duncandahusky: (huskyface)

For those who have asked, and for those who might be interested, here are the links to the recipes I used for this month’s dinner party.

  • Sicilian Eggplant-Pine Nut Caponata

    • Quite delicious, though a bit sweeter than I would have expected. Also, next time I’ll try to remember the extra green pepper that I accidentally put the gazpacho instead!

  • Pretzel Bites

    • The recipe calls for pretzel rods but we cut them up into bite-size pieces. They came out more chewy than crisp – clearly we need to work on technique.

  • Grilled Gazpacho

    • This was a really great recipe. The grilling is a bit of a pain, but really adds to the flavor. Also, if you double the recipe it will take three rounds of processing the a large blender.

  • Baked Eggs

    • I made the recipe as stated, but also made a filling with potato, bacon, and thyme. Make sure to watch these closely and pull them out on the early side because it’s easy to cook the eggs to a hard-set yolk.

  • Fancy Salad

    • Simply delicious. I would absolutely make this again!

  • Asian Crispy Caramel Skewers

    • Yum. Just yum.

  • Grilled Curry Chicken Kebabs

    • Ditto!

  • Chicken Skewers with Penzey’s Ozark Chicken Seasoning

  • Chocolate Chip Cookies with PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter

    • Dan modified this recipe to use a little less chocolate chips, substituting in some additional PB2 chocolate-peanut butter powder.

duncandahusky: (Cooking - Kitchen Aid)
I could bore you with the long drawn-out tale of how I was captured by pirates off the coast of Somalia, made friends with the captain and wound up entertaining Bedouins in a Yemeni oasis before I was able to escape to Belgium, where I subsisted on crackers, aged cheese, and fine Trappist ales before stowing away on a transatlantic cruise ship and talked my way into a ride back to Chicago in an art-car covered with Hello Kitty dolls, but that would be tedious and wholly fabricated.

Instead, let's talk about what I've been doing the last few weeks.

The weekend of August 21st, I joined [livejournal.com profile] aureth, [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, [livejournal.com profile] genet, and [livejournal.com profile] roho for what we termed the "Milwaukee Booze Tour". We started out with the Sprecher Brewery tour. We've done it before, but this time we paid extra for the "Reserve Tasting": 15 beers paired with 15 cheeses. Not much beer (a shot glass of each), but most of the pairings were good, and a few were excellent (the Scotch ale paired with a whisky-infused cheddar was stellar).

From there we grabbed a quick bite at a little dive Mexican joint, Conejito's, then walked around Milwaukee Public Market and did a bit of shopping at The Spice House.

Then it was off to Great Lakes Distillery for a very interesting tour and tasting. The $6 cocktails before the tour were nice. The specifics of their distilling process were fascinating to me as a chemical engineer, and we had great fun sampling their various products. My personal verdicts: Their gin is wonderful, their vodka so-so, the maple-spiced rum kind of vile. The grappa was watery, the kirsch was...well, kirsch (the only think I know to do with kirsch is spike fondue with it). And their absinthes were overhyped. I'll buy pastis and be happy.

I was only slightly tipsy after the tasting, but fortunately Genet was our designated driver. For dinner we went to Crawdaddy's, which was apparently a really great place back in 2002. Alas, it's 2010 and the place is well past its prime. Roho left a scathing review on Yelp, and I agree with every bit of it.

Last weekend I felt the urge to cook. Since I have a lot of cookbooks but don't use them nearly enough, I decided to pull some recipes from there. We were joined by Aureth, Roho, and Genet, and I made a baby lettuce and arugula salad with peaches and almonds, and a summer vegetable gratin (with zucchini, summer squash, Japanese eggplant, and Roma tomatoes), both from Ad Hoc At Home.

For the entree, I made Anthony Bourdain's pan-roasted pork chops with Sauce Charcruterie (a brown sauce made with onions, demi glace, mustard, and cornichons) from the Les Halles Cookbook. For dessert, Dan made a delicious fresh yellow watermelon sorbet that was amazing when mixed with Grey Goose vodka :-) The salad was pretty good, but the flavors didn't quite meld. The gratin was amazing and I would absolutely make it again. The pork was OK, but I really liked the sauce more.

