Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's a work on progress

Holidays? Good. I don't have much to say about it because it was nice. Non-dramatic. No burned turkey.

Turkey day with my husband's family. I love them, they're so cute. Day after with my family. Lots of deboned turkey stuffed with duck was consumed. I guess my mom was moved to make one after hearing about Devin's Turduckhen.

I worked Friday because I was not fast enough on the draw to ask for it off and my coworkers were. Not like anyone called or emailed or anything. So it was a pretty good day to catch up and work on stuff I'd been having difficulty with. I did go to HRD's Hair Cut-a-thon because they had a deal where they were donating food to the Windsor Food Bank. If you brought in 6 items you could get a wash, cut and blow dry for $10. Of course I brought in way more than 6 items, but that's mostly in part to my love for food drives. I know there are people worse off than me and my husband is annoyingly negative and will stand on his high horse and say that charities don't give 100% of your donation to the needy. Well, I doubt that charities will take 1/10th of a can of peas before giving it to a needy family. So I can feel relatively confident than what I'm giving away is actually being used in the manner I want it to be used.

So I woke up early and was among the first 4 people in line for the Cut-a-thon. I don't have a lot to cut so it was probably for naught but I like having my hair blown out by someone else. One less thing for me to have to work on.

After work I went to mom's. And no, I did not go shopping. I did not take one step into any mall on Friday. I was thinking about it but one thing always happens on those days when I go out and brave the chaos. I always end up buying something (or various somethings) for myself. No presents are usually purchased for other people on black friday. Here's the thing; my birthday is in November and because I'm a relatively faithful shopper to a certain few stores they send me birthday coupons and birthday gift cards and the gift cards in conjunction with the sales means I walk away with either a free or a cheap item for myself.

I got myself some beautiful plates from Macy's for myself. I'm not gonna lie; I didn't consider Trevor's feelings in the slightest in the purchase of these plates. It's unnatural to love plates as much as I love these plates. I don't know why, but they speak to me. I think I like them because (although they are not actually) they look like hand painted watercolors and I have a soft spot for artisan stuff. Like if I had the patience to do so I'd kiln and glaze all my own plates like this.

Plus Trevor and I do not see eye to eye on all things even though we generally have the same taste. I don't understand it. I think that due to the fact I see and use our plates and serveware a lot more I appreciate and understand what will coordinate with what we have already. Whereas Trevor will pick whatever he happens to like in that moment even if it totally doesn't coordinate with anything. I'm mildly worried about furnishing the house we may get. I think it may be easier to instead of trying to work together, that we divide and conquer instead. ie: I get to pick out all the textiles and wall coverings for the living room if you get the family room.

The house? Um....since it's not in stone yet I don't want to talk too much about the house other than to say it may happen. And that I do not want to do a totally contemporary Ikea-esk feeling to the home because it's too modern to go with the era which the house was originally built. I feel like we'd be doing a disservice to the home if we didn't make it a point to enhance the existing beauty. I usually like that sterile, white-on-white-on-white, really modern, minimalist, hard angles, cold look but I don't live in California and it seems silly to force a historic home to be something it's not. A historic home needs a warmer palette and richer textiles.

It'll be fun to figure out that middle ground without having a hodge podge like we currently have.

If we move I am promised a new couch. Devin kicked loose the right arm of my couch right now and we're just tolerating it for the moment. I think I may not know what to do with myself if I had a house that was fully functional and furnished in a way I'm not ashamed of. How else would I fill my free hours?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bananas for Bananas

I have a weakness for food on sale. As an example, bananas. I don't even really EAT bananas but I buy them. I also don't eat peanut butter but I buy it. I have every intention of giving those jars to food shelters. (So at least that's semi-forgivable) But with bananas I buy them with the intention of eating them and then I realize I don't really like eating them unless they are sliced and floating around in my cereal. Sweet not-as-healthy-for-you cereal at that. I'm fond of Golden Grahams. Honey Bunches of Oats. Something sorta sweet but no marshmallows. I can't get behind dried up marshmallows.

Anyway...bananas turn an ugly shade of black and fruit flies invade my home. And only then do I think "hey, maybe I should do something about this."

I made a banana cheesecake, 20something banana bread muffins and only after hours of the oven cranking away was I free of those putrid bananas.

Mind you, I like banana desserts a lot but the sense of obligation to make them kind of makes it less fun.

