27 May 2013

5th Annual Memorial Day Cook Off!

Beautiful Memorial Day decorations in New Town
 The Steffes/Hasty crew conducted their 5th annual Memorial Day Cook Off today!  To recap the last four winners, let's start with 2012:  Ashley and Terri's Island Burger won first place in Bloomington!  The burger featured grilled pineapple and a teriyaki glaze served on a Hawaiian roll.  In 2011 the winner was clearly Ashley with her chorizo burger with avocado mayonnaise.  Spicy and yummy!  Bob won in 2010 with his Grecian burger.  In 2009, the competition was between burgers, not BBQ'ers!  The winner her was the Inside Out Burger over the Cola burger.  Both were yummy, as I recall!! 

Ashley and Eric are in St. Louis visiting Bob and Terri in their new apartment in New Town St. Charles.  With a new venue, anyone can be a winner!  Will moving to St. Charles upset Ashley's winning streak?

I think one of the reasons we enjoy this Cook Off so much is that our dads, Jerry Oliver, and Giles Steffes, enjoyed BBQing so much.  Both Jerry and Giles served in the Korean Conflict.  We were fortunate that they both came back to their families, but both had friends they lost.

Today we were so crowded preparing our burgers in our teeny kitchen.  Eric was able to use the breakfast bar as his area and that helped a lot!  I had to make part of mine early due to the marinating time.  Ashley and Bob both had burgers that took a bit of preparation.

Left to right:  Risotto Burger, Korean Burger, Mexi-Spanish Burger, Jalapeno Poppers Burger
Eric made a Risotto Burger (meatlesss).  It was baked in the oven, not grilled, and topped with a white cheese.  Ashley made a Jalapeno Popper Burger that had cream cheese in the middle, Bob made a Mexi-Spanish burger dressed with guacamole and salsa and I made a Korean burger topped with a Korean slaw and Swiss cheese.  The decision making was close, but we all agreed that Eric's Risotto Burger won!
Tiramisu Cake and Gelato for dessert
Due to an incoming storm, we hurriedly packed Ashley, Eric and Huxley off to Bloomington.  They have been gone about 30 minutes and it is beginning to thunder here.  Another wonderful Memorial Day, spent thinking of our family who served and enjoying each others' company.  No better way to do it!

26 May 2013

Bob's Birthday Dinner 2013

Bob turned 55 today!!

I know he likes birthdays and today was extra special because he got to spend it with Ashley and Eric!  Eric and Bob spent most of the day at the Senior PGA tournament.  They enjoyed it so much that when they came home to get ready for dinner, they continued to watch it on tv!  Bob chose to go to Pastria's for dinner, a place we have been to before but that we really love.  All of us like going here because the food is good, the atmosphere is friendly, busy and yet homey.  

Bob ordered risotto ball, roasted brussels sprouts, and crispy potatoes for an appetizer.  He got a bottle of wine with Eric while Ashley and I ordered bellinis.   Bob ordered the kale salad and we each ordered our meals, roasted chicken for me, Bob ordered pappardelle, Ashley got a ravioli and Eric a lasagne.  Our food was fresh, fun, and exciting.  We ordered panna cotta and gelato for dessert.

While we left feeling very satisfied, we did not feel stuffed.  The portion sizes are not huge, although we each left with a small doggie bag.

Ashley and Eric gifted him with some special cigars and I gave him a special pan to use on his Green Egg. 

Happy birthday, Bob!  We love you!!

25 May 2013

Dinner Out: Elaia Restaurant

Bob and I love to try new-to-us restaurants and St. Louis has so many that we haven't tried that this isn't a hard task at all.  When Ashley and Eric make it to town, we really want to share with them all the ones we have tried and loved and then find one for us all to try together.  Last night we tried Elaia.  It is over in the Tower Grove area, which we have really come to love.  The restaurant is housed in a two story two family flat that has been converted on the inside to a beautiful modern restaurant.  Before you come into the flat, you go through a renovated art deco gas station that houses another restaurant called Olio.


You are presented with the Menu of the Day which lists four courses.  You can order a la carte, or the four course meal.  Elaia has an extensive array of wines, which they will serve half glasses of, so you may have the perfect wine for the part of the meal you are currently eating.  That's a nice feature for those who love wine (Bob, Eric, Ashley) with their food.  I am a water kinda gal with food, although I did have a glass of wine with my scallops.  

Here were my courses, starting in the upper left corner:

1.  Cold first course:  Berata cheese with preserved candied lemon peel, asparagus, artichoke and dill.  The cheese is made with the leftovers of making mozzarella cheese.  It is cool and squeaky on the teeth.  Loved every bite and hated to share, but I did.

2.  Warm second course:  House made fetticcine with a quail egg and salmon roe.  The egg is raw but when you mix the roe and egg with the fetticcine, bliss.  The noodles were coated in a fine lemon cream sauce.  Such a yummy course.

