September 27, 2010

Tuesdays At The Table - Banana Walnut Pancakes

Happy Tuesday, ladies!!  For those of you interested, I'm still not moved into my new house.  A lack of appliances and furniture (and internet access) has postponed the move for about another week or so.  However, if you're nice to me - I'll introduce you to the first room in my house; the one that is the ugliest and will, unfortunately, stay that way for a while.  This past week has been stressful and I've found solice in the deliciousness of banana walnut pancakes.

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

Banana Walnut Pancakes

1 and 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 and 1/2 cups milk
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 banana mashed
1/4 cup walnuts
2 eggs (seperated)

In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon (aka the dry ingredients).  In small bowl, whisk together the milk, vanilla extract and egg yolks (aka the wet ingredients).  Stir the wet mixture into the dry and let sit for 5 minutes to thicken.  Stir the banana and walnuts into the batter.

Beat the egg whites until peaks form and fold the egg whites into the batter.

In a skillet or a flat grill pan pour 1/4 cup of batter and cook about a minute on each side.

What's cookin in your kitchen?

September 24, 2010

The Best Laid Plans...

...can still go to pot.

Really, I had every single detail worked out for my move.  But it seems that Murphy strikes at every turn.  Sorry to whine, but I just need to let it out.  I've been at the house every day, but still haven't officially moved.  Here's why:
  • It turns out I need a completely new roof.  Like, NOW!!!! Works starts on it next week.
  • The backyard needs to be fenced in before I can move the pups into the house.  The contractor for this little project is currently M.I.A.  Surprise, surprise.
  • It turns out that my front outside light is a fire hazard. 
  • My insurance agent isn't amazingly confident that my electric is up to code...and has scheduled an inspection for next Wednesday.  Apparently, I need to take another day off of work!
  • NONE of my furniture has been delivered yet.  Mind you, I'm starting small - just a living room set and a new kitchen table, which somehow makes it all the more frustrating that they haven't arrived yet.  The latest is that the living room set will arrive on October 9th, and the table should show up at some point next week.
  • A friend of a friend is giving me their washer and dryer.  That hasn't arrived yet.
  • The fridge I ordered won't arrive until October 2nd.
  • All the painting in the house is going excrusiatingly slow.
  • JC was supposed to help me move...but won't be home for at least another week.
Yep, I'm frustrated.  And a little overwhelmed. Sigh.

September 20, 2010

Tuesdays At The Table - Spinach With Shallots

Happy Tuesday, ladies!!  I'm currently up to my eyeballs in painting projects and had to schedule this post.  I hope it posts as planned.  :-)  If not, leave me a comment and I'll get it fixed ASAP!

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

I love spinach!  It's tasty, healthy and can be incorporated in so many dishes.  When I only have a few minutes and need I good side - this is my "go-to".

Spinach With Shallots

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 shallot, diced
1 (10 ounce) bag baby spinach leaves
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Stir in shallots and cook until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add spinach, sprinkle with salt and pepper; cook and stir 3 to 5 minutes until leaves are wilted and reduced.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

September 18, 2010

New House Wish List

I'll be out a bit out of touch for the next week.  Painting, moving, organizing and accepting furniture/appliance deliveries will be dominating my time.  Don't worry - I have a few posts set to appear through the week and I'll be back soon with some "before" and "after" pictures to share.  :-)

Like most people, I have a wish list for the house... here's what current resides on that list.

Yep, I want a white picket fence.  Not only is is pretty - but I need to keep the pups safely in the yard.

Speaking of gates...I'd like a good baby/puppy gate that keeps the fur-kids out of trouble while I'm at work, and blends in with the house.

I'm not a huge fan of night lights...but I find this moon in a jar so cool!  You place it in the sun during the day and it lets off a soft blue light most of the night.  I want to put it in the bathroom.

Even though I'm painting my room blue - I think this rug from IKEA will bring a nice touch of pink into the room.

The kitchen geek in me is just itching for a nice Crock-Pot!!

I love this address stamper from Expressionery!

The weather is turning cool - and I think that's the best time for a nice fire pit and a glass of wine with some friends!

September 17, 2010

Let The Painting BEGIN!

You all knew that as soon as I closed on the house, painting would commence, right?!?! 

I hate to say this - but the people I bought the house from were colorblind.  Fine.
They weren't...but it makes me feel better thinking that they didn't make this mess on purpose.

The first room to be painted will be the living room.

I've decided on these colors:

Ocean View

Magnolia Blossom (trim)

What do you think?