So after not doing this in um...forever?!? I'm posting a recipe for banana bread. The old standby of using up bananas. I like muffin form because it's less commitmental and I don't have to cut anything and dirty up a knife. This is a modified version of something The Barefoot Contessa makes but I like it because everything is nice round numbers. No, 2 1/4 cup of this and 1/3 cup of that.

Banana Bread with a Crunch
Oven 350F (the old standby...I think almost everything bakes at 350F)
DRY STUFF
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
WET STUFF
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 apple sauce (I happen to have this hanging around, otherwise you can use 1 full cup oil)
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk
Mashed up banana goo. I had 3 bananas.
1 tsp vanilla extract
OTHER
1 cup oats
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup walnuts chopped
chocolate chips (optional)

Mix all dry stuff. If you're super ambitious sift it all. It mixes together with less lumps if you take the time to sift. I am lazy so I just mixed by hand (less stuff to clean up later). Mix all your wet goo together and then add it to your dry. The trick to any tender quick breads is NOT mixing the tar out of it. Then gently mix the "other" in. The "other" isn't really standard banana bread stuff persay but it adds a lot of texture and flavor. And it makes me feel healthier to see oats in there. I know sugar laden baked goods aren't healthy but just let me pretend...okay?

Standard Muffins? 20 minutes should do it. Fill only 2/3s of the way up. They WILL lift and the will make a mess of your oven. Loaf pan? give it at least 40 and then check on it. Everyone's oven is different.

On a side note? I don't even really like consuming cheesecake THAT much but my dad does like it when I make some from scratch. Clearly it was a mistake introducing him to the "good stuff." So I made a banana cheesecake for him. I'll bring it over tonight since mom is prepping a b'day meal for me. Since I had the oven going I also made lasagna for dinner yesterday. My husband likes lasagna. I'm happier with normal pasta or raviolis since it takes a lot more assembly to do lasagna. After I finally turned the oven off I thought it was funny that for my birthday I was making things other people liked. I should really have just made food I like. Clearly I have become a softie.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gobble Gobble

Happy Mid-November.

Chances are I'm going to forget to mention Thanksgiving but, heck. It's my favorite holiday of the year so I'll make mention of it now.

I think the plan is to go to my mother in law's house. I'll need to come up with a better title than mother in law. Maybe, "Bonus Mother" is a more apt term. Mother in law sound so...negative and ugly. Anyway, I look forward to it. I show my best eating ability around the holidays, though I admit as I get older my appetite seems to shrink. That whole guilt thing about not wanting to die of morbid obesity where they have to cut a hole in the side of my house to get me.

Devin is scheduled to make another Turduckhen. For the uninitiated it's a deboned chicken stuffed inside a deboned duck stuffed inside a semi-deboned turkey and is traditionally considered a southern dish. I would LOVE to host Thanksgiving. I wouldn't so much want to make a Turduckhen, but maybe next year just hosting a holiday? If the thing I'm tentatively concerned about happening actually happens I'd love to have my parents and Trevor's fam over and feed them all until their bellies bulge. They'll have to promise not to judge me for not having a full set of matching...umm...anything, but the food should be good. The spread would be pretty interesting. I don't personally think I have the guts to deep fry a turkey (too big of a fire hazard) but I have a soft spot for sharing home made meals.

I don't really personally care about everything being matchy matchy. Like, I don't think matching plates make your meal taste any better so it's not a huge priority. I don't live in a Sears Catalog. (It's probably just me but I feel it's strangely artificial.) I do oddly enough think you need actual plates and actual metal utensils. Paper plates and plastic forks do not make for an unbelievable meal. I can't think of a single meal I've eaten with a plastic fork that was even slightly memorable.

Last year? I spent my birthday painting our existing house. This coming birthday? I'll probably be rubbing two pennies together because we're trying to buy another one. (The empire has to grow eventually.) I don't know what is up with my birthday lately but it's been falling on particularly odd housing-related times for me. I can't be too sad because, dude...houses! But houses need furniture and curtains and paint...oh so much paint. So whatever money I thought I could blow on pumpkin hued pumps? They now have to go to house stuff. Not like we ever really go wild around my birthday. To be completely honest I tend to like to spend some time with my mom & dad on my birthday because...umm...my mom birthed me and if truth be told the day is much more memorable and special to her than to anyone else. I can't even remember being born whereas she very vividly recalls the day and often uses it as some kind of guilt inducing bargaining chip.

