Pictures from my lovely vacation

I’M HOME!!!! Sorry for the lack of post yesterday. I was weirdly wiped out from the drive back. Is it possible to be jet lagged if you stay in the same time zone…? Anyway, I was dead tired and wasn’t feeling good on top of it. My mom said maybe I didn’t feel good because all I had eaten that day were fruit rollups, cheeze-its, a hot chocolate from Mickey D’s, and a bag of sour patch kids. Hmm, maybe… I hoped eating real food would help me feel better, so popped open a can of mandarin oranges and that didn’t help. Long story short, I’m home, I ate horribly yesterday and I’m still super tired…

Who wants to see pictures?! :)

I absolutely LOVE this picture of the Beatles and might snag it for my room. If only it wasn’t 3 stories high…

Let’s play a game called “What is this building?”. No seriously, what is it?

SEE! Big head and little arms!

The trip was fun, but I’m glad to be back in St. Louis. I didn’t fit in Chicago with my converses and crimped hair…which is why I love where I live :)

I’m not entirely sure what I’m making for dinner tonight. I’m thinking Chicken Pot Pie. I’ll put up my pictures and reviews later tonight. Prepare yourself, it’s gonna be epic….

Ok probably not, but it sounded cool.

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Posting while 1/2 asleep…proceed at your own risk

Wow, today was absolutely insane. INSANE I TELL YOU!!!! We hit both the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium. The Field Museum was…eh. Nothing hugely special. The t-rex was pretty cool (I kept saying “big head and little arms” and no one thought it was funny…), but other than that we spent most of the morning walking around the museum in a daze since we weren’t quite awake just yet. But the aquarium was fun! :) Smelled like fish (surprise, surprise), but over all pretty interesting. We got to watch a show where they showed us how they trained the sea lions and dolphins and stuff. I love you, dear Chicago, but the show we have at the St Louis zoo is WWWAAAYYYY cooler. No offense :)

(ok I’m about to pass out I’m so tired, so I might stop making sense right about…now) So then we came back to the hotel to take a breather.  The breathers we’ve had so far mainly consist of us trying to get the internet to work and blankly staring at each other. There’s not much to do here. BUT THEN, we left to meet up with some friends; the only reason that we’re actually here. Ok can you be friends with someone if you haven’t actually met them…?? Hmmm…but anyway, they were absolutely and completely awesome. And Italian. Do they get any cooler?! So we spent 5 hours at a St. Louis Bread Co. Panera Bread and only left when it was an hour past its closing time and the people cleaning it looked like they wanted to punch us and throw us out at the same time. Oops.

We leave tomorrow :(  But I’ve loved coming up here to get out of the slight boringness of Missouri, even if it is just for 3 days.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to fall asleep.

*snore*

I heart Chicago :)

Ok I lied. I couldn’t go a day without blogging, obviously.

We checked in to our lovely hotel in downtown Chicago about an hour ago and we’re now lounging in the room listening to my ipod. Ahhhhhh, relaxing :)

I haven’t really been to Chicago before (unless you count going to the American Girl store when I was 8….) and holy guacamole, it’s so different from St. Louis!!!!! Everyone’s an insane driver and there are about an infinity of buildings, as opposed to our 3. We’re gonna walk down Michigan Ave. tomorrow, but just head to dinner tonight and come back and…do nothing. There are like 5 channels on the tv and they’re all, for lack of a better word, stupid. You want normal channels? Oops, you have to buy those! Also, you touch anything in the bar, a sensor knows you touched it and you have to buy it. Lame. And there’s only 1 king size bed in the room, so I got kicked to a roll-away bed. And the pipe in our ceiling sounds like a time bomb. Does it get any better? Ohhhh yes. There’s a martial arts tournament in the ballroom here, so there are about 100 16 year old guys with scary weapons walking around the lobby. It looks like they’re here for a bad remake of The Karate Kid. I didn’t make eye contact….

Wanna see the view from the room?35 stories. 350 feet in the air. A straight drop to sudden death. Duhduhduh…..

Gnocchi 1-Piccola 0

I, piccolaitaliana, solemnly swear, with my lovely readers as my witnesses, to never make gnocchi again and if, by some odd chance, I ever make it again, I shall pursue it with the lowest expectations ever. And I’ll only make it if I lose my sense of taste and smell and possibly sight.

