Thursday, May 31, 2012

Roasted Cauliflower & White Cheddar Soup

I love a good soup and I love a good soup even more when J makes it.  He's amazing in the kitchen, if you didn't already know, and when I come home late from work it's nice to have dinner ready to go.

I found this recipe on Pinterest and I'm all about cauliflower so we gave it a whirl.

Roasted Cauliflower and Aged White Cheddar Soup
as adapted from 

1. 1 small head of cauliflower cut into florets
2. 2 tablespoons of oil
3. salt and pepper to taste
4. 1 tablespoon of oil
5. 1 medium onion diced
6. 2 cloves garlic chopped
7. 1 tablespoon thyme chopped
8. 3 cups of vegetable broth (we used chicken stock)
9. 1 1/2 cups aged white cheddar, shredded
10. 1 cup milk or cream
11. salt and pepper to taste

1.  Toss cauliflower florets in the oil and salt and pepper and arrange them in a single layer on a cookie sheet.
2.  Roast cauliflower at 400 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
3.  Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat.
4.  Add onion and saute until tender.
5.  Add garlic and thyme and saute until fragrant.
6.  Add broth and cauliflower, bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
7.  Puree the soup until it reaches your desired consistency.
8.  Mix in cheese, let it melt and season with salt and pepper.
9.  Mix in milk or cream and remove from heat.

And there you have it, some pretty easy cauliflower soup!  We enjoyed ours with some baguette slices and it was perfectly filling.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Play Sets and Long Weekends

You know how you have such a good weekend and you think back over everything you did but then you check your camera and realize you don't actually have that many photos to document it?  No?  Maybe that's just me.  I keep saying I need to get better at taking pictures but it comes in spurts and I don't feel comfortable posting pictures of friends and/or their kiddos on the wide open interwebs.

This "weekend" started Wednesday night when I got off to work and J and I headed to the Cleveland area to visit his friends.  J and his bestie were constructing a SkyFort for the little ones and the instructions called for "two moderately skilled individuals."  Insert two men, two power drills, a couple of tool belts, and one doo-rag made out of weed paper (unfortunately I'll have to claim the guy that was wearing that...) and you had yourself quite the operation.

The end of Day 1 looked something like this:

After 30 hours of blood, sweat, and presumably no tears, the finished product was unveiled:
Why yes, that is a crow's nest up there, complete with a telescope.  And I WISH I had gotten a shot of the bay windows.  

Lemme tell you, those were some happy kids when this was ready to roll.  Even one pint sized little peanut would climb up the back ladder, completely unassisted, so she could run to the front and slide down the slide.  For being nearly 2, she is pretty darn fearless.

J and I came home early Sunday afternoon and Monday morning I was off to a local Memorial Day parade for work.  J was in charge of making barbecue ribs for dinner and after taking notes from our friends in Cleveland, we decided to simmer them in beer.
 2 pints of Guiness for simmering, followed by two hours in the oven wrapped in foil and they were practically falling off the bone.  J even mixed the Guiness reduction with the barbecue sauce for a little more flavor and it was delicious.  Why don't I post a picture you ask?  Because I forgot to take one.  Le sigh.

So 5 days have come and gone and it's back to the grind.  I hope you all had a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.  Did you do anything exciting like build a SkyFort?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Will Return...

To those who so kindly come by the blog each day, my apologies for the missing posts.  J and I are heading out of town this weekend (like, tonight) to visit some friends and we both have been working hard to get our day jobs locked down before we depart.  Hence the lack of blogging, tweeting, Facebooking ,etc.  And for anyone who things they can swing by the house while we're gone...let me remind you that we have one sick alarm system and our neighbors aren't afraid to spook would-be robbers.

I'll be back on Tuesday (since Monday is a holiday) and I hope you all enjoy your weekend.  For anyone feeling crafty, check out thisthis, and this for things you can make fairly easily.  Oh, and this is to die for.

Happy Memorial Day, see you folks later!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekend Review

I am please to say that I actually accomplished both projects that I set out in Friday's post.

