Monday, December 31, 2012

Husband's Home Office: Pt 2

Husband's home office has been a project that has been finished, then destroyed, then made better, then made a little worse, then made a lot worse... Over and over again. I'm considering all of that craziness to be part 1. It has kind of turned into a storage room, but I really hate that. He needs his own space, and this used to be where he would game and hang out. Now it's just where he throws stuff when he doesn't feel like dealing with it right away.

Oh, also, it's where our printer lives. And it's getting hard to get to the printer...

So this is what we're dealing with. Lots of junk strewn about with no particular order to things... And the desk is missing under an avalanche of papers.

I started with the closet, which you can't see in this picture. But let's just say it was bad. Very bad. Now, it's still bad, but it's bad in a bunch of boxes...

And boxes are a lot easier to manage than junk on the floor. When you have a box, its easy to keep like things together and transport the pile as needed. So step 1 - put everything into boxes!!!

I did pretty much the same thing with the rest of the room, then threw all the boxes in the corner. It's not done, and it won't be done soon, but at least now I can get to the printer and it's not embarrassing if anyone needs to get in the room with me. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Confessions of a Sentimentalist

There is a fine line between being sentimental and being a hoarder. Sometimes I worry that I overstep that line. As you can see by the picture to the right, courtesy of Katie Vee Photography, I had a big bouquet at my wedding. A cascade of roses, feathers, and greenery. It was seriously beautiful, but unfortunately not practical to keep around forever.

I looked into bouquet preservation, but it starts at $300... And there's a lot of other things I could get for $300 that I would love a whole lot more.

So I decided on a compromise... I kept a couple pieces of the bouquet, hung some roses upside down to dry them out, and sat on them for a few days.

I have a few boxes of dried flowers floating around... A corsage from my first prom, a flower from an anniversary, my husband's boutonniere from my parent's wedding... But this was my wedding bouquet! I had to do something special.

So I scoured the internet (mostly Pinterest) for a few hours until I found something that seemed useful. All kinds of cool ideas were out there, no doubt. But a post on OffbeatBride really got my attention. So I made an ornament with my bouquet!

It was really simple, just took some petals, a part of a feather, and the gem from my rose and popped them in an ornament. Super cute, right? Oh, and that ring around the top is from the favors my mom made for my engagement party. I knew I hoarded them for a reason!

Culinary Adventure: Reddit Steak & Veg Chili

That there is a two inch thick, two and a half pound, porterhouse steak. And it was the first steak that I have ever cooked.

I'm a big reddit fan, especially the subreddit AskReddit because it really is a wealth of knowledge. Sure, you gotta wade through the filth, but when you find a gem, it's totally worth it. Recently there was a thread titled "Chefs of Reddit, what are some tips and tricks that everyone should know about cooking?" As an expert in water boiling and potato mashing, but very few more complicated dishes, I thought "hey maybe I can learn something here..." Then I found the following recipe:

  1. Ingredients:
    1. Thick cut (porterhouse) more than 2 in

  2. Prep:
    1. Keep meat uncovered in the fridge overnight.
    2. Hour before cooking, remove from fridge and pat down with paper towels.
    3. Preheat oven (and pan!) to 500.
    4. Season both sides of the steak with coarse salt and like a teaspoon of oil.
    5. Place pan on stovetop, and sear each side of the steak for 2 minutes.
    6. Stick about three tablespoons of room temperature butter and three sprigs of fresh rosemary on top of the steak.
    7. Replace steak in oven for 3 minutes.
    8. Flip the steak and cook 2-3 more minutes.
    9. Baste the steak with the melted butter.
    10. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

 It didn't seem too complicated, so I figured I'd give it a go. Got a nice cut from the butcher at the supermarket, and told him it was my first time. "Aww man, girl you're gonna love it - this is a good cut of meat!" It was also a $22 cut of meat. Little bit of sticker shock, but after eating a tiny piece of sirloin at a restaurant the other night for $12, I realized... This is a much better deal.

