Friday, January 28, 2011

Simple and Awesome Recipe

I tried a bunch of different recipes this past week.  Sloppy joes, Chili with pumpkin in it, hummus, Beef stew with beer and paprika....I'm back to menu planning if you couldn't tell.
But by far the best one from last week was the quickest and easiest:
Broiled Salmon with Peppercorn Lime Rub and Quinoa salad.

This really took 30 minutes - actually 30 minutes, not like Rachel Ray 30 minutes where it takes her 30 minutes and the rest of us an hour.

If you like salmon, try this one.  It's too easy not to try.

From Cooking Light:
Salmon fillets (I used 3 fillets.)
cooking spray
2 teaspoons grated lime rind
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 clove minced garlic
**I didn't measure any of that stuff and eyed it all.  That's just how I roll in the kitchen.**

Quinoa Salad:
1 1/3 cup chicken broth
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 chopped zucchini
1 bell pepper (or red pepper/yellow pepper, whatever you've got around)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Preheat boiler.
Place fish on broiler pan sprayed with cooking spray - skin side down.  Combine remaining ingredients, sprinkle over fish.  broil 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.

Combine chicken broth and quinoa in medium saucepan, bring to boil.  Cover and simmer 12 minutes or until liquid is almost absorbed.  Stir in chopped zucchini and pepper.  Cover and cook 5 more minutes or until liquid is fully absorbed.  Remove from heat and stir in extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Menu Planning

Even though it's not really a resolution, I plan to get better this year about my menu planning.
I've always been pretty good about planning dinners through out the week but lately I've been slipping and Italia now knows Matt on a first name basis - so much so that the delivery guy even brings a black pen for him b/c he won't sign the credit card slip in blue.

We need to make a change to say the least.

So my plan involves a magnetic calendar and a list.  Of course a list, I am Sue's daughter.... list maker extraordinaire.

Normally, I try to plan one week at a time.  I'm hoping this calendar will keep me better organized so I can get 2 weeks planned. 
Maybe I'll even be able to start shopping sales - what?  I'm never that organized...Never.

Wish me luck - I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, January 24, 2011

This Weekend

Nothing exciting happened.
We didn't start any projects...unless you count laundry as a project??

We did have a great sushi dinner with Sakah at Watanabe.  Ate way too much and spent waay too much.  We get pretty excited about eating out and that doesn't really do good things for the bank account.

We also watched a couple of movies - The Future of Food.

This movie made me even more anxious to start my garden and it made me want to buy a cow and raise chickens.  Genetically engineered food - it's a little scary.
Although, I will say that I would have liked the movie to give more informaiton about why some believe genetically engineered food is a good thing. 

And our weekly Sunday morning movie was Inglourious Basterds.
File:Inglourious Basterds poster.jpg
This was a Quentin Tatantino film and you could tell.  Check it out on IMBD from the link above.  We'd heard mixed reviews from others but it was our style and we both really liked it.  But then again Matt LOVES anything with Brad Pitt in it - he has a slight man crush.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The best way to eat vegetables

I've never had a sloppy joe before.  I remember them from grade school lunches - a pile of orangey red mushy meat food on a hamburger bun.  Eww.
I ran across a recipe for sloppy joes - nary a can of Manwich in site so I thought I'd give it a try.

It started something like this:
 Yep, those are carrots.  Grated sloppy joes?!  Yep, this recipe started with diced onion, grated carrots and minced garlic.

For my first go around with sloppy joes, I wasn't disappointed but I have nothing to compare at this point.  I'll definitely keep this in my stash for picky eaters in the future....this is a great way to hide some veggies.  Once you add the tomatoes, the carrots disappear.

I think for Matt and I though, the next time I make this recipe, I'll pour it over noodles and call it spaghetti.

Here's the recipe for ya:
From Martha Stewart.
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 carrots, coarsely grated (2 cups)
1 medium onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
3/4 pound ground turkey (93% lean, dark meat) (I used 1lb)
1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
4 whole-wheat hamburger rolls, split

In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium; add carrots, onion, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add turkey; cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes.

