Monday, April 28, 2008

A Success and a Failure...

I bet you thought I forgot about my poor little sourdough starter, didn't you? I sure didn't. I made my very first little baby loaf of sourdough bread on Saturday. She turned out so pretty that I took her outside for a photoshoot.

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I especially love the floury-crackly look.

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Doesn't it just look delicious and crumbly and wonderful?


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Well, it turns out that Little Miss Sourdough has a sense of humor. This loaf of bread weighs approximately 10 pounds and is so dense, I could probably give you a concussion if I threw it at your head. I had one slice and it was just ick. I blame it on a poor rise -- I didn't give the starter enough time to get good and frothy. (Nevermind that I decided I wanted to bake it on Saturday night at about 8:30 PM and then decided to let it rise overnight, so it was rush-rush-rush with the starter and then the dough just sat there rising forEVER. That could also have caused a problem...)


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Anyway, its gorgeous looking and now the goal is to get it to taste as good as it looks. I am planning more loaves for this weekend, and I spiked the starter with a little dry active yeast, so maybe that will help.
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So, the first sourdough loaf was a failure, but dinner on Sunday turned out to be a total success. This is flank steak with white rice and sugar snap peas, from a recipe in my favorite little magazine, Everyday Food.

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The recipe is available online here, and although the picture in the magazine looks a little more organized than my tabletop with stray jacket sleeves in the picture, I think it probably tasted pretty darn close to the original. Yum.


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This is a make-again recipe for sure. I also made dinner tonight (for myself, since Steven decided that Wing Zone was too good to pass up) -- chicken with Ramen and broccoli. It was quite tasty. So tasty, in fact, that I forgot to take a picture. I made enough for lunch tomorrow because my goal-of-the-week is to take lunch to work. Because that's what you do in a recession, right?

Next up -- how I intend to feed the Steele Household when the recession really starts to bear down on us. (Hint: we bought it from Lowe's and I'm planting it in a big plastic pot on the porch...)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hot Stuff

Carlie would like to remind you that she is, indeed, dog-a-licious.

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Oh yes.

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And don't you forget it.

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Can I have a french fry now, like you promised?

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On our way back from picking up lunch today, we spotted a rainbow. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me for the really good shot... so we raced home and I took the steps two-at-a-time to get to the top of the parking garage.

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If you squint a little, you can still see it.

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Which got us wondering what really caused rainbows. And thus, we consulted the great collective wisdom of Wikipedia. Ours was actually a double rainbow, which is apparently even more rare. We considered driving toward one of the ends of the rainbow, to see if we could find a leprechaun or a pot of gold (preferably the latter), but our Arby's food was getting cold, so we didn't bother. I maintain that a leprechaun could have been at the end of that rainbow -- there have, after all, been other recent sightings....

Friday, April 25, 2008

Noro Scarf

Look!

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I finished something!

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Noro Scarf, made in Noro Silk Garden #8 and #248 (I think).

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I pretty much love it. If I made it again, I would pick even brighter colors -- it turned out a little more muted than I expected, but I think I will appreciate that more come winter.

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Short post for today. We are exhausted over here in Casa de Steele. This weekend = cleaning (again!) and maybe an outdoor adventure of some sort. Unless my car is yellow when I go outside tomorrow -- then we will be staying inside in the pollen-free zone.

Next weekend, however, I will MOST DEFINITELY be outside because Erica and I (and our respective hubbies and young ones) are going to Maryland Sheep and Wool! Yes, its real. Yes, there will be sheepdogs. Yes, I will buy many sheepy things. And a funnel cake. And fried oreos, maybe. If they have them.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

One Big Happy

When we first mentioned to Dad that we'd be coming down to GA to meet the baby, Dad realized that getting our entire family together again like this would probably take some cosmic alignment-of-the-planets, and he started brainstorming about a VonTrapp-esque event.

A few emails back and forth with song lists, chord charts, and sheet music -- and suddenly, there we were on Sunday afternoon at the church, rehearsing for our grand family-debut.

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It is a requirement for the incoming spouses of our family that you must (a) be able to sing, or in the alternative, (b) at least be prepared to stand on a stage and look like you are singing. A tall order, we know, but it could be worse. For instance, we could really be into Riverdance....

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From left to right: Kristin (brother Matt's fiancee and just now realizing the depth of our delightful craziness. Glad to have you, dear!), Mandy (mom to the utter cuteness in the prior post and Jon's wife -- Jon leads worship for their church, too, so she's used to this), Chris (youngest brother who is TOO funny and therefore not allowed to sit next to me on stage anymore because we will disrupt the service with our muffled laughter), me, and Steven (who got out of singing by choosing to play guitar).

Meanwhile, my brother Matt played drums and my brother Jon played bass.

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We're a regular performing family! We're like the Jackson 5, circa 1970, minus the big hair!

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We even cajoled Mom into joining the fun! (Aren't my parents the cutest? Sitting on the piano bench together? Everybody now.... Awwwwww!)