So I dropped that sucker in the fridge, threw a little salt on it to help it dry out, and waited. Now, in addition to cooking that steak, I also had my vegetarian friend coming over for dinner last night. I didn't think I'd be able to convince her that it was a soy steak, and I never really make meat-free dishes, so I quickly Googled some fast vegetarian entrees and settled on a chili dish. 

I'm not going to spend much time talking about this dish, but it was pretty good. I got the recipe here, left out the mushrooms, and subbed in black beans. 

So back to my steak...

I learned a few lessons from this steak... The ceramic pizza stone we have worked great for searing the steak. However, as a flat surface, it didn't do a go job containing the butter and other juices, and I wound up getting them everywhere. Next time, I'll need to figure out a better cooking surface.

Also, the recipe above didn't produce (for me) a rare steak, it was only up to about 106 degrees... I just kept flipping it, 3 minutes on this side, 3 minutes on that side, until I wound up with a nice medium-rare piece of meat.

Tell you what, that was a good piece of meat. And the vegetarian chili was pretty damn good, too! 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

That squirrel stole my spoon!

So that is my spoon... But that is not my squirrel. We have a reasonably friendly squirrel that frequents the birdfeeder squirrelfeeder suction-cupped to our front window. The cats love to paw at the window, and the squirrel could seriously care less. 

Now that he/she (I think there might be two, but it's hard to tell them apart, and I am not an expert on sexing squirrels) is pretty used to me, I thought I could maybe try to hand feed the little fella. I got a spoon, covered it with peanut butter and squirrel food, and opened up the window. Aaaand I dropped it. Scared the squirrel away. 

Not wanting to waste perfectly good peanut butter and corn, I dropped it into the feeder so he could munch on it later. Well, he certainly did. And then he grabbed the spoon and took off. Didn't go too far, and we were able to retrieve the spoon. Pretty adorable little thief if you ask me.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Perfect Wine Bar

I have been looking for The Perfect Wine Bar for our basement for well over a year now. I had a specific color, function, and size in mind. Unfortunately, no one seemed to want the same thing as me because I could not find this damn wine bar for so long.

Until one fateful day in Bed Bath and Beyond... There it was. The Perfect Wine Bar. It held glasses, bottles, had a drawer, little hideaway doors. Perfect. Amazing.

Unfortunately, there weren't any in stock around me (besides the floor model) so I had to order it online. Could barely drag the box in the door when the Fed Ex guy dropped it off, but fortunately my big, strong husband was able to haul it down to the basement.

We opened the box, knowing we'd have to do some assembly, and then started pulling out piece after piece after piece after piece after piece... And it just kept going!


This? This is my perfect wine bar? 

Fortunately, every piece was labeled. But Husband was not amused...

We kept moving on. And on. It took a few hours (and we're IKEA experts - not our first rodeo!) and looked like we would never finish. But finally... Stepping back... There it was!

The Perfect Wine Bar. Next to our "fully" stocked bar. Tomorrow, I'll fill it up with wine, glasses, and anything else that would make sense... Can't wait! Super stoked to have this gorgeous new addition to our downstairs entertainment space.

Who am I? How did I get here?

I've had a few blogs before. And they always start the same way - I'm going to update this all the time. I'm going to improve my writing. I'm going to get readers. I'm going to make it interesting. And this is no different... Except this time, I will do these things.

I got married on December 15, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland to my high school sweetheart of seven and a half years. Ryan and I are parents to six furbabies - three cats and three ferrets. We own a home in what I would consider the middle of nowhere, but we're still close enough to the city to have some entertainment on weekends. The house has been one project after another for years, and I'm not expecting that to stop any time soon.

I don't know how to describe my style. I like earth-tones, relaxing colors, and super-personalized everything. I don't feel comfortable in a space that doesn't feel me. Nerdy, unique, fun, relaxing, and practical. That's what I want.

Above photo courtesy of the amazing Emily Chastain Photography.