Tag Archives: new house

Bits and Pieces from The New Homestead

8 May
So, here's the new place!  We are In Love!

So, here's the new place! We are In Love!

Hi there.  I’m back!  I have missed posting, but I have been well behaved and have been getting the house in order.  And then, The Beloved directed me to “post to the blog” today.  And, being a Dutiful Wife, I could not say no, so here I am.  First of all, thank you so much to all of you who’ve left comments and sent emails saying “good luck with the move,” and offering to wipe my brow should I actually Break a Sweat.  I really appreciate all the support; it means a lot to me, Friends.

So, here’s a picture of the house.  For those of you who’d like to see more, I have set up a lovely Set of Photos for you to look at.  I didn’t post them all here, first because there are a billion (an approximation, you understand), and second because not everyone is interested in seeing pictures of the new house.  You’re welcome.

First, I must tell you about Kenny.  Kenny works for TWC, and as such, is a Minion of Satan.  Here’s what happened:

The lovely Dish Network man came to our house last Friday morning around 10am.  He looked through some crazy Geordi La Forge-looking glasses/binocular thingies and determined that The Dish needed to go in front of the house.  The HOA would be Very Upset about this, so he drove back to the office to pick up the Special Dish that gets mounted on a tripod on the roof so he could mount it on the back of the house.  He said most people don’t want to mess with putting it up, because it’s a Pain in the Ass, but he wouldn’t want to have a satellite dish hanging off the front of his house, so he wouldn’t let us have one hanging off the front of our house, either.  How is that for service?!  Very impressive.  So, he came back and hooked us all up and taught me how to pause live television.  I am positively Drunk with Power.

Anyway, after the Nice and Very Useful man (whose name I cannot recall.  Sorry, nice man) left, I was waiting on a Minion of Satan, dispatched by the Goddess Patricia, to come and install our Earthlink high speed Hinternet.  He was supposed to arrive between 1pm and 3pm.  At 2:40pm, a neighbor Hailed Us from the Street, and we wandered down to say howdy.  We talked to him for about ten minutes, and then went back up to the house.  I heard the tell-tale beep of the cell phone alerting me to a message.  It was from Satan herself (it was a woman’s voice) saying that our TWC technician had attempted to call us several times and now we would have to reschedule for a Later Date.  The Beloved sank to his knees, screaming heavenward, arms raised in a Vee, “NNNNnnnnnoooooooooooo!!!”  and, “DDDDDiiiiiiieeeeee, Time Warner, DDDDDiiiiiieeeeee!!!!!”  It was heart wrenching.  I called Satan and Spoke Sternly to her (I am Very Cheeky when I’m sweaty) stating that the Goddess Patricia would be Hearing from Me if they didn’t send their minion out today.  Satan apologized (I think because somehow she knew that I wield the power to Pause Live Television) and said that The Minion would be out, but he was running late.

The Goddess Patricia called at 3:23pm, sounding very tired and sad.  She said, “They haven’t come yet?” and I ‘splained that the Minion was Running Late but would be here.  At about 5:20pm, I called Satan and asked when the minion would arrive, since we were Tired and Sweaty and Cranky.  Satan advised Patience, and the Minion showed up at 5:50pm.  The Minion, Kenny, had an Apprentice Minion in tow.  Poor Abdul.  Anyway, Minion Kenny fumbled about and got us our Hinternet in about an hour.  Then, he left, snapping his fingers and barking at Abdul to Come On.  Away they went.  Little did we know then that they had left behind nothing but Ashes and Smoldering Ruin.

Fast forward to Saturday evening at 8:55pm.  The Beloved and Friend Scott had made two trips from the old house to the new, lugging Very Heavy Things up eight-plus-sixteen steps.  I had been feverishly pointing out Where Things Go all day long.  We were both hot and sweaty and exhausted and sad.  We went up to watch television, looking forward to an hour or so of Being Vegetables and possibly Pausing Live Television, just for fun.  I turned on the television.  Nothing.  I called the people at Dish Network and talked to a Nice Lady for FORTY-FIVE MINUTES as she tried in vain to help me establish connection.  Is it cloudy? It’s dark; I don’t think so.  Is the box plugged in. Uh-huh.  I’m sorry for the inconvenience. It’s not you, but the last thing I want to be doing this evening is talking to you.  We just want to watch TV.  We will send out a helper on Tuesday morning. I hung up and cried and cried.  Not so much because of the whole TV thing.  Just because I was exhausted.  That phone call was the cherry on the cake of our hot, sweaty day.

