1.31.2006

Gallery

If you read my blog on any regular basis, you might conclude that all I do is eat and plan the wedding. That's not entirely true. I do other things like ... well I'm coming up blank here. I do start training for my new plant nursery job on Thursday, but more on that after it happens.

I am still working part time at the gallery. Ah, here is a non food/wedding story. Last night I covered the end of a shift for my manager. I was upstairs hanging some paintings when a pair of amiable women walked in. They asked if the shop was open, and when I assured them it was, they started looking around. I came down stairs and talked with them about a couple of the artists. After they left, I glanced at the clock, not time to go yet. Then I looked again, the clock said 5:30. That was the time it was a while ago. The clock had stopped! I check my cell phone, and it was actually 8:45 and I should have closed the shop at 8:00. That would explain why they asked if the was still open. By the time I got out of there, it was 9:00 and I couldn't make it to the gym before they closed, very disappointing. I wonder if they will pay me for that extra hour?

1.30.2006

Photographer Booked

After much analyzing of the budget, Jeff and I, well mostly I, decided to book Mark Kegans as our wedding photographer. We got the CD portfolio from Maggie. The lighting was bad in her photos. The faces were often dark and hard to see and those were the pictures in her portfolio. Jeff was rooting for the nature photographer, mainly because he isn't as pricey. However, I love the way Mark Kegans captures sentiment in his photos. So now over half our wedding budget will be one photographer and his assistant. http://www.markkegans.com/ I think he'll be worth it. I really hope he'll be worth it.

Jeff thinks he should have pushed harder for eloping.

1.28.2006

Wedding Shoes

The most recent great wedding purchase off ebay:
They are pretty and they were only $15. Almost exactly what I had in mind, all they'd need to be perfect is an ankle strap. I'm not 100% certain they'll fit, but if they don't, I'll just resell them. That's the Amerian way!

Now I have shoes, a dress (I just have to pick which one), and a purse. This is the purse which I found antique shopping with my mom, it has a "made in Japan" tag which dates it to the 40's or 50's. I got it for a steal, just $5 and since then I've seen less quality similar ones selling for more than $100. All I need now is jewlery and undergarmets. Do I really need undergarments, is their any rule that says I have to wear undies on my wedding day?

1.25.2006

The Best Eggplant Parmesan Cheese

I got a hold of the The Best New Recipe the Cookbook Cook’s Illustrated put out from the local library. I made the delicious Eggplant Parmesan from their recipe. It was quite a bit of work, about the same as making lasagna, but oh-my goodness, it was tasty.

It wasn’t too unhealthy, because you bake the eggplant instead of fry. It’s actually kind of healthy, at least compaired to the Olive Garden version, which one serving constitutes more than all the calories most people need in a day.

I wrote the recipe up for ehow - Get the recipe here.

1.23.2006

The Third Dress

While home over Christmas I had the chance to try on two of my three potential wedding dresses with my mom, Clarissa, Sara and Sarah. The winner of those two was the Mary L Couture Shirred Bodice Gown. I just won my third wedding dress option, the J. Crew one, on eBay. It's so exciting! Maybe I'll actually know what dress I will be wearing very soon.

Speaking of clothing, I have begun to set aside "honeymoon clothing". Has anyone else done this? For a vacation perhaps? These are clothes I have bought that I won't wear until the honeymoon. So far I have several dresses, a pair of linen pants, and a swimsuit in my honeymoon collection.

I like to début my clothing, which is kind of an odd practice in and of it self. The first time I wear something, it gets a lot of consideration and I make sure the whole out fit looks good. Also, I must have some where "special" to wear it, even if it is only out to dinner with Jeff at the local pizza joint. The honeymoon, just seems like a natural extension of this. Now, I just have to make sure that I don't have more clothes than days of honeymoon...

1.22.2006

52

The current count of clear wine/flutes we have collected has reached 52. We are trying to decide whether we should keep collecting. Jeff has suggested that maybe we should only have 1/2 as many etched wine glass favors as we have guests. This would make them more desirable and then we wouldn't have leftovers. I think every wedding I have ever been to, had left over favors. People forget them or don't want them. The church will have wine glasses we can use if for the other 1/2. Or we could keep collecting and just not etch some, that way they would still have the vintage, unmatched look, but the set would remain unmarked and possibly useful to others. (I have three or four sets of eight glasses.) What do you think?

1.20.2006

English Muffins

I made English muffins the other night, they are very tasty. Much better than the store bought kind. I'm so impressed with them. They are lighter and moister and just incredibly good. The recipe said to make the dough into 12 muffins and those are some big muffins. Next time I think I will halve the recipe and make smaller muffins.

