Category Archives: Our House

Dust Storm

While the rest of the country was getting pounded by a snowstorm, we had a dust storm instead. In our house.

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After we removed the wallpaper a couple weeks ago, we were left with a ton of glue on the walls. We ended up skim coating the walls which basically means covering them with a layer of drywall compound. Then they had to be sanded.

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I guess it’s better than 2 feet of snow, right? Well, maybe not. Seriously, this home improvement stuff is hard. It just takes so long to finish and I feel like our house is constantly a huge mess. We still have to finish sanding the walls, prime them and then paint them and that’s just for that little hallway!

Not only did Jason sand the walls, but he also put dinner in the crockpot. I like my crockpot, but one of the reasons that I don’t use it as much as some of my other kitchen appliances is that I don’t feel like it’s as easy as drop it in and go. You still have to chop up the ingredients and everything beforehand and for whatever reason, I am always too lazy to do it the night before. So I mainly use the crockpot on weekend (mine or his) nights.

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It was nice to have Ravioli Stew waiting for me when I get home, I’ll admit that. I guess I could get over the preparing the night before phobia.

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We also had a salad with a new dressing that I got at Whole Foods. I love the dressing at Japanese restaurants and am always trying to find a bottled version or recipe. This was pretty close but not an exact replicate. Does anyone have a recipe for that stuff?

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After we ate, we sat down to watch today’s Oprah episode about veganism. While nothing in the show was particularly new information for me, I still thought it was interesting and give kudos to Oprah for introducing the concept of veganism to her audience. I did find the Kashi product placement sort of odd though!

While we were watching, I was also making dessert. I saw this recipe for Black Bean Brownies on Foodie Fresh and the idea intrigued me. I told Jason that I was making dessert with a secret ingredient. This is pretty much the norm in our house, for me to add something odd, so he didn’t really bat an eye.

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I gave one to Jason and his first comment was that it’d be good with ice cream. I asked him what he thought was different about it and first he asked if there was no sugar. I assured him that there was plenty of sugar. (I actually used about 1.75 cups instead of 2.25) Then he asked if there was no flour. I said there was. He asked if they were vegan. I said that they were, but that wasn’t the weird ingredient, nor was the almond milk. Finally I told him.

Beans! (You can’t taste them and I guess they provide added fiber.)

What’s your favorite “weird” ingredient to put in a dessert? Or any meal for that matter?

Dinner Guests

Even though our house is still in disarray from our wallpaper project last weekend, we decided to have our friends Andrew and Katharine over for dinner last night. They are good friends of ours but for some reason, hadn’t seen our house yet.

Having dinner guests on Friday, or any weeknight for that matter, is hard. Unfortunately, Jason works on Saturday and Sunday evenings so Friday is pretty much the only weekend night that we can have people over.

Since I don’t get off work until 5:30 and still needed to grocery shop and they were coming at 7:30, I knew that we needed a quick and easy dinner. Enter a build your own taco bar. This is a great meal for guests. For one, you don’t have to do much and secondly, everyone can customize his or her taco to their liking. It also solves the problem of do I make a vegetarian dish for non-vegetarian guests?

We had some crackers and brie to start with. For some reason, these crackers tasted like cookies. It was kind of weird. They were Carr Whole Wheat Crackers.

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Then we just put everything else in bowls on the table.

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The salsa and queso are jarred but I did make the guacamole. This is hardly a recipe, but it’s easy and tastes good so I’m going to post it anyway.

Easy Guacamole

2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup pico de gallo (I got it in the produce section of Kroger)
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt or to taste

Peel the avocados and then mash them with a potato masher. Then mix everything else together. Voila, instant guacamole!

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There was also chicken which isn’t pictured for some reason. And we had whole wheat tortillas to wrap everything in. I also picked up something new at the store.

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Sweet Corn Cake. This was from a Chi Chi’s mix that was hanging out near the salsa in the grocery store. The ingredient list looked pretty harmless, so I picked it up. It was super easy to make. You just mix the corn cake mix with a bit of water, butter and a can of creamed corn. I’m sure this was not the healthiest thing in the world, but it was sweet and delicious.

Our friends supplied wine and dessert. I was very careful not to drink too much and to make sure that I had lots of water. I had a beer while “cooking” and then two glasses of wine. I completely switched to water around 9:30 or 10 which proved to be a good decision because I feel fine this morning.

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For dessert, A and K brought over a box of little cupcakes and pastries from Whole Foods. I had a really good cookie thing that I gobbled up so fast that it didn’t get a picture. That fruit tart is calling my name for tonight’s dessert, I think.

Home Improvement Weekend

There are a lot of things that need to do with our new house to really make it ours. Up near the top of the list was a new kitchen sink. Our old sink sucked.

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Not only was it shallow, but what is the point of that second, even shallower basin on the left? I mean, we have a dishwasher so it’s not like we need that space to soak the dishes. It just makes the regular part of the sink tiny.

Aside from the sink, I also wanted to get rid of some wallpaper. Fortunately, our house is only wallpapered in the hallway and one of the bathrooms and the paper isn’t too offensive.

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My mom came to visit for the weekend. She’s really good at home improvement stuff and seems to like doing it, so she offered to help. While my mom and I took wallpaper down, Jason worked on the sink.

