Stags and Scotch

What do you get when you mix a lazy Saturday morning, venison sausage, a hungry me, and my over ambitious ideas?!?!?!!  

Scotch Eggs!!

I had never attempted a scotch egg before, but I have pounds and pounds of breakfast sausage from The Engineer’s deer and eggs are a constant staple in the fridge.  It seemed like a perfectly reasonable breakfast idea!  So, Friday night I googled a quick explanation from Gordon Ramsey and decided that fancy British breakfast was just the thing we needed Saturday morning.  This is exactly the sort of thing that happens when I watch cooking shows.  If Gordon can do it….I obviously can do it!  If I can’t do it as well as Gordon, I can certainly do it better than his stupid contestants on Hell’s Kitchen….but that is a different matter entirely.

If you wanna take a stab at making your own scotch eggs, here’s what I used to make my jazzed up, cheesy version.  They turned out crispy and delicious, although they are a bit of work, so they aren’t going to become an every weekend activity anytime soon even though The Engineer really liked them…

IMG_9200

Ingredients

  • 5 eggs plus one for an egg wash
  • 1 pound breakfast sausage of your choice
  • Flour for dredging
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheese
  • Any spices you like….get creative!!!
  • Olive oil for frying

First things first, you must boil the eggs.  Gordon recommend a 4 minute and 30 second dip into already boiling water.  I don’t love super runny eggs, so I opted for an almost 6 minute boil.  Apparently British eggs cook faster?!  My 6 minute eggs were still runnier than I would have liked, and it made them a bit hard to peel and wrap in sausage without breaking open and oozing yoke.  The Engineer likes runny eggs, and I don’t horribly mind them as long as I have plenty of stuff to wipe them up with so we made do.  Next time though….I’ll let them go a couple minutes more.  I was worried that cooking the sausage would cook the egg inside more, but I don’t think that is the case.  Be sure you just cook your eggs to as hard or soft of a boil as you’d like.

While your eggs are boiling it’s time to get creative with your meat!  Our sausage blend is a bit under-spiced so it takes some jazzing up.  If you have a better blend or are just feeling lazy feel free to leave your sausage as it comes.  There aren’t a lot of rules, so add what you’re feeling!  Gordon apparently adds blood sausage and shredded apple to his pork sausage base.  I added cheese!!  The Engineer loves cheese with his eggs and I figured this would be an easy place to add it……plus the following pyramid of spices

1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

Salt and Pepper to Taste

1 Tablespoon each of Garlic and Onion Powder

2 Tablespoons each of fresh, frozen Thyme and Oregano from my garden

Get everything in your sausage all mixed up, and be sure to get your breading stations set up.  I added some salt and pepper to the flour mixture and a splash of water to the egg so it whipped up nicely.

Once your eggs are cooked, cool them down with some cold water and commence the peeling.  I find that peeling the eggs under a little running water really helps the shells come off easier.  I had one egg not survive the peeling intact, so I did end up just frying some of the sausage as patties…..but that’s our little secret so don’t tell anyone!  The recipe would have made 5 scotch eggs otherwise!

To prep your eggs, squash a “large golfball sized handful” of meat into a very thin patty.  I get that that isn’t a super exact amount….but I guess you’re looking for 5 even sized balls.  Try and keep it as round and thin as you can.  Carefully place your peeled egg in the middle and warp the sausage around it.  A couple times I had to grab a bit more meat mixture to bridge any holes, just make sure to get everything covered in the sausage layer.  I found the rolling and forming them in my hands the way you’d make a snowball was the most effective, although don’t squeeze too hard because if you break your eggs, and you like them a little runny, you’ll end up with exploding yoke everywhere.  Not only will this mean that someone will get a mystery scotch egg with no yolk, but it’s also hard to get everything stuck together with all the yolk oozing around!

Gently roll your delicious meat ball in the seasoned flour….transfer to the egg wash….and then finally roll in breadcrumbs.  If you’re ball has gotten a bit amorphous or wonky by this point don’t worry…..just pick it up carefully and reform it in your hands.  According to Gordon it is helpful to press in the breadcrumbs anyway so don’t worry too much about it.  It’ll be a bit messy….but the good things in life are usually messy anyway.

