Okay, I promised I would post, so here it is :) Just a not so quick catch-up of what I've been working on.
So last week was crazy. We had the final project from our last 12-week class due last Tuesday (Strategic Implementation and the GM's Role). We had to do a 7S analysis for a company and it included a lot of research, compiling stuff, analysis and writing and the six of us spent many an hour on conference calls or working in tiny study rooms to finish this off. It was hard and a total pain but we finished it, that class ended last week, and it was the last assignment with our assigned core teams - kind of bittersweet, really. But we were so ready to be done! Anyway, we got our projects back in class last night and had a very pleasant surprise.
Mindy is showing off the grade sheet we got back. What's hard to see is that the circle at the top is around "A" and the arrow just goes all the way down. We ROCKED that sucker. I think there might have been only one other team that did as well so we were psyched.
So after that class ended last Tuesday, my group for Brand Management stayed late to *start* working on our final project / presentation. The presentation was due in class on Thursday. We got a decent start and then quit for the night. The next night, I cooked for the team and they came to my house for dinner and then we were there until 1am working on the project and deciding how to get it all finished before class the next day.
First up, food. I got to braise something! I was dying to do this... I made braised short ribs in my dutch oven. The recipe is way too complicated to post (sorry Melissa!) but it was from Dorie Greenspan's "Around My French Table" and it was delicious.
Because you can't have beef without a good starch, I whipped up a batch of potato gnocchi. I've been hit and miss with these - it's hard to get them perfect. But this time I tried the instructions from Cooks Illustrated and then made a brown butter gorgonzola sauce to go with them and they were pretty fabulous.
Basically, you bake 2 pounds of potatoes for about an hour and then peel them while they're still hot (a silicon holder helps a lot). Put them through a ricer into a bowl and let them sit about 15 minutes to cool down. Throw in a teaspoon of kosher salt and about 1 1/4C of flour and knead it together. You want to keep adding flour a little at a time until the dough isn't sticky. Then you just roll it out in about 3/4" ropes and chop them into pieces about 1" long (I just use a pastry scraper to chop mine.) Cook them in *near* boiling water until they float (a rolling boil can make them float before they're ready - good tip!) and then scoop them out with a slotted spoon and finish them in the sauce. The sauce... melt about 2 tbsp of butter in your pan and let it brown - make sure you don't burn it. Then crumble in about 5 oz of a good gorgonzola. I used an Oregonzola that had nice flavor. Stir until the cheese is melted and mixed with the butter. Then I just added enough milk to give it the right consistency. Yum.
I also did one of my favorite things - I usually do some variation of this a few times a week. Just slice up some veggies (parsnips, carrots and asparagus here) and line a baking sheet with foil. Spray it w/ 0 calorie olive oil spray and spread the veggies in a single layer (try to get them about the same thickness). Then spray again with the oil and add a very light sprinkling of kosher salt. Cook on 425 about 25 minutes or so.
And for dessert, I was in the mood for eclairs so I whipped up a batch. This time I used the recipe from the "Flour" bakery cookbook and they were yummy. Again - the recipe is too long to post, but it's a great book if you like baking.
Whew! So that was the food. Then later that night, Brent grabbed my camera off of the counter and caught this very lovely photo of me. I was talking and glanced up and he took the picture. Nice. I think it was around midnight and we were all about to crash. Chad is on the couch and you can see the back of Laura's head. lol.
We managed to get everything pulled together just before class on Thursday and gave a great presentation. The final paper was due yesterday and we finished it up in the morning and then turned it in after class last night. Whew! Two more classes down! We started Global Management last night (which is a tie-in class with our trip) and some of us are starting a Business Judgment elective tomorrow. Laura, Chad and I are all in that one together - should be fun! I'm looking forward to Global Management - last night we formed up teams with people going on our trips and signed up for a country to do a report both before and then after the trip. I'm on a great team with fun people - Chad and three other friends I haven't had a chance to work with yet - Jen, Scott, & Dave. We're doing Greece :)
And that leads me to...
I realized that I never mentioned what had happened with the scheduling on our trip. We were going to Morocco and Egypt before heading to the UAE, but obviously that's out. So instead, we're going to Spain and Greece. I know. Such poor substitutes. lol. I'm super excited! We'll be visiting Madrid and Athens. (And Mel - I promise to have as little fun in possible in Spain without you. I wish you could come!)
So as I mentioned the other day, I signed up for Ali Edwards' Scrapbook on the Road online class. I just finished up assembling the album I'll take with me along with a small tool kit. I'm also going to be taking my Fuji Instax camera and film to get some little instant photos to stick in the book (but my big camera is coming too, of course! I already ordered extra memory cards and another battery. I plan to take a LOT of photos.) So here's an overview of the album. I made mine a lot more colorful and it has a lot of pages in it. Because I'm going for more than 2 weeks and we're visiting 5 countries (and because I know myself... lol), I put in a lot of space for me to write and for photos and memorabilia. I figure I can always take out anything I don't use.
Some pictures of the outside of the book. I made the covers from book board and then painted them. I added the decorations and then sealed the outsides with gel medium for a little protection.
And the inside - part one. I made all of the country dividers from cut down tabbed manilla folders. There are some extra pages and elements between the sections. I can use those for travel details between countries or just move them where I need them. I also did quite a bit of stamping considering how much of this is going to be covered up. But hey. It was fun and I was excited to be doing it!
And part 2... lots and lots of journaling space. I cut down a bunch of plain notebook paper to fit in the book - I did this for my travel journal in China and filled every page and then some and I loved having it. I figure I can also grab hotel stationary on the road and mix it in if I need it. Or even if I don't!
You can see where I just added a bunch of blank pages at the back that I can intersperse or just remove depending on what I need. I also tried all of the different techniques from the class videos and had a blast with this - I'm really glad I decided to take it because I think it helped me make a better album and do it pretty quickly too.
For most of the elements that I stuck in, I adhered them lightly so I can pull them off or move them. I anticipate that this will look nothing like what I'm starting with by the time I come back. But that's the point, I guess! Plus, the trip is 6 credits and we have to do an individual report plus a trip journal for the entire group (we'll take turns writing it) so I figure I'll have a leg up by doing this :)
It was super fun to put this together... now I'm all ready to go! Too bad it's still a month away. Maybe I got working on this too soon? lol. I'm glad to have it done and ready, though. When I get ready I'll pull my little tool kit together and just stick it in my carry-on. Plus, it just feels good to do some scrapbooking again. :)