Archive | July 2010

Muffins For My Muffin

Since the weather cooled off last night and it isn’t supposed to get crazy hot today, I thought I’d surprise my husband with fresh baked muffins when he arrived home from rowing practice this morning.

At 6:15 a.m. when my alarm went off I was not in the mood to get up, but I was in the mood for a blueberry muffin. At about 6:40 a.m. I was putting the muffin tin in the oven and thought, “Great, these will be coming out right about the time my hubby usually gets home – he’ll be so happy to have warm muffins waiting!”

Then he walked in the door.

Of course today of all days they didn’t have a normal practice, instead they had some sort of test that allowed him to leave early. But he was excited to know that he would be getting a blueberry muffin (or two) in about 20 minutes.

Although I couldn’t get the ones without cinnamon sugar on top to brown as much as he wanted, they were really tasty. The only complaint I heard was that I needed to stop using muffin cups because, and I quote, “you lose half of the muffin that way!” Mind you, this complaint was filed while he used his teeth to scrape every last muffiny bit from the wrapper.

All things considered, I’d say it was an early morning baking triumph!

Dinner for Two

I think it is time to be honest with the readers of this blog. Often I think that my husband should do the writing because he is a better housewife than I am. Unfortunately he doesn’t have time to write about his household exploits so you are stuck with me for the time being. But here’s an insight as to why I think he takes first place.

Last night we had our first dinner at the dining room table in about two weeks. Thanks to the extreme heat, we had taken to eating all our meals in the basement. After days of scorching temperatures the weather finally cooled off, so my husband suggested we actually sit and eat together instead of side by side watching episodes of The West Wing.

Although it was cooler, neither of us wanted to do much cooking. Combine that with our overflowing pile of tomatoes and we quickly settled on making a caprese salad — tomatoes and basil (both from our garden) along with mozzarella cheese and balsamic vinegar. My husband had also found a relatively quick recipe for whole wheat pita bread that sounded like it could be a good compliment to the salad.

Once we had decided what to have, into the kitchen we went. I started washing the dishes from breakfast and lunch, while he made the pita dough and then went to work slicing tomatoes and chopping basil. When he started moving things to plates, it became clear by the presentation that this meal was photo (and blog) worthy.

Our dinner was light, fresh and (mostly) fabulous. It was also beautiful. If I would have plated these salads there would be hunks of tomato, cheese and basil thrown haphazardly together. You may be starting to better understand why I do very little of the cooking! Despite the tastiness of the salad we weren’t huge fans of the pita. Next time we’ll (oh, who am I kidding, he’ll) try making fresh baked naan and see if we have better luck.

Right now, I am getting hungry for whatever he whips up for dinner tonight!

Garden Update: Week 15

I have a new big complaint about the garden — the mosquitoes! While they tend to find me any time I am outside, at the garden those little monsters appear to be invincible.

I just got back from spending 15 minutes at the garden watering and now have 8 bites on my legs and 4 on my arms. Luckily for me, I have a terrible reaction to East Coast mosquitoes and each bite looks like a rash. It’s really lovely. And oh-so itchy! If nothing else, I think I may single-handedly keep anti-itch cream companies in business…

I’ve tried multiple bug sprays to no avail. At this point, I think that if I want my legs to stop looking like one giant rash, I’d better wear a sweatsuit to the garden each morning, 80+ degree weather be damned.

But those bugs can’t keep me away because it’s been another scorching week and our plants need their water. Thankfully, everything is still looking relatively green. We’ve had very little rain, but the one storm that did hit us knocked over our tomato plants yet again. My husband had to remove an entire plant during the process of standing things back up, but we still have an abundance of tomatoes and they continue to be delicious.

Almost every day I bring home another bag full of regular tomatoes and cherry tomatoes (which appear to be on steroids, they are so large). Yesterday I also brought home two more cucumbers. I am glad to see that the plant seems to be continuing to produce longer than last season. Fresh cucumbers are a super summer treat. I still need to dig around in the vines to pick the beans off of our green bean plant. Although I am starting think that maybe I wasn’t cut out for gardening, because the green bean plant also gives me a rash (hence why I keep avoiding picking the beans). But it’s been at least two weeks since I picked them, so the plant must be laden with beans. Tomorrow I should remember to wear long sleeves to the garden!

We’ve been eating lots of gazpacho and salads composed of tomato, cucumber and basil or dill, so I shouldn’t complain. Despite the heat, mosquitoes and rashes we are enjoying all our fresh produce!

The Seven Year Itch

One thing that I have always loved to do is sing. Performing might not be the activity of most housewives, but after a seven-year hiatus, I was really missing my time in the spotlight.

