vacation is over…

Hope you’ve all been well!  I took a much needed vacation from blogging for the past few weeks as I’m sure you’ve noticed. The bathroom is progressing, albeit slowly. My sister-in-law got married and looked gorgeous. My finger is a million times better thanks to hand therapy and I may be able to stop going soon. Work is absolutely insane and I’m overwhelmed and stressed to the max. Oh, and the Pope took over Philly.

Because the university I work at is in Philly, we were closed on Friday as well as today – yay! That meant I got “vacation” – work at home, do massive laundry, do massive cooking. I have to say, I have not felt this productive in a VERY long time. Between Friday and today, I made 4 loaves of pumpkin bread, 1 loaf of white bread, a beef/carrot/tomato/mushroom stew, 2 batches of meatloaf, 3 pounds of turkey basil meatballs, and chicken cordon bleu. Needless to say, I’m now EXHAUSTED, but have a very well stocked freezer!

It probably sounds crazy to cook all of those things in such a short amount of time, but having an extra freezer means that I can do a lot of cooking and freeze it all for those times when we just can’t deal with making a meal when we get home from work, which is often. Plus, we have barely had free weekends since June. In October we have two weddings, in November we have another one, and in between various work functions that take over nights or weekends. But for now? No worries! We have plenty of food to keep us busy for a while 🙂

it didn’t fail…

I personally love seeing Pinterest Fails. I find them absolutely hysterical. BuzzFeed always has a lovely collection of the fails and I find myself laughing my ass off at multitudes of baby pic and culinary disasters.  I, however, have been very lucky thus far and have not had any epic failures despite my many, many pins and adventures. I figured what better place to share my Pin Wins than here!

A week ago I was making an amazing chicken dish that had a mushroom cranberry sauce, but wanted something green for the side as The Man and I are trying to eat healthier. While grocery shopping I picked up a beautiful bunch of asparagus but had no idea what I’d do with it. When all else fails I go to Pinterest and found this recipe which looked pretty fool proof.

It was, as advertised, the easiest and quickest asparagus, on top of being ridiculously yummy. The only thing I did different was cutting the asparagus spears in half so they’d fit nicer in the wok I used to cook them in (which was the only pan that would fit on my otherwise occupied stove).

How about you? Any epic Pinterest wins or fails? And while you’re at it – follow me! I’ll keep on documenting my Pin Wins (I think I need to trademark that phrase) when I try something especially yummy or crafty 🙂

my plants overfloweth

A lot of people have been complaining that it’s been a crappy summer weather wise, and it has been if you’re a big beach person. It seems like just when it was getting warm, all the sudden fall is here. BUT, if you’re a tomato plant in my backyard, you are REALLY happy.

Last year my cherry tomatoes were horrible. The pollen got burnt out really early in the season, and if I got twenty tomatoes the whole summer I’m exaggerating. This year, as a preventative, I planted three Patio Tomato plants, and four cherry tomato plants just in case. I figured they wouldn’t all thrive. BOY was I wrong.

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They didn’t just thrive, they become EPIC TOMATO PLANTS OF GREATNESS. (Also pictured is some lemon thyme over on the left and some mint taking over near the front). In the beginning of August, the above is what it looked like. The one is, no joke, now six feet tall. I now have about three stakes with various parts of the cherry tomato plants strung up all over the place.

Every day when I come home from work, I have about six cherry tomatoes, and about every third day I have at least one Patio tomato. It has been like that for about three weeks now. I’ve started bringing them in to coworkers just so they wouldn’t go bad. Needless to say, dinner almost every night is tomatoes and something. A burger, on grilled cheese, cut up in pasta… And later this week i’m going to try to make sauce. I literally have four patio tomatoes and about thirty cherry tomatoes sitting on my counter right now, all ripe and happy and just begging to be used.

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I don’t know about you, but if this was a “crappy” summer, I’ll take it! Bring on the tomatoes!

avocado addiction

I may not be a ridiculously healthy eater, but I do have a slight obsession with avocado. Whenever I can get it on something – burger, sandwich, taco – I always ask for extra. I’m usually hesitant to buy them, though, because I don’t have much luck with picking good ones, and they’re typically pretty expensive. When I visited my mom last weekend, there was an AMAZING deal – 5 for $5!!! So needless to say I returned home from my visit with 5 gorgeous Hass avocados, slightly unripe so that I’d be able to spread out the usage.

