First, we made the kugel. My mom cooked the egg noodles.
Poor Cody had to get a bath...the day after he got groomed.
Libby stopped by tonight (and is spending the night here, along with her owner/my brother Jon!).
On Rosh Hashanah, we eat a lot of sweet food. After class this afternoon, I came home and helped my mom bake for our guests that were coming over later in the day.
First, we made the kugel. My mom cooked the egg noodles.
She then added all of the necessary mix-ins including cottage cheese, raisins, cinnamon and eggs.
She also added her crunchy corn flake topping (mixed with butter and cinnamon sugar) and then put it all in the oven.
I helped her make a cinnamon apple cake from Cooking Light. She has made it before, and it's always been a hit.
First, we made the cake batter.
We then combined cinnamon and sugar in a bowl.
We mixed half of the cinnamon sugar with a ton of chopped apples.
Then, we added to cinnamon sugar apples to the batter.
We mixed well.
We may have each licked a spatula afterwards.
We put the apple batter in a pan and covered it with the rest of the cinnamon sugar before putting it in the oven.
We thought everything was under control, and then Cody found the perfect pile of animal crap in the back yard for play time. He rolled around in it and came back in the house covered in poop/vomit/something gross. It's beyond imagination to me why dogs do this, but I guess it's one of those things that sets us apart from dogs.
Poor Cody had to get a bath...the day after he got groomed.
All clean now!
It's like nothing ever happened...
Our family arrived about an hour and a half later. We started with appetizers such as gefilte fish,
apples and honey
After mingling for a while, we sat down for dinner. We ate brisket,
spinach cheese casserole (made by my grandma, who remembered eggs),
kuggel and also chicken and salad (not pictured).
Dessert was homemade apple cake,
my mom's apple cake
and chocolate coconut cake.
It was a great day for eating! I think I ate my weight in cake batter this afternoon. Geez.
Libby stopped by tonight (and is spending the night here, along with her owner/my brother Jon!).
Rigley also deserves an honorable mention, because she's adorable and was so well behaved tonight. I'd add pictures of Mickey, but he runs away every time I point the camera at him.
Happy, healthy new year!
Hello friends! I want you to give every Jewish person you know a big hug or a pat on the back and wish them a happy new year. They will know what you are talking about, even if you do not! Did you know that Jews get two new years? We get our "Christian" new year on January 1st, and we get our Jewish new year around this time of year. We call it Rosh Hashanah (which translates to "head of the year").
While many of us bring in the January New Year with a massive hangover from a few too many sherbets, Rosh Hashana is usually a combination of temple, family gatherings and very sweet food. One staple food for the holiday is challah. It's a bread that is sometimes braided and other times looks like a big fat spiral (see below). It's a moderately sweet bread, and it should be ripped apart rather than cut apart with a knife. That's the tradition.
Our raisin challah is for our guests tomorrow, so I'm leaving it in the plastic wrap until then.
Tonight is Rosh Hashanah Eve. When I was younger, we ate a very early dinner and then went to temple for a few hours. We'd then wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, and go back to temple. Missing school was never an issue for me. There were so many Jewish people at my school that classes were cancelled. The non-Jews LOVED us.
We don't belong to a temple anymore, so we have other options. We can pay an arm and a leg to go to services at a temple where we are not members, or we can observe the eve of the New Year at home. Tonight, we did the latter.
We made spinach cheese casserole and pasta for dinner. The spinach dish is very easy to make. It's some frozen and drained spinach...
...with cottage cheese...
..and shredded cheddar...
...and flour and eggs. Actually, my mom added eggs the other 56783 times that she made this. Tonight, she forgot them.
It came out of the over lookin all purdy, but the consistency was more like creamed spinach than a casserole. It still tasted great! It gave Boston Market's creamed spinach a run for its money. Plus, it's not all cream and crap like Boston Market. It won't give you a coronary.
My dad cooked up a big batch of cheese ravioli with veggies.
Creamed spinach casserole and ravioli!
Looks aside, I still could have eaten several plates of the spinach. I got a practical lesson of the importance of eggs in recipes, though. Eggs go into recipes for a reason! Not just to keep the chicken people in business...
Of course, there are vegan alternatives.
