Friday, October 31, 2008

Hot Mama Apron Swap

I don't remember how I learned about the Hot Drinks for Hot Mamas Apron Swap but today I received my swap package from Tammy at Sweet T Sews. What a wonderful and perfect package she sent to me. Inside the box was a handmade card, two Christmas ornaments filled with coffee beans and a painted coffee cup on the outside, a hazelnut scented candle, a package of coffee, a mug, and a matching apron and hot pad.
Here I am wearing my new apron. I love it! It's in my kitchen colors and it's full of coffee cups! Perfect for Coffee Time at Home.
It didn't take me long to use my new coffee cup. I enjoyed my afternoon Orange Cappuccino in it. The weight, shape and heft of the mug are exactly what I like in a coffee cup.
The quote on the back fits me to a "T". I don't well without my morning cup of coffee.
Thank you Tammy! Thank you to Valerie for hosting a fun swap!
Sweet P

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My Living Room View

I don't think I've ever posted a view of the trees I can see out the bay window in my living room. Yesterday morning as I was rushing out the door for work, the color of the trees caught my eye. I stopped, grabbed my camera and took a photo.

I should have taken a photo out this window when we moved in last February. The snow pile outside this window was up to the top of the bottom pane. For some perspective the bottom of this window is about 7 feet above the ground, add the window pane and you can imagine a snow pile about 8 - 9 feet high. If it gets that high this winter you can bet I'll be posting photos.

This morning I opened my Bloglines and started scanning the cooking blogs I read. I was trying to decide what to make for dinner when I found this recipe for Super Easy Garlic Chicken on the Big Red Kitchen. It was super easy. It was yummy, Hotel Man liked it and has made my "Make Again For Dinner" repertoire. I even think I like it better than my old chicken stand-by Shake N Bake.

The fire alarm in the upstairs hallway is driving us crazy. For some unexplained reason it beats once and then beeps again about 30 seconds later. It does this about once an hour. Sometimes it will go for hours and hours without making a sound, then it will start in again. I've replaced the battery twice. I've turned off the power to the alarms at the fuse box for 15 minutes. The only think I haven't done yet is buy a new alarm. That's next on the list to do. While I'm at the big box store getting the fire alarm I need to buy weather stripping for the front door too. I can tell the wind will be blowing around the edges come winter.

What's next on your home improvement list?
Sweet P

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Review of My Improvisational Risotto

Last night I made this Butternut Squash Barley Risotto. I used barley instead of Arborio rice from this recipe and the pancetta idea from this recipe. I roasted the squash instead of boiling it. Used onion instead of shallots. Cooked the onion and pancetta in olive oil and butter. The result was great and went along well the meatloaf. The leftovers were even better today.
My DS #2 and his girlfriend are coming to our house for Thanksgiving. This will be the first Thanksgiving I will have both sons and their women here for dinner! I'm excited. I need to start thinking about a menu that is not too overwhelming, but is a little nontraditional.

Tell me about your Thanksgiving Dinners. Do you serve any non-traditional food at your dinner?
Sweet P

Monday, October 27, 2008

Money, Money, Money . . . . Money!

You may or may not know that my DH travels about 100,000 miles a year for his job. His luggage usually lasts about two years before it needs to be replaced. When he returned from Europe last week he told me that not only had his big suitcase broke, but his briefcase was broken too. That didn't include the medium sized suitcase that was already broken.

On Saturday he decided he needed to go to the Samsonite store to get his luggage replaced. The big suitcase was sent to the factory for repairs. He bought a new medium suitcase and his briefcase was replaced.

Anyway, when I got home from work, the dining room table was covered with the contents of his briefcase, including a pile of coins. I took a few minutes and sorted out the pile. The top pile is US coins and they went into our coin jar. The pile on the bottom left is UK coins, in the middle coins from the United Arab Emirates and on the right Euros. I know there is about 15 Euros and that is about $18 US dollars. The UAE coins are dirhams and they are worth 81 cents in US currency. I could count up the UK coins, but I already put the coins away for DH's trip to London next week.
It's been great having DH home. I worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I came home to a cooked meal every night. Chicken and Bacon Alfredo on Friday. Fresh ground beef burgers on Saturday. Marinated Steak last night. Tonight I'm returning the favor and making him Meatloaf and Butternut Barley Risotto. I'm going to tweak the recipe a little and add sauteed pancetta instead of the tomatoes. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Have a great week!
Sweet P

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thursday Happpenings

Hotel Man came home from Europe last night. How do I know that, other than the wonderful dinner we had at Longhorn Steak House and having him in bed with me all night? Well, look at the bathroom counter:
I am not a total neat freak. But when I am home along the only items you will find on the bathroom counter would be the soap dish, a water glass, and maybe my comb. I know he didn't leave a lot of stuff on the counter. It's stuff I either don't use (the scissors he uses to trim his beard and his lotion) or stuff I always put away (the toothpaste and toothbrush). Don't think I'm nagging. I'm not. I'm grinning from ear to ear knowing my Hotel Man is home and I can tell.

