Tag Archive | cooking

Thankful Thursday

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Yes, it’s Thankful Thursday on Friday! I swear I started this post yesterday but things just got away from me, so without further ado:

I can’t believe it is only a week until Thanksgiving —  where did 2013 go? As the year winds down and the holiday season swiftly approaches, it seems as good a time as any to reflect on some of the many things I am grateful this year.

The opportunity to sing. On Sunday I will be able to share my voice with others during the Capitol Hill Group Ministries Interfaith Thanksgiving Service. This is just one of the unique chances I have had this year to get back to singing. During the summer I connected with a violinist and pianist to perform “To Love You More” at a house concert. It was so much fun to sing was the two of them, as well as a drummer and a cellist.

• Our big, crazy families. While my immediate family is pretty small on both sides, my husband’s family is quite large and this year we are getting an extra does of togetherness as his mom’s side is in the process of descending upon DC for Thanksgiving. We’ll have a week and a half of big (delicious) dinners, our favorite California wines, trips to museums and monuments, chilly winter walks and lots of time for talking (too bad we don’t have a fire place to gather around)! And in just a few weeks we will get to do it all over again (with my family included this time) in California.

The many chances to travel near and far in 2013 — from Turkey to Tampa I have seen beautiful sunsets, had incredible meals, and spent time cultivating relationships new and old. I can’t imagine what life would be like without airplanes that can get me to California in 6 hours or to Istanbul in 10.

• Work that I love. It’s been four years since I went out on a limb and began to work as a freelancer. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine my life any other way. I love the projects I get to work on, my handful of colleagues, my clients and my freedom — who else can take a mid-day wake-up shower? Each year I learn more about running my own business, meeting the needs of a wide range of clients and the blessings of being able to grocery shop on Tuesday’s at 10 am.
What are you thankful for in 2013?
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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:

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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!

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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Mini Monday: The Shutdown

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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.