Monday, October 24, 2011

The Culinary Adventures of Chris and Amanda Beck (+ some other adventures...)

This week was a very busy and fun week for us.  Wednesday night Chris and Jon's beer was finally ready, and they were able to sample it for the first time.  It turned out to be a success, which is a good thing, because we have about 50 of them between all of us.  Here are some pictures of the beer's debut:

On Thursday night, Chris and I decided to try something a little different.  We had a Melting Pot "date night", and it was so much fun.  For those of you who have never visited The Melting Pot, you must try it ASAP! It's a LOT of fun.  The Melting Pot is a fondue restaurant that has locations in most big cities (Chris and I have been to the one in Colorado Springs and I have also been to the one in Houston). The meals there consist of 4 courses where you get to choose a cheese fondue appetizer which is served with bread and vegetables , a salad, a broth- or oil-based fondue to cook all kinds of delicious meats in (such as shrimp, chicken, steak, and pork), and a desert fondue like s'mores that you dip graham crackers, pound cakes, fruit, marshmallows, etc in. I got a couple of recipes online and decided to recreate two of those courses.  I made a vegetable cheese dip that had spinach, cheese, green onions, and several other ingredients in it.  I bought all kinds of vegetables at this farmers market store we have here in town that sells fresh produce that is locally grown, and we used those for dipping.  Then I made a Coq Au Vin fondue to cook our meat, which was chicken and steak.  Also, we figured if it were a real date night at the Melting Pot we would probably order a couple of their signature martinis. Chris made a couple of lemon drops and they were so delicious! We got to use the crystal martini glasses that we bought at the outlet mall in Destin when we were there with Tammy and Greg right before the wedding.  Also, Chris used the shaker set that his groomsman Dusty bought us. All in all we felt it was a huge success and I definitely think we will be doing it again! It really wasn't as much of a mess as I heard it would fact, since we ate all the food, I only had to clean up a few things afterward.  The whole thing literally lasted about 3 hours, so it was a very relaxing way to spend the evening.


Friday night, we travelled to West Point to try out a new restaurant I had heard about called Anthony's Good Food Market.  The food there was really good, and driving to West Point from the base really only took us about 5 minutes longer than driving to downtown.  I definitely think we will be going there again, maybe on a Wednesday when they have live music.

Saturday morning was the Columbus AFB career day.  This was "mandatory" for students and "encouraged" for spouses.  First we sat through presentations on a lot of the planes that Chris could fly, where they discussed specific characteristics of the planes and well as the lifestyles, deployment rates, bases, etc. that go with each. Then we got to the cool part, which was going out to the runway where a lot of the planes were parked for the weekend for us to go look at.  Chris has been mostly interested in the C-17 lately, but he is open to considering other planes and, ultimately, it won't be his decision although he will get to request his top choices.  It was really cool getting to not only see, but actually go inside a bunch of these planes and talk to the people who fly them! I already knew that military planes were "armed" but I guess I had never really thought about exactly how armed they are...the plans had all kinds of bombs, missiles, guns, canons...pretty cool.  I took a ton of pictures:
Inside a Black Hawk helicopter

RC-135 "Cobra Ball" (Looks like Air Force One to me!)

Inside the RC-135

C-17, the plane that both Chris and Jon are currently interested in flying.'s huge!

The Cockpit of the C-17

Jon and Chris outside the C-17 (Pilot and Co-Pilot hehe)

See how huge it is?!

A-10 "Warthog"

Scary cannon coming out of its mouth!


AC-130 "Spectre Gunship"

Just hoisting one of the many weapons on the sides!

C-17 from the front...I noticed how the wings went down, and now I can recognize it.

Outside the Blackhawk, with the refueling boom (the planes use it to refuel the helicopter in the air)

I thought it was funny that it said "Do not sit"

For the rest of the day on Saturday, we watched football, which was fairly miserable since all the teams I wanted to win lost (including Auburn of course). We had a late celebration of Chris' 25th birthday.  I made fried zucchini and stuffed tomatoes, and Chris grilled some filet mignons (we get excellent prices on meat at the commissary). My fried zucchini was fine, but the stuffed tomatoes were really good, and of course the steak was fantastic.  I have been trying to learn how to fry things, and have tried zucchini, sweet potatoes, fried green tomatoes and asparagus, but I think I am done because it never turns out that great (never bad, just never great), and fried food is bad for you anyway, so I think that may have been my last attempt at it. Except maybe fried green tomatoes, which were really good.

