Posted in Random Stuff

Should I Start a Kitchen Fundraiser?

Hi All!

Can you believe August is just a few days away?  Me either!  I am so not ready for this Summer to start coming to a close yet. So, I am praying hard for an Indian Summer and some more free time to hit the beaches!!  (Pray with me people! MORE HOT WEATHER!)

Thought to talk a little about what has been weighing on my mind.  Our house renovations.  If you haven’t kept up, we are in the midst of finding a contractor to work with us on a kitchen and guest bathroom renovation.  It’s been tough, but that is because this job is big and a lot needs to be fixed/updated.

We took a ride early Sunday morning to a cabinetry place in NH.  I was so impressed with this location.  My husband had contacted them check in on their cabinet selection and hours of operation. Within seconds of talking, the person invited us up to see their showroom on Sunday, even though they were not technically open. We showed up and they let us have full reign of the space, browsing, pulling out stock and talking for hours. Great experience.  The girls had a blast, too, cause this company was smart! They had a decked out TV room and a fun play room filled with toys. So, needless to say, we got to browse and shop alone!  And. Glad to say that we finally made a step in a direction with our renovations project.  We picked out a cabinet style and two finishes we liked..and counter tops, too.   God I hope this all works out well!! 

Tomorrow night someone from that company is coming by for measurements, design consultation and further pricing. Then right after they leave, another contractor is coming by, contractor #3.  I am looking forward to this meeting, he is a real nice guy, and was the contractor we used on our last humongous construction project in 2007 -the creation and build of new stairs, gutting and rearranging the bedrooms on the second floor. Also, renovating master bathroom, refinishing ceiling and walls in master bedroom and ceilings in living room.  Like I’ve said, I live in a quaint contemporary MONEY PIT. ugh.

Anyone want to contribute to my HOLY SHIT I AM POOR fund?  No?  Damn.

The hunt to find the right contractor at the right price is overwhelming me a little more. The thought of this whole project is, actually. I just want it all to be done!! Here’s our Houzz page or pinterest board of what I like.. now make it happen!  (Did I mention I am a touch like Veruca Salt? 😦 ) So far the two people we have met with have been fine and dandy, knowledgeable and nice, but they seem to have the pricing skewed.   One guy priced out the build without cabinets or appliances included, but $O RIDIC EXPEN$IVE!   And the other guy priced it out without the bathroom tiles included..and OMG! FAQN EXPEN$IVE.  Then we still have to add in the costs to buy appliances, lighting, table and chairs, faucets, bathroom storage, washer and dryer, and accessories!! With my husband sort of this business, we know pricing well, and feel like this job can come in less than the two quotes so far. We have a budget and want to stick to it as close as we can.  If this other gentleman doesn’t work out, then I am fearing we will hold off on this project longer, or snag someone too late with the job going on for weeks in the winter.

Our current kitchen is such an eye sore.  Some cabinets are falling apart. Drawers are not working properly. The faucet’s spray handle is temperamental and the garbage disposal decided to seize. I can hardly fit things anywhere. Since we’ve discussed this updating these past few weeks, our dishwasher has decided to be a jerk and not work right (like it knows we are trying to replace it!) and our brand new fridge’s handle broke off out of no where the other day; which we bought last year after our other new fridge died! My desire for this project is hard pressed since we have been talking about and looking at (and PINNING!) so many new, white, shiny things .  NEW AND SHINY in a kitchen! I want that!!!  My kitchen is so dated, ugly, drab and…brown.

I don’t like brown.

I like shiny.

OK!  Before I start more whining I should get outta here smiling.  Maybe I should weigh myself? ha  NOT BLOODY LIKELY TODAY!
Love you all!

xoxoxox

Posted in My Recipes

Apple Pie

Apple Pie

4 lbs Granny Smith Apples, washed, cored, cut into quartered pieces and peeled
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup raw sugar (Sugar in the Raw), and 1 tbsp for topping crust
1 tspn salt
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
Zest of 1 orange
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tspn ground nutmeg
1/8 tspn ground allspice
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 pre-made pie crust (follow directions on package)
1 egg beaten with a tbsp water for egg wash.

Some of your ingredients
Some of your ingredients

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine in a bowl: cut apples with the zests, juices, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.

Core and slice the apples.
Core, slice and peel the apples.
Grate an entire orange for the zest.
Grate an entire orange for the zest. Use the juice from this fresh orange.
Same with the lemon
Same with the lemon
Add in a 1/3 cup Sugar in the Raw (raw sugar)
Add in all the dry ingredients (already aded allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg.) then add a 1/3 cup Sugar in the Raw (raw sugar)
Add in 1/2 cup flour
Add in 1/2 cup flour
Mix well.
Mix well.

Roll out half the pie dough and drape it over a 9-inch pie pan, bring it about 1/2-inch over the rim.

Place rolled out dough over bottom of pie pan.
Place rolled out dough over bottom of pie pan.

Fill the pie with the apple mixture.

Fill empty pan with apple mixture.
Fill empty pan with apple mixture.

Brush the edge of the bottom pie crust with the egg wash. This will keep the crusts together.