Today I am going to make Spiced Garbanzo Beans with Spinach. I really like the 30 Minute Vegetarian Cookbook I picked up at the library, even better than the William Sonoma. The best thing about going vegetarian is the incentive to try all sorts of new recipes. All have been tasty, but a couple have caused some digestion problems, for me, not for Jeff. He could eat a pound of hot spicy, fermented meat globs and go back for seconds. Sooner or later I am going to make a horrible recipe, but, it will be fine, because Jeff will still eat it.

1.18.2006

Honey Moon (we think)

We think we will be going to Club Sabatini near Puerta Plata in the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon. Jeff's dad got back to us that 2 out of our 23 requested places had openings left. We asked for Club Sabatini. It sounds really nice on their website. However, the customer reviews are all over the place. Some people loved it and had the time of their life, some say they'll never go back again. The main complaints are you have to cross a rocky area to get to a beach, hot water is inconstant and there are lots of stairs. The restaurants are reviewed really well, and it should be considering the all inclusive cost is $65/day, also their is plenty of beach, and activities.

Now we need to book plane tickets and get Jeff a passport.

1.16.2006

Contra Dancing

Jeff and I went with a group of friends to a local Contra Dancing night. I knew what contra dancing is vaguely from see people do it at music festivals, but generally their were just a couple couples stomping around. Here's a pretty good discription:

What Is Contra Dancing? Contra Dancing is a form of American folk dance in which the dancers form a set of two parallel lines which run the length of the hall. Each dance consists of a sequence of moves that ends with couples having progressed one position up or down the set. As the sequence is repeated, a couple will eventually dance with every other couple in the set. Contra Dancing was all the rage in 1800.

Is Contra Dancing Similar To Square Dancing? Many of the basic moves in Contra Dancing are similar to those in square dancing (swings, promenades, dos-à-dos, allemandes). A square dance set comprises only four couples whereas the number of couples in a Contra Dance set is limited only by the length of the hall. To join the set, all you need is a partner. If you have danced squares, you will enjoy Contras immediately.

It was actually quite fun, I regretted not wearing a skirt or short sleeves. By the end I was really warm. The old timey band wasn't bad at all. Or should it be called a Contra Band?

I'd definately go again.

1.14.2006

Rosemary Onion Bread

I read in some article that bread is a convince food. That took me aback. I always considered it a staple. But when you think about it, you could make all your bread from scratch. In that article the author also wrote about how she'd had a store bought loaf on her desk and it took it three weeks to mold. That's a lot of preservatives. So I decided I'd try and make our bread or buy it fresh from the bakery. Fresh bread is better anyway. The best bread I've made is Rosemary Onion Bread. It is an adaptation of two other recipes. One off the internet and the other from the Better Homes and Gardens 11th Edition Cookbook Dinner Roll Recipe. Everyone should make them, they are delicious.

Rosemary Onion Bread

Yields: 24 rolls or one loaf
Time: 2 - 2.5 hours
NI: 115 Cal, 3 g fat per roll

Ingredients:

4.25 - 4.75 cups flour (you can use up to half whole wheat, which is also tasty)
1 package yeast (2.5 tspn)
1 cup milk (or .33 cup dry milk with 1 cup water)
.33 cups sugar
.33 cups butter
1 tspn salt
2 eggs
.25 cups finely minced onion
2 tbsn fresh rosemary (or about a tbsn dry)
Directions:
  1. In a large bowl stir together 2 cups flour, yeast, and salt. In a medium bowl stir together milk, sugar, butter, rosemary, onion and salt. Heat the liquid in the microwave until the butter is melted and the mixture is warm to the touch. Add the liquid mixture to the dry along with the eggs. Stir it together. Continue adding in flour until it's really doughy.
  2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in remaining flour until nice and elastic, about five minutes. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover and let rise for an hour in a warm place, like on top of your stove while the oven is warming.
  3. Punch dough down and then divide in half. Let rest for ten minutes. Meanwhile grease a couple cookie sheets lightly and preheat the oven to 375.
  4. Cut dough into 24 pieces and then shape into balls. If you want to be fancy you could use muffin tins and put three little balls of dough in each cup to make clover shaped rolls. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. If you really shaped that dough it may need to rise longer. Make sure it doubles in size.
  5. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 12-15 minutes. (For added goodness brush the tops with melted butter before you pop them in the oven.)

1.12.2006

Catch-up Post

Things have been going on that I haven't been posting about.

One of them is I joined the JEA. I'm not sure what it stands for, Jewish E-something Association. I haven't started going to synagogue, but they do have a really nice, new, clean fitness center that I joined for $40 a month. This is cheaper and nicer than the farther away YMCA. I have gone twice now, to the JEA, and I like it. Although, I can see how out of shape I am compared to when I was in PA working out at the Y. But this is good. I'm starting slow with my cardio and once I get that under control I will start weights. I am now the bride-to-be who wants to look "the best I've ever looked" on my wedding day. So cliche I know, but meh.

