Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New House Lesson 1: How to Get a New Stove

Disclaimer: I do not recommend you try this at your own house. If you decide you need a new stove, a better approach would probably be to just ask for it.

Well, Will and I have been in our new house for 2 months now. We knew when we bought the house that we were going to need to purchase new kitchen appliances but for the time being the ones that were in there would work just fine. But that wasn't good enough for me, no sir. I wanted a new stove ASAP!!! So, what did I do? I tried setting the house on fire in protest unless I got a new stove. And it worked, I tell ya!

Well, not really. I mean, we are getting a new stove tonight but it didn't really happen like that. In fact, the only truth in that last paragraph is that I did nearly burn the house down and we are getting a new stove.

How did I nearly burn the house down? Well, I'm so glad you asked. Here is how it all went down.

On Monday evening I was at home by myself as Will was at church like he usually is on Monday nights. It was about time for me to be thinking about making dinner and since I was on my own I thought I'd do something on the easy side. I decided on frozen pizza and proceeded to pre-heat the oven. After the oven was turned on I started working around the house just tidying things up. As I was doing that, I kept smelling a faint burning plastic smell. I ignored it and decided that it was just something that had gotten on the oven rack or falling onto the drip pan. But as I continued to clean the smell was getting stronger and stronger. At this point I was starting to become a mixture of curious and worried so I opened the oven door (which doesn't have a window, I might add) and I saw the horrific site of melting Tupperware and skillet cookie. It took me a minute to figure out exactly what had happened. How did the skillet cookie get in there? (Turns out Will had put it in the oven the night before to protect it from the dogs.) And as I was looking at the melted plastic mess still processing what it was and how it got there, the whole thing started flaming. And the flames were getting bigger and bigger. And at that moment I realized we don't yet own a fire extinguisher. (I'm putting that on the shopping list.) I was panicked! How do I put the fire out?!?! How do I keep these flames from growing?!?! Oh no! I'm going to burn down our new house!!!

And then I told myself to calm down. I needed to stay level headed and think. I tried calling Will. No answer. I called my in-law's house. I told my step-mother-in law, Karyne, that the flames were getting bigger and bigger. Then suddenly, like a light bulb I remembered one of the most basic things about fire. It needs oxygen. "How about closing the oven door." I said to myself. I did just that and told Karyne that I had put the fire out but the house was filled with smoke! I couldn't see from one end to the next. She called my father-in-law, who was on his way home, and had him come to our house.

When my father-in-law, Jon, arrived at the house I had already opened up all the windows and doors and turned on the fans to clear the air. He told me that I was doing all the right things. (I doubt he would have said that had he seen me in the panic stage 5 minutes prior.) He also took the racks and the drip pan out of the oven and put them outside for me to help get rid of that horrible burning plastic smell. He then said some of the sweetest word I'll ever hear. "You are going to need a new oven." And then he left.

Will finally called me back and I informed him of the untimely demise of his skillet cookie as well as the oven's not-so-untimely demise. And then I was able to pass on the word that his father had left me with.

So, tonight we are going to get our new oven and I am so excited! I'm also a little worried because it's already got me looking at other new appliances for the kitchen and thinking about how I can "arrange" needing them. Do you think putting a cat into the dishwasher is too obvious?

***I'd also like to add that it really is a shame that a very good skillet cookie was harmed in the events that took place in our house this past Monday night. What is that? You've never heard of a skillet cookie before? Well, stay tuned and I'll tell you all about them later.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Favorite Recipe: Chicken Sparacino

This past weekend while I was in Daytona visiting with family my grandmother, also known as MamMam, decided she was going to make one of my favorite meals for us to have for dinner. Not only was I really excited to have the chance to eat it I was also really excited to have the opportunity to document the entire preparation process so that I could share it with you. However, before I begin I must warn you all that this meal is not for the faint of heart.

First this to do is go ahead and pre-heat your oven to 350. Okay, now that we have that out of the way we can get cooking!

Line up 3 pie pans, bowls or plates. (Whatever you have on hand. I prefer pie pans) Pour 2 cups of flour in the first dish, 2 or 3 eggs (beaten) in the second dish and Italian bread crumbs in the third dish. (Note* if you don't have Italian bread crumbs just us regular bread crumbs and add Italian seasoning to them) Now that your assembly line is set up, let the fun (messiness) begin!!!

Take some boneless, skinless chicken breasts and salt and pepper both sides. Normally the recipe calls for 4 but on this occasion we ended up doubling the recipe.