Add tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 12 to 14 minutes. Serve on whole-wheat rolls.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

House Tour

Because our house is one big circle and mighty confusing if you don't live here (so I've been told,) I thought a pictoral house tour may help.
I'm only including the dowstairs since we don't live upstairs yet.
Let's start at the front, shall we?
We come in the front door:

Turn to the left, through a doorway and enter the living room:

Walk behind the loveseat to see the rest of the room and down the looong hall way type situation:

Let's walk through that door way - and you'll find my "closet" and where I'm supposed to work out:

We'll continue down the "hallway situation":

The door way to the left in the above picture is the master bedroom:
The doorway to the right in the master bedroom is the master bath which is dirty and I'm not showing you.  Privacy, please.

The doorway at the end of the loong hallway situation is the laundry room and my shoe closet:

Now, lets go back to the front of the house and come in the front door again:

This time we're turning to the right and through another doorway:

Step into the room and look down another looong hallway type situation:

Let's walk through this door way and find the dining room:

Continue down the "hallway situation" to this:

Through the door on the right is the downstairs bathroom:

And through the door on the left is a cut through to the other hallway, the one with the red runner just past the room with my closet and workout gear, and a door to the creepy, flooding basement.  No picture necessary, not really much to look at.

Past the bathroom door is the breakfast area, where the "china cabinet" lives, which you cannot see in this picture:

At the very back of the house through the last doorway down the looong "hallway situation" is the kitchen:

I called all the walkways "hallway situations" b/c all it really is a walk through a bunch of rooms.  I've left out the stairway doors (one in the landry room and one in the workout room) since we're not visiting the upstairs today.  It's much too cold up there, we only keep the heat set to 45 degrees since we don't live up there yet.

So there you have it, a tour of the Ringger Hudson Compound.  Hopefully, this will help you follow along when we start making changes and I start talking about where the new kitchen, new dining room, new living room, etc will live.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Other Furniture We've Acquired

Over the past few months we've been fortunate to acquire some new pieces of furniture from my Dad's side of the family.
A buffet and the clock sitting in the middle of it:
Currently residing in the odd little aside to the living room that we don't know what to do with.

Another buffet and hutch - you might call this a china cabinet except we don't have any china:
Currently residing in the breakfast area, where we never have breakfast....or any other meal for that matter.

Dining table:
This table will unfold and we have leaf for it too - perfect for Thanksgiving dinners....except that I don't cook Thanksgiving dinners.  Cooking turkey scares me.
It currently resides in the breakfast area, keeping the "china cabinet" company.
Bonus points if you can spot the puppy in my picture. 

And every great table needs chairs:
We have 5 of these and 1 with arms.  They currently reside in the dining room with the big table we found on Craig's List for $75, b/c the Craig's List table will not fold down like the inherited one.

We're very thankful to have this furniture from the family and with some of my own history.  Bonus that it's pretty and in great shape.

Monday, January 17, 2011

This is what happens -

What happens when you have nothing in the fridge and you haven't menu planned in months?

This is what happens:

Pepperoni pizza rolls.

Honey ham and cheddar cheese pinwheels.

Hors d'oeurvres for dinner - that's what happens.  Nary a fruit or vegetable in site - nothing but carbs and cheese here folks.

One Fantastic Wardrobe

I've been living closet-less since we moved in - September 26, 2009.
That's a long time for a clothes horse like me to fold and stuff every piece of clothing I own into my 5 drawer dresser.  Not good times people, not good times.

Enter this wardrobe.
She's beautiful and I kind of love her.  Matt and I carried her into the house from 3 houses down the street on a 2 wheeler, dodging traffic and cracks in the sidewalk one Saturday afternoon.  Hilarity.

This inside left something to be desired:
So we did something about it.
Some batting, fabric, trim, a staple gun and glue gun later - my love now looks like this:
How freakin' awesome is THAT!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

2011 Resolutions

There are a ton of things that we need to get going for the house but there are also some things that I'd like to accomplish this year for myself.
I'm writing them down so hopefully that will keep me accountable.

