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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Something around here has gotten a bit too leggy...

and it's not me. (ha! I crack myself up.)

The impatiens from my grandmother before I gave it a haircut this weekend:
And post-massacre:

It's extremely difficult for me to believe that anything can survive this kind of treatment, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed...hopefully it will come back nice and full, and all of its little babies will sprout roots so I can plant them, too.

(Isn't it nice to always have a supervisor?)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Update: Meat CSA

Well, the 2nd share was much more impressive: steak tips, sirloin tips, london broil, a chicken, ground beef, italian sausage, and pork ribs (pictured above, with homemade coleslaw and a honey, mango, raspberry, banana smoothie).

The first share is pretty much done...and while I found the charcuterie to be good but unremarkable, the pork chops and the chicken breast were fantastic. I wanted to "resource manage" the chicken breast...so I ended up stuffing them with the ricotta, herbs, sun dried tomatoes and garlic I had on hand, then baking them. The pork chops I maple brined using this recipe, and they came out great. I could definitely tell the difference between these meats and regular grocery store meats, and now I'm really excited to try the beef, as I've read that the difference in taste and texture is quite noticeable in grass fed beef.

Steak tips for dinner tomorrow night!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

We have Create TV!

The other day, I sent Steven an email with the following subject line:

I'm so happy, I could weep.

The cause of my excitement? I discovered that we DO have the Create TV channel as part of our cable service. I used to watch this channel all the time when we had free digital TV in Salem, but couldn't find it when we moved. Now I'm catching up on all my favorite travel, cooking, gardening, and home improvement shows, such as:

*Cultivating Life is a great (Rhode Island based--woot, woot!) show that focuses on outdoor living, gardening, cooking and entertaining*

*EQUITREKKING. Traveling the world on horseback...need I say more?*

*Everyday Food. Part of the Martha Stewart empire, this show shares simple and fresh recipes for everyday cooking.*

I can't get enough!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Are You Kidding Me!?!?

My friends, incompetence is all around us. Just take a look at this picture:
We thought we were ready to put up the wall tiles, but right before mixing up some thinset, Steven (luckily) decided to double check that everything was kosher with the shower valve, as he'd been giving it the side eye since putting the cement board up.

Sure enough, it was installed incorrectly and is sticking out about 1" farther than it should be. This is our plumber's 3rd strike (I absolutely loathe him) and when we had him come by to confirm our diagnosis, he wasn't even remotely apologetic or accountable. Steven couldn't even pin him down and get him to say that it was installed incorrectly...closest this guy would come was to say "ayuh, it's sticking out too far". Uhhhh, okay, thanks for that.

Soooo...that's the latest on the bathroom :(

A Great Weekend

Okay, so I know our Valentine's Day weekend probably isn't going to be used as a template for Hollywood's next romantic chick flick, but it was a great weekend nonetheless! Highlights include dinner with my fam at Meritage to celebrate my mom's birthday (Happy Birthday, Mom!), a wonderful little lunch date in Jamaica Plain (we were up there to retrieve our 2nd meat CSA share), picking out paint samples for the bathroom, and flipping through some of the old photo albums that came with our house.
City Feed Storefront
*Fantastic lunch at City Feed and Supply in JP*

*picked up some reading material while I was there*

*and some raw unfiltered honey*

*Oreo Cake Batter ice cream...SO GOOD*

*our leading paint color at the moment*

So yeah, nice weekend right? Next post: how our great weekend went off the tracks and left me & Steven feeling like we just did a faceplant in poo...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Floor Tile Is IN!

Our friend Tom, who recently did an awesome job renovating his new home, was kind enough to bring up his tile saw yesterday and help Steven install the bathroom floor. It's IN!!! I love it, and can't wait to see the rest of the room come together...

*the dry run*

*now with thinset*

*all done!*

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Blog Crush

I came across the A Country Farmhouse blog this past week and fell in love. Talk about living the dream! The blog is all about a couple who bought a horribly wood-paneled and crooked farmhouse somewhere in the pacific northwest, in the BEAUTIFUL countryside, and then renovated it into a lovely, light and bright, cozy home. And when the author, Trina, is not writing about the home renovation, she's detailing a charming life full of fresh flowers, mountain views, and elk migrating through her yard.

