Tuesday, March 22, 2011

So easy even I could do it :)

So a good friend of mine suggested I visit this website http://www.ravelry.com. They have a bunch of crochet and knitting patterns for free. I tend to be a craft by the seat of my pants kind of girl, but I thought... hey... I am up for a challenge... so I decided to try one. I have never followed a pattern before, so I picked one that I thought would be really easy. And..... it worked!

It was super quick too. I did it while watching an episode of NCIS. Now I have a fun new headband. If you want to make one too... here is the link

Friday, March 18, 2011

bye bye weird curtains

First let me explain what you are seeing in this picture… because our house is definitely not a cookie cutter house. Your are actually looking at a wall of mirrors, and seeing the room in a reflection. In the mirror, you can see the half wall and door that leads to our den (it was an add on) As you can see…. there were these weird curtains in the middle of our house framing the wall from one room to another. Normally you see curtains along a doorway to the outside.. but not in our house. Besides the fact that I think it is weird to have curtains in the middle of our house… they are not exactly our style. Lan tried to convince me to keep them because they reminded him of a move theater. Ummm, sorry hun… not exactly the look I was going for in my dining/living room.


So one day when I couldn’t stand them any more, I started to take them down… which lead to Lan shaking his head and taking over. Hehehe… my plan worked perfectly. Taking down the curtains revealed some long cracks in the wall. Not too surprising in a 60 year old home that has been through some big earthquakes, so we said a prayer that the cracks were only cosmetic and patched them up with some patch and paint compound.


Ahhhhhhh… so much better. It made the space feel so much more open and clean. As you can see we also updated the broken chandelier with a more modern one. I am now itching to paint :)


Every little thing that we do makes me gitty and really helps make it feel like our home.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When the in-laws come to visit

This weekend Lan was replacing our door frame and asked his dad to come and help him. As always when we see them, they came baring food! Yum :) The fried rice was eaten that day for lunch and the home made egg rolls are in the freezer for a dinner this week :) They also brought with them some fruit. In the background is a branch off of their kumquat tree. Yes... the whole branch. That big spiky thing in my poorly lit slightly blurry photo isn't a hedge hog, but it is a fruit called Durian.

The outside skin is very spiky. Personally I would use gloves, but my manly husband said he didn't need them. You cut off a large section of the husk and pull it back. you can see how thick the skin is. The fruit is inside and you just scoop it out.

As you can imagine, there is a lot of fruit in there. There are large seeds coated by the fruit. Simply peal the fruit off of the seed when you are ready to eat it. We mixed some in with some vanilla ice cream, and then froze the rest in a plastic bag to be used later. (freeze it with the seeds)

Its an interesting flavor that not many people like. It has almost a savory taste. Hey if you are up for an adventure, pick one up at your local Asian store. They sell them frozen, so letting it defrost will make cutting into the thick skin much easier.
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Saturday, March 12, 2011

grody grout

When we first got our house, we had some grody grout and caulk. Around the sink was a ton of mold and broken tiles. It was nasty. When the last owners put in the kitchen, they also used brown grout instead of white. It just made everything look dirty.


So off to Home Depot we went to see what we could do about it… and look what was staring at us on the shelf …


We started the project at midnight and it was super easy. You have this little tool kind of like a knife and you scrape off the top layer of grout. When we did this around the sink and removed the caulk, the broken tiles basically just fell off. What was under them had corroded away.


We used this compound from the kit kind of like you would glue and put them back in place. We could have replaced the broken pieces but that would have involved buying new tile, some how getting it cut to the right size, etc. Doable, however, we don’t plan to keep the tile counter tops. We want to get granite, so this is our cheap temporary solution. We just “glued” the pieces together :)


While Lan was doing this, I was busy removing grout on the counters. We have a shop vack (its like a vacuum hose), so we had that going right next to where I was scraping out grout to control dust. After that we took the white grout and applied it to the grout lines with our fingers. It just seemed less messy than applying it over the whole tile. We used a wet sponge to clean the tiles and we were done for the night.


