad's oven and accidently turned it to "broil" instead of "off." I smelled smoke and opened the oven, which made the pan engulf into flames. Luckily my dad ran into the apartment before I could pour water on the fire (hey dad, remember how you saved me from a lifetime of pain as a burn victim?).

This fear was not helped by the butter that burst into flames that licked our cabinets a few months ago and ruined one of my soup pots while I was trapped in the kitchen. I'm almost crying thinking about it. The new soup pot Aaron bought me helped a little.

Anyway, I told Aaron about the smoke and he didn't believe me and said it was probably the bread burning (rude). So later we were making potato chips to go with dinner and I made him open the oven because I envisioned huge flames coming out...... it didn't happen, but there was smoke and he actually believed me. Also our smoke detector went off. Good to know that works!

Mmm curry potato chips.

So long story, that is why I found myself needing to wipe down the oven this morning. I should have made Aaron do it before he went to bed! We did not need to watch "Grumpy Old Men" until 10 p.m.

The worst part is, after all of the scrubbing and wiping and sweating, there is still burnt butter on the bottom of the oven.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I finally got my hair cut. It has been.... too long to remember since I had it cut in a salon and probably almost a year since I cut it myself.

Here is me pre-haircut:
Hello stringy split-ends.

I went to the Aveda Institute, where you can always get a good deal ($12 for cut and wash) if you are willing to let a student cut your hair. I'm not an advocate of all beauty schools, but I have had good luck with Aveda Institutes and I love Aveda products, so I go.

Aaron gets his hair cut like once a month. We had to do a monthly budget recently and I put down $10 for his hair care and $2 for mine (products). He thought it was unfair until I reminded him I haven't paid for a haircut since we started dating. So, because I have been saving all of this money, I decided to treat myself to a pedicure ($15) as well. Obviously the atmosphere was not as nice as a real Aveda Salon, but definitely was worth 15 bucks! Winter feet are not pleasant.

I got about 5 inches cut off. It feels so much better.

Please ignore the jackets draped around our apartment. We need a coatrack, its an emergency situation!

Also made this beer bread today:

Kept it classy by adding a full can of PBR. It's going to make great avocado/sweet potato sandwiches tonight and lunches for Aaron for the rest of the week (I hope... actually haven't had great luck with beer acting as yeast).

Edit: The bread was perfect for the messy/monster-sized sandwich!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Great Dane weekend

Protests and ice-storms characterized this weekend.

After our Friday lunch on the Capitol Square, we pretty much avoided the area, although thats difficult because we live only a few blocks away. Friday night an old high-school friend of mine came over to our apartment for dinner. I made pear and pumpkin risotto. It is really good and I definitely recommend adding the blue cheese or gorgonzola (we didn't because I'm trying to avoid cheese). Also, I used 1 tbs. of butter, not 7. We did that the first time we made it and it was too rich.

After dinner, we went to the Great Dane to try out their beer. Aaron tried a scotch ale and their IPA, he liked both. I got a cask conditioned ale called "Dark and Mild." It was ok, but a little too dark and too mild for me (like regular Guinness). I normally love cask ales, so I'm looking forward to trying again when they have different one. The front bar area was packed with people watching and cheering while the news showed images of the protests still happening at the capitol. It's pretty cool to be where the news is happening!

On Saturday, we took it easy, but saw horse cops coming down the street and heard helicopters all day. It was the first day for counter-protests, a group of people claiming to be the Tea Party. There were about 5,000 of them, which is a small drop in the bucket of 55,000 to 100,000 people against the bill! Not sure how those estimates are made, I guess someone looks at the crowd and says "I think its between 54,000 and 56,000." Then someone else guesses 100,000.

We went back to the Great Dane (hence the name of this post) for dinner with one of Aaron's co-workers and his wife. They were a lot of fun and hopefully we will hang out again soon! The place was totally packed and the protest signs were everywhere. The hour long wait for a table allowed us to explore the pub more, which has 3 bars and two dining areas. We also found out that they had served their busiest lunch in history. I tried the pale ale, which was pretty delicious.