Top with the second crust, bringing the edge 1 inch over the rim.
Crimp the 2 crusts together with your fingers.

Pinch the dough to seal the bottom with the top.
Pinch the dough to seal the bottom with the top.

Brush the entire top crust with the egg wash, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar, and cut 4 or 5 slits.

Egg wash the whole top, then sprinkle on 1 tbsp of raw sugar and cut vent slices on top of the dough.
Egg wash the whole top, then sprinkle on 1 tbsp of raw sugar and cut vent slices on top of the dough.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 1 -1 1/4 hours.

Let pie cook till browned* and the juices boil and bubble out.

*If your crust edges are browning too quickly, cover with tin foil so they don’t burn. (nothing worse than making this delicious pie and the crust burns!)

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Done!

Not only does your house smell insanely good after baking this, but you now have a delicious fool proof apple pie! Enjoy!

Posted in My Recipes

Pasta with Zucchini and Cannelini Beans

Pasta with Zucchini and Cannelini Beans
1 medium-sized zucchini, washed and cubed
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 medium-sized yellow onion, chopped
1 can of cannelini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated cheese, Romano Pecorino works best.
1lb cooked pasta

Your ingredients- zucchini, onion, garlic and cannelini beans (shown not drained/rinsed).
Your ingredients- zucchini, onion, garlic and cannelini beans (shown not drained/rinsed).

Heat olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.

Add in garlic and onions, cook till translucent.

Add in zucchini , stir, then sprinkle in the salt and pepper. Caramelize the zucchini (cook until the zucchini begins to brown slightly, but do not burn!!).

Zucchini combined with onion and garlic in skillet.
Zucchini combined with onion and garlic in skillet.

Push the zucchini to one side of skillet, and add in the beans to the empty side. Let beans heat through, then mix the zucchini with the beans till incorporated.

Turn the heat down to medium. Cook for 5-10 minutes, till the beans are soft and cooked through.

After incorporating the cannelini beans
After incorporating the cannelini beans

Take skillet off heat. Toss in pasta.

Top with your favorite grated cheese and done!

DONE!
DONE!
Posted in My Travels

Cape Cod – July 2013

Hey Everyone! We are having an amazing vacation week!

Started off Friday, with hitting up our second favorite beach in Gloucester. Spent an entire day, till the sun set, enjoying the hot weather and warm water. Such an amazing day! Then we took the kids to see Despicable Me 2 on Saturday; which, I was shocked I liked..cause I passed out watching the first one. Actually, I passed out two times in a row with their first movie. Which is shocking cause Jason Segel, the man of all men, voices the villain. Hmm, I am not even sure I have ever made it through an entire 1 movie!! But 2 was a real fun movie! Great story and I laughed a lot. Most definitely will buy this when it hits video. Then on Sunday we went to our first birthday on Pomp’s Pond. We live about a mile from this pond, and never more than just drive by it. So, I was really looking forward to this birthday party to check it out. Uhm. All I can, nicely, say is that I am not a pond person…and I grew up walking to Wright’s Pond with family and friends throughout my childhood! BBUUT, my kids had a ridiculously fun time with my husband. And have asked to go back several times already. Not with me I can assure you. :/

20130711-211404.jpg Pomp’s Pond, Andover

20130711-211625.jpg See? I was real excited to go!

After this we took a day to pack and fool around; which means we went to see an Omni movie after walking through the Museum of Science, then grabbed some German pub food at Jacob Wirth’s. Which, was hilarious. It was trivia night, and I won a tee shirt for knowing a whole lot of nothing. A tee shirt that has the writing on the back that I won the tee shirt at trivia night there. A powder blue tee shirt that my oldest daughter has been priding over since I had her go up to Mr. Morgan White, a Barry White type, who was the trivia master, to grab it. So much pride, that I had to immediately launder the trivia tee shirt to bring to The Cape for her as a PJ! Only my kid. Of course, I think it is totally awesome, too.

Then, we left for The Cape! We got there in record timing, and it was non stop fun together. Lots of swimming, beaching and a lot of eating and drinking! Even had a couple of hours to myself to get ready for dinner one night. Which, if you know me, know that this meant way more to me than most women or mothers! Nothing like a blazing 15 minute hot shower, the tunes kicking, and, singing like a reject out loud… Yup. Just being able to be in a towel for thirty minutes putting on makeup and doing my hair without rushing…is a big gift. So awesome. :). My husband rocks!

My goals for this trip were to not be ‘connected’ so much, wear zero black and to eat like a human being, not a big fat pig. Welllll, I got wearing hardly any black down! And, I am proud to say I didn’t eat all that bad. I didn’t clear any plates, actually split every dish with my kids, and I had small kid sized ice creams twice. I was online once or twice a day while grabbing a latte or when in need. So, not bad, right!? But, we did have an issue with weather. The mid Cape, where we were, had cloudy weather with spots of sun, and on our last day rain. But we didn’t let that get in our way. Nooooo way!!

Here are a few pics taken from our Cape trip… I took soooooo many, and these were cute enough to share!