3.  My mail course was scallops with cauliflower, white gazpacho, marconas, green almonds and sherry.  The best dish so far.  Scallops grilled perfectly, and with a bite of the mash, was excellent!

4.  The last course was dessert.  Mine was a lemon tart, with raspberries, homemade meringues and a sugar cookie crumble.  Delish!

The portion sizes were small, but the food rich and delicious.  We are very excited about coming back
and trying out Olio in the renovated Standard Gas Station.  If you are in St. Louis and want to go, call!!

23 May 2013

Terri's Doctoral Graduation!


Dr. Terri Oliver Steffes

I am so happy to report that I am now finished with my terminal degree.  I like saying that, TERMINAL DEGREE as it implies that no degrees can follow it.  I am 100% confident that I will not be pursuing any other degree.  One, I cannot justify any more college loans and two, from now on what I want to study in detail I will read about it using my personal time and it will be for pleasure!

My mom and sister drove from Marceline to attend the ceremony.  It was held on a Thursday, which meant very few people would be able to attend. I chose to go to the departmental ceremony as it is more personal.We walk across the stage and the department heads hood us with the traditional hood.  Our names are called and the title of our dissertations.  Since three of us worked on one dissertation, we each changed up the title a bit.  We all wrote personal papers, too, but those were not recognized.

Dr. Suzanne Wilson and Dr. Terri Oliver Steffes, missing Dr. Armand Spurgin
On Thursday we woke up and showered, and got dressed for the day.  I wanted some pictures from New Town so Bob and Tammi came out and took a few while mom got ready.  When mom was done, we took a few more and then headed to Saint Louis to go to breakfast at City Diner.  A great place to have breakfast anytime, but perfect for graduation!!

Mom and Tammi, who have PhDs in life.

Me and the other Dr. Steffes

After breakfast we met up with a photographer who took professional photographs of our cohort group.  Each of us came at our own time and took pics with family and friends that came.  The location was pretty, with architecture, trees, a fountain and Saint Louis  University sign and other little pockets of nice places to photograph.  After our individual pictures were done, then we did some group photos.  Those were fun!
Dr. Suzanne Hull, Dr. Allison Gohring, Dr. Della Bell, Dr. Laura Beeler, Dr. Beck Odneal and Dr. Tim Roth (and me, in the back)
We walked from the fountains to the Arena where we checked in and waited around for the ceremony to start.  I wanted to be sure to take it in and enjoy it.  I hung around with my cohorts, just chatting about everyday things.  I really have loved each of them so much.  They have contributed to my growth as a human and an educational leader and I owe each of them more than I can ever repay!

We were called to line up and of course, they had us in ABC order so we weren't really by our friends.  I guess that is ok, but this special moment wants to be shared with those that matter the most to us.  I did meet a couple of nice people, though and that is always worth it!  We came in to the sounds of bagpipes!  What an awesome way to begin!  Since this is a Catholic Jesuit institution, we prayed.  I am glad that prayer was a part of my graduation.

There were words, words I didn't hear, as I watched my friends go and get their hoods and recognition.  The smiles and joy on their faces were so special to see.  Bob captured many of them in photographs.  Then it was my turn!  Dr. Wood came to stand by me, chatting, asking if Bob was here.  She's a tiny thing, so I really had to squat down for her to be able to reach me!  She hugged me, wished me well, and off I went to receive an envelope with a letter in it.  I waved to Bob, mom and Tammi and went to sit for the remainder of the ceremony.

When it was over, I said some goodbyes, to Suzy, as she wasn't staying for the reception.  Many went to the Hill to celebrate, but I went with Bob, Mom and Tammi to Scottish Arms.  What a wonderful dinner!  Bob had flowers delivered to the restaurant for me!  It was a great way to sit back and relax a bit.  We drove home, Tammi and Mom left, and then Bob surprised me with a video made from family and friends who could not be with us to celebrate.  It was such a warm video, making me laugh and cry.  Bob was well aware I was sad that my friends and family could not celebrate with me.  I knew the choices I made so I was at peace with it but this video made everyone seem so close.  Thanks, Bob, for knowing me so well!

As I reflect back, I am so proud of myself for completing this degree with the obstacles that were thrown in my path from the very beginning.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer eight weeks before classes started.  I had a double mastectomy and hysterectomy and lymph node dissection two weeks after our first class, missed the second class but made it to the third. I had reconstructive surgery (twice) and only missed one class due to the superintendent's examination!  I didn't get my 4.0 that I strove for, but got As in all classes but one.  I am proud of myself for this accomplishment!

What's next?  I plan to use my knowledge to continue to give students the best education possible.  I hope to do that in public schools for awhile and then maybe teach teachers. Whatever I choose, I take with me all the mentoring, coaching, and friendships that I experienced during this time.  Thank you, all of you, for your encouragement, cheering, prayers and love.