Scotch eggs are traditionally deep fried, but I don’t have a fryer and I didn’t feel like using that much oil just to fry up 4 egg balls in a large skillet.  So….I broke with tradition slightly and just added a generous drizzle of olive oil to my largest, deepest skillet and let it get hot.  Once hot, carefully place in the scotch eggs and cook until brown and crispy!!!  They get oh so deliciously crispy…..must be the cheese at work!  Once they are cooked on one side, grab carefully with tongs and flip over.  Once the top and bottom were golden and delicious, I set them on their sides and slowly worked them around until they were perfectly cooked little brown orbs of goodness.  You might think that a hefty drizzle in the bottom of the pan won’t be enough oil, but remember that sausage will loose grease as it cooks….use that to your advantage!  The cheese and the fact that you aren’t actually deep frying them does cause them to stick to the pan a tiny bit, so just be gentle when you’re working with them.

Serve piping hot with your choice of breakfast sides and of course some coffee…..mimosas if you have them!  If you like your eggs runny you’ll probably want some toast to help soak up all the deliciousness.  They are a bit heavy….in a good “old school, stick to your ribs, keep you full for a long time” sorta way…so I’d steer clear of anything like pancakes or hash browns.  I eat a ton, but even I think that’s too much to take on.  Some fruit, maybe some tea, and pleasant thoughts of the English countryside should be more than enough to start your day off on the proper foot!

IMG_9201

Glorious lil scotch eggs and some apple butter toast!

 

Trader Joe’s Mini Haul

I spent the first part of the week in Omaha at the annual Fuel Ethanol Laboratory Conference.  Before we got down to the business of wasting time and drinking coffee at the conference, we shopped.  There’s a rather extensive outlet mall outside of Omaha that I had never been to, so that was a bit of an adventure in shopping and savings.  After the outlet mall, we all headed to Trader Joe’s, which is maybe one of my favorite places to wander and shop.  Sometime’s it’s just nice to buy things you don’t have the opportunity to buy at home, and to try some fun and random new things.

Full disclosure, these aren’t my photos….because I didn’t think of doing this until after I had already torn through some of my purchases.  I can’t help it….I get excited about things!

dscn9618-695x800

Every once in awhile, I like lemon curd on toast.  So, I finally decided I should buy some for the house!  I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure it’s good.  Honestly, I’ve never bought anything from Joe’s that I didn’t like.

 

english-toffee-1-of-5

This is possibly my favorite Trader Joe’s treat.  Tastes almost exactly like what Momma MisHappenings makes for Christmas except that we use pecans instead of the almonds that coat these little beauties.  Plus side, after you eat the large toffee chunks, you’re left with delightful crumbles of chocolate, toffee, and almonds that are great on ice cream, granola, a fruit crisp…..honestly the possibilities are endlessly delicious!

 

img_3489-768x1024

I don’t ever particularly like chocolate, but these little morsels of caffeine just hit the spot!

 

photo-18

I LOVE BOXWOOD!

Boxwood’s might honestly be my favorite plant.  They smell good, they are a nice little shrubbery, and I pretty much think they are the best things ever!  So, I of course had to buy a wreath to hang on my gate.  I think my coworkers maybe thought I was insane, but I really don’t care.  Nothing gets in the way of me and my festiveness!!

 

roasted-tomatillo-mango-salsa

This was a new purchase, but I’m glad I threw it into the mix.  A good amount of tangy and spicy.  It’s also a good texture.  I don’t like a super soupy salsa, but I also don’t love having to eat it like a meal.  I’m not sure that it really tastes all that mango-y to me.  It’s definitely more of a traditional salsa than a fruit salsa.

 

trader-joes-cold-brew-coffee-concentrate-100-arabica-beans-32fl-oz-0

I have yet to figure out how to make myself a proper iced coffee at home.  Usually, I just resort to pouring cold coffee that I probably brewed the day before over ice and calling it good.  This coffee concentrate makes a much better iced coffee.  I like mixing it with coconut milk for a slightly favored morning caffeine-y treat!

Itrader-joes-lightly-sweetened-coconut-strips

These did not survive the trip back from Omaha…..I got the bored hotel munchies.  Oopsy! Honestly, there isn’t much to say about this.  If you like coconut you really can’t go wrong with these!

