Sunday, March 28, 2010

I love warm weather! :)

Well we just finished up a BEAUtiful weekend. Ugh, it was so nice...I got a little sun...a great weekend. Yesterday Jason and I basically did a lot of chores around the house. I organized the garage and sorted through everything. I made a "yard sale" pile and also separated and organized our camping stuff. Jason made a ton of kindling for a camp fire and deep cleaned his mountain bike. We were talking about how funny it is that as an adult doing "chores" is kind of nice. It makes you feel accomplished and good. So, we did lots of chores. At the end of the day we rewarded ourselves with BBQ chicken and corn on the cob. Jason is quite the BBQer. The chicken was SO good and moist. Mmmm. Yum.

Today we went to church and later hiked through Montana de Oro. It was beautiful and we saw quite a few pretty wild flowers, including some awesome purple irises. And now we're home and I'm getting ready to go to work tomorrow while Jason is getting ready to enjoy his TWO WEEK spring break. bah. So not fair. Oh well, it gives him the opportunity to go visit SFSU. Jason received an email a couple of days ago that told him what he would receive from SFSU. The first year they are going to pay $6,000 of his $6,800 tuition. AWESOME! All that volunteering paid off last year more than just personal satisfaction. I guess THAT'S why they wanted a reply so quick. haha. They want to give that money to someone else if Jason doesn't want it. It was nice becuase everyone told us that as a grad student you receive little to no aid or grants. It was a very pleasant surprise that's for sure! :) So, Jason will go up in a week and a half and then we will have a better guess whether or not SF is a viable option. The Lord knows all! :)

Other than that not too much is happening. Next Friday we are going north to Big Sur to go camping and do some ocean kayaking. woohoo. We are both feeling a little...mmm, not sure. Stir crazy? Not sure how to describe it but we figured that a little camping trip would serve us well. And yes...we'll be back in time for Easter...I think :) hehe

Well, have a good week everyone!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Yes" #2!

What's happening all? Not a whole lot here but life is good! :)

Jason got his SECOND acceptance letter! woohoo! This one is with SFSU. San Francisco! It looks like he will be going up in about a week and a half during his TWO WEEK SPRING BREAK to meet with the profs and sit in some classes. The program seems really good but there is no way to tell but by going. Also, randomly, one of the heads of the department is from Sri Lanka! Weird. You just don't come across people from Sri Lanka very often. One of our BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) involves us one day going back to open an English school! :) We'll see though...the Lord willing of course. hehe.

So, we're waiting on one more school to get back to us. We're still waiting for USC to even OPEN there app process. If they wait too long we may just have to not apply to them. They are appealing because they are a one year intense program. Jason would like to just finish school and get going with life but we'll see. Schools who accept you don't wait around for a long time for an answer. They want a commitment surprisingly fast...or so it seems. Maybe that's just the case with Master's degrees. So, it looks like we're going to have to make a decision pretty soon. Weird to think that it's not just a school that we're choosing but a location where we're going to live, work, etc. I will say though that Jason got pretty excited at the fact that he could dive for abalone in SF. haha. You can do it north of the Golden Gate Bridge. You can't do it any where else in CA!

Welp, plans for today are to RUN in this gorgeous weather. I LOVE Cali....or anywhere warm for that matter! (Hmmm. I think Arizona is warmer than SF). Jason will probably hop on his bike for the first time in a long time. Also, tomorrow Jason's g-ma and cousin are coming over for a little BBQ. I get to plan a meal! yay! Honestly I love hosting little gatherings and cooking for people. So fun!!!

Alright, hope everyone has a great weekend! :)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Becuase I'm lazy....oh, and a yUmMy recipe!