Somewhere around 8 pm, we cleaned up our dishes and did a mini service at our kitchen table. My dad is a whiz at Hebrew, so he was the "leader" of the service. It was nice. It was over in 25 minutes, and I wore my pajamas. It was the shortest and most comfortable Rosh Hashanah Eve service of my life.
FOOTY GRAND FINAL!!!
'Aight mates, just because I'm in America now, it doesn't mean that I can't get all excited about the grand final. This year, Collingwood is playing Geelong in Melbourne. If you want to know more about Australian Rules Football, check out some of my old posts from last year. I also explain (with no feelings held back) how I feel about Collingwood. I do NOT want this team to win again!
I'm watching the game on Friday night with the Chicago Footy Club. Click on the link for more info!
Here's one thing I know for sure: Skinny Pop is ADDICTING! I went to the grocery store for a few things while I was staying at my brother Jon's over the weekend, and I picked up a bag of it. I finished the whole bag under 24 hours. I might have popcorn poisoning.
The good news is that Skinny Pop isn't all that bad nutrition-wise. I wouldn't recommend eating an entire bag of it every night, but there are many worse addicting things in this world. I'm pretty sure that the only ingredients are popcorn and sun flower seed oil. No preservatives. No crap. It's nothing like that movie popcorn that I buy from time to time (gosh, that stuff is good).
For dinner on Friday night, I picked up broccoli and Lean Cuisine.
Who doesn't love the occasional meal that you can just throw in a microwave?
And who doesn't love Happy Passover plates?
I added broccoli to bulk up the meal. I'm sorry to say that a single serving a Lean Cuisine is not very filling.
Libby kept me company while eating, but she didn't try to eat any of my food.
She was just being cute.
A little while later, my friend Kate stopped by the apartment. We enjoyed some wine and playtime.
We met some friends in the River North area and had a great night out. This was unfortunately the only photo I got. It's a keeper, though! Hi, Andi!
The next day, I enjoyed Back to Nature 100% Whole Wheat Mac and Cheese. I think I am getting hooked on whole grain pasta.
I added leftover broccoli for extra flavor and bulk.
Then, I took a gazillion more pictures of Libby.
I stayed over at Jon's again on Saturday night, and then I brought her back with me on Sunday. She spent a lot of time curled up on my bed. Isn't it cute that she's cuddling with a dog that sort of looks like her?
I love this dog. None of my other dogs curl up on my bed like this, but I love them too!
Jon came to pick her up tonight. I'm a little sad, but I think that I'll see her this weekend anyway. She's a great companion!
Hooray for the weekend! Actually, it's kind of depressing that I just started wearing hoodies to class at the end of this week. Fall is upon us. I love fall, but I always get a little sad as the summer fruit starts to sour and I can't wear dresses and flip flops all the time.
Speaking of fall, here's a fun fact: many Aussies I interacted with exclusively use the term "autumn" and never "fall". When I first started dating Alastair, I was on the phone with his mum and talking about what I was going to do in the "fall". Later on, she told Al that she had no clue what I was talking about when I said that word. I thought that was funny, and then I met other Aussies who were just as confused when I said that. So, here's a message for all you Americans: NEVER say "fall" when referring to the autumn season with an Australian unless you want to explain what it means!
Now, the gnocchi! It's always the gnocchi that steals my heart. Yesterday, I cooked a batch of whole wheat sweet potato gnocchi for lunch. Again, I prepared it with vodka sauce and parmesan cheese. I also added Garlic Gold flakes.
I was on good behavior and only ate half of the package. I had the other half for lunch today.
Lunch was good, but the gnocchi actually didn't come close in quality to last night's dinner. Yesterday was my parent's anniversary (I forgot how many years- I am a terrible daughter!), and my dad surprised my mom (and me, since I was there) with a top notch dinner. I was staying home and working on my homework, and I was planning on leftover gnocchi or cookies for dinner. Seriously. I was shocked when I saw what my dad made.
On the plate: salmon, mashed sweet potatoes and kale. I've never had kale in my life! The plate looked so beautiful with the pinks and the oranges and the purples with a hint of green. It's too bad that the lighting is poor in the family room, or I could have gotten a much better picture.