Being a goof before the trip even started
Being a goof before the trip even started
There were hydrangeas everywhere, and they were so big and blue. Loved seeing them!
There were hydrangeas everywhere, and they were so big and blue. Loved seeing them!
The girls with the hydrangea at the hotel.  Amazingly HUGE!
The girls with the hydrangea at the hotel. Amazingly HUGE!
I love the sandart at all the locations in an around Yarmouth. People have talent.
I love the sandart at all the locations in an around Yarmouth. People have talent.
My husband and I in Hyannis at Tugboat's.  A fun deckside place.
My husband and I in Hyannis at Tugboat’s. A fun deckside place.
View from Tugboat's.
View from Tugboat’s.
Our oldest loving to walk the beach
Our oldest loving to walk the beach
A couple shot
A couple shot
Four Seas Ice Cream.. in Hyannis.  YES, it was good.
Four Seas Ice Cream.. in Hyannis. YES, it was good.
Mini Golf! under a waterfall, it was nice and cool.
Mini Golf! under a waterfall, it was nice and cool.
Cute sign at the mini golf place.
Cute sign at the mini golf place.
Some sandart on the beach of Sea Gull Beach.
Some sandart on the beach of Sea Gull Beach.
Their pail that I decorate every year.  (it's my fav thing at the beach! aside from the sun and ocean obvs!)
The girls’ pails that we decorate together every year. (it’s my fav thing at the beach! aside from the sun and ocean obvs!)
Using her board for the first time, and she had a B L A S T!
Using her board for the first time, and she had a B L A S T!
Our little one too.  So cute.
Our little one too. So cute.
Before heading out to dinner, couldn't resist another hydrangea and girls pic.  :)
Before heading out to dinner, couldn’t resist another hydrangea and girls pic. 🙂
I highly recommend a stop here!
I highly recommend a stop here!
All of us down on the Bass River before dinner at the Summer Shanty.  My fav deckside spot.
All of us down on the Bass River before dinner at the Summer Shanty. My fav deckside spot.
The girls with the big man.  Super sweet pic right?
The girls with the big man. Super sweet pic right?

The girls and I.
The girls and I.

Ahem, anyone notice my tan lines!? I fqn got a tan on my already visible tan!! A newwwwww record! (Said in my Mario Party mini-game voice-yup i’m a nerd!)

Our youngest doll, with me. And. My ugly shiny face ..oye!
Our youngest doll, with me. And. My ugly shiny face ..oye!
The girls and I waiting for our Tisbury Twix ice cream!  :)  Best ice cream!
The girls and I waiting for our Tisbury Twix ice cream! 🙂 Best ice cream!
Last day on the Cape, and we had the pool to ourselves this AM.  AWESOME!!
Last day on the Cape, and we had the pool to ourselves this AM. AWESOME!!
Last pic of us three on this trip :(
Last pic of us three on this trip 😦

It was a wonderful trip ..together. we have already started discussing next year’s Cape trip! Thinking of renting in Truro! If you have been there, rented or hotel, please message me!!

Oooh, and I chuckled every night seeing my daughter in the Jacob Wirth’s coveted trivia tee shirt. A small men’s tee shirt on a seven year old is quite cute. Well, she is real cute anywayzzz!!!!

Our vacation isn’t quite over yet! Yes! We have a family day planned all day tomorrow and fun stuff throughout the weekend, too! So looking forward to this weekend, cause I am still in need of more sun! Though, I am not looking forward to going back to work Monday, but I’m going to forget that part till…well, Monday morning!

Three more days! (Said in my ‘Steve Holt’ voice). Yup a big nerd.

Xoxoxo

Posted in My Recipes

Eggplant Rollatini

Eggplant Rollatini
2 large-sized eggplants, washed and sliced thin lengthwise
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 large egg
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Romano/pecorino, and three tbsp for sprinkling on top
1/3 lb fresh spinach, washed, drained completely and minced
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling pans
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Need: 3 cups marinara/tomato sauce, a couple parchment paper covered baking sheets, and a 9×13 baking pan.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Slice the eggplants lengthwise into thin slices.

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Drizzle olive oil on pans, then place eggplant slices on top. Sprinkle with salt. Roast till lightly browned on both sides, and fork tender, about 4 minutes per side. Remove slices and allow to cool.

20130703-182514.jpg
Fresh, washed spinach minced in a food processor. After washing spinach, it is important to make sure the water is drained completely.

In a food processor, or you can cut by hand, take fresh, washed spinach and mince.

In a large bowl, beat egg then mix the ricotta, spinach, Romano cheese, nutmeg, and salt/pepper .

20130703-182519.jpg20130703-182524.jpg

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* In the 9×13 pan-add a cup of sauce. Set aside for the eggplant’s next step.

Place a heaping tablespoon of the cheese mixture on the fatter end of the eggplant and roll up tightly.

20130703-182537.jpg20130703-182543.jpg

Place the eggplant rollatini into baking pan, atop sauce, seam side down. Continue with remaining eggplant lining them up tightly in the pan.

Evenly distribute the sauce on top of the eggplant rollatini.

Season with grated cheese and mozzarella.

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Bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and slightly browned.

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DONE! Eggplant Rollatini!