Sunday, May 24, 2009

My basil!

Groundhogs can climb! I looked it up on Wikipedia and realized that we don't have a gopher, which doesn't seem to climb, we have a groundhog...and they are fully capable of climbing. Despite putting my newly potted Thai basil and flowers on the picnic table, it still got them! Maybe I will stack all the chairs in the corner of the deck and pull the table away from the hand rail so that it's an island of potted plants. Take that you evil groundhog! I see a second chapter of InviciBob coming. Apparently we are in prime location for groundhogs, aka woodchucks. They are found nationwide but are very common in the Northeast. Boo!

Even though these guys are cute, I want my basil! If worse comes to worse I'll keep it inside, but I planted five different pots of basil (sweet, Thai, and Greek) this year and that would be a huge hassle. Not to mention my flowers, which I'm not as attached to, but still. It's the principle of the matter.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tulips season = allergy season

My nose is so clogged but feels runny. It's the worst. I keep sniffling when I don't really think I have to. This would be okay except that when this first started everyone was freaked out about the Swine flu. Now since the season is in full swing I feel the asthma building in my chest. There is just no winning. (By the time I finished this blog my Claritin kicked in. I'm feeling much better now.)

This weekend was quite fun, though a little sad. It was the RPI graduation so most of our friends are leaving either for good or for internships. It is going to be a quiet summer, which will be a great time for me to start cooking again. (I haven't really had time to do a lot like I was before.) Cara left this morning and Nadeem is off to NJ to spend time with his extended family before he goes off to Providence for his internship. I try to make quick getaways when saying goodbye so that I don't get too sad.

We also went to a couple of end of the year bbqs that were fun. It was a busy weekend, but not much to write home about. The only thing that I'd like to note is that we played some Hillbilly Golf, which is super addicting. I think I want to try to make a set of these things for our parties.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Semi-failed Roadtrip to NYC

Friday night Rolando and I went down to NYC to pick up his girlfriend. Let me just tell you, it was a disaster. Not only did we get lost for about 1.5 hours (total...there were a few times we got lost) it was also raining super hard and we kept hydroplaning and getting water splashed on us by big rigs at the same time. Super scary, but I have to say, I did an excellent job not freaking out. We would also run into huge sheets of fog because we were driving along the Hudson and it was like 60 degrees outside.

I don't want to go into too much detail because I've been talking about it since the trip, but it all started with Rolando not being able to rent a car. He just passed the NY state license driving test last Monday so he didn't have his actual license card. He didn't know that rental places won't take a permit and the passed test receipt. The rental car place wouldn't let him rent a car. His solution was to take a Megabus down to the city at 6pm to get her. This meant, however, that they would have to wait until the next morning to come back up because her flight didn't get in to JFK until 2:35am. So I told him that we could go. On the way down we got lost getting out of Albany. I think you all know that I'm horrible with directions. Edward had gone to Pittsburgh with our friend Cara to see the Penguins Stanley Cup play off game (ice hockey) so he wasn't with us. Needlesstosay, the GPS got us in the general direction, but once we got down to the NJ and NYC area poop hit the fan. We got so lost and then the GPS was taking us all over the place. Since Rolando was getting flustered and frustrated his driving skills went out the window. He definitely experienced "Rolando, stop the car, I'm driving." many, many times. We ended up getting Natanya (his gf) at 3:50am! Then on the way home we weren't free and clear. That is when the rainstorm hit and the fog. First I was worried we wouldn't make it in once piece to get Natanya and then I was worried we weren't going to make it home. Whew! We made it! We didn't get home until 7:35 am. I have yet to drive down to NYC and have a positive experience. I'm taking the train next time I have to go and I told Rolando...well kind of yelled at him, that Natanya is flying into Albany when she comes back in December.