 

I also got a few other things that I’m not at liberty to discuss at this time.  With that said, back to the Christmas knitting I go!

The Power of Positive Drinking

Some weeks, you do nothing exciting.  Other weeks, you struggle to work after two late nights of country music and beers.  This week has been a sleep deprived struggle bus, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sunday night started off with one of my favorite bands with one of my favorite people.  Bitch Faced Bestie and I hit up the John Evans Band and Turnpike Troubadours.  We discovered our new personal style icons, and a new catch phrase, “Swagger is what swagger does!”

image

This man is my spirit animal!  It was made ever more perfect by the fact that he was rocking high top Converse All-Stars with his skinny jeans.  You, John Evans, are everything I would want to be if I were a man!

 

image

Because I’m way too cool to not rock fringe, and the BFB is almost always casually rocking bandana in the most perfect way.

image

ON TO THE MAIN EVENT!

image

Sometimes taking selfies is harder than it looks…..

 

This was the second time I’ve seen them in concert, and I would go again tomorrow if they came to town.  Nothing is better than boots, beers, and sweating the the pit of a concert jamming to songs that speak to you.  I know that it sounds gross, but sometimes a good drunk concert is all I need to get me feeling like myself again.

image

You’re getting a double dose of Turnpike:

A—I couldn’t pick just one

B–They are my jam

Would you just look at them?!?!  Perfect!

Most of my week continued on fairly uneventfully.  Thursday night Pimp Money, his wife, and I headed out to the fair for some cheap country music, drinks, and fried food!  Usually I would get my yearly corndog fix at the rally, but the 76th Stugis Rally is wrapping up without me today while I sit on the patio and brunch with Scout.

The night as full of man crushes, cardigans in unexpected places, and younger 20 somethings getting their butts chewed for not behaving.

image

We even got to meet Gunnar!  This might have maybe been more exciting to Pimp Money than his wedding day, we still haven’t really decided.  

The night had three different bands playing, Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys was the opener, Chris Janson was the headliner, and LoCash played the middle set.  Everything was going along just fine, until LoCash hit the stage in what we could only assume was a women’s cardigan!  First off, it was hot…..so why he thought he wanted a cardigan anyway was somewhat confusing for us.  This confusion was quickly followed up by the fact that it had a belt on it.  Now I’m not much of a fashion expert, and maybe I’m just not up to date on my trends, but around here most dudes aren’t running around in beatable, handkerchief  hemline cardigans!

image

I had a better picture of the cardigan, but my phone died and it didn’t save……but there he is, in all his cardigan glory!

 

Chris Janson had never really been on my radar as an artist.  He has a couple popular songs on the radio, but beyond that I had never paid much attention.  I have to say I’m a pretty big fan after he stopped his show because some random drunk girl thought it would be fun to throw full Mike’s lemonades into a crowd that had a bunch of kids in it.  In fact, there was a family with two little guys in boots and pearl snaps who were clearly having their best night ever rocking out to country and it would have sucked a bunch if they had been hit with some sorry excuse of an adult drink!

image

My phone died after this pic, so I don’t have any of my own pictures of Chris Janson playing…..

Have you ever seen a 135lb white redneck play the harmonica?!  It’s pretty epic stuff, I wouldn’t lie to you about these things.

 

I had originally thought my Saturday was going to be spent finishing up sprinkler checks for the HOA.  However, one of the guys was sick and wanted to postpone the check, he just didn’t bother to tell me that information.  So, instead of working on getting the bedroom finished, I went to the farmer’s market and restocked my winter supply of dilly beans!

image

I also maybe bought myself some flowers….but when they look like that for $20 how can you not?!

I now have 12 more jars of spicy beans to get me through the winter.  Last summer I wrote a more in-depth post about my canning adventures, you can read it here.  This year went a bit easier and smoother since I knew what I was doing.  I did forget to add dill to the fist batch of 4 jars because I got way too excited.  However, I just opened them, added dill, and reprocessed.  They look fine and sealed but up so I think my pickling Hail Mary pass turned out just fine.