This is starting to sound a little like a cooking blog, but I just got to spend a lot of time in the kitchen this past week, which I really enjoyed.  On Sunday, Autumn and I came up with the idea of having a fall party as an excuse to do all the "fall" things that are fun to do, such as carve our pumpkins.  This was also a good excuse for me to make a couple of recipes that I was really wanting to try.  I made pumpkin bread with our bread machine, and even used real homemade pumpkin puree instead of the canned stuff.  I added chopped pecans to the recipe and it was really good! I definitely think I will be making it again.  I also made caramel apples.  I have never even tried a caramel apple and I also don't really have much of a sweet tooth, but I have always wanted to try them, just because they are a fall tradition and so pretty! My most recent monthly Paula Deen magazine (a wedding gift that keeps on giving) had some really fun looking caramel apples in it that were coated with chopped pecans, so I gave them a try and made the caramel from scratch. They looked really pretty on the plate...they weren't so pretty to eat, but they tasted good, and Chris took the leftovers to the fighter pilot squadron he works in, so I'm sure they will enjoy them too. Here is the table of food.  Autumn made the cider and cookies and other sweets, and my bread is in the bread basket but you can't see it.

We had a group of about 8 or so at Autumn and Jon's house.  The guys watched football while the girls carved our pumpkins. Here is mine:

It was fun socializing with some other wives.  I'm definitely happy to have a job, but sometimes I feel like it is going to be hard to make friends as long as I have one since I am the only spouse I have met so far with a full-time job.  Chris and I had to leave the party a little early because I had to wake up so early. A lot of the events on base are during the middle of the day, which just doesn't work for me.  From what I have heard, there will be a lot more social opportunities to meet new friends once Chris starts pilot training and gets in his class.  Until then, I have really enjoyed the opportunities I have gotten to meet some interesting people, and I also am really thankful that I have been able to keep in touch with my old friends so well.

Other news from the weekend: Chris and I put up these lights on our patio.  I think they add a lot of "ambiance" and kind of look like a starry night.  Chris did most of the work...I'm so glad he's such a handy man because I am not!

We decided instead of building a fence for Mason we would try getting him a cable/chord thing and attaching it outside so that when he paws at the door when it's 30 degrees outside, we can just put him out for 5-10 minutes and not have to stand out there with him.  Part of the reason we didn't want to get a fence is because they are expensive and we would have to put it up ourselves, plus the lawn people wouldn't mow our grass anymore.  And, let's face it, a chain link fence can be a bit unattractive.  But we would have put up the fence if that were the best option.  After giving Mason a test run on his cable, we were reminded of why this would never work: Mason is a digger.  He can dig an 8" hole in a matter of minutes! I don't think we could bury a fence deep enough for him to not eventually dig under, especially if we left him out long enough.  Look how filthy he got just from us leaving him out for a few minutes...he dug 3 holes! Granted, the ground was muddy from the rain.

When we use the chord for it's purpose, which is to let Mason "go potty" without us having to supervise him, we don't think we'll have this problem.  We would only have him out for a couple of minutes and when he has to do his business, that pretty much keeps him occupied.  This is what happens when we leave him out there with nothing to do and nothing to chew on. We will definitely have to keep an eye on it, because we can't be bathing him every time we let him out!

Yesterday I ran the farthest I have ever run without stopping, which was 6 miles.  I am really enjoying training for my ½ marathon, and almost to the halfway point (which would be 6 ½ miles).  I don't ever actually have to run 13 miles under the training program I'm doing until race day.  The longest I will have to run is 10 miles.

We found a BLACK WIDOW on our patio yesterday after Chris sprayed for bugs.  It is so scary! Don't worry, we sprayed it with spider killer, then smacked it until it was in little pieces.  Hopefully we will never see another one!

Today is the only day I will be here this week, as I am leaving for Birmingham tomorrow for work.  Chris is joining me on Thursday, and we are driving straight to Auburn after work Friday for the game against Ole Miss.  Two of Chris' friends from the Academy are coming, too, so it should be a good time. We are looking forward to what will hopefully be an Auburn win! Next Monday is trick-or-treating on base, and we have some funny costumes that we are wearing, so I am looking forward to posting some pictures of those next week! Until then, xoxo...The Becks

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