The Mystery of Outer Space

So today I was able to check another educational exploration off of my list.  Surprisingly for someone who has lived in Southern California her entire life, I have accomplished very few of the touristy things. Hollywood sign? Try from a distance.  Walk of fame? Only on TV.  Griffith Park Observatory and Disneyland? Yep, definitely done those a few times.

Anyways, ever since the Endeavour landed back in the United States, I felt the urge to see it in person.  I of course missed when it reentered our atmosphere and so I felt even more obligated to make the trip to the California Science Center at USC.  Well, today was the day.  We had a few errands to accomplish in the morning, so we headed down to Los Angeles closer towards 2:50/3.  Before we get to some serious space history, I have to announce that my 18-year old sister FINALLY got her ears pierced.  I was about ready to sneak away back to school with her countless sets of earrings.  Just kidding.  Maybe. 😉  Also, it just happened that my mom’s car decided to get a flat tire.  Yes, it made a conscious decision to interrupt our afternoon.  What I think really happened was that there were too many nuts and bolts on the freeways and streets after the Rose Parade.  One was seemingly picked up by our tire and came along for the ride.  But, what’s a little flat tire?  To keep it positive, we just happened to be exiting into town and right near our tire store.  We also were blessed with two walking legs and could just bustle our way up the main road and back home.

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Alright, back to the Endeavour.  Meghan ordered tickets online because there are set hours to enter the exhibit.  It is possible to obtain tickets/passes when you arrive, but they seem to go pretty quickly.  There is no charge to actually enter the space shuttle dome, only a $3 or so cover charge for printing fees.  I’m not sure how they make much revenue to support the museum, but I didn’t really look into it.  Oh well, works for me.  When we arrived, there was an extensive line wrapping around some of the other space exhibits.  It honestly looked like something out of Disneyland, fast-pass on the right, special guests on the left, and a mass of chaos in every other direction.

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We wandered through a well-done exhibit that explained things such as how astronauts use the bathroom, how they eat, what the space station looks like and so on.  It also had a great video that showed a time-lapse of the creation of the Endeavour, as well as its arrival in downtown Los Angeles.

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The only downside to the exhibit was that a number of the parents let their kids run wild.  Some felt the need to thrust their entire body over the explanation boards (lack of words at the moment…what do you call the blurbs that explain what you are looking at?) and sit there hugging it as if it was the only thing keeping them stable. Not that I was finished looking at it or anything.  As my mom would say, other than that Mrs. Lincoln, the play was wonderful.

I have also been speed-reading (the only way I seem to know how to read) Mindy Kaling’s book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). I highly recommend it if you are looking for a light read.  It is absolutely hilarious the way she narrates her life and touches upon some of her insecurities.  It gets even better when I can laugh off my own insecurities, some of which she jokes about.  Really, doesn’t anyone else worry what everyone else around them is doing?

So what about food today?  After too many days of feasting, I have been craving a nice warm bowl of soup with plenty of broth and plenty of veggies.  Per my suggestion of soup, I was put on dinner duty and along with Meghan’s expert popover making skills, we whipped up a homey semi-made from scratch dinner.  Well, actually I guess you could say it was completely made from scratch.  We just didn’t process the cheese, pluck vegetables from the nonexistent garden, or bake our own tortilla chips 😉

I’ve posted the chicken tortilla recipe below.  It was originally a recipe I pulled from one of the many Sunset magazines (have I told you how much I enjoy ripping things out of magazines?) and it has been sitting on my desk for a few weeks.   I seem to be getting better at this concept where you pin or pull out a recipe and actually make it rather than drooling over it 100 times.

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

~4 servings; 30 minutes
Ingredients
1 qt reduced sodium chicken broth
1.5 lbs skinned chicken thighs (cubed & cooked*see #1)
1/2 – 1 white onion, chopped
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 serrano chile, halved and sliced
1 can (15 oz) black beans (drain/rinsing optional)
1/2 tsp each chili powder, cayenne, pepper
2 cups coarsely crushed tortilla chips, divided
1/2 cup cheese (cotija recomended but we used a sort of ricotta/Mexican shredded cheese blend)
Optional: Dollap of nonfat Greek yogurt, cilantro, lime

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Directions
1. Heat broth, covered in medium pot over high heat until boiling.  If the chicken has not been cooked, set broiler on high and set a pan w/ place strips of chicken inside to cook ~10-15 minutes (make sure not to overcook)
2. Once chicken is ready, cube and drop into pot with remaining ingredients: onion, tomatoes, chile, beans, and spices.
3. Reduce heat and simmer ~10 minutes to blend flavors
4. (Optional) stir in 1 cup tortilla chips and ladle into bowls. Serve with remaining cup of tortilla chips, cheese, cilantro and lime

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For dessert, I decided against my usual concoction of whipped cream, ice cream, or graham crackers and instead went for another popover with some whipped butter and jam. Mmmm, heavenly.

This morning Meghan and I are off to Santa Barbara, so I may or may not get around to posting for Friday.  We will have to see what fun adventures we encounter on our way up north to Santa Clara.  🙂 But, for now I’ll leave you with this inspiring quote I saw earlier today.  It’s my motivation to take on today and take on this new year with a new attitude 🙂

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.  Because if you’re making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself  changing your world.  You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, your’e doing something  whatever it is you’re scared of doing – do it.  Make your mistakes, next year and forever.” – Neil Garman

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6 thoughts on “The Mystery of Outer Space

  1. You have the coolest life. I know I say that everyday but it’s the truth. Also, popovers are the bomb.com. I’m the best at making them in my family. Everybody else somehow screws them up every time. I guess you should just call me chef Sarah 😉 Kidding… it’s the only thing I can make

  2. Very cool! I had a perfect view when Endeavour was flying over the Capitol here in Sacramento a month or two back, it was awesome!

    I made tortilla soup this week too 🙂 so yummy and healthy!

  3. What a fun day! I’ve never tried popovers but they look awesome! My mom LOVES chicken tortilla soup, so that looks great as well.
    You totally sold me on Mindy Kahlings book. I’m about 3/4 through my current Jennifer Weiner book, but I’m already thinking about what I’ll read next!
    Have a great weekend!

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