I am going to post a picture of what my hair looks like...on someone else. haha. It's in the morning and currently my hair kinda has a "pebbles from the flintstones" look...a pony tail sticking straight off my head. Since it's Saturday and I make my hair look presentable all week, I plan on NOT doing my hair today. pics of it in the near future. So, here's what my hair looks like, minus the bangs. I think bangs are cute but my forehead is way to greasy to have bangs. blah. So, this is basically my hair more or least what it looked like when I left the hairdresser! :)

Anyways, there you have it. It's quite fun. It's short and I love me some short hair. So much more manageable. Also, when the hair's short it actually looks like I have a EVER so slight amount of body. haha, What a concept! :)

In other news. We had a friend over last weekend from San Diego. He was in Chile with us. It was fun to see him. When he was over I tried out a new recipe. I've been exploring a woman named Melissa d'Arabian from the Food Network. She does meals for under $10. She does it well though. I've been looking for something like this but I find that most of them take a cheap boxed base like, mac and cheese, or Hamburger Helper and then add ingredients. That's fine and all but it's not exactly what I was looking for. This lady does it though exactly as I was thinking and so far...almost all her recipes I've chosen have been so good. So my latest jewel is called North African Meatballs over Couscous and YUMMY yummy it was. It was different too...not a normal flavor you would find in your home cooked meal. We all three loved the fact that it was different and ... it was decently easy and fast! I would highly recommend it! The recipe list may seem long but it's really a pretty fast meal.

North African Meatballs over Couscous

For the North African Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lemon, zested
1/2 cup pitted and chopped briny olives (I didn't use this because I didn't have it!)
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock or broth
1 (14-ounce) can crushed or diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (I doubled this because we like it SPICY)
Pinch ground cinnamon
salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Meatballs:
1 egg
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch ground cinnamon
3/4 pound ground beef
1/3 cup finely ground rolled oats or fine bread crumbs (I used the bread crumbs)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil, for cooking (I used olive oil)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves (I think I put in 1 tbl. dried parsley)

Couscous with Dried Dates, recipe follows

To make the North African Sauce:
In a large saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the lemon zest and olives and cook for 1 more minute. Add the white wine, deglaze the pan, and let it reduce for a 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the stock, canned tomatoes, sugar, red pepper flakes, and cinnamon, and simmer to blend flavors, about 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To make the Meatballs: In a medium bowl, add the egg and tomato paste and stir until smooth. Add the cilantro, ginger, cumin, and cinnamon and mix until well blended. Stir in the ground beef and oats, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and combine gently after each addition. Do not overmix. Rolling with your hands, make about 32 meatballs, about 1-inch in diameter.
In a large saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium heat, and brown the meatballs in batches until golden on all sides. Add more oil, as needed. Transfer the meatballs to the pan with the sauce and let simmer for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve over the Couscous with Dried Dates.

Couscous with Dried Dates: (I didn't use dates because they are pretty pricey and we also used whole wheat couscous. Loved it!)
1 cup water
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped dried dates
1 cup quick-cooking couscous
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring the water, stock, and oil to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the dates followed by the couscous. Cover the pan tightly with a lid, remove from the heat, and allow to sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Transfer to a serving bowl and serve.

Yield: 4 servings

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Two Bits of News...

#1 We have received Jason's first ACCEPTANCE letter from one of the schools that he applied to. Yay! Can you guess where the school's at? Arizona! That could be interesting eh? We are still waiting on the other schools but it will be interesting to see what happens and where we end up. We celebrated by going out yesterday to Taco Temple and splitting an incredibly delicious, incredibly HUGE piece of carrot cake! So dang darn good!

#2 I cut my hair! Pretty short. I think I like it...

Other than that...not much is happening. I have little to no drive to blog be honest. Not sure why. Just don't have a lot to say, nor very much time to do it. Kind of in a blogging slump. Actually, I've felt it since returning from Chile. Maybe it felt like blogging in Chile had more of a purpose (to keep friends and family updated) and now I feel kind like...blaaaah. I mean how many times can you write, "Today I woke up early, commuted to work, worked for eight hours, commuted back home, cooked dinner, and relaxed," before you put your readers, and yourself included, to sleep? Catchin' my drift!? :)

Anyways, I will try to keep this puppy goin' despite my complete lack of motivation!