Sunday, January 31, 2010

Peach bundt cake

Dave picked up a jar of peaches last fall in Lancaster. It's been in the fridge ever since then, and apparently it took a snowed-in weekend and the thought of having to clean up the kitchen to make me want to make something with the peaches. It's just how I work, I guess.

I perused the internets for a recipe for a cobber/crisp/dump cake, but didn't have all the right ingredients for any one recipe. So then I looked up peach bundt cake and found this on Recipe Goldmine:

Peach Bundt Cake

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
3 eggs
2 cups unsifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups fresh peach puree (made by crushing peeled peaches with potato masher or in blender)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs. Mix thoroughly.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Add peach puree and dry ingredients alternately to egg mixture, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla
and nuts. Mix until it is blended. Spoon batter into a well greased and floured 12-cup bundt pan. Bake about 1 hour or until wooden pick inserted comes out clean.

Look at all the sunshine in the kitchen today!

I mashed the peaches with a potato masher, but left them pretty chunky on purpose:

It recommended covering the cake with a peach sauce, but it didn't sound good to me, so I made a glaze out of regular cake frosting. Bonnie showed me a trick at the bridesmaids' luncheon we hosted before Ashley's wedding. She put some in a saucepan and heated it until the consistency was right to pour over the cake. It cools off pretty quickly after it oozes down the cake, going back to its original consistency. Genius!

Here's the finished product:

And while I'm doing the really hard work in the kitchen, Dave's outside making a path to the cars so we can go to work tomorrow. I'm still holding out for a Code Red day, but hope is fading....

Productive weekend so far...

Since we knew we'd be snowed in this weekend, we were well prepared to occupy ourselves to offset the inevitable cabin fever! I had plans to go to a card-making workshop, but since that was cancelled, I knew it would be the perfect weekend to start painting our downstairs.

Friday I left work early, headed to Home Depot to pick up 2 gallons of the color we chose, Behr's Restful, and some new weather stripping for the front door. We have always had a terrible draft there, but this winter has been way colder than the others since we've lived here, so I knew it was time to throw some money at the problem, and fix it once and for all.

I had tried to cheap out last year, buying the most inexpensive weather stripping out there, thin, foam strips, and I should have known it would be ineffective - you get what you pay for, right? I think it lasted about 3 closings of the door, and then ripped right off. So, this time, I bought actual weather stripping - genius! The guy at the Depot showed me on a door in the store how to install it, and I came home confident that I'd be able to install it before Dave got home, and test him to see if he noticed (he didn't).

This is important for later in the story: Every time we've painted at our house, I've gone to the store, bought way too many rollers, brushes, drop cloths, etc., and we never use them all. We have leftovers in the garage from many projects, so I thought to myself "Self, let's be financially responsible and not buy supplies we won't need, k?"

So, I came home with paint and weather stripping in hand (and some cat food and litter so the kitty would be just as prepared for the storm as us), and got started on my project! Who knew, it was just as easy as the guy at the Depot said it would be. I just had to pull out the existing dry-rotted weather stripping from the little groove, and shove the new weather stripping in. Shove is a technical term here.

Here's old vs. new:

Look, no light shining through at the edges!

After that, Friday night was pretty typical - movie (Passengers with Anne Hathaway and the Prom King from Little Children), hot dogs for dinner, and an early bedtime.

Saturday morning, we got up and I started taking things out of the kitchen. Took everything off the walls and unscrewed the light and power plates. I taped off the lower parts of the walls (the parts I can reach). Then, the procrastination monster got us. I put ingredients in the crock pot for Pumpkin Turkey Chili, but that takes little to no effort. We didn't start painting until like 6pm, after we tasted the chili, and realized that instead of using canned pumpkin puree, I used canned pumpkin pie filling. BLECH!!! We ended up eating turkey sammiches instead.

When we finally started painting, we had a good system going - Dave did corners and around the doors and windows, and I had the roller. **Remember that little anecdote above about how I didn't buy any rollers or anything? Yeah, that was a bad idea. When I went to the garage to get a roller, I realized we didn't have any! Oops! So, I made a miniature roller work. The kind that you use to paint behind a toilet? I could either play the card and quit painting until we could dig out and buy a roller, or just suck up the fact that I'd have to do a second coat if I used the small one. I sucked it up. The little roller actually came in handy for getting behind the oven and fridge!

I kept saying "OMG I love the color!"