The big news this week is that we got shiny new phones, the Sprint Samsung Epic 4G. We're still getting used to the quirks of Android, but after less than 24 hours I can still say that they are far superior to our Palm Pres. More on these as we've had time to play with them!
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
On Saturday, [livejournal.com profile] aureth and [livejournal.com profile] jenwolf were hosting a party over at their place. I thought I'd try to make a couple of new dishes to bring: Spicy Baked Plantain Chips and Salsa Verde. The plantain chips did not turn out well - a bit leathery, unfortunately. They were close to burning, but could have used a bit more time in the oven to crisp up. The salsa verde was... well, it wasn't up to my standards. Way too salty, and the four Serrano chiles in the recipe made it mighty damn hot! This was a good reminder that I really need to only make tried-and-true recipes for these sorts of things.

[livejournal.com profile] mirkowuff arrived Saturday afternoon with his malamute, Chase. Buddy seems to be feeling better (though his appetite still isn't up to snuff - possibly due to the continued antibiotics) and so greeted Chase with a wagging tail...and then spent the next hour trying to mount him. Oy. At this point I have to assume it's a dominance thing. Chase let him know it wasn't appreciated, and eventually they got things sorted out, but it was certainly comical to watch. We were a little late to the party because Mirko wanted to watch some basketball thing or something with his alma mater. He spent the rest of the evening squee-ing about the game :-)

The party was a lot of fun. Jim's brown ale was excellent, and the company was wonderful. I wish that we could have stayed later, but we had to get up stupidly-early the next day, so we grabbed [livejournal.com profile] hartree and Mirko and headed back to our place.

On Sunday morning, Hartree and Mirko and I left before 8 AM (well, left the first time - we had to double back because I forgot my ticket. Doh!) for the Illinois Rail Museum Snowflake Special CTA Tour. This was a 9-hour tour of the Chicago elevated train system. We were joined by [livejournal.com profile] dexcat, [livejournal.com profile] rustitobuck, and [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus. The tour went from Rosemont (right next to the Hyatt Regency O'Hare!) to downtown, out to UIC, down the South Side to 61st Street, then north to Evanston, with numerous stops and detours along the way. I have to say I was very much impressed by the IRM's organization, and the quality of the tour was very good as well, with near-continuous narration provided by a pair of very knowledgeable fellows. I took over 180 pictures, and I'll post some of those soon.

We had lunch in The Loop, stopping at the Qdoba on Randolph. We were unexpectedly joined by a rather loquacious train fan who was maybe 10 years old. He talked a blue streak, and while he knew his stuff, it was amusing to listen to him rattle on about the wisdom of the Circle Line while his parent nodded wearily beside him with that look of, "Oh thank God, he's talking to someone else for a change." After lunch we had time for a quick stop at Intelligentsia Coffee, then it was back on the train. All in all, I have to say that it was about seven hours of an interesting tour - the last two hours really dragged and it was a bit of a relief when we pulled back into Rosemont. [livejournal.com profile] takaza, [livejournal.com profile] roho, and [livejournal.com profile] genet met us there (with Chase, who went home with Mirko from there). The rest of us went down for dinner at Smoque, which was excellent, as usual.

And here we are at a new week. I have some errands to run after work, then I'll grill up dinner while Dan works on the FCN con book. It sounds like we're going to go see "How To Train Your Dragon" tomorrow night at one of my favorite local theaters, so we're off to a great start to the week!
duncandahusky: (Thoughtful)
So, what have I been up to these last few weeks (besides, you know, answering questions)?

Well, back on January 17th we had the first staff meeting of the year for Midwest FurFest. Time to start it all over again! It was a good meeting, recapping some of last year's activities, and including a walk-through of the new hotel space. We've got a lot of big plans, but it's going to take some time to bring everything to fruition. I've got some items for the website that I need to take care of, and I need to get some information posted. That'll come this week, I hope.

On January 23rd we braved some freakishly dense fog to visit [livejournal.com profile] aureth and [livejournal.com profile] jenwolf's lovely place in Hebron. Excellent company, some very tasty beer, and entertaining games followed. The next day I finished up my taxes and arrived at some very happy numbers (yay for first-time homebuyer's tax credit, boo for not being able to e-file if you claim that credit!).

