Feeling homesick!

Today is my mom and dad’s birthday. My dad is exactly one year older than my mom, but they share the same birthday. Weird, right? I think its cute. Also, their names rhyme. They were just meant to be. Ha. And this Saturday is my sister Callie’s 18th birthday. It’s all very exciting, except I’m all the way in Maryland and they are in Tennessee. Now I am only 2 hours away by plane (11 by car), and I know that is not a big deal, but I am super close to my family. Me going away to college was a pathetic half hour drive away from home. I went home at least once a week, and crashed at their house pretty often. Every Wednesday Joe and I went to my parents house for dinner and to watch Modern Family. I miss our weekly dinners!

This is the first picture I could find of my family, it was taken at my college graduation party in May of 2011. Back when I was temporarily blonde! Eek…

Anyway, I’m totally adapting to Baltimore and being married and living with a super cute boy and a mostly sweet kitten. But today is my parents birthday and its the first time in my whole life I’ve ever not been there! I’m the oldest of four girls, and I always made sure to get all their presents and wrap them and get them cards and make sure all my sisters signed them and whatnot. This year I had to send a lame package. (BTW, do not use FedEx to send stuff, they will totally rip you off compared to the regular old Post Office.) I know my sisters stepped up and took charge of presents, but I’m bummed I won’t be there to see them get opened!

I know I’m being a total baby, but this a big deal to me. I freaking love birthdays. I really wish I could be home this weekend to take Callie to a club. On a side note, my sister Rebecca and I share the same birthday but I am two years older. Another random coincidence. But when she turned 18, we spent some of the night together, but we didn’t go to a club or anything because Rebecca would have actually enjoyed it, whereas I was so not into that whole scene. But with Callie, Rebecca and I could have taken her and it would have been a hoot! I’m sure she will have a great birthday regardless!  So that’s my complainy blog for the week, I’m bummed about missing all these birthdays. I haven’t cooked/baked anything that didn’t start out from a box or was mostly pre-made. This Friday we are having a work potluck and I’m making sausage balls that have gotten rave reviews from previous gatherings. Until next time!

The pie that tried to kill me.

I decided to make a banana pudding pie for Easter, from a recipe I’d found on Pinterest. I already wrote about how I failed at making the pudding from scratch, and that I would try the pie at a later time. Tuesday was my day off last week, so I thought I’d make it then. I sucked it up and bought the instant vanilla pudding mix from the store.

Bam! Only took 5 minutes and it smelled awesome. I covered it with saran wrap, and managed to cut my finger on the sharp edge of the box. My dad says I can get hurt eating dinner. I don’t know how I’ve made it this far in my life without any serious injuries! (Knock on wood…)

So I put the pudding in the fridge and do a few housewifey type things around the apartment. After about an hour I decide its a good time to make the homemade crust.  About 30 vanilla wafers crushed up, mixed with 1/2 a cup of melted butter. Sounds easy enough right?

Now, the recipe said to crush the wafers, and then add the butter. But what this picture doesn’t show, is that I had a mental lapse and just poured the melted butter over the whole wafers and then hit pulse. I thought it might turn out okay, but it turned into a really weird soupy consistency. I thought it wouldn’t make a good crust, so I dumped it down the drain and started over. I cleaned out the food processor, and in the process of washing the goo off the blade, I dropped it. And then like an idiot, I reached out and caught the blade. And cut my thumb. Like an idiot. So then I had to stop and get a band-aid and yell at myself for not being kitchen smart. Moving on…

I re-made the crust, and it still seemed wrong. I poured it in the pie plate, and couldn’t get the crust to go up the sides of the plate. The wafer/butter goo just kept sliding down. I was a little frustrated at this point, having a band-aid on each hand, and not feeling like the pie was going to turn out at all.

After the crust came out of the oven, it still looked kind of puny. But I decided to keep on trucking! I let it cool for about an hour while I did some more chores, and then got to work. First I had to cut up 3 bananas! I really love bananas.

That would be all the components of the pie! You start with the crust, and the layers go:

Bananas!

Pudding!

Wafers!

More pudding!

More bananas!

Last layer of pudding!

And top it all off with whipped cream! The recipe called for homemade whipped cream, but seriously? I really love Cool Whip, and after the pudding fiasco I knew better than to try my luck with all that. The pie was pretty heavy, and my pie plate was definitely overflowing a bit! I very carefully covered it with saran wrap and popped it in the fridge.

The pie sat in the fridge for about 7 hours before Joe and I dug in. I cut out the first piece, and guess what! The crust stayed in the pie plate. I was about to cry. I managed to scoop out the crust and just dumped in on the side of the plate. I had kind of given up hope, but I got another piece out. Joe and I finally tasted it, and it was actually really good! If the piece had come out clean, I would have thought I was pretty awesome. But even with it being a mess, it tasted awesome. I don’t know if I would go through all the trouble to make it again in the near future, and I would definitely have to figure out a way to make the crust come out better, but I think it was mostly a success! Ha.

The finished product in all its glory! Not much to look at, but super tasty! This weekend Joe and I are going to see Cabin in the Woods and re-arrange our bedroom. Nothing fancy on the cooking calendar, but I’ll try and find something new to make on my day off!

Easter Weekend!

Joe and I had a really great Easter weekend! I lucked out and found a coupon for Medieval Times earlier last week. Joe had been a few times when he was younger and had mentioned how neat it is, but I had never been. I knew there was one outside of Baltimore, and when I found the coupon (buy one ticket get one free, a huge deal!) I jumped on the chance! When coming up with our first Easter dinner together, Joe took the reigns and decided to make chicken shis kabobs! I wanted to make a spring-y type dessert, and had a banana pudding pie recipe I’d found on Pinterest so I thought I’d make that.

