Monthly Archives: July 2012

Countdown to the London Olympics!!! :D

I love love love love love the Olympics.

Summer or Winter.

That’s why I’m so excited for the 2012 games in London to start TOMORROW!!! Sorry to yell, I’m just really excited.

I love the Olympics because of the tradition, the competitiveness, the pride for one’s country, the pomp and circumstance of the opening ceremony, the camaraderie of all of the athletes who have come together and support one another no matter where they are from, the opportunity to learn about other cultures and to see athletes from other countries and learn about their stories and because athletes can represent their country according to their ability- no matter their start in life.

For this Olympics these are a few of my favorite things:

Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps!! ūüėÄ

USA Gymnastics Team, Women and Men

USA Gymnastics Team, Men and Women

Shawn Johnson named Today.com's special correspondent for the Olympic games

Shawn Johnson being named Today.com’s special correspondent for the Olympic games

Misty May-Treanor, Woman Beach Volleyball champ

Misty May-Treanor, Woman Beach Volleyball champ

Tyson Gay, America's fastest man

Tyson Gay, America’s fastest man

US Women's Soccer Team

US Women’s Soccer Team

Speed Walking!!!

Speed Walking!!! (aka, ‘Race Walking’) ūüôā

The Opening Ceremony (and seeing the sustainable park!)

The Opening Ceremony (and seeing the sustainable park!)

Diving!!

Diving!!

Trampoline

Trampoline

All of my great memories from my trip to London in 2008!

All of the great memories from my and Danielle’s trip to London in 2007!

Here’s to a great Olympics, and lots of gold metals for the USA!! ūüėÄ

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Titanic- 100 years later… 1st July recipe recipe test with Anna!

On July 14th Anna and I went to the Titanic Artifact Exhibition at Union Station in KCMO. It was exactly 100 years and 3 months from that fateful night that she struck the ice burg and consequently sank in the early morning hours of April 15th, 1912.

Knowing that we would be going to the exhibit I planned the recipe test dinner around a Titanic theme. First I googled the last dinner on the Titanic- there is a full menu! I wanted to make sure to have a dessert- you know, following the thought of those who turned down the dessert on the last meal, (aka, live life to the full now)- but they were either too simple or would take too much equipment I do not own (Creme brulee)- so I decided to make Angel Food cake instead. Yum! The cast of characters:

    

    

As you can tell by the above bottom right picture somehow it flopped. So sad. I almost didn’t post the picture as it tarnishes my exemplary baking record, but it’s the truth. My Angel food cake tasted like fluffy cardboard and didn’t rise one bit. ūüė¶ I blame the intense heat. It’s just too hot out to be making such baked goods, right? Right??? le sigh.

Poor Anna weathered my Angel Food cake meltdown and we went to the Union Station for the exhibit:

We paid $19.12 for the tickets. Well played Union Station, well played. Anna one upped them and paid in cash- $20.12. (Get it???) 1912… 2012..??? Anyway..

As you enter the area they have the fashion of the time displayed, and a wall of the events happening in Kansas City at the time.

They gave us boarding passes to enter the exhibit- mine was for Miss Edwina Celia Troutt- when she boarded the Titanic she was 27 years old and was from Bath, England. She had immigrated to the United States but was in England visiting family. She was headed back to the US to be with her sister, who was about to have a baby. Like many others on the Titanic she had been planning to take another ship, but because of the coal strike was transferred to the Titanic. At the end of the exhibit we are to find out the fate of our passengers:

At the entrance they had standing the bell that was in the ‘crows nest’ that was rung alerting the workers of the¬†approaching iceberg.

They had so many plates, serving dishes, silverware, etc. from the wreck. It was interesting to see the good condition that most of them were in. This example bore the White Star Line logo- and would have been used in 3rd class:

This was the recreation of a third class room. I don’t think it looks bad at all! They had the rates compared to today listed here. 3rd class passengers paid the equivalent of just under $1000 for a ticket!:

At the beginning of the exhibit there were examples of machinery that was bent, lists of items stored and the mail being carried to America, rivets from the ship, a luggage ticket, model ship reconstructions, bits and pieces of the interior like faucets and tiles, and items from luggage, including¬†cash -they certainly aren’t the current bills!:

A recreation of a 1st class passenger’s cabin- they had to pay the current day equivalent of around $50,000 for one ticket:

In the middle of the exhibit they had a broken porthole, a large ‘ice burg’ that was real ice you could touch, (so cold!) shoes, a reconstruction of the ship at the bottom of the ocean (including that one door that was left¬†open), hats, and quotes from some the survivors detailing the moment of impact and those several hours right afterward.