That week kicked off what may be my most stressful week at work since I started with $employer, and it's been pretty crazy ever since. This has really put a damper on my time that I would be able to post to this journal, or even to think about posting anything since when I get home from work I just want to de-stress. Unfortunately, this trend will continue at least until the end of February, though I'm hoping that things will ease off a bit after that. It's all but certain that I'll be working Saturdays for the rest of the month, though.

At the end of January I squeaked out of work on Friday the 29th and [livejournal.com profile] takaza gave me a ride down to O'Hare Airport, where I caught a flight to Columbus to spend the weekend hanging out with [livejournal.com profile] fordshepherd. The ostensible purpose of the trip was to give him a weekend to relax and not stress, but we all know the futility of this - it would be like someone wanting to do the same for me :-) Anyway, it was a delightful weekend, with dinners with [livejournal.com profile] roby_panther and [livejournal.com profile] kai_darkwolf, cooking up a storm (and a lot of smoke) with crappy recipes from Jamie Oliver, and generally just hanging out and chatting. I had an excellent time!

This brings me up to this past weekend. On Saturday, Dan's mom and sister joined us, along with [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet for a joint early-birthday celebration for me and Dan's sister. We had a delicious turkey dinner, and I made a butternut squash risotto that turned out really well. Afterward we watched "Julie & Julie", which is a really fun movie. Last night we took all those leftovers (along with a freshly-made bread pudding) to Genet and Roho's place where they hosted a Super Bowl party. We were joined by [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, Aureth, and Jenne. We had a whole lot of fun and I really enjoyed the game. The couple of beers I had didn't sit well with me, though, and as expected I had reflux issues all night long. I'm dragging a bit right now with the combined lack of sleep and lack of caffeine, since I can't face the acid of coffee right now. Maybe a soda before I head off to work...

Speaking of which, time to shower. Hope everyone has a great day!
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
So, we've finally settled into some kind of normalcy around the house, for some value of normal :-)

The big push last weekend was to finish off the last of the house projects: Hanging various art around the house, installing the blackout shades in the master bedroom, and installing the undercabinet lighting in the kitchen.

The art was easy enough, though since I'm an engineer it involved a lot of calculations, levels, and weight measurements (to gauge the proper mounting hook). I'm pleased to say that it looks great!

I installed the first blackout shade last week, and it's a very tight fit. The instructions are not well-written, unfortunately, and we found a couple of things that would have made the finished product look a bit nicer. Anyway, [livejournal.com profile] takaza (who had been running a fever and feeling lousy most of the week) took the initiative on Friday and installed the shades on the other two windows, aided by what we learned from the first window. They look great and are very effective, though for maximum effect I'm going to need to caulk all four sides of each window.

The undercabinet lighting was...yeah. Dan did a great job installing the track for the lights. I demonstrated that I am a chemical engineer and not an electrical engineer when I used the wrong kind of connector and wound up shorting across the two 12 V leads of the transformer for about 10 seconds, effectively frying it. One transformer later, I'm pleased to report that the lighting looks fantastic and really completes the look of the kitchen.

On Sunday we welcomed [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet, [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, [livejournal.com profile] steviemaxwell, and [livejournal.com profile] magicpaw over for dinner, the online Midwest FurFest staff meeting, and to watch the season premiere of The Amazing Race. Dan and I made chipotle-marinated pork tenderloin (exceptionally spicy, but tasty) and butternut squash risotto, and Dan made an angel food cake from scratch. Continuing our fun with 10 Cane Rum, Dan showed off a new concoction that included watermelon puree, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, lime juice, 10 Cane Rum, and club soda. It was yummy, and it packed a punch!

