Monday, October 13, 2014

small time out

This month is the craziest of all my months yet for work and for I will have a small time out from back in a couple weeks. The good news is all is great and we are happy and healthy!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

fancy brentwood public library

I had to go to a committee meeting for the state library association, and we met at the Brentwood Public Library.  Brentwood is a swanky part of Nashville, and I had heard the library was nice.  Since I always have my camera with me, I snapped a few photos.

This is the picture of the entrance right inside the front doors:

This is the entrance to the kids' section and it was really cool like a park:

Lots of trees around and there were also park sounds playing like birds!

This was the main area for the adult books:

I really liked the lighting in there.  They also had an art lending library, where you could check out art!  How cool is that?

Except then I read the sign hanging on the ladder and had some grammatical issues:

See any issues in the first phrase above the line?  Not very good subject/verb agreement.  It was a permanent, engraved sign, so my guess is that it's been there awhile.  The part below the line is also missing a comma.  It's my human superpower/curse: I proofread as I read and I can't turn it off!

All in all the library was very nice and it was also in the corner of a park, which was also neat!  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

beef empanadas

I am always pinning new recipes that sound good, and then when I feel like trying something new, I look through the recipes I've already saved to try.  I have never made empanadas before, so when I saw a pretty easy recipe online, I knew I was going to try it!

I like that this recipe called for the use of pre-made pie crust...that is totally speaking my language for a weeknight meal.  So I divided just one crust into fourths, then need to roll the fourths out into circles:

I don't use my rolling pin often, but I'm very glad I have it.  I believe we registered for it as a wedding gift so it's going six years strong!  Andy took a picture of me stuffing them and sealing them with a fork, which is such a nifty trick:

Andy helps me cook about every night, and he was in charge of brushing them with egg:

Hot out of the oven (hint: I wish we would have sprayed the foil because they got a little stuck):

And here is the final product with some Mexican rice and refried beans:

So the major change to this recipe was that I used ground beef, not the steak it called for.  I am big on trying to use what we already have purchased and using ground beef in this recipe allowed me to not go to the store at all. 

All in all, it was good, and turned out very cute.  I thought it was a nice change from our soft tacos we usually have.  Andy thought it was a little odd because the pie crust tasted like pie crust.  He never eats pot pies or anything with pie crust other than desserts, so that threw him a little.  I would have kept it if he really liked it, but since he didn't, it wasn't a keeper.  But I would recommend trying it! 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

creepy or clever jewelry display?

Andy and I went out to eat at a new restaurant and then took a stroll for ice cream while we were downtown in the square.  I love that after two years we are still finding places we've never been to try out.  We certainly aren't bored!

Anyway, as we were walking back from sharing an ice cream, we saw this in the window of a boutique shop:

In case you can't tell, it is a jewelry display made with mannequin hands:

Although I give them props for finding a creative way to display bracelets, it's also sort of creepy and I'm not sure how you'd get them off!  Weird and gave us a good laugh.

Monday, September 29, 2014

honey chipotle asian chicken

I've been on a quest to find a delicious Chinese chicken to make at home without frying it.  So I first tried a recipe I found online called baked honey garlic chicken.  It used a method of oven-frying so to speak that required cutting up the chicken, then dipping it in egg and then breadcrumbs (I used Panko).  That's always an assembly line setup:

Out of the oven the chicken was nice and crispy and had good flavor, and while it had been baking I made the thick sauce:

We served it over rice drizzled instead of tossing the chicken in it because I wasn't sure I had enough sauce:

So the verdict was we really liked the way the chicken was done, but we didn't love the sauce.  So I found another recipe online that I wanted to try called honey chipotle chicken crispers.  I used the same method of baking the chicken but tried the new sauce, and we liked it much better.  I completely forgot to take a picture, but it looks about the same but a brighter orange more than a brown.  There's your mental picture.  HA.  So that recipe became a keeper:
I would recommend it as a nice spicy Chinese food-like dish.  Warning: it does not taste like the deep fried chicken you get at a restaurant, but that's okay...we weren't looking for an imitation dish per se, just a dish to enjoy with sauce and rice over chicken!

Friday, September 26, 2014

turkey bingo in september??

I know it's nowhere near Christmas or Thanksgiving...but I just found these pictures on my computer from Thanksgiving 2013, so I thought I would post them!!

Here is Andy helping his brother Tim work on his truck (he's a driver for FedEx):

Then this is our Thanksgiving group after we have eaten:

And it's time for singing....

