Monthly Archives: August 2012

Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park was published in 1813 and is known as Jane Austen’s most controversial and perhaps least liked novel of them all. Many are critical of the main character Fanny’s timidity and disapproval of the theatrical production put on and enjoyed by many of the other characters. It is true it is hard to sympathize with such a character, but I think perhaps those aspects of her are exaggerated to show how far she comes at the end of the novel. I would have preferred Fanny to stand up for what she wanted instead of fretting and riding it out to see what would happen- but luckily she is the heroine and it all works out in the end. Although on the other hand the expected ‘happy ending’ comes about (after Edmund becomes emotionally available) because of the positive aspects of her character.

* As a side note, I have to say that cousins marrying each other is really icky. Even if it was an acceptable practice at the time of the novel. 

As another side note, It’s pretty cool that J.K. Rowling named a cat that is featured repeatedly in the Harry Potter series ‘Mrs. Norris’ as a nod to Jane Austen’s influence in her writing and as a favorite author of hers. In fact – this is what she said about the next Austen book I have lined up to read- “I have never set up a surprise ending in a Harry Potter book without knowing I can never, and will never, do it anywhere near as well as Austen did in Emma.” That makes me want to get started reading it asap! 

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If life gives you lemons, make lemon-themed recipe tests!… 2nd August Recipe test with Anna!

Our last recipe test of August went out with a bang! Anna found lemon themed recipes to test – a delicious light spaghetti and rolls for dessert. Watermelon as a nice summer side rounded it out well. These were so easy to make- and were fast too. Not a bad idea for an after-work meal or a light lunch on the weekend.

All the rolls require is starting out with frozen rolls (or homemade ones if you’re feeling industrious). Then they just need a mixture of lemon rind and sugar with butter on the top, baked and drizzled with glaze. Easy peazy lemon squeazy! The cast of characters for the rolls:

The cast of characters for the spaghetti (or in our case, angel hair as it is far superior):

The mixings to add to our angel hair- parmesean cheese, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, basil. Simple:

Drooling:

The results were a light and (moderatly healty) summer dinner!:

Anna:

Me:

After dinner we took a walk and enjoyed the break from the 100+ degree weather. The clouds were gorgeous!

Moments before the incident. See those birds making their way towards me?:

Yep. Nailed me on the hand. Sheesh:

Back to the clounds!:

Despite the bird poo, it was a fun evening with great food! Can’t wait for the upcoming dishes in September!

The recipes:

Lemon Garlic Spaghetti

Serves 2

4 oz dry spaghetti
1/4 cup grated parmesan
2 tsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 lemon
2 tbsp pine nuts
5-6 basil leaves, chiffonaded

  1. Pour olive oil and chopped up garlic into a small frying pan and let it cook over low, until the garlic starts to brown on edges. Immediately remove from heat and reserve.
    While that’s starting up, boil up some spaghetti.
  2. Chiffonade some basil leaves.
  3. Then you take some cheese…Some pine nuts…and the basil, and dump it into a large bowl, with the garlic oil, garlic chunks and all. Squeeze in lemon juice. Throw in the spaghetti and toss until well combined. Plate, crack some black pepper on it, and nom.

(It’s good without the pine nuts)

Lemon Pull-Aparts

Rolls:
12 Rhodes dinner rolls, thawed but still cold (you can find them in the freezer section)
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp butter, melted
Glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Cut rolls in half and place in a greased 9×13″ pan. Drizzle with the melted butter. Mix lemon zest and sugar together in a small bowl. Sprinkle HALF of the lemon sugar mixture over the rolls. Cover and let raise till doubled. Sprinkle remaining sugar mixture on top. Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from pan. Combine glaze ingredients. Drizzle over rolls while still warm.

Note: If you can’t find frozen roll dough in your area, you can use homemade dough and it works just fine.

*MY note- if you aren’t making your own rolls just put all of the lemon sugar mixture on the rolls and cook – also what the recipe calls for is a LOT, so unless you have more rolls I would cut it in half.

2012 London Olympics Closing Ceremony

To wrap up my obsessive Olympics watching I tuned in for the closing ceremony on August 12th. It was basically one big dance party. The best part was Eric Idle from Monty Python and the human cannonball. I also really enjoyed how the torch was put out with the phoenix in the background. It also took me back to my middle school days with the Spice Girls reunion. I half expected Nsync, Backstreet Boys and Britney to join them.