It took us about a month after that to get back around to re-caulking the sink. But it is now officially done, and man did it make a huge difference. I am now willing to wait a few years to replace the counters and sink, where as before it was an urgent problem… especially since I am allergic to mold… and ugly grout :)


We didn’t do the back splash so you can see the difference. The counters look so much cleaner now. Not too bad for a temporary solution and $20. If I actually liked tile, I wouldn’t mind keeping it for even longer.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Cabbage Soup

I know what you are thinking.... most people turn their noses up when I mention cabbage soup... but trust me... yum! Granted, I was one of those kids who has always loved cabbage soup. A while back when "the cabbage soup diet" was a big hit and my parents were doing it, they would constantly be yelling at us kids because we would always be eating their diet soup. It was a common thing to hear a child request their parents for some "diet soup" in our home. :)

I have been trying to lose weight. I have even joined a Biggest Loser competition at work! Yikes! I have been counting calories using calorie counter at About.com. I love this website. It said that in order to reach my goal when I would like to reach it, I should be consuming 1200 calories a day. That is a very low number. In order to save some calories, one of my go to lunches has been cabbage soup. I love this recipe and it is super low calorie, fills you up, and keeps you full... and it is super yummy. I will actually be making another batch this weekend.

After I make it, I like to portion it out into plastic baggies and freeze them. It makes it easy to grab and go in the morning. Being busy can make it difficult to eat healthy, but this makes it easy.

6 cups chicken broth
2 carrots
1 bell pepper
1/2 c. chopped celery
2 zucchini
16 oz diced tomatoes
1 onion
1/2 tsp garlic
4 cups cabbage
1 tbsp crushed red pepper

Bring the broth to a boil.
Chop everything into bite sized pieces and cook until the veggies are tender. Season to taste.

makes 10 servings or more and only 67 calories each!

When I cook, I don't really follow the recipe. It is my estimation of what I use. I probably use the whole head of cabbage. I am even thinking of adding leeks the next time I make it. Have fun with it. I is a yummy, healthy, veggie soup

Wednesday, March 2, 2011



In old town Orange there is a waffle stand that has a line down the street.  Bruxie specializes in waffle sandwiches and Belgium waffles.  That’s right… waffles are no longer just delivery devices for gooey syrup.  They are instead stuffing them with everything from salmon and cream cheese to eggs and bacon… and I am hooked.  That’s right ladies and gentlemen, a savory waffle is delicious. 


Above is my waffle with salmon and cream cheese.  Lan got prosciutto and gruyere and we split both.  The waffle was crispy and tender.  I don’t know why… but it works.


Lan also got us a Belgium waffle with Nutella on the side.  Yum.  They are made just like they are in Belgium, not with regular sugar, but with pearl sugar.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Green Tea Challenge is officially called

We have officially called the green tea challenge. Well, it was actually called a few weeks ago... but who is counting. Jessica and I went a good three weeks without our beloved coffee... and were pleasantly surprised with the results.

The switch to green tea was a smooth one. I didn't go through coffee withdrawals. Each morning I filled my to go mug with piping hot green tea and kept the tea bag in. Then when I got to work, I re-filled on hot water. It did the job of warming me up and giving me my caffeine fix. It wasn't quite a cosey as my morning cup of coffee laden with flavored creamer, but it did the job. A big bonus that I noticed was the fact that on days where I didn't feel like having coffee or tea, I didn't get a withdrawal headache like I did when I was just on coffee. Not to mention the fact that it is far less calories. Jessica noticed that she didn't have the afternoon crash, and now that she is back on coffee, she is good with just one cup instead of...well... more :) It was kindof like a coffee detox.

I am not totally back on coffee... it is more like an indulgence now for those mornings that waking up is absolute torture. I am trying to loose weight, so having those few extra calories when I drink green tea instead of coffee comes in very nice. Who knows if it is speeding up my metabolism or not, but at least it is a drink that isn't adding to my waist line.

Final verdict: green tea = a good thing