31 May 2010

Starting Summer

Memorial Day marks a day of remembering our troops and the unofficial beginning of summer in the States. I did not spend nearly enough time acknowledging our troops today, but I did kick off the summer with a traditional summer pie. Yes, I made this year's first peach (and blueberry) pie. It was a bit tart, a reflection of the early season peaches, but still pretty tasty.

I hope that I eventually get an opportunity to make a pie for my grandma because I can't help but think about her and her award-winning pies each and every time I make one.

I also made another recipe from the Newlywed Kitchen cookbook: prosciutto and cheese pinwheels. It's similar to this recipe, but it includes pepper and sage (fresh from our garden - thanks, Pat). I substituted asiago cheese for the parmesan in the recipe. Of the three recipes I've tried from this cookbook, this is the third successful one. This one is a definite keeper!

My next adventure begins in the morning. BarBri, here I come!

29 May 2010

Just Another Day in Paradise

Days like today remind me of how much I love our suburban life.

To start, I made cheddar, ham, and dill biscuits* from my new cookbook, The Newlywed Kitchen. I need to use less salt and a tad more buttermilk next time, but they were pretty good for a first try. While they were baking, I used my wonderful new non-stick French skillet to make scrambled eggs mixed with my leftover ingredients as a side for the biscuits. I'll never again own a skillet that is not non-stick because this one is just so awesome. (The next time you need a gift idea for someone who cooks, consider a non-stick skillet. Really, they're that good.)

After a relaxing late breakfast with my sweetie, I went outside to take some "after" pictures of the gutter and interrupted our squirrel's breakfast. Isn't he/she cute?!

George is currently in the attic trying to eradicate the two wasps he spotted up there earlier. I have a photo of him in his protective gear, but I've been asked not to post it. Spoil sport.

This afternoon, I'm going to pick out some exterior lighting fixtures and contemplate making a fourth new recipe in three days. In case you're curious, on Thursday, I made curry chickpea salad from the above-mentioned cookbook, and, yesterday, I successfully completed my first attempt at tortilla de EspaƱa, a favorite dish from my time in Spain.

It's a shame that bar prep starts on Tuesday because I'm really getting into this suburban housewife thing. :-)

*For readers outside the US: Biscuits are, for the closest comparison, a savory scone. They're denser than a muffin but lighter and flakier than a scone. Come visit, I'll make some for you!

Draining the Seattle Rain We Love So Much

Yesterday, we had new gutters installed on our house. The before and after shot doesn't really do justice to the big change. Sure, there is a visible difference between the old gutters, which were sagging, rusting, and leaking at the seams, and the new gutters, which are seamless, straight, and drain at more appropriate places. But, the big difference is going to come over time.

The gutter guys discovered that several of our drains were clogged and all of them had been improperly seamed to the downspouts, allowing a considerable portion of draining water to enter the ground around the house. It'll be nice to have the peace of mind knowing that the rain will now be draining away from our house.

It'll also be nice to fire our gutter cleaning guys. The new gutters are equipped with micro-mesh designed to keep debris (mainly our over-abundance of pine needles) out of the gutters and on its way during the next windy day.

We have a little clean up work to do, including trenching one new downspout and cleaning up the muck from behind the original downspout locations, but the gutters are well on their way to making our lives simpler. After the gutters and two or three pending projects, I hope that we will make our goal of creating a more comfortable climate in our home. Stay tuned.

24 May 2010


With just a few weeks between graduation and the beginning of bar prep, we decided to take a long weekend to taste wine in Napa Valley. While we were there, we made a few new friends, drove through the valley, took a hot air balloon ride, and relaxed with a massage. Ahh...just what the doctor ordered to prepare for two very difficult months.

Elkhorn Peak Winery

Above Napa Valley at Sunrise

I'm experimenting with photo options, and I've posted some more photos on Picasa. Enjoy!

17 May 2010

Graduation Weekend

Graduation weekend was certainly memorable. My mom was in town for the week prior to graduation (more on that in a separate post), and - as a complete surprise to me - Paul, George's father, arrived on Friday night. It was so special to share the milestone with our family and friends. Thanks to all who shared in the celebration!

14 May 2010

Graduation: Live

In case you're interested in viewing all or part of tomorrow's graduation festivities, it will be streaming live on Seattle University's website. The ceremony begins at 10:00 am and will probably last several hours, including at least two speakers and 300+ people being called by name. I'll be near the end. ;-)