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Dad, or as we lovingly call him - the Reverend - played lead piano and tried to keep us all singing the same verse of the same song.

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Seeing my brother Matt makes me want to go back to being a blonde. I'm considering it, except I don't know how to describe this shade to the colorist -- Honey? Wheat? Straw? Brother?

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After the service, we made the obligatory trek to IHOP, where all good Baptists go to discuss the Sunday evening service and to partake of one of God's great gifts to all mankind: French Toast.

I'm really not sure what Chris and Dad are up to here, but it involved some sort of strange sign language and tapping on your nose. (I told you we are all a wee bit odd...)

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Mandy and Jon even brought the Babe out to our late-nite-o-pancakes.

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Someone asked Steven when Riley could expect to have a cousin from the Steele family...and this says it all:

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We laughed, we ate, we generally caused a ruckus at the House of Pancakes.

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Poor Matt had a rough go of it and couldn't join us -- the keys to his car had fallen out of his pocket and he was trying to figure out how they'd get back up to Greenville, SC sans car keys. On our way back from IHOP, we stopped by the church for one last ditch attempt to find the keys. We turned our cars to shine our headlights on the parking spot where Mom had parked that morning, and lo and behold -- Chris found the keys! We brought the keys back to Matt and Kristin, and much jubilation ensued.

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The next morning, we made one last stop before heading out of town and back to the grind. Dad moved into a new corner office, and we couldn't leave without seeing his new digs.

Pops in his office

Lookin' good, Pops, lookin' good.

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Shameless plug: http://www.huff-cpa.com/ Go check him out. :)

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About 5 or 6 hours into the drive back, we started to notice signs that we might be nearing the Northern Virginia area.

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Yep, we're getting closer...

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And just so you don't think I spent this whole weekend without any yarn in hand, I did manage to get a goodly portion of my Monkey Socks started on the drive home. This is Socks that Rock Heavyweight in Crazy Lace Agate. I love them.

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And now back to your regularly scheduled dogs, knits, cookies, and court appearances. Thanks for a fabulous weekend, family!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

An Afternoon With Baby (Vacation, Part Deux)

The next morning, Mom and I got up early to prep the food for lunch. (Yes. We DO have Crunch-N-Munch for breakfast. I find nothing wrong with that.)

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After we'd packed up all the food we could find, we all piled in Dad's car and headed down to see The Baby! Me, Mom, and Chris sat in the back.

Flipped

Dad and Steven maintained their intellectual conversations up front.

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(Dad, keep your eyes on the road, please.)

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Please do not disturb us with your photography. We are discussing the depths of nuclear physics and the resulting effect on Russian literature. Also, we are discussing those brownies we saw you making earlier...

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We finally arrived and rushed in to find one very sleepy, very-very cute, and very-very-very long-legged baby girl.

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And then Amber the Dog found Chris. And she instantly fell in love with him.

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Dad gave me a formal introduction to our little St. Patty's Day nugget.

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"Nice to meet you, Auntie. I made something special for you, just now. In my diaper."

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Uh oh. Sounds like a good time for the happy new parents to take over.

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We then commenced with the feasting.

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This picture was taken right before I turned Mandy's perfectly spotless kitchen into a Bosnian war zone. With asparagus.

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Sorry again about that, Mandy. Thanks for letting me use your Pampered Chef knife without supervision. And I didn't even cut anyone (that I'm aware of)!

Also, there were dog tricks.

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Amber can do more tricks than Pringles and Carlie combined. Which is good, because she weighs more than Pringles, Carlie, and a dump truck full of bricks.

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However, she is cute and therefore she is forgiven for crushing my spleen.

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Steven may or may not have fought a dog for a frisbee behind this tree. We think he probably lost.

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After food and frolicking with the dog, we commenced with the baby-photo-shoot.

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Hi. Are you related to me, too? Good lord...

Jon-the-dad provided the backdrop and also provided much cooing and pacifier-wrangling.

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Who are all you crazy people?

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No, seriously, I'm starting to get concerned here...

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I come in Pampers...

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And I am already plotting about how to wrap all you people around these little fingers here...

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Alright. Where's my latte and my trailer? I'm done with this gig...

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Has anyone signed me up for basketball camp yet, by the way?

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I am ... not... tired... yet...

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Once we'd completely worn Riley out, it was time for brownies. And for sitting single file on the couch.

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And generally resembling some sort of cheesy sitcom, of sorts.

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Father imparted a little fatherly wisdom, as he is wont to do.

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And we all had a delightful afternoon, full of food and baby and sunshine and no schoolwork or paperwork or anything having to do with me having to sit in an office, whatsoever! Hallelujah!

On the way back, Chris got to hold my very first travelling sock.

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The culmination of a very good and significant day. :) Congrats to you, Jon and Mandy, on your lovely house and your adorable and statuesque baby girl. Welcome to the fam, Riley. Better learn to sing soon!