This is usually how we eat our dinners during the week: plates of food in front of the TV and bottled water. The wine was special. It was from Nicholson Ranch in Sonoma Valley.
I wish the kale photo turned out better. Wahhhh. I really enjoyed it, though. My dad made it on the stove, but I really want to roast it. I bet it would be so good.
Of course, there were cookies. My mom brought a big batch of those chocolate chip cookies to work yesterday, and I am pleased to say that they were a hit. They are basically fat free with whole wheat flour (no butter or eggs), and "normal" people loved them. Chocolate Covered Katie, I am going to hit up your recipes more frequently!
Now, I'm in Chicago and chillin with my friend Libby. Remember her?
I had a slightly annoying morning since I woke up at 7:30 am for a 9 am hair appointment and drove 45 minutes only to find out that they completely screwed up and my hair stylist wasn't there today. The good news is that I have my buddy Libby to cheer me up!
I'm also happy, because I get free hair coloring next week. They certainly made up for their mistake.
Have a great start of the weekend! I'm kicking mine off in Chicago, watching Libby while my brother is away. I also have to study for a microbiology exam on Monday. I bet you are so jealous!
Helloooo friends! I'm happy to say that the skunk mess has significantly improved. The house now only slightly smells, and no unpleasant scents came out of my backpack when I opened it in class today.
I now have a new thing to worry about: the wildfires in Minnesota are burning my eyes. That's not something you hear every day, right? When I left my class this afternoon, the sky seemed hazy and it smelled like there was a fire somewhere close to the school. On my way home, I heard on the radio that the smoke from the fires are spreading across the Midwest and are now in northern Illinois. It's bad for allergies, and it's even worse to be outside if you have issues with your lungs. My lungs are fortunately healthy, but the smoke in the air is really irritating my eyes. I may have to switch from my contacts to my glasses for a few days if they don't start to feel better. I realize that there are many worse outcomes from these fires besides my sore eyes, so I'm sorry to complain! Wildfires are so terrible, and I hope they can get it under control before it does even more damage.
Lunch and Cookies
On my way home from school, I got a craving for a Chipotle burrito bowl. My head said no, but my heart said yes. I followed my heart.
I got a veggie burrito bowl with brown rice, grilled veggies, mild salsa (pico de gallo), shredded cheese, guacamole and lettuce. I used to get sour cream, but I now take my food home and add a big spoonful of nonfat Greek yogurt. Maybe my thighs will thank me one day.
Chipotle just started using brown rice (you can choose between brown or white), and it makes me feel better about eating from there. The older I get, the more I love whole grains. They taste heartier, and they are so much better for us.
After I devoured my lunch, I wanted chocolate. I broke into the pantry and opened up a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips. After a small handful, I decided that I wanted to bake chocolate chip cookies. I swear, this has never happened to me in my life. I don't usually crave cookies unless they are in front of me, and I've never baked them by myself. That sounds crazy, but it's true.
I wanted to make something on the healthier side, so I perused the internet for good recipes. I found a great one by Chocolate Covered Katie, who is healthy baking genius (in my own humble opinion). I made her fudge babies before, and I thought they were great.
20 minutes later, I made some tasty cookies with this recipe. I used whole wheat flour and butter (only one tablespoon, and I used "healthy" butter...for what it's worth) instead of vegetable oil (I couldn't find it), but I followed her recipe other than that. I took her advice and pulled them from the oven when they were gooey instead of hard.
My mom was so happy to come home to healthy cookies.
You should really look at Chocolate Covered Katie for good healthy baking ideas. Even if you don't like baking, it's fun to click through and look at her pictures!
Have a great day!
You know when you're in a car and suddenly smell that wretched skunk odor that everybody hates? You then hope and pray that you don't have to stop at a red light or get stuck in traffic while the scent is still wafting around, because there is the possibility that the smell could stick to your car like glue (it has happened to me before).