After the jars were all stuffed and the kitchen cleaned up, I got to relax with a traditional snack, a nap, and movie.  The snack was kohlrabi with Hidden Valley ranch dip, and the movie was Lonesome Dove parts 1 and 2.  Nothing like connecting with my Peterson farm roots while listening to the satisfying sound of canning lids pop and seal as they cool.  Second year in a row, and all my jars sealed up perfectly for winter storage!

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

For the second year in a row, I’ve hosted Thanksgiving at my house.  It always makes me a bit stressed, not because I can’t cook, but because I have an issue with timing!  Last year I was probably 10-15 minutes off my projected 2pm meal time.  This year….perfect timing!  I looked at the clock as we all grabbed our plates to dig in, and it was 2:00 on the nose!  Glorious victory!  So, we had an epic afternoon of eating and way too many leftovers because I’m also not super talented at planning how much food to make…..  Turns out a 10.5 lb. turkey is like 3x as much turkey as 5 people need, and I have essentially an entire 9×13 pan of cornbread bacon pecan stuffing left over.  I shall be eating well for several weeks to come I’m sure!  I still haven’t worked my way up to making pie, so I had Momma bring the pies, and Aunt N brought a couple salads, but otherwise I did everything myself.  Adulthood Level: Intro to Pro Skills!

The Feast!

The Feast!

On to the meat and potatoes so to speak……!

Have you ever just reached a point in life where you need a change?  It feels like everything you’ve done to this point is dumb, and somethings gotta give.  I wanted this year, 2015, to be different.  I was going to be bolder, do things that scare me, and karma was supposed to reward me!  Karma did not behave like she was supposed to, and all my brave moves fell flat on their faces.

I tried to go find him......Karma wouldn't help me!!!  WTF KARMA!

I tried to go find him……Karma wouldn’t help me!!! WTF KARMA!

So…..I did the next best thing…..I changed my hair!  I had been meaning to do my traditional fall hair change anyway, but one change lead to another which let to another, and I just feel like a whole new girl!  It’s amazing how switching small things up can really change your whole outlook.

The changes started off simply enough.  I decided that it was time to be an adult and accept that fact that I don’t have perfect vision.  So, I ordered myself some glasses so I could actually see my tv and the world around me is a crispy, sharp way.  Like dropping a pebble into the mystical lake that is adulthood, that one event set off ripples of change.  After the glasses came the new hair.  The new hair brought new shampoo and styling products.  I truly believe deep down in my soul that everyday is a good hair day when your hair smells the way it does when you leave the salon!  Please, no one pop my bubble of hope about this…it’s science, I should know!  Actually, it’s probably more about the fact that the smell reminds me of the salon, and the salon is one of my favorite places.

My desire to have an epic bath time experience post Asshole Tinder Cowboy spurred me to buy fun new things from Lush.  On a whim I ordered a bath bomb in their new fall smell.  It seemed a bit questionable at the time (black pepper, patchouli, and vanilla) but I’m so glad that I did!  My new smell is Lord of Misrule!  It smells like everything that’s right with the world.  It’s a bit manly, a bit fall, a dash of vanilla, and just all around epicness!  If they ever discontinue that smell I shall be oh so sad.  So, I ordered a second order of bath bombs and the shower gel to try and get me through the year until next fall.  Cross those fingers people!  

I’ve been wearing the same perfumes since college, and they are finally running out.  For awhile I debating just rebuying them because perfume shopping is actually the worst thing ever.  Things that smell good in the bottle smell like butt on you, and lord forbid you try more than one at a time and then have to spend the rest of the day smelling “like a French whore house”!  However, I did finally find one that I’m totally digging on.  I had originally passed on it several times, because I don’t like how it smells in the bottle.  On a lark I got a sample at Sephora and I’ve been wearing it everyday.  Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb is my new jam!  I’m adding it to my Birthday/Christmas list I think! (Cough, Cough….Hint, Hint, Hint)

It looks like a little hand grenade of awesomeness!

It looks like a little hand grenade of awesomeness!

It’s really amazing how sometimes it really is the random things that can change everything.  I’m sure eventually the newness will wear off, and I’ll run out of Lord of Misrule shower gel, but in the meantime I’m loving my whole new situation.  It hasn’t changed me as a person, it’s just changed the way I feel about my situation!