In the light of Sunday morning, The Beloved said, “I wonder if Kenny messed up our television.”  He did not say Messed Up, though.  We use Salty Language at home.  I cursed Kenny soundly and called our Dish friends, asking them if it were possible that Kenny could have Messed Up our Television.  She said that it was quite likely.  Great.  I spent the next couple of days listening to NPR–a quite nice way to spend days, actually–and taking things Out of Boxes.  I consoled myself with the fact that the Dish folks would be here on Tuesday morning so I wouldn’t have to miss American Idol.  I know, I’m sorry, but I’m addicted.  Go Adam.  Anyway, another Nice and Very Useful Dish guy came.  I told him that Kenny probably Messed Up the Television, and then I went and got the Goddess Patricia on the Horn.  I told her the Sad, Sad Tale, and she sighed a sigh that rose up from the bottom of her soul.  She told me to call her back after the Dish Guy left.

Then, Dish Guy, who I have decided is now a Superhero named Satellite Man (Save us, Satellite Man!!), came and told me that everything was fixed.  Get this–he even made sure that we had Hinternet as well as TV by Fixing Kenny’s Mistake with his Magical Powers.  Apparently, Kenny used a splitter and hooked it up to….nothing!  Hooray for Kenny.   After Satellite Man  left, I called back Goddess Patricia and told her that all was well and to please School Kenny on the Use of Splitters.  She said that she had already spoken to Kenny and would be calling him back after we got off the phone.  She also told me that she would reach into her Magical Purse and pay for any charge the Dish Folks wanted to charge us.

So, that’s that.  We have Hinternet.  We have television.  I can Pause Live Television, and all is well with the world.  And Adam rocked Idol on Tueday evening.  On Channel Six Thousand, Four Hundred, Sixty-Eight. For real.  Oh, and I bet that Kenny won’t be able to sit down for awhile.

We went to our new grocery store the other day, and they were selling a Thing that Gave Me Pause.  I will now tell you about it, so that you, too, will pause and scratch your head and wonder “Why?!” along with me:

This Thing is called AquaJuice, and the Welch’s people make it.  According to the accompanying Propaganda, it is Awesome because it contains no HFCS, no added sugar, has only 80 calories, has 20% of the USRDA of Vitamin C, and equals one full serving of fruit.   But here’s the Really Interesting Thing about this:  it is just watered down juice!  You know how I know this?  It says so on the bottle. “All natural fruit juice and water with added Vitamin C.”   Impressive scam you’ve got going on there, Welch’s Folks. You guys are charging almost as much for Watery Juice as for your Regular juice.  Ain’t marketing grand?

And that’s all I have time for, right now.  I have to tape off the bathroom so I can make the Pepto Bismol pink space into a Soothing Blue and Slate space.  Hopefully, next week I’ll get back to my Usual Schedule.

Moving Day!

29 Apr
Dirty Harry taunts you into action.  Are you ready for it?

Dirty Harry taunts you into action. Are you ready for it?

Friends, this is it.  At least for the next few days, anyway.  Thanks to the Goddess Patricia, I’ll be back out in the Hinternet by Friday, but I have to do pesky things like Pointing Out where the furniture goes.  I might even have to carry a box or two.  There is the slim yet alarming possibility that I may actually Break a Sweat.  Oh, dear.

Well, wish us luck, and I’ll be back in a few days.  Just so you are aware, I might force you to look at pictures of the new house.

Before I go, I read a Thing the other day about a lady who presents complicated recipes on Twitter. In one tweet.  That means she has to stay within the 140 character limit. Oh, I just found the Thing.  You can read all about her here.  She’s @cookbook on Twitter.

Inspired by old Maureen, I gave it a shot with crème brulée the other day, but here are a couple more, just for fun.  Yes, I realize this isn’t Twitter.  I’m just practicing.

wht.choc/cr chz buttercream: melt/cool 9oz. wht choc. Whip 12oz. cr chz, 6 oz butter, salt and lemon juice, tt, w/wht. choc–123 characters

Mex wedding cookies: cr: 1lb butter/1c.10x. Add 2Tvan,1tsalt,2c.toasted,grnd nuts. Mix in 5c sifted AP. chill, ball,325F, toss in 10x/cinn–138 characters

Coconut sorbet: whisk coconut milk, lemon simple syrup, H2O, coco rum, salt and lime juice, tt.  Egg test. Chill, spin–118 characters