Most of the time, we are able to drive away before we have to inhale to stench for very long. But imagine if a member of your family, such as your dog, gets sprayed directly by a skunk and then runs into your house! He comes through the door and is wet. You wonder why he is wet, and then you smell it. You freeze, and then profanities begin to spill from your mouth. Before you know it, the whole downstairs reeks. You run upstairs to close the door to your bedroom and bathroom, thinking that the smell may not make it to your clothes and bedding. You (or your mother) wash the dog in a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, soap and baking soda. Before you go to sleep, you spray your bedroom with Febreeze until you think you are going to pass out, and you open your windows and blast your fan on high.
In the morning, you open your closet door and discover that although your room seems to smell okay, your clothes in your closet smell like a skunk. You don't understand how that is possible. You shower, coat yourself (and your hair) in Febreeze. You then spray your clothes. You eat breakfast outside, because the kitchen stinks. You spray yourself several more times before getting in the car. Before you go, you smell your dog. He stinks, but he smells better than the night before. You then walk to your car and open the door. Unbelievably, the car smells like a skunk. You spray it until it smells like apples and cinnamon. You drive with all four windows down and the sunroof open (luckily, it's a beautiful day outside). You spray yourself again in the parking lot of your school. You take the Febreeze with you (just in case). You walk into your classroom, terrified that people will think you smell like crap. You open your backpack and get a small whiff of something very unpleasant. Throughout the day, you learn that your phone, calculator, pencil case and freshly printed lecture notes also smell.
That, my friends, is a true story that is less than 24 hours old. If there is anything I want you to take away from this story, you should: 1) never let your dog get "skunked" and 2) consider moving to a country like Australia or somewhere else where there are no skunks. Don't even start arguing with me that Australia has dangerous spiders and snakes and jellyfish and sharks. Spiders may poison you, but they don't make you smell the way that I do right now! I guess if I HAD to choose between dying and smelling bad, I'd probably choose to live and be smelly. But still.....
On Saturday night, when my scent was more like flowers than something that came out of an anal scent gland, I went to my friend Jessie's apartment to hang out with her and some of my other friends. We had a great time, but it took me 2.5 hours from the time I left my house till the time I got to Jessie's door. I still don't understand how that happened. It took me a while to get to my friend Nicole's apartment, and then we ordered dinner for everybody and went to Chili's to pick it up. Somehow, that whole process took 2.5 hours. Absolutely baffling.
When we got to Jessie's, we enjoyed a relaxing girl's night for a couple of hours. We also celebrated her cat Keish's second birthday! Jessie made amazing chocolate Oreo cupcakes. She talks about them on her blog here.
The Oreo cookie ears were fun to eat, but my favorite part was the frosting. I was tempted to lick it off of all of the remaining cupcakes. She did an amazing job with these!
Happy birthday, Keish!
After the celebration, I headed back home and got caught in traffic. At midnight. What the heck. There were workers on the highway, and they reduced it from three lanes in one direction to one. A warning would have been nice! They only block it off at those hours, but it's still a pain.
I got home unscathed, and then I lounged around Sunday. I caught up on laundry and reading, and then I met my friend Laura at the Cheesecake Factory by my house. Since the weather was so gorgeous, we sat on the crowded patio.
We observed that you don't have to be a human to enjoy the patio.
We started with a bread basket to keep us (and the duck- if we actually fed it) very happy. I told Laura the story of the time I got my duck bite. It never ceases to amuse me.
For an appetizer, we shared the avocado eggrolls. Oh my gosh. Amazing. You can never go wrong by ordering these. Laura told me that she wanted to drink the sauce. Drink. The. Sauce.
We both ordered from the Skinnylicous menu. Laura got a roasted pear and blue cheese flat bread.
I got the same damn thing I got the last time I went to Cheesecake and will probably continue to get for the rest of my visits during my life (unless they change the menu). I got the chicken tacos.
Obviously, I liked them. I would have devoured all of them if it had not been for the avocado eggrolls.
I need to go there more often.
Never Drinking Again
One of my best friends Jessica wrote and performed in this musical number, and it's going viral! She just sent me a link from one of Australia's morning shows where they talked about it and showed a clip. Here is the whole number. I'm so proud!
(Warning: the video makes fun of a night after heavy drinking. You may want to refrain from watching if you think you will be offended).
I hope that title makes any American girl in her 20s or younger so excited that she just wants to run around in circles the way that dogs do when they find out that they're going for a W-A-L-K. First, though, let's look at some FOOD!!!
