Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Trying to Pick a House May Just Kill Us

Argh. One day of house hunting and I'm already frustrated. This is not a good sign.
We got a better deal on the previously mentioned loan and went with another company. Same interest rate but a much better deal in the long run. So, now that we're approved and have the letter and all that, it's time to house shop. Easy right? Not on your life.
We looked at 6 houses last night. There were 3 more on the list but they were immediately dismissed due to the proximity of a major street to the backyard. (How we missed this detail while driving to them previously I have no idea.)
One house was an immediate bust. Too much work needed to be done. One was just meh. I thought it would be better but eh. The next house we went to- I LOVED. And I mean LOVED. Gorgeous architecture, sun room, sunken living room, utility room, master bedroom on one side and guest rooms on the other, great location near a creek, and a hot tub! The kitchen was a little cramped but totally workable and the closet space could be bigger but that is also doable. We can knock out the wall from the living room to the sun room for more space. I really like the place. The boy: eh, too small. It's 1500 sq feet! They want to sell too! But I'm going to press on this one.
The next house was just ok, nothing special. A little small. The house after that was on a cul-de-sac. Loved that part. The outside was nice, excellent ceramic tile on the walkway. Inside was really neat, with a loft area and a deck off of that. Master bedroom was downstairs with French doors to the back. And the kitchen- oh. My idea of a perfect kitchen. The only problem was the yard. It just was tiny. It's on the corner of a cul-de-sac so it got cut off. It's just too small for our needs. I wish the yard had been bigger because other than that, the house was great. But the yard is a deal breaker.
The last house we saw was great. It didn't give me the I love it feel, but it was a nice house. The kitchen was big and newly remodeled, in fact the entire house was re-done. It's an investment house. The yard is HUGE and just needs a new fence. Rooms are big and there's plenty of storage. It's a definite possibility but I didn't love it like I loved the other one. But this one has more boy approval. But we'll see about that.
We're making a list for this weekend. More houses to see. We're expanding our area bit.
But this is going to be tough. Finding a house we BOTH agree on, is not going to be easy.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Hair Loss x2

So the boy is bald now. After I went and chopped off my hair, yesterday the boy got fed up with his head of hair and shaved it all off. He had been growing out his hair for a while, intending to grow it long, but the heat and aggravation of having hair just got to him. And he had the nerve to complain about me going short!
So he's a cue ball right now. In a week it'll be all ok because he'll be fuzzy, and I love fuzzy heads, but for now I'm going to give him lots of shit for this. Because he asked for it.

The cat sit and stares longingly out the window these days. We haven't yet replaced the collar. I'm in no hurry though, with temperatures in the 100s, it's not a great idea for her to be out. Plus we have to leave the door cracked for her to come in and out and I'm not providing ac for the outside. Our electric bill for last month was bad enough. She'll be ok. Crazy kitty. She's still a momma's girl, that's for sure.

I should be doing this major project for work right now, but I just can't bring myself to do it. It's boring data entry crap. I hate it. Someday I'll get off my ass...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Cat is losing it

My cat lost her collar. Not sure how it happened, but yesterday she went out with her collar and came back home without it. Now we have to go buy a new one and get a new tag. I'm considering a microchip now because of this.
It must have gotten caught on something. We had bought her a new collar months ago, because she had managed to scratch off the buckle one. This was a snap thing that was aslo supposed to come off easily if it got caught on a branch or fence or whatever. I can only assume that is what happened.
My phone number is on the tag, so if someone finds the collar it would be nice to get a call. But if not, oh well. I just have to wonder how it just happened. If only they could speak human. Mrowr just doesn't cut it.

The Disappearing Hair

My hair is short now. Really short. Like short Sienna Miller short.
I didn’t intend to go this short. It sort of just happened. I went to get a haircut because I was seriously overdue for one, and said, “I want something a little different. I need to go shorter because my hair grows ridiculously fast.” (Which is true. My hairstylist is usually amazed at how long my hair can get in 2-3 months.)
So, I looked at a magazine, pointed out a style that I liked, and we went for it. And now my hair is short.
Reactions have been universally good, with the exception of the boy. He HATES short hair, which I knew, so I expected his reaction.
The boy: “No, no, no, too short. Too short. It’s cute but too short.”
Everyone else, “Oh my god, that’s so cute! It’s so flattering!”
Me, I love it. I think it’s actually age appropriate and I now actually almost look my age, instead of about 6 years younger. Plus with all this heat, it’s nice to not have to worry about it all.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Fried Chicken Salad

This is really easy to make and it’s not all bad for you. Marinate the chicken in buttermilk- which is actually good for you and very low in fat. The salad is a mix of greens and veggies, and you can easily make the dressing low in fat. The most time you spend is frying up the chicken. It’s a salad composé, so the salad is just arranged on the plate and not tossed. Easy and yummy. I got this recipe from Sara Moulton and I’ve tweaked it just a little bit.

