Monday, January 17, 2011

Before After Mania!

Oh boy oh boy.  We have a very long Christmas break, and we spent it on Rowan's first Christmas world tour, which was a great deal of fun.  (Pics soon)  

The benefit of having a lot of time off is that you have time off for projects! But then you get so busy with projects, and class planning and such that there is simply no time to blog about them.  BUT! know this! We have done some work in both the laundry room and the kitchen as follows:

note: stained carpets,  3 tulip light fixture, pastel wallpaper, pulldown staircase---

For about a year we were living with the under-paper.  Drake pulled down the pansies, and we were left with this lovely and calming wall dressing duo:


Now we just have to get rid of the laundry (move it into the bathroom) and pull up the linoleum and refinish the wood floors!


I wish I had a closeup of the border which said "Shadybrook Farms" (this is true)


What's that you say?  you can barely see the ceiling fan?  Well that's because we painted it and replaced the tulip light covers.  This is what it used to look like:

We are desperate for some art in here, but are pretty psyched about the more sophisticated (than Shadybrook farms) color palate. 
and now! Still have to put in a tile backsplash, and new floor, AND refinish the cabinets. (and perhaps move the sink to under the window....)

One more quick before:
And after:

Well begun, but never ending!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hoppin' John!

You know, I'm not really southern but they sure do have a lot of tasty food down there.  While we were in Dallas for Christmas Susan made a delicious black-eyed pea stew and it got me thinking.  I knew that black-eyed peas were traditionally eaten on New Year's Day for good luck-- I had my first stew after a New Year's 5K in Austin-- but I'd never cooked any!  I thought I remembered seeing a recipe in The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, and sure enough, I did.

So today I am making Saigon Hoppin' John (with a few alterations)
Rinse 1 cup of dried black eyed peas thoroughly, then put them in a large bowl and cover them with water.  Let soak for 4 hours (!)<---They're still soaking as I write this

bring 6 cups of Vegetable Broth to a boil and add the drained peas.  Reduce heat to Med. High and boil until peas are tender (about 25 minutes)

Add 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice, 1tsp ground ginger, one bruised (?) stalk of lemongrass (we didn't have any at our grocery store, so I skipped this part...) 1 cup of unsweetened coconut milk (um, again, none at the grocery store, but we did have coconut "juice" so I got that-- is this going to be a disaster?  stay tuned.), 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp sugar and return all of this to a boil.

Reduce to low and simmer until porridge-y (20 minutes)

Stir in 1/4 cup chopped cilantro  and salt and pepper to taste.
This is where you'd also add lemongrass to each bowl when serving too (if you had lemongrass at your grocery store.)

Have I set myself up for New Year Disaster? I am quite distinctly *not* following the recipe in that I don't have Lemongrass and I'm using unsweetened coconut *juice* and not unsweetened coconut *milk.* Only time (5 hours) will tell.  But I'm thinking tis better to have attempted my first black-eyed pea new year than to have just given up due to lack of exotic ingredients :)
I'll let you know how it turns out!

First Year in Pictures

All of these pictures made me realize what I haven't showed you! 
There are new curtains in the Dining Room, We redid the front bedroom and never shared pictures, There aren't really any pictures of Rowan's room, AND we just redid the laundry room too :) 

Much more to come.