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Hap Hap Happy New Year!

By Cole :: December 31, 2004 @ 11:17 AM

While Hassan slaves away at the office, the Sprout and I are leisurely enjoying a day at home. If only I could find some bon bons - but alas, the man took the car to work, so unless Sprout and I actually feel like braving the great outdoors, there will be no bon bons.

What's new on the Sprout front? Sprout's found the most comfortable of positions and settled there the past few days, the only issue? That position involves one wee adorable little baby foot lodged snuggly under Mama's lowest right rib. Ladies and Gentlemen, let me tell you, it hurts. I don't like it. On a good day I can summon up the gumption to tolerate me job, throw in a foot in the rib, and I am undeniably nasty.

I digress however. Today's plan of action is to sort through various baby items and see what we're keeping, and what we're storing under the "in case Sprout's a girl" clause. (Which for the record, is what I'm thinking Sprout is as of late, and no I have no supporting evidence of that hunch). If I'm lucky, somewhere in the boxes of baby clothes I'll find an "outfit" I can deem cute enough to bring Sprout home from the hospital in. I must admit, I find this whole homecoming outfit to be a bit ridiculous. Hence, I'm sure I have a sleeper and a hat that can past muster.

The other baby related issue giving me all manner of grief:

Babies R Us seems to have discontinued the stroller we were registered for. I can't say that for certain, what I can say is that all evidence of this stroller ever existing or even being on the registry has disappeared. So tomorrow it is off to BRU to figure the issue out and perhaps register for a different stroller (and perhaps car seat?)

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What I've been up to

By Hass :: December 27, 2004 @ 10:15 PM

Nicole has certainly been kicking my bum in both posting volume and quality. Time to catch up on what I've been up to in one enormous post.

1) Christmas Letter. They are just about all sent ou.t just waiting for a few random addresses to catch up with with. if you didn't get one, please email me your address. I'm planning to post 2004 and back issues on the site as soon as I get around to it.

2) Blog. I'm working on a version two of the site. http://www.mapgoblin.com/index_text.html Hoping to get it all put together by the new year. I fear that the tsunami will eat up all of my patience this week though.

3) Photography. I'm more or less fully equipped again. Nicole got me the 70-200 F4.0 L for Christmas and mom got me a lensbaby. I haven't gotten a chance to go out with the big lens yet, but what I shot around the Holiday was very encouraging. I've been out with the lensbaby and got some good shots, also got a few cool shots around Newark. I even managed to not get arrested.

4) VIdeo Games. been slacking, playing some Pharoh and CIV 3

5) Babylon 5, It's tough to say no to a tierd pregnant woman who wants to be held and zone out on cheesy sci-fi. we're half way through the third season.

6) Work, it's been hectic but it's always hectic.

7) Baby, time I should spend posting, I spend talking to a belly.

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By Hass :: December 22, 2004 @ 11:20 AM

I finally got around to validating my XHTML. Found a couple bugs, especially on the front page. In fixing those bugs I'm pretty sure the Windows IE link bug will be straightened out.

The recipes were also moved out of the front page stream of posts. I've gotta find them a new home on the front page though. there doesn't seem to be enough room for another box though.

Now that I'm looking at the site more, I'm thinking the front page could use a new arrangement too. it feels disorganized and my goals of a single dominant starting image on the front page are not working out well.

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Make your own snow Flakes

By Hass :: December 22, 2004 @ 09:19 AM

Way cooler than doing it by hand.

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Racial Slur Database

By Hass :: December 22, 2004 @ 09:11 AM

A holiday reminder that we're all the same.

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T-Minus 10 weeks and counting

By Cole :: December 21, 2004 @ 08:53 PM

The Sprout is 30 weeks old this week, and we celebrated this happy occasion at the Doctors office this morning (an unusually quick visit which was a special treat as well). The Doctor's office report you may ask? Momma passed her Gestational Diabetes test with flying colors, has gained 1 pound in the past four weeks, and the belly is measuring about 1 week ahead of schedule. All good things.

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Peanut Butter Fudge

By Cole :: December 21, 2004 @ 08:48 PM

• 2 cups granulated sugar
• 1 cup milk
• 1/2 stick margarine
• pinch of salt
• Approximately 3/4 of an 18 ounce jar of PB
• 1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix sugar, milk, margarine and salt in a saucepan. Boil, stirring frequently, until it forms a soft ball in cold water(238 degrees on the candy themometer). Remove from stove andand allow to cool briefly, add peanut butter and vanilla. Beat until creamy and pour into buttered 9x9 pan. Let cool before cutting.

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Vanilla Fudge

By Cole :: December 16, 2004 @ 08:34 PM

• 1 cup heavy cream
• 2 cups sugar
• 1 stick salted butter (4 oz)
• 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine heavy cream, sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until sugar dissolves and butter is melted. Wash down sides of pot with a pastry brush to dissolve sugar crystals.