I want to ignore the fact that if we get a new house that we'll have to pack AGAIN. I don't even have that much stuff but packing is painful. Moving is even more painful. Something always breaks. But I suppose it's a good time to determine what stuff we can toss. There's always stuff we don't need but we hang on to because of a sense of obligation. I know my husband is now likely rolling his eyes in the general direction of my dress shoes.

Even if we don't obtain THIS particular house I'm pretty excited about the prospect of a REAL house in our future. Like, a house I'd want to invite people over to and feel genuinely proud of. I guess it just goes to show that I'm getting older, lamer and more settled. Maybe I'll even take a cue from Martha Stewart and start hot gluing pine cones to things. And get a dog. And wear some unflattering mom-jeans with pockets that are attached in a weird position.

I can't look away from mom-jeans...I know they're a disaster and I'm mystified by their ability to make a derriere look so awful and gigantic. And then people think I'm staring at their rear ends for NOT that reason and think I'm strange. I'm sorry for staring. I try to be discreet but I have no ability to hide the emotions on my face. If you get to know me you'll find that quality endearing, but as a stranger I guess it's creepy.

But before you think we're rolling on money, it's a heck of a lot easier to save up for a home when you don't have a wedding to pay for at the exact same time. Even I think it was a tad ambitious of us to get married and buy our first home in the same year. But without that weight holding us down (apart from the general weight of our ball and chain) plus holding to our same work ethics and careful budgeting it's been a lot less painful saving up this time. A lot less pressure. But if truth be told I hope that 2010 will be a bit less crazed with houses. Buying and moving into a different home every year is a little much. I know we're young and we have the energy to do it, but I'm grumpy about it each and every time. I'd like to keep an address for a while.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Next step? Building a hotel on Boardwalk

So yeah, Hi. I didn't die. But I have been excruciatingly busy at work and I've kind of turned into a bleary eyed zombie.

Also, so. many. things. have. happened!

The farm had an offer put in on it so we had a small window of time to rent a UHaul and divide up the furniture among us. Trevor and I, although we have no space whatsoever in our apartment have aspirations of a bigger house and a bigger house requires a good amount of furniture. And furniture? It costs money. Money I don't have to spend. So that we were allowed to take things from the farm was nice. Other folks took things too; don't think it was just me and Trevor. The rest of the clan took chairs and tables and wicker and mirrors...etc.

Halloween. I dressed up as Snow White. Trevor was Herbert the Pervert. We wanted to be a couples thing but we never agree on what we mutually decide is a "cool" costume. Though to be fair I mostly picked my costume to go with my hair because it's not likely to stay this way for too long. It's already grown out an inch and it's only been a few weeks. Clearly my follicles do not agree with short hair because I swear my hair grows at an accelerated pace after a cut...a la Rapunzel.

Other Halloween related news? Kim got induced and little Tyler Edziu was born November 1st at 6lbs 5oz after laboring all day long. Momma and baby are now at home and trying to settle into a schedule. I saw them this past weekend and (after much hand washing) held the baby and caught up with her. I didn't take any pictures because the baby was experiencing some red spots and calloused lips and I kind of think he deserves a better introduction. Also, it seems kind of weird to post pictures of a minor. I think he looks just like his paternal grandfather, but he mostly just looks like a newborn. Not really anything like Kim or Vinnie yet, although obviously there's time for that to change.

Do I have baby envy yet? My mom cannot wait for the day this takes place. Umm...perhaps if little TE wasn't exhausting his mother, but right now Kim can't get even get 4 consecutive hours of sleep because the kid is constantly eating, pooping, peeing, and fussing. She's actually surprisingly chipper given the significant exhaustion, and even seems excited about the future prospect of having more babies. Me? I slept in this Sunday until 11:30 and I'm pretty excited about continuing this habit for a while longer. Sorry, mom.

But I do have to say that we could be ever so slightly closer to domesticity because we might have a 2nd house under our belts. It's a...um...fixer upper house but I think it's a big step in the right direction. I'm tentative about it because there's still a lot left before it's actually ours so I'll stop describing it at all, but it's really a beautiful old house that if given enough love could be magnificent.

I'm really strange because although I have a blog and although I deeply want to share I cannot share more about this. Not the color. Not the location. Not the price. Not anything at all...because I'm afraid of jinxing it. Plus I don't really care to have stalkers. Please do not come to my door trying to sell me a bible or a vacuum or ginzu knives.