Sunday, September 23, 2012

around here as of late

Sorry for the extended absence.  We've been busy cooking, puppying (yes, I've decided that's a word), and homemaking.

Flowers from Costco in an improvised vase with our little bird salt & pepper shakers from Camden.  I've been trying to remember to drink more water.  Adding a lemon wedge makes it feel like a treat.  And Farmers' Market peppers stuffed with rice, beans, and tomatoes from our garden.

Rick Bayless's Pork Tinga.  Dan's sister made this and I loved it so much that I had to do it myself.   Her recipe involved a slow cooker.  The one I made didn't.  I kept wondering when the slow cooker step would enter into the recipe.  I guess that's why they always say you should read the entire recipe before you start the meal.  Whoops.  I'm just looking at it as an excuse to have to try the other version.

A fall inspired meal with roasted apples, sausages, Farmers' Market kale sauteed with just a bit of maple syrup to sweeten it up, and a roasted mushroom risotto. Oh, and Oliver looking like he owns the place. Which he essentially does...

Oliver is just as big as Dan's parents' full-grown dog, Joey.  Except Oliver is only 4 months old in this picture. Uh oh.  Breakfast on the picnic table.

Another breakfast shot - this time with cinnamon apple - walnut pancakes and a pretty little seagull creamer that used to belong to my grandmother.  A pretty bud vase in the kitchen window.  And more flowers on my bedside table.  I love when Dan brings me flowers.  I try to divide up the bouquets to spread the love throughout the house.

A quasi-finished bookcase! Now I just have the fun task of filling it up.  I am trying out a few different things I have lying around the house to see what works.

More pancakes. I don't really like maple syrup, so instead I slather mine in butter.  I know I shouldn't do this, but you only live once, right? And it's oh, so delicious. Also, a more detailed look at the shelves so far: a ball of twine and scissors from an area antique store, Swedish Dala horses, including an antique one.  My favorite Fenton hobnail milk glass planter (I have 3, but can only find 1 at the moment...hmmm.)  An old tin.  And a very special prince of a frog found a home atop some Sotheby's catalogues.
A silver tray collects bathroom essentials.  And the divided bouquet finds two more homes.  I love the cat-nine tails; they remind me of traipsing around the pond behind my house when I was little.  I have a fondness for paint-by-numbers.  Somehow they all seem to have a red in them that works nicely with our bright-red hallway walls.

Finally, Oliver keeps me company while I write this post.  He has since fallen asleep and is snoring a little bit, which I find adorable. In the picture, he's chewing on his current favorite toy (and actually the only one he hasn't been able to rip a hole in yet): a corduroy mallard duck from LL Bean.

P.S. Please excuse the fragments.  I guess I wasn't feeling that whole sentence thing today.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

puppy love: ollie and aly

The only toy that Oliver loves more than a cardboard box is his Aly.  The very first plush toy we got for him, Aly is an alligator.  We named her Aly after our friend from Vail, who is also Ollie's dog god-mother.

Oliver goes nuts over his Aly.  It's crazy to me how he really does seem to prefer this toy over all others.  He runs around with it, sleeps with it, and often lugs it through the house with him wherever he goes.  
Sometimes I will run his Aly through the laundry because she gets kind of gross from all the chewing.  Once, Oliver was in the laundry room with me when I was taking the clothes out of the dryer.  He barged his way in and grabbed Aly out of the mess of clothes and then ran off with her, tail wagging.

Even when he sleeps, Oliver is not generally too far from his Aly. Unfortunately, he has finally ripped a hole in her and has begun to take the stuffing out.  I'm not sure if I should attempt to sew up the hole, buy a new Aly, or just let her go altogether, but I feel kind of bad taking Oliver's "first love" away.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

puppy love: oliver antics

Sometimes we'll give Oliver cardboard boxes as toys.  Just like with kids - cardboard boxes almost always seem to be a bigger hit than the toys you actually spent money on. I came around the corner one morning to find this cardboard box particularly destroyed. So far, Oliver doesn't eat the remnants, he just chews on them until they're disgustingly slimy and leaves them to stick on the floor.  It's really fun to clean up.  But hey, whatever keeps him entertained, right?

Oliver also likes to get his tummy rubbed.  A lot. Could be #2 on his list of all-time favorite things to do.  Eating is #1.  Without fail if you start to pet him, he will roll onto his back and just wait for the tummy rubbing to begin.  I like that.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

puppy love: oliver on the bed

Alright. I know, I know. Puppies aren't supposed to go on the bed.  What you let them do now, they'll continue to do when they're fully grown.  (And judging by those paws, this is going to be a BIG fully grown!)  But I think I'm okay with that! I love when Oliver gets on the bed (we have to lift him up, since he can't jump that high yet). He has only spent a full night on the bed with us once.  Generally speaking he gets pretty antsy up there and can't stay still for an extended period of time.  Come to think of it, I don't think he can ever stay still for an extended period of time.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

puppy love: a day in the life of oliver

Oliver's favorite thing to do is wake up early (much to his owners' chagrin).  He's a "morning dog" and a firm believer in the motto that the early bird catches the worm, er make that the cicada, bunny rabbit, and/or squirrel.  After breakfast and a walk, Oliver hangs out in the kitchen while we do other things around the house/get ready for the day. When we come back, it's often to a scene like this:
Who? Me?
We have since reclaimed our coffee table for its original purpose and purchased a baby gate that prevents Oliver from destroying the entire house.