We need to do a little more work around the house, but then we'll be ready to welcome [livejournal.com profile] baja_hyena and [livejournal.com profile] fordshepherd this weekend to celebrate Ford's birthday. Dan has cooked up quite an itinerary, and I think it's going to be a very memorable birthday for him! :-)

Oh yeah, and have you sent your RSVP for Too Much Light in yet?
duncandahusky: (Cooking - Kitchen Aid)
Here's another episode in our irregular cooking series Cooking with the Canines, with me on camera this time. I'll be showing you how to make Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies. The video was recorded and edited by [livejournal.com profile] takaza. Enjoy!

duncandahusky: (Alton)
My wonderful husband [livejournal.com profile] takaza did an entertaining experiment with cooking on camera tonight, making chicken and rice. Here's a replay of the show!
duncandahusky: (Alton)
I've been trying to expand our menu a bit lately, and investigating interesting recipes we find online. We've had good luck with a couple of different cuisines and dishes, so I was really hopeful. Tonight's candidate was Shredded Chicken Red Curry with Rice Noodles. And it was...a bust. I was hoping cooking the onion and garlic down would make it more palatable to Dan, but it wound up driving him upstairs to get away from the strong smell. The deal-killer for me was the relatively large amount of fish sauce - the finished product tasted spicy, slightly onion-garlicky, which devolved into a strange, fishy flavor that came out of nowhere. Maybe 1/2 tablespoon of fish sauce instead to two tablespoons? Ah well. Live and learn...
duncandahusky: (Thoughtful)
My goodness, it's been a while since a substantial post, hasn't it? Unfortunately, work has risen up to eat my life and the last two weeks have been thoroughly insane there. So, what's been going on?

Click for a recap of our lives... )
Fortunately, Friday is approaching and we're looking forward to a pretty good weekend. A few things planned, but not too much, with some together time planned as well. After the week we've had, I think we both deserve a rest. Tonight, though, it's over to Dan's mom's place for dinner.
duncandahusky: (Wagging Husky)
Here we are, mid-week, and I haven't even talked about the past weekend which was all kinds of awesome? Well, let's fix that.

On Saturday, it was lunch with friends and a fun evening... )

Sunday, it was time for cooking lessons! )

Oh, and the title for this post? I've been reading too much of Dean's Comics Booth lately...
duncandahusky: (Stay off of my lawn!)
And so my birthday came and went yesterday. A little anti-climactic after last year's trip to Napa Valley, but then again it isn't every year you turn forty. On the bright side I'm now 41 which means, um, it'll be a prime year for me?

Anyway, [livejournal.com profile] takaza gave me my birthday gifts on Tuesday night. First was a book that I had come across and really enjoyed flipping through at the bookstore, The Making of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman. Tucked in among the pages was a card labeled "But wait, there's more..." And so there was - a note informing me that I have been signed up for a 6-hour class on knife skills and butchering. This is awesome - while I can get by with knives in the kitchen, I feel a bit clunky with them sometimes. I'm excited that I'll get to find out how to use them right.

Oh, and I really need to get my knives sharpened again (and I know where to go to get them done properly this time).

Last night we celebrated my birthday with dinner with friends. We had a lovely meal with [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet, [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, [livejournal.com profile] daveqat, and [livejournal.com profile] jimcyl at Emmett's Tavern in Palatine. I had a great selection of beers and the food was quite tasty. The downside is that I paid for those beers later when a nasty bit of reflux kicked in at about 2:30 AM this morning. I didn't really get back to sleep after that and so I've been dragging badly all day. I may hit the grocery store after work, or I may go home and grab a nap. We'll see how it goes, I guess.
duncandahusky: (Thoughtful)
It was a busy and productive weekend. The busy part came on Friday and Saturday when we sent out impromptu invites for a small dinner at our place. After spending the afternoon doing a bit of cleaning around the house (yeah, we still have bits of Wuffmeet stuff lying around that we needed to clean up anyway), we welcomed [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet, and [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, as well as last-minute additions [livejournal.com profile] tozier_wah and [livejournal.com profile] mirkowuff. We had a lovely evening of chatting while I made a tasty dinner of tomato soup with roasted garlic and herbs and pumpernickel grilled cheese with extra-sharp cheddar, apples, and thyme. Extremely tasty!

Sunday morning was a slow start, then it was over to the first Midwest FurFest staff meeting of the year. We did a bit of a post-mortem for 2008 and looked ahead to plans for this year. I'm excited about some of the stuff we have in the pipeline, and I'm very glad that the convention is blessed by such a capable and creative staff. [livejournal.com profile] takaza was feeling under the weather so I opted to pass on the post-meeting dinner and go home with him. We had a quiet night at home, and headed off to bed surprisingly early, by about 8:30 PM.

