Archive | October 2013

And It Begins…

After hinting about it for months, today is the day that our back porch renovation finally begins! During the past 12 months we’ve created an amazing plan (and by “we” I mean our wonderful architect friends), I’ve spent more time (and money, thanks ridiculous “exceptional service fees”) sorting out the project permit, and here I am, listening to men demolish a portion of my house. Below are “before” pictures of the upper and lower back porch spaces that we are saying so long to:

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While I am sure the real “after” pictures will be the best comparison, here is an early drawing of the proposed remodel. I can’t wait until it comes to life!

Early After Sketch

I have a feeling that because I work from home and will be a witness to all that is happening during the remodel process, you’ll be hearing (and seeing) renovation stories and pictures pop up often during the next three to four months. I’m already wondering what, if anything, will be left of the space at the end of today?

Mini Monday: A Room with a View

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We spent a long weekend at a friend’s cabin in Deep Creek, Maryland, where we were able to hike, read, nap and spend lots of time in the company of friends. Now it’s back to the city and back to work we go…

Bacon Jam: A Delectable Treat

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About a month ago my hubby spent one cold, gloomy Saturday in the kitchen. The result? Amazing French onion soup (which he has made before) and, for the first time, bacon jam. It may sound odd, but it was heavenly!

While he was furloughed I tried to convince him that writing a guest post about this incredible snack would be a good idea. Well, he may have gone back to work, but we are just getting around to sharing the bacon jam story.

Enjoy!

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If you’ve read almost any of my wife’s blog posts, you are probably well aware of her adoration of anything pork. So when I came across a recipe for Bacon Jam on Foodie with Family, it was pretty much inevitable that we try it out. Just looking over the ingredient list had me drooling: BACON, onions, garlic, maple syrup, brown sugar… It was an easy, but lengthy, process—much like making French Onion Soup—where you slowly caramelize the ingredients and reduce them down to a thick viscous goo of goodness.

The many stages of bacon jam.

The many stages of bacon jam.

And what do you do with this concoction with its beckoning bacon aroma? Through a thorough, uncompromising, and rigorous study, we determined it goes with pretty much anything. First of all, during the production phase, we tasted it off a spoon. That was good. The obvious first choice of bacon jam-to-mouth delivery vehicle was bread. That was good—whether on toasted baguette, whole wheat, Boudin sourdough, or my personal favorite home-made piping hot brioche. Subsequently we tried mixing it into granola. That was good. On top of a tomato slice. That was good. Woven crackers, water crackers, graham crackers. All good. Well, you get the picture.

Three pounds of bacon later, I have a solid lead on where that weight went (I’m looking at you, love handles). But I wouldn’t take back a single delicious bite of that bacon jam.

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If you want to try your hand at creating your own bacon jam, or find yourself drooling over a variety of other delicious recipes, visit: Foodie with Family.

Day 16: Furlough Fun Facts

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Okay, my headline might be a teensy bit misleading, but honestly I am running out of ways to title posts about this furlough nonsense. There are no “facts” in this post and probably not a whole lot of “fun.” As we approach the middle of week three of the government shutdown, finding the bright side has gotten a little tougher — When will my husband be going back to work? Will he receive back pay? If so, how long we will have to wait for that? But as I started to make this list, I see that there are a number of positive outcomes due to this unexpected three week “vacation.” Here’s what we have been up to the past few days:

• We are finally approaching the start of our long talked about home renovation project, so my hubby spent yesterday and this morning clearing out our lower back porch so it is ready to be demolished. And he didn’t just throw the stuff that was back there all over the rest of the house, he nicely organized it in the kitchen and basement. I am so glad that after months of planning, permitting, and reaching out to contractors we are nearly ready to knock things down and get this renovation started!

• I baked tiny little brioche bites from scratch on Monday. They were absolutely delicious, particularly when topped with bacon jam (which I keep trying to convince my hubby to post about…)

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• It finally stopped raining so we’ve been able to sit outside a few mornings this week and catch up with folks over our usual iced mocha and chai.

• Despite our plan to not spend any money, we tried out the pretzel place (that has been open for at least a year) and frequented the new cupcake/coffee shop that is in its soft opening phase since both are only a few blocks from the house. Gotta support our local neighborhood businesses! And I got a free mocha out of the latter.

• Our garbage and recycling is still getting picked up. Definitely happy about that!

• My husband has continued cooking up a storm and if he doesn’t go back to work soon I am going to be furlough fat — while I love having home cooked meals for lunch AND dinner, I think my pants would be happier with just one big meal per day. My fingers are crossed that I fit into the dress I bought for my friend’s wedding this weekend!

• Last (and definitely least) I had a dream that we spent $400 buying cheese ($120 of which was tax!) last night. Needless to say I was a little stressed out about this decision since the government was also shutdown in my dream. I love cheese as much as the next girl, but I was very glad to wake up and discover that we had not purchased a lifetime supply of cheese!

Mini Monday: The Crazy Continues

As we enter Day 5 of the shutdown (or Day 7 if you count the weekend), I continue to embrace the positive side of this unplanned (perhaps unpaid) vacation my hubby has been forced to take. Here’s why: it’s been almost a year since he left to spend 8 months working in Afghanistan and apart from two weeks in Dec/Jan and our fabulous Turkey/Greece trip in April we spent about 7 of those 8 months apart.

While we both survived the distance, we learned that seven months is a very long time.

When he came back to DC this summer, he arrived on Friday morning and on Monday returned to his usual routine — heading to rowing practice at 4:45 am and work after that. So in the midst of this government turmoil at least we have the opportunity to spend time (a lot of time) together. And because he was home nearly all of last week to do projects around the house, we spent the weekend just hanging out — playing board games, watching Netflix, and eating too many desserts. While not as grand as sipping cappuccinos in Samos, Greece, like we did during our lazy spring days together, we had a wonderful weekend.

So on one hand we are both anxious for the furlough to end so he can get back to work — he was supposed to travel to Germany yesterday for meetings and that, of course, didn’t happen. Combine that with our upcoming major house renovations and the thought that he may not be paid for weeks on end isn’t exactly appealing. But I realize that worrying about it won’t change the outcome, so this morning I’m raising my iced mocha to toast this chance for togetherness.

Day 4: Furlough Friday

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Well it has sure been a week here in DC. Between the shutdown, the insanity of Congress refusing to vote on the CR and yesterday’s Capitol Hill car chase and shooting, I think we are all glad to see this week come to an end. To celebrate (and because there is nothing better to do) we hosted a small federal employee brunch this morning for my hubby’s colleague and another friend. If you can’t work, you may as well bake a quiche (and apple cake and homemade granola), right?

While we all enjoyed those goodies along with some mimosas, bacon jam, and banana bread, I think everyone’s fingers are crossed that people will be back to work on Monday. Although there are still a good many things left on my hubby’s list

 

 

Day 3

It’s been an exciting week in the world of this freelancer and her pseudo-unemployed husband. Or not. As the Shutdown drags into day three, my furloughed honey is doing his best to keep busy (ie cross things off the very long list I made him on Monday). So far he has tackled a number of items — dusting in high places, cleaning up the bedroom clutter, breaking down boxes to recycle, and making a large batch of granola. But the biggest project so far started yesterday and is continuing into today. It is the exciting work of patching/re-tarring the porch roof (don’t be jealous). Basically he’s out there icing a very big cake, unfortunately it is a lot stinkier. Next up — he’s headed back to the kitchen to make a large pot of curry for dinner and to freeze.

I’m hoping that tomorrow I can get him to guest blog about the bacon jam making adventure we had a few weekends ago. Mmmm…. bacon jam…

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