These were a few of my favorite things:

John Lennon sculpture erected during the 'Imagine' tribute

The big inflatable octopus

The big inflatable octopus

Monthy Python's actor Eric Idle! :)

Monthy Python’s actor Eric Idle! 🙂

A human cannonball! :)

A human cannonball! 🙂

British singer Annie Lennox's performance

British singer Annie Lennox’s performance

Such a cool and dramatic way to extinguish the olympic torch

Such a cool and dramatic way to extinguish the olympic torch

Brazil's 'teaser' performance was incredible!

Brazil’s ‘teaser’ performance was incredible!

Oh- and more awesome news:

It was a great Olympics, can’t wait for Rio in 2016!

London Olympics- my favorite things from week 2

I’m sad to see it over, but enjoyed watching the second week of competitions as much as the first. Here are a few of my favorite things:

Erik Kynard- a KStater! won silver in the Men's high jump final!

Erik Kynard- a KStater! won silver in the Men’s high jump final!

Syncronized swimming is hilarious! I actually enjoyed it. Russia won gold, followed by Spain and China in the Women's duet swimming.

Syncronized swimming is hilarious! I actually enjoyed it. Russia won gold, followed by Spain and China in the Women’s duet swimming.

Aly Raisman winning gold in the individual floor exercise!

Aly Raisman winning gold in the individual floor exercise!

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings winning gold in Women's beach volleyball!!

Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings winning gold in Women’s beach volleyball!!

USA winning gold in Women's soccer!!

USA winning gold in Women’s soccer!!

Watching the USA men's basketball team win gold!

Watching the USA men’s basketball team win gold!

Watching rhythmic gymnastics- very interesting and beautiful, but after watching this I'm wondering why sports like baseball aren't included in the olympics...

Watching rhythmic gymnastics- very interesting and beautiful, but after watching this I’m wondering why sports like baseball aren’t included in the olympics…

Riding Show jumping during the Women's Modern Pentathlon

Riding Show jumping during the Women’s Modern Pentathlon

Can’t wait for Rio in 2016! 😀

Hot Air Balloon ride @ the Great Midwest Balloon Fest… 1st August recipe test with Anna!

Another couple of manifesto items checked off in grand fashion- with a fun evening testing out a recipe at my place and then going to the Great Midwest Balloon Fest where we got to ride in a hot air balloon! The dinner was tasty (if not healthy) and a good prelude to the festival- corn dogs and cherry limeaide! 😀

The cast of characters for the cherry limeade:

Be careful when you add the sugar- you get a very fun fizzy reaction!!:

Starting to drool a little:

Love love love:

The Cast of Characters for the corn dogs:

Mixing the batter:

I would recommend to flour the hot dogs before putting them in the batter. It helps the batter stick better:

Batter them up:

… and fry!:

Don’t they look just precious? 🙂

Anna:

Me:

So tasty!:

After dinner we went to the Great Midwest Balloon Fest in Olathe for an evening of fun and excitement. I’ve never even been that close to a hot air balloon before and was happy to be able to go up in one (even though it would be tethered to the ground) and cross off another item on my manifesto!

When we got there they were still blowing up all of the balloons in the field:

They had a lot of fun shapes!:

Video of the balloon glow:

We waited in line for about 2 hours- crazy, I know:

This is serious business- this hot air ballooning. I’d like to see the liability release form for an un-tethered hot air balloon ride!:

Standing nearly under the balloon was almost as much fun as going up in it!:

Finally up in the balloon! The pilot said we were so light he didn’t even need to fire the burners. We just flew up up up until the lines tethering the balloon stopped us. It was a blast!:

Video of the pilot firing the burners in the hot air balloon:

I put flying in a hot air balloon as an item on my manifesto because I’ve always been nervous about going up in a hot air balloon- but thought it looked so thrilling and care free. I’ve been less nervous since years ago finding out that someone follows you in a car on the ground, but after this experience I am not nervous at all. I would love to take a ride in an untethered balloon- so now I’ll be watching out for Groupon deals! 😀

Road trippin’ to Colorado!

