Thursday, September 30, 2010

House Week 6

Sorry it has taken so long for me to upload these. This week has been crazy! So, last week we really started to see the house change. Jeremy got some mulching done during the week and everyone got exterior painting done on Saturday.

This is the "aerial" view. ( I just felt like climbing a ladder in the yard to take a picture!)

This is close to one of the original views of the house with all the growth. If you go back to the first post you can compare.

Living room painted

Neil and I worked our brains (mostly Neil) to figure out the 45 degree angle tile laying in the bathroom. Oh, and the cabinets went in.

And the kitchen cabinets were installed on Friday, so it is really starting to look like a kitchen!

We actually have space for a dishwasher, stacked washer/dryer, stove and fridge.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Meal Plan-last week of September already!

Sorry these have been MIA! This week promises to be the craziest week I have had in a while. I have something going on every night if not two things and 4 photo shoots this weekend....FOUR! I am thankful, but what was I thinking? :) So, I have some meals planned. I am not sure when I will make them all but here they are:
 (Oh and FYI, this isn't the healthiest week I have put together.....sorry! I will be running a few extra miles and biking with a friend on Thursday so I won't worry too much!)

Day 1-Creamy Tomato Sauce Pasta with Chicken
This is a modification of the Pumpkin recipe from the last post. In all honesty, we never made it. Jeremy said it sounded "weird" and while he has improved 500% on his eating ventures from the early years of our marriage, he just didn't want that one. So I made this up instead.
1 container Marscapone Cheese
1 Can petite diced tomatoes
8 oz penne pasta
1/4 cup heavy cream
fresh grated parmesean
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Italian Seasoning
1 Onion, diced
2 Cloves of garlic, minced

Season both sides of the chicken with S&P and Italian Seasoning. Place in skillet on medium high heat with a drizzle of EVOO in the bottom of the pan. Turn down to medium heat and cook about 5-7 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Remove from pan. Add onions and garlic to pan.
In the meantime, get a pot of salted water boiling to cook pasta.
Okay, back to the pan. Once onions are translucent, add canned tomatoes. Then add Marscapone. I used the cream to thin the sauce back out a bit. Add in a heaping handful of Parmesean. Once pasta is cooked, drain and add to pan. Cube cooked chicken and add to pan. Serve with fresh Parm on top.

Day 2- Chili with Cornbread
I used to make my mom's chili, but have to modify it a bit to make it gluten free now. If you don't share my issues, use French's Chili-O Mix found in the seasoning isle. Its fantastic (minus the gluten part!)
1 lb ground meat (I am using Venison-very lean so no need to drain)
1 onion, diced
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans
1 can red beans
Spice Mix: 2 tsp Cumin, 2 tsp Chili Powder, 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper, 1 tsp Black Pepper, 1 tsp Coriander, 1 TBSP Cornstarch

Brown meat in skillet. (Drain if necessary) Add all ingredients except the spice mix into the crock pot. (You can also do this on the stove but I would cook the onions with the meat first so they aren't crunchy). Add two cans of water. Sprinkle the spice mix over everything and stir in. Cook on high for 2.5 hours or low for 4 (or until you can't resist the smell!)
I serve this with cheese and sour cream on top and hot sauce. I also make Bob's Red Mill GF Cornbread with the addition of 1 TBSP of sugar.

Day 3- Fried Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans
I think I have covered what I do with my Mashed potatoes in here somewhere before but as for the chicken....
Pound boneless skinless breasts to 1/4 thickness. (This is fun for getting aggression out!) Season both sides with s&p and paprika. Coat chicken with GF flour blend. Simply cook in a skillet with EVOO (just to cover the bottom of the pan, we aren't deep frying this stuff). Flip and make sure it cooks through. That is why I pound it thin, so I don't worry about the thick end getting cooked and the thin end getting dry.

Day 4- Roasted Vegetable Minestrone
The only thing I am changing is cooking some venison steaks in the crock pot on low all day and adding that shredded to the soup.