I should also mention that Dan and I had dinner with several representatives from the Westin Chicago North Shore. Really, not much int he way of business was discussed, but it was more of a "thank you" dinner from them. We had a great meal, and the company was excellent. Clearly, they do like Midwest FurFest and are excited to have us back this year.

Not much going on this week - work is pretty steady, and I have a couple of small projects to work on at home. We'll be doing some brewing this weekend (the first time in about four years for me!), so I'm looking forward to that.
duncandahusky: (happygolucky)
And we're back! [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I spent the last few days down in St. Louis visiting with my parents and my sister's family. We had a very enjoyable time, and Christmas was lovely. We visited Soulard Market (though many vendors were closed for the holidays) and got lost (willingly) in downtown St. Louis. Mostly, though, it was just fun to spend time with the family.

The trip down was a bit unpleasant, as we were leaving Chicago in the throes of a snowstorm. Things were much better after we got south of Joliet, but the 40 mph crosswinds between Bloomington and St. Louis made driving difficult. The drive back was a lot more pleasant, though. We detoured into Alton, Illinois on a quest to find Pietown Stompin' Grounds (visited by Alton Brown in Feasting on Asphalt 2: The River Run) only to find that it was completely closed and out of business - but the website is still up? Bah. We instead stopped for breakfast at Forgettable Family Restaurant #2,341 and then hit the road north. We detoured onto I-39 from Bloomington and came across the nifty wind farm near Mendota, Illinois. Dan took a bunch of pictures - for some reason, I found the sight fascinating.

And here we are in a new, but short, week. Dan has gone off to work; he works today and tomorrow, while I don't have to go back until next Monday. Hooray! I shan't be idle today, though. We have a ton of preparations for our New Year's festivities, starting with a huge shopping trip this morning. I'm making four pans of lasagna, and Dan will be cooking up about twenty pounds of chicken tonight. We've got a bunch of other cooking to do, so we'll be busy today and tomorrow. After that, it's off to party!
duncandahusky: (Chewy!)
I see I'm in my usual post-convention blogging quiet period. This month is pretty crazy, and as usual, when I'm busy I don't have much time to document it.

Last week included a delicious dinner with [livejournal.com profile] perro, [livejournal.com profile] darkwolph, and [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus at Tramonto's Steak and Seafood, which sadly is due to close its doors very soon (along with RT's Lounge and Osteria di Tramonto) due to Rick Tramonto departing the joint venture. We've heard some promising possibilities about what will be happening with those restaurants in the new year, but nothing for certain. We'll see what happens!

The next day I joined [livejournal.com profile] justincheetah and [livejournal.com profile] calapurr for a tasty dinner (with some tasty wine) at Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant. The short ribs there were delicious! I'm thinking that during Wuffmeet we may need to swing by there and sample their latest wines.

On Saturday, [livejournal.com profile] takaza's family came over for an evening of dinner and games. I made a killer Lasagna Bolognese that was simply outstanding. I substituted ground bison for the ground beef and, not having ground veal readily available, did 50/50 ground bison and ground pork. Instead of Parmesan cheese, I used an aged Mahon cheese which was quite tasty (and half the price of Parmesana Reggiano). This was good enough that I think it may be one of our entrees for Wuffmeet. I just need to figure out the logistics of making the sauces, assembly, baking, and reheating.

Sunday? We did nothing. And it was good. (Oh, and the person I was rooting for won Survivor. That was nice too.)

Yesterday I finished my Christmas shopping. Yay! Hooray for Amazon.com :-) I'm impressed that some of that stuff will be arriving today. I {heart} Amazon Prime - we really do get our money's worth on that.

And then there's today. I'm keeping a close eye on the weather radar as we're supposed to get hit with 2-6 inches of snow in the next 24 hours. I'm not wild about this since tonight we're having dinner with the folks we've worked with at the Westin North Shore down in Lincolnshire. Still, travel difficulties aside, it should be a good meal and I'm looking forward to it.

