Recipe Rut Solution #14

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Again time has flown by without an update.  We just got back from a great beach vacation last weekend and now it's back to the grind, although we are both looking forward to the cooler weather of fall.

Since Adam works from home, he is always looking for something new to eat for lunch.  Lately, he has been eating alot of hummus with vegetables or pita chips and I have been taking some to work as well.  Those little containers of Sabra hummus, while tasty, can be expensive, so I decided to make some myself. 

Yesterday after work, I headed to the store to find hummus ingredients, especially Tahini, which I learned is sesame puree.  After wandering around for awhile wondering where it might be, I located a can next to the peanut butter.

When I got home, I got to work on roasted red pepper hummus:

  • 3/4 cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers
  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • Half of a large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt

1.  In the bowl of a food processor, combine Tahini and lemon juice. Process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl then turn on and process for 30 seconds. 
2.  Add the olive oil, minced garlic, cumin, cayenne pepper and the salt to whipped  Tahini and lemon juice. Process for 30 seconds, scrape sides and bottom of bowl then process another 30 seconds.
3.  Open can of chickpeas, drain liquid then rinse well with water. Add half of the chickpeas to the food processor then process for 1 minute. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl, add remaining chickpeas and process for 1 to 2 minutes or until thick and quite smooth.
4.  Add peppers to hummus and continue to process for 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth.
Thoughts:  This is an inexpensive alternative to the containers of hummus at the store.  The Tahini was $5, but the container will make four or five batches and the chick peas and peppers were less than one dollar each.  The most time consuming part of the process was cleaning my food processor when I was done.  Overall, I would definitely make this again, and maybe add less olive oil to make it a bit thicker.  It only took about 15 minutes to mix up and is easy to spoon into a small tupperware to take to work. 

Fourth of July in Boston

Monday, July 8, 2013

Adam and I decided at the last minute to take a trip to Boston for the long Fourth of July weekend.  Four years ago, we spent the Independence Day in Boston and loved it, so I was excited to go back again.

On Thursday morning, we packed our stuff, dropped the dog off and started the six hour drive.  We hit some traffic around NYC, but eventually made it to the hotel around 4:30.  After checking in at the Fairmont Hotel and checking out the amazing view from our room, we walked up to the North End, where most of the Italian restaurants are located.

We discovered that because you can't make reservations at alot of the places, people wait in line outside.  Adam picked the number one ranked restaurant in the area, Giacomo's, and we began to stand in the line.  We learned quickly that the 90 degree weather and 100 percent humidity were going to take a toll on the weekend.  After waiting for about 45 minutes, we were seated at one of the un-airconditioned restaurant's six tables.  While the food was pretty good, the dinner mostly just felt rushed and hot.  After dinner, we walked through town up to one of the bridges where the concierge said we would be able to see the fireworks.  We stood on the bridge and people-watched until the fireworks show, which was incredible. 

On Friday, we woke up and decided to go up to the New England Aquarium, which was a short walk from the hotel.  We stood in the hot sun (it was 94 degrees!) and finally bought our tickets.  I took one step inside the door, saw thousands of people everywhere and felt that the air conditioning wasn't even really on and knew that we had probably made a mistake going there.  Crowds of completely oblivious people are not really my thing.  We made our way through the aquarium, but in the end, we were disapointed and in the future, I think we'll stick to the Baltimore aquarium. 

After the aquarium, we headed up to Quincy Market to find something to eat and walk around.  After lunch, we sat at the harbor for long time and watched the ships.  After cleaning up at the hotel, we walked back up the North End for some pizza.  On Saturday, we decided that since it was going to be another scorcher, our best bet would be to buy tickets on the hop-on, hop-off trolley tour.  Throughout the day, we would get off the trolley and check out various parts of the city.  My favorite part was walking by the old, gorgeous houses in Beacon Hill. 

 We finished off our trip with a great dinner and walk in Cambridge.  On Sunday, we packed up the car and drove down to Mystic for a pitstop and some pizza, followed by six hours of traffic through Connecticut and New Jersey.

All-in-all, we had a great time and would definitely go back to Boston again.  It's so nice to get away from work (Adam didn't touch his laptop all weekend!) and spend time together in a different place.  Thankfully, we have a longer vacation planned for September and I'm already counting down the days!

What I'm Into...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Since I've been MIA for awhile, here are some of the things I've been into lately:

For the house:

I'm not big on things with sayings on them, but the words to You are My Sunshine have special meaning for Adam and I:
Source: Joss and Main

Wouldn't these be adorable on a kitchen table or countertop?