Bring to a boil and cook until mixture reaches soft-ball stage, or 238 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove pan from the heat and stop the cooking by plunging pot in a water bath for 1 minute. Add vanilla, but do not stir.

When the thermometer reads 110 degrees, mix fudge with a wooden spoon until creamy.

Spoon into a greased 8 x 8 baking pan. Let cool, then cut into squares.

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Gouda Mac-n-cheese

By Cole :: December 12, 2004 @ 09:20 AM

• 1 tablespoon butter
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 2 cups fat-free milk
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded smoked Gouda cheese
• 1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
• 5 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach
• 4 cups hot cooked elbow macaroni (about 2 cups uncooked)

Preheat oven to 350°.

Place bread in a food processor, and pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs measure 1/2 cup.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add milk, salt, and pepper, stirring constantly with a whisk until blended. Bring to a boil; cook until thick (about 2 minutes). Add cheeses; stir until melted.

Add spinach and macaroni to cheese sauce, stirring until well blended. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until bubbly.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 1/4 cups)

CALORIES 399 (25% from fat); FAT 10.9g (satfat 6.2g, monofat 3g, polyfat 0.8g); PROTEIN 20.1g; CARBOHYDRATE 54.9g; FIBER 3.7g; CHOLESTEROL 33mg; IRON 3.6mg; SODIUM 725mg; CALCIUM 421mg;

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Chocolate Fudge

By Cole :: December 12, 2004 @ 09:18 AM

• 12 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
• 1 7-ounce jar marshmallow creme
• 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 2 cups (packed) light brown sugar
• 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
• 3/4 cup whipping cream
• 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
• 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

40 paper or foil candy cups (optional)

Line 11x7-inch metal baking pan with foil, overlapping sides by 3 inches. Combine first 4 ingredients in large bowl. Stir sugar, condensed milk, cream, butter, and salt in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves (no granules will remain when drop of mixture is rubbed between fingertips), occasionally brushing down sides of pan with wet pastry brush, about 10 minutes. Attach clip-on candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat to high and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium-high and stir constantly but slowly with wooden spatula until thermometer registers 230°F, about 15 minutes.

Immediately pour mixture over ingredients in bowl (do not scrape pan). Stir mixture vigorously with wooden spoon until chocolate melts and fudge thickens slightly, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan; smooth top of fudge with rubber spatula. Sprinkle fudge with chocolate chips. Refrigerate fudge until firm enough to cut, about 2 hours.

Using foil as aid, lift fudge from pan. Fold down foil sides. Trim edges of fudge to even. Cut into 40 squares or 3 large wide bars. Place fudge squares in candy cups, if desired. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Chill in airtight container. Let stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour before serving.)

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Nesting and Moving

By Cole :: December 07, 2004 @ 07:06 PM

Seems like to blog has been a quiet one lately, so tonight's entries are an attempt at revitilization. Give the readers what they desire! More silly babbling!

On the Hassan and Nicole news front there's plenty going on these days. The dynamic duo has found a new apartment. After 18 months in the third floor of an old victorian in South Orange, they're moving on west - to Madison NJ. New apartment upgrades include a washer/dryer, dishwasher, 2 full baths, and a kitchen big enough for both Cole and Hass to stand in at the SAME TIME.

Preceeding the move to the new apartment will be a purchase the lovely couple has long put off, they've wrestled endlessly with this one, because it is perhaps the final step into suburban-dome that they have long avoided. A second car is also on the way, little Madeline the blue-toyota will no longer be an only child.

Now, how does all of this relate to Nesting? You try being 6 months pregnant and get your home ready for a little baby when all you should really be doing is getting rid of 18 months of accumulated crap that you can't get Hassan to get rid of to save your life. In short - nesting and moving is a challenge of epic proportions.

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A nose by any other name

By Cole :: December 07, 2004 @ 06:57 PM

While Monday's ultrasound proved fruitless regarding the discovery of little Sprout's gender (yes readers, that is correct, Sprout remains in "IT", stay tuned for March 2005) - We are HOWEVER, happy to report that the ultrasound pictures of little Sprout's face clearly show - Hassan's Nose. So for all of you wondering if Nicole was abducted by aliens and impregnanted in some wacky science experiment, you are incorrect. There's a little Hass-nose growing inside the belly. (Here's hoping the baby is at least blessed with Nicole's vision).

For those of you who would like to offer an opinion in the matter, we'll see what we can do about getting Hass to post a copy of the picture.

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Sweet Corn Bread

By Cole :: December 07, 2004 @ 06:53 PM

• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup yellow cornmeal
• 2/3 cup white sugar
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1 egg
• 1 cup milk
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray or lightly grease a 9 inch round cake pan.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt and baking powder. Stir in egg, milk and vegetable oil until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Options: Makes 12 muffins as well. Excellent side to Chili. Made spicy by the addition of chopped pickled jalapeno.

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