We finally got table and all of the food was great and reasonably priced. The only complaint I have about the Great Dane is a little too many options. The menu is huge. Lucky for me, their aren't so many vegetarian options, but I did have to pick from like six possible sides. Don't do it to me! I want french fries, mashed potatoes, and cous-cous! They also have a ton of beer to choose from which can be a little intimidating. They even carry Miller Lite on tap.. umm weird. What kind of micro-brewery serves Miller Lite? Anyway.... despite that, I can tell we will be back soon.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Reverend Jesse Jackson and Beans

This week has been full of accomplishments:
  • Made granola for the first time.
  • Made veggie broth (what a money saver) for the first time.
  • Made salad dressing, again for the first time.
  • Cooked dry beans for the first time.
  • Got into grad. school.
  • Oh and saw Jesse Jackson up close and personal.
It happened like this... Aaron invited me to have lunch with his coworkers. They go out every Friday and were planning to go to The Old Fashioned, which happens to be two steps from my gym. After my workout, I had a hard time exiting the gym through a group of protesters and cameras. I heard some rumors about Jesse Jackson giving a speech, but I went to get a table because every restaurant on the square was crowded.

Finally, Aaron and 4 of his co-workers joined me at a table near the window. While we were waiting for our food, it got really crazy outside with a lot of police and in walked Jesse Jackson! It was really exciting, he sat down at a table next to ours and was mobbed by everyone in the restaurant. We were by the window and got to eat our lunch while people pressed their faces on the glass trying to get a glimpse. No one was allowed into the restaurant, then he went to the bathroom and no one was allowed in there either. I've never eaten a lunch while being guarded by security before today.

Anyway, before the weekend hits, here are the beans.

Black Beans and Rice
Adapted from My Kitchen Addiction (her recipe is not spicy enough for us!)

1 pound dry black beans, washed and picked over (for rocks!)
1 yellow onion, diced
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 jalepenos, 1 seeded, both minced (that means leave the seeds in one!)
2 chipotles in adobo sauce, chopped
1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 lime
1 tablespoon cumin
splash of olive oil
6 cups water
salt, pepper, and whatever toppings you want (we had sour cream and a yellow pepper)

Yum, two of my favorite veggies.

1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Add olive oil to an oven safe pot or dutch oven and heat over medium.

3. Add the onions, jalepenos, garlic and cumin. Season with some salt and pepper. Cook until soft and good smelling.

We really need a jalepeno corer. Please see our wedding registry and be generous.

4. Add the 6 cups of water and the black beans. Bring it to a boil, then cover and transfer to oven.

Did I mention we had mondo-huge garlic cloves. I put some regular size ones next to the big ones so you can compare.

5. Let it hang out in the oven for an hour, then pull it out and add the can of tomatoes and the chipotles. Put it back in the oven, without the lid, for 45 minutes.

6. Take it out and add the juice of the lime. Taste it for seasoning. I had to add more salt.

We ate the beans over brown rice at this point, but added an extra step while we ate.

Optional step 7. Put on the stove and simmer for half hour to thicken the sauce more.

This makes a lottttttt and we froze two containers! I'm planning to put some on nachos next week.

Anyone doing anything fun this weekend? We are getting together with old and new friends, besides the usual cleaning and grocery shopping.

The Democrats Disappear

Well, I bet Governor Walker didn't see that one coming. Most of you are probably following the news in Wisconsin since its become a national story. When I was walking to the gym yesterday morning it was becoming quite the scene around the capitol as people crowded inside to be present for the vote. These are normally somewhat deserted streets at 9:30 a.m.
Tons of school busses brought people to the capitol
(area schools were canceled for a second day).
Some people got a cushier ride.
Protesters heading inside.

When I left the gym, the crowd had multiplied and people were trying to squish inside, as the vote was to take place at 11 a.m. While I walked home, people were marching toward the capitol on State St. I felt bad for them, as a Republican majority would pass the bill for sure.