Begin dredging your chicken breasts. Start with the flour...

then the egg...

and then into the bread crumbs.

Place the chicken in a glass baking dish once it's been coated. Do this with the rest of the chicken and set the baking dish aside for a minute and we can move on to making the butter and spice mixture to pour over the chicken.

Take a stick of butter (1/2 cup)...

and melt it on the stove in a sauce pan.

While the butter is melting add 1 Tbsp. of parsley flakes, 1 Tbsp. of minced garlic, 1 tsp. of marjoram, and 1/2 tsp of thyme.

Stir all of that together...

and pour over top of the chicken.

Once you have the chicken covered with the butter mixture, place it in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
When your time is up for the first 15-20 minutes you are going to pour 1 cup of dry white wine over your chicken.

At this time you can also baste the chicken with the wine and butter mixture.

Place in the oven for another 15 minutes.

At the end of 15 minutes take the chicken out again, baste if you would like and then add a slice of mozzarella cheese to each piece of chicken.

Let the chicken bake for another 5 minutes or until your cheese is melted. Once your cheese is melted take the chicken out and serve it up to the hungry folks who are salivating all around you.

I usually serve this dish with a small pasta such as pastini or orzo. And if you are feeling really daring and adventurous, take some of the butter and wine sauce and drizzle it over your pasta. Mmmm. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Where have I been?

Goodness! It feels like ages since I last posted and the truth of the matter is that it has been way too long. I have so much to update you on but some of it will have to wait until later on today. Between Tropical Storm Fay and trips to Daytona to visit my grandmother I just haven't had a chance to post.
Just as a side note, we didn't have any huge storm related disasters but we were without power for a couple of days.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Whirlwind Weekend

What a weekend! I must say I can't remember that last time we were so busy! This past weekend was filled with friends, family and fun. It started off with my sisters, Adrienne and Jenny, coming to town to visit us. They had spent the week in Daytona visiting with my family there. On their way back to Charlotte they decided to spend a night with Will and I. We took them out to dinner to Lulu's. We'd never been there before but really enjoyed it. After dinner we just spent the rest of the evening hanging out and being silly. I love being silly with my sisters.

Saturday, after my sisters left us, my wonderful friend, Kristina, came by to see us and help me out with some decorating at our new house. She and I went to Wold Market to find just the right thing to put on our dining room wall and after we had made our purchases we decided to get a cup of coffee and do some catching up. It was so nice spending that time with Kristina and see what was going on in her life.

Sunday started out as an early day. Our niece, Bailey, was being christened that morning and we were having breakfast with the family before church. After the christening everyone came over to our house to celebrate with a big lunch! I love entertaining so to be able to host this luncheon for my brother-in-law and sister-in-law was a great treat! I really think that everyone enjoyed spending time together. Especially spending time with Bailey, the girl of the hour.

After all of our company departed Will and I took a little time to rest and get our house cleaned up before having dinner with Will's dad and his wife, Karyne as well as Karyne's parents. It was a great end to a great weekend.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Let me tell you about our dogs...

When I met Will I knew that he had two dogs and I was fine with that. I love dogs and in my opinion, the bigger the better. What I didn't know about his dogs is just how silly they both are! They sleep at the foot of our bed every night. Before Will and I were married they both slept in the bed with him. I think that the still harbor a little bit of resentment towards me for kicking them out but they hide it really well.

We can't come home from work and change into comfy clothes without the dogs thinking it's time for them to go on a walk. And if you want to see two dogs get excited, just go grab your tennis shoes. They run laps around the house and hop up and down like the silliest dogs you've ever seen. I love them both. They keep us company and are two of the best dogs around.

We'll talk about Eeyore first. Will adopted Eeyore when he was about 17. He got him as a puppy from his vet. Eeyore had originally been adopted by an elementary school class and was going to be there class pet. Well, like most puppies he was very playful and would nip at the children. On top of that, he was growing very quickly. It was decided that Eeyore was going to get too big and he needed to find another home. That's where Will and Eeyore's story begins.

Will was still living at home with his dad at the time. He talked to his father about getting a dog and his dad agreed but didn't want a big dog. Now, I'm sure about the details of the next part of their story but either Will went to the family vet or the family vet came to Will and told him about Eeyore. Will had found his dog. The only problem was that Eeyore was going to be somewhere around 90-100 lbs. Too big to suit Will's dad. So, Will persuades the vet to tell his dad that Eeyore won't be more than 30-40lbs. Will's dad agrees and Will and Eeyore became best friends that day. Fast forward 7 years and they are still best friends. Eeyore does weigh in at about 94 lbs. and while his size can intimidate people he really is the most gentile dog you'll even encounter.