Another going on is that Jeff and I are Semi-vegetarians working our way towards actual vegetarians. We still have Italian sausage and some ground turkey left in the freezer not to mention a whole thing of chicken bullion, but we haven't bought meat since we came home after Christmas. Once we run out of meat that's it. No more until February, unless we decide we actually want to remain vegetarian. Really I just wanted to see what it would be like, and if I will really smell different. So maybe for Valentine's Day we'll go eat great big steaks. (Note to everyone, if you want to make reservations for V-day, restaurant, flower or otherwise, now is your chance.)

Currently, I am making a, hopefully, tasty Vegetarian Chili out of a William Sonama vegetarian cookbook. I have alway felt William Sonoma was snooty, way over priced, and not so hot quality, from dealing with their catologs and stores full of useless gardening accessories, but this recipe seems to be going well. Maybe I'll have to allow that they can have good cookbooks.

One more thing I can think of is, I may have a job at a local nursery. I went in and dropped off an application and then the owner called me and we talked about starting wages. He said he'll call me at the end of the week. He seemed fine with the fact that I would be leaving at the end of May. He said that is when his sales drop off anyway. It would be great to work with plants again, I miss them.

1.09.2006

Honeymoon

Jeff and I took up his father on using his timeshare for our honeymoon. We have been looking on RCI's website and they have all sorts of places we could go. We have created a list of 23 places we would be happy to go.

Now Jeff's dad has to figure out if any of them are available for the dates we want. Adam and Emily have already done this and apparently they turned in a list of 15 and got one they wanted. You can book up to two years in advance, so many of our choices may already be full.

Here's a list of countries we have on the list:
Italy
Bahamas
Spain
St. Lucia
Dominican Republic
Barbados
Jamaica
St. Vincent
Virgin Islands
Canary Islands
Brazil
Turks and Caicos
Cozumel, Mexico
One of the coolest things we found is there are boat timeshares where you get a little mini cruise on a catamaran or yacht and you stay in one of four cabins. The boats travel to new places each day, it is all inclusive and the reviews are excellent. We found six timeshares, (two companies) that are boats, maybe one of them will still be available. If not, I am sure we would enjoy any of the others.

I'll Need an Extension on that One

I didn't reach my goal. After cleaning off many surfaces in search of the piece of paper with the piece corps, I found it tucked in the corner of my desk drawer. However, all it had was the PIN and not the user name or password. I tried every user name/password combination I could think of, but nothing worked. I clicked on the "if you don't know your user name/password" button and it said to call your local recruitment office for help. Their phone has been busy all afternoon. Then Jeff came home and pointed out that I wasn't on the right web page. I should have linked to the "continue your application" part, which just has a PIN/password. So now I will work on the application.

The Goal for Today

I will finish my application for the peace corps. First I have to find that little slip of paper with the password on it though...

I am also making rosemary onion bread, which smells fantastic! It makes me think of Sarah because she love rosemary.

By the way Sarah, thanks, for the vege burgers recipes, I wound up taking those recipes plus two others and making a hybrid vege-bean burger. It was tasty but dense and it made my stomach all knotted. Is there such a thing as too much fiber?

Now off to find that peace corps password.

1.07.2006

Planning

We are in high gear wedding planning. Now that we have a date and all it seems like there is so much to do.

I called The Ledges January 3rd (which is the first day they take reservations for the year) and booked the shelter. The Park Ranger said that it was a good thing I didn't want June 10 or 17 because they had already been booked earlier that day. So I'm glad that I didn't procrastinate on that one.

The Community Room with kitchen at St. Cecilia should be finished and ready for us. They have all the goodies we want including pancake griddles.

Jeff ordered the etching stuff so we can etch the wine glasses.

Now the biggest problem is finding a photographer. Jeff and I have been calling around and every time someone says they are booked we ask for a recommendation for another photographer. We have contacted 16 photographers and so far we have found three people who would be able to do our wedding pictures.
  1. Maggie - the former assistant of Distinctive Images (which has gone out of business). She's supposed to be sending us a CD of her photos. (I don't know how much she'll cost.)
  2. Mark Kegan - who looks awesome, but is really expensive ($2,600)
  3. Craigola - who is a nature photographer who sometimes does weddings and is moderately priced ($800).

I keep looking at Mark Kegan's website and I love his images. Of friends who have gotten married recently, they have spent at least as much for their pictures if not more. I am trying to keep this a financially happy wedding so I don't know what I think yet. If anyone has opinions or suggestions I feel the need for group support on this decision.