Monday, September 20, 2010

House Update

Jeremy went up today and mulched the newly cut flower beds and watered the new plant material. Bear with us as the pictures were taken with his cell phone camera.

To quote Neil, "Now just to get some grass seeded and get the portapotty outta there!" :)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Summer's End

This summer has been a hot and busy one. We haven't used our backyard nearly enough but its been too darn hot! So Friday I came home from work to find Jeremy in the hammock with music going and the dogs enjoying themselves in the grass.

Oh, Somoa? She's really lonely....never gets any attention....

No one at this house loves her ......

And she certainly doesn't get spoiled! :)

Meanwhile, Rosco occupies himself with a stick. I think someone comes at night and soaks our sticks in bacon grease. I can't for the life of me figure out why my dogs love the sticks in our backyard so much. They don't just chew them....they EAT them! I guess its fiber!

Pretty girl!

Crazy boy! (See, another stick crazy face, maybe they are laced with dog crack!)
Mmmmmm. I also have about a hundred pictures with Rosco's tongue somehow positioned out of his mouth. Not sure why....I don't attempt to capture these moments....they just happen.

Yep, this is pretty much how I found him. We were so excited to finally have a Friday that we didn't have something planned that we both just chilled.....then we got really lazy and went out to eat (Los Panchos) and rented a movie. Nice!

Oh, and just for the record, this is what happens when you mess with me! Just kidding!
Actually Jeremy plays softball on Tuesday and Thursday and one of the teams on Tuesday is especially rough and likes to purposely hit up the middle (ie: at the pitcher) Guess what position Jeremy plays!? Yep! He caught a bounce ball off the bat right in the thigh! This is 3 days after the fact. The first day it was swollen to about double the normal size of his thigh! Yikes! Anywho, aside from playing with hockey pads on, I am not sure what is to save you from this so I guess he'll have to deal with it as long as he plays softball.

We are sad to see summer go but pumped about football, hayrides, pumpkins and fresh apples!

Week 5-House Flip Project

This week actually started on Wednesday. Kelly was nice enough to come back out and start our first row of tile in the bathroom while I grouted the kitchen, Jeremy cut in the landscaping beds, and Josh and Neil painted the kitchen ceiling.

Kitchen is grouted! This means we can get cabinets in and start making it look like a kitchen!

Sarah and Caleb came out to help today! I never see this girl without that huge smile on her face!

Kitchen painting

Painting was the word of the day....inside, outside and everywhere inbetween!


and up on ladders!

I was able to finish the shower tile and lay out the floor but we need a few more tiles for the floor.

All the new ceiling fans went up!

More living room painting

New plants in the front! Mulch will be put in on Monday. All of these are very low maintenance and lots are evergreens which means color all year.  We also used mums for color right now!
Side landscaping.
We are really starting to see this come together. As Jeremy and I were leaving today a lady came across the street from another house. She just wanted to tell us how wonderful she thought everything looked. She owns the house across the street as a rental property. We told her why we are doing this and she offered to pray for us and the cause!  Awesome!
Hopefully if you have been following us you can really start to see the house coming together. Please feel free to come up and help in the coming weeks. We will need all the finishing touches!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Week 4-LHC House Remodel

We had a bunch of people finishing up the painting on the house and some started scraping the garage for paint.

The tile is now all laid in the kitchen. Grouting is next. We do have a tricky situation we have been calling the trap door. Over where you see Dave in this shot is the access to the crawl the floor. We have to tile over it but keep it able to be opened. It was all kinds of tricky to figure out and we are still trying to figure out what type of handle to put on there.

The rest of the sheetrock and hardibacker is up in the bathroom. Guess its ready for tile now too!

Michelle showing us her painting skills! Way to make those window frames shine!

B dug out the rest of the landscaping junk that used to grow around the fence here just to the right of the door. He also took out a sawed off pipe that was sticking out of the ground that I was for sure to break my ankle on! Dale isn't pictured here but did edging around all the concrete to get the grass off the sidewalks!