Source: Anthropologie

I had no idea that Ikea sold outdoor furniture, but I love this HUGE umbrella...It's inexpensive and it would provide shade for our entire deck:

Source: Ikea

As I type this, Adam is installing these in our bathroom to replace the super cheap faucets with bought last year.  Word of advice, don't cheap out on faucets, you use them ALOT:

Source: Home Depot

For the Face:

I've been a Clinique girl since my Grammie took me to get my first makeup.  It's been awhile since I checked out their facial washes, but this stuff is great.  I can see a noticeable difference in my skin:

Source: Clinique

For the ears:

Adam and I watch American Idol every season (one of our guilty pleasure shows) and last season I didn't know if I would like Phillip Phillips, but after listening to his album, I love his music:

Source: iTunes

The first concert I ever had tickets to was NSync, so now Justin Timberlake is the next best thing.  I especially love the song Mirrors:

Source: iTunes

For downtime:

This is the most addictive game I've played in a long time, plus it's easy to put down and pick back up again:

Source: iTunes

Jodi Picoult is my favorite author and her new book did not disappoint:

That's it for now!  Time to go enjoy the beautiful day!

Table Makeover

Thursday, April 25, 2013

In my last post, I told you about two little tables I bid on and won at an auction last weekend.  One just needed the dust cleaned off of it and it was ready to go, but the other one needed some work. 

On Saturday afternoon, we picked up some spray on stripper called Klean Strip at the hardware store, as well as some chemical resistant gloves and some new masks.  Once we got home, we put down a large piece of cardboard on the driveway and donned our safety apparel.  Adam and I came to the conclusion that getting all of the paint off of the legs of the table would be pretty difficult, so we nixed the idea of refinishing the entire thing, and decided to just refinish the top, as well as the small shelf below. 

Having never worked with a stripper before (cue inappropriate jokes), we read the directions and sprayed away.  After spraying a pretty thick layer on the top, we waited for about 15 minutes before using a plastic scraper to scrape off the gooey paint.  It worked pretty well and took off most of the layers of paint, but left some residue.  We sprayed on another layer and waited for another 15 minutes.  After that, it was pretty much down to the original stained wood.  Then, we repeated the process on the lower shelf of the table.  The best part about the stripper was that it was really easy to use and there was hardly any smell, although, make sure you don't get it on your skin, or it will burn (Adam found this out the hard way).

After most of the paint was off, we broke out the electric sander and went to town.  Before we knew it, the flat parts of the table were down to bare wood.  After a quick hand sanding, I wiped the whole table down with a wet cloth.  The next day, I used some Minwax to stain the flat parts.  It was the first time I have ever stained anything and it was pretty simple and straight forward. 

After the stain was completely dry, I painted the legs of the table black using General Finishes Milk Paint in lamp black, which happened to be one of the colors we had laying around the house.  If you've never used this paint, I would HIGHLY recommend it.  We've used it to paint our kitchen cabinets and the basement bar cabinets, as well as other pieces of furniture and although expensive, it's worth the money.  It will even stick to finished surfaces without sanding them and you can layer different colors and glazes for really cool effects.  A quick coat of high performance semi-gloss top coat and the table was ready to be displayed in the living room. 

We're pretty proud of the way the table turned out, and feel like we restored some of it's original charm and quality.  

Going once....

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Last weekend, my mom and I went to an auction not far from our house.   I've been to auctions before, but have always been too young to bid on any of the items.  This time when we went, I was bound and determined to finally place a bid. Saturday morning, we made the 15 minute trek over to Hill's Auction in Landenberg, Pennsylvania.  It consisted of a huge warehouse-type room full of furniture pieces in all shapes and sizes.  After getting a bidding number, we found a seat on a very ugly, green plaid sofa and waited for the auction to get started.

Around 9:00, the auctioneer started the auction.  Multiple employees would hold up the item, and then the bidding would start.  For me, it was mesmerising.  My mom and I had noticed a couple of things that we were interested in bidding on and she picked up two pieces right away.  A few of the pieces I was interested in went above my budget quickly, and I was out of luck, but I still held out hope of losing my bidding virginity. 

After waiting for three hours or so, the two cute little antique side tables that I was interested in were auctioned off together.  My adreneline was pumping as I raised my hand to bid for the first time and before I  knew it, it was over and I had won them.  Following the bidding, Adam (who had shown up by this time), looked over at me and asked if I had even noticed who was bidding against me.  Honestly, I was so pumped up to be bidding that I probably bid against myself, but I was too excited about my purchase to care (it's obvious that I need to become more auction saavy).