These plates were found much like they are displayed here at the bottom of the ocean. They were lined up in their cabinet which is how they fell to the ocean floor, but then the wood cabinet rotted away, leaving the plates:

This is one of the telegraphs aboard Titanic- possibly the one used to relay the command to the engine room to turn away from the iceberg:

Eyeglasses, owner unknown:

This wine bottle still has wine in it! You could see it in the display case with all of the other bottles and jugs:

In the documentary ‘The final word with James Cameron” they detailed the smell of the perfume found in the wreck and how after going through all the artifacts that smelled of death how wonderful opening up the perfume bag smelled. The perfumes were made by Adolphe Saalfeld who was traveling on the Titanic in first class, likely to sell his perfume to the stylish shops in New York by having them try his samples. Of the 65 viles that he carried 62 of them have been recovered from the wreck. They were displayed in a case that had holes so we could actually smell it! They were a musky sort of rose floral smell. This was one of my favorite parts of the exhibit:

This is the video detailing the find of the perfume, from the documentary on the¬†National Geographic¬†channel- “The Final Word with James Cameron” Watching the documentary this is the part that¬†stuck the most with me:

(I do not own this video, nor do I know the person that uploaded it)

We reached the end of the exhibit where there was a wall of names divided by class, separated by those who survived and those who perished.

My person, Miss Edwina “Winnie” Celia Troutt, survived!! After the ship hit the iceberg she left her bunk-mates and went to investigate. She ended up in a lifeboat with her prayer book, a toothbrush, and someone else’s 5 month old child. She recalled later the band playing ‘Nearer my God to Thee’ in the ship’s last moments.

She returned to Massachusetts, and moved to Southern California in 1916 where she joined the Army Corps as an apricot picker. Winnie married her first husband, Alfred Thorvald Peterson in California in 1918. They ran a bakery together in Beverley Hills until his death in 1944. Her second marriage was to James Corrigan. Then in 1964 at age 79, she married for a third time to James Mackenzie. She lived out her retirement in Hermosa Beach, California and died on December 3, 1984, six months away from her 101st birthday and less than a year before the Titanic wreck was discovered.

She last crossed the Atlantic in her 99th year after at least 10 previous crossings. She was also a favorite at Titanic gatherings. Winnie:

We made our way back to my place and started the main dish- lamb chops. Similar to a dish they served at the last dinner on the Titanic. I also added in a side dish of baked mac and cheese and red potatoes.

The Cast of Characters for the lamb chops:

I’ve eaten lamb before, but never cooked it myself, it was an interesting experience! We let it marinate in the fridge for about 30 minutes:

    

Making the mac and Cheese and the potatoes:

    

A very fine beverage addition in the form of a cherry limeade from Sonic. I love love love Sonic’s cherry limeades!!:

Creating the sauce for the lamb chops with chicken broth, butter and basil:

Bon appetite!:

Anna!:

Me!:

The substitute store bought strawberry angel food cake. Not nearly as delicious as a homemade one:

But still delicious with the addition of our strawberry jello concoction from the original homemade angel food cake recipe:

I’ve been fascinated with the Titanic since I was young- I’ll watch any documentary on it, so getting to see the artifact exhibit was very special for me.

There were a few things especially that stood out- they had a part of the hull, that I was *SO* tempted to touch, (but I didn’t!), and the personal items like postcards and gloves, and the window from the cabin that you could tell took a lot of pressure on the metal and the thick glass that cracked. Seeing some of the perfume and the bell from the crow’s nest was incredible as well. I liked how it focused on the human stories around the items. I really wish I was able to take pictures inside the exhibit, but I was good and didn’t- all the pictures above were found on the internet from other sites. I did a little research on the recent artifact exhibits and found that all of the exhibits have different items that switch around. I’ll have to pay attention to the ones that open nearby and go to those too!