Hmm... I wonder how that blind got so twisted? Those dirty paw prints on the wall certainly aren't any clue.  Nor is the puppy frozen in action - obviously he wasn't doing anything wrong :) (Please excuse the poor quality of this photo!)

If it's not too hot outside, Oliver sometimes gets to hang out on the screened-in front porch.  When this happens, he loves to peer over the banister at his best friend Tana's house in hopes that she might be in her front yard.  His other favorite porch pastimes include chewing things he's not supposed to, trying to dig up the carpet, running around in circles, and generally being so cute that you can't get mad at him.

Finally! Freedom! As soon as that porch door opens, he's off! Luckily, there's no need to worry as we know he's headed directly to Tana's front porch, where he will wait in front of her door until a human is around to let him in. 

The long play session with Tana combined with the morning walk makes for one tired puppy.  Oliver comes home from Tana's and fights sleep for as long as possible until he passes out on the beautiful brick linoleum floor (you know you're jealous).  Just in case you're wondering, he does have a dog bed and a blanket he could sleep on, but sometimes exhausted puppies like the hard floor just the same.

By the way, if this is a typical weekend day, you've just seen Oliver's life from 5:30 am to 10 am. We're not even to lunchtime yet!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

puppy love: oliver: 1, sprinkler: 0

Oliver LOVES the water. We first realized it when our neighbor, who (without any planning or communication between us) also got a puppy who just happens to be a day older than Oliver, filled up a kiddie pool with water for the dogs.  Oliver jumped right in and started "doggy paddling" (he wasn't quite swimming because the pool isn't deep enough) and our neighbor's dog, Tana, refused to join.  It is so amazing to me how dogs have these natural tendencies, this inherent knowledge of what to do.  What would take a human child days/weeks/months to learn, Oliver did immediately upon hitting the water at 8 weeks.  Crazy.

Anyway, we, as of yet, do not have a kiddie pool for the Liver to play in, so sometimes we try to get him to run through the sprinkler.  He doesn't like it nearly as much as the kiddie pool.  I think he doesn't quite get what's going on.  However, he will run up to it and try to bite the water.  You show 'em, Oliver.

And, he's really cute when he's sopping wet.  Well, let's be honest, he's really cute all the time. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

puppy love: oliver and the bottle

I'll admit it; these pictures are from awhile ago.  Like 3 weeks ago probably.  Oliver is MUCH bigger now.  He's growing so quickly! The weeks are flying by, too. It's hard to believe we got him Memorial Day sometimes seems like just yesterday that we brought this little rascal into our home and it sometimes feels like we've had him forever.  I do have some more recent pictures to share, but I wanted to get these out there first - lest you think Oliver is shrinking! Ha what a joy that would be.  Some days I feel nervous about his undetermined full-size.  We've been told he'll be anywhere from 40 to 80 lbs.  Right now it's looking like we'll surpass 40 in no time (okay maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration, last vet visit he only weighed 16.8).

Either way, he loves to play with that bottle. If Oliver could talk, he would tell you how he loves the way it bounces unpredictably.  And how he loves the rattling noise it makes as it hits the concrete.  He loves to chase it and how difficult it can be to bite the bottle itself (that mini tennis ball makes things much easier).  

Thursday, June 14, 2012

puppy love: broken record

If you were a fly on my wall for the past few weeks, you might think there's a broken record around here.  I've been saying a lot of, "Good pee! Good pee! Good pee!" Immediately followed by, "No bite! No bite! No bite!" Sometimes I wonder if I'll forget how to say anything else at all.
Of course, Oliver is so cute and curious that it's hard to really care what my vocabulary becomes. I find myself growling and barking and mimicking dog sounds. I'm learning to speak dog.

He's learning how to talk too. His quiet whimpering has turned into some quite loud yelps in the last couple of days.  If I had to place bets, I wouldn't think it would be long until he can full-on bark.  It's crazy how quickly he's growing.  Tomorrow marks his 2 month birthday! Yay Oliver! Does that mean I get to have cake?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

a recipe: easy-peasy apple turnovers

This weekend I pulled together some apple turnovers from kind-of-scratch.  Aka I bought the puff pastry.  I had made apple turnovers before at my restaurant job throughout high school and college, so I figured this couldn't be much different.  Plus, I had a piece of puff pastry in the freezer that was in dire need of immediate use lest it suffer from the ever-dreaded freezer burn.   

I took the puff pastry out of the freezer to thaw.  (This is my least favorite part of baking with puff pastry, because it seems to take for-ev-er.) And I promptly forgot about it.  Fast forward to me, 6 hours later, struggling to force gummy, melted puff pastry into neat little triangles.  As the picture above can attest: puff pastry: 1, Kristen: 0. 

No hydrangeas were harmed in the making of this dessert (or breakfast, if you're cool like me).