But surprise, the Democrats didn't show up! With only 19 Republicans, at least 1 Democrat needed to be present for the vote (20 senators total). And they all left the state. I found it hilarious, especially imagining security and police searching the capitol and city for the missing Senators. But what could they do? It was their only option to stall the vote.

Since schools have been closed, there are a lot of kids protesting with their parents. The other day I saw a mob of preschoolers with signs pinned to their coats. It reminded me of all the great lessons protesting can teach kids. Like about democracy and, for example, what the middle finger means. I learned that sticking up your middle finger is bad around the age of 5, while attending a pro-life rally. I'm pretty sure my mom told us they were just saying hi, but we figured it out.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Bathroom and Protests

Apartment tour continues... I was going to write about the living room, but apparently I only took two out of focus pictures of it and its too gloomy/dark today to take more. Here are a few photos of our bathroom:
The kitchen and bathroom are the only areas of the apartment without hardwood floor. This whole thing was a messsss when we moved in.
Thinking about it makes me not want to shower.

Always wanted a seashell shaped sink....?

And the best part of the bathroom is the ventilation system!
Yes, that is lead based paint.

I've been enjoying this week of warm weather and large protests concerning unions and new Republican governors. The best part of all is that the public hearing lasted forever, like all day and overnight and most of the next day, which I find hilarious. The NY Times has been updating the story here.

The general gist is: public workers are angry because Gov. Walker is trying to pass a bill where their unions would lose a lot of bargaining power and they would have to pay more of their own salary for healthcare and pensions. I can see the arguments on both sides.

For: Walker promised to balance the budget and private workers pay more for their healthcare and probably don't get a pension anyway ("It's not fair").

Against: There is a reason people become public workers and its not for the fatty paychecks. You can't take away all of their bonuses! Plus, unions are somewhat important to the history of America.

The end. You can probably tell which side I side with more.

The Most Helpful Twin Sister

Ruth has always been helping me out. Even before we were born she was there to support me, letting me grow bigger and stronger than her little four pound self! I think what actually happened is I got a little bigger and she got a little bit of a bigger brain. This became especially obvious in high school when I liked to steal/borrow/copy her math homework since I obviously didn't do my own. Then when test time came around I would beg her to give me a crash course in trigonometry and I always got a slightly lower grade than her (hmm... a little suspicious).

Anyway, this past fall I was planning to apply to the Ford School at the University of Michigan for a master's program. I worked on the essays for a few months and was preparing to submit everything by January 15th. But then, it started to seem like we were definitely moving to Madison, so I started a last minute application to La Follette at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. It was due on New Year's Day and the two essays I wrote for U of M needed to be combined into one.

Ruth sat with me and went over the essay word for word, changing it from a sort-of good statement to a polished piece I actually thought represented me well. I told her if I got into grad school, it would be thanks to her!

Yesterday I got this email:

"Dear Miriam,

I am pleased to inform you that you have been accepted to the Master of International Public Affairs program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison."

All thanks to my big (little) sister! Cheeeeeers Ruth!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Restaurant: Fresco

Just for fun, a picture of us when we first started dating.

Aaron's anniversary/Valentine gift to me was dinner at Fresco, followed by a dessert tasting with their pastry chef. He got the idea when we were walking down State St. one day and saw a sign for "Fresco: Rooftop Restaurant and Lounge." We both said, hey cool, and kept walking.

Aaron (and most of my friends) know that I have a thing about reading menus before I go somewhere to eat. I get upset if there isn't a menu available online because I like to read the whole thing before I go. Part of this is probably because I don't eat meat, so I want to make sure there is something I will be able to order... but partly its just because I like reading about food and usually at a restaurant you are expected to talk to the people at your table and choose a dish quickly, not read every word of the menu. For my card, Aaron printed the Fresco menu and gave it to me on Sunday so I could adequately prepare for last night (unfortunately the menu is seasonal and had changed a bit from the one posted online. Come on, update that shit).