Friday evening after work I was absolutely exhausted so J and I made our way over to our favorite salad joint, Market 65.  Located on Capitol Square, it's deserted after 5:00 and since they are open until 8, it often makes for a great, fast, dinner stop.  We came home and I promptly fell asleep after a movie...thankfully all of that rest had me awake at 7:30 am on Saturday so we could start our basement organization project.

Since we were up, I suggested going to breakfast first--a meal we rarely have out.  Unfortunately the Village-wide yard sale (Village Valuables for those of you in Columbus) was going on that morning and the Komen Race for the Cure was going on downtown.  So rather than risk losing my street parking spot, we set off walking to a new restaurant half of a mile down the road:

After breakfast we got to work downstairs.  You'll remember the "before" photo here:

Here is the "in progress" shot:

And the finished product:

We need one more metal shelving rack, but this is a massive improvement.  Nothing is sitting on the floor and all of the containers on the shelves are labeled with their contents:
We took one car load of goodies to Goodwill and threw out several trash bags full of stuff that just needed pitched.  We used the shop vac on the floor, in every nook and cranny, and wiped everything down with cleaning solution.  It took the better part of the day, but it's so nice to do laundry down there again.

In case you missed it, here's the story of how J turned our basement from the typical dark, dank, Village basement to one that I can walk barefoot in.  And I'm the first to panic when something looks dirty.

Moving on...

We started Sunday morning with a trip to Strader's Garden Center to pick up some pretty things for our little slice of landscaping.

Last summer J tore out these large bushes that were growing up the side of the neighbors' house and replaced them with some boxwoods:

My tulips and crocuses bloomed in late February, thanks to that heatwave of a winter, and I've been waiting until May to plan some pretty flowers.  We like to keep things simple, so we picked up six of these little guys:

And J spaced them out perfectly:

Fresh mulch is next and maybe some more flowers

He was in charge of finding something for the large pot outside and this is what he picked:

Not bad for a hanging basket + two small pots transplanted into one big one!

And final shot from the sidewalk:

Looks pretty good with that fence if I do say so myself.

Lots of pictures from this weekend since a lot was accomplished.  What were you up to?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Weekend Plans

First and foremost, it's FRIDAY!  How did we get here so fast?  Although I'm sure some of you are wondering why it took so long to get here.  Either way, it's the weekend and we've got some plans.

For starters, (and J is going to KILL me for this) we are cleaning up and organizing this hot mess in the basement:

I take full blame for the craft supplies, the cleaning products and everything else.  While it looks like an episode of hoarders, I assure you it is far from it.  But come Sunday, shit will be thrown out, donated, put into storage or otherwise organized in the basement and I know J cannot wait.

Then we're moving on to the outdoors and making this space a little more pretty:
Since the tulips and crocuses have come and gone, it's time for those pretty, bright, Spring flowers.  J finished replacing the risers on the porch this week and I'm so excited to plant some flowers.  Last year we waited until late summer and by then our options were limited and it was 90 degrees when we opted to plant.  Plus I didn't live here just yet so I didn't get to enjoy them at their peak.

And I'm hoping to get these little guys properly planted and pick up a few buddies for them:
We've got thyme and basil and gosh darn it, I WILL make some homemade pesto this summer.  It's going to be expensive, but pesto is my absolute favorite sauce and I cannot wait to have some in the freezer to pull out on demand.

I'm pretty certain come Sunday we'll be exhausted, but there's always this room to work on if we get bored.  Maybe next weekend...

What are you all up to?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

2 Years Ago

I'm in a pretty sappy mood tonight so a sappy post is what you're gonna get.  And if it mysteriously goes missing, back to the saved posts section of my Blogger account, it's because I got shy and pulled it back in.

When I sit back and reflect on the last few years, it's amazing to me how fast the time has flown.  It was 5 years ago that I moved to DC, 4 years since the last Presidential election (which is a standard of time measurement in my business), 3 years since I moved back to Ohio and 2 years since J and I re-started our relationship.  2 years ago to the day, to be exact.  