Snack: melted cheese and tomato sauce (vodka sauce, to be exact) on a La Tortilla Factory wrap (12 g of fiber, baby!). I wanted to eat four more of these.
Amazingly filling breakfast: blueberry chocolate protein oatmeal! I really wanted to make protein pancakes yesterday morning, but I was weary about using eggs one week past the sell-by date. Instead, I made about one cup of rolled oats (any less hardly ever fills me up), cooked them in the microwave and added 1/4 cup of low fat cottage cheese, 1/4 scoop of chocolate protein powder and a handful of blueberries.
It tasted good, and it kept me fueled through several hours of shopping with my mom. I expected my stomach to start grumbling after an hour or two, but it never happened. I was very satisfied.
While at a local Westfield Shopping Center (same day), I stumbled across a kangaroo and a joey supervising the Westfield Playspace. I was surprised at first, and then I remembered that the Westfield family is Australian (and Jewish- like me!). I bet a lot of you didn't know that!
Back to the food, I had lunch today at Walker Bros with my friend Jessie. Even though they have the best tasting pancakes and omelettes, I stuck to my usual: the chopped salad. It has all sorts of fun things in there, including GOOD grilled chicken breast (sometimes chicken on top of salads in restaurants is gross and fatty), bacon, bleu cheese, red onions, tomatoes, cucumber, asparagus, egg, and tortilla strips (although I swear they forgot the strips on my salad). They use a citrus vinaigrette dressing that is fabulous, although I always get it on the side.
It comes with a bialy with their famous whipped butter and jam.
When I got home, my parents asked me if I wanted to go to the dog park with them. I wanted to exercise, and I figured that walking around with them in the great outdoors could suffice. I changed into black yoga pants (black= BIG mistake) and hopped in the car with everybody.
Mickey, in true form, would not let me take a picture of him. He always runs away when he sees me pull out the camera. He didn't notice, however, when I took his picture from the side mirror. How cute!
We all had a great time. There were so many exciting new smells for everybody.
We love living near some big dog parks.
There is so much open land!
American Girl Dolls
How many of us had American Girl Dolls when we were growing up? They just had their 25th anniversary. Being a 25-year-old, these dolls were all the rage in my childhood.
When I was a child, there were only a few American Girl Dolls. Each girl was from a different period, and she came with her own clothing and accessories. She also came with a book explaining her background and the period she came from. Felicity Merriman, for instance, came from the 1700's. She lived during the Revolutionary War period. We learned all about the clothes that she wore and what she did in her day-to-day life. I suppose you can say that these historical dolls were educational! At least to an extent.
My mom got my baby cousin Molly a Molly Doll earlier in the year, so we get catalogs from them every once in a while. I was interested to see how much they changed over the years, so I flipped through the one that we got yesterday.
First, I can't believe how many new historical dolls have sprung up! There is a hippie doll named Julie Allbright from the 1970s.
There's a Hawaiian doll named Kanani!
Another fun fact about American Girl Dolls is that you can buy all sorts of accessories. For instance, with Kanani, you can buy her fun outfits. You can also buy her a Shaved Ice Stand (for $115!!!!).
In addition to the periodic dolls, you can also purchase a modern American Girl!
There are different skin tones and hair colors so that you can choose one that looks like you. I think the one on the top row with the light skin, freckles, hazel eyes and dark brown hair is me. Don't you see the resemblance?
You can buy your doll a piano (it plays music!).
If you doll is Jewish, you can buy her a Hanukkah Gift Set (I had this!!!).
If you wear glasses, then you can buy your doll a pair of glasses.
You can buy her crutches, an arm cast and an ankle boot.
I think that my favorite was the headgear! You can buy your doll headgear!
You can get matching braces! AND a retainer!
Ok, I'm not dissing this at all. I remember getting a catalog every month and flipping through it from front to back and circling all of the things that I wanted. Every once in a while, I got a new pair of clothes for my dolls. It was the most exciting thing for me to see a new package arrive from the American Girl Company. When any of my friends got new doll accessories, we'd go over to their homes and play with them and beg our parents (usually unsuccessfully) to get us the same thing. Sure it seems materialistic, but we were kids! We worked hard to get perfect report cards and do our chores and make our parents as happy as clams just so we could get something exciting for our birthdays or holidays (or a great report card). We also thought that our dolls were real people and would therefore get just as excited about a new pair of clothes.