To scratch the itch, I began taking voice lessons last fall. After months of studying and trying to reclaim both my range and breath control, I had my first solo voice recital in a decade this past weekend.

Despite some serious anxiety leading up to the performance, my return to the stage was a success. Beforehand I worried about whether I could remember the words to the musical songs and gospel hymns that I had picked out as well as if I would properly pronounce the lyrics in the Italian, French and German opera pieces. But I am happy to say that words were remembered and at least fairly accurately pronounced throughout the evening. And even after all of the time I have spent away from performing, my nerves did not get the best of me. I felt completely in my element once I started singing.

Now that I dove back into the performance pool, I’m looking forward to breaking lots of legs in the future. Perhaps I can get my nerve up to audition for shows again. Then I could justify why I am hanging onto seven pairs of theatre shoes. Hey, a girl never knows when she might be called upon to tap dance!

A New Routine

I am writing this post while working. And it is 6:30 am. Why am I working or blogging at this hour you may wonder? Well, it’s a great question. It is also perfectly understandable if you start questioning my sanity right about now.

The crazy new work hours I have implemented (roughly 5 am to 1 pm) are an attempt to avoid the heat in the later part of the day. As I have surely mentioned numerous times in the past few weeks, we do not have air conditioning in our home. And my office is upstairs. So, when it is 100 degrees outside with 90 percent humidity, I find it more than a little toasty at my desk.

In an effort to combat this problem, my husband suggested that I get up when he goes to rowing at 5 am and work until early the afternoon, then camp out in our basement for the reminder of the day. He thought I would tell him he was nuts to even make such a suggestion, but it had gotten so hot, I was willing to give anything a try.

It’s been about a week since I adopted my new routine. Most days I am able to get so much done before noon, it’s amazing. However, I have yet to squeeze a nap into my day which is disappointing and honestly a little tiring. If I can work the nap situation out, I think I may have something really good going.

But for now I am blogging in the wee hours of the morning since the edits I scheduled to do between 5 and 7 haven’t gotten back to me yet. With this snafu, I think it may be back to bed for me. Does getting in bed at 6:40 am count as a nap? Nah, I didn’t think so either…

Garden Update: Week 13

There are no pictures of the garden to post this week because it’s so hot outside I don’t want to spend any more time than absolutely necessary at the plot. Despite the recent heat wave, all of the plants are continuing to thrive. We brought home our first tomatoes last weekend and started snipping green beans off the vine during the past few days. The cucumbers are still going strong and I’ve harvested at least 4 or 5 good sized ones in the past few weeks.

Unfortunately the peppers seem to be a little slow this year. We only have one tiny bell pepper growing. There have been lots of flowers on both of the bell pepper plants though, so I am hoping that they are about to be bursting with tiny peppers! Thankfully the jalapeno plant is doing well. We use those little guys in lots of things we cook during the summer including gazpacho, which I am really looking forward to making. The only thing is I can’t remember is if we picked the jalapenos last year when they were still green or if we waited until they turned red. Since there are so many on the plant, I brought home two today. Well see how spicy they are.

I get over to the plot as early as I can each morning to dump buckets and buckets of water on everything, hoping that the ground will stay moist and keep the plants happy despite the record temperatures. Here’s hoping that the heat will subside and we’ll get a storm or two soon!

Happy Birthday to…Me!

As I sit in my office editing and sweating up a storm because it is already feels like 89 degrees, it doesn’t seem different than any other day. However, it is my birthday and I  have been receiving special treatment all weekend. A friend treated me to coffee and flowers on Saturday, I received an amazing pig platter with complimentary pig and cow bowls from my husband on Sunday (if you know me, you know just how excited I am about this), I just got back from walking with a friend who treated me to a birthday breakfast and I have both drink and dinner plans for the evening.

Sill, it’s interesting how birthdays seems less exciting the older I get. I suppose we all reach a point (probably in our mid-20s) when we aren’t terribly excited about acknowledging that we are getting older. When you were when turning 16, 18 or 21 and gaining a new privilege—driving, voting and drinking—it seemed necessary to make a big deal about these changes. Although the excitement may have died down I still look forward to getting cards in the mail (thanks friends and family!), lots of special emails and phone calls, and for having an excuse to be a little spoiled for a day or two.

As I turn 28 today what I am hoping for most is a nap. How times have changed from the years I wanted a car (definitely didn’t get that), an iPod or a camera. It’s doubtful I will be able to squeeze one in between the editing and layout work I have scheduled and cleaning up from the impromptu engagement party we threw last night. But I know that nap or no nap, I have the best gifts in my life every day thanks to my husband, my parents and all of our family and friends. So if I get that nap I’ll be thankful, but if not, I’ll still be having a pretty amazing day and living a very blessed life.