Once I woke up at 2:00pm Saturday, I was pretty productive. I managed to weed my little veggie box right before we had a thunder and lightning storm. That was hard work. The weeds had roots that lodged themselves in between the boards and the weedmat and then latched themselves in the dirt all along the boards. Those things are tricky! You think that if you just pull one bunch of leaves that you got it because there would be a tiny root, but there are roots upon roots under the soil. What I ended up doing was using a rake and pulling up the edges, taking out as many roots as I could see, stirring around the dirt to try to find all the little pieces I missed and then adding more dirt. Hopefully by stirring around the dirt it doesn't make it so that those weeds start sprouting in the middle of the box. I know I couldn't have gotten every since root since there were so many. I just hope that I can stay vigelent enough during the summer to weed periodically while my veggies grow. It was a good workout, that's for sure. I also went out to get more paper for the baby shower invitations and then folded a mountain of laundry.

The next day we went to the Tulip Festival in Albany and then to dinner with Rolando, Natanya, Cara, and Nadeem at Fudruckers. Here are some pictures of the flowers that I liked. Maybe I'll go searching for these in the store so that I can plant them before winter hits.

These dark purple ones were also some of the few that were on my favorites list.

These pink and purple ones remind me of Mother's Day. Hahah.
These yellow ones were my favorite and the only ones without a nametag!

Reminds me of 31 Baskin Robin's Rainbow sherbert (my favorite).

Aren't these super cool? They're part of the fringe family. I've never seen flowers like this before so I thought they'd be worthy of the blog.

After the Tulip Fest we drove down the road to school so that I could pick up some packets to read for my summer class that starts tonight. I figured since I actually remembered to bring my camera with me that I'd take some pictures by the sign. I also figured that I probably won't be coming back to campus all that often once I finish at the end of May. Here, I'm pretending to kick the sign because they messed up my schedule and caused a lot of headache. In the end though, I think I will probably miss going to school even though right now I'm sick of it. It's a very pretty campus. I think I would have appreciated it more if I didn't commute and spent more time out there. As Edward likes to say, "You just like to complain a lot," and St. Rose gave me enough to fill a whole complaint jar.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Recipes and the birthday party

Well, like I expected, I didn't get any pictures of the food. I barely even got to eat it! I was running around refilling jugs of drinks and making sure that everyone was happy all while trying to be sociable. I'm just happy that everyone liked it so much! I think it was a huge success. I only got two drumsticks and I was getting interrupted so much while eating them, but boy were the delicious. Hah! I was eating vicariously through our guests. Everyone loved the mushrooms, by the way. Edward said that they were delicious.

The only bad thing was that I tried to turn out my cake too early and it broke. A friend of mine did manage to get the stuck piece out and put it on so that it didn't look so bad. Since everyone was there I didn't try to frost it and glue it back together. It was supposed to be a carmel glaze anyway (I ran out of time to glaze). I was disappointed. Last year I had cake problems for Edward's birthday party too. I couldn't even get it out! I guess this is a step up. I usually don't have problems with this bundt pan though so I was pretty surprised. Even though it wasn't super pretty, the cake was very tasty. is a life saver. I did manage to get one picture during the party. This is literally the only picture I took. We've decided that we're the worst party picture takers ever. We always forget!

See the broken part?

This is the batter. Those chunks are apples and walnuts. Don't worry, I made sure everyone knew that there were nuts in the cake. Since working at the Y, I'm much more aware of food allergies and try to take them into account when making food for large groups of people. No one said that they were allergic to nuts so I added them, but still shouted out that they were in there just in case.

Anyway, enough of that. A couple of weeks ago I was on a burger making kick. Here are some yummy chicken burgers. We didn't grill them. I think that it was pretty cold outside and dark so I did them in a pan. For the chicken burgers I added EVOO since the meat is pretty lean. For the regular ground beef ones I didn't add any. That's homemade blue cheese dressing! I'll type up and post the recipe at some point. I don't normally like blue cheese, but this dressing is tasty. A friend of ours at the party liked it too and he's the same about blue cheese as I am.

Allison's Chicken Burgers

1 lb ground chicken
3 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp onion powder
2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp red pepper flakes
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce

Mix everything together and marinate for 1 hour. Form into patties. Cook over medium heat until centers are fully cooked through. The patties will be pretty squishy if you make them thick.

Serve with homemade blue cheese dressing and toasted buns.

Grade: A+

The next day I also made regular burgers. I think Edward said that he liked them better than the chicken. I recall enjoying the chicken more. I apparently didn't write down what I did with the burgers, but I think I used onion and garlic powder, a minced chipotle chili, salt and pepper. Probably some red pepper flakes too. Since I didn't put a binder of any sort in, the burger didn't stay put together very well.