2 chicken breasts or thighs
1 cup buttermilk
flour, salt and pepper or breadcrumbs
arugula or any mixed greens, washed and patted dry
2 corn cobs, cooked for about a minute or two, especially if they are fresh*
1 tomato, sliced however you prefer
½ a large red onion, sliced
ranch dressing**

Marinate the chicken in the buttermilk for at least 15-20 minutes.
Heat up a frying pan with some oil, canola oil is best. Olive oil will not work well here.
Dredge (coat) the chicken in the seasoned flour or breadcrumbs and shake off the excess. Place in hot pan and cook until done. (The juices run clear or you cut a bit open and it’s no longer pink. Usually about 10 minutes, depending.)
While chicken is cooking, arrange the salad on a plate.
Place the arugula down first, then arrange the onion and tomato around the edges.
Take the cooked corn on the cob and slice the fresh corn off. (stand it up on the end and run the knife down the side. Watch out for flying kernels.) Place the corn over the arugula.
Slice the fried chicken and place it on top of the corn.
Dress with the ranch dressing.

*You can also use frozen or canned corn, just be sure to drain the corn.
**I use ranch dressing from the packet. You mix in mayonnaise and milk with the packet and let refrigerate for an hour or so. It’s fresher than the bottled stuff. Alternatively, you can make your own type of dressing with buttermilk, mayo, salt, pepper, and various herbs. Do what you like.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Dinner Summary For the Week

Last Friday: Mexican at La Feria
I had enchiladas- shocker really. It was ok. It's a cheap Mexican place that does things quickly. It wasn't groundbreaking or anything but I've had better. Normally we would have gone to El Arroyo or Matt's El Rancho but we've been on overload there recently and wanted something different.
Saturday: A version of Sara Moulton's Fried Chicken Salad. I pan fried chicken thighs and placed them on a salad composé (not tossed) of arugula, tomatoes, corn (sliced from the cob), and red onions. I dressed it with a ranch dressing- the kind you make with a mix from the box because that's what I was craving. Fresh herbs would have been better but eh. It was quite good if I do say so myself. All the veggies were bought that morning at the farmers' market.
Sunday: It was the boy's birthday so the night before I had made him a cheesecake. They're best if left to chill overnight. For dinner we had lemon and garlic asparagus, rosemary and onion roasted potatoes, and rib-eye steak with a bleu-cheese herb compound butter. It was all cooked on the grill. (Foil packets for the potatoes and aparagus.) That also turned out very yummy.
Monday: Chinese food because we were lazy.
Tuesday: I wanted something easy so I made chicken and rice. I marinated the chicken for 15-20 minutes in white wine, honey, and mustard, along with some s&p. Then I dumped it all into a pan with olive oil and sauteed. It came out really good. Canned corn on the side.
Wednesday: Usual Chinese night with C.
Thursday: Ugh. This was not a good food night. I was really tired and craving something horriblyy bad for me. So I tried to make a tater tot type casserole without using actual tater tots. I grated potatoes but forgot to squeeze out the water. Mistake. They just soaked up the oil and didn't fry very well. Then I cooked the pork and that was ok. I dumped it all into a casserole dish and covered it in cream of mushroom soup (yes every once in a while I do use this.), covered it in cheese, and baked. For some reason it just turned out so bland. Ugh. Just not good. Oh well. Live and learn.
Just wish I could remember what I did with the chicken!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Chicken Creole

I’m back! Sorry it’s been a while. Life has been crazy with the parental visit and the subsequent recovery. Plus we’re actually house hunting and all that fun stuff. I just needed a vacation from the computer.
Anyway, this recipe is way easy and really good. I tend to leave out the celery but as it’s part of the Cajun trinity of cooking- it might not be a good idea to leave it out. (It’s the Cajun mirepoix which is celery, peppers, and onions. Mirepoix is carrots, onions, and celery. It’s used as the base for soups and sauces and lots of different things.)
20-Minute Chicken Creole
Serves: 4
This quick Southern dish contains no added fat and very little added salt in a spicy tomato sauce. INGREDIENTS
Nonstick cooking spray as needed
4 medium chicken breast halves, skinned, boned, and cut into 1" strips
1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 cup low-sodium chili sauce
1 large green pepper, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, or 1 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Spray a deep skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat pan over high heat.
2. Cook chicken in hot skillet, stirring for 3-5 minutes, or until no longer pink. Reduce heat.
3. Add tomatoes and their juice, low-sodium chili sauce, green pepper, celery, onion, garlic, basil, parsley, crushed red pepper, and salt.
4. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
5. Serve over hot cooked rice or whole wheat pasta.