Pictures will be coming soon (as soon as I hijack a camera from one of the many people I love and adore...and look away long enough!).

September 15, 2010

Good-Bye To Jaxon

Dear, Sweet Jaxon-
I never got the chance to meet you.  I know how very much your momma and daddy loved you and how excited they were when they found out that Erin was expecting you.  You made your momma glow in a way that we've never seen before and made quite the impact in your few short days.

I hope you know how truly loved you are, and found peace as you passed.

All my love,


Thank you all for lifting Erin, Scott and Jaxon up in prayer.  They believe in the power of prayer, as do I.  Unfortunately, Jaxon was just born too soon.  His little system hadn't developed enough to fight off the infection he was born with; organs shut down quickly and his ceased to function.  As it turns out - as I was signing papers on my house, Jaxon was going to be with Jesus.  Please continue to pray for Erin & Scott to find peace.

Wordless Wednesday - PRICELESS

Home Inspection: $395
Appraisal: $375
Home Owners’ Insurance: $977
Closing Costs: $8400
Hidden Fee from Fannie Mae: $5800*
Owning Your First House: PRICELESS!!

*There will be a post about this in the near future!

September 13, 2010

Tuesdays At The Table - Chocolate Frosted Brownies

Ah, it's another fun Tuesday!  I know I shouldn't do another dessert this week...but I'm stressing out over closing on my house on Wednesday.  I need something sweet!

Oh, I know a few of you lovely ladies asked for pictures.  I sure wish I could oblige!  But my camera is dead!!  (See my bloggy eulogy here.)  As soon as I buy a new camera, I will really try to include more pictures of the foods I make.

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

Chocolate Frosted Brownies

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup baking cocoa
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons baking cocoa
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

In a large bowl, beat the sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat in butter. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to batter and mix well.

Pour into a greased 8-in. square baking dish. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

For frosting, combine the cocoa and butter. Combine the water and coffee granules; add to cocoa mixture. Stir in sugar until smooth. Frost brownies.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

September 12, 2010

Prayers Needed

If you're so cousin, Erin and her hubby, Scott could really use some prayers right now.  Erin's water broke on Thursday and she delivered her precious little baby yesterday - at 25 weeks gestation.

Jaxon is a fighter, but is only 1 lb, 11 oz and 12 inches long.

Sorry, no pictures of the baby...I'm here in Boston and they live in TX.  Here is a pic of mom & dad though.

Much love.

September 10, 2010

You Asked; I Answered - Part II

Thanks again, ladies for your questions.  :-)  It's nice to know that at least a few of you have an interest in who I am!  You can find answers to the first questions I answered here.  After this I think I have 2 or three questions left to answer.

This post is dedicated to the other members of my Royal Court - Queen Heather and Princess Kirstren.

Kirstren asks:
What is your favorite memory from childhood?

Well, she of all people know that I can't have just one favorite!! 
1. My fantastical parents put me on a plane from Boston to San Diego by myself when I was almost five.  I love, love, love traveling - and this experience is probably one of the reasons why.  I know it sounds nuts to put a child on a plane by herself to go cross-country in this day-and-age to visit her dad's parents.  But, I need to point out that it was the 80's.  Life was easier; safer.  I felt so grown up!  I sat with a few other kids that were flying without adult companions, made friends with the flight attendants and had a blast as we flew through the clouds.

2. Oh, without a doubt, one of my favorite memories is the actual time I spent in San Diego with my grandparents following the above trip!!  San Diego is gorgeous!  Even as a little girl I could appreciate it!  I got up every morning and jumped on my Grandma's trampoline as she made breakfast.  I got to go to Sea World with Gram's best friend's daughter - Kay; played at the beach; made a few trips on base (Grandpa was retired military) with Grandpa; went shopping and they put me on a plane to visit a few of my cousins, Aunt & Uncle in TX!  What an awesome surprise!  There are so many happy memories in San Diego that I could write a novel.

3. Kirstren and I got to do some cool stuff as kids (along with another cousin, LB) - and White House Easter Egg Rolls were among them.  Our uncle (LB's dad) was in the Secret Service and one of our favorite perks as kids was the automatic invite to the White House every Easter.  What an experience!!  Seeing parts of the White House most people don't get to; the actual Easter egg roll; the celebrities!  The best part for me was the hunt for the wooden eggs that were painted in pastel colors and signed by celebrities.  They are real keepsakes of our childhood.

