Wednesday, December 31, 2008

12/31/08 Happy New Year! and a recipe for Velma!

Happy New Year to everyone! We just ate a terrific meal and are headed out to some friend's home to celebrate a while - it's been a great year hasn't it? Before we go, I wanted to share the sunflower seed bread recipe that Velma requested. It's really yummy!

For 1.5 pound loaf

.75 cup sour cream
5 tbsp water
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp honey
.75 tsp salt
3 tbsp oat bran
.75 cup whole-wheat flour
2.25 cups bread flour
2.25 tsp yeast
4.5 tbsp sunflower (unroasted and unsalted) seeds. I was sloppy on this and much more spilled into the bread on purpose. :)

Mix it all together then knead it like crazy. Let it rise. Knead it more and shape it into the loaf you want. Let it rise again (I was winging it and let it rise an hour). Then I tossed it in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes and it was perfect!

Hope you enjoy it! :)

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

12/30/08 - Cabin Fever Set In...Poor Pente!

Cabin fever is setting in strongly at the house. Even with working a lot and getting out to the rock club, and to the weight gym, and on bike rides, we are both getting a little stir crazy.

Don't feel too bad for us though, we are creative people. We can find ways to entertain ourselves. Today we conducted a basic physic experiment: A test of the law of gravity.

Not many things are needed to test the laws of gravity. In our case, all that was needed was an elevated surface and one willing cat.

Happily, we have both an elevated surface AND a willing cat available. The experiment is easy. Grab the cat. Climb an elevated surface with cat. Drop cat. Snap photos until said cat lands on a soft surface.

Not only were we able to provide support for the law of gravity, we discovered that science is a great form of exercise - chasing the cat for replications of the experiment got exhausting. Another unanticipated benefit of the experiment is that clearly the cat's self esteem grew. She loved being the center of two humans' attention for a span of time.

We're thinking our next experiment may deal with tensile strength. Hmmmmm....

DISCLAIMER: No cats or vegetables were harmed in the shooting of these photos.

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12/30/08 - RIP Bread Machine

Happy with my initial success of bread making and feeling more confident, I set out to bake a loaf of sunflower seed bread. YUM! I got the ingredients, measured carefully, loaded the breadmaker and hit "start".

It sat there. And did nothing.

I did notice that it say "preheating". So I tried to be patient...FOR FORTY MINUTES. Nothing happens. Nothing was even getting warm. Finally, after resetting everything, doing all sorts of voodoo maneuvers to make the machine work, I had to admit it was dead.

Thank goodness a friend was over to encourage my attempts and finishing this loaf by hand. After some kneading and rising and kneading and rising, into the oven it went. I was already calling it the "brick loaf" before it came out, but to my surprise, it came out delicious!

I would post a photo of the bread (it was a beauty!) however all that remains are some crumbs on the counter and some crumbs in the corner of Dave's mouth. I can now confidently declare myself weened from the bread machine. Our short relationship was sweet, but all things must come to an end.

Next loaf - sunflower and cranberry!

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

12/28/08 - The smell of freshly baked bread - MMmmmmmm!

Dave and I are still around, working hard and playing hard too. We have been hitting the weight gym and the rock gym.

And we've been still taking advantage of Netflix. We watched Bad Santa several days ago. Uhhhh, it was okay, but I will say that the badness in it went way over the top. Plus it was the first time in my life that I've been turned off by EXCESSIVE profanity. We also saw Jim Carey's the Grinch which was quite entertaining. Tonight or tomorrow will be In Bruges. And after that, we are compelled to watch Shakes the Clown. A friend simply will not rest until we do.

Aside from the inside activity, Dave enjoys getting out in this weather. In fact, he's on his bike ride now. Toooooo cold for me. If I get enough layers on to go out there, I can't bend my arms or legs.

Found a new fun thing to do as well. I baked my first loaf of bread ever today! I opted to bake a loaf of french bread and I was actually surprised that it tastes exactly like french bread!

Let me qualify the word "baked". While I am proudly taking credit for the bread making, an appliance did all the dirty work. I did however meticulously measure the ingredients, place them in precise order in the pan, and I removed the finished product from the pan at the right time. Clearly, the machine couldn't have done it without me.

Judging from the sounds of chewing lips and beaks in the house (the cat wasn't interested), I'd say the bread making is a success. Happy for that since bread is $5 a loaf these days. The next loaf I think will be Sunshine bread - it has sunflower seeds in it! Yummy!

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

12/25/08 - More Holiday Madness!

After the morning, we needed to get Dave out of the house so he wouldn't go mad. We headed to El Dorado Canyon and hike the El Dorado trail.

It wasn't too cold, not too windy, and not too icy. The hike offered some nice views of the canyon.

I didn't feel so great so we didn't go too very far. Maybe it was getting up early. Or the sinus headache. Or too much wine last night. Maybe all of it. Still, I looked and felt a bit green so we only did 4 or 5 miles.

On the way home, we stopped at one of the coolest 'beeper' colonies. I guess these are ground hogs. They're super cute and in this particular place, one can get really close to the cute little guys.

I was even able to catch one of them making their calls on video (see below).

The wind is really kicking up this afternoon. I hear we are in store for some very high winds tonight. That should be fun - Or something like that. At least here the wind is not associated with tornadoes (generally anyway).

So now we are back home lounging. Tonight we'll watch the Grinch with Jim Carey and relax. Tomorrow we're off to the rock gym. I'm looking forward to that.

Hope everyone else out there is enjoying their holidays!

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12/25/08 - Happy Holidays! AKA Cats Gone Wild!

Things here have been low-key but good. We have been enjoying time with friends, working and working out. And doing a little shopping for Christmas.

This morning we opened gifts after breakfast and cinnamon rolls. The birds and cat spent some time helping with the gift opening (or paper attacking).

It's been a good year and obviously we've been good since Santa brought gifts for us. Not much else to say about it - we'll let the photos do the talking!

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

12/11/08 - Grounded for Winter

Winter arrived. In one evening, we got about 9.5" of snow. Days later, it is still on the ground. It was inevitable though given the late arrival, I started thinking we'd escape the snow this year. Ha!

The trailer is stored and we will be hanging out for the winter months so there won't be any fun travel photos. Instead, now we are entertaining ourselves at home. This includes working, hanging with the critters, trying new cool drinks and watching movies.

Last night we watched "Talk To Me". Neither of us heard of the title before but thought we'd give it a try based on a trailer we saw on another silly movie. Talk To Me was really terrific (tears flowed), and it's based on a true story which is always a plus to me. It is highly recommended.

The stupid movie of the week is Ironman. Fantastical. Entertaining if you realize it's ridiculous. There were clearly some laughs and the suit was cool. But a lot of it required such massive suspension of reality that I scoffed. If you are really desperate, I'd watch it. Otherwise, skip it.

Next up on the Netflix Queue is Mars Attacks and Reservation Road.

Dave has been busy doing a lot of filming for a couple of projects. Yesterday I was an assistant for the first time. He needed to interview an individual, but didn't want them looking in the camera. So I sat there so they guy could look at and talk to me. The interviewee was a riot so it was a good time. I may have a future as a focal point. Too bad it doesn't pay well. HA!

Dave's also been consulting quite a bit so his schedule is pretty full. That works out okay since I've been working a ton as well. I've been hacking away at too many research projects. I got two papers out for review last week and have several about 1/3 to 1/2 along. Now I just need about 40 hours a day. It's nice to really love the work again. Environment and balance makes all the difference.

Not much else, just regular life which is great!

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