Tag Archive | baking

Turkey Day Prep

image

We have had two days of nonstop rain and there may be a snow flurry heading our way. While this has not been my favorite forecast the chilly,wet weather is the perfect incentive to stay inside and prep for Thanksgiving. With 9 family members from California in town, we’ll be having Thanksgiving with 13 people. Thankfully my brother-in-law and his wife live just down the street and we are sharing kitchen duties. That means two turkeys — they are going the traditional route and we are deep frying ours — tons of sides, a few pies and a whole lot of wine (thankfully we don’t have to make that).

Along with the turkey we are making our usual stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans with shallots, cranberry relish, and dessert. This morning I took care of the pies — we’ve got an apple crumble and good ‘ol pumpkin ready to go. Next up, putting together the stuffing so tomorrow we can just slide it in the oven and be done with it, allowing us to focus on the truly important things like deep fried turkey. And family, of course.

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!

Mini Monday: Random Thoughts

Living in DC, I have to admit that Veteran’s Day seems much more real than when we lived in California — the monuments, the military presence, and the connections that we have formed with so many people who have chosen to serve. Today as a nation we honor the contributions of the many generations of men and women who have unselfishly sacrificed for this country.

On this crisp fall holiday, I am thankfully reflecting on the sacrifices of our veterans. I am also grateful for the extra day to spend more time with my husband, more time trying to get over the world’s slowest progressing cold, and more time getting caught up on things around the house.

Thanks to the previously mentioned cold, I’ve been slacking off around the house since late October, so despite not being back to 100% I started cooking and baking up a storm on Friday. I even made dinner on Friday — quite impressive, I know — and when my hubby got home from work we enjoyed some fresh baked bread and chicken roasted with carrots, potatoes, and onions in brandy. It was pretty delicious if I do say so myself. I also whipped up two batches up mini corn and green chili muffins for a potluck and yesterday we kicked off the gorgeous fall day enjoying a toasty applesauce coffee cake with crumbly topping. Yum. Of course, it was all so tasty that I didn’t snap any pictures before the devouring began…

Apart from all the kitchen time, I’ve been doing my best to capture each phase of the work on our new addition (often by stealthy stalking the guys from the dining room — hey, it got cold last week!). The foundation has been poured and we will have our wall check this week. Hopefully next week there will be some really clear developments as the basement level storage room begins to take shape! Here are a few pictures of the progress:

November11

Day 16: Furlough Fun Facts

Capitol

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…)

photo(12)

• 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!

Day 4: Furlough Friday

photo(10)

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…

IMG_7539

Mini Monday: The Shutdown

Capitol

Tonight at midnight we find out whether or not my husband, a federal employee, will be reporting for work tomorrow. At this point, it certainly doesn’t look likely. And we find ourselves in that catch 22 of flexibility versus money — we would probably have time to get out of town for a few days, but with no idea when my husband will be reporting for work again (or if he will be paid for all of the days that the government remains shutdown) it’s more likely that we will remain at home pinching pennies.

So I’m trying to embrace the positive side of this brief (I hope) unpaid vacation by thinking of all the projects around the house he can work on while this ridiculous stand off drags on. And based on what I’ve got on the list so far, it looks like I’m finally going to have the live-in maid that I’ve always dreamed of! I’m sure my husband just can’t wait to get started on painting the utility room floor, cleaning the stove, patching the porch roof, and cooking copious amounts of soup and sauces to freeze among other projects (it’s a long list). With both of us home all day I had to come up with enough tasks to keep him out of my office for at least a few hours a day so I can still get some work done!

And don’t worry, I’ve promised to pay him … in peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. He quickly agreed to the deal.

 

Mini Monday: Fall!

IMG_8680

Yesterday was the first official day of fall and the season has definitely arrived in DC. The sun is still shinning, but the temperature has dropped into the 50s and 60s. It’s time to bundle up and close some windows!

Growing up in California, I never appreciated fall until we moved to the East Coast. I am sure there was some sort of transition between summer and winter on the West Coast but I don’t remember noticing it. Now that we experience all four seasons as very distinct entities, I have a new found love for fall.

My favorite fall things include:

  • the chance to wear sweaters and scarves;
  • watching the leaves change, particularly when they turn bright red;
  • cooking (at least helping/watching my husband cook), baking and eating warm food again;
  • buying tiny pumpkins and gourds to create a fall centerpiece for the dining room table;
  • being able to enjoy a sunny day outdoors without becoming a hot, sweaty mess;
  • and snuggling up with my hubby!