Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September Book and Recipe of the Month

Book of the Month

LA Candy 

I love the show The Hills on MTV.  This was a fun, flirty book that was written by Lauren Conrad, the former main character on the show.

Recipe of the Month

Shrimp Diablo Fettucini


1/2 pound of large shrimp
1 can of diced tomato (drained)
5 cloves of garlic diced
1/2 cup of white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon red chili flakes
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon pepper
dash of sugar
cilantro and parmesan for garnish

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Begin by boiling a pot of water with some salt and get the fettucini going

Peel and devein the shrimp.  Mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil with half of the red chili flakes.  Sautee the shrimp until they are half way done.

Dice the garlic and saute with 1 tablespoon of garlic in a big pan and then add the can of diced tomatoes and let simmer for about 5 minutes

Add the shrimp, white wine, remaining chili flakes, and dash of sugar and simmer for another 10 minutes

Add the pasta and a few tablespoons of pasta water

Top with some cilantro and some parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Luray Caverns and Shenandoah Mountains

On Sunday morning we drove a little over an hour to northern Virginia to the Luray Caverns.  Along the way we got to enjoy all the beautiful scenery with all the farms, lush trees, and old charm of the east coast style.



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A natural bridge

This area of the cavern was called Reflection Lake.  The water is no more than 12-24 inches deep.  Because of how absolutely still the water is the reflection was amazing.

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A stalactite and stalacmite growing into eachother

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Ripple shapes in the cave

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They call this a Redwood formation because of how large in diameter it is similar to the Redwood trees in California

Totem pole structures

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Pluto’s Ghost and a Wishing Well.  The water in the wishing well was slightly green due to the reaction of the copper coins and the water

They call these fried eggs.  It used to be two stalamites that broke off leaving these two.  They really do look like fried eggs!

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Heading out of the cavern

Beginning of the Shenandoah scenic drive

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In the next month, all of these trees will turn into lush colors of red, orange and yellow, we were a little too early to see the transformation.  Hopefully we can come again when it does happen someday.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Visiting DC and the National Book Festival


We visited the Capitol Building.  It truly is an architectural and political wonder.  It is amazing that this has existed since the 1700s and that all the Presidents, senators, and representatives have made thousands of important decisions here for laws and bills to be passed or rejected.

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The dome is made of 9 million pounds of cast iron!

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The ceiling has a painting of George Washington with thirteen representatives of the original thirteen states

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Room of statues

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Plaster State of Freedom they use as a mold for the real bronze one on top of the dome of the Capitol Building.  I was really bummed we didn’t get to visit the rooms where the bills are passed or voted upon.

We got to listen to James Patterson talk at the National Book Festival.  If we had known about this even we could have gotten signatures from him, John Grisham, Judy Blume, Nicholas Sparks and Paula Dean.  There were soooo many authors there signing books and giving talks.   We did score on some free canvas and recycled bags from the event.

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We saw Kermit the Frog and Apolo Ohno’s skates in the Museum of American History

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For lunch we ate at Potbelly’s sandwiches.  It was delicious and spicy.  Loved it!

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YES!  I got to have my photo taken with Nicholas Sparks and his autograph before his talk.  He is really handsome in person.  I love his books!

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Nicholas Spark’s talk was fun and silly.  He talked about inspirations he uses for his books, his family, the private school he started up, and being a track coach. 


We took the metro everywhere.  Nick’s taking a long exposure shot with the metro in the background.