Monday, February 27, 2012

What's that I hear?

Ever since I was little, my mom has obsessed over popping the little bubbles in bubble wrap. I swear that a big reason she would buy 1-lb. boxes of See's Candies was just so that she could have the enjoyment of popping the small sheet of bubble wrap that lies over the chocolates.

The other day, I received a package in the mail with a large amount of bubble wrap used to cushion the items. Matt looked at me with surprise as I gathered it up and walked to my mom's bedroom and left it there. I told him how much she loved the stuff and he just assumed accept the fact.

On Sunday, while we were all waiting around for church to start, Matt and I were in the kitchen making breakfast when our ears clued into a distant "clicking" sound that never seemed to stop. We just looked at each other and started laughing. I then, of course, had to grab my camera (make sure your volume is up so that you too, can hear the faint sounds):

She's watching her coveted Korean dramas online and popping bubble wrap of course.

Friday, February 24, 2012

The Tank

For anyone wondering why my parents are still in town a month and a half after the wedding, I thought it would be appropriate to make an update.

As many of you know, my parents are currently serving as temple missionaries for the LDS Church in Seoul, South Korea. They will serve for a total for 18 months and they started just back in August of last year.

Photo: My dad and Johnny Ahn tearing it up. (Photo by Rachel Thurston)

They came out to Utah January 11 for and intended to stay in the US for only two weeks to attend the wedding and to spend some time with family. But what has been a bittersweet experience for all of us, the day after the wedding, my father had an accident in our home that has kept him here in Utah for the past month and a half and possibly another month.

Matt and I were married Friday, January 13. We left for our honeymoon to St. John, US Virgin Islands at midnight the following day. Just four hours after we left, my dad fell down the stairs in Matt's house (now mine as well). Our guess is that he got up to get a drink a water and walked to the kitchen. On his way back to the bedroom, being in a unfamiliar place, instead of walking down the hallway to his room, he accidentally took the path down the steep flight of stairs and tumbled down into the basement. His fall woke up everyone in the house and he was tended to immediately. He was taken to the hospital in Salt Lake City and observed for five days. He sustained two broken ribs and bleeding in the brain. Because of the brain injury he spent two weeks in a rehabilitation center and is now home continuing his recovery.

Matt and I woke up in St. John to a message from Matt's downstair's tenant after which we called Rachel to find out what happened. My family didn't intend to call us to tell us what happened as it was determined that my dad would be okay, despite a projected long recovery. We contemplated whether we should return home, but decided that all would be taken care of and that we should enjoy the time together until we get back.

Since our return, my father has made great progress and yesterday the doctor cleared him to make the 11-hour flight back to Korea when he felt ready to do so. Physically he is as good as can be. Maybe a little bit slower, but he is fully functional on his own and is exercising daily. I think the neighbors get a kick out of seeing him jamming through the neighborhood in his black puffy down vest. He still has some mental recovery to sustain and is undergoing speech therapy to regain full verbal capabilities again. Overall, he is doing very well and although it is possible that he may never be back to the person he was before the accident, he still has improvement to make which will come with time.

It is crazy to think that just the night before the accident he was active and ripping it up on the dance floor, set to return to Korea to complete a temple mission. The accident has surely slowed him down, but he is determined to regain full functioning ability to perform the duties required of a temple missionary. He is diligently reading and studying to prepare for his return and has really made the necessary effort to get better. He is a tank and although this last month and a half was pretty serious and definitely scary, we are so happy and we feel so blessed that it wasn't worse and that he has recovered so well.

Keep on truckin' Daddy Oh!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fig Pizza

I am ashamed at the post I am about to make. Not at the actual content, but at the lack of imagery. I didn't take one picture of the preparation process or the finished product. I'm so ashamed.

My sister was visiting this past weekend and we made this recipe for Fig-Prosciutto Pizza with Arugula from the Pioneer Woman Blog. Can I just say, it was probably the best pizza I have ever had! Even at the most renowned pizza joints and from the most professional kitchens (of the so many that I've been to...) this pizza put those others to shame.