I couldn't help myself - after all the paint samples and rambling I did about finding the "perfect" color, I had found it and I will never have to think about it again! Thus, you all will never have to hear me think about it again! Huzzah!

Here's the finished product:

Today's job is to clean and put stuff back where it belongs. But first, breakfast! In our grocery trip for the snowy weekend, I bought plenty of crescent rolls for chili, and for a special treat for breakfast - nutella croissants! MMMM!

I just spread the Nutella (or Not-ella, as the Millers call it, since I bought the generic version to save 59 cents) on the crescent rolls, rolled 'em up, brushed some margarine on top, and baked according to the crescent roll directions. Yum!

They're all gone already :)

In the crock pot for tonight's meal is Pioneer Woman's Beef Stew with Mushrooms, sans mushrooms since I'm allergic. I'll serve them over egg noodles and serve rosemary potatoes on the side. Reminds me of Amish country:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

So true!


Snow is Coming!

Karri Peifer

Published: January 27, 2010

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch and every meteorologist in town, Richmond is going to get a nice snowfall this weekend … up to a foot, some people say. The snow is supposed to start as early as Friday afternoon and continue into Saturday.

In case you're new to Richmond, let me tell you how we do it here.

  • Someone somewhere says snow is coming to Central Virginia.
  • We Richmonders start paying attention.
  • Someone says it's coming to Richmond.
  • We Richmonders really start paying attention.
  • Someone brandishes the word "accumulation."

Done. Finished. Over. We who call Richmond home all-out lose our minds. In the case of this snow, it happens like this:

Tuesday morning: The word "accumulation" is used.

Tuesday afternoon: Accumulation confirmed. All weekend plans put on stand-by or out-right canceled.

Tuesday evening: First trip to supermarket for bread, milk, wine, beer and cookie dough.

Wednesday morning / afternoon: Calls around town for sleds begin (for the record, is one step ahead. No one has them; Pleasant's is expecting a shipment on Friday).

Wednesday evening: Local news does a story about the run on supermarkets for bread and milk. Second trip to supermarket for extra bread and milk, plus frozen pizzas and non-perishables, because you never know.

Thursday morning / afternoon: Spend workday obsessively checking the forecast. More calls for sleds. Search online for sleds, but decide against them because you can't believe how much sleds actually cost.

Thursday evening: Meet friends out for drinks or dinner because you never know when you'll get out again. Realize you forgot to buy bagels. How could you forget bagels? Third trip to supermarket.

Friday morning: Alternate staring out window for snow and consulting forecast for exact snow start time. Cancel the rest of weekend plans.

Friday afternoon: reports that it is snowing in your area. Run to window. Spend at least one hour yelling at because it is clearly not snowing. Ask boss about company inclement weather policy. Complain about said policy. Wait an hour; ask boss if company is closing early.

Friday evening: Fourth trip to supermarket on the way home for last-minute necessities, like chocolate and fancy hot cocoa. Alternate staring out window and watching local news for exact snow start time. Watch the Closings scroll to see if your work is closed on Monday, because you never know.

Friday night: Snow finally begins. Call/text all of your friends and family to see if it's snowing in their area and to make sure they're OK in the storm. Update Facebook status to reflect snowfall in case you missed anyone. Order pizza so you don't have to break into rations too soon.

Saturday morning: Marvel at snowfall. Fling pets / children into the snow so they can marvel and so you have pictures for your Facebook page.

Saturday afternoon: Drive or trudge to nearest hill and attempt to sled on a cookie sheet/shower curtain/trashcan lid/pool float.

Saturday evening: Meet friends for out for drinks or dinner to celebrate snow.

Sunday: Eat leftover pizza and stare out window, watching snow melt. Obsessively watch Closings list. Feel happy when the county you once lived in announces closing and then sad because you never became a teacher and now you have to go out, clean off the car and then go to work tomorrow. Plus you've got all that bread and milk to eat.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Christmas on the Potomac....

Bonnie got us tickets to see Gaylord National's Christmas on the Potomac ICE! attraction - a huge tented collection of Christmas-themed ice sculptures. We took advantage and headed up to Maryland yesterday to get our ICE on. Bonnie invited Melissa and her son, Dillan AKA cutest kid ever, to go with us, but all he knew was that we were taking him to a surprise location. We messed with him a little on the way, pointing out random things on the side of the road, saying that was his surprise. He caught on pretty quick and just started ignoring us. Too smart for 7, I tell ya.

