Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My New Job

Today I received an official offer from my new employer Fidelity Investments. It is located in Westlake, TX, about 15 minutes from where we currently live. The corporate headquarters where I will be working is located on over 300 acres, complete with a dozen 'fidelity' branded long-horns. This is what the place looks like:

Kelsey and I are way excited. The light has appeared at the end of the 5-month unemployment darkness. We have learned a lot in these past months, and we are very grateful for the support we have received from friends and family. In short, we have a lot to be grateful for. I am smiling.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Can't Think of an Interesting Title...

We have done fun things lately, but haven't taken many pictures, so if you're not into reading... sorry.

First, Grant is getting ready for a big backpacking trip in Big Bend National Park.He's going with a few friends from the ward and they'll be hiking about 11 miles a day for three days. I wish I could go (although I'd probably die...) but with school and work, it just won't work out. But I have been helping Grant get ready for his trip. He has new boots that aren't broken in yet so we have taken to going on what I call "urban hikes." There are few places close by that allow for real hiking, so we have been hiking around the town instead. Our first walk was to a friends house, about a 7 mile round trip. Our second trip was to Chipotle (of course) and beyond, an 8 mile trip. It's been lots of fun to go on adventures together. Additionally, it has been quite an adventure because Texas is not exactly pedestrian friendly...

Second, I am still technically doing Kelsey's Cooking Course. The meals for these two weeks aren't quite as adventurous as the last. I included quite a few tried and true recipes: Potato Soup, White Chicken Chili, and Pizza. There are also a few new recipes: Overnight Rolls, Baked Chicken Casserole, Chicken Quiche, Oven Baked Carrot Fries, etc; but not as many as before.

Today, we had Potato Soup and Overnight Rolls. The potato soup was good-- it's one of our favorites and I make it fairly often. However, I had never made rolls before. These turned out great! I was skeptical because I grew up eating "Nana's rolls" but these were nearly as good! One more victory and one more recipe under my belt. I feel like I learn something new with every recipe I make. I don't have many memorized, but I'm getting a feel for where I can take liberties with a recipe, so that is good.

In addition, things are looking good on the job front for Grant! He had a great interview this week and got a call saying they want to "move forward with the hiring process." Nothing is final but it looks good! I'm proud of him and how hard he has been working!

I'm going to eat another roll now!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


While I have improved on my recipe following skills, I don't have much experience putting a whole meal together. I can make some excellent main dishes, but unfortunately, that is usually the only thing that ends up on the table. So I challenged myself and made three new recipes for dinner yesterday.

All my recipes came from the same book: Essential Mormon Celebrations. What a funny cook book name. The main dish was called Missionary Chicken: Chicken breasts (and I did slice these in half like you mentioned, Jill! I didn't do a good job, but it was better than the pounded version!) covered in a sour cream/cream of chicken sauce, topped with Parmesan cheese and baked in the oven. My two sides were Holiday Rice: a fairly basic rice but topped with parsley & tomatoes; and Honey Glazed Carrots. After starting the meal, I realized I didn't have enough carrots (of course) so I changed the recipe to Honey Glazed Random Vegetables and added broccoli and zucchini.

It turned out great! Grant said, "I could get this at a restaurant & think it was great!" Grant was very proud of me and I was very proud of myself! Grant couldn't stop eating for me to take the picture so I got his hand in it. (Well, that's a lie... he hadn't started yet. But I'm sure that would have been the case if I had waited to take the picture.)

After all that success, I decided I needed a break. So we ate bread from our bread machine and it was wonderful. It was the first time we had made it since we moved to Texas and with one bite, we instantly missed good ole Wymount Terrace. Good times.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Call Me Pounder... Chicken Pounder...

The cooking course is going well. That doesn't mean that all of the recipes have gone well... but nothing has turned out inedible yet! Anyone in my family can tell you (and give multiple embarrassing examples) that when cooking I have a tendency to either mix things up or make gross calculation errors. Luckily, I haven't substituted salt for sugar in a few years.... or months.

On the menu earlier this week was Lemon Chicken Italiano. It wasn't too complicated: coat chicken in flour, fry on the stovetop, place on bed of marinara sauce & top with a lemon sauce. Of course, I downsized the recipe from 6 or 8 chicken breasts to two. Amazingly, I calculated right and everything was fine. Well, everything except one small thing was fine. The first step in the recipe told me to pound the chicken breasts until they were thin.

First of all, we buy the giant chicken breasts from Costco: utterly unpoundable. Second, I don't own a chicken pounder of any kind! (Yes, mom, I know that's not what it's called :) Third, my chicken pounder-less chicken pounding was less than enthusiastic, because I'm afraid of upsetting the neighbors with pounding noises... (They used to bang on the ceiling if we were even a little bit loud).

So, I struggled for a while with these:

My chicken remained huge and didn't cook all the way through in the frying pan. Thus, instead of having two lovely pounded chicken breasts in the pan, it looked like this:

It wasn't bad, but not too great either. Next time, I'll be sure to give the chicken breasts a good pounding and season a bit more as well.