house

It Really Never Ends (and Wendy’s Wonderful Quiche)

This housework nonsense never, ever ends. Painting, mowing, laundry, dishes (when did we stop eating directly out of containers? Sometime after college? Let’s go back to that, please), MORE LAUNDRY (this insistence on clean clothes is ridiculous), animal care, electrical issues, garage door malfunctions, tree trimming, cooking, grocery shopping, neighbor-placating, etc. etc. etc. The et ceteras could go on forever. And really, I love our house, I ADORE our house, but could it just cool it for a while? I am tired and cannot wait to get to the point where I step back and say, “Okay, that’s good enough for now.”

Which brings me to this quiche. Oh, this quiche. My amazing, lovely, gorgeous, talented, strong-as-hell maid of honor, Wendy, gave me this recipe a few years ago so I could make it and bring it to brunch. It is simple, delicious, and best of all, it’s really amenable to change. You can leave out the onions (or forget them, like I did last time), you can substitute broccoli for spinach, or add ham, or do whatever. This is a quiche that goes with the flow. It’s relaxed. And it’s delicious.

Wendy’s Wonderful Quiche

Preheat your oven to 350F.

  • 1 deep dish pie crust (just get the frozen kind that comes with two crusts–you can bake from frozen and your guests will think you worked super hard to impress them)

Mix together:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1C half & half
  • 1/2C mayonnaise
  • 2T flour
  • dash of salt and garlic powder (or whatever spices you want; this quiche is laid-back, after all)

Fill pie crust with:

  • 1/2C chopped onions
  • 8oz shredded cheese of your choice
  • 1 package chopped spinach, drained (or 1C [or so] broccoli, chopped, or whatever you want)
  • optional: ham, turkey, bacon, sausage, etc.

Mix that around so everything is evenly distributed, then carefully (CAREFULLY) pour the egg mixture over the cheese mixture.

Bake 45-60 minutes (depending on your oven; up here at altitude, I baked mine for around 50-55 minutes), or until it’s browned and not super jiggly. There might be some oil on top when you take it out, which you can blot with a paper towel. Let it sit for 5 minutes before slicing up.

 

Thank you, Wendy!!

Never-ending House Stuff (and Sriracha Mac and Cheese)

When you buy your first house, people constantly tell you, “It never ends!” and “It’s a lot of work!” and, in a slightly sarcastic tone, “Good luck!” You brush it off at first, thinking, “Well, these people don’t know this house, or my capabilities, or how hard I can work. I’ll show them!”

You are an optimistic little bastard, aren’t you? Because owning a house, especially owning a house that wasn’t taken care of very well, is a definite challenge. There’s painting, and window repair, and “what’s that smell,” and squeaky hinges, and leaking showers, and rude neighbors who say things like, “I would have offered them a dollar for that house.”

Sigh. The only thing you can do is work on it little by little. Paint a wall one day, paint another the next. Then things happen, and you just want to scream. Mr. Something went out to mow yesterday, but soon realized that the shed, which he had locked, couldn’t be opened with any of our keys. One of them fits, but doesn’t turn the knob. So our mower is trapped for the time being. I suggested he watch a few YouTube videos on lockpicking, but apparently that didn’t work so well. Now we’re debating between hiring a locksmith and smashing the knob with a hammer, depending on cost.

BUT ENOUGH OF THAT FOR NOW.

For our neighborhood’s July 4th barbecue, we were to bring a dish to share. I brought my very favorite spicy sriracha mac and cheese, knowing that many people there wouldn’t be able to handle the heat. More for me! (And shush, there was plenty of food for everyone, and one of our neighbors brought a Tupperware home for herself.)

Sriracha Mac and Cheese

Adapted from Parsley, Sage & Sweet

  • 1/2 lb rotini or other squiggly pasta
  • 2T unsalted butter
  • 2T flour
  • 3/4 C milk
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 2/3 C chicken broth
  • 1T honey mustard
  • 1/4 C sriracha (aka Rooster Sauce, aka my favorite thing)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cups sharp cheddar, shredded. (You could also use a blend of cheeses like monterey jack, cheddar, and pepper jack.)

Prepare pasta according to package directions like every other recipe that uses pasta. Don’t let it get too mushy. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk the flour into the butter, and cook, while whisking, until it’s golden brown and no longer smells like raw flour (about a minute or two).

Mix the milk, cream, and chicken broth, and slowly pour into the flour mixture while whisking. Stir until bubbles start to appear. It’ll start thickening. It took mine about 15 minutes to get to a nice thickness (sort of like thin glue; imagine a thin Alfredo). Yours might only take five or ten minutes; remember, I’m at almost 6,000 feet!

Add salt and pepper to taste, then stir in the honey mustard (I use 1.5t of honey and 1.5t of mustard) and sriracha. Do not breathe in the warm sriracha fumes; you will have a coughing attack. Remove from heat and stir in the shredded cheese. Stir, stir, stir. This part is very satisfying. When it looks like cheese sauce, taste it and add more salt, pepper, or sriracha, if needed.