The first time you have gnocchi, do yourself a favor and DON’T have the premade-frozen-stick-in-a-pot of-water-and-tada-they’re-done kind. It gets your hopes up :( Also, don’t watch a video of some Italian super chef make perfect gnocchi in about 7 1/2 seconds flat. And don’t attempt to mash half-cooked potatoes with a cruddy potato masher. Unfortunately, I’ve made all these mistakes. Most of them today…..

First off, let’s get educated.

gnocchi |ˈnäkē| (or say NO-key while someone hits you on the back of the head. It’s true)
plural noun
(in Italian cooking) small dumplings made from potato, semolina, or flour, usually served with a sauce.

So, basically potato noodles. The first time I had them, they were really good. Of course, when I made them, not so amazing. And incredibly time consuming. I think I got annoyed at every single step in the recipe. Steam the potatoes? After 40 minutes were still hard. Mash them? I almost broke 2 potato mashers. I ended up going to the depths of our basement to get our unopened food processor that might be as old as I am. Knead “dough” (if you can call it that….)? If by knead you mean get all of it stuck to my hands, then I actually did that step correctly! Form into balls and stick in water? Ok, I got the water part down pat, but I moved too slowly with the dough and it turned into a whopping pile of lifeless goo that couldn’t be worked with. *sigh*

But I figured out if you dump a bottle of Ragú and grated Parmesan chesse over it, it covers up the taste of (still) uncooked potatoes.

GNOCCHI DI PATATE

This isn’t the best picture I had, but the background made me laugh :) Ahhh, I love little brothers and sisters….

Sooooooo, today was no fun. BUT, I’m off to Chicago tomorrow morning with my mom & sister to visit some friends. I’m bringing my computer, but I’m not sure if I’ll blog while I’m there…we’ll see. I might just eat, walk around downtown (any recommendations of stuff to do….???) and watch hotel cable until my brain explodes :) So if you guys don’t hear from me until Monday, no worries, I’m still alive.

Blood mother! BLOOD!

Wednesdays burn me out. First I have classes in the morning with a bunch of other home schooler nerds like me ;) Luckily, I love the one class I’m in. The 2 hours of study hall? Eh, not so much. So I’m burned out from…not talking to anyone…ok well maybe 2 or 3 people talk to me. Highschool’s fun. Not. So then I come home, do school, make dinner, eat it speedily fast and go to dog training class. 1 hour full of liver treats, spastic dogs, still no one talking to me, and dog bites. My dumb dog bit my hand today while I was trying to get something out of her mouth. So I bled to death while I tried to teach her “stay.” And it SO wasn’t worth it. But luckily I’m home now, no longer dying, and eating ice cream. I’m better…

I love making food. It’s very therapeutic. Food can’t annoy you (most of the time) or ignore you like people can. And the icing on the cake was that today’s food was absolutely wonderful. So that make me very very very happy.

QUICHE LORRAINE

As I was reading through the ingredients today, I kind of had a panic moment. “flour, puff pastry, bacon, eggs, cream….cream…wait, I feel like I don’t have it anymore….wait, wait, wait…NOOOO!!!!!!” I used it on the ice cream. One word:duh. I guess I figured that a 1/2 pint would suffice for the ice cream and quiche. I was wrong.  So I used skim milk (I probably should have used whole…) and it was…umm…quite fluffy. It was good, but not filling. The recipe called for me to cook the puff pastry filled with baking beans and then bake it blind. That pretty much means putting weights on the pastry and sticking it in the oven. I didn’t have baking bean weights, so I improved and used chickpeas-the wimpiest bean on the world. They looked very depressing.Don’t laugh. Yes, they’re ugly, I know. Let’s move on.

FUNGHI RIPIENI

Also on the menu were stuffed mushrooms. What?!?! Me? Eating mushrooms?! Yes, I did. And they’re no longer on my hate list. Not that I have a hate list….but if I did, mushrooms would have been on the top. But these were actually really good. They didn’t take too long and the milk-soaked bread/cheese/mushroom stem filling wasn’t too bad. Not totally unappetizing like I just made it sound…

And yes, the *ehem* lovely post title is from Psycho. I adore that movie and I just HAD to quote it. Yeah….ok, I’m done now.