Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Roman Style Chicken

4 skinless chicken breast halves
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 cup olive oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
3 ounces prosciutto, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tablespoons capers
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1 Box pasta

Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.
Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and prosciutto and cook until the peppers have browned and the prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, boil water and make pasta as indicated. Drain pasta.

If serving immediately, add the capers, pasta and the parsley. Stir to combine and serve. If making ahead of time, transfer the chicken and sauce to a storage container, cool, and refrigerate. The next day, reheat the chicken to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the capers and the parsley and serve.

Makes a LOT so cut in half if you don't like leftovers!

Source: Everyday Pasta by Giada DeLaurentis

Monday, October 29, 2007

Recipe



Nate & I enjoy cooking and because our house changes are getting to be more and more minor, we will be putting some recipes on here to take up space. Stay tuned!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Jazzin' up the Living Room

We exchanged our side table - so the one now is scratch free.



The matching media console should be arriving at the end of the week and the coffee table by the end of the month.

We also received a finished wedding gift - my aunts, nana, sister & mom got together to make us a quilt that matches perfectly! Here is a close up:



Other than that, our weekend was filled with more yard work, passing out candy to trick or treaters and painting the upstairs bathroom! No more pink!

Amy:16; Nate:1



Here is a picture of Nate reading his new magazine subscription. It came in the mail and he announced, "finally, now i have something to contribute to the coffee table". He has a looonnngg way to go to catch up to my stack, ha ha ha.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bad Luck Wednesday

Last night we finally decided to take the plunge and buy a media stand, coffee table & side table. We received some wedding money earmarked for these things and have been shopping for them for a while. We get to the store, buy them and find out that only the side table is in stock. No problem - we load it in the car.

Next we go to Home Depot and score with a replacement light fixture for our bathroom that was 50% off, get some shades cut to replace the gems that were left to us (that no longer go up when you pull them down) and some other odds and ends.

We get home and the shades are too short, despite us giving the woman that cut them a piece of paper with the measurements. They were an inch off. This was about the 10th incident we have had with Home Depot. After 3 phone calls to the HDizzle, we are "allowed" to take them back and get them recut.

Nate then starts unwrapping our side table - and it has a SCRATCH on it. So, that has to go back as well.

We stopped doing any house-related projects after that and had a vodka tonic.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Houseguests!

We had our first official houseguests over the weekend! (Actually, Nate's brother Nick would be the first official but we're not counting him b/c we made him sleep on the couch b/c we had no beds at the time).

Luckily, they were 7 years old and 1 1/2 years old so there were not too many complaints. For kids, the best part of our house had to be our staircase - do you know how much fun it is to bounce a superball up and down those stairs?!

Liz
Age:
7
Relation: Amy's cousin & god-daughter
Likes: Creating her own guest room on our living room floor, DVRing Hannah Montana, and eating Kemps Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream with the mint fudge cows


Toni
Age:
1 1/2 years
Relation: Amy's Niece
Likes: Digging in houseplants, running circles around the coffee table, and kissing our framed picture of her dad


and a shout out to Nick because he got up at 3:30 AM to take us to the airport for our honeymoon
Nick
Age:
23
Relation: Nate's Brother
Likes: Living in FL and double fisting long islands

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Testing out our Green Thumbs among MANY leaves

Just when I thought I was safe from yardwork (i.e. lawnmowing), I learned yet another yard-related consequence of home ownership - LEAVES. Given that we lived in a woods growing up, raking leaves was optional. It was something to do if you were bored on a fall day and wanted to fill up those pumpkin trash bags (you know the ones). Inevitably we always had a stick or ten in the leaf pile that would puncture a hole in those bags within about 3 hours.


Fast forward 20 years and now we have leaf pick up times and rules about leaves. All leaves have to be raked to the curb between Oct 14 and Nov 1. And wouldn't you know that our lawn seems to be bathing in several inches of leaves, while our neighbors have one tiny pile. Are they sneaking out at night and pushing their leaves onto our yard?! (just kidding)

Over the weekend we successfully reigned in our leaves - thank goodness someone had the foresight to buy us a rake for a wedding present! Then this morning, I noticed that only a small portion of our gigantic leaf pile (taking up our entire curb) was picked up. Hmmm...Perhaps I will need to consult the rule book about leaves one more time.