I just can't believe how many new accessories are there. You can get your doll a pet!
Now, if you're wondering if we just toss our dolls away when we come of age, take a look at the top of my closet! I'd like you to meet Ms. Samantha Parkington, Ms Felicity Merriman and Katie. Katie is a modern American Girl, but she's wearing Felicity's dress. Go figure. Felicity is also wearing Katie's clothes.
I did take pleasure in chopping their hair many years ago, and I was hoping that I could get them new heads one day (you can send your dolls to the "doll hospital" for new heads, arms, etc.) Unfortunately, I learned that Samantha and Felicity are "retired" dolls! I'm so sad! I guess the girls are going to have to keep their trendy shoulder-length haircuts.
I also had a Kirsten doll (also discontinued), but my mom gave her away!!! So mad!!!
Annnnd now I'm heading to the city to be social. It's about time!
I hope all of you are enjoying your weekends!
A few weeks ago, my mom found an article in the newspaper about Yonanas and bought one at Target. Yonanas is a food processor that is specially made for turning frozen fruit into a soft serve dessert. Sure you could just blend it all up in a blender, but this is so much more fun.
Tonight, I took it out for a whirl after dinner.
It came with a little book of recipe ideas, and I figured that Peanut Butter and Jelly Yonanas sounded like a good deal after flipping through it.
We already had all of the ingredients. You are supposed to buy bananas, wait until they are ripe, peel them, then freeze them.
I put the frozen fruit in a bowl and microwaved it for 20 seconds for an ultra-fast thaw job.
I put a clean bowl underneath the spout at the bottom of the machine, and everything was ready to go.
Okay, that's a lie. I did not put a bowl down before I put the first banana in there. I couldn't figure out why the banana was coming out of the bottom and onto the kitchen counter. THEN, I used a bowl like you see in the picture.
I put the frozen fruit in the processor, and it came out into the bowl in a matter of seconds.
Once I ground all of the fruit, I added the spoonful of almond butter and mixed it all up.
It tasted like a sorbet. All natural, and no added sugar!
The cleanup took about five minutes, including disassembling and drying and reassembling.
Fun little gadget, eh? I realize again that you could just blend up fruit in a blender, but I think this is even faster and easier. Plus, you will get the right consistency every time.
Have a great night!
Did you know that I'm on the last day of a 5-day weekend? I didn't have classes on Monday since it was Labor Day, and then my school was also closed today. We'll get Wednesday through Friday off for Thanksgiving Break in November, so they wanted to make a complete week of holidays. Sweet.
Anyway, I swear that I said something two weeks ago about making last week a Salad Week. I'd eat a salad every night, and I'd post the recipe the next day. Unfortunately, that idea seemed boring to me when it was time to execute the plan. Not all is lost, however. I made an awesome salad one night last week from leftover salmon.
I made a point to bring out lots of colors in my dinner. On a bed of baby spinach (green), I shredded up a piece of cold salmon (pink) and mixed in cherry tomatoes from our garden (red). I sprayed on ranch Wish-Bone Salad Spritzer (white-ish), mixed it well and topped it all off with tri-color tortilla strips (red, yellow, blue/black). After a few satisfying bites, I realized that my salad would be even better with feta cheese crumbles (white). It was a lovely salad to look at AND eat.
More photos that made the cut from the week:
I picked my grandma up after class on Thursday, and we went to lunch. I can't believe how tall I look there. Does it make a difference that I had massive wedges on my feet?
We went to Eggshell Cafe for lunch, which is a popular lunching spot for us. It takes about four minutes to get there from where she lives, and we never have to wait for a table. They also have a massive menu. They're only open for breakfast and lunch. I always get breakfast food there, but there are plenty of other options such as salads and sandwiches.
I got a Mexican omelette with a side of fruit (you can also get hash browns).
From the menu: Diced tomatoes, onions, sliced jalapenos, fresh cilantro and chorizo served with Monterry Jack cheese.