The weekend of July 28th through Tuesday July 31st Anna and I road tripped it across Kansas and through Colorado to Anna’s sister’s family in the burbs outside of Denver. We had a fantastic trip, seeing the Rocky Mountain National Park, exploring Boulder, CO, having our own Olympic competition in their living room, and hanging out with Anna’s niece Evan who is the cutest and sweetest little girl you could imagine. The video above is a compilation of our trip- enjoy!

*Sorry the music is inappropriately dramatic at times- I had to switch it up with what I originally had. It’s better than silence I suppose. Or if you prefer silence just turn it to mute- there are points where the original video sound plays though. The next movie compilation (whenever that may be) will be much much better, I promise!! 🙂

London Olympics – my favorite things from week 1

I’ve had a blast keeping up with the results from the Olympic events since the Opening Ceremony on Friday. Between holding our own ‘Olympic events’ in Colorado with 2 year old Evan as the star athlete to watching events like swimming and gymnastics and seeing all of the USA success it has been a great week!

These were a few of my favorite things:

US wins gold in the women's 4x200m Freestyle relay!

The "Fab 5" ladies winning gold in gymnastics!!

The “Fab 5” ladies winning gold in gymnastics!!

Watching Will and Kate - and Harry - cheering on the games

Watching Will and Kate – and Harry – cheering on the games

Nathan Adrian wins gold in the 100-meter freestyle on August 1

Nathan Adrian winning gold in the 100-meter freestyle

Michael Phelps wins his 19th medal and becomes the most decorated athlete in Olympics history!!

Michael Phelps wins his 19th medal and becomes the most decorated athlete in Olympics history!!

Michael Phelps wins the 200 IM to become the first male swimmer to win the same individual event at three straight Olympics, also marking his 16th Olympic gold.

Michael Phelps wins the 200 IM to become the first male swimmer to win the same individual event at three straight Olympics, also marking his 16th Olympic gold.

Gabby Douglas wins the women's gymnastics All-Around!!

Gabby Douglas wins the women’s gymnastics All-Around!!

Will and Kate celebrating Great Britain's gold in the men's Team Sprint track cycling final

Will and Kate celebrating Great Britain’s gold in the men’s Team Sprint track cycling final

Katie Ledecky (only 15 years old!!) winning gold in the women's 800-meter freestyle final

Katie Ledecky (only 15 years old!!) winning gold in the women’s 800-meter freestyle final

Missy Franklin winning gold and breaking the world record in the women's 200-meter backstroke final

Missy Franklin winning gold and breaking the world record in the women’s 200-meter backstroke final

Michael Phelps winning gold in the men's 100-meter butterfly final- his last Olympic individual race

Missy Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Volmer, and Allison Schmitt set a world record to win gold in the 4x100-meter medley relay, the last women's race of the games

Missy Franklin, Rebecca Soni, Dana Volmer, and Allison Schmitt setting a world record to win gold in the 4×100-meter medley relay, the last women’s race of the games

Carmelita Jeter winning silver in the Women's 100m Final- in her first Olympics!

Carmelita Jeter winning silver in the Women’s 100m Final- in her first Olympics!

Matthew Grevers, Brendan Hansen, Michael Phelps, and Adrian Nathan winning gold in the men's 4x100 medley relay. Phelps' last Olympics race making his total medal count 22, with 2 bronze and silvers and 18 gold medals!

Matthew Grevers, Brendan Hansen, Michael Phelps, and Adrian Nathan winning gold in the men’s 4×100 medley relay. Phelps’ last Olympics race making his total medal count 22, with 2 bronze and silvers and 18 gold medals!

Great Britain's Jessica Ennis winning the heptathlon with an incredible last event in the 800-meter run - marking Great Britain's first track gold medal ever.

Great Britain’s Jessica Ennis winning the heptathlon with an incredible last event in the 800-meter run – marking Great Britain’s first track gold medal ever!

Michael Phelps getting called back to the podium by the governing body of swimming, FINA, to receive a trophy commemorating his standing as the most decorated Olympian ever!! :)

Michael Phelps getting called back to the podium by the governing body of swimming, FINA, to receive a trophy commemorating his standing as the most decorated Olympian ever!! 🙂

Can’t wait to watch the rest of the Olympic events and cheer on the USA!!