Sunday, December 30, 2007

Yummy appetizers for New Year's!

Here are a few recipes or quick and tasty appetizers for the holiday or any time!

Blue Cheese and Honey Bruschetta

1/2 baguette
3 ounces blue cheese
2 tablespoons honey

Thinly slice half a baguette. Place the rounds on a baking sheet and broil them until they're golden brown (about 1
1/2 minutes per side).
Divide the blue cheese among the toasted bread slices. Drizzle 2 tablespoons honey evenly over them.
Yield: Makes 4 to 6 servings

Papaya-Mint Salsa

1 small white onion, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
2 ripe papayas, peeled, quartered, and seeded
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt

Chop the onion and mint together finely with a mezzaluna. Add the papayas, in two batches, and chop. Add the remaining ingredients and chop until well combined.
Yield: Makes about 2 cups

Provolone and Roasted Pepper Crisps

2 pitas, sliced in half to make 4 round pieces
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained and cut into strips
4 slices lemon
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 cup grated provolone

Heat broiler to high. Arrange the pitas on a baking sheet, cut-side up. Brush with 2 tablespoons of the oil, then sprinkle with the paprika, oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Place under broiler to crisp, about 2 minutes; set aside. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. Add the peppers, lemon, garlic, and the remaining salt. Saute until the peppers are hot and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Spread the peppers evenly over the pita halves and sprinkle with the provolone. Return to broiler and cook until the provolone is melted, about 3 minutes. Cut into strips, if desired.

Tip: Almost any prepared vegetable from the deli counter can make a delicious substitute for the peppers. Try cured olives or marinated artichoke hearts or mushrooms.
Yield: Makes 4 servings

Things go back where they belong

If you remember one of my posts a week ago, you probably remember a picture similar to this, but with a giant refrigerator next to the tree. After we took out the ugly kitchen cabinets, we FINALLY got the fridge out of the living room! This is the area first seen when walking into our home, so I'm so excited to have it back to normal...I really don't want to take our tree down, because it's been so pretty and still smells great (we got it Thanksgiving weekend!) but as much as I love putting up the Christmas decorations and the tree, I do love taking everything down, doing a thorough cleaning job in the house, and starting fresh for the new year. I hope you all enjoyed your holiday season as much as my family did and are ready for a 2008 that is full of new adventures and unexpected blessings!

Say goodbye to the ugly cabinet!

So, last night when we got home from a friend's house (around 11pm), we walked into our kitchen and Mark said, "Wanna take down those cabinets?"

"Those Cabinets" have been the the absess of our kitchen from the very beginning. In the "after" picture, you can see how far down the cabinets hung because of the line they left on the cabinet adjacent to where they used to attach. As you can see, we have the typical kitchen of the 60's, complete with really annoying, low-hanging bank of cabinets over the penninsula...including awful and VERY bright flourescent lights underneath. Nice. When I cook, I like to work on the penninsula to do my prep work; I can look out the living room windows or watch Rachel Ray on tv. Unfortunately, I'm taller than 4'11'', so my head bangs and scratches and digs into those afore-named cabinets so that I look like I went into an alley and got beat up. Mark, of course had the same problem, though not while cooking :), but while dipping into whatever I have in the works.

So...this morning we worked together to get the cabinets out...they were beastly, but as you can see in the photo on the left, we conquered them! I quickly slapped a coat of primer on the bare wall and voila! The "after" photo on the right shows how much more room we have to float our heads!

It's amazing how doing something that cost our time, but none of our money, has brought us so much joy! A small change that has made a BIG difference! Here are a few more photos of "after"...notice how much more open our kitchen and living room look...(excuse the boys playing video games in the background)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Dishpan more!

One of our gifts to each other this year was this awesome new dishwasher. Our old one sounded much like a subway train running through our house every time it was was hard to carry on a conversation, watch a movie, etc. So, obviously, a QUIET dishwasher was high on the list. Mark installed the new one himself and did a great job. Even though our kitchen isn't fresh and new yet, having a few new appliances sure helps my kitchen work better!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Bellevue Botanical Gardens...