Lb cake: 3oz mlk,10.5ozeggs, 12gvan, 10.5oz cakeflr, 10.5ozsugar, 5gpdr, 5gsalt, 13.5oz.butter, 3Tzest,  3Tpoppyseeds. Creaming Method. 350F–140 characters

Pretty cool, huh?  Talk about a template!  Before you think there’s not enough information in these wee Tweciplettes (I just made that up.  I’m not proud), look again more closely.  In such a short format, the explanation of the procedures suffers, because the author/tweeter/Twecipletter wants you to have all of the ingredient information.  Procedures are skeletal at best, forcing you out of your recipe comfort zone and into relying on what you already know about procedures and techniques.  Do you know enough? Love it?  Hate it?  Challenged by it?  What do you think?   Feeling lucky, punk? Oh, sorry about that last one.

Anyway, it’s something to think about.  Hope everyone has a Most Excellent rest of the week and weekend.  Looking forward to being settled and back at it pretty soon.

All I Need Is This Cast Iron Skillet

14 Apr

We are closing on our new house in 2 1/2 weeks.  This means that I am in the process of packing up.  And the question is always, “What can I live without for the next x-number of days?”  In going through the kitchen, I’m pretty sure we don’t need 36 wine glasses–until we move and unpack again, we can probably get by with two.  Do we really need 40 plastic containers, or can we live with, say, five or six?  Will I be doing so much frenzied baking over the next couple of weeks that I need both stand mixers?  How about the blender?  Will we be whipping up piña coladas before summer?

For a kitchen pack rat like me, this will be an exercise in minimalism.  If Bittman can work in a kitchen the size of a half-bath, do I really need to keep all of my pots and pans, cake tins and accoutrements out and within reach before May 1?  I guess not.  So, I will grudgingly pack away a bunch of stuff.  If I were to be brutally honest with myself, which I guess I am being as I sit here, I would tell myself that I can do without all of it.  One or two pots and pans, some tongs, my chef knife and a wooden spoon, and I can cook for us with no problem.

But what about the baking?  What if I feel the need to make a cake, or a quick bread?  Or muffins?!  What if I need a muffin between now and May?!  I can’t bring myself to buy the Scary Kind in the grocery store.  Most of the food on the aisles isn’t real food anyway; it’s just manufactured product.  Some factories make car seats.  Some make baseball bats.  Some make Cheese Doodles.  And that’s the world in which we live.  Uh oh.  I feel myself trying to sidle up onto my soap box.  I will resist the urge right now; I’m talking about packing.  Right then; focus, Jen.

Anyway, to be Spartan about the whole packing thing (if it were up to The Beloved, we’d already have bare walls and be sleeping on an air mattress), in the baking arena, I can make do with:

  1. cast iron skillet
  2. mixing bowl (okay, maybe 2)
  3. whisk
  4. wooden spoon
  5. spatula
All I <i>really</i> need for the next two and half weeks.

All I really need for the next two and half weeks.

With these five Kitchen Implements, I can make cornbread, quick bread, shortbread and upside down cake.  Heck, I can even make brownies.  I can whip up a Little Something and still be relatively Draconian in my packing.  The Beloved will be proud, and I’ll have baking choices.  Win-win!

Oh, and speaking of corn bread, here:

Pre-Move, Last Chance Cornbread

  • 2 oz. oil
  • 2 oz. melted butter
  • 8 oz. whole eggs
  • 4 oz. sugar
  • 1 can corn, well drained
  • chopped pickled jalapenos, to taste
  • 4 oz. shredded cheddar or jack cheese
  • 12 oz. all purpose flour
  • 8 oz cornmeal
  • .3 oz. salt
  • .6 oz. baking powder
  • 2 grams baking soda
  • 8.3 oz. buttermilk

Whisk dry ingredients together really well.

Whisk wet ingredients (minus 1 oz. cheese)  together really well.

Whisk wet into dry just until smooth-ish.

Melt about 2 oz. butter in your 9″ cast iron skillet.

Pour in batter and smooth.  Sprinkle on last ounce of grated cheese.

Bake at 375F until deep golden brown and firm to the touch.  Let cool for a few minutes, then slice and eat.

Notes:  All the mix-ins–cheese, corn, jalapenos–are optional, so change them or leave them out; it’s your choice.  Add some cayenne or smoked paprika to the mix.  Maybe some chili powder.  Make it yours.

Well, I gotta go pack now.

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