Put the drained pasta back in the cooking pot, and pour the sauce over it. Stir, then sit the lid back on the pot for a minute or two to get it super melty. It’s ready to eat RIGHT NOW if you want, but sometimes I like to throw it in a buttered casserole dish, cover it with some buttered breadcrumbs, and bake for ten minutes or so, just to get a nice crust on top.

You can add cooked, shredded chicken to this, too, if you want to make it an entree instead of a side dish. This recipe is easily doubled!

Hello again! (and Weeding)

Hi! *waves frantically* I didn’t have wifi for almost two weeks, so I sort of disappeared. I am back now.

So with this new house comes a big backyard and a smaller front yard. (Why does “backyard” look normal and “frontyard” doesn’t? Hm.) With yards come weeds, because they are advantageous little buggers. I’ve discovered that one of my new favorite things is weeding. Seriously. I throw on a big straw hat and some ridiculous purple garden gloves, go out into the Rocky Mountain sun, and send some poor plants to their doom. It is incredibly cathartic. Furious at anti-vaxxers? Weed. Some of your new neighbors are kind of weird and rude? Weed. You read the comments? Weed. When I’m done and see that big pile of unfortunate leaves, twigs, and roots, I sigh and feel better about most things.

I also murdered some mushrooms the other day (chopping at things with a trowel is pretty fun), and they haven’t grown back yet, so hooray for me.

All of this house stuff is sort of overwhelming; the previous owners neglected a lot of stuff and tried to cover it up with some paint and (literally) a mirror. (Side note: they had a [in their words] “problem daughter,” and I’m pretty sure she tried to kick in her door at one point. I moved a hanging mirror from a guest room door last week and there was a HUGE smashed-in part. We also suspect she kicked something very heavy down the stairs, resulting in a slightly smushed wall. We don’t really *mind* these things, per se, since they’re fairly easily fixed, but come on, guys.) We need to take one step at a time or I think we’ll both go insane.

HOME OWNERSHIP!

Triangle ears + triangle hat = I can't stop laughing.

Happy birthday, Sweetest Dog! (and SECRET PROJECT NUMBER ONE REVEALED)

Our amazing dog turned one yesterday. I can’t stop laughing at that picture. It is my new “in a bad mood, need a pick-me-up” picture. She’s the sweetest dog in the world, she’s friendly with children and the elderly, she loves cats (a little too much for their liking), and she can’t get enough frozen broccoli. We love you, our little surfer girl!

And it’s time to reveal SECRET PROJECT NUMBER ONE: we bought a house!!!! Prepare yourselves for many house-related posts.

Starting Fresh (and Orange Vinegar Spray)

We’re so so so so close to finding our house. We’ve seen a few that were great, and I think THE ONE is just a few houses away. (Eeeeeeeee.) I’m really excited about having a place that’s ours (so long, upstairs cougher and next-door hammer fiends!). To prepare for taking care of a whole house, something I’ve never done before, I’m making my cleaning routine more intensive. I saw this spray on Pinterest and it’s pretty great for windows, tubs, etc. Plus, if you let the orange peel sit for a day or so, it makes the vinegar smell much more pleasant.

Orange Vinegar Spray

  • empty spray bottle (I used an old Febreze bottle)
  • orange peel (I used four clementines that were on their way out, but you could substitute the peel of a whole orange)
  • white vinegar

Toss the peel in the bottle and fill with white vinegar. Shake shake shake. You can use it right away or leave it for a day to make it smell even better.

Taking the First Step (and Asian-inspired Beef & Rice Thing)

Big news: we got pre-approved for a home loan, which means we’ll be buying a house in the next three months! I’m so excited–no more upstairs neighbors vacuuming and showering at 3am! No more weird maintenance guys! MORE KITCHEN SPACE!

We’re meeting with a real estate agent this weekend to start a serious search. This summer is going to be awesome.

Quick dinners can be a lifesaver, especially when life gets crazy. This is one of my favorites. It only takes about 20 minutes to make, and the leftovers are delicious, too.

Asian-inspired Beef & Rice Thing

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1T sesame oil
  • 1/2C brown sugar
  • 1/2C low sodium soy sauce (if you use regular soy sauce, it will be way too salty!)
  • 1t fresh ginger, grated (freeze the ginger for easier grating)
  • 2t red pepper flakes
  • cooked rice (I make mine with some sesame oil for flavor)
  • scallions, chopped
  • sriracha

Brown the beef in the garlic and sesame oil. Drain (I use a colander), then dump the beef back in the pan. Mix together the brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, and red pepper flakes, and pour over beef. Stir around and simmer, covered, for a few minutes. I usually leave this until the rice is done.

Serve beef over rice, topped with scallions and sriracha.