Work Out -
No really.  I always start and I always stop, for no good reason.  Unless you count wine as a good reason.  This year my goal is to consistently work out for 9 months of the year. 

Read More -
Matt gifted me a Kindle for Christmas.  I highly recommend one.  It even has Matt reading for pleasure now - no ordinary feat when a brand new, shiny Wii is also available.
Now there is no reason not to read - I don't have to go anywhere to get new material.

Begin to learn Portuguese -
Matt's family is from Brazil.  Everyone but the grandkids can speak it fluently and Matt can understand it - he could speak when he was younger but lost it.
I asked for Santa (Mom & Dad) to bring me Rosetta Stone for Christmas.  I'm looking at Level 1 right now.  Here's hoping I can make it through.

Make family and "family" a priority -
Matt and I have been pretty lax about seeing the family on both sides lately.  We should/need to fix that. He doesn't know it yet but this is one of our shared goals for the year.
And with the changes going on with the "family" (tight group of friends,) like the Vecchiomistersons having a kid, Sakah getting hitched, Mike being in Columbus, and the rest of us being lazy about making it a priority - we don't see each other very much.
We need to get better about seeing the important people.

I realize I could probably go on and on and on....but I'm trying to be realistic here.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Not So Fun Must Do House List for 2011

There will be no fun, pretty, before and after shots of this stuff.
It's just down and dirty must-be-done maintenance for an old ass house.
We're planning to it all ourselves except the tree tending. 
Matt and pole saw = Very Bad Idea.

  • Insulation in basement and attic.
  • Clean the outside of the windows (there are over 30 windows in our house.)
  • Install the attic door
  • Seed the lawn
  • Have trees tended (they're getting more and more top heavy)
  • Continue to clean out the basement
  • Fill gaps in the basement foundation and walls
  • Test for radon.

Fun Before and After House List for 2011

In the last few months we've been discussing the big reno, how to pay for the big reno, and what we can do now that won't seem wasteful when the big reno comes around but still will turn this house into OUR house.
Here's the plan:
  • PAINT.  Paint.  And more paint.  The next room on our list is the bedroom downstairs, currently the master.  
    • But we're only painting the downstairs b/c we live down there and it just doesn't make sense to waste energy and time on rooms we never see.
    • Hallways, the laundry room, the breakfast area...there are plenty of rooms still left down here.
  • Plant a garden.  Brown thumb and all, this year we're planting a vegetable garden.  Raised beds on the side of the house that won't be touched by any reno at all.
  • It's all about the accessories kiddos.  Even though we have a millions rooms, every room has a purpose and we should change the decor to fit that purpose.
I know that doesn't seem like much of a list but it really is b/c with all that paint comes a ton of prep, putty, sanding, trim, etc.  That first bullet up there is gonna be quite a doozy!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Insulation and other Sundry Items

Here in TN, we're in the middle of Snowpacolypse 2011.
This means a few things:
  1. I left work before dark.  Before all that slush on the roads was able to freeze again.
  2. I was able to see my roof, during the snow, in the daylight.
  3. There is nary a gallon of milk, loaf of bread, or dozen eggs to be found in this city right now.
While outside watching the dogs, run around and try to figure out what the hell this stuff is, I was able to get some pictures of our roof.
This is what it looks like now:
I am not tall enough to get a better shot unless I go across the street - NOT happening. 
Anywhoo, see all those visible shingles up there, the ones that aren't covered in snow.  Not good, not good at all.
This is what the roof should look like.
Witness my neighbor's roof:

Obviously, my yard has a better view of their roof.

Since we don't allow it to get above 40 degrees upstairs in the winter (gas heat is expensive,) I'd be willing to bet that if we did, there wouldn't a flake one up top. 

Pretty sure - this means insulation in the attic will come BEFORE the big reno and insulation in the walls (there isn't any in there either.)
I think this is one that we can handle ourselves too....Famous last words.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Shop It To Me

Shop It To Me is this fabulous website that will sends me an email when items I might like go on sale.
So far, they've been very helpful....until today.

In what world would I actually wear this and in what universe would I be able to afford it:
J.Crew $669.20
I think they've lost their minds.