I ended up paying $35 each for the tables, which I considered an OK deal considering they would have probably cost me around $50 each at a store, and these have character.  One of the tables just needed a little bit of cleaning up, and after a few coats of Old English, it was ready to go.   I displayed it proudly in our family room next to my favorite chair. 

As for the other was covered in three coats of paint that was flaking off everywhere.  After much deliberation, Adam and I decided to give it a major makeover!  I'm finishing it up today, so look for a post about it soon!

What I've Been Up To...

Monday, April 22, 2013

It's been awhile (again) since I've posted anything.  Lots has happened since my last post on January 10th, so here it is quickly and concisely:

We spent a couple of weekends in January working on finishing the basement (tour to come!).  Over Martin Luther King weekend we had a work crew including my sister and brother-in-law, my parents, Adam's parents and my 2-year-old nephew (he even brought his tool belt).  We got alot knocked out that weekend! 

At the beginning of February, we had another work weekend with Adam's parents before Adam had his gallbladder removed.  The surgery took place the day after the Super Bowl and it was not a fun experience for anyone involved (whoever claims that outpatient, laparoscopic surgery is an easy recovery is lying).  Adam was down and out for about a week, which put a dampener on my 27th birthday, but we still enjoyed a couple of nice celebratory meals and a homemade cake.

The rest of February was spent recovering and trying to keep warm in the frigid temperatures.  President's Day weekend was the last of the basement work weekends and included finishing up all of the plumbing. 

In March, Adam headed down to Austin to attend the South by Southwest tech conference for a week.  It provided a ton of publicity for Taskbox, and he returned exhausted and excited about what the future holds for their little start-up.  Over St. Patrick's Day weekend we put some finishing touches on the bar and called it done, then we pulled up a stool and had a green beer in celebration. 

For Easter, we drove up to Mechanicsburg for the weekend and enjoyed time with my family, which included furniture shopping, picking up my Dad's new car, egg hunts, church and a great Easter dinner before driving back to Newark in the rain. 

April has been pretty uneventful so far.  Last weekend, we helped celebrate my Delta Gamma little sister, Missy on her wedding day.  I was asked to be a bridesmaid and had a great time with the gigantic bridal party (22 of us in total).  It was a beautiful day with a beautiful bride (and groom). 


I'm hoping that in future post, you'll get a tour of the finished basement as well as a couple of posts on various projects I've been working on.

Christmas 2012, New Years and Other Happenings

Thursday, January 10, 2013

It was a busy December for us between our anniversary and Christmas, but we had a nice holiday season full of family, friends and fun.  We spent the Christmas break shuffling back and forth between my parent’s and Adam’s parent’s houses, but it was so nice to see everyone.  On Christmas Day, we headed to Baltimore to spend the day with my sister, brother-in-law and nephew.  It’s always fun to have a little kid to play with on Christmas.  Unfortunately, right after Christmas, I developed bronchitis and a sinus infection, so our New Year’s Eve consisted of sitting on the sofa and watching Downton Abbey until the ball dropped.  Now it’s back to work and back to the normal everyday stuff.

Over the past few months, we have been working on completely finishing the basement.  When we moved into the house, the basement had drywall and a drop ceiling, but that was about it.  Before Thanksgiving, we hired some craigslist painters to come paint over the horrendous yellow color that was on the walls.  Unfortunately, they completely screwed up and in the end, we were down a couple of hundred dollars and had to repaint everything.   Once that was finished, we went about installing some cork floors in the corner that will (one day) be a bar.  Carpet was installed right before our anniversary and we are currently anxiously awaiting the arrival of our furniture. 
Now that the basement is coming together, I’ve been working on a few decorative projects.  Adam’s parents recently remodeled their kitchen and dining room and were getting rid of the outdated brass chandelier.  I casually joked around with them that I could hang it above the table that we were putting the basement.  Well, be careful what you wish for people!  On Christmas Eve morning, Adam’s Dad plopped a black trash bag on my lap with a red bow wrapped around it.   Inside was the old chandelier.  Ever the resourceful repurposers, we zip-tied it to the garage door frame last weekend and I proceeded to spray it with some glossy red paint. Overall, I’m happy with the way it turned out, even though our garage floor, my hair, and the dog ended up with a slight red tint afterward.  I look forward to hanging it up over our old white table. 



More updates to come regarding the basement!  I hope everyone has a happy and healthy 2013!