And then there is Rosie. Rosie and Eeyore are hardly anything alike at all! Rosie is about half the size of Eeyore but has twice the amount of energy that he does. Before Will adopted Rosie, she belonged to a lady who worked during the day and really didn't feel like she spent enough time with her. Rosie was a bit of a high maintenance dog as she had some anxiety issues and just needed a little more care and attention than most dogs. She asked the vet if he knew of anyone who already had a dog that might like to adopt Rosie so that she would have a companion. The vet thought of Will and Eeyore and asked Will if he wanted to adopt another dog. To make a long story short Will ended up taking Rosie as well. And although at first she was a bit of a handful Rosie really has come a long way. She has calmed down a great amount.

She is my buddy. When I get home from work everyday she just follows me around the house. When I cook dinner she lays on the floor in the kitchen just to keep me company. And when I got for a run she is the only one of our two dogs that is a pleasure to run with.

To sum it up, I love our dogs. They are both great in their individual ways. I enjoy coming home to them every day. I just don't think that our house would feel the same without them there. It might be a little more clean but not as cozy.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Our First Wedding Anniversary

Yesterday was our 1 year wedding anniversary so how did we celebrate? We had a weekend packed full of things to do! Friday night we had a normal date night which consisted of going out to dinner and to a movie. Now, I have to take a moment to add that my husband is the best husband and he lets me get away with way too much. He took me to see The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: 2. And on top of that he didn't complain one bit, well, maybe a little bit but no more than I expected.

Saturday was such a great day. It starting off with a massage and then a manicure and pedicure. Will and I had reservations at one of my favorite restaurants, The Melting Pot. We had a wonderful server by the name of Emily and she really helped make our first anniversary special! In fact, the entire staff at The Melting Pot was wonderful! Every single employee we encountered all the way from the hostesses to the manager came to tell us Happy Anniversary! After we sufficiently stuffed ourselves on cheese and chocolate fondue we said thank you to everyone for making it a lovely night and then headed home. It was such a great night!

Sunday was our actual wedding anniversary but we didn't have anything special planned. We went to church, had lunch with friends and then found out that we were going to be getting a washing machine and dryer that day! We were buying it from a friend of ours and thought we wouldn't be able to get it until the following weekend. This was a huge blessing to Will and I! We have not had our own washer and dryer since we got married! So, in order to make room for the new washer and dryer we had to do some organizing in our garage. After an hour or so of organizing and installing, with the help of my father-in-law, we had a very organized garage AND a new washer and dryer! Will and I both are so excited!

After washing and drying 3 loads of laundry and cooking dinner we met up with some of our friends for Rita's. (I'll have to tell you all more about Rita's another time.) With such a busy day we almost forgot to do one of the most important things to do on your 1st wedding anniversary! We almost forgot about our cake top! (Although, now, I think Will wishes we had forgotten it.) We cut into the cake and each took a bite. It was terrible! We didn't spit out our bites so we did stick to the tradition but we are both glad that it's not a yearly tradition.

To sum it up, we had a great anniversary weekend! We spent time together and with friends. I couldn't have asked for a better one. And I couldn't have asked for a better person to share it all with.

P.S. Will, thank you for a wonderful first year of marriage. I look forward to many more with you. I love you the most.

Friday, August 8, 2008

My First Official Blog Post. (Alternate title: Well, I had to start somewhere...)

Well, here it is. My first official blog. I have been thinking about blogging for some time now. At first I thought that it was something that I was totally not cut out for. I'm not a clever wordsmith like some people out there, I don't have anything interesting going on in my life that anyone would be interested in reading about, and it was just a silly idea. But here I am. I'm am now the proud owner of a blog.

Okay, so where do I start? I could start with talking about something that really interests me or something that I'm working on. I could talk about my recent interest in photography but I don't know enough to even fill one post. I could talk about our house and all the changes we've made there. Maybe I will one day. But as for today I'll start with...

Well, I have no idea where to start. So, just hang on with me through a few posts and we can figure out which direction I'm going to take this blog in. Hopefully, I'll have more interesting things to post about tomorrow. Again, just stick with me and it'll get better. I promise. (I hope)