Jaime and Daniel painted the second bedroom and looked mighty cute doing it!

Neil insisted on getting a picture of me. I informed him that is the reason I carry the camera I don't end up in pictures. Oh well. This is the position I was in or standing up from most of the I know why my back, knees, quads are so sore!

A few of us are headed up this week and then back on Saturday. Hopefully we will have even more progress to show then!

Meal Plans-Taste of Fall

So Fall has officially invaded my mind. The recipes I came up with this week all have a bit of autumnal feel to them and it wasn't even intentional! Here you go!

1. Roasted Corn Chowder
Don't be intimidated by the long ingredient list. Its not a hard recipe.
2 T Butter
5 slices of bacon or turkey bacon ( I didn't have turkey)
1/2 cup Chopped Onion
1/2 cup Chopped Celery
1/4 cup Chopped Carrot
 (little hint here, buy the Miripiox mix in the freezer section and you don't have to chop!)
1.5 T Chopped Garlic
3 ears of Roasted Corn on the Cob

1 cup White Wine
1 T Thyme leaf (fresh) if dried use 1/2
8 cups chicken broth ( i used reduced sodium so I can control the amount of salt)
1 T sugar (optional depending on sweetness of corn, I didn't use)
2 tsp Garlic powder
2 tsp Onion powder
1 tsp ground cumin
4 Bay leaves

Roux (to thicken) Equal parts of melted butter and flour mixed to form a thick paste over heat.

1 1/2 cups Heavy Cream
2 tsp Salt
1 tsp pepper
Fresh Parsley

Roast corn on grill in husks. Rotate every 4-5 minutes until husks are black. Remove husks. Cut corn off cobs and reserve cobs and corn separately.

Melt butter in a large stock pot, add: bacon, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and corn kernels. Saute until tender stirring occasionally. De glaze with white wine, add thyme leaves, bring to boil and reduce heat and reduce for 3 minutes. Add chicken broth and corn cobs, sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, bay leaves, and cumin and stir to dissolve. Bring back to simmer for 15 minutes to extract flavor from cobs. Remove Cobs, discard and add roux, 2 T at a time, ( I made a cornstarch slurry instead to make this GF). Continue simmering for 5 minutes. Add cream; bring back to a simmer for 8 minutes. Finish with chopped parsley.

2. Chili Dogs- Cincinnati Style
I realize this isn't really that fallish, but chili is.
All I am doing is cooking Nathans hot dogs and adding canned skyline chili, chopped onion, mustard and cheese. Jeremy will have his with buns. I will not. I will also steam some California blend frozen veggies for a side.

3. Pumpkin Sage Cream Sauce Penne with Grilled Chicken
  Yield: 8 servings (I may half this!)
1 onion, chopped fine
4 large garlic cloves, minced
4 T butter
15 oz canned pumpkin
32 oz (4 cups) Chicken Broth
1/2 tsp dried sage
fresh sage for garnish
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup heavy cream
freshly grated nutmeg ( I am using ground)
1 lb penne pasta
fresh Parmesan
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

In a large skillet cook the onion and the garlic in the butter over moderate heat, stirring until the vegetables are softened. Stir in the pumpkin, the broth, the cream, mascarpone, nutmeg and s&p to taste.
Simmer the sauce, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. While the sauce is simmering, in a kettle of salted boiling water, boil the penne until it is al dente, ladle out the reserve about 1 cup of cooking water and drain the pasta.
Add the penne to the sauce, cook the mixture over moderate heat, stirring and thinning the sauce as desired with some of the reserved cooking water, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the pasta is coated well.
In the meantime, season the chicken with sage, s&p and grill.
Serve the pasta with sliced grilled chicken and fresh grated Parmesan!

4. Buttermilk Chicken and Spaghetti Squash

This is a great new blog I found the other day. So cute!

You can add a plethora of stuff to spaghetti squash kind of like you would with any pasta. I may just add butter and fresh herbs and a bit of cheese. Here's a little tutorial on how to cook it. There are lots out there and good recipes on for ideas of what to add to it.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Meals from last week, hopefully they can be yours for this week!