The Big Reno Plan

On the outside, we want to go from this:
To this:
Extend the roof line, giving us a covered deck upstairs.  We're also planning to extend the porch and the roof over the porch around each side of the house to give access to the doors that are/will be on the sides of the house.

The interior will go through a complete over haul as well.  There are too many walls in this house and we plan to knock some down.  It's a work in progress but once complete I will share.

Now we just need to save about $200k so we can make all this happen.  Top Ramen at every meal for the next 20 years should do it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

I'm so lucky - no really, I am.

I'm sitting here at the computer - right now.
Matt is on the couch playing Mario on the Wii b/c even though he beat it, he didn't find all the big coins - Heaven forbid.

Anyway, back to the point -
In between yelling obscenities like, "Sonuvadick" (yes, he really just said that,) he says to me,
"I love you Ringgy.  Do I tell you that enough?"
Love this guy:

On another note - I've set up some stuff to automatically post over the next few days so they may seem really random since I did them stream of conscious like and my conscious is not linear.
Hope it all makes sense - just ask if it doesn't.

Before and Afters

The rooms that we've completed are the living room, office, dining room, bathroom, foyer, and kitchen.
We're only documented two of those rooms here (the bathroom and foyer) and I think it's about time I changed that.
Because everyone loves a good before and after picture, here are ours.
Living Room - Before:
Curtains that aren't long enough or lined.  Yellow walls.  Spackle and putty spots all over the walls.
And After:

We kept the couches, unfortunately.  They're just too comfortable to give up right now.  We painted the walls builder beige and the ceiling a shimmery brown.  New lined curtains and pictures are on the walls.

Office - Before:
This is the day we moved in.  Nothing much to report here.  Some more trim to patch from the old HVAC and more yellow walls.  Hooray.
And After:

We painted the stripes with the same paint from the ceiling of the living room since they are adjacent to one another.  Still need a new rug and curtains but for now, we're calling it done.

Dining Room - Before:

Those damn yellow walls were everywhere plus more trim patching from old HVAC and termite damage.  This room shows the most dramatic change but was also the most work.
New light fixture, new paint, added wanescotting up two thirds of the wall with a picture rail topping it off, and crown molding underneath.  Plus new curtains.  I'm not completely pleased with the curtain rod length or the tablecloth but from where we've come - this is my favorite room in the house now.

Kitchen - Before:
This room is entirely new in this photo.  Remember there was no kitchen when we moved in.  In this photo, we've already added knobs to the cabinets but our new fridge hasn't been delivered yet.

We added a copper back splash, painted the walls chocolate brown, rearranged some of the counter top appliances, added shelving, and one behemoth of a fridge.  I'm still on the hunt for curtains.  
Now you've seen everything that's worth taking a picture of - soon (hopefully) we'll be before and aftering the bedroom.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

2010 - What you may have missed.

Everyone knows we got hitched in 2010.
Here's what you may have missed:

We went on our HoneyMoon. Antigua.  And learned that the correct way to say Antigua is AN-tee-ga.

We went on our annual "family" camping and cabrewing trip to the Elk River.  Yes, I do have a swimsuit on, it's a bandeau top - no tan lines on the shoulders, please.

Those tan shoulders came in handy when I wore a strapless dress to a wedding.  We felt much too hip to not have a picture from the evening.

The basement flooded and flooded again.  Homer buckets from Home Depot and a Shop Vac  came in handy.  We're saving money so that we can correct the problem.

We bought some pretty awesome furniture.  The buffet came from an estate sale and the wardrobe was on the side of Eastland Ave with a "For Sale" sign taped to the front.  Score! 

We went on our annual "family" vacation to Mexico Beach, Florida.  And promised that no pictures of humans would be taken since none of us were feeling beach body ready. 

And the last couple of weeks of the year included: an all day drinking party courtesy of Lester and Dooze, Matt having a cold for the first time in 3 years, and a New Year's Eve spent on the couch watching a movie.
I haven't had my camera out of its case since Florida.  Seriously.

Here's to 2011 - saving money and making some color and design choices for the rest of those yellow rooms.