Thursday, July 28

It's almost the end of July...

I'm sorry, blog, did we forget about you? You know, it was just so hot last week... the heat makes motivation extra hard to come by. Hence, we didn't really do anything worth blogging about. We tried to keep up with our walking as well as we could, but even that was too much of a task at times last week... it was just so darn uncomfortable! Last night was the first night in a while that we've been able to sleep without the air conditioner running. Yesterday it also cooled down enough for me to do a little baking!

I've made s'mores brownies before, but these are just as good, if not better (gasp)!
I whipped up a graham cracker crust using about 1 cup of butter and 1 1/2 cups smashed graham crackers, pressed that into the bottom of a 9x9 pan and topped it with brownie batter made from this amazing recipe. Baked everything for about 40 minutes then turned up the heat to 450 degrees, threw a nice layer of mini marshmallows on top and let those get nice and toasty. Once cooled, the result is a fudgy chocolatey center sandwiched between bouncy marshmallows and graham cracker. (Cute plate not included...) So yummy! I even had one for breakfast this morning...

This bread recipe has been on my recipe to-do list for a while now... and I finally made it! It's an incredibly dense yet moist loaf, and it's HUGE! The top of it almost hit the top of my oven before I noticed and moved the rack down...

It's slightly heavy on the molasses, but maybe I'm the only one picking up on that taste because I know it's there. I've been slicing it thick and slathering the slices with local wildflower honey or Nutella and sometimes strawberry preserves. It holds itself up well; this isn't a flimsy bread recipe!

If I remember, I'll post the recipe for this macaroni and cheese next week. I bought heavy cream, sharp cheddar, and pasta then went home and looked at a few different recipes to see what I could come up with using other ingredients I already had on hand. The result was wonderfully creamy and soft - not overly cheese-y and just the right ratio of sauce to pasta. I used orecchiette instead of the traditional elbows because that's all I could find and I figured it surely couldn't turn out badly (I was so right!).

Oh, we had a visitor the other day when I was making a batch of dog treats for an order!

We haven't had too many squirrel visitors this summer... certainly not the daily visits we got last year! But the smell of baking dog treats always seems to bring them to the window. Don't worry, we never feed the little buggers! The smell is just to entice them so we can exploit them for photographing purposes. Peanut butter baked goods always do the trick.

Farmer's market goods purchased earlier today... various heirloom tomatoes, a pound of zucchini, and some juicy yellow peaches.

Funny story! I actually went to the market with only $9 cash in hand, hoping to make the most of it. Once I noticed the tomatoes, I knew I had to get those so I picked out a small basket of them and asked for some zucchini because I knew Shawn would appreciate that more than tomatoes. All of that should have cost me $6 but the farmer said $5 so I happily set off towards the fruit stand with the $4 I had left. They had donut peaches (my favorite!) for sale but a basket cost $5, so I was $1 short. The woman standing next to me noticed them too and was asking the farmer about them, so I casually snuck in a "Oh those donut peaches are so good! They're amazing and sweet and just the perfect snack. I would get some myself if I had another dollar!"... long story short, the woman bought some donut peaches and I bought some $4 yellow peaches but ended up getting a donut peach for free because I helped promote them! Gotta love good peach karma.

PS! That donut peach was really tasty! Velvety sweet!
PPS! The thing that makes those brownies so good is the brown butter called for in the recipe. Brown your butter, people!

Tuesday, July 19

We interrupt your usual programming with...

Just a few things from last week...

The last day off that I had was a productive one. I started the day off with a quick run around the neighborhood, cooled off for a bit and then made some whole wheat chocolate chip scones.

Scones are a very rare occurrence here (I make 4-5 batches of them each week at work already- it's just not one of those things I want to make when I'm at home) Hence, Shawn's excitement at my extra effort that morning. And I made a full batch so we still have a few in the freezer to be baked and consumed on other mornings! Hooray!

Apparently I was in a particularly bake-y mood that day because I also made a whole wheat loaf! Bread is also a rare item here because we only buy it when we plan on making burgers (or indulging in an artisan loaf on the very rare occasion); any other time we're craving bread I have to decide to make it. And making bread always takes time. Time is hard to find most of the time.

Oh yeah, and did I mention that I made salted caramel brownie sundaes?! Um, because I totally did. With homemade salted caramel and homemade brownies and, well, the only thing that wasn't made from scratch was the ice cream. (Shhh! We don't have an ice cream maker!) Indulgence at its best.