The thing that never changes……and will never change…..is that even when I feel like I can’t change the small things I have my friends and family to see me through.  It doesn’t matter how bad things get or how much success you have, your friends and family are always there to support, encourage, and congratulate.  That’s what I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving week, my friends that put up with my crazy and my family that puts up with my bitchiness.  

My friends became the focal point of my trip to the hills the other week.  So here’s to my friends, the ones who had my back when I saw my college dream frat boy with his fugly new girl in the hills (Yes….I saw him out at the bars :/), the one’s who distracted me and kept my mind off the Asshole Tinder Cowboy, and the one’s who are always down for cheeseballs, beers, burgers, too many orders of chile rellenos, mystery flavor jello shots, and generally having the best time!  

I also spent a great night with G and his gorgeous baby girl when I was in the Hills, but idk that babies belong on blogs cuz the interwebs can be a weird place.  She did however teach me how to “make potatoes” on the kitchen floor, and she amazed me with her technology skills.  18 month old me could not have worked a smart phone!  Technology on little one, and grow up to show the world what’s what!

 

A Dilly Bean Party and Other Homemaker Type Things

I learned a new skill, and I pickled green beans!!

(I wrote the bulk of this last night after I finished canning, but I couldn’t publish it until today, because I needed to let some stuff sit over night to make sure it all worked before I started spouting my epic successes…..I won some and I lost some.)

I didn’t even know that dilly beans were a thing until Momma’s friend sent me a jar last fall.  I’m totally hooked…..just the right amount of spicy and dilly!  Apparently, they are good in red beers and bloody mary’s.  I’ve never actually had a red beer, and while I do like bloody mary’s, I just eat the beans plain….straight outta the jar! I was a bit apprehensive about the whole canning process….it seemed harder than it actually ended up being.  Also, there was the small issue of all the green beans at the grocery stores looking…….questionable.  Momma informed me that it was past bean season, however I soldiered on, and collected some jars and other required paraphernalia from the basement at home in preparation.

Priority one was obviously trying to find beans.  After striking out at several grocery stores, I had an epiphany….THE FARMER’S MARKET!  I totally skipped out on morning Yoga Sculpt….ooops….in favor of hunting down several pounds of beans and dill.  I was totally victorious, and I also snagged myself a beautiful bouquet of dahlias……just becase sometimes you need flowers in your house!  Sadly, one of the dahlias is looking a bit wilty, hopefully he will perk up over night.

(….he has sadly not perked much….I cut off some more stem, but I might have lost a dahlia.)

Great shopping success!

Great shopping success!  8 pounds of beans and 2 fluffy bunches of dill…..

Gorgeous

Gorgeous

8 of the jars from Momma’s house went into the dishwasher, and I started prepping the veggies.  I had to do the canning in batches because only 4 jars would fit in my largest pot at once.  The beans went into the colander in batches, and I snapped the ends off and cleaned them.  Garlic cloves were smashed and peeled, celery and carrots cut, and Scout mooched the entire time for vegetable treats!

Getting organized

Getting organized and mentally prepared!

Prep work is key....can anyone say Mise en Place!?!?

Prep work is key….can anyone say Mise en Place!?!?  This was enough to do the first 4 jars.

While the jars were being washed and the beans were being prepped, I started my huge soup pot of water warming and the brine.  Mostly, the part about canning that stressed me out the most was that everything has to be hot, or the lids won’t seal.  More than once I sent out a panic text about the fact that the beans were stressing me.  However, I’m 98% confident that all my lids did in fact seal, and that I won’t have to consume my body weight in dilly beans in the next two weeks.

(Checked all the seals today, and they seem good.  Canning success!)

Smells horrific.....turns regular ol' beans into something amazing!

Smells horrific…..turns regular ol’ beans into something amazing!

I was also slightly concerned that I wasn’t packing the beans into the jars tight enough.  The first jar was a bit rough, but after that I think I got a technique down fairly well.  I did have to read about how to can using a water bath online….

A….because I have visions of horror whereby a pressure cooker blows up in my kitchen, and

B…..because all the recipes I found online just said “process jars”.

SOME OF US ARE DUMB NEWBIES!!!  How does one go about “processing jars”!?!?  Turns out you cover the jars fully plus 1 inch of water, and then start counting the time when the water returns to a gentle boil.  Also, I didn’t have a rack for the bottom of my pot, so my jars required a bit of babysitting so they didn’t bump around too much and break.  Don’t worry, I didn’t loose any jars!

