Saturday, May 31, 2008

New look

Frustrated with the scale of my blog on M's big monitors (2 flat screen 20 some inch things, for the architect in all of us), I decided to venture back to college and began messing with HTML code after 10 years. Needless to say this was a late night adventure and my refusal to look up any help sites made it interesting.

So, the code behind the page is messy and my page looks good on the big screen. Haven't checked it anywhere else.

The picture is from our trip to Yosemite last year, I want to say it was taken when we were climbing at the Manure Pile, yes that is a name of a climbing area in Yosemite.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

It is finally the weekend and almost the end of May. It has been quite the month. M and I have been pretty much working non-stop, but have had the chance for a little fun.

We spent some time with friends on Navarre Beach. P's last trip before the baby comes. The weather was perfect and the low-country boil was awesome, my M can be quite a cook when he wants to be!

K and E got married! (Don't they look happy) We had a great weekend celebrating with them.

We are getting closer and closer to breaking ground on the house. There are a few loose ends to tie up and hopefully we will get started in early June. You can keep track of the progress by clicking this link. (run the pictures on fast speed in slideshow mode)

In the mean time we have been cleaning up the lot. A and I scavenged a couple of plants that would have been taken out during construction and M has been trying to kill all the poison ivy.

I'm not sure if any of the plants will make it, but it is worth a shot and I got a great bouquet of roses for a week or two.

I also put pictures of some of M's models online. They are not the final layout, but pretty close.

June is shaping up to be a busy month. It looks like I will be headed to Chicago, Denver, and maybe San Antonio for work and we will be breaking ground on the house!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sacrilege or a really good cookie??

M and I have been craving cookies lately and he is working like a banshee between the house and a number of deadlines at work. So, I decided that as a "good wife" I would make some cookies, now did I make any of his favorites?

I'm not that good, but I did decide not to put any nuts, coconut, or stuff like that into the cookies, all things M usually frowns at. I did however decide that I needed a chocolate fix. After looking at what I had in the cupboard and what I was craving, I decided to modify my Mum's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies.

Now, I'll give all of my WI friends a moment to get over their shock and horror.

Yes, I modified my mother's cookies. Don't worry, I didn't destroy the recipe or tear it up into tiny bits or anything and in fact if you ran over to my Mum's right now, I bet she has some stashed in the freezer. After all, Bud is at home for the summer.

So, here goes.... Zilla's triple-chip chocolate oatmeal cookies
(Of course these are wheat-free, but if you are worried about the gluten be sure to find specially sourced oatmeal)

First assemble the dry ingredients:
2 cups assorted chips, I used chocolate, butterscotch, and white chocolate
3 cups oatmeal
1 cup nearly normal flour
1 cup brown rice flour (see they are good for you!)
1/8 tsp xanthan gum (secret #1)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon (secret #2, just enough to add richness not a strong cinnamon flavor)
Then mix them all together in a large mixing bowl.

Next start working on the wet ingredients:

1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup corn syrup
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla (do not use "imitation")
1 tsp baking soda

Start by mixing the butter and all of the sugars together including the syrup.
Start off slow and once the butter is broken down turn the mixer on high and walk away. Yup, walk away let this beat for a good 5 minutes.

It should look like this when it is done:

Next add the eggs one at a time and beat well. It should look like the creamiest frosting ever when you are done beating in the eggs.

lastly, add the salt, vanilla, and baking soda to the party. Beat well one last time.

Now dump this all onto the dry ingredients.

You will be saying: "There isn't any way I can possibly make cookies out of this! I need more wet stuff!". Get out your wooden spoon and start mixing, this is where you work off all the calories so you can eat as many of these cookies as you want. If you beat the wet ingredients enough there will be plenty of liquid to go around.

See, I told you so.

Next turn on your oven (350F) and set the timer for 20 minutes and walk away again. This will give the flour some time to absorb the liquid. At this point, you can also put the mixture into the fridge and make a few cookies whenever you want for the next week or so.

Once the timer goes off, using a handy-dandy cookie scoop - one of the best inventions ever - put the cookies onto the cookie sheet and bake for 7 minutes or so.

They should be nice and puffy when they come out of the oven.

allow to cool for a few minutes until you can safely transfer them to a cooling rack. Makes a bunch.

What did the puppy do??

Soliciting opinions....

Friday, May 2, 2008

How old am I??

Yes, you all know how old I am it is clearly stated in the picture a few posts below, but the Mothership offers yearly health evaluations and I decided to partake this year.

So, this involves blood work and a fitness evaluation. Now, I hate needles, but I decided to deal with it anyway. At least they draw it from your arm and not pricking your finger. I HATE having my finger pricked. A fact my mother, a med tech, loves. After all, having your teenage child screaming in terror from something you do for a living has to be gratifying.

Anyway, so a week or so ago I survived the horror of having my blood drawn. I'm sure Stella is laughing at me right now after all she suffered through recently, but I'm pretty sure I had "the foley" when I was 6 and probably younger. Maybe that is where my fear of needles came from?

Back to my story, I had my blood drawn. I made it through, but felt woozy afterwards, so I got the nurse to give me a juice box. That was probably because I was starving, why do they always make you fast??

A week later I came in for the fitness evaluation where they do all this "static" testing, which means they have all these instruments that can measure your level of fitness without making you sweaty. They did the usual routine, blood pressure, height (I'm actually 5' 3.5", the tallest I've ever been!) and weight. They they had you lie on a exam table for 5 minutes with a heart monitor so they could test your cardio recovery, whatever that is. You do the sit and reach like your doing the Presidential Fitness Challenge from elementary school. I have to confess, that this is the only portion I consistently passed. Lastly. they put you back on the scale and make you do a static curl. Really weird. When that is all said and done, they review it with you and give you your "body age"..... any guesses??


*Now, while I did fairly well in everything I do have to say, they screwed up the curl and forgot to subtract my weight from the static curl. So, my body age is probably a little closer to early 20 something, but I'm still impressed with myself. I think cutting out the wheat definitely helped with my new younger self.