Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

I grabbed a quick (sunny) shot of miss Mia in her Strawberry Shortcake costume before we headed to daycare for the day - who knows what shape she'll be in when she gets home!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Final Before-and-After Photos up on the Pit Blog!

If you haven't checked out our renovation blog, Making the Pit a Peach, in awhile (or ever), you should head over there immediately to check out the final before-and-after photo post. Here's a quick teaser for you:
It's pretty crazy, but the place is essentially done. I'm ready to have my life back, so it's about damn time we aren't over there working every free moment. We have plenty of work to do in our own home before baby boy shows up in March!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Look at me, being all crafty!

I finally got around to making new covers for the two big pillows on our living room couch. The old pillow covers matched the green paint, so when we repainted the room tan, they no longer matched. I had been debating about what to do with them (I really liked the pillows themselves), and originally was going to do some hand embroidery on felt but never got around to it. This past weekend, as David was on shift and Mia and I were watching the Vikings game, I decided to use an old coffee bean bag (which I've had stashed since college) and some of the felt I had originally purchased to make covers.  I think they turned out pretty well.  I had stitched everything, so they're not exactly perfect, but I love them anyways!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Brown Ale and Cheddar Soup 
Photo from original blog post on From Away - isn't it gorgeous?

Found this on Pinterest, via the FROM AWAY blog, and finally got around to trying it out last night. It was so super good that I had to share! Warning: it's intensely rich and probably quite horrible for you (you fry the onions, etc. in the leftover bacon grease...).  The following is directly from the blog post for a quick reference. Two things: we used a slightly aged cheddar (~ 6 months, Dubliner) and Newcastle brown ale and I really liked the results. Oh, and don't skip the thyme - it adds some amazing flavor!

Brown Ale and Cheddar Soup
Adapted from a recipe from Food and Wine
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1 large jalapeño, ribbed, seeded and chopped
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • One 12-ounce bottle brown or pale ale
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 12-ounce package of thick-cut bacon, diced
  • About 2 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 pound sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
  • Additional sliced jalapeño, bacon, thyme, and/or diced tomato, to garnish

1. In a large saucepan or dutch oven, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until the fat renders and the bacon is crisp, about 8 minutes.

2. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to drain on a paper towel. Crumble any overly large pieces between your fingers, or chop quickly with a knife.

3. Add the celery, onion, jalapeño, garlic and thyme to the rendered fat in the saucepan.

4. Cook over moderate heat, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan, stirring often, until vegetables soften, about 8 minutes.

5. Add half of the beer and cook until reduced by half, 5 minutes.

6. Add 2 1/4 cups of chicken broth and return to a simmer.

7. In a small skillet, melt the butter.

8. Whisk in the flour and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

9. Whisk the roux into the soup until combined, and bring to a simmer. Cook until thickened, about 8 minutes.

10. Add the heavy cream, cheddar cheeses and the remaining beer and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and creamy, about 5 minutes.

11. Stir in the bacon and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

The website has gorgeous photos to explain each of the steps, so I would definitely check out the recipe here.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Waverly's Harvest Homecoming

We made a quick trip home this past weekend to participate in the family church's first annual Harvest Homecoming event. My parents were part of the group that set up this event, which included Liz (a girl I used to nanny for when I was in high school, who is now a sophomore in college up here at the U) teaching 2nd graders from a church in St. Paul (Gloria Dei) all about agriculture last year. Those 2nd graders, which are now 3rd graders, came down on buses with their families for the day. Extended family and friends of Waverly were also invited (hence our invitation). The day included a large, kid-focused church service, a dinner complete with pork chops on a stick, cheesy potatoes, salads, and lots of bars, and then time to break into groups to learn about (and climb on) all types of farm machinery, to see and pet baby farm animals, to learn about gardening and canning from the local ladies, and to have lots of fellowship with one another. It was a great experience for all of us - Mia LOVED it, and I really enjoyed getting to catch up with my old Waverly "family." Daniel was in charge of teaching the families from Gloria Dei about the farm machinery and Kendra kept the kids busy after lunch with lots of games, while mom, as church president, had to do some opening and closing speeches. All in all, I think it was a huge success and I was extremely proud of my family and all of the hard work they (and others) have put into it!

 Cemetery games, just like the 'good-ol-days!'
 "I found a pumpkin, mom!"

 Mia's first horse ride! (And daddy's third time, ever, on a horse!)

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Happy Fall!

It's going to be 80 degrees here today, but then we start the definitive drop into fall with highs in the 50s the rest of the week and weekend! I was able to snag a couple of photos of Mia last night as we were trying to grab some photos of the pit. She's getting SO big!

"Here's a plant for you mom!" (I was planting at the pit all day on Sunday, so she thought this pulled, dead weed should also get planted...)
 Fire fighter Mia - in cowboy boots, using a pink marker as her hose to put out the fire on the ball! She saved it. Her imagination and pretending is skyrocketing lately - it's fascinating to watch!