Aside from my dough struggles, this recipe is really very simple and should only take about 30 minutes (not including thaw time) from start to finish.  

Easy-Peasy Apple Turnovers

1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
flour, for dusting
2 large green apples, peeled (I only peeled one, because I like the peel)
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbs lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
2 tbs sugar, divided
1 egg, separated, whites discarded

a baking sheet
parchment paper
mixing bowls
sharp knife

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel (if desired) and chop 1-2 large green apples in to 1/4" pieces.  Add to medium mixing bowl.  Add lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon) to bowl.  Grate zest of about 1/4 lemon and add to bowl. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and 1 tbs sugar.  Mix well.*

Once you sheet of puff pastry has thawed, lay it out flat on a lightly floured surface. Use a fork or knife to make lots of little holes in the pastry so it doesn't puff up too much in the oven. Divide pastry into 3 equal rectangles. There should already be three fold lines to guide you.  Then cut each rectangle into 3 equal squares. Add a tablespoon or two of the apple mixture to each square.  

Combine egg yolk with 1 tbs of water.  Brush egg yolk mixture around the edges of each square.  Fold over the edges and press them together to seal.  Brush the top of each pastry with more egg wash and sprinkle with remaining sugar.  Poke holes in the tops of your pastries if the original holes disappeared during the folding process.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden brown on top.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.

*The apples will cook down and become quite soft in the oven. However, if you want a denser apple consistency, you could cook the apples in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until they resemble a chunky apple sauce and then add the apple sauce to the squares instead.

Monday, June 11, 2012

weekend living

There's nothing better than a productive weekend.  This weekend, I painted an accent wall, moved more furniture back onto the new floors, started weeding our impossibly over grown garden, and spent a lot of time playing with the puppy.  I even managed to find some quiet time to enjoy the cool morning with a cup of coffee and some grapefruit and I worked on catching up on my magazine subscriptions.  I was so surprised when I realized the magazine I was reading was from April! I guess I really have been busy!
Oh! And I finally got that awesome Angela Adams doormat that I ordered from so long ago. I'm so excited to have my very first Angela Adams rugh (indulge me and let me call it that please).  I sincerely hope it's not my last!

I snuck plenty of pictures and spent time with friends and family.  Dan's cousin, Jessie, brought me that beautiful bouquet of hydrangeas from her garden.  I love them! I think once I get all the weeds out, some hydrangeas will just have to go into the newly vacant garden beds. I had also forgotten how refreshing grapefruit can taste on a hot summer's day.  I guess it's not technically summer yet, but it certainly felt like it this weekend.

And of course little monster took up a lot of my time.  He looks so calm and pensive in this photo, and he often is adorably perplexed by most things in life.  However, he is definitely getting bigger and growing into a really rambunctious puppy, too.  He loves to nip our fingers and toes and given a minute alone really does find the one pair of shoes you can't live without to call lunch.  How do they know?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

puppy love: oh, so sleepy

Oliver loves to take naps.  I think maybe we should start a petition to change the phrase "cat nap" to "puppy nap."  He will sleep anywhere and everywhere. Now if only we could get him to sleep through the night...

In this last picture, Ollie is with his pet alligator, Aly.  We named her Aly after my best friend and roommate in Vail (and because she's an alligator, obviously).  Ollie LOVES his Aly and can most often be found snuggled up with her in his crate (or, in less angelic moments, trying his darnedest to rip her apart :).

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

tbf: my how your garden grows

Alright, we don't have silver bells or cockle shells or pretty maids all in a row, but we do have some green tomatoes! And a few sugar snap peas, too. Check it out:

See how big everything is?? If you need a comparison, look back here

Monday, May 28, 2012

puppy love: bringing home oliver

Dan and I adopted a dog this weekend. A really little teeny tiny puppy, to be precise.  He is only 5 weeks old (which makes me nervous because you normally don't get them until 8 weeks, but I try not to worry about that) and he weighs a mere 7 pounds 4 ounces.  And he is really, really, reallllllllly cute.

Isn't there a Golden Book called The Roly Poly Puppy?  Because that's what Oliver is.  He is very uncoordinated and often falls over with a plop.  It's really adorable when he does it though.  He has also been known to run straight into fences and do a face plant or two when the ground gets uneven.

He l-o-v-e-s to chew things like all little puppies do.  We are trying to teach him that sticks are an appropriate thing to chew, as opposed to our clothes, for example.

The first day he had a hard time keeping the stick in his mouth, but he's learning so quickly! He's already seeking out his own twigs and is getting much better at holding them in his mouth.

Of course, there's lots of nap time, too. This is essential, because since he is only sleeping for about 2 hours at a time (I feel lucky for 2 hours, because everything I've read says one!) right now, Dan and I have been getting very little bursts of sleep.  Naps are important!

Okay, I'm sorry, I haven't printed a picture in ages, but this one's getting framed on the wall.  Right? Indulge me, please.

He's so fluffy!!!! I seriously feel like the little girl from Despicable Me.

I don't have anything else to say. In fact, I'm super tired and going to bed to get as much sleep as I can.  Dan and I have started doing puppy shifts through the night so we can each get as much uninterrupted sleep as possible. Good night!