Thursday, January 31, 2013


That's right, I'm looking at you...and, I think we all know what I'm gonna say:

Be there or be square.

Don't make me ask you again.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Yellow Brick Road Redux

Yesterday morning I walked out the front door and into spring.


No hat, no gloves, my jacket unzipped and my face turned up to the breeze.

Today warmer but windier. Tomorrow? Return to winter. 

In anticipation of the change I have a pot of lentil soup simmering away on the stove even as the dog lies in front of the open front door, both of us waiting for Gus to get his butt back in the house.

It smells so good I'm surprised I don't have a line of neighbors dropping by to borrow a bowl of soup.

I used/abused this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I used chicken sausage instead of pork and will be using our beet greens in place of the chard.

Soup: it's what's in the fridge, right?

I chopped, sauteed, crushed a can of tomatoes and had a potfull cooking in less than 30 minutes, making me wonder why we can't find time to make dinner more often.

It's tasty, it's healthy, it's inexpensive and you have leftovers. 

Like money in the bank but spicier.

I can't encourage you enough to try this recipe. With or without the sausage and the cheese.

Oops, apparently we're under a tornado watch  and a hurricane warning.  I think the Lab and I had better saddle up and go Gus hunting before we all star in a remake of The Wizard Of Oz.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Must Love Dogs

I have come to the conclusion that January might very well be one of my favorite months.

And this after a week of "arctic" weather.

But with the holidays over and the lights and ornaments packed away, the feeling one ought to be at a party instead of doing the flowers for a party has gone away.

Gone away with the velvet leggings I lived in this December and the urge to go and get a little shot of Botox. Just enough to look relaxed, capisce?

We're eating heart warming meals, spending time with friends and Mr. Baby, napping, reading, working out, shaking our booty at Zumba and nesting.

Oh and shopping, everything is on sale!

Still painting that damn back bedroom. Downton Abbey got in the way this weekend.

We have a new roommate, an Army Reservist Colonel who moves in February 10th. She's here for a 6 month stint at the Pentagon.

Dear God, I hope she means it when she says she loves animals.

 And I hope she doesn't mind a bit of the Rachel Maddow Show drifting back her way......

And I hope she likes the smell of onion and garlic cooking.

And doesn't have allergies.

 One true thing I know for sure is.....

she fell for this one in a big way.

When the Colonel came to see the room, the lab bounded out the door with a big smile on her face and an even bigger bone in her mouth.

Done deal. Room rented.


Monday, January 21, 2013

It's A Big Big Day In The Capitol

What a day, what a turnout, what a country we live in. A country smart enough to reelect a president who seems to have our best interests at heart. Not big interests, our interests.

We didn't go down to the Mall. We watched from home and shared in the pictures posted from our friends who braved the crowds.

We braved our trainer and a visit from the oil company representative quoting me a price for putting in a new burner.  Can you hear me scream?

We also began the painting of the back bedroom untouched for the 4 years our last "short term" renter was with us.

It was a sunny day and the cats lounged around on the drop cloths as we listened to an eclectic mix of music ranging from opera to country to go-go.

Cats lounging about aren't a great help and once again neither was I. I have never found the Zen of painting.

After painting the baseboards and attempting the windows I was sent out of the bedroom and found my way into the kitchen where I did what I do best :cook. 

I cut up about a pound of tri tips into 1/2 cubes and with a sprinkling of S&P I browned them in batches with a splash of olive oil.

Then I added a chopped onion, several cloves of garlic, a carrot, a zucchini and browned them along with cumin, chile powder, paprika, a bay leaf and a sprinkling of crushed red peppers.
When soft I added the beef cubes to the pan and poured a half bottle of ale and let it reduce halfway. Then I added a 28oz. can of Cento tomatoes, crushed by hand and 2 cans of black beans. I brought it to a boil, turned it down to low and let it simmer away while I watched more of the Inauguration and bugged GG to let me see how the room was coming along.
Finally I was able to bribe my way in with a bowl of dinner. 

I love this time of year. Cold brings out the slow cook in me, and lazing around in kittens.

And the room? Still under construction.

But coming soon. GG promises.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Don't Stop The Party

Where have I been? What the hell have I been doing in January of all months?  It's been 12 days since I've posted. In that time I've seen two movies, Silver Lining Playbook and Les Miserables ( though Les Mis seemed to last a whole day its own self).