I love my TomTom, but yesterday, she really let me down. I realize DC traffic is confusing...that's why I have a TomTom. But it should not be confusing for TomTom. She should know that there are parallel roads converging and diverging, and should probably indicate which of these parallel roads I should choose when the highway forks. Unfortch, she didn't, and we ended up in the ghetto. There was a McDonald's, whose service was so bad that Dillan screamed "I hope this place gets robbed!", a man peeing on the side of the road 20 feet away from said McDonald's, which has a public restroom, and no boy happy meal toys. Eff this place.

Once our bellies were full and we'd had enough, we reprogrammed TomTom and headed to the Gaylord. After a short tour of the hotel, I was convinced that I will never be able to afford to stay there - this place is huge and immaculate and fancy. Three things that equal expensive!

We bundled up in our coats, hats, and gloves, and headed over to the ICE! tent.

Here's Dillan, waiting to go in:

It was 9 degrees inside the tent, and they provided huge, puffy parkas for us to wear to keep us warm! I acted like a brat and asked if I had to wear it, and the guy just looked at me and said "It's really cold in there....." with a silent "DUMBASS!" at the end of the sentence. Heard, loud and clear. I put my parka on.

Some ice sculptures:

We go through this Christmas light tunnel/hallway and turn a corner, and what do we see? A pair of slides made out of ice! How awesome is that? Dillan went twice, that's how awesome.

An angel sculpture:

Once we were finished, we drove down to the marina, which was partially are Bonnie and Dillan, checking out something super-interesting. (?)

Good times! We made our way back home to drop Melissa and Dillan off, and then I played Blackjack for the rest of the night with the boys...Fun! I can't wait to gamble on the cruise, but it will be hard without Eddie telling me what to do.... :(

I always wanted one of these!

I know, my dreams aren't too lofty, but I have always wanted a color fan! And now, I have one!

We went to Sherwin-Williams today on (hopefully) our last trip to pick up paint samples, and I decided that in order to avoid driving to the paint store every day for the next week, this color fan needed to come home with me!

Our final two paint choices, after throwing out all previous choices based on their shared failed sunlight test, are:


...and Softened Green:

Very similar when separated, but I can't fit both walls in one picture. Grassland has more brown, so it's a compromise khaki and sage fans. Softened green is a classic sage. The other sages I tried turned out to have too much blue for the look I want.

What do you think? If we go with either, we'll need an accent wall behind the couch, which is a crushed velvet material in olive, so that would be too much of the same tone in one place.

I'm thinking a cream - like this Ralph Lauren suede?

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Statues, statues, statues coming at you!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

No, kitty!!!

I can't blog when you are sitting on my arm! Move!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Looks like I just committed us to painting...soon

After work yesterday, I stopped by Sherwin-Williams to pick some paint samples. We've been talking about painting our first floor for months now, and I was motivated to take my color options off the paint swatch, and onto the wall.

The problem with picking a color is that we have to use the same color (unless you can show me how to break it up) for the whole first floor, based on the layout of the house. Here's my amateur draft of our floor plan:

We've been thinking a light sage green or khaki color is the best choice, mostly because they are both neutral and would complement the designs in each room, so no major changes would be necessary other than painting. The problem with thinking sage or khaki is that there are SO many options! I go to Lowe's and stare at the 17 sections of paint, and want to die. How are you supposed to pick 1 color out of all those options? I don't know.

So, I decided to narrow down my choices by visiting a smaller, specialty paint store. Worked out much better, but there are still a thousand sage and khaki options. I picked 8, and got tester cans, called "Color To Go."

Here are all 8, painted on a kitchen wall under horrific lighting.

They are all so close that I can't pick between them, but here's what I can say:
- I'm not sure I could handle 4 rooms of the dark khaki color, but it's nice
- "Sagey" isn't sagey, it's more minty
- "Contented" is lovely, but too dark
- You can barely see "Muslin" as it blends in too well with the existing color. That one's out.

Opinions? I don't want to say my favorite yet.

I'll be taking the contenders into the living room to paint some more sections of the wall. Hopefully, one day this week I'll get home when the sun is still shining so I can see them in the daylight.

My dilemma is, who says I have to pick any of these? There are still other khakis I can try, and the perfect sage might be out there, but where do you draw the line and just jump?