Here are the recipes:

Grilled Lamb Chops

Ingredients

  • 2 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Coarse sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 lamb chops, about 3/4-inch thick

Directions

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade add the garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, and salt. Pulse until combined. Pour in olive oil and pulse into a paste. Rub the paste on both sides of the lamb chops and let them marinate for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator. Remove from refrigerator and allow the chops to come to room temperature; it will take about 20 minutes.

Heat a grill pan over high heat until almost smoking, add the chops and sear for about 2 minutes. Flip the chops over and cook for another 3 minutes for medium-rare and 3 1/2 minutes for medium.

Golden Macaroni and Cheese

INGREDIENTS

1 (8-ounce) package elbow macaroni (about 2 cups uncooked macaroni)

  • 2 cups milk $
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon onion salt
  • 2 (10-ounce) blocks sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 4 1/2 cups) and divided* $
  • 1 cup soft breadcrumbs (4 slices, crusts removed)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted

Preparation

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain well. Set aside.
  2. Place milk, flour, and onion salt in a quart jar; cover tightly, and shake vigorously 1 minute.
  3. Stir together flour mixture, 3 1/2 cups cheese, and macaroni.
  4. Pour macaroni mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish or 2 (11-inch) oval baking dishes. Sprinkle evenly with breadcrumbs and remaining 1 cup cheese; drizzle evenly with melted butter.
  5. Bake at 350¬į for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

Find the recipe here: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/golden-macaroni-cheese-10000000569446/

Red Potato Side dish

I made this recipe up, click here to see the original blog where we tried this out and the recipe.

Recipe: Strawberry Sparkle Cake

Prep Time: 25 Minutes  |  Cook Time: 40 Minutes  |  Difficulty: Intermediate  |  Servings: 12

 Ingredients
  • Angle Food Cake
  • 15 whole Egg Whites, At Room Temperature
  • 1 teaspoon Cream Of Tartar
  • 1-1/2 cup Plus 2 Tablespoons Sugar, Sifted Three Times
  • 1 cup Cake Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • Filling
  • 1 package (3 Oz.) Strawberry Jello
  • 2-1/2 cups Boiling Water
  • 1 package (1 Pound) Frozen Sliced Strawberries
  • Icing
  • 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine cake flour and salt and sift together five times. Set aside.

Beat egg whites until frothy (lots of bubbles but still liquidy and loose.) Add cream of tartar and beat on high until stiff.

With mixer on medium-low, slowly sprinkle in sifted sugar as it mixes in.

Remove bowl from mixer and fold in sifted flour gently until it’s all combine. Sprinkle vanilla into the bowl and fold gently.

Spoon batter into tube pan—make sure there’s no grease or butter in there! Smooth the top and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until a wooden skewer stuck all the way to the bottom comes out clean. (Don’t open the oven while it’s baking!)

Carefully remove the cake from the oven and immediately invert it on a wine or vinegar bottle. Let it cool completely while hanging upside down. Once totally cool, remove it from the pan.

To make the filling, sprinkle the jello powder into a bowl and pour in 2 1/2 cups of boiling water. Stir to dissolve, then add the bag of frozen sliced strawberries. Stir to cool the mixture and set it aside.

Turn the cake upside down so that the end that was stuck to the bottom of the pan is now facing up. With a serrated knife, carefully cut the top 1-inch of cake from the top. Remove it and lay it beside the cake. Next, with a small paring knife, make two concentric cuts in the cake: one cut is 1 inch from the outside rim, the other cut is 1 inch from the inside rim. (Be careful not to cut all the way through to the bottom of the cake! Leave about an inch from the bottom.)

Tear out a trench in between the two cuts and save the torn cake pieces for another use.

By now, the strawberry mixture should be cool and somewhat gelatinous. IMPORTANT: If mixture is not thick, stick it in the freezer for 15 minutes or until it thickens and sets. Carefully spoon the mixture into the trench in the cake, filling it all the way to the top and ever-so-slightly above to allow for a little settling. Place the top of the cake back on top, lining it up just right.

Refrigerate cake for a couple of hours (or you can stick it in the freezer for an hour or so if you’re in a hurry!)

To serve, whip together the cream and sugar until stiff. Spread all over the cake. Cut into slices and serve! Note that once you make a cut, the filling will slightly seep out of the remaining cake, but not overly so.