I keep reading about all these recipes that use avocado as substitutes for other ingredients in recipes, and one that intrigued me was as a mayo substitute in tuna fish. So tonight, I busted out my sharpest knife, plucked the stem off one of the avocados, and got lucky – perfectly ripe. I used one can of white tuna fish, half an avocado, about 1/2 tsp of minced onion, a little salt, and a little garlic. Mashed all together and on low fat Triscuits, it was PERFECT. I think I have officially sealed my fate on my addiction. Next try, avocado egg salad.

feline friday does pumpkin

The Man and I were totally spoiled yesterday for Thanksgiving. The amazing Michele of Pickled Sweet invited us over to celebrate the day with her and her husband in their home. We were treated to turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans,candied sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and the most amazing apple & fennel stuffing. Oh and don’t forget dessert: pumpkin goat cheese cheesecake. ALL TO DIE FOR. Needless to say we were well stuffed by the time we got home, and our fridge is full of leftovers that she sent us home with.

Unfortunately, we’re not sharing leftovers with the cats. They got a can of shredded turkey with cheddar, but other than that I’m being greedy. Or so I thought.

I tucked into a slice of the cheesecake tonight, and lo and behold, what appears at my side but a furry friend who is more than willing to STEAL help me eat some of it. Luna was so hardcore going after the tiny bit I left in my bowl that I had enough time to go get props and snap a pic.

IMG_20131129_201355_838Hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving and a great day of holiday shopping!

little happy homemaker

You would think that being a writer I’d be spamming you with new posts on a daily basis. Well, my friends, that is simply not the case (as you can readily see). It seems like during the spring and summer I tear into project in the house full gusto, but once the months turn chillier and the daylight hours grow shorter, I’m completely content to settle in with a good book and try to destress from work.

Halloween was boring at our house this year. I’ve been working crazy hours so the pumpkins and fall leaves and other assorted decorations didn’t get put out, save for our candy holder. Oh, and I dressed like a peacock for the day.

2013-10-31 09.41.54Now, the Man made fun of me, as he was taking the picture because the running joke is that our house is the “Where’s Waldo?” of peacocks and it’s scary that I could throw this together. But in my defense, the scarf is from my sister-in-law, the pin was my grandmother’s, and no peacock is complete without the rocking headband my aunt Susan gave me a few years ago. Needless to say I was one sassy admission coordinator on Halloween.

2013-10-31 15.54.52And oh yeah – I’m a LOSER so I did my nails turquoise too. The best part of Halloween was the card we got from Aunt Susan, which TOTALLY looks like Loki (if you could get him to sit still).

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Then there was feline Friday where I totally failed at posting a picture of one of my fur-babies BUT… it was for a good reason. I was finishing a crocheting project for a friend!

2013-11-03 12.04.34It’s a bunny buddy blanket that I pieced together from, oh, 4 different patterns to create. And Luna was more than willing to model it for me.

Then the weekend commenced and so did crazy errand running, and of course fall cooking! The day started out with the Man and I going to an estate sale which was boring but we each scored a good book to read. After he went to bed (he works nights still… ugh) I made two loaves of meatloaf (one to eat, one to freeze) with a honey/ketchup/Worcestershire sauce glaze, roasted cauliflower and potatoes with garlic and Parmesan, and cornbread on Saturday for dinner.

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I also threw a loaf of Italian herb bread in the machine yesterday, and made two loaves of butter bread today, one of which is on the cooling rack at the moment. And then, of course, I cleaned my house like a crazy person and did about 5 loads of laundry.

I know my cats get a little frisky/crazy this time of year and love running aimlessly around the house. I kind of feel like I did the same thing this weekend. Good thing because it’ll burn off all the yummy carbs I cooked.

Hope you all had a fabulous fall weekend!

 

 

herb love

Yesterday I was starving around 3:30 and remembered I hadn’t eaten lunch. I was already home for the day, so I decided to raid the kitchen. I found a bag of ricotta tortellini, but didn’t want to open a whole jar of sauce for myself. I had a vine tomato that needed to be used and some leftover feta but not much else. So out to my garden I went, cut some fresh basil and cilantro, chopped everything up, and voila! Instant pasta topping.

It may not have been fancy, but it was delicious. Nothing is better than fresh basil with pasta. I love having fresh herbs growing just a few feet from my kitchen.

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