4. My mom's parents owned a cottage in NH when we were little.  Being a kid and just being able to run through the woods, hang out at the beach and have family game/movie nights was so cool.  Sure, if we got to be grumpy little ones, our Grandpa would threaten to send us (all the cousins, including Kirstren & I) to "Whiner's Island"...but it was worth it!  One of these days, I'll get back up there and see what happened in that sleepy little town and to our cottage.

Heather gave me a complete scenario.  Yep, she's pretty detail-oriented!

Ok, here's the scenario. You and your royal court are off on a trip to Europe. All expenses are paid. (and i mean ALL) The trip duration is one month. You are free to visit any place, any where. Your royal court is more than happy to accompany you wherever you choose-no going passive aggressive on me here!!!

So, here's are the questions. What to you do? What will you see? Any special foods you have to try? Anything special you have to do?

Oh, lordy...
I want a week in England, Scotland and Wales.
While we are there, we are going to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo (It's one of the few times I like bagpipe music!), having kilts made (embrace your "geek" girls!), doing tea and some shopping at Harrod's, taking a spin around the London Eye, doing some hardcore castle exploring, going to "land's end" in Cornwall and wandering through some Welsh countryside.  We will bar-hop, go to a "football" game, and try to find me a Prince Charming (WHAT?!?!  I like English accents!)

Then a week in Italy.
We'll visit the Vatican (even though I'm not Catholic, I'd still like to see Vatican City), the Trevi Fountain, the Colosseum and Duomo.  We'll gorge ourselves on great pasta and have custom-made shoes made in Milan.  There will be gondola rides and wandering over little bridges in Venice.

Gelato and good wine will be consumed like it's going out of style!  And we'll go swimming off the island of Capri.

Then a few days in Egypt.
We'll take a boat trip down the Nile, and visit the Pyramids.

That will be followed with a few days in Iceland.
Time to wander through the black lava fields, go horseback riding and float in the hot springs.

Then we go domestic...and get others to join us.
We'll do a cruise in Alaska!
Then on to the Florida Keys.
And we end with a  week at Disney.  It really is one of the happiest places on earth.

As you can see, I didn't follow her direction to stay in Europe.  I don't think she'll hold it against me though!

September 06, 2010

Tuesdays At The Table - Orange Milk Sherbet

Happy Tuesday!  I hope you had a fabulous long weekend.  Mine was fun-filled and relaxing...and I got a good start on my "to-do" list for when I finally close on my house.  What did you do over the weekend?

I know we're moving into fall (and, actually, I'm thrilled about it) but I did want to share one last summertime desert. *Found in a Taste of Home magazine.

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

Orange Milk Sherbet

1 and 1/2 cups orange juice (I'd recommend low or no pulp)
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups of whole milk (scalded and cooled)
1 can (16 oz.) crushed pineapple in natural juices

In a large bowl, combine orange juice and sugar - blending thoroughly.  Add milk and mix.  Pour into a 8x8 (or there abouts) shallow pan and freeze until mushy.

Place mixture back in the large bowl and whip for about 2 minutes.  Add pineapple and juices and mix well.  Pour back into the shallow pan and freeze.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

September 04, 2010

You Asked; I Answered - Part I

There aren't tons of questions (If you have something ask - there's still time!!), but I could write a novel about absolutely nothing and I don't want to bore you all to tears.

I'm starting with Jane's questions.  She was, by far, the most prolific source of questions.

1. What is the name of the fabulous place with the amazing chocolate covered apples and chocolate covered oreos?
Thinking about those apples, are ya?!?!  Last year I sent Jane chocolate covered apples and oreos from Sticky Fingers Gourmet Apples.  They do some sinful things with apples! Forget your diet, an apple as your meal, what do you mean this apple weighs two pounds sinful! 

Darn you, Jane!  I'm now feel the need to calculate how long I can go without ordering from them!  :-)  Their Reese's Peanut Butter Cup and their Double chocolate apples are my favorites.

2. How is the house coming ... do we stay or do we go now?
Oh, we stay!  Thursday was an amazingly busy day...and I'm-a stayin'!  Funny story actually.  I called my Realtor Wednesday morning when I got to work, just to let her know I felt like something wasn't quite right and I was considering not signing another house extension.  An hour later she calls and says that my short sale was approved.  An hour later she calls again and lets me know that in the next 24 hours I need to sign a new P&S, a few legal documents and oh...wire $2,000 to an escrow account.  To make my day uber productive, I also spent some quality time with my insurance agent to discuss a home owner's policy & had lunch with Kirstren, Heather and her sister!