How I rate a movie? If I don't leave my seat to go to the restroom once.  And I remained glued to the chair through both movies. 2 Thumbs up. And cheers to a movie theater that lets you take a latte or perhaps a hot cider with brandy to your seat and offers freshly popped corn.

I've trained, worked out at the gym and gone to two Zumba classes. I've walked the dog, cleaned up after the kittens, cooked some delicious meals and read a few unremarkable books.

I've cried over Downton Abbey and football games. And, just recently, made what seems an infinite number of red, white and blue arrangements for Inauguration parties.

I also did my part for the pot luck birthday luncheon we throw every year for the owner of our flower shop. She is an enviably healthy eater who, with every birthday, seems to cut more and more out of her diet.

Dairy and gluten have been invisible recently. But since she doesn't have a wheat allergy I decided to make Moroccan meatballs and sneak in just a few breadcrumbs.

I used 3 lbs. of ground beef from Whole Foods and added one and a half finely chopped onions, 6 minced cloves of garlic, a handful of chopped Italian parsley and copious amounts of ground cumin and paprika, several dashes of ground cinnamon and cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper, 3 eggs and 1 cup of panko breadcrumbs. This make about 60 meatballs.  I baked them in a 400 degree oven on foil lined baking sheets for about 15 minutes, flipping them over at the halfway mark.

Then I finished them off in the sauce I made using another finely diced onion, 4 cloves of garlic, the same spices, 2 cans of Cento plum tomatoes(28oz ea) and 3 cups of chicken stock. I added a few strands of saffron to the stock and more spices as the sauce reduced. At the end I threw in a handful of chopped parsley.  Finally, I served the meatballs strewn with toasted pine nuts, just cause I had them in the cupboard.

GG raved and said they had to make an appearance on the blog.  This is the recipe to the best of my recollection. We served them with a coworkers' quinoa, rice and chickpea pilaf, green beans with shallots and almonds, and roasted yellow sweet potatoes. There was a yogurt and cucumber salad, a parsley salad and piles of pita bread.

It was a feast and there were leftovers. Need I say more?

Oh yeah, Go Ravens!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Reason #8 Why 2013 Is Going To Be A Fabulous Year

You know how it is when you arrive home for the third straight day in a row and your heat isn't working and the repairman has just come and gone leaving behind a "Missed  You" note on the door of a very chilly house?

Miss you very much , you trill in a Lily Allen kind of way, but then you notice a big package on your stoop.

And it has your name and address on it and the sender is none other than Shelley?

And you hoist up the box and  open the door and watch all the critters leap out and scatter about the yard while you plug in the space heater and against all advice turn on the oven to heat up the kitchen.

And then and only then do you grab a knife and slip the package open to find another box wrapped with a gold ribbon.  And under the ribbon is a lovely note full of all the reasons Shelly saw fit to send  the most beautiful, Wedgwood green Majolica compote in the sunflower pattern.

Which goes beautifully with my green Wedgwood Majolica plates in the sunflower pattern.

And now sits in a place of honor in the middle of the table holding a pomegranate.

I'm pretty sure it will feature in many upcoming posts holding a little bit of this or a lot of that.

I'm also pretty sure my heart will remain full of love and thanks for Shelly's presence in my life and now on my table.

Welcome and thank you again. And again.

xo jane

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sunday Sweet Sunday

Good Morning.  It has been months now since I could sit in front of a computer on a Sunday morning. I was training at the gym at 9:00am, so we were up and about drinking coffee, walking the Lab, looking for water bottles and keys, rushing out the door. But I have finished my many sessions and am loving having this time back.

We'll see if my abs love it.

This is a house of many unrealized projects.  We have a tree to take down, bar stool cushions to recover, a bedroom to paint before we can rent it out again and a football game to watch. Our roommate of almost 4 years bought a condo and left mid December. The silence has been heavenly.

 He was supposed to be with us a month and a half.  I think we make it very comfortable.  Maybe too...but he was a sweet heart and left us a freezer full of meat (?) and a ginormous tv.  Bring it on Downton Abbey. And bring it on clean freezer.

We usually rent to interns. They're in town for a few months, full of energy and stories. If you know anyone, must love dogs ( and kittens) and bloggers and cooks and readers and flowers in the house.

GG is up so I think we'll haul the tree out the door and begin the begun. The light was so pretty this morning I had to take a few shots of the peaceful house.

Stay tuned, bedroom decorating project updates to come.  There's a new mattress on the way and I have heard some underground mumblings about a charcoal wall.

Enjoy every moment of your Sunday.  And goooooooo Redskins! Ravens!