Friday, June 24, 2011


I can't tell you all how happy I am that it is the weekend! It was a long and tiring week and next week is shaping up to be even worse. But I'm choosing to focus on the positive:

Exhibit 1: Strawberry Summer Cake from Smitten Kitchen (I made the recipe as is so I thought I should just pass along SK's link). I made it for book club this week and oh my goodness was it good. I think it might have been even better the second day. I'm planning on trying it with other summer fruit-- blueberries and/or blackberries are next on my list. Whatever fruit you use-- you should make it this weekend.

Exhibit 2: Our house is even more house-like

We go in for our pre-drywall meeting this week which means we are about 60 days away from being homeowners!

Monday, June 20, 2011

It's All Greek to Me

Looking for a quick and easy summer salad that is perfect for throwing together in a hurry after work when you've got other things to do? Have I got the thing for you-- Greek salad! I made this for dinner a few weeks ago after a long day of work (and before I rolled up my sleeves to bake Jason's annual choice of birthday cake)-- it was light and delicious and had me in and out of the kitchen in no time flat.

The nice thing about salads is that it's all about assembly-- so easy, you don't need a recipe! Simply top your favorite salad greens with chopped tomatoes, red onion, olives, cucumber and feta and add a quick and easy balsamic vinaigrette.

And for fun...Jason's cake (this time I did a mini 6 inch cake since it was just the two of us)

In other news, we are having more problems with the US Postal Service. But that's a story for another day. And today we got to walk through our house for the first time-- it's looking more like a house on the outside but there is definitely a ways to go on the inside :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Healthy Summer Burgers

After eating out for a week in Palm Desert, all I wanted last Sunday was to make something myself. Preferably something a little lighter and something relatively quick and easy (since I didn't want to spend my too much of my last evening before going back to work slaving away in the kitchen). I decided to try a recipe for salmon burgers that I had found in the June edition of Better Homes and Gardens-- one of the magazines I had purchased to take with me to on our trip (I was such a fan of the magazine that I decided to subscribe-- a two year subscription was only $16!).

The recipe was a cinch to make-- throw skinless salmon fillets, some breadcrumbs, an egg and some Dijon mustard in a food processor and then form into patties. Since we are still grill-less (hopefully for just another couple of months), I broiled ours and they turned out really well. I served them with sliced avocado on toasted ciabatta rolls with some oven-baked sweet potato "fries" on the side. Next time I might add in some fresh herbs or make a herby-yogurt spread to serve with them for a little extra flavor. Otherwise,  a delicious and easy summer meal.

Salmon Burgers
Adapted slightly from Better Homes and Gardens

(Note: I halved the recipe to accommodate the two of us but was still left with two pretty big burgers; the amounts below make more like three normal sized patties.)

2 4-6 ounce fillets of salmon, skin removed and cut into two inch pieces
3 TBL bread crumbs
1  egg
1 TBL Dijon mustard
1 avocado, sliced
2 ciabatta rolls
olive oil

1. Preheat broiler.
2. Place breadcrumbs, egg, mustard, and half of salmon into a food processor. Process until salmon is ground and mixture is thoroughly combined. Add in remaining salmon and pulse until salmon is coarsely chopped. Shape mixture into 2-3 patties (see note above).
3. Brush patties lightly with olive oil. Broil 4-5 minutes per side until burgers are cooked through. Place ciabatta rolls, cut side up, onto broiler pan for last 1-2 minutes.
4. Serve salmon burgers on rolls with sliced avocado and additional mustard (if desired).

Monday, June 13, 2011

House Update

After having been gone the last few weekends, we decided to stop by the ol' homestead to see how things were progressing. The front doesn't look too different from Memorial Day weekend:

Although they have added some trim work around the windows as well as a temporary door. But the back-- well the back is an entirely different story:

We have brick! My guess is by week's end the front will be all bricked up also. To give you a sense of how it will all look-- the brick will be painted an white/off-white and the trim around the front box of windows will be a greyish-blue color. With a red front door to pull it all together.

Work seems to be progressing on the inside as well-- we can see evidence of plumbing and electrical work having started. Our pre-drywall inspection will probably be sometime in the next week or two!

On a related note, we bought our first real home purchase over the weekend-- furniture for our rooftop terrace! We had our eye on a set from Home Decorator's Collection for awhile and decided to go ahead and make the purchase while they had a sale going on. Although the set we picked (see a picture below) is on backorder, the estimated ship date is the first week of September which is actually pretty good timing for our mid/late August move.

 I can't wait to sit out on our terrace this fall!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Postcard from Palm Desert

Jason and I just got back from a much needed week-long vacation in Palm Desert, California. We had a wonderful and relaxing trip with 8+ hours of sleep every night and lots of downtime. Over the course of one week I read two magazines, finished The Help and The Happiness Project and read the first half of Moonwalking with Einstein (all of which I'd highly recommend). We also ate a lot of good food (see the bottom of the post for Palm Desert area restaurant recommendations) and took a lot of pictures.

 Our first night there

 View from our patio

 One of the many pools where we stayed

 Setting off on our 3 mile hike in Joshua Tree National Park

 A view of the 49 Palms Oasis

 Joshua Trees!

 Jason is like a kid in a candy store around big boulders-- he just has to climb them!

 Sunset in El Paseo-- a shopping/restaurant area in Palm Desert

 A date farm!

 A view from the tram car almost 2 miles up to San Jacinto Mountain

 View of Palm Springs and surrounding desert cities from San Jacinto Mountain

If you ever find yourself in the Palm Desert area, here are things we'd recommend doing:
- Hike to the 49 Palms Oasis at Joshua Tree National Park
- Visit Joshua Tree National Park period
- Drive through the many residential neighborhoods and check out the mid-century modern architecture
- Eat date pancakes or drink a date shake at Shields Date Gardens
- Relax by the pool (reading or playing Scrabble)

And as far as places to eat go, I don't think we ever ate a bad meal on our trip, but our favorite spots included:
- Cork Tree
- 3rd Corner Wine Shop and Bistro
- Sub King (Jason's particular favorite)
- Ristorante Mamma Gina

Now that I'm back and well rested, I'm hoping to catch up on blogging this week-- if catching up from a week away at work doesn't kill me that is :)