Here are some of my favorite images from this inspiring blog:
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(her adorable dog taking a swim in the lake)
(her kitchen BEFORE)
(her kitchen AFTER)

(bathroom BEFORE)
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(bathroom AFTER)

(I felt so encouraged when I saw this pic of her husband installing the same floor tile we just purchased! Silly of me, but I felt like it was a good sign!)
(The reality of this woman's "outdoor dining" stuns me. This is her front porch.)
(rustic, yet light & airy. love it.)

So I don't have a mountain view and I don't live in the country. So what? Fresh flowers, natural light, beautiful home? It's doable, right?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Resource Management

(Poster from WWII)

I wanted to take a second to introduce one of my favorite phrases: Resource Management. While it suggests a passion for forestry or fish hatcheries, I use it in a domestic sense and it's first cousins with Home Economics. (Take a second to really think about that term...Home Economics. Those lame mandatory middle school classes certainly didn't do this important subject any justice, which is a shame, as I think running an efficient home is as hard today as it ever was.)

Anyways, Resource Management. It's all about figuring out a way to use what you have on hand...whether it's for a meal, a home improvement project, or a Halloween costume. Call it Yankee ingenuity, vestiges of the Great Depression, or even a desire to emulate MacGyver, but I also call it fun. I enjoy the puzzle of "how am I going to make this work?" and it's one of the few areas where I actually possess some creative ability. Stay tuned for some of my Resource Management triumphs! (I'll leave out my failures...who wants to hear about that!?)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Molten Chocolate Cakes

I was craving something rich and chocolaty the other day and even though our cupboards were pretty bare, I knew there had to be something I could make using the basics I had on hand (eggs, flour, sugar, etc.) So I took to the interweb, and of course my girl Martha Stewart had this sweet little recipe for me.

I omitted the espresso powder (didn't have any), but threw in a little vanilla extract for kicks. I served them in the ramekins, right out of the oven, with a scoop of french vanilla ice cream.
Gotta say, these were delicious, like a brownie sundae gone gourmet. The combo of the warm chocolate cake, gooey center, and melting ice cream was exactly the fix I needed. I think Steven liked it, too, as his disappeared in about 1 minute flat. :)

Try this recipe for a quick, decadent, homemade treat!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Vintage Home

Even though we're nowhere near being ready to decorate our house, or maybe because of it, I spend a lot of time fantasizing about home decor...I love imagining what our house will look like, where we'll put some of our favorite items, and what colors we'll choose. My vision is still rather vague, but countless hours spent perusing home decorating magazines, books and blogs have helped me to narrow it down to one basic idea.

And of course, it was the obvious choice, right in front of my face the whole time. This old house, all of the cool stuff we found in it, our love of rummaging through yard sales/antique shops/craigslist...of course we'll go with an eclectic vintage style, hopefully featuring a bunch of yet-to-be-acquired unique finds, and influenced by our love of travel and preference for cozy, welcoming spaces bathed in natural light.

On a related note, I am chomping at the bit to check out the Todd Farm Flea Market in Rowley, MA this year. It's held every Sunday, is HUGE, and supposedly flies under the radar compared to the highly acclaimed Brimfield, MA Antique Show. Can't wait for the season opener in April!

Here are some shots of our current stash of vintage items that will help set the tone for our future decorating schemes...
*vintage Christmas ornaments...
handed down from my grandparents*
*I see this lovely pink glass container on a vanity or dresser*
*this mirror came with the house and dates back to at least the 40's. I intentionally put a steep $85 price tag on it during our yard sale because I really didn't want it to sell!*
*a little polish and this dainty silver-plated pedestal bowl will look great*
*I can't wait to redecorate our office in a way that showcases the vintage banker's chair and desk that Steven found on Craigslist*
*I never wear them, but I love this vintage Eiffel Tower brooch. I'm determined to find a creative way to repurpose it.*
*this teacup is a part of my "Girl Room" vision for the parlor*
*I don't know if it's cut glass or crystal, but I think this wine carafe is really pretty*

Can't wait to go flea market hunting!