The first jar, sealed and ready for the water bath!

The first jar, sealed and ready for the water bath!

Basically, you just keep repeating the jar filling process until you run out of stuff.  After the first batch of 4, I had run out of vinegar.  Helpful tip…..if you want to start pickling, just buy the biggest jug of vinegar you can find…..trust me, you’ll need it!  I did go out and grab more vinegar, and I ended up with 10 jars total from the 8 pounds of beans I started with.  I did have to run another batch of jars through the dishwasher, so I had sort of a long break between the second and third batch.

V is for Victory!

V is for Victory!

Look at all the deliciousness!

Look at all the deliciousness!

All in all, canning wasn’t a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Plus, now that I know what I’m doing I totally understand why people would want to do this.  It’s an easy way to be able to eat delicious veggies all winter long.  I come from a farming and canning family, and even though I will probably never get fancy enough to do jams and jellies, I would like to get to a point eventually where I can do tomatoes, pickles, beans…..the things I eat and use often.  Unfortunately, I don’t live on a farm, so the growing of all the veggies is still a bit problematic.

I might carve out some time next weekend to make more dilly beans, because I have a feeling these are going to be eaten pretty quickly!  Plus, it’s nice to keep old school skills alive.  If people my age don’t learn and use these skills they will eventually be lost.  I understand that we live in a world were it’s easier to drive to the store and buy cans of tomatoes….but that hasn’t always been a reality.  At the end of the day, it’s never a bad feeling know where your food comes from, plus there’s an extra sense of pride that comes from knowing that you did something yourself!

When you learn a new skill and are suddenly overtaken with the desire to do it all day everyday!

When you learn a new skill, and are suddenly overtaken with the desire to do it all day everyday!

It was actually a whole week of random home activities around here.  Monday I skipped out on work to finish up some of the furniture that sat in my garage all winter.  I had a set of dining room chairs I never got around to finishing, mostly because I bought other chairs to go with the table.  Monday was the day!!  The chairs were already painted, they just needed to be distressed and waxed.  Now, instead of chairs in the garage serving no purpose, I have chairs sprinkled randomly around the house. photo 1

Some sanding and some dark wax does wonders to fix up some ugly chairs.

Some sanding and some dark wax does wonders to fix up some ugly chairs.

I also suffered a bit of a landscaping crisis this week.  We’ve been having really strong winds all week, and one of my little trees is having some issues being a tree.  I had originally thought that the fees I pay the HOA every month went towards things like spraying weeds and making sure my trees grow in an upright direction, however I have slowly started to learn that that isn’t the case.  I haven’t quite gotten around the spraying the weeds and crab grass yet, but I did get the tree back on the up and up.  Fun fact, I ran into the Vinyl Enthusiast at Menards the other day and he had to help me find tree fixing accouterments.  Sometimes, it’s all about who you know!

(The wind picked up again last night, and pulled the stake out of the ground.  So, I’m once again back to having a tree that refuses to act like a tree.  At this point, it might just be easier to rip it out and plant something new.  Can’t win everything I guess!)

When you go outside and discover your tree having technical difficulties.

…..when you go outside and discover your tree having technical difficulties treeing……

A Lazy DIY Weekend

Last weekend was my first “homework free” weekend since summer class started 8 weeks ago.  I was pretty excited to get some stuff done around the house.  My original plan was to finish the dining chairs that have been taking up space in my garage all winter.  However, some of the required supplies ended up at Mom’s house, so that idea was out.  Instead, I did some low key projects around the house.  It’s been awhile since I’ve done much of anything to the house, so I’ll try and get you up to speed.

Friday Night

In prime summertime funtime form, Friday afternoon was spent at the pool.  Post sunning I may or may not have taken a nap before deciding that it was finally time to head out to the store and buy some food.  After getting cat called and followed around the Walmart….ugh disaster……I ended up at a bar with Pimp Money talking about my rally adventures.  Apparently, you know you’re “single as fuck” when your friend calls you at 10pm on a Friday night, and you’re out grocery shopping.  Thanks for that little reminder Pimp Money!

