Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fab Five takes Gold!!!

Have I mentioned how much I heart the Olympics??? We have watched non-stop Olympic coverage since Friday night in this house. And tonight, we got to see some great swimming races, including watching Michael Phelps become the "most decorated" Olympian ever. 19 is a lot of medals. But even more exciting (for me at least) was watching the Fab Five Women's Gymnastics team win GOLD!! I have extremely fond memories of watching Shannon Miller win Silver and Bronze in 1992, after which I immediately signed up for gymnastics. Unfortunately for me, I was already an overweight 7 year old, which isn't exactly the making of a gold medalist.

Then in 1996 I sat glued to the television (my gymnastics "career" long over by this point) watching the Magnificent Seven take GOLD! I probably cried that day. True story. In fact, I may have cried twice, once when Kerri Strug landed her vault one-legged, and then again when they officially won. I didn't cry today, but my heart did swell and it was truly enjoyable to watch Jordyn Wieber do her whole floor routine with a smile on her face.

In the spirit of the Olympics, C and I have continued our World Food Tour. This week we've been supporting the Asian countries, with Sushi one night and Indian Food for lunch on Sunday.

Sushi Haru is a little sushi restaurant near our house. We drive by it frequently but have always been scared to try it. Sushi restaurants aren't really something we generally try on a whim, without recommendations. After seeing some good reviews on Urbanspoon we decided to check it out and are glad we did. Prices were pretty average for sushi and everything we had was good. C even said he would go back, and he's definitely not sushi's biggest fan. I'm just really excited to know there is good sushi so close to home!

My and C's first date was a cooking class where we learned how to cook Indian food. That was almost 4 years ago and we haven't eaten Indian food since. While we like it, we just don't think about eating it very often. There are a number of Indian restaurants in the Kansas City metro area so we poured through some reviews before settling on the lunch buffet at Chilli n' Spice in Overland Park. While we almost never eat at buffets, we do prefer a buffet when we eat Indian food so we have an opportunity to try many different things. Overall the experience was good. It's a pretty small restaurant but the food was displayed well, hot things were hot, cold things were cold, and they brought us an entire pitcher of water when we sat down, which I especially appreciated. I can't say we'd be back just because it wasn't that close to our house, and let's face it, it'll probably be another 4 years before we go out for Indian food again.

Pictured below: Lentil cake (donut looking thing), rice, cheese cubes cooked with spinach, naan, cauliflower breaded kind of like sweet and sour chicken, eggplant cooked in a spinach sauce, and a rice cake. Sorry I can't remember the actual names of the dishes!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Germany Style Soft Preztels

Olympics are in full swing and we are loving it! Friday evening we watched the Opening Ceremonies with some good friends. Overall I thought the ceremonies were pretty good. There were a few parts that were a little odd, like the swing dance to celebrate the National Health System, or the dancing through the ages where giant Kiss heads were featured. But overall, it was entertaining.

I would like to give the worst dressed award for the Olympic parade of athletes to Germany. There were many crazy outfits throughout the parade, but Germany's just seemed so far off the mark. It didn't fit with their culture or the colors of their flags. I mean, seriously, what's with the bubble gum pink and baby blue jackets?

photo from msnbc.com

Despite the worst-dressed award, I kicked off my Olympic culinary adventure this weekend with German Style soft-pretzels. I have been wanting to make soft pretzels ever since I found this recipe on Pinterest. I actually ended up using a different recipe for the pretzels, but made 3 different kinds, which included the ham and cheese bites. So I think I can count this as both an Olympic post and actually making something off pinterest. Yay!

The recipe I used for these pretzels can be found at Kitchen Trial and Error. My pretzels did not stay together well during the boiling step, so I had to reshape them a bit. Also, I really didn't want all big pretzels, so I opted to make about half the dough into pretzel bites. Otherwise, I had no issues following this recipe. The whole process was a bit messy, but overall pretty simple.

Before boiling
After boiling, I tried to put them back into pretzel shape

Straight out of the oven!

The beginning of the ham and cheese pretzel bites. The idea was to stuff the bottom third with ham and cheese then roll them closed and cut them into bite size pieces. However, I didn't roll tight enough and they kind of fell apart after cutting. 

They were molded into pretzel "balls" filled with ham and cheese since it was obvious the ham and cheese was not going to stay in them as they were after cutting the long dough. These were delicious!

All 3 Varieties
  • Pretzels with salt (in both the twisted shape and pretzel bites)
  • Pretzels with cinnamon and sugar
  • Pretzel bites stuffed with ham and cheese

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer posts are few and far between

Work is busy this week, so I'm thankful for a quiet night at home to myself. C is out for the night, which means I get a few hours of quiet time to blog, look through old photos, and generally do whatever I want. Consequently that meant doing laundry as well. Let's face it, even quiet nights at home can't ignore chores that need done.

Summer has been busy, but in a relaxing way. We kicked off our summer with a trip to Portland and haven't stopped moving since. We were blessed to find 4 weekends this summer to go to the lake and enjoy some time in and on the water. With the heat wave in the Midwest (can you really call it a heat wave when it's been over a month?), and the severe drought conditions, I'm grateful for the pool and lake. The rest of our summer weekends are starting to pick up with activities and events, which means less lake time. I just hope the end of summer brings some cooler weather with it.

 To Do lists have been pretty non-existent around our house this summer. There are things that need fixed, cleaned, upgraded, etc. but summer relaxation is key. In addition to the lake time, we were able to go to Shakespeare in the Park this year, as well as spend the 4th celebrating both Independence Day and a dear friend's birthday. We participated in the Color Run Kansas City. We spent an evening at a winery with my parents. And we have been to farmers markets. I have even baked a cherry pie. I would definitely call this summer a success. 

That all being said, I vow to start blogging more again. I have a really cool idea (at least I think it's cool) to make recipes from around the world in honor of the Olympics. The Olympic Opening Ceremony is Friday and C and I are completely stoked. We heart the Olympics. I've already told C to make sure we had plenty of space on our DVR because I'm recording...everything. Okay, maybe not archery, handball, or weightlifting. But everything else is fair game.

So join me in making some of your favorite international foods to celebrate the Olympics in culinary style. Or feel free to suggest food items you'd like me to make. I have a few recipes lined up already but am totally open to suggestions! What's your favorite all-American recipe?

 Also! I'm hoping my pictures start getting better because C bought me the Canon Rebel T4i pictured below for my birthday! Isn't he just the bees knees? :)