The money was a shocker.  My Realtor wasn't expecting it either! I've already done my mandatory deposit - months ago.  As it turns out, a large-federally-bailed-out mortgage company decided to use a 3rd party vendor to determine whether to agree to my short sale or not.  And, I get to foot the bill for this vendor.  The rest of the bill is due at closing... in addition to all my other closing costs. 

But it will all be worth it when it's over!  All this crud at least earns me my real estate license, right!?!?!

3. What is your ALL TIME favorite book?
My favorite ever book is a children's book -  Dr. Suess' Sleep Book.  Oh, the irony!  I'm an insomniac and my favorite book is about sleep!!

4. What is the worst book you've ever read?
I'm a reader...and once I get started on a book, I finish - NO MATTER WHAT!  Because of that, I've read some really cruddy ones, which I'm a little hesitant to say by name because during my December book post, a few authors actually sent me emails thanking me for reading their books.

But...I will say that Nicci French has had some major suckage in their past few books.  Despite being married - I think that writing team need to break up and write their own books.  I'd bet good money that they'd be immensely more readable!  And, thus concludes my turn at being a meanie.

5. Do you ever sleep?
I sleep.  Just not well.  It's highly unusual that I sleep for more than two hours at a time... or more than 4 hours a night.  Because of this, I don't do many trips with people who are light sleepers or don't understand insomnia.  I feel like I'm such a disruption to their lives!  However, I've developed the life skill of staying extremely still in the event that overnight travel with others occurs.

This one comes from Jennifer...

6. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?
Can I tell you how hard it is to answer this question?  I've been so many places that I could envision living! A few of those places are Myrtle Beach, SC; San Diego, CA; Seattle, WA; Virginia Beach, VA & Washington, DC.  I'm a very adaptable person - but one of the big parts of my life is water.  I absolutely, positively can NOT live more than an hour from the beach.  It sounds utterly ridiculous - but I wouldn't be able to stay in a land-locked state for more than a year.  The beach is my happy place.  I need the sand beneath my feet, the smell of salt air, the activity of seagulls swooping around and the sound of the tide rolling in and out.

And the last question of this post comes from Julie!

7. Have you always lived on the east coast? If not where else have you lived?
I have always lived on the east coast - in fact I've spent my life living in only two different cities/towns south of Boston.  (And even after buying the new house - that fact will still be true!) 

With that said, I've gotten to spend big blocks of time in lots of other places.  My dad's family all settled in the west after my grandpa retired from the Coast Guard.  Because of that, I got to spent countless summers and holidays in San Diego (CA), Albuquerque, Roswell, Taos (NM), El Paso (TX), Las Vegas & Laughlin (NV). I've gotten to be a California beach bum, pick pecans on a big farm and sit on a mountainside & be able to visually distinguish what street lights are American and which are Mexican. (In case you were wondering - the streetlight in Mexico give a green hue.)

And that speaks nothing of all the cool stuff I've gotten to do on the East Coast!!

Round two of your questions are coming soon!

September 02, 2010

8 Questions

I was tagged by the super-fabulous (What?  It's a word in my dictionary!) Jill at Confessions of an Enginerd to answer eight questions of her choice.

1. do you have any nicknames? inappropriate = acceptable.
Oh, I have lots of nicknames. Cole, Coley, Bean, Nic, Nikki, Neen, Nitz, and last (and certainly longest) - the walking post-it note.

2. what's the last book you read? (and would you recommend it?)
One of the last books I read was Hope In A Jar.  Great book.  Super cute, and easy read and it brings back some high school memories!

3. martini. shaken or stirred?
If I have to have a martini, I want it shaken.  However, my alcoholic beverages of choice are white sangria and margaritas.  YUMMY!!  It's like summer in a cup!

4. if you could go on vacation anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?
My answer may change tomorrow...but today, I want to go to San Diego. So many awesome fabulous childhood memories!  Plus it's always sunny and 70 degrees!

5. what is your biggest pet peeve?
Oh, that's an easy one.  People who create DRAMA.  I'm very passive and I hate nothing more than someone who created problems where none actually exist.  If you need to be the center of attention THAT badly - go become an actor.

6. what is your favorite disney animated movie? (i.e. little mermaid, cinderella, etc.)
Snow White!!  She's so sweet.  I wish I had a better explanation...

7. what is your favorite little debbie?
Um, I'm not really a fan of little debbie.  Please don't disown me!