Spring of 2010 was rough.  My Grandmother had been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and told she had, at best, 10 months to live.  I was in a car accident in April, which created a ton of issues of its own.  Things weren't going so great at home and I was spending nearly every weekend driving back and forth between Columbus and home to see my Grandma.  Top it all off with a job that I was miserable in and it was a rough start to the year.

With everything that was going on in my personal and professional life, the stress and pressure was too much.  I cried a LOT.  I prayed a LOT.  I took a LOT of deep breaths.  All things you do when the anxiety meds just aren't doing their job and you need to feel better even if just for one second.  Throughout it all, I just kept looking at the sky, well, really the ceiling of my apartment, and saying, "I trust you," over and over and over until I felt some of the burden being taken away.  

My Grandma's health rapidly deteriorated and my praying really ramped up.  I have a pretty close group of friends but you can only be the Debbie Downer so much about work and family before it starts to take it's toll.  And frankly, with everything else that was going on, I didn't really want to tell them.  

I started praying for someone to talk to who would understand.  Sound desperate?  Cheesy?  It probably was.  But very shortly thereafter, I woke up to this:

my {weak} attempt at pixelating via PicMonkey...

We hadn't spoken in a year and a half since we had broken up (and no, he wasn't stored as "Boyfriend" in my phone at that point) so you can imagine that my first reaction was one of panic.  I immediately scrolled through sent messages, both email and text, and dialed calls to make sure I hadn't accidentally sent him something first.  

True to J form, he kept it short and sweet and to the point.  He wanted to meet that night but of course I said I had plans (which I totally did not).  We met the next night for coffee and the rest, so far, has been some pretty great history.  We don't celebrate a dating anniversary but I'm glad I saved a copy of that email and I always look forward to May 17th.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday, Monday

I've rarely been the kind of person who starts off her week already looking forward to the weekend unless something big was planned.  But ever since I moved in with J, I love spending time at home.  I'm not nearly as lazy as I was when I lived alone, you know, dedicating my Sunday to watching Lifetime, but there's something so nice about working around the house.  Cleaning, doing laundry, landscaping.  You name it.  So while I love my job and what I do, I also really enjoy just being at home.  

This weekend was a good one.  My sister was in town Thursday night through Sunday morning and did I capture any of it on camera?  Nope.  Just a tv shot of our Friday night watching The Vow:

Mixed in with some Piada for dinner, it was a great Friday evening.  

Saturday morning I was up and at the dealership for an oil change (exciting, I tell you) and home doing laundry and ironing while I waiting for my sister to wake up.  The two of us traveled to the outlets south of Columbus and spent the day shopping while J worked on cutting and priming new risers for our front porch.  Then we came home and took naps while J made us chicken enchiladas.  Yes, I realize how spoiled I am.

Saturday night was wrapped up with a pint of Jeni's ice cream and some good tv, only to wake up Sunday morning to this:
So J put our current porch project on hold due to the rain and we spent the day inside cleaning every nook and cranny.  

Low key weekend but productive with plenty of at home time.  And severely lacking in photos.  I'll put forth a better effort this weekend.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fence Face Lift

Waaaaaaay back in November, in this post, you saw how J tore out the existing brick patio, leveled it out, and put it all back together.  Complete with a little privacy fence to hide the trash can, grill, outdoorsy tool things, etc.

We let the fence sit unfinished for the winter so it had a chance to weatherize (if that's a word?) and decided to seal it the first non-rainy weekend we had this spring.  The fence would have stayed it's original color:

But as we gave it some more thought, we decided to try staining it.  So, per the usual order of things, J got to work and took all of the original boards off the frame:
Then he used a wet rag and dampened the boards:
And stained them:

And then he put them back together again!
Once we get the spring landscaping in place, you'll have a better idea of the big picture, but I like it MUCH better than the original wood look!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Village Happenings

At night our neighborhood is, for lack of a better word, boring.  I love it that way because I feel safe, secure, and comfortable.  I have enough drama in my life without having to worry what's going on at home.  Last night, however, things got a little more exciting.