The pudding pie was basically banana pudding in a pie form, with a vanilla wafer crust. It looked delicious, so I set out to make the pudding (from scratch, not the kind out of the instant box) Saturday afternoon to let it chill out over  night. The recipe for the pudding seemed simple enough, I only needed sugar, flower, 4 egg yolks, 2 eggs, milk, and vanilla. My first blunder happened when separating the yolks I needed…I thought it would be no problem for me, even though I’d never separated eggs. So I’ve got this bowl next to the sink, and I’m ready to separate the first egg, and I manage to let the yolk slip away from me and it slides right down the disposal. It wouldn’t have been a big deal, but I only had 6 eggs left in the refrigerator! I went into panic mode and grabbed my purse, hopped in Ruby, and ran down to the grocery store (luckily only 4 minutes away) to get another carton of eggs. I got home and managed to not waste any more eggs. So, first lesson I learned: always leave room for error when cooking/baking, and have extras.

So after that mess I get everything in the saucepan, except the vanilla, and whisk it together. I turn the heat to medium-low, as specified, set my timer for 12 minutes, and begin to whisk away. After 12 minutes, I still have a super liquidy mixture, and the “low bubble” I was supposed to be experiencing just wasn’t happening. I cranked the heat up a smidge, and whisked for another 8 or so minutes.

It was starting to slightly bubble, but it still wasn’t getting very thick. I was worried about scorching it, and decided that whisking for 20 minutes straight was good enough. I was very wrong, but my arm was about to fall off, and Joe was asleep on the couch with Uma, so I didn’t want to wake him to ask for a hand. Haha. So I took it off the burner, added the vanilla, and poured it into a bowl to cover with saran-wrap. I threw it in the fridge and got ready to go to Medieval Times.

 

Joe and I got to be in the yellow Knight’s section. He was super valiant, and won his first duel, but was brutally slain in the next round. Joe and I cheered our little hearts out. We had a super delicious drink called a Maiden’s Kiss (not at all girly)…and the food was pretty good! I was worried about not having utensils, being that I am a super OCD neat freak, but I got over it and dug in! We had garlic bread, tomato bisque soup, half a roast chicken, a spare rib, herbed potatoes, and an apple pastry! The food just kept on coming. It was a really neat dinner experience!

Joe and I spent our first Easter together being complete bums in our apartment. We slept in, had cinnamon rolls, gave each other Easter baskets we had made, watched a movie, watched a lot of Food Network Chopped, and never left our apartment! Joe made us amazing chicken shis kabobs with red pepper and onion. He had found a recipe for a rub online and it was super good!

My super cute chef making me dinner! It always amazes me  how laid back and calm Joe is in the kitchen, whereas I get kind of panicky when I don’t know exactly what I am doing. Everything he makes turns out delicious! The banana pudding pie had to be put on the back burner (or more accurately, the pudding had to be poured down the sink). The pudding never thickened! I don’t know what I did wrong, but I’m going to buy the boxed pudding and make the pie at a later date. Luckily we had plenty of Easter candy to keep us occupied for dessert. I can’t wait until we have kids and can dye Easter eggs and have Easter egg hunts, but for our first Easter I’d have to say it was pretty perfect. The weekends just go by so fast, and then its back to work! Eeek! Still getting used to that full time work schedule. Haha.

A lot can happen in a week without internet!

So our wireless has been down in the apartment for the last week, and a lot has happened! To start off, last weekend I got a hankering for my mom’s chocolate chip cookies (aka the recipe on the back of the Toll House bag). I set out to make them in my stand mixer, which Joe had recommended. I made a mistake and let the butter get too melty.

The dough looked great, am I right? It tasted pretty good too. (I had to eat half the dough off the mixer attachment.) And then catastrophe struck!

The worlds flattest cookies ever came out of the oven! They were like cookie discs. They tasted good, and they were perfectly crunchy on the outside but still a little chewy on the inside. They just didn’t look right. Oh well!

Also last weekend, Joe and I found out my car wouldn’t pass Maryland state inspection to get registered for tags here. My car, Johnny, had been a major part of my life since I was 15. I love that car, but it was over ten years old and not cost effective to put the money into it to get it to pass inspection. So Joe and I set out to find a new car! We were going to get a newer used car, and then it ended up being better for us to go ahead and get a brand new car! So Joe and I got this beauty!

It is a Scion XD, named Ruby. She is super cool! I love Johnny, but this new car has already made my daily commute to and from work so much easier! Joe and I keep taking steps into adult life, getting married, moving away, buying our first new car. It’s pretty exciting stuff.

Since my old car Johnny still runs pretty well, and my dad is a car whiz back home, Joe and I wanted my sister Molly to have the car. So an impromptu trip was set up! Two of my sisters, Callie and Molly, and my grandmother flew up to Baltimore Sunday morning! Joe and I picked them up from the airport and we went to DC to hang out for the afternoon. We got to see most of the important stuff, but I was just happy to get to see them all! My sisters and I all think alike, so you get us together and its like a nonstop gab fest. And we like to take silly pictures.

Here we are in front of Lincoln, making mostly normal faces. Ha. They had a short trip, leaving this morning with Johnny to make the long drive back to Tennessee. We had a nice visit though! This is the first time I’ve ever really been away from my family, when I “went away” to college I was only thirty minutes away. Luckily with my handy Iphone and bluetooth in Ruby, I can call and text them to bother them whenever I want.

Anywho, Joe and Uma and I are alone in the apartment again. For a little bit that is, because Joe’s parents are coming into town later this week! Another short visit, but it’ll be great to see them! It’s just one thing after another with us. I think I still have time to watch one more episode of Everwood before bed (the library in town has an awesome collection of tv series that you can rent for free, score!)