+ tokyo hibachi and bar. On Sunday night, Alan and I tried a different Japanese restaurant, since we will never again return to Panda Heaven. We ordered miso, Kumamoto oysters, sushi (he had a flaming volcano roll and I had a bonsai roll) and tempura green tea ice cream. It was amazing and there will be more photos and our opinion of the restaurant to come.
Excuse the phone photo
+ books. On Saturday, Alan and I took the boys to a local park to play and lunch for a bit. Then, we went to Barnes & Noble — we promised C that if he reads the entire Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (there are five), we’ll take him to see the movie. If T reads the equivalent for a series he chose (Young Bond), he’ll be able to shadow a chef. It should be a great way to encourage them to read more often — when I was younger, my dad always allowed my sister and me to pick a book from the bookstore, as long as we promised to read it. And now my bookshelf is overflowing with well over 300 books (not including the nook’s virtual shelves). I think C’s series is a bit elementary for his age group, but we have to start somewhere, and he really seems to enjoy the books (the boys spent most of Saturday afternoon and evening reading, which rarely happens). Next, we’ll work on their penmanship.
+ recipes. I also baked hearty berry muffins on Thursday and prepared chicken nanban for dinner on Saturday. For lunch, I cooked butternut squash and red onion pasta on Sunday. I substituted apple sauce for the egg in the muffin mix (because directly prior to making the muffins, I made fried rice with the only two eggs left), and they turned out rather well. They’re filling and yummy (and healthy!) without sacrificing flavor. The chicken was also really good — I love the sauce (Alan made the classic sauce) and we will definitely have that for dinner again. For the pasta, I couldn’t find the thyme and forgot the spinach, so I substituted persillade for the thyme and left out the greens completely. I also added extra olive oil, and that was Sunday’s lunch.
+ honors thesis. I was invited to write an honors thesis (which is required to graduate with College Honors and Departmental Distinction). I also received my audit and need seven classes to graduate (plus the suggested independent study to accompany my thesis, which makes eight). Four courses a semester is the common course load here, but I’m considering taking on more to ease spring semester of senior year (especially if I’ll be winding up wedding plans, moving plans and starting career plans). It’s times like these that I wish I would have taken the risk of adding a fifth course every semester — I could have graduated a year early.
Tonight’s dinner started with Alan and me making Jess’ cottage pie, which my family enjoyed (it’s almost all gone between four of us, and I had a second helping about an hour after dinner!). Then, we made Sespi’s Irish Car Bomb Cake, which turned into more of a Schuylkill (SKOO-kul)-Irish cake. Although, since Schuykill is the heart of the coal mining region of Pennsylvania, it’s probably safe to assume that there was a decent-sized population of Irish in that area. And Poles. And Hungarians. I used Yuengling in place of the Guinness, but then substituted Bailey’s coffee creamer for both the Bailey’s and whiskey. Everyone really enjoyed it, including my dad, who doesn’t like cake. Next time, I’d like to make it more Pennsylvania-oriented and use a German beer.
After dinner and dessert, Alan and I prepared the ingredients for tomorrow’s dinner, slow cooker potato soup. I’ll start the slow cooker tomorrow morning, before we go to the gym, and then it will be ready in time for dinner!
I would also like to mention Going Home to Roost’s post about the handmade community’s efforts to help Japan. I love the Japan Disaster Relief Bracelet by TopKnotch Gear.
Please excuse the photo quality -- I used my BlackBerry.
I made calabicitas from And You Never Did Think and baked shrimp and French bread from The Tale of Two Kitchens for yesterday’s dinner. All three turned out well, in spite of the fact that my bread dough didn’t rise as much as I would have liked. In my defense, it was the very first loaf of bread I have ever baked in my life. I won’t repost the recipes here, since they’re all still available on the linked blogs above and I didn’t change much in the recipes.
For the remainder of the week, the dinner menu will pay homage to some of the blogs I read frequently. Tonight, I’m making jesstagirl and her officer’s cottage pie. I’m going to bake And You Never Did Think’s Irish Car Bomb Cake, although my family doesn’t stock alcohol, so I have no Guinness, Bailey’s or whiskey. Instead, I’m using Yuengling (the only good thing to come out of Snyder County, according to my dad) for the Guinness, Bailey’s coffee creamer for the Bailey’s and I’m going to use peanut butter in place of the whiskey. I don’t exactly know how peanut butter equals whiskey, but the recipe is “chocolate whiskey buttercream frosting,” and I thought “chocolate peanut butter buttercream frosting” sounds even better. So, it doesn’t quite fulfill the “Irish” part of the name. Tomorrow will be slow cooker potato soup from The Tale of Two Kitchens and pan-fried chicken nanban from Just Bento. I’ll also bake the other half of the bread dough (Jess’ recipe makes two loaves).
On another note, I recently found one of my favorite songs on YouTube: Hey, wir wollen die eisbaren sehen (Hey, we want to see the polar bears). During my senior year of high school, an exchange student from Germany became really close friends with my sister. As a parting gift, he burned her a CD of some German and American songs, which I then added to my iTunes library. Unfortunately, Apple only allows you to sync your iPod with one computer, and when my old laptop crashed, I had no way to save my music, except for on the iPod. Now, however, I can’t sync it or download the music to my new laptop, so I haven’t been able to listen to that particular song in half of forever (or maybe since last summer, when Alan let me play it really loudly in his truck). And I couldn’t remember the name, so every time I typed in “Eisbar” on YouTube, the search results were completely different from what I wanted. Moral of the story: We need to figure out these iPod kinks before the wedding, if we use an iPod for the ceremony/reception music.