Thursday, August 22, 2013

Anyone still home?

Anyone still there?

I know I fell off the bandwagon big time after the holidays this past year and then only followed up with 3 posts in March.  I had every intention of making my return to the blogging world a regular one.  I absolutely love it, after all. So March came around and I got all excited with those 3 posts.....and then the hubs and I decided to put our house up for sale.  Little did I know how many changes such an endeavor would bring.

It went something like this: the Saturday before Easter the hubs and I went to look at a few homes to see if we could find any we liked.  If we could, then we agreed that we would put our house on the market.  Of course, we toured THE house that day.  You know, THE ONE.  You walk in and just know from the moment you step inside that it's where you're supposed to be.  It just has a peace about it and feels like home.

A lot of times this gets confused with a home just being super nice.  This home wasn't the biggest or the most expensive home we toured, but it had the most charm by a long shot for us.  It had character and we loved that so much attention was paid to the details.  You know those mammoth homes you walk into and it seems like they just went big for the sake of going big?  We wanted plenty of room to grow as a family down the road, but certainly didn't want the aforementioned feeling.

People kept reminding me that home is wherever you make it and that you can be incredibly happy in several homes.  While I know without a doubt this is so very true, I still kept going back to "Yeah, but this is different because I just know we're supposed to be there".  I even referred to it as "our house" when talking to other people.  Lordy.  Dramatic much?  My poor husband....when we walked out of the house after touring it I looked over at our real estate agent with a big cheshire grin and shouted "We'll take it!".  I turned back to my hubby only to see a look of pure bewilderment, as we obviously had yet to discuss it ourselves.  Whoops.  Too late to shovel the words back in now.  He kept telling me I was a real estate agent's dream.

To make a long story short, we listed our home 2 weeks later on a Wednesday, sold it to the first potential buyers 3 days later, offered on "our" home 2 days after that and closed on both 4 weeks later.  To say it was a whirlwind would not even come close.  A good whirlwind though. 

We've been in the new place for a little over two months but it still doesn't feel anywhere near settled.  We were lucky that we didn't have to do any major repairs, but there were several cosmetic things I wanted to take on.  Of course there is this little thing called a budget (smile) and I have been trying to spread the projects out.  

One of the things that needs to be replaced is the double oven.  It's a great brand (Thermador), but it's an older model and never heats evenly.  I've tried to bake 3 different layer cakes only to have them burn and/or cook so unevenly that they weren't edible.  While we have certainly been busy moving, one of the biggest reasons for the lack of food blogs is this issue with the oven.  Because of its issues I don't feel like I can even begin to give someone instructions as to how to prepare something.

Exhibit A: The Culprit

Hopefully there will be some food posts soon!  I certainly hope so because I miss this blog something terrible.

Below are a few pics of our new home and things we want to work on.  I figured this could be a peace offering since I don't have any food pictures to share at the moment.  I won't regularly post pics of my home and/or household projects considering it's not an area in which I hold any ounce of expertise.  Rather it's just a means to help explain my absence.  That and several out of town friends kept asking for pics.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Mint Brownies with Fudge Frosting

As I've mentioned before in a previous post, I've always been a bit indifferent to the idea of making brownies from scratch.  It just seems like there are so many steps when a boxed mix is quite frankly (in my opinion) just fine.  And by just fine I mean that I would have no problem finishing off the whole pan by myself :)  I always end up loving any brownies I make from scratch, but my preconceived notions still somehow manage to persist.

But during a Pinterest search for some St. Patrick's Day recipes I kept coming across mint brownies.  And the more pins I saw the more I was craving some for myself.  Typical, I know.  I swear I believe Pinterest is responsible for 99.9% of my food cravings!

There are tons of great mint brownie recipes out there, but I decided to try my hand at coming up with something new that would have all of the aspects that I was craving.  i.e. a soft brownie base, a thicker layer of mint and then a fudge frosting on top.  These brownies are extra minty in flavor because I used mint chocolate chips for the fudge frosting instead of semi sweet chocolate chips.  If you're not looking for as much of a punch you can stick with semi sweet.

I don't really have a lot of green in my closet, so hopefully I can placate anyone who might pinch me for not proudly bearing the color with one of these least that's my plan :)

Happy {early} St. Patrick's Day!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tomato Basil Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

A while back I fixed this tomato basil soup and had the idea of adding grilled cheese croutons.  I've always loved the Campbell's tomato soup with grilled cheese on a cold day and thought that surely the presence of basil in my dish wouldn't throw things off too much.

Apparently this is a pretty popular idea though, seeing as how I glanced over at a Food Network magazine last night in line at Publix and saw this exact dish on the cover.  Great minds think alike, right??


This was the first tomato soup I have ever made, unless you count the aforementioned Campbells.  While I'll probably tweak it as I make it more in the future, I must say I was pleased with how it turned out.  It was creamy, but not so thick that I felt like I was slurping down whipping cream.   And even with 4 cups of basil the tomato flavor still took center stage.  The only thing I might change next time is that I might remove the skins of the tomatoes that I roasted before adding them to the stock pot.  That's just a weird texture preference though :)

Just make sure not to add the croutons until you're ready to eat them.  Otherwise they tend to sink in the soup and get really soggy.  Yuck!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Red Velvet S'more Bars

Anyone still there??  Anyone??  Geez it's been a long time since I've posted.  Almost three months to be exact.  This blog is something that I've been (for the most part) pretty regular with for quite some time and then I just stopped cold turkey not too long after Thanksgiving.  [pun intended]

I guess I could come up with some pretty good excuses:
1. I battled a gnarly sinus infection for about 8 weeks there.  No lie.  Nothing would get rid of it.  The netty pot became my best friend.
2. Then I got the flu.  For the first time.  Ever.  It was awful.  103.7 degree temps are no fun.
3. Because of the aforementioned excuses I lost my sense of smell and thus taste.  And when you can't taste you can't cook.
4. Who wants to eat food prepared by someone who's sick???  Even if I had cooked something, I wouldn't have felt right asking someone to eat it.
5. I still haven't been able to transfer all of my old food photos onto my new laptop and thus can't blog them.
6. By the time I get home and cook something there is ZERO daylight left which means I can't take photos in our sunroom the way I like.  I've tried shooting with artificial lighting and I never can get it to look the way I want it to.

And honestly I just needed a break. I tried to take a break here and there for a while, but 1 or 2 weeks just wasn't enough. I needed a breather. This blog is just a hobby, but it takes a great deal of time and I think I just got burnt out.

I felt like every post there was an apology for the week of silence followed by a promise that I was back in action. But really I just needed to step back from everything a bit.

So for my return post I wanted to feature something that I absolutely loved.  And these red velvet s'more bars fit the bill :)  I always loved sitting around a fire, whether I was camping or just in someone's back yard, and toast a marshmallow until it turned that perfect golden color.  That meant it was just crispy on the outside, but still warm and not burnt to a crisp on the inside.  And of course you always had to have half a Hershey's bar for each smore.  I don't know how some people can use just one or two of those tiny little squares.

This recipe is the perfect solution when you want to have a great comfort food-type dessert for a get together, yet you don't have a fire pit in sight.  These little guys were super easy to make and certainly won't last long once you bring them out!
*More pics coming tonight!  Apparently they didn't save on the draft, but I didn't want to delay the post just for that reason.