For the rest of the week: I'm hoping that we can help [livejournal.com profile] genet celebrate completing her last final for the semester tomorrow. Then on Saturday (after I have to work all day in exchange for getting Christmas Eve off), Dan and I will be going over to his mom's house to exchange gifts with her, since we'll be out of town on Christmas. Oh, in case I haven't mentioned it, Dan and I will be in St. Louis visiting my parents and my sister's family from December 24th through 28th. We hope to do a bit of touring around the city (though I just found out yesterday that a main highway is closed - man, that's got to suck!). If nothing else, hope to hit one of the fine eateries the Good Mister Brown visited during his road trip through the city.

Well, time to take care of a bit of work before today's free "Holiday Lunch" - the usual uninspiring beef/chicken/pasta buffet. Hey, at least it's free...

Edit @ 5 PM - No steak dinner for me - the Westin folks cancelled due to weather, and I can't blame them. Dan is on his way home, and he's thinking that his normal 50-minute commute is going to be closer to 2 to 2.5 hours.
duncandahusky: (Wine glass)
Now that was a busy, but fun weekend.

[livejournal.com profile] ramalion was crashing at our place on Saturday night and he had mentioned that he had never tasted my cooking. Those of you who know me know that this is a dangerous challenge! We invited [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet, and [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus to join us for dinner and I got to planning, digging into my online recipe stash to find some new and interesting recipes.

Prior to dinner, though, [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I met up with Roho and Genet at Wine Knows for their Fall Beer Tasting. It was a blast! So many good beers, but the real standout was the Browning's Brewery Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout, which is aged in bourbon barrels. Absolutely amazing! (And sadly out of stock. But Genet is going to check in with them later this week!) We picked up a couple of bottles of wine and some good beers, and ventured to the store, then home to start dinner.

Rama was there when we arrived, and Linnaeus arrived not long after. I dove into the dinner preparations. The menu included Eggs with Cream, Spinach, and Ham, Spinach and Bacon Salad with a Roasted Shallot and Dijon Vinaigrette, and Potato Gnocchi with Meat Sauce. I learned a couple of useful things:
1. Don't start cooking an involved dinner at 6 PM. Fortunately, the beer and wine (and chips and salsa) helped maintain everyone's good spirits when the food was served at 10 PM.
2. Gnocchi is neat and fancy, but it's a pain in the ass. Next time, keep it simpler.
3. The Eggs with Cream , Spinach, and Ham is nothing short of astonishing. Saute the spinach with garlic and shallots, then coarsely chop and place in a ramekin. Simmer diced ham with heavy cream, then spoon the ham into the ramekin. Break an egg into each ramekin, then spoon the cream over the egg. Bake until the white is set but the yolk is still runny, and serve with buttered toast. Heavenly!

Sunday brought the Midwest FurFest staff meeting. The meeting went a bit longer than I usually like, but we got a lot done and made sure that no action items from the past year has fallen between the cracks. After the meeting, we adjourned to Mi Mexico, a new Mexican restaurant just north of the hotel (in the old Weber Grill location, for those who know the area). Wow! What a great find! Our meals were really fantastic, and they handled a large crowd of people extremely well. Plus, if someone is looking to eat cheaply, you've got a winner here, with $5.00 entrees available.

The rest of the evening was spent at home relaxing, working on some small MFF projects, and watching The Amazing Race (yay for the comic book geeks!).

This week is crunch time for the Midwest FurFest Restaurant Guide. We've got 120 restaurants listed and my goal is to have a useful review for every single one of them. Once that's done I need to go to work on some other projects. No panicking yet, though - everything seems to be coming along nicely.
duncandahusky: (happygolucky)
I neglected to mention yesterday that I actually won something! One of my favorite food blogs is Serious Eats. Every so often they have giveaways to promote various cookbooks or vendors. I've been entering for months, but never was the lucky name drawn...until Tuesday, when I entered to win Artisanal Chocolate Eggs from John and Kira's, a chocolatier out of Philadelphia. I seem to have won a box of 36 chocolate eggs. Um, wow. A note to all of my friends in the area - hit me up, because it would probably be better if we didn't eat all those ourselves :-) (As an aside, today Serious Eats linked to a recipe I'm tempted to try: Cadbury Creme Eggs Muffins!)

