Home In Disarray

July 29, 2009

100º today.

100º today.
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Wish me luck.

Posted in: Misc
July 28, 2009

The air conditioning

The air conditioning
By

Craig is a sucker for a good deal and saving money. It’s one of the reasons that I love him, but also a source of conflict when I’m very cold during the winter. After vowing not to turn the air conditioning on (because it’s REALLY expensive), I got a text message from him yesterday afternoon. It said something to the effect of “I turned the AC on, the animals looked miserable.” So, while Craig is cheap, he’s willing to keep the house in the 80’s (when the forecast says 100º for wednesday) to keep the animals happy. If we didn’t have the dog and cat, I can promise you that I’d just have to sit outside and spray myself down with the hose every 10 minutes.

As it is, I’m very glad we have pets.

Posted in: Cat, Dogs, House, Misc
July 25, 2009

It’s hot, I think I might be dying.

It’s hot, I think I might be dying.
By

It’s 87 degrees outside, and there’s NO breeze at all. I’m in shorts and a tank top. I had grand plans to dig a pit in the yard to become a dry well, but there’s really no way that’s happening now. Maybe when the sun goes down or early tomorrow morning. For now I’ll just sit here and suffer. Oh yeah, and highs aren’t supposed to be below 94º for all next week. I think we may be using the air conditioning one or two days next week. 🙁

Posted in: Misc
July 23, 2009

Tasty Waffles

Tasty Waffles
By

I’ll preface this by saying that I’ve never made waffles before. In fact, I didn’t even have a waffle iron until about a month ago my dad gave me one that sort of just showed up at their house. It was also pretty gross and needed a lot of scrubbing and whatnot.

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I’d have made them sooner, but around the time we acquired the waffle maker, Craig and I were starting our “lets try not to be as fat” diet and waffles weren’t really on the menu. When mom came and spent the weekend with us, I figured that it was a perfect time for waffles. Mostly because I really wanted them and partly because company was a good excuse. Oh, and she had a new DSLR that I figured I could take advantage of.

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To assuage my guilt over making butter filled breakfast foods, I decided to make the toppings decidedly “light.” We had fresh strawberries and blueberries, some low fat vanilla yogurt, blueberry lemon syrup, and then of course some real grade B maple syrup.

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While I did have issues getting the color that I wanted out of the top of them, the bottom turned out nicely, and I should have photographed that side! They could use a little more baking powder (I think mine was old) and increasing the butter in the recipe would have resulted in a crustier exterior, but I can’t justify adding more than a stick of butter for 6 waffles, so I’ll just have to get used to that part.

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Posted in: Cooking
July 21, 2009

Our hole!

Our hole!
By

We have these 2 decks sticking off the back of our long, flat, rectangle of a house and they look weird. Really. That in and of itself is fine, but it’s an awkward space that resides between them. The lawn goes up partway, and then we have this “pathway” of concrete blocks, there’s overgrown grass between them, it’s just a mess. Really. Here it is about a month after we moved into the house.

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I really wanted to put a patio in between the 2 decks, but after researching process and cost, decided against it. There was no need to spend a few thousand dollars in materials and spend several weekends breaking my back. Craig and I compromised and decided to put in a low deck. We have 2 steps down to our living room where our main deck is off of, and I wanted this new deck to be a step down from that (to avoid putting an additional step along the front of it as the yard slopes away from it). We had to excavate the entire area where the new deck would be so there would be room for the underpinnings and pier blocks and whatnot. I started doing that, and after 2 halfassed attempts at digging, I decided that it made more sense to pay someone.

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Luckily, Craig’s mom knows someone who does all the unpleasant work around her house, and for $10/hr, so we had him come and dig for us. It took him 9 hours to complete the approximately 300 square foot area. I was pretty impressed, and VERY glad that it hadn’t been me. I spent the day putting in some new plants out front, making paella and drinking wine. Tough life.

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After digging out the cherry tree that he buried in sand, I’m pretty excited, even though we’ll have a huge unoccupied hole for the next few weeks while we save up for the deck materials.

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Yes, I know my lawn’s dead. If you were on top of several feet of sand with no real soil under you, you’d have gone dormant at the first sign of warm weather too.

Posted in: House, Landscaping
July 1, 2009

Nectarine cobbler with a biscuit dumpling top and ginger-spiked whipped cream

Nectarine cobbler with a biscuit dumpling top and ginger-spiked whipped cream
By

Man, this was GOOD. I went to the handy-dandy asian supermarket to get a killer deal on produce, and found one. More specifically, I was hoping to find some good nectarines, the flavor is out of this world, and you don’t have to peel them which means less work, and a more colorful cobbler. I also bought this rad super deep baking dish (like 3+ inches deep) that I was totally pumped to use.
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For some reason, the thought never occurred to me that it would take FOREVER to cook the underside of the topping with 3″ of nectarines under it, but no worries, all worked out in the end. Nectarines really don’t need any dolling up in terms of flavor, so I left it simple. I avoided adding any sugar (desserts that are too sweet aren’t so tasty to me), and just dumped in a couple tablespoons of corn starch to thicken up the juices that would appear once it went into the oven.
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The topping was just a simple Joy of Cooking biscuit topping, but the nectarines were so juicy that they boiled the underside of it and gave it a dumpling quality. It was epic. Really. The whipped cream was simple enough, I took the cream and poured it over about an inch of grated fresh ginger in a jar and let it sit for about 8 hours, when whipped the whole lot with a couple tablespoons of sugar, no need for vanilla or triple sec, or any other flavoring. The ginger and low sugar gave it a nice “organic” feel, but not in a gritty unpleasant to eat way, just in an unmolested flavorful way. It was a good choice on my behalf. Since sometime last summer, I’ve been unable to leave ginger out of pretty much any of my fruit desserts.
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I ran across a pear tart that used powdered ginger and was intrigued. After that, I tried fresh and really noticed a much better flavor. It brings out the freshness in the fruit. I suggest you try it. The whole cobbler/whipped cream mixture got topped with some fresh sliced strawberries to add a bit more color and textural interest. I’d say overall, they detracted from the dish though, too busy and the flavor didn’t add much.
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Posted in: Baking