Aside from our yummy existence and my unusually motivated day off... that's about it. Sorry, we're not really all that exciting.

Also, if you haven't seen them yet, Shawn uploaded some of his old film photography to Flickr. All photos that even I'd never seen before!

Now I leave you with a fuzzy photo of a squirrel. Not the best photo, but this little bugger was watching me through our living room window for what seemed like for-ever. Squirrels are getting weird, man...

Wednesday, July 13

Virtual Apartment Plans

One of my favorite computer games when I was younger was The Sims. I know I'm not the only one who can admit to this, and it's not hard to understand why... the game freakin' rocked! What other game let you build imaginary mansions furnished with all sorts of extravagant and eccentric furniture that you downloaded online and subsequently 'bought' with the all the money you 'earned' playing the game. (...I know I'm not the only one who frequently used the get rich quick cheat code!) Oh yeah, and you pretty much got to control people's lives too.

Seriously though, I used to spend hours on end creating homes and then furnishing them with great detail. I think I built houses more than I played the actual game. (I did the same thing with my Barbies too.... I'd build them extravagant 'homes' out of cardboard boxes that I had lined with wrapping paper and magazine clip-outs to function as 'wall-art'....) What? Didn't I tell you I was an odd child obsessed with creating imaginary and detailed furnished houses?

Well, my favorite childhood past-time was recreated in all its greatness the other day when one of the blogs I read (can't remember which one though!) led me to Urban Barn: The Make Room. And just like back in the day, I've been spending a whole lot of my spare time designing houses. Actually, apartments in this case. And the measurements are far from exact... but who needs math when you have virtual furniture that you can size and place however you please!

Behold, a floor plan of our current apartment:

(larger image)

Oh, I had entirely too much fun there. Yep, that's really what our place looks like these days! Some appliances are missing, like my kitchen aid mixer, but the program only offers so much! Aside from missing appliances, it's fairly correct.

You know me though, I can't stop at just one! After I drafted our current apartment, I made up the plans for an imaginary two bedroom apartment:

(larger image)

It's completely made up and only based off of the things we wish we had (a larger kitchen, wood floors, an office/studio room, and a patio with lots of plants). I could totally have made it super extravagant and added things like stairs, a six-burner stove/oven, a washer/dryer, and a jacuzzi.... but I didn't. But I could have!

And now I'm going to find something more productive to do with my time - because sitting in front of the computer for hours on end just can not be good for you. Psh... whatever, I walked almost three miles today to get croissants... I think I deserve to sit on my bum (and eat my bag of croissants!) - ha!

Friday, July 8

July Happenings

Hey-o! It's been quiet on my end round these parts... so far July has been a fairly boring month for us, for sure. We both had to work on the 4th (opposite schedules, of course) but where I was lucky enough to only have to work until 1pm, Shawn was stuck at the deli until 9pm... lame!
My co-workers and I got together for a small after-hours pot-luck at the cafe - there was homemade pulled pork, colorful cabbage salad with roasted peanuts and lime, creamy potato salad, blackberry shortcake with lime-zested whipped cream, strawberry brioche bread pudding, and shoofly pie. Unfortunately, Shawn missed the feast, but at least I brought him home a heaping plate of leftovers! Then we watched the fireworks from our living room television set; they were quite un-impressive this year, might I add.

So instead of a hearty post full of pictures and recanting of daily activities, I thought I'd introduce you all to a couple of new features I recently added to the blog!

We started a Walk Log so that you can keep up with our daily mileage, if you care to. The permanent link to it is at the bottom of the left sidebar. I've been logging our daily walks around the neighborhood for a few months now, and we finally decided it was time to do something with all that -otherwise useless- information, so do with it what you wish!

The other change can be found in the menu tabs, also in the left sidebar. We used to have a tab for Videos and a tab for Lists. I decided to move all of our lists over to Listography, and the Videos tab was futile because it was just a link that sent you over to our you-tube page. So I simplified everything and made a page with links to all of the other spaces we occupy on the internet.

In particular, keep your eye(s) on our flickr over the next few days/weeks... Shawn is going through all of his photographs taken over the last couple of years and posting them to flickr for a permanent spot on the interweb.... there are a bunch even I've never seen!

And I lied earlier... I can't have a post with no photos in it!
Here are a couple of dinners we've made lately:

pasta with baked tomatoes

potato and green bean salad

homemade wholewheat crust with zucchini, spring onion & mozzarella pizza

Happy July!
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