Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Face Lift

Face lift?

Not  for me.

For my house.

We built our home in 1995. 
We love our house but it was looking a little tired. 
Or maybe we were tired of looking at it!

Last summer several weeks were spent giving her a little makeover.

A face lift.

This is our home before.

Each of these photos were taken during some type of storm. 
The sky really was this dark and the sun was shining on the other side.

And after.

What did we do?


Wrapped the posts.

Removed railing.

New front door.

Painted the deck.

New garage doors.

Replaced some siding.

new door construction
There were many conversations and paint samples for the porch posts.
Black or white?
We painted one of each on the front porch and the black seemed to disappear.
It was however, super sexy!
We found a great compromise...

We chose black for the breezeway and white for the main house.

Love them both!

During construction...

Almost finished!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Oh you sweet little blog how I've missed you...

Bracing for the cold and some snow here in the beautiful Pacific NW.
Hope you are cozy wherever you are.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Big News!

Last weekend...
My beautiful daughter 
her boyfriend
Got Engaged!

Congratulations Chelsea and Eric.
We are so excited for you!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beautiful Food

Today is day 14 of my Whole 30. It's going great!
The first five days were a little tough but somewhere along the way things got better.
Still missing that glass of wine with dinner but Pelligrino is a fine substitute!

Amazingly, the Whole 30 has turned into a culinary adventure.
Beautiful dishes have been making their way from stove to table.

The first recipe in the Beautiful Food line up is:
  Cinnamon Beef Stew with Orange Gremolata. 
The recipe comes from my favorite cook book,
Well Fed by Melissa Joulwan. Melissa has just released Well Fed 2 and should be in my mailbox tomorrow!

The best word to describe this dish is 

Cinnamon Beef Stew with Orange Gremolata

2-3 pounds beef stew meet, cut into 1-inch cubes
salt and black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 medium celery stalk, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3-5 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
1 sprig fresh sage (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 cinnamon sticks
extra-virgin olive oil, for garnish (optional)

Orange Gremolata:
1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves, finely minced (about 2 tablespoons) 
zest from 1 orange (about 2 tablespoons)
leaves from 1 sprig fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon rose water (optional)

Sprinkle the beef generously with salt and pepper. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat, then add the meat in batches and sear on all sides. It's important that you don't crowd the pan. The meat needs air around it to achieve a crisp brown crust. With tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the browned pieces to a bowl to catch their juice. Repeat with the remaining cubes.

In the same pot, saute the chopped carrot, onion, celery, and garlic for about 2 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the tomato paste and stir for about 1 minute.

Deglaze the pan. Which is just a cook's way to say: Add the broth and vinegar, then stir with passion, scraping up all the wonderful brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring until the mixture starts to thicken.

Put the meat and its drippings back into the pot. Add 3 cups water, 2 teaspoons salt, a healthy dose of pepper, the bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, sage, and cinnamon sticks.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer with the pot only partially covered for about 90 minutes. This is not a soupy stew but if the stew starts to dry out, add more water, about 1/2 cup at a time. Simmer until the meat is fall-apart tender and the liquid in the pan has been reduced to gravy-like status.

During the last 15 minutes of stew cooking time, make the gremolata. In a small bowl, mix the parsley, orange zest, thyme, garlic, and rose water.

Remove the cinnamon sticks and herb stems from the stew pot. Ladle the stew into deep bowls and top with a few pinches of orange gremolata. Bonus points if you also add a light drizzle of olive oil.

*Eat the orange gremolata immediately to enjoy the full effects of the aromatic orange oils. It will keep in the refrigerator  for a few days, but it's best when it's fresh.

Miller Addition: I threw a sweet potato in the microwave for about 5 minutes (until tender), cut it in half, scooped out the flesh and mashed it with a fork. This was added to the bottom of the bowl and the stew put on top. It was a fantastic addition to this awesome recipe!