April 21, 2017

mowing

The other day I was getting ready for work and I started hearing a mower. Not unusual, it's spring [**SPRRRRRRRING** trill that r!] and everyone's been mowing around me. I haven't been mowing, but it's on my To Do list for this week.

Then I looked out my window and SOMEONE WAS MOWING MY LAWN.

Turns out that someone is my neighbor.

At this point I'm fresh from a shower and getting ready for work, so I finish getting ready anticipating Socially Awkward Amy at her finest because how do you approach someone you've never met who's doing something kind for you?

I step out my side door and terrify him.

"OH my gosh you scared me."

"I'm sorry, I can't believe you're mowing my lawn!  Thank you?" [ever so slight lilt because uh, what are the expectations here?] "I'm Amy."

"I'm Neighbor. Yeah, I wasn't sure anyone was living here. When did you move in?"

BURN.

*awkward heh* "Yup, I've been here since November. I have hermit-like tendencies."

"I was talking to Gabe [former homeowner] and he asked if I'd met you, but I told him no. I guess I did see you the other day in your kitchen when I pulled in."

Wait. So you saw me. You've