Additionally, we attempted to do something with our empty flower beds. Nate's grandmother gave us some dafodil bulbs and my Aunt gave me some Iris bulbs. We'll see if we actually have irises and dafodils come springtime. We also did some trimming of exisitng flowers and plants. I'm not sure that we really knew what we were doing, but we at least felt like we were gardening, if that counts for anything!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Baby Steps...all the way to Target

We are at the point of having lots of little things on our list now that some major stuff is done. Two little things were crossed off the list tonight while at Target. We wanted a mirror for our bedroom wall and the mirror that came with our Pottery Barn furniture set was over $200. Then, while shopping at Target one day, we came across the exact same mirror for $60! Add in my 10% off shopping day (a consequence of WAY too much Target shopping) and we had a $54 bargain.

Before the mirror -



After the mirror addition - apologies for the crooked picture!



We also have been shopping for a desk, something we did not want to spend a lot of money on given that neither one of us works at home, but it would be nice for the computer. Well, lo and behold, we also found a desk at Target. And we did both notice that Target's furniture quality has greatly improved over the years, and still requires some assembly:



You can see the finished product in the Bedroom #1 link to the right. This room houses a twin bed we inherited and the desk and slowly but surely is starting to take shape.

So that was our Monday night. I am now going to join Nate in watching 2 1/2 Men.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Necessary Objects

Through our project, we have made many a trip to our neighborhood Home Depot as everyone who has owned a home warned us about. Luckily, our HD is only 2.8 miles away (my car could probably get there on autopilot). Here is a list of things that we recommend any new home owner to have:

1. TOOLS! Pliers (needlenose and regular) screwdriver (phillips & regular), an electric drill with bits, an alan wrench, a crowbar, hammer(s), and a box cutter are ESSENTIAL. Knowing how to use them will come with time, experience, and a few broken nails :)

[Tip - ask your father for these for Christmas the year BEFORE you intend on buying! ha ha ha]

2. PAINTING SPECIFIC TOOLS! Good brushes are a must (or so I'm told) along with working rollers, trays and the handy trimmer bucket. Painting tape (1-1/2") is also very helpful but ignore the 14 day guarantee b/c after 1 day, we had trouble removing the tape. (Don't worry, I've already written a letter to Scotch to complain).

[Tip - the handle of a broomstick fits any paint roller and is handy for hard to reach places like the ceiling]

3. Which leads me to my next item...BROOM! There will be dust and not everyone will leave you an antique dustpan when you move into their house!

4. RADIO! You may have to negotiate radio stations with anyone who helps you, but it's a small price to pay.

5. BOOKS!
The Ultimate Guide to Home Improvement by Creative Homeowner Press has been helpful


6. If you have hardwood - MURPHY'S OIL SOAP

7. GOO GONE - Takes paint off wood trim easily. HOWEVER, this also melts the plastic in cheap poster frames, right Nate?!

8. MEASURING TAPE

9. Rake, Shovel and Lawnmower for Yard related items.

10. An electrician available for consult - We almost got zapped replacing the ceiling fan in our bedroom.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

New Mailbox!

Some people braved the heat last weekend and ran the Chicago Marathon - we braved the heat to replace the mailbox!

Sometimes it's the little things...I love my mail and my mail was getting very wet in our old rusty mailbox so utilizing our energy star refund gift card from HD, we got a new one! Little did we know what it would entail - we share a mailbox post with 2 neighbors and it was not easy to remove and replace but it is done and it looks great! As our friend Carol pointed out, you think the home projects will be quick and easy, but then they either a)take twice as long as expected, b)end up creating more projects or c)all of the above.

And, did you know, mail does NOT come on Columbus Day?! (the horror!)

[picture will be posted soon]

Monday, October 1, 2007

We're Baaack!

Well, after a month-long hiatus, we are back to working on the house. Our washer that came with the house died before our wedding(that didn't take long) so we had to buy a new one, which was delivered Saturday. Thus, much of our weekend was occupied doing a month's worth of laundry!

We also worked on organizing stuff, more painting, and setting up the rooms. Our guest room is complete so if anyone wants to stay over, let us know! (Pics in the Bedroom 3 link)

Our master bedroom is almost done. Here is a before pic:

and an after pic:

More pics of the master bedroom can be found on the link in the right hand toolbar.

The downstairs bathroom was another project we took on this weekend. Here is a before pic:

and after 2 coats of paint and our new towels, towel racks, cupboard hardware, rug, shower curtain, and curtain rod:


More pics of the bathroom can be found by clicking on the Bathroom #1 link on the right toolbar.

Thank goodness for registry completion discounts and giftcards!