Meanwhile, I've been working with my shiny new laptop. You're right, [livejournal.com profile] kellicjtiger, I wouldn't say it's flat-out pink; after looking at the possibilities, I'd say it's a more light Thulian pink. I'm having fun shifting all of my files from my old laptop, and now that I have space, I'm starting to copy our MP3 library on there too. It's so nice to have a laptop that runs fast and doesn't have to shift into high gear when I click on a YouTube video, for instance.

And finally, it looks like we're in for something like 5-7 inches of wet, heavy snow starting tonight into tomorrow night, with possible thundersnow. As this morning's forecast discussion says, "Happy Astronomical Spring."
duncandahusky: (huskypuppy)
It's the start of a new week, which means it's time to look back at the weekend that was.

We were both pretty worn out after last week. It had been a rough final week for [livejournal.com profile] takaza at his old job, though he received some really nice going-away gifts from his boss and cow-orkers, including $120 in Best Buy gift cards. Dan slept in on Saturday and I slept rather late for me (8:30!). We finally got motivated at around 1 PM and decided to head up to Milwaukee. After a bite to eat at a nice little burger joint in Spring Grove, we headed off to Mukwanago, Wisconsin, home of the Elegant Farmer.

Saturday: Fun in Southeastern Wisconsin )

On the way home, we stopped at Best Buy in Gurnee to pick up a shiny new toy for Takaza! )

Sunday: Recipe testing, homemade soup, and great company! )

This week is looking to be pretty crazy again. I've got all-day training on Wednesday and Thursday of this week and next week (a fascinating refresher of statistics, which I detested when I took it 13 years ago), and somewhere in there I need to wrap up my current project by Friday. It's all part of the job, though.

And now, I'm off to bed!
duncandahusky: (Thoughtful)
It's been pretty quiet over the last few days, which might explain the lack of updates - not a lot of exciting stuff going on.

[livejournal.com profile] takaza and I had a pleasant weekend together at home. On Friday Dan was feeling like a bit of retail therapy and between gift cards and Reward Zone credits we had $75 of credit for Best Buy, so we headed down to the BB in Mundelein. We stopped by the Gamestop there to look at their used PS2 games and I picked up a couple of games I hadn't played before: God of War and Destroy All Humans! (I'm about five hours into God of War and it's a whole lot of fun. A little more gory than a lot of games I've played, but the puzzles are fun and the action keeps things interesting.) As for Best Buy...well, we never did find anything that looked interesting. On the bright side, the next item that comes up on sale, we've got a $75 discount waiting to be used.

On Saturday, we bummed around the house most of the day, except for a run to the grocery store. Sunday I made Dan the chicken and dumplings I promised him for Valentine's Day (a few days late), as well as the delicious semolina bread from Cookwise. Mostly we just sat around the house and enjoyed doing gloriously nothing.

This week has been pretty interesting. Dan will be transitioning from his old job to his new job until the end of the month (gotta love those internal transfers) so he was at the old location in Mount Prospect Monday, Tuesday, and this morning, then he'll be at the new location in Buffalo Grove this afternoon and for the rest of the week. As for me, I got a couple of important reports turned in and I'm at a momentary lull until everything gets signed off and we're working against the clock to finish a couple of projects. In the meantime I'm catching up on accumulated Midwest FurFest correspondence, and trying to resolve an annoying lingering issue with the house rental out in California (they're trying to charge us for damage that we're not responsible for).

Looking ahead to this weekend, we'll be going by the MFF storage locker on Saturday to try to track down some convention assets and answer a couple of questions. Since we'll be out and about, we'll probably make a couple of stops (I want to swing by Ikea) and maybe even be social. No plans yet, but we'll see what happens. Sunday evening is the online MFF staff meeting, and we also need to put together all the numbers for the Point of Sale hardware and software for Anthrocon's Artists Alley. Oh, and speaking of conventions, congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] tozier_wah for signing on to run the Information Desk at Midwest FurFest. We own your soul I'm sure you'll have a great time!
duncandahusky: (Chewy!)
After all that hemming and hawing about what to serve on Saturday, we wound up punting and changing the proposed menu completely. [livejournal.com profile] takaza got up shockingly early (9 AM) and by 11 AM we were on the road running errands. We decided to make a big ol' pot of chili and supplement it with tasty accoutrements like rice, queso fresco, and chopped onions. I made a batch of homemade cornbread that unfortunately not only turned out dry and flavorless but, when I was trying to get it out of the Pyrex glass pan, the pan slipped and landed on the inside of my forearm, giving me a large, nasty-looking burn (fortunately, it only looks nasty - it's about as painful as a sunburn).