J and I went to bed around 10:30 and I was having difficulty falling asleep.  But just as I was drifting off, I heard a loud bang and the sound of heavy glass shattering.  I thought for sure someone had broken into a car outside so I shot out of bed and ran into the guest room at the front of the house.  

We had our windows open and I saw a guy hopping through the door frame of a massage therapist's office across the street.  I let out a loud "HEY!" just as our neighbor did the same and the guy took off running down the street, dropping a piece of art he was attempting to steal.

As he took off, J ran out the front door down the street to see if he could find him, and called the police.  They were there within 3 minutes, no exaggeration, and within 5 minutes the helicopter was circling our part of the Village with the spot light.

We gave our descriptions of the guy to the cops (the neighbor and I were the only ones to see him) and they continued to search.  When it became evident there wasn't anything else we could do, we went back inside and tried to sleep, even though I was shaking for a good 20 minutes after the whole thing went down.  The fire department then came by and lit up the street like it was midday while they put plastic over the door frame:
There had been an art theft recently from a sculpture garden in the Village but given that this was a massage business, we definitely didn't see this coming.  Thankfully we scared the guy off before he was able to get anything, but I'm hoping this was a one time only occurrence! 

Moral of the story: If you're going to break into a building, do it after 10:30 when I'm asleep and won't spook your ass.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wednesday Wish List

Normally most of my lists have a theme to them.  All things I'd love to have or love to give away as gifts but usually something brings them all together.  This week there is no theme, just a collection of stuff I am loving and wanting.  But since I just ordered two pillow shams to match our bedding from Restoration Hardware for the price of a small child, I'll have to be content with window shopping for now.

I posted about Joss & Main a couple of months ago, but they recently opened up a "Colorblock" boutique that I am swooning over.  Broken down by color, you get goodies like:

all images found here.

And don't even get me started on the polka dot shop at One Kings Lane:

all images found here
I'll throw out the disclaimer that I don't decorate my home in polka dots, but these are definitely cute accent pieces.  Although I'm sure J won't be my matcher if I order the set of polka dot travel mugs....

There are far too many good things on these sites to keep posting pictures all day.  But like I said, window shopping is about all I'm getting to do for the time being.  Are there any sale sites out there that you like to frequent?  Gilt Home? One Kings Lane, Joss & Main?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Office Pretty

I love a good craft project and it seems like it's been a while since I actually finished one.  So a while back when I was going through the list of blogs I visit, I came across a Faux Nail Head Trimmed Cork Board over at two twenty one.  It was adorable and would fit perfectly into my  not yet unpacked third floor office space.  So a couple of weeks ago J and I were out on one of our Friday night dates that included a trip to Jo-Ann's.

I had initially thought I was going to get this fabric that I've had my eye on for forever:

But then as we were going through the sale fabrics, I found the exact one that Chelsea at two twenty one had used:
the top one, just ignore that bottom one.
So we picked up one cork board at Hobby Lobby and headed home.  The next day J got some spray adhesive and silver thumb tacks and I got to work.
I sprayed the cork surface with the spray adhesive and laid the fabric over the top.
After smoothing out the fabric, I started lining the edges with the thumb tacks.
If you decide to do this at home, I have two recommendations:
1) buy at least 225 thumb tacks.  I ran out just 25 from the end!
2) feel free to take you time inserting the tacks.  I did the 200 in one evening and the tip of my thumb was sore/practically numb for two days after that.

Once the front side is done, it's time to flip the board over and secure the fabric to the back via hot glue gun:

Just be sure not to accidentally touch the glue after it comes out of the gun or you'll end up with a nice little blister:

Next, it's time to put the hangers on the back of the board.  At this point I called J down to the work room.  Frankly, he's better at it than I am since I would have messed it up somehow:

And the finished product just waiting to be hung:
I just love it and I'm so glad I came across this fabric in the store since I think it makes a great covering.  I'd like to say this is more motivation to get the office unpacked, which it is, but I'd hate to commit to that just yet...

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