Last week was a flurry of activity and I am still exhausted! Monday being a holiday and all, I don't think I cooked. Honestly I don't even remember! I have a horrible memory! I know our friends made us dinner of lamb chops and yummy potato salad either Sunday or Monday night. Anyways, on to the meals I did cook, sometime during the week.

Meal #1
Pizza Pasta-This was made out of necessity and what I had in the house. Just boiled rotini pasta. In a seperate pan cooked up 1 lb ground beef with 1 Tblsp Italian Seasoning and some fresh garlic. I chopped up a bunch of pepperonis I had in the fridge and added those too. I would have added mushrooms or peppers but didn't have any. After the meat is cooked I added a jar of Ragu ( I know, real fancy!) Then when the pasta was cooked added it to the pan and about 1 cup of shredded Pizza cheese. Voila! Dinner.

Meal #2
White Wine Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Green Bean Bundles
This was actually what Jeremy wanted for his birthday. Its one of his favorite things that I make, but somehow we didn't make it that day.
Boneless Skinless Chicken seasoned with S&P, rolled in breadcrumbs and placed in a glass baking dish. Bake for about 15 min at 350° . Pull out of the oven (won't be fully cooked) add 3/4 cup white wine to the baking dish and cover chicken with sliced muenster cheese. Cook for another 15 minutes or until cooked through.
Mashed Potatoes
I have no measurements for this, but about 3-4 Idaho potatoes uses about 3 TBSP butter and a healthy scoop of sour cream. I also add Tony Cachere's Cajun Seasoning.
Green Bean Bundles
First place 5-6 slices of bacon on a baking sheet with a rack. Cook for about 10 minutes (You do not want the bacon to be cooked through) Use fresh or canned Whole Beans and grab a handful making sure they are all parallel. Wrap a bacon slice around them overlapping the bacon and place back on sheet. Pour a little bit of Catalina dressing over each bundle and cook till bacon is crisp.

Meal #3 Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
Found here on allrecipes.
I did make the following changes though. I substituted all box chicken stock for the water and can of chicken broth. There is absolutely no reason to precook the chicken. I put frozen pieces in there and they were fantastic! I also didn't use black pepper, I used cayenne b/c we like things a bit spicy!
Also, I was lazy so I didn't make my own tortilla chips. I had a bag.
Serve with cheese, fresh cut cilantro and a dollop of sour cream! Super yummy!
This was by far the easiest meal of the week. I think total time was like 15 minutes....and it smelled awesome walking in the door from work!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Week 3-House Flip Project

Week 3 started off great! We had a great group out to help and the weather was beautiful and cool! The exterior is moving along quickly!

These ladies are reglazing the windows. Very interesting to watch but very tedious to perform! I admire them for their patience and perseverence!

More ladder work!

The kitchen floor is moving along nicely. Neil's neighbor Kelly (who happens to have installed tile for a living) came to help us lay out the floor and show us exactly how to install it. ( I didn't get a picture of him before we left, but Dave is showing us his mortar skills here!)

The inside painting is moving along nicely too! Jaime spent most of the day in the master bedroom!

New sheetrock and Hardibacker board is going in the bathroom so we can start tile in there as well.

There were some leftover stumps from the HUGE taxis bushes in the front. These guys worked on cutting the stumps below grade and filling the dirt back in. Landscaping will come towards the end of the project so we dont' trample it while painting and stuff outside.

Neil's dad even came along to help!

The roofing crew was laying shingles most of the day on the garage roof. Thank goodness it wasn't in the 90's but this is still hard work!

Backside of the house is almost painted.

More painting....starting on the trim on the front.

And to finish, a close up of that glazing work I was talking about!

I just realized I completely forgot to mention that both of the concrete stoops, front and back, look like new thanks to Josh's master concrete patch work! Not sure if there is a great picture of it but you can look back and tell the difference!