Anyway, off we went to Fresco, which is above the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The walls surrounding the small restaurant are all window, so we got to see the sky change from blue to black during our dinner.

Aaron picked out a bottle of cabernet and our server, Erin, took away those yucky white wine glasses and brought us the correct glasses to enjoy it in. Erin did a great job all night, especially getting the bacon left out of the mussels, which we had as our appetizer. This was one time you wouldn't need a lot of sauce surrounding the mussels, as the parmesan-cream was very rich and coated the mussels perfectly. Yum.

For dinner, I ordered whitefish, which came with diced potatoes, green beans and a smudge of a delicious sauce I can't remember the name of. Everything was perfectly cooked and seasoned. The only critique I have is that I wished there was more of whatever was on top of the whitefish (some pear-ish looking thing). The few bites I had of it with the whitefish were amazing!

Aaron had a hard time deciding on his dinner, because Fresco is definitely the kind of restaurant where you wish you could eat more so you could order one of everything on the menu. He eventually decided on the Valentine's Special: Surf and Turf. And what a good choice. Anyone had crab mashed potatoes? They were unbelievable, I wish I could eat them every day until I die.

It also came with garlic poached shrimp, filet mignon, and asparagus, all of which tasted great, but we were both in love with the crab mashed potatoes. When our plates were (almost) cleaned, we were both very satisfied.

I gave Aaron his anniversary gift, a card with bacon on it (handmade in Milwaukee)! Inside, tucked in the string, was a reminder card for the massage I scheduled for him today after work. He has been talking about wanting a massage for months and especially has been complaining about his back after moving (cough- get movers- cough).

Even though we were going to a dessert tasting, Aaron wanted to order something from Fresco's dessert menu. He chose the cranberry creme brulee with candied pecans and an orange slice. I've never had a fruit based creme brulee before, but I highly recommend it. Wonderful flavor and the deep red/pink of the top made it nice to look at too.

After our wine was finished, we got espresso shots, which aren't usually something to write home about. Its pretty standard. But after the normal nutty bite, Fresco's espresso had a shocking citrusy aftertaste. I say shocking because I wasn't sure what was going on in my mouth, haha, very good.

We decided to sit at the bar for a little bit and work up an appetite before the dessert tasting, which gave us a chance to try their cranberry mojito and do some great people watching. The best were the couples dressed in matching pink. And deciding which couples would get married depending on their wine choices. And don't even get me started on the black dress with a pink heart cut into the chest.

The mojitos were ok, we still prefer to make them ourselves so we can control the amount of club soda and add extra mint. For a bar, they were definitely drinkable and I can see us going to Fresco in the summer to get a mojito and walk around the rooftop garden.

Finally, we wandered downstairs and into the Overture Center for the dessert tasting. The 5 mini desserts were paired with a moscato dessert wine. Bleeeh, who invented dessert wine and why do people drink it? With the sweet desserts, I definitely would have preferred some contrast in my wine. The first sip was bearable and even tasty, but after that it was just like drinking pure sugar. Neither of us finished our glass.

The desserts were all good, but the one that stood out for both of us was a lemon-vanilla panna cotta with blueberry sauce. Why have I never had panna cotta before??? It was like a little jiggly cloud of heaven, which I hope comes back into my life soon.

All in all, we had a great night and hopefully can make it back to Fresco again, when the upcoming wedding isn't strangling our budget so much. Unfortunately, I woke up with a stomach ache from all of the sugar.

Check out Fresco's Website for some pictures.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Mussels

Mussels are one of my favorite appetizers or meals. Whenever Aaron and I go out and see mussels on a menu, we are happy. There is a wide variety, and the best we have had so far are blue shell mussels in a garlic broth from the Blue Cow Cafe in Big Rapids, MI. The Belgian style mussels at The Hopleaf in Chicago are a close second.