Saturday

I didn’t do much.  I was still way to sore from the gym to even think that going back for another workout would be a good idea.  Instead, I made coffee and eggs and bummed around on the couch watching NCIS.  Fun fact….Netflix has 11 seasons of NCIS.  If you need me at any point in the near future, that’s what I shall be doing.  If your activity doesn’t beat Gibs, Abby, and Ducky….I’m probably opting out.  #atleastimhonest #abbyismyspiritanimal

SCIENCE FOR THE WIN

SCIENCE FOR THE WIN

I did eventually motivate to clean my house, and I did grill a bunch of food so I’d have leftovers to eat all week.  Brats and zucchini over charcoal…..life doesn’t get much better.  The bestie came over and helped me switch out a light in my stairway.  My house has really ugly light fixtures, and they all have to go!  Through the power of google, Angry Orchard, and some creative ladder placement, we swapped the flush mount ickiness for my hanging orb, and it’s looking much nicer now!  Thank goodness I know how to use a wire nut!  (I just took a safety class, and promptly ignored everything I learned while balancing a ladder on two different landings.  We did however flip off basically every breaker in my entire house because electricity is tricky! Safety first kids!)

WHO EVEN LIKES THESE?!?

WHO EVEN LIKES THESE?!?

photo 4

Seriously though…..make sure you turn off the power before you start rewiring light fixtures. Zaps hurt!

The next item on our bestie to do list was replanting my terrarium.  I’m not sure what happened, but when I moved he died……..like a very moldy, crispy, dried out sorta death.  So, off to Walmart we headed.  The plant selection was a bit depressing so we decided that girl’s night with the dogs, wine, and ice cream would be better.  No complaints here about HAVING to drink wine and watch Gerald Butler! 🙂

I die.......

I die…….

Sunday

Woke up late with no particular plans again.  Made more coffee and breakfast because ya know……a girl’s gotta eat!  Saturday night I bought the Lonesome Dove box set at Walmart so I decided that I would be lazy and watch it.  I had forgotten that just Lonesome Dove is a 4 part movie!  Needless to say, I only made it through the first 2 parts on Sunday.  While lounging and watching the movie I did manage to make 3 batches of banana bread for no real apparent reason.  So, I’m set on the bread front for the foreseeable future.  I also picked a whole pile of tomatoes off my little plant and made some bruschetta for dinner……because it’s amazeballs!

Side Note– Scout has turned into a deranged tomato puppy.  The first thing she does anytime we go outside is run over to the tomato plant and prance anxiously around whilst licking the plant.  Then she sits there, whines, and pouts until she gets a tomato……spoiled lil diva dog.

I did manage to dress myself and head off to the garden center and got 3 new baby plants for my terrarium and an air plant.  The terrarium plants were classified as “Fairy Garden Size”, and I oddly enjoy that fact.

From crispy dead to fresh and green with a little baby plant to spare.

From crispy dead to fresh and green with a little baby plant to spare.

Terrarium Tutorial

  • Make sure to wash and dry your chosen pot, and wipe hard to remove smudges
  • 1 inch of small pebbles in the very bottom
  • About 1/4 cup of aquarium charcoal to help purify the water
  • Add a layer of larger, flat-ish rocks to help keep the soil out of the pebbles (You could also use a layer of coffee filters, but I find you can see it around the edges)
  • Mix water and an additional 1/4 cup of charcoal into potting soil.  Soil should be wet, but not soggy.  (This helps your new plants get the water they need without having to over water the terrarium)
  • Arrange plants as desired and keep adding small amounts of damp soil as needed
  • Cover, water sparingly, and trim plants as needed.

A covered terrarium, like I have, should in theory “self-water”.  Water filters down through the soil and into the pebbles were it eventually evaporates up and condenses on the lid.  If you want an open terrarium you’ll have to water more often.

After the plants I headed to the mall.  I had money to spend at Victoria’s Secret, and of course the coupons didn’t work online…..so off to brave the weekend mall crowd I went.  Normally, I wouldn’t have spent so much money there, but

A. Sports bras were on sale, and I NEEDED one!  I get sick of doing laundry purely because my gym clothes are dirty.

B. Some of my regular bras have taken to trying to impale me, and I will only attempt to sew them back into submission so many times.  So this…..was also a NEED!