Yesterday I went to Michael's looking for frames for our menus we want framed and for my cross stitch projects. I found a frame with two pieces of acrylic so you can "float" the photo between the acrylic. I bought a small one and a large one. I put our honeymoon menu in the small frame and added a piece of lace behind it. I think it looks great. I need to straighten the menu a little before it gets hung on the wall.

I'm going to take the large frame back. The edges of the frame are about two inches deep and it's too imposing now that I'm comparing to the other framed menus we want to display in our dining room.

Hotel Man is home for about 10 days so I'm off to make a menu and plan the grocery list. See you later!

Sweet P

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Day Off!

I finally had a day off from Jo-Ann today and took advantage of it. Recently I bought a cupcake gift set that contained a cupcake cookbook, a silicone 6-cup muffin tin and two silicone spatulas. Today I made Triple Chocolate Cupcakes. I'd post a link to the gift set, but Barnes & Noble doesn't have a photo of it on the website. If you live near B&N, go check the clearance aisle for one of these sets. These cupcakes have cocoa, milk chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chips in them and are frosted with melted semi-sweet chocolate chips. They were delicious. My DIL are two of them for dessert tonight - one for her and one for baby.
I pulled the petals off the roses DH gave me for my birthday two weeks ago. I want to make potpourri with them. For now, they are drying on football plates in my kitchen. Anyone have suggestions for making potpourri?
Tomorrow Hotel Man returns from Europe and we will be going out for dinner. Thursday is another day off. Not sure what will be happening around Coffee Time that day. Maybe I'll make some more cupcakes. I want to try Pecan Coffeecake Cupcakes next.

Happy Eating!
Sweet P

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Coffee Time At Home Is Changing

I'm still here. I've started a seasonal retail position at Jo-Ann Fabrics. I went from 0 to 60 in one day. Next week my schedule will settle down and I'll be back to regular blogging.

Last week I got a banquet-sized folding table off Freecycle to use in my laundry area. I love it. I can fold all my clothes on it and not have to carry the basket up and down two flights of stairs every load.

Not much going on at home. With me working and DH in Europe life is quiet in Coffee Time.

I do miss not being home more, but this is a temporary job and soon I'll be back home more.
Sweet P

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Show Me Your Laundry Area

Two weeks ago I showed photos of my basement before and after I straightened it up. However I didn't stop there. I don't like having a space that doesn't make me feel welcome, even if it is an unfinished basement.

I owe that feeling to my grandma and grandpa. Their basement was unfinished, but it was a place of a lot of activity. Since I don't have a photo let me take you on a tour. The steps came down from the side of the kitchen to about the middle of the basement. As you came to the bottom of the steps the furnace and water heater were in the middle of the room a little to the left. To the left of the steps was the laundry area, including a wringer washer and two sinks. The area to the right of the stairs and underneath the stairs was storage. Just beyond the furnace on the left was my grandpa's oak desk and tool area. In the area to the right in front of the stairs was grandma's cutting table. Her cutting table was a large 1950's style dining room table. She and I spent money hours cutting patterns and tying quilts around that table. I even remember having Thanksgiving dinner at that table in the basement one year.

That's what I want my basement to be like, well maybe not the Thanksgiving dinner part. Unfinished, but usable. I told Hotel Man I can accomplish that for $200 or less. I started the task last week with a trip to Target. I purchased five storage bins, clothes hangers and big red hooks from Target. Last Friday afternoon I started going through the moving boxes I had neatly stacked the week before. Items were either put into a storage container, a give away pile or a trash pile. I have three more boxes to sort through, but I have run out bins. Two of the red hooks have been attached to studs and I'm using them to hang up some winter clothing.

The photo shows my laundry area as it is right now, or at least when I'm in the middle of doing the laundry. The shelving between the washer and dryer came out of the pantry when we remodeled it. I use it for laundry supplies. The bag on the floor is the trash bag (Note to self: need better trash container). I have a drying rack for drying clothes and behind that is the hot water heater with the boiler next to it. It's not pretty, but it's functional.

So what else am I doing in the basement? I'm getting a folding banquet table from Freecycle that I will use for folding clothes (and maybe some other activities). I still want to get rid of any boxes that have stuff in them. I'm thinking of painting the floors and walls. Anything is better than the greyness of concrete. Someday we will be able to finish the basement, but for now I want to make is a happy place.

I'd love to see photos of your laundry space. Won't you share them?

Sweet P