However nice it is to order mussels at a restaurant, they sometimes don't give you enough bread to soak up the broth or enough broth to even enjoy. Mussels are pretty cheap to buy in the store and really easy to make, so last night we had mussels in a tomato-wine broth for dinner. This is one of the better recipes we have made, especially because the tomato broth is pretty unique.

If you like mussels, click on the link at the bottom of the post and make these! (Umm we don't have a ton of money so we left out the saffron and used water instead of seafood stock.)

To go with the mussels, we made whole wheat baguettes for the first time. This is all a part of my resolution to get over a fear of baking with yeast.

After all, look how pretty the yeast can be.

There is quite a lot of kneading involved in this recipe, so Aaron got an arm workout (18 minutes total).

Here's the dough hanging out by the radiator in the kitchen. Luckily our apartment is super warm, so we only need the shortest time possible for dough to rise.

Finished product. Hopefully next time the crust will get browner, but this is what happens when you accidently set the oven for 50 degrees cooler than it should be and realize halfway through baking. Despite the looks, the bread was delicious and perfect for soaking up the tomato broth. Definitely will be made again!

Now I have a 2.5 mile walk ahead of me because Aaron forgot his lunch. Luckily its 40 degrees out. I would drive, but when Aaron called me to ask if I could bring him his lunch, he woke me up in the middle of a horrible dream where I was driving in a huge snow storm... good timing.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Valentine

Saturday, February 14, 2009 happened to be the first date Aaron and I went on, which makes Monday not only Valentine's Day, but our two year anniversary. I like to get Aaron two separate gifts, one for our anniversary and one for Valentine's Day (something silly or fun).

About a week ago, I was looking through the Isthmus, a free weekly newspaper with news and information about what is going on throughout the next week in Madison. There was an ad that said "submit your Valentine to The Isthmus and we'll publish it next week!"

Since we didn't have internet set up yet, I had to snag Aaron's fancy phone while he took a shower and quickly submit a short note and a photo of us at a Detroit Tigers game.

I picked up a copy of the paper on Thursday and looked through the "Book of Love" to find my note. There weren't many pictures, so I wasn't expecting ours to be in it. As I got close to the last page of the "book of love" I accepted that they probably hadn't printed it and it was only on the online slideshow.

But then, there we were, snuggled between two babies.
Cuteee... I have to say I'm pretty proud of myself and Aaron loved it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Kitchen

Welcome to my first post. I want this blog to provide family and friends a look into our lives in Madison, WI. But, I'm not going to pretend this is a couples blog 'cuz that would turn into a big fat lie. Even if Aaron was the reason we moved here, he will never post anything here.

Dear Mom, you wanted apartment pictures so you can have them! The thought of having a nice sequence makes me want to do an outside tour of our building first, but its so cold my baby camera's shutter would probably freeze, so kitchen it is.

(This is the only room in our apartment clean enough to photograph at the moment.)

It is a pretty nice kitchen, although it lacks a dishwasher. The cupboards and drawers are deep enough to hold all of our stuff. Notice the stool in the corner; it is necessary for me to reach anything above the first shelf. Some nice details:

This rack above the stove is a great invention. It is so much easier than digging through a dark cupboard for the cumin and having spices take up a whole shelf.

Beer cap magnets on the fridge. And the newest addition to the kitchen:

A beautiful cutting board! Unfortunately, our move resulted in two casualties of kitchen equipment that needed to be replaced quickly: oven mitts and cutting boards. My old green oven mitts disappeared somewhere between Michigan and here, so we replaced them with the yellow mitts you can see hanging in one of the pictures up there. They are from Williams Sonoma and we registered for the matching kitchen towels.

The cutting board casualty was more due to warping in the dishwasher at our old apartment, but when it got here it was obvious that a big hump in the middle made it impossible to use. The new one is the perfect size for our counter and was reasonably priced. Luckily, the salesperson told Aaron never ever to put this wonderful wooden board into a dishwasher or soak it in water, so maybe he will listen to her and we won't have the same problem down the road (or hopefully its just too big to fit in a dishwasher).