We wound up with 12 guests in attendance, including Dan's family. We had a really fun time, and there was good food, good beer, good wine, and good company. The evening seemed to fly by. We finally said good night to everyone by midnight. As usual, we didn't get to play as many games as Dan would have liked - next time, we need to focus less on the food and more on the games.

Sunday was delightfully lazy. We snacked off leftovers, and finally got around to watching the Super Bowl about an hour after it had started, Tivo-style. That made the game (and the commercials) much more enjoyable, and since I didn't really have a favorite to win, it was nice to just watch and appreciate some good football.

This week has been crawling by, as I knew it would - don't the weeks before vacations always slow down? I fully intend to take some work home with me this afternoon, though, since the forecast is for 8"-12" of snow up here, with the worst of it falling between 4 AM and noon tomorrow. If it's really bad, I have no intention of trying to get in to work. That's fine, though - I have a stack of about 50 SOP's I need to read by the end of the week, and I can do it at home or here.

By the way, on a complete tangent: Does anyone else use Del.icio.us? I can be found on there under the username DuncanHusky. I tend to use it to bookmark good recipes that I want to come back to, funny comics, and other random things (random example: the amusing comic "I Am a Host at The Olive Garden").
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
None of this makes a coherent single entry, so you get a bunch of random stuff:

I just finished a quick meeting with my boss. Granted, he technically only had two months of me being an employee of $employer (in addition to the nine moths prior working the exact same job as a contractor), but he gave me an excellent annual review and is very happy with my work. This makes me positively giddy :-) Speaking of work-related things, I had lunch earlier today with [livejournal.com profile] tozier_wah, which was very cool since he just works across the campus from me. We need to make that a weekly thing or something. We had a great discussion about Midwest FurFest and I think I might have something to keep him busy during the con this year :-)

Yesterday I was all virtuous and stuff and went ahead and got my voting for next week's primary out of the way. It was very cool that the Lake County website had a sample of the exact ballot that I would be presented with so I was able to do a little research on the local candidates and make some informed decisions. Plus I had a nice chat with the poll workers, who were very nice folks.

We're having [livejournal.com profile] takaza's family over on Saturday evening, along with some friends, for a night of gaming. I'm working up a nice menu too - maybe French Onion Soup, and roasted chicken. I think we need some more wine - perhaps a trip to Wine Knows is in order. We also need to do some thorough cleaning of the place, which is pretty standard before company. It's one of the reasons I like to have company over with some regularity: left to our own devices, we keep the clutter to a minimum, but I need a reason to get really motivated to deep clean and take a toothbrush to the baseboards :-)

Apparently, I'm going on a trip in a week and a half. I say "apparently" because, well, I don't know where I'm going. You see, Dan has put together some kind of trip for us to celebrate my fortieth birthday, and all I know is that we're flying off...somewhere (he won't say where)...for a four-day vacation. About all I know is that it's domestic, since neither of us have valid passports, but other than that I have no clue. I also know that no amount of begging for clues from Dan will yield any further information, so I probably appear annoyingly incurious, but I'm very content in the knowledge that Dan knows me well, and whatever he has put together will be truly amazing. And whether it's amazing or not, I'll have my love there with me, so that makes it amazing in itself. (I'm sure he's made all kinds of posts in his journal about this that I can't see, and all of you who have read and heard about this from him are dying of laughter. Hey, I'm OK with that. I'll just sit here in quiet anticipation :-)

Oh, and one last note: I would note that one of my favorite coffees, Dark Roast Sumatran, from one of my favorite coffee providers, Alterra Coffee, is on sale at 10% off. With shipping by Priority Mail only $4.60, if you order a couple of pounds (like I usually do) it's comparable to buying coffee off the shelf from some of the higher-end providers. (I also recently discovered the Brazil Traditional Dry, which is simply outstanding as well).

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