Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Jonathan & Pete Visit

This past weekend my brother, Jonathan, and his partner, Pete, visited from Connecticut. This was Jonathan's first trip to MD since I moved here in 2004 so I was really excited to show him around. Matt and I picked up the guys at BWI on Thursday night after a mysterious delay that caused them to arrive an hour and a half late but luckily their flight was smooth. Friday morning we got our fix of Dunkin Donuts and drove around Potomac, Rockville and Gaithersburg day dreaming about the mansions we saw. It was a beautiful day so we headed to the country club pool and relaxed for a few hours. Friday night I channeled my Aunt Cappy and made hors d'oeuvres while we watched golf and then Gnocchi with Beef and Gorgonzola sauce for dinner topped off with a homemade chewy cherry brownie and ice cream.

Now a side note: as many of you know I'm working on my cooking and baking skills. The chewy cherry brownies started off as Martha Stewart's Chocolate Cherry Chunk Bars. I tend to bake the way I cook - lots of substitutions. Obviously we all know substitutions, while successful when cooking, are just the opposite when baking. My substitutions on his recipe:

-9x9 baking pan
-unsweetened toasted shredded coconut
-1 egg
-roughly chopped chocolate bar

My Substitutions
-9x13 casserole dish
-sweetened shredded coconut
-1/4 cup egg substitute
-mini chocolate chips

Let's review:
bigger dish=thin and therefore dry batter
sweetened coconut=sticky lumps
egg substitute=crumbly dough
mini chocolate chips=melted, not mixed, into warm reconstituted cherries

Somehow I was able to salvage these "bars" into edible brownies (once the dry edges were removed and brownies were microwaved individually prior to serving). Oh and ice cream can pretty much save any baked good.

Back to the weekend, we played Wii (specifically Cooking Mama and Mario Kart) after dinner and hung out on the balcony a bit.

Cooking Mama

We made some type of gross looking squid ink spaghetti.

I won. :)

Saturday we were a bit lazy in the morning but I made a nice light breakfast, ham & egg cups, fruit and bagels. The guys wanted to see where I work so we drove out to Silver Spring to take a look around the Discovery Communications building (for those of you who don't know, I work in Business Affairs and Legal Programming at Discovery Communications, parent company to Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, etc.). It was very calming to be in the building with no one else around and seeing Jonathan & Pete's appreciation for the building itself made it a little easier to go to work on Monday. Sometimes I forget how lucky I am to work there, but I'm sure I'll talk about that in a future post. After a quick stop home complete with turkey and provolone paninis and pasta salad we grabbed Matt and headed off to the Montgomery County Fair.

Now for those of you who don't know me well, I'm not what you would call an "outside girl". Like my husband always says, the closest we get to camping is tailgating at the Redskins games (more on that in future posts) and sitting on the beach in the Outer Banks. I had heard the advertisements for the fair every year for the past 5 years and realized it was actually only about 3 miles from our home so I figured we should at least give it a go. I'll say this, I tried it and now I don't have to try it again. Don't get me wrong, we had a good time since Jonathan & Pete were along with us but it was extremely hot (who thought a fair the 3rd week in August in Maryland was a good idea?) and I felt so sorry for the poor animals, especially the 5 legged sheep outside of the "freak show" tent (did anyone else know they still did that?) but it was extremely good people watching. I'd say the highlight was when I got a chocolate chip ice cream sandwich for $1.25 (a bargain compared to all the other food) that supported a local Girl Scout troop and when we finally found Jonathan his fried dough (not funnel cake) to which I promptly made him laugh while eating so I could see the powdered sugar fly from his mouth. After the fair we all took a power nap and went to our favorite local Mexican restaurant, Guapo's. If you've been to visit us there is a good chance you have been there, but if not it is the best Mexican food in the area. After we stuffed ourselves we took a walk by the pond at Rio and showed the guys Matt's office. We capped off the evening with an On Demand movie, The Unborn. It will make you scream but don't waste $4.99 on it, wait until it is in the free On Demand section.

Me & Jonathan at Rio

Pete and Jonathan at Rio

Me and Matt at Rio

Sunday morning I brought the guys back up to BWI for their flight home to CT. I was sad to see them go but so happy we got to spend a weekend together. Come visit again soon guys and anyone else who wants to see a 5 legged sheep. ;)


1 comment:

Toe Valley Trail Project said...

Natalie--not being an outdoor girl must run in the family. Since it must be genetic, now I don't feel so bad, since I have no control over it. Every year as a girl I went camping with the scouts and every year I hated it.
Thanks for giving a good description of Jonathan and Pete's visit. I could see it all through your words.

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