I usually like everything that I get from there, but I was less than impressed with the fact that the salsa came in a to-go container and tasted like it was still thawing from the freezer. The strawberries also tasted like were soaked in syrup and frozen. So much for freshness, eh? At least the omelette tasted good.
On Friday, my dad deviated from his Friday pizza plan and asked my mom and myself to assemble the pizzas (he always does it himself). It was an honor, but we also felt the pressure! He makes the best pizzas on Friday nights, and we wanted to meet his expectations.
He had everything ready for us to go. He grilled the pizza crust, for a start.
He also prepared all sorts of toppings for us.
My mom's pizza:
Our pizzas tasted good, but not as good as my dad makes them. My mom wanted to pile as many things as she could on her pizza, and I apparently did not add enough onion. Oh well.
Besides reading and studying and exercise, I actually didn't get up to much over the weekend. So many of my friends live in the city, so I have to go over there if I want to see them. Unfortunately, I was feeling like a major homebody for a few days. I enjoyed the solitude of my home and the company of my dogs and not having to put makeup on my face and spend lots of money or drive 45 minutes or nurse a hangover the next morning. I was just happy to be home. I spent the majority of Sunday with my friend Kate in the suburbs, and that was pretty much it. Sometimes, I just need that time to spend with myself. I wouldn't like it if I did it all the time, but it was okay for this weekend.
I also went on a 20-mile bike ride along the Des Plaines River yesterday. I got very fatigued at one point, but that went away as soon as some girl sped ahead of me. I have a very competitive edge sometimes, and I just couldn't handle being passed by a girl who looked like she was my age. Thanks to her, I had a very good workout.
Today, I'm enjoying my day off by studying for my first exam for tomorrow (FUN) and making gnocchi!
I found this stuff last week, and I just had to buy it. I've never had sweet potato OR whole wheat gnocchi! It tasted great. It was heartier than your average potato gnocchi, and I just loved it. I mixed in some vodka sauce and parmesan cheese.
The Dark Tower Series
I know that I told you a few times that I was reading a 7-part book series by Stephen King, and I'd tell you about it when I finished. After reading the series for over a year (I started the first book in June 2010), I finally closed the last book for good on the plane ride home from San Francisco. This is the first series, or any book, for that matter, that I ever read by Stephen King. If you don't know this already, this guy has quite the imagination.
The first book in this series, called "The Gunslinger", introduces a character named Roland, the last gunslinger, who seems like a man straight out of a country western story. Stranded in the middle of an unnamed desert, Roland tries to hunt down a figure he calls the Man in Black. While the time and place of the story are difficult to grasp at the beginning, Roland stumbles upon artifacts from our world and songs such as "Hey Jude" which suggest that perhaps this world is our world- after it moves on. This story is about Roland and other unforgettable characters as they try to get to the Dark Tower.
I had a very difficult time getting through "The Gunslinger" until I got to the very end of the book. Once I started the second book, "The Drawing of the Three", I was hooked. I originally started reading the series because I heard that Stephen King got his inspiration from J.R.R. Tolkien's" The Lord of the Rings" (I am a big fantasy person), and I definitely got my fantasy kick out of it. There is undeniably science fiction in there as well.
If you have the itch to commit yourself to these seven novels, then I have to give you two warnings. First, you may hate the first book. Don't give up on it yet. Wait until the very end of the book, and you will get the kick to keep reading. Second, as you may expect from Stephen King, he doesn't spare us from violence. If you can handle details of guts exploding, then you may be able to make it through all seven. Believe me when I say that I would not recommend these books to just anybody!
On the bright side, it's a well-written book with excellent character development. King tells the story from many perspectives, so you are not stuck with just one. There is also a lot of the modern world mixed into the tale (a lot of New York City), so there is a hint of familiarity in there for us. I loved the series, and I have no regrets of reading it. It's also one of those stories that lingers around in your head way after you finish it. For me, those are the best.
Stephen King worked on "The Dark Tower" for years (almost twenty years between the first and last book), and he calls this his masterpiece. If you read stories such as "Jerusalem's Lot" or "The Stand", you may recognize some of the villains from there.
If you read the series by chance, let me know! I don't know anybody who has read it, and it's always nice to discuss it with somebody.