Finally got an air plant for my champagne cork….isn’t he cute?!?!

Mischief managed for the weekend I guess!

I’ve also made some decisions about the rest of my house….finally!

  • Colors for the bedroom have been picked!  I won’t paint until the fall when the humidity returns to a some what tolerable level, but the decision has been made!Bedroom 1I don’t think I’ll paint the whole wall blackberry, but I will be adding a chair rail and trim/molding to the room eventually to up the fanciness level!
  • I’ve decided the time has come to finish my garage.  Bestie, the Hubby, and I will fix all the tape and it needs to be painted.  I’m just going to use leftover house paint, so whatever my garage is gonna be “townhome beige”.  After that I will get all my shelving hung and hopefully get everything up off the floor and organized.
  • I’m debating the purchase of a chandelier for my bedroom.
photo (2)

I think this may be a need in my life!

Sometimes, You Just Need To Be Fancy

I have done two unthinkable things this week!!!  First, I finally joined the modern age of dating, and got a Tinder account.  Welcome to the crazy, we’ll talk about that whole situation later!  The second was that I signed up for a 5:30 AM rowing class tomorrow.  I love to row, but nothing about me functions well before about 8AM…..so we shall see how this goes.  Since I need to somehow wrangle myself into bed ungodly early, tonight’s post shall be short and sweet.

Do you ever just sit at home and think to yourself, “I want to eat something fancy, but I’m also lazy.”  If that’s you then I’ve got your fix.  It’s fancy enough to serve company, and easy enough to whip up anytime you’d like.  I present to you, Caprese Bruschetta!

How could you not want to put this in your mouth immediately!?!

How could you not want to put this in your mouth immediately!?!

The Fixings:

  •  1 Container Cherry Tomatoes
  • ½ Package Fresh Mozzarella – I buy the pearls, or you can cut up a ball into pieces.
  • 1-2 Tbs Fresh Basil – Chop finely, or you can purchase fresh basil paste in most grocery stores
  • 2-3 Tbs Olive Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Option: 1 Clove Minced Garlic

The Prep: I find that this is better if you can let everything sit together for an hour or two and blend.  The prep is super simple, even non-chefs will master this with ease!

  •  If you’d like to add some garlic, it’s best to infuse it into about 3 Tbs of oil olive in a pan over low-medium heat.  Just cook until everything starts to become aromatic, but watch carefully so it doesn’t burn!  Let cool slightly.
  • Wash, and slice the tomatoes in half.  Occasionally, I like to get extra fancy, and mix in some yellow tomatoes as well.  Just use half a package of each.  Also, regular tomatoes can also be used, you may need to adjust the dressing slightly to account for extra juice in larger tomatoes.
  •  Add the tomatoes and mozzarella to a mixing bowl.  Throw in the basil and drizzle with the olive oil, infused or plain.  Splash in a dash or two of balsamic vinegar, and stir to mix everything together.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  The dressing should be very light, but cover all pieces.  It may pool slightly at the bottom of the bowl, but that’s fine.  If it looks dry, drizzle in a bit more oil and vinegar.  Embrace your inner Italian grandma.  It’s an art not a science!!  Cover your bowl, and let everything marinate in the fridge for an hour or two.

Digging In: Now, the fun part!

  •  Grab some good bread, generally I do Italian, but anything will work.  Slice it thickly, about half an inch, and butter both sides.  Toast in a pan on both sides until crispy and golden, like you’re making grilled cheese!
  •  Stir up your bruschetta topping and ladle on the gloriousness.  Be sure and grab some of the extra dressing from the bottom.  If you want to get extra fancy, you could top your fanciness with a basil leaf, but I’m single and I frankly don’t have the time for that!  The best I manage is an extra drizzle of balsamic for that extra air of fanciness!

During this whole process you should be drinking wine….any wine….all the wine!  Sit back and bask in the delicious and simple creation before you.  This recipe would be exceptionally good with a trip to a farmer’s market for super fresh tomatoes and basil.  Since the recipe is so simple, it’s really important not to skimp on quality.  Unfortunately, in South Dakota its still way too early for farmer’s market adventures.

As Julia Child would say, “Bon Appetit!”  With that, I’m off to bed!