8. who is your hero?
Without a doubt, my mom!  She taught elementary school for 34 years; such a noble profession.  Then she is diagnosed with breast cancer only a few months after retiring (and a week after returning from her Hawaiin vacation).  Mom fought through a lumpectomy, three revisions, a mastectomy, five months of chemo and a pulmonary embolism (or three).  She's now going through HER2 treatments every few weeks and has just started a long term substitute teaching position.  If that's not a hero, what is?!?!
And, guess what?!?!  The amazarific Tiffany at Memoriors of A Munchkin Mommy tagged me too!

1. What is your favorite book? Pick a good one because I'll be adding them to my To Read list!

Oh, I don't have one favorite.  I'm really into Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and Second Time Around by Beth Kendrick.  Oh...and the Bride Quartet  (though the fourth one isn't out yet) by Nora Roberts.

2. What is your favorite alcoholic beverage? Non-alcoholic?
As mentioned above, my favorite alcoholic beverages are margaritas and white sangria.  Though a Riesling is super yummy too.  My favorite non-alcoholic beverage is water.  I boring.  But it's true!

3. What is your favorite childhood memory?
This is such a cop-out, but I'm skipping this because I know someone else asked it on my "You ask, I'll answer" post.

4. If you could have dinner with any three people, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Hmm.... My grandma (dad's mom), Einstein and Cesar Milan.  I know it seems really random, but in my mind, they all connect.  My grandma had this fantastic sense of humor, and I heard that Einstein did too.  Then Einstein was this brilliant mind - and Cesar Milan has been able to get into the minds and instincts of dogs.  Plus each of these people had a great love of animals - something I identify with quite a bit!

5. If you aren't married, what is your dream wedding? If you are married, was your wedding your dream wedding? And if not, tell us why and describe your dream wedding?
Don't revoke my "girl" card, but my dream wedding is extremely small.  I really respect other people's wish to be a princess for a day and have 200-300 people take part...but that's just not me.  I don't like being the center of attention.  I want to get married on the beach, in a pretty - but simple wedding gown, barefoot and surrounded by the people that mean the most to me.  I want to let my bridesmaids (likely 2-4 people) pick out the dresses that they LIKE, not what I dictate to them.... I will NOT be throwing my bouquet. 

6. What are your favorite names for a boy and a girl?
My favorite boy names are Jackson & Sawyer and my favorite girl names are Brenna & Harper.

7. What type of animals do have, if you have any? (Be species and breed specific please!) What are their names?
I have two miniature dachshunds.  Meadow is short haired and Beckett is long haired.
8. If you could pick any one store to serve as your own personal closet, what store would it be? What is your ideal outfit from this store?
Oh...that's hard.  I still haven't found a store that I like to wear ONLY their clothes.  But, I can usually find what I need at Macy's.  I'd love to find a store that caters to me love of cardigans, cute tops, well cut slacks, the perfect pair of jeans and shoes galore!
The eight people I'm tagging are:
Jane - My favorite med student and "OMG, you won't believe this" email buddy. (Jill tagged you, and I'm hoping that if I tag you'll give in and do it!)
Kirstren- My fave cousin, and well, cuz I'm not opposed to nepotism from time to time.
Julie - Who has two of the cutest little girls I've ever seen and I owe lots of follow-up emails to!
Janet - A woman who I'm sure is going to find the job of her dreams soon.  :-)
Casey - Who travels like nobody's business and is now discovering all the joys of living in Turkey.
Sara - Has a new culinary blog coming soon!
Sara - My book blog partner in crime. :-)
Hailey - Well, Hailey can have her typist (aka mom) answer for her!
And my eight questions are:
1. Team Edward or Team Jacob?
2. Who's your hero?  I hope you don't mind me keeping your question, Jill!
3. If you could be an animal, what would it be?
4. What TV show's season premier are you most looking forward to?
5. What's your favorite book of all time?
6. If you  had to give up a sense (sight, hearing, taste, etc), what would it be?
7. What's your favorite holiday?
8. What's your dream job?
And...just a reminder that if you have a question you want me to answer, click here and submit it!  Great questions so far and I can't wait to answer them for you!

September 01, 2010

Channeling Emily Post

OK, ladies...I'm going to close on my house eventually (more news on that in the next few days).  Recently, someone asked me what I'm going to get my Realtor as a closing gift.  As an Emily Post wannabe...I was stunned, perplexed, adrift.  OK, fine.  I'm being dramatic.

In all honesty, a gift for my lovely Realtor (and she is FANTASTIC) never crossed my mind until I was asked.  I've never heard of getting the Realtor/Real Estate Agent a closing gift - but this will be my first time buying a house. 

Am I just etiquette ignorant in the real estate arena?

Did you give gifts when you closed on your house?  If so, what???  If I need to buy a gift, I need suggestions!

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