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And Murphy worked on being cute.

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The wallpaper removal too much longer than I thought. Whoever put it up originally used a lot of paste. We found that the key to easy removal is to use a lot of water to get the walls wet. You really don’t even need the chemical wallpaper removal, just water.

We were tired and hungry and decided to order Chinese delivery. By chance, I found a really good Chinese place near my house. I think having a go-to Chinese restaurant is important! I’m much more likely to order Chinese delivery than pizza, although that happens too.

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Back to the wallpaper I go. We’re almost done.

Home Improvement and a Giveaway

Even though we bought our house almost seven months ago, I haven’t put many pictures of it on the blog. The truth is, it needs a lot of work. Nothing big, no gutting of rooms or anything, but little things like new paint, new lighting, etc.

Room by room, we’re getting things done, slowly but surely. First things first, the dining room. When we first moved in, there was no overhead light at all. There were literally wires hanging from the ceiling. Jason eventually put in a ceiling light.

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Better than the wires, but not attractive at all, nor did it provide much light. Isn’t this much better?

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Yes, I think it is. I got this chandelier from CSN stores after I won a giveaway. (I think you see where this is heading!) The chandelier makes the room look so much more put together, doesn’t it? We also put wooden blinds in the big window which also made a huge difference.

Next order of business is the kitchen. Our kitchen is pretty big, but it has some…issues, if you will.

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My biggest gripe is that we have ONE set of cabinets. ONE! Fortunately, we have a lot of storage space under the counters, but the one cabinet thing is ridiculous. We want to put in more on the right side, where there are currently shelves.

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The other side of the kitchen has the stove and the fridge and a dog in the corner. According to my mother, the kitchen is set up wrong and the stove shouldn’t be over there, but let’s not talk about that. What I want to talk about is that pass through. When you first see it, it’s kind of cool, right? But after a while, we realized that it’s really not appropriate for where it is. A pass through shouldn’t be behind the oven. If any grease comes through the hole, it’ll go onto our tv which is on the other side. Plus, there is a weird glare if you are in the living room, actually watching the tv. I’m kind of at a loss for what to do. I guess that’s the next project.

Oh, you were waiting for the giveaway? Silly me, I thought you wanted to see my messy kitchen!

CSN Stores has generously offered to give an In My Tummy reader a $35 gift certificate to any of their sites. Whether you are into modern furniture, like we are, or cooking gadgets or even pet products, CSN Stores has something for you.

So, here’s what you do. Click on the link above and leave me a comment telling me what you’d most like if you won the giveaway. For a second entry, leave another comment telling me what you’d do with my kitchen and if you’d close up the pass through.

The gift certificate does not cover shipping costs but can be used on any of the CSN store pages. I will pick a winner on Thursday morning at 8 am. Good luck!

Problem/Solution

I’ve had a rather contemplative sort of day. I got upset this morning about how messy our house is. I pitched a small fit, pouted heavily and did some cleaning. And then, after I read more of The Happiness Project, I realized that I need to stop being annoyed and instead take charge. So I made a list of things that take away from my happiness and how I can fix them. Granted, some of the things, I cannot fix, but most of them I can.

This is what I came up with:

Problem – my camera and equipment are always on the dining room table, adding to the mess. Solution – find a place to permanently keep the camera when I’m not using it. Maybe buy some sort of end table or shelf that I can stick in the corner.

Problem – the mail is always all over the other table. Solution – once a week, go through the mail and throw away everything that’s not needed.

Problem – the bathrooms are dirty. Solution – once a week, do a deep clean. I’ll tackle one bathroom and Jason will tackle the other.

Problem – I feel isolated from my friends and lonely on the weekends. I’m at the age where the large majority of my friends are married or in serious relationships and some have kids. I know, I am married too, but my situation is different. Most of my friends spend weekends with their significant others. In my case, I can’t spend Saturday or Sunday with Jason because he works. I have a habit of just staying at home with the dog instead. Solution – call my friends! Make an effort. First of all, they are not all coupled up and even if they are, they don’t do exclusive couple things every weekend.

Problem –

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This is my kitchen light. And it’s awful. One of the lights has burned out but it’s a weird bulb that I don’t know how to replace. The kitchen gets very limited lighting. Plus, see that cabinet in the back? It’s the only cabinet that we have! Our kitchen is pretty big and has a lot of potential. Solution – buy a new overhead light and channel my inner Young House Love to get some cabinets going on.

Problem – I feel achy and have a sore throat. Solution –

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I have a “recipes to try” folder on my computer. I perused it for a bit and came up with Magnificent Minestrone from Kath Eats. I followed her recipe to the T except I doubled the amount of broth. I like a soupy-soup. I also added a little bit of cauliflower that I had leftover in the fridge.

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All those veggies definitely made me feel better.

And this doesn’t go along with my problem/solution theme, but I wanted to show you the nice Blogger Gift Exchange gifts that I received from Kate at For the Love of Breakfast.

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She got me a nice smelling soap, some sea salt dark chocolate and a cute mug. Since I stopped drinking soda, I’ve been drinking the hell out of some hot tea so I’m very excited to bring my new mug to the office tomorrow. Thanks again Kate!