Then it's time for turkey bingo!!  Everyone brings multiple small gifts, usually a dollar or less, and wraps them for the big pile on the floor:

Then after many rounds of bingo and stealing, people open away:

So there is lots of paper littering the floor, but it is much fun!  There is usually always one or two presents that get constantly stole, and lots of people guess what they are.  Last year we took a lot of the Russel Stover chocolate....not sure what we are taking this year!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

baked chicken legs

We eat a lot of chicken, and although it was well after Andy's birthday, I made him his favorite chicken leg recipe (fried and in hot sauce).  I didn't want fried chicken so I decided to try a recipe that my niece Nikki made and she raved about.  So I took the link she posted to the recipe and made two legs for me that way!

Don't they look tasty?

I love sauces, and I thought this sauce was very tasty.  My only problem was once you got past the skin, there wasn't much flavor on the leg itself.  I mean don't get me wrong, I kept dipping it in the sauce, but I was hoping somehow the flavor would be inside too.  So I'm not sure I would make this again, or maybe I should find another way to use the sauce to make sure it's all up in that chicken!?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

the fate of print journals in libraries

There are frequent debates about electronic vs. print resources in libraries, and this is especially a hot topic in academic libraries (i.e. universities and colleges) when it comes to journals.  Many people don't want to use a print journal because you can't keyword search the text inside, not to mention most journals cannot be checked out (ours can't), which means someone has to use it in the library or copy/scan it page by page. 

So when we had to clear out a wing of the library, it was time to take on a weeding project of print journals.  Since we have access to interlibrary loan (borrowing from other libraries) and Get It Now (a way to pay for our grad students and faculty to get articles on demand), we need to rely on those more and print less.  So the librarians went through a 150+ page spreadsheet and chose what we should keep and what we should withdraw.  Those decisions were compiled and unanimous withdraw decisions were processed.  The good news is that many of our print journals were no longer current, so they were an older collection of years like 1982-1993.  For journals that had a small collection of years like that, and weren't integral to a major, were a prime candidate for withdrawal. 

So all in all, we were able to withdraw to clear the room plus make enough room for plenty of seating in our quiet study area.  The complicated part is now all the journals have to be processed for withdrawal and come out of the catalog.  Since there wasn't enough time to do that before the start of school, the journals need to await processing this is what that looks like:

Careful stacking and leaning them against the wall helps keep them stable until it's time to process them.  Of course I'm sure we accidentally kept something we didn't need to and will withdraw something we didn't need to, but we'll deal with that as it comes up.  We'll subscribe to something online to replace the accident, which ultimately will hopefully be easier and more user-friendly than the print journal to begin with.

But that was our huge summer project, in addition to other projects, which made for a very labor-intensive summer but a super productive one!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

frozen yogurt granola bars

As promised in my previous blog about homemade granola, I was making another new recipe: frozen yogurt granola bars!  I love granola, I love frozen yogurt, so it's win-win, right?  And for those of you who are thinking ice cream, it's literally yogurt that you freeze, not ice cream. 

So first you make a granola bottom, packed with butter, and bake:

Then you put yogurt on top and freeze it.  Here it is post-freezer:

So although it looks all good, here is what happened to a piece I cut out:

You'll notice the granola is on the top, and that is because the granola bottom did NOT hold together in any way.  The only part that stayed together was the very thin layer that stuck to the yogurt.  Everything else crumbled - didn't stick to the yogurt layer or was as loose as the granola that I made originally.

So although the recipe I found online looked great, this was a bust in terms of logistics and presentation.  I obviously did not use blueberries and just used vanilla yogurt, but I don't think that is what made it fall apart.  The flavor of this was good, and don't get me wrong...I ate the whole thing just as a piled mess.  But I wouldn't make this again because instead I would just eat the granola by itself or with yogurt!

Sunday, September 14, 2014 back is happy

We have been considering buying a new bed for months, but have been putting it off until we were budget-ready.  In the meantime, my back hurts every morning when I get up because our bed has a dip in the center and it is not good for my back apparently.  So we finally bit the bullet and bought a new bed, taking advantage of the labor day sales.  Isn't she pretty?

It's a Tempurpedic, and it is heavenly.  My back no longer hurts when I wake up, which is nice.  I think what was making it hurt was because I often sleep on my stomach, and the dip in the bed made my back arch too much.  So we moved our mattress to the guest room so now our guests have a queen-sized bed instead of the full-size that was in there. 

Ahhhh....relief....memory foam is thy name.