Good luck with yours, I hope it turns out better like mine- like it did here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2012/07/strawberry-sparkle-cake/

Info from:

http://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/titanic-survivor/edwina-troutt.html

Omaha, Nebraska

The weekend of July 7th we visited family friends in Omaha, Nebraska. Like normal we went to the Henry Doorly Zoo and had a blast! The zoo “features the largest cat complex in¬†North America;¬†“Kingdoms of the Night” is the world’s largest nocturnal exhibit and indoor swamp;¬†the Lied Jungle is one of the world’s largest indoor rainforest, and the “Desert Dome” is the world’s largest indoor desert,¬†as well as the largest glazed¬†geodesic dome¬†in the world.¬†The Zoo is Nebraska‚Äôs number one paid attendance attraction and has welcomed more than 25 million visitors over the past 40 years.” We started out in one of my favorite areas, the Lied Jungle:

    

    

After the jungle (which was so much fun!) we went to the aquarium. I love this place, it’s a must on the list every time we go to the zoo:

    

    

I’ve never been on the Skyfari before- it was so much fun!!!:

We walked down to the giraffes and the outdoor penguins- the penguins were hilarious, standing at their door waiting for food to come. I’ve never seen this area so deserted. Probably because of the heat, but I’m not complaining!:

The next morning we attended church with our friends and got to hear Matt play his violin. He’s so good!!:

After church we had a nice backyard lunch and had fun with their pet bird:

We saw a squirrel stealing an apple right off their tree too! The boys had a great time chasing it:

Info from:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Doorly_Zoo_and_Aquarium

Europe 2012- Day 15, Flight back to America

So this is it- the very last day of our European Adventure. We had to wake up very early again. We took the bus from Busingen to Schaffhausen, then the train from there directly to the airport in Zurich:

    

On the train to Zurich we were treated to a beautiful foggy morning with flashes of color and light and texture:

At the airport in Zurich we had some time to explore the duty free shopping areas. Must say, I thought it was awesome that the packaging on the cigarettes had to say ‘Smoking Kills’ in huge lettering:

Ready for our crazy long flight:

    

Edge of France:

At least the entertainment was good- our on flight movies were ‘This Means War’, ‘Big Miracle’ and ‘Sherlock Holmes: The Game of Shadows’! ūüôā

    

    

We had a couple hour layover in Atlanta, GA and got back to Kansas City around dinner time. We stopped to eat at Wendy’s and then got back home and all fell into our beds, dog tired. We had an absolutely amazing trip, we’ll remember it forever! ūüôā

Europe 2012- Day 14, Interlaken

The last day trip of our adventure in Europe was to Interlaken, Switzerland. It was well worth the wait!! Even getting there on the train the landscape was gorgeous. The town couldn’t be situated more specacularly- tucked between Lake Brienz to the east and Lake Thun to the west.¬† The Aare River¬†flows through the town connecting the lakes. Then there are the Alps that just soar¬†out of the earth. It started out as Aarm√ľhle-¬†named for the mill on the Aare¬†river which was built there in or before 1365. It was known for it’s textile, printing and watchmaking industry.¬†Interlaken’s reputation as a tourist resort town started in¬†1800-¬†making Interlaken¬†one of the¬†oldest tourist resort towns in Switzerland. Officially the name changed to Interlaken in 1891, taking the name for it’s position¬†between the lakes-¬†in Latin- inter lacus. Today Interlaken is one of the most popular tourist resorts in Switzerland. It’s a destination for backpackers, skydivers, para gliders, hang gliders, and skiers. Upon arriving in town we walked to the train that would take us up one of the ‘shorter’ Alps to¬†‘Harder Kulm’. You can see the tracks in the mountains in the background of these pictures:

    

      

The beautiful Aare River flowed right past the train station that would take us up the mountain. The water was so crystal clear. We saw lots of the hang gliders that Interlaken is so popular for- there had to have been at least 20 of them all at once.