Last night we had a great time with our friends Tim and Kristy at the Bellevue Botanical's a garden/park that is lit up for observing...and it's very pretty! The only problem was that by the time we all got there, found parking, and walked uphill to the entrance, all we could think about was the dinner plans we had made for afterward...and wanted to go right then because we were so hungry! We made a good once-around the gardens and then headed off the P.F. Chang's for some great food! Thanks for a fabulous night of fellowship, T & K!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Notice anything strange about this picture?

Well, you should have seen that there is a REFRIGERATOR in our living room right next to our Christmas tree, and it is one of the first things you see when you walk into our home. Wondering why there is a refrigerator in our living room? all started with Craigslist... :)

We are now very happy with our new stainless "french door" style fridge, but until a couple very strong men that aren't strangers appear at our house to help Mark move the old one, there it sits...we've been trying to pass it off as a very large Christmas decoration...after all, the back of it is silver...kinda tinsel-ish?

So fresh and so clean!

I absolutely love "Meyer's Clean Day" soaps and dishwashing detergents. The lemon verbena scent is my fav! These products are good to the Earth, as well as on the hands, without sacrificing in the "tough-on-gross-stuff-that-sticks-to-dishes" department. For the last several weeks, we've been without a dishwasher as we're waiting on a new one to be installed- be certain there WILL be a post when it comes! SOOOOO excited about the new dishwasher!- but for now, I'm so happy to have these wonderful products as I'm slaving over the sink all day. :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Snowman adventures!

These are a couple weeks old, but I just had to post's the story: My brother Aaron was visiting and the three of us were watching a movie when it started to snow. We turned all the lights off and just watched it fall so peacefully...beautiful. Well, before long, we were once again engrossed in whatever movie we were watching (must have been good, huh?) and Mark disappeared. I heard the front door open and close and Aaron said, "Look outside!". There was Mark, in a t-shirt, sweats, and snow gloves, frantically moving around the front lawn trying to build a snowman. Well, I couldn't just let my honey work so hard all by himself, so I joined him...WITH a coat...and I brought him one too. :-)

We had so much fun and I even built my own snowman all by myself! (Ahem, notice in the pictures that MY snowman is the one with the front door in the background, it's a bit smaller than Mark's.)

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Our first holiday season in our new-old house is here and I can't believe we've been living here for 6 months already! The time has gone by so quickly, and we're so thankful for this beautiful place to call home. I love the big picture windows in the front. I spend a lot of time (right now, in fact!) sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee, looking out the window and enjoying the view.

We're really hoping to remodel the main floor of the house next summer...I'll post before pictures at some point...everything is in great shape, but...well, let's be honest, the decor of this house is best suited for a 1970's fondue par-tay! Even with the orange carpet, pink carpet, teal carpet, booger-green carpet, (yes, I'm still going) carpet that looks like tile, tile that looks like linoleum trying to look like marble, and linoleum trying to look like marble that really just looks stained, I still LOVE this house and love coming home to it. Even with the very small changes we've made so far, this place is looking more like "us" everyday. Anybody for fondue?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Enjoying (really!) a day home sick

I just finished my masters degree and student teaching on the 7th, and of course, got the well-known "I'm done with this really stressful phase and now am ready to relax" cold.


Yet, I truly enjoyed my day today. After not getting much sleep last night (Mark slept in the guest room for fear of being woken by my "beastly" (Mark's words) coughing/sneezing/nose blowing, I eventually gave up at 7 this morning and figured I'd do better on the couch where I could at least enjoy a cup of coffee. I spent the whole day "house-wifeing". I ran some Christmas errands in the morning and then came home and busied myself filling our house with some of my favorite smells- laundry, bleach, and the apple spice candle in the kitchen.

Several times throughout the day, I thought about how thankful I am to have a home to take care of and the privilege to be able to take a day off when I'm sick.

Deciding on a starting point...

The view from our house...Seattle and the Olympics

I've been wanting to start a blog for some time now. For me, it's been a long road in terms of choosing a title. Literally, I've gone through the "setup" process for this blog a handful of times, confident that when it prompted me for a title, I would know exactly what to write. Finally, a few moments ago, I settled on a title that I felt would encompass what I want this blog to be about. "The Pearson Prose". One of the definitions for prose is
"Writing or speaking in the usual or ordinary form". Perfect. I want to write about ordinary things that I experience in my life that I take such joy in. Thank you for visiting...I look forward to creating this "cyber happy place".