Thanksgiving 2012

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and we’re planning on driving up to Pennsylvania in the morning to enjoy the holiday with both sets of our parents.   We are lucky that both families can get together at once and enjoy each other’s company, which also means Adam and I don’t have to go running back and forth between two houses.   I’m looking forward to relaxing, catching up with everyone and enjoying the beginning of the holiday season!
It’s hard to believe that another Thanksgiving is here...last year on the day before Thanksgiving I was rushing around like a chicken…errr Turkey….with my head cut off trying to get everything ready to host the first big holiday at our house.  Now, another year has come and gone in the blink of an eye.  I try not to get all mushy, but here are just some of the things I’m thankful for this year:

-          An amazing family that is supportive of our endeavors.  This year, both my Grammie and Adam’s Grandma passed away, but we were so lucky to have grandmothers like that in our lives.  We both truly come from incredible families.
-          A wonderful husband who is there to listen, give me advice, fix things, cheer me up, make me laugh and give me a hug when it’s needed
-          Although I might not enjoy it all the time, I’m thankful for a dependable job
-          Great friends
-          A beautiful house that has provided us with lots of projects over the past 18 months
-          One little dog that always manages to make me laugh (even when he’s pooping on the basement floor or barking incessantly)
I hope everyone who reads the blog has a great Thanksgiving. 

Hurricane Sandy

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Last week, the weather forecasters started hyping a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean that looked as though it was going to hit the east coast.  By Friday afternoon, the office was officially in a frenzy as we covered computers and claims files in plastic and put sandbags in front of all of the doors.  For those of you who don't know, I really like weather-related stuff.  When I was in elementary school, I used to watch the weather channel and hope that one day I would be a meteorologist.

On Saturday, Adam and I went to the Penn State game with his parents.  While we were there, they issued evacuation orders for alot of the Delaware coast.  I started to get a little bit worried, but still figured it was all just weatherman hype.  On Sunday morning, we got up early and went to the store in Pennsylvania to pick up a few things because I knew Delaware stores would be crazy.  We drove home and settled in for the "storm of the century".  Around 7:00 on Sunday night, my boss called and said the office would be closed on Monday.  Cue happy dance!

When we woke up on Monday morning, it was raining, but there was really no wind.  Throughout the day, the wind picked up little by little and I watched nervously as the trees in the backyard swayed back and forth.  I issued a few prayers that they wouldn't topple over onto our house.  By Monday night, the lights were flickering and I was sure that the house would be powerless by Tuesday morning.  To my surprise, we woke up on Tuesday with power and just some extra leaves on the porch.  The office was closed again, so I spent the day reading and doing some things around the house.  Luckily, Adam's parents house on Rehoboth Bay made it through the flooding unscathed.

So thanks, Sandy for keeping my power on, for not knocking down any trees in our yard; and, for a four day weekend


Over Columbus Day week, Adam and I took our first big vacation since our honeymoon almost three years ago and went to Tybee Island, Georgia.  On Friday evening, we started the long drive and after an overnight stay in Richmond, we finished the drive on Saturday.  We arrived at our condo on Saturday evening, unpacked the car and settled in for a week of relaxation.

 On Sunday, the weather was a perfect 85 degrees and sunny.  We spent the day walking on the beach, laying by the pool and sitting on the oceanfront balcony reading.  On Monday, we woke up to cooler temperatures and a rainy forecast, so we decided to drive into Savannah for the day.  After finding a place to park, we bought tickets for a trolley tour, and proceeded to learn about the city for the next 90 minutes.  After the tour, we wandered around, got some sandwiches and headed down to the riverfront to check out the touristy shops.  By that time, it was raining and we were umbrella-less, so we decided to go back to the condo. 

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we followed the same relaxing routines with walks on the beach and reading.  By Thursday, we were ready to get out and do something, so we bought tickets for an hour-long dolphin tour, which quickly became my favorite part of our trip!  We went out in a big open boat and the dolphins literally swam up right next to  us.  It was gorgeous day with a cool breeze and I managed to not get motion sick, so I’d call it a success.

We spent our last day of vacation soaking up the sun and the surf and being depressed that we had to go home.  After our day in Savannah, I really wanted to go to the Pink House Restaurant, but unfortunately, there were no open reservations.  When I got out of the shower on Friday afternoon, Adam surprised me and told me that he was able to get us reservations for dinner.  We got dressed up and drove into the city for an amazing dinner and then walked around a couple of the Savannah squares.  By Saturday morning, it was time to load up the car and get going and after 11 hours, we finally made it back to Delaware.

Overall, it was a great vacation and gave us a chance to relax and unwind. I'm already looking forward to the next one!