In the KitchenAid, which by the way is my newest and bestest friend, the dough was so easy to make. I had yeast dough in a matter of minutes. All of the toppings were healthy and as fresh as Costco-ly possible, and the combination of everything together just totally hit both the sweet and savory spots. Holy cow, what a delectable treat!

I will say though, the kicker was actually the fig spread. It's what made the pizza delicious and memorable. But you must have the "spread". To find it, don't assume look near the jams and jellies. Rather, venture to the gourmet cheeses in your local market (Harmon's and Sunflower Market in Salt Lake City worked for us) and you will find the spread in small jars.

Try it, it's an amazing pizza!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Painter Cookie Throwdown

While I had always dreamed of owning a KitchenAid myself, little did I know that Matt also, had mixer visions of his own.

As we were deciding what to do for Super Bowl Sunday, we decided to crank the heat in the house (temperature is something I prefer keep to a minimum and make up for with a cozy sweater or hoodie) and have a chocolate chip cookie throwdown. This decision expedited the need for the mixer as apparently, for Matt's chosen recipe, the KitchenAid was an essential component to total cookie success!

We both love the mandarin orange color and having both used it to make our cookies, we both were very excited and pleased with the results.

The recipe I chose was the ever-famous Neiman Marcus cookie recipe, urban legend still in tact. I used to make this recipe while at BYU all the time. It was a no-fail!

Matt chose a friend's recipe that he has raved about and has long declared to be the best chocolate chip cookies EVER.

In the picture above, my cookie is on the left, Matt's is on the right.

We had a bake off and based on our own taste test and the judgement of others in the Painter family, the following was determined (based on my conclusions):

1. Appearance - Winner: Miriam
2. Texture - Winner: Miriam
3. Chocolatiness: Winner: Miriam, close Second: Matt
4. Taste fresh out of the oven and for the first day: Matt
5. Taste the second day: Miriam

Overall winner: Miriam, with Matt at a close Second

The taste the first day, was a split tie really. I actually preferred Matt's cookie over mine. Mine lacked salt and overall flavor. I will say that the milk chocolate chips that Matt used made a difference in the sweetness of the cookie, which mine and its semi-sweet chocolate chips lacked in general. I did run into some issues in the preparation of my cookies as I forgot to add the eggs and the vanilla in the "wet" ingredients stage of the mixing process and I think that that may have affected the end product. I think next time Matt will add more flour to his mixture for a more substantial cookie.

In general, it was a fun little contest! It was Matt's first time EVER baking chocolate chip cookies and it was our first time ever using the orange KitchenAid which exceeding every dream and expectation!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Domestic Decoration

As I more and more feel the lure of domestication, I find myself with a nagging need to purchase highly functional, visually appealing and ridiculously expensive kitchen appliances that will likely just sit on my kitchen counter to give the impression that I am one bad-ass cook. And I'm okay with that.

In my time as a functioning adult, I have purchased toasters for $10, hand mixers for $6 and blenders for $20, all brand new and all still working to this day. I got great deals, but these were nothing for display.

Now, for whatever reason, entering marriage, I am looking at kitchen gear that reeks havoc on my bank account (Well, Matt and I's bank account. Er, more like Matt's...that I have added my name to) but, have tremendous appeal!

The first of these purchases, is the ever coveted and ever practical, KitchenAid Mixer. All of my friends have one and I've always wanted one. And they look so cool! With 23 beautiful colors to choose from, who wouldn't want one of these just to have as a decorative piece in the kitchen? I'm sure I'll use it at some point, maybe to demonstrate to guests that I know how to turn it on and tilt the head back and then speak fondly of everything I intend to make some day, at which point, it will be worth the ridiculous amount of money I just paid for it.

(Silver lining: I had a 20% off coupon and I'm getting a $30 rebate!)

Next on the list, a Cuisinart Food Processor. Another spendy purchase and not the visual appeal of the Mixer, but for the street cred, it's going to be worth it.