Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Homemade Croissants!

...well, sort of. At least you bake them at home which gives your home the most delicious aroma.

If you're lucky enough to live by a Trader Joe's, I highly recommend that you get yourself to the frozen section of this amazing store. There, you will find an innocent looking box of frozen croissant. But not just any croissants, my friends. Noooo. These little gems are frozen blobs of dough that look, well, down right unappetizing when taken from the box. However, let them proof overnight on the counter in a pan lined with parchment paper and ... viola! ... in the morning you will have something that actually resembles croissant! Brush the tops of each croissant gently with an egg wash and pop them in the oven for 15-20 minutes.

The payoff: 8 soft, delicious, flaky croissants just waiting for you to dab them with apricot preserves. Or maybe blackberry preserves. Mmmmm. Either way, delicious 'homemade' croissant fresh from the oven on a Saturday morning. Life just doesn't get any better than this!

Bon appetit!

More Before and After Photos

Here are a few more before and after photos of our new home.

Master bathroom before:

Master bathroom after:

Dining room before:

Dining room after:

Garden room before:

Garden room after:

As you can see, we've been busy, busy bees putting our home together. This past Saturday our investment club met at our house. It was the first time a few of our friends had been to our new home. They were surprised to see how 'put together' everything looked. In looking at the pictures, I am too! It doesn't seem possible that we've just been here two short months. It's true -- time flies when you're having fun!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Tri-tip and Chicken and Ribs, oh my!

Last night we had the pleasure of dining at a new restaurant in Pasadena. Or rather, it will be a new restaurant in Pasadena when they open to the public on Monday. Last night, it was still a bit of a secret. They had a fundraiser last night for cystic fibrosis. The deal was that, with a reservation, diners could feast - for FREE - as long as you left a tip. All tips will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; the restaurant will match all donations.

And feast we did!! Kevin and I invited our friends, Bev and Ken, to join us in our gratis dining adventure. We ordered, and shared, tri-tip, BBQ chicken, baby back ribs, chopped salad, and grilled veggies with feta cheese. We also indulged in a sweet dessert combination - a delicious slice of out-of-this-world carrot cake, and bite-sized brownies. All of it, every bite, was absolutely delicious.

It is my pleasure to recommend that, should you ever be in the area, you dine at the Stonefire Grill. It's a top-notch family-style restaurant with excellent food - and a conscience to match.

Oh Deer!

One of the things we've really fallen in love with at our new home is the feeling of being up in the mountains. In our old house, we considered it 'in the foothills'. If that house was in the foothills, we're now living at the mountaintop! Which is to say that we now realize the old place was not really 'in the foothills' at all. Now that we are, we certainly understand the difference.

This morning, as usual, we took Slippers to the park. (As luck would have it, there is a park just two blocks from our new home! Slippers is thrilled with this; we had a park just one block away from the old house and she loved it. Saturday and Sunday are 'park days'; we go early in the morning and allow her to be off leash -- Heaven for a curious canine =) Right at the edge of the park, I saw something move. Upon closer inspection, I saw it was a deer. I said to Kevin, 'LOOK!! A deer!'. He didn't see her at first; her fur blended in with her surroundings and she stood completely still. Then, her ear twitched and Kevin saw her. The three of us stood there for a bit watching the deer watch us. Soon a noise frightened her a bit and she began to trot up the street ... where we spied yet another deer. We watched them a few more minutes before they disappeared into a neighbors yard. What a wonderful way to start off a Sunday morning -- watching deer in your own neighborhood!!

In addition to the deer, we've discovered a family of raccoons who live nearby ... and are glad that we have Slippers water dish outside at their disposal. And then there are the coyotes. Lots and lots of coyotes. The raccoons and the coyotes are interesting creatures to watch, but we're glad to keep them at a safe distance away from us and, particularly, from Slippers.

Our neighbors have told us bear stories - literally. But we've been lucky enough to have avoided any bear sightings or contact. At least for now!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Regarding Recipes:

It's best to avoid any recipe that contains the word "congealed".

That is all.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Finally ... a few pictures of our new home!

I finally did it. I finally took some pictures of the house now that everything is all organized (well, at least for the most part - just shade your eyes when you go in the garage and pretend you don't see those last few boxes in there!). Ready for a few before and after photos? Okay, here we go:

Master Bedroom Before:

Master Bedroom After:

A bit of a difference, no? Okay, how about ...

Living Room Before:

Living Room After:

Wow, just looking at the pictures, I'm blown away by the difference!!

Okay, I'm off to accomplish a few more things on my list. More pictures to follow soon!

Soup's on!

It's definitely gotten to be fall around here. It took a little while, but the heat finally broke a while ago and we've been enjoying much cooler weather - especially at night and in the early morning. YAY!

Yesterday, Kevin and I had a rather lack luster day - neither of us was feeling too peppy or full of energy. Our school district offers free flu shots to employees and their families (how nice is that!) and Kevin and I both had flu shots on Friday afternoon. By the time we woke up on Saturday, we didn't feel like we had the flu, we just felt a bit achy and had no energy, so we kind of laid low.

We decided that most of our chores could wait until Sunday, but we needed to get the grocery shopping done Saturday. Why? Because, with the cooler weather, I wanted to make soup (!) and I needed a few ingredients, so we just decided to go ahead and do the major shopping trip and get that behind us.

Soooo ... late yesterday afternoon, I made homemade chicken salad, brownies, and a large pot of creamy corn chowder. YUM!! For dinner, we had the chicken salad on toasted cinnamon raisin bread and a big bowl of hot corn chowder. It's one of my favorite meals at Mimi's Cafe, and it translates just as nicely when you make it at home ... for a lot less than what it would cost at the restaurant. And, we have lots of leftovers, too! Mmmmm - I can hardly wait for lunch!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Great Pumpkin

...or at least a pretty good one.

(Has it really been 15 days since last we met? Where does the time go??)

Kevin and I have been working on the house ... still! However, we're pretty much done with everything except the garage. We still have a few boxes to unpack out there, but other than that - we're completely moved in to our new home. YAY! In some ways it seems like it's taken us forever to get organized, but in other ways it seems to have flown by. The reality of it is we've not even been there two months yet, so I think having everything DONE in that amount of time is a pretty amazing accomplishment. Now it's time to turn our attention to other things.

What other things? Pumpkins. Fall decorating. Yard work. 40th birthday parties. Baking. Yard work. Winter decorating. Winter holidays. Yard work. Oh yes, and PICTURES.

I realize that I haven't posted very many pictures of our new home. There are so many things to photograph it's hard to know where to start! But start I must. That will be a project for this upcoming weekend. I promise!

In the meantime, I bought our first pumpkin of the season last weekend. I LOVE pumpkins!! I love to decorate with them as well as eat them. Pumkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin soup, pumpkin seeds. Pretty much you name it and, if it's pumpkin, I'll eat it! But I digress... the pumpkin that I bought over the weekend is on the porch. He looks a bit lonely sitting there all by himself so I need to be on the lookout for more this weekend. I love to have pumpkins on the porch all season long. We don't usually carve them, though we might try one or two this year. I'm thinking about trying one like this - what do you think??