    

Jaw dropping views:

We walked along the mountain to get to the lookout area:

    

Um, yeah. No words needed:

We spent a nice time eating lunch, exploring- some went hiking, others relaxed under the umbrellas enjoying the view:

    

We also discovered the playground where I had to go on the swing – and down the slide. Seriously the craziest one I’ve ever been on:

      

Enjoying the mountain air:

    

Heading back down was an adventure. This chihuahua had a great view!:

Video of the first half descending the mountain:

Video of the second half:

Back in Interlaken we only had about 20 minutes to shop ūüė¶

    

At least we got more beautiful views leaving!:

You can see the overlook where we were close to the top of the mountain- it’s the brown spot:

After another long train ride we settled back into our apartment in Busingen and enjoyed our last evening and a thunderstorm:

Early to bed-¬†we had to be at the train station to leave early in the morning. This is that awkward moment where you are ready to go home, but you are just starting to feel like you really have a handle on the whole “get up early go to this place then go to another place thing”, and so you also are wishing you could stay and do more. Well, I guess I’ll have to wait until next time!

Europe 2012- Day 13, Busingen

Our last Sunday in Busingen started out with service in the church on campus, and tea afterward in the basement. Following lunch we walked to the nearby beach and all participated in the 1st Annual Rhein River Plunge. We spent a lovely afternoon in the river and on the bank. I waded in- the water is so cold just coming off the mountains that it stings and hurts so bad- but then you get numb and it starts to feel good. The plunge was a great success! ūüôā

    

    

    

Dinner was great as usual, and Megan made the best pie ever for dessert:

Europe 2012- Day 12, Stein am Rhein

Day¬†12 was a beautiful day in the 80’s with¬†a warm breeze- a perfect day for a river cruise up the Rhein river to the town of Stein am Rhein for shopping, exploring¬†and fun!

The boat arriving at the dock in Busingen:

    

It was a nice change from all of the train rides. There were so many people out and about- people sunning on the grassy beaches, swimming, boating, canoeing, bicycling, camping, etc. etc. – if there was an outdoor sport to be had they were doing it. It was just a really nice day. You could even hear the bells on the cows as we passed by!!:

Our boat had to stop at this town because of all of the unseasonable flooding- the water had risen too high for the boat to get under the covered bridge! The captain of the boat led us through the cute little town straight onto the boat waiting at the other side:

    

When we arrived at the dock at Stein am Rhien we found one of our leaders, Randy, waiting for uss with his feet in the Rhein. He had driven over separately in case we needed more transportation. It looked so refreshing we all followed his example. It was freezing!!! But it felt great on the hot day:

The town of Stein am Rhein was lovely. I wish we had more time there! There was plenty of great shopping, cute Swiss buildings, and amazing gelato to be eaten with our feet dangling in the Rhein river.

The town has a well-preserved medieval centre, that retains the ancient street plan. This part of the town has been pedestrianised and many of the medieval buildings are painted with beautiful frescoes. Stein am Rhein is home to a number of buildings that are listed as Swiss heritage sites of national significance. The building in the middle is the Town Hall and is one of the buildings on that list:

I had a blueberry gelato and we spent around a half an hour enjoying the sun, water and city life with our feet dangling in the Rhein:

    

Our boat on the first leg to the bridge was cancelled so we waited around for a bus they arranged for us to be picked up and taken to that town in the middle. It wasn’t so bad though when we were treated to a tune from a local street performer:

Randy took back some of our group in the van he had brought, and the rest of us cooked in the sun. It really wasn’t that bad waiting, but I was so hot I took a nap in the bus on the way to the town in the middle. (Totally unlike me- sleeping on public transportation? Crazy.)

The last boat ride back was very enjoyable:

    

When we got back to campus they had set up tables and chairs on the lawn for a picnic. Men were grilling the brats- my worst nightmare going to Germany. Come to find out they are nothing like the American version, (thank goodness)! They had turkey brats and the Swiss original. I chose the Swiss original, and it was actually good- it was like a crsipy hotdog. We had a very plesant time at our picnic, enjoying the food, the company, watching the pick-up soccer game, listening to music on the guitar- everything was perfect except for the pidgeon-sized mosquitos that were eating me up:

    

    

Pickup soccer (or European football) match:

We were treated to Chris’ guitar skills and a¬†excersise in hilarity¬†by him and Randy. They set dramatic music to Randy’s impromptu performance about the reformations and our visit:

Such a great day- it was nice to relax a little from the constant traveling!