For Edward's bday I also whipped up some spicy salsa. We had gone to Applebee's the night before and their salsa was pretty good. After inspecting it, I decided that I could make some myself. I had a habanero pepper in the fridge so I used that. It was soooo good and spicy, but if you don't like the kick as much as we do, you can use jalapenos.

Allison's spicy salsa

1 habanero pepper, with seeds
5 cloves of garlic
half a medium size yellow or white onion, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp kosher salt
1 28 oz can of petite cut tomatoes or diced

In blender puree habanero, garlic, onion, salt, and a little of the tomato liquid until it is smooth. Mix the puree with the tomatoes so that the puree is distributed throughout. Serve cold with chips.

Other significant events around here:
  • We got a Chipotle! It's about 35 min away, but we still travel out there. A new one is going to be opening up in October and it will be only 10 min away. We are so excited. What we do now is buy one burrito to eat there and then buy one to take home. Since Chipotle burritos are delicious reheated, this isn't a problem at all.
  • Emmy hurt her paw. We were playing at the grassy area across from our house and I noticed that her paw was all bloody. She just kept on going while I was freaking out! You all know how intense she is when it comes to frisbee playing. She didn't even seem to notice until I rushed her home. Then she was like, "Oh, hmm, I'm hurt." It's been about a week now and it looks like the nail is going to come off. It was sticking straight out at one point during healing. I guess she got it caught on the ground and it tore away from her ankle. She hasn't been limping as much lately, which is good. The poor girl is probably getting cabin fever. We haven't take her to play since it happened (we do try to take her on car rides though). When we had the BBQ she was all excited because of our guests and the house across the way was also having a party. Just running back and forth woofing her head off in the backyard had her limping hard. Yesterday she came barreling into the house on three legs. She wasn't even putting down the hurt paw. That made me sad and I made sure to tell her how much I love her. So we've cut back on play time since she got hurt. As soon as she's better we'll be back out on the field. I haven't been very worried since she's still on antibiotics for her hole. I figured that if she starts getting an infection the antibiotics will help it. She's been keeping it really clean though, so I don't think there is any infection setting in. She's going to the vet tomorrow for her followup so we'll have the doctor check it out just in case.
  • Last, the semester is now over for the both of us. We are so relieve. I'm just not looking forward to the intensive summer class (a whole semester's worth of work crammed into three weeks) that starts on the 11th of May. But on the bright side, I'm three weeks away from being a Master!

Here are some bonus pictures of Emmy having at a rice spoon. Look at that tail! She wasn't even giving me the time of day when I got down and put the camera in her face.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Ed's BBQ

This weekend is Edward's bday. We are planning a BBQ tomorrow. This is the menu:

grilled portobello mushrooms & mozzarella
brined chicken drumsticks
veggie kababs
wedge salad w/ blue cheese dressing
potato salad
apple harvest pound cake w/ caramel glaze (has nuts)
I'm going to be making a trip out to the wholesale store to get as much stuff as I can. Tonight will be a night of chopping veggies for the kababs, wedging iceberg lettuce, brining chicken, making cake, and making homemade blue cheese dressing. I also want to make my own salsa so that it will be nice and spicy, but we'll see how much energy I have after doing all of this plus cleaning the bathroom, dust, and finishing laundry. (I may delegate dusting to Edward, but he already has poop scooping and light bulb changing duty.) I will try to take pictures of the food tomorrow, but it is difficult when hungry people are hovering around the table like starved wolves. By the time we get everything on the table things are missing!

I also need to get my final paper done for American Lit. I've been putting off this paper for so long. I think I have about six pages so far, but very little support for my theories. Adding support is always nice because I can put in block quotes that take up major space. I also just found out that the font Courier is MLA approved. It adds like three pages to your paper, but it's so obvious when you do it. Hehe. That is a last resort tactic. I also learned that block quotes are supposed to be double spaced. For some reason I thought that they were single spaced. Apparently most of the people in my class thought so too. MLA is so complicated and frustrating. So now I can add double spaced block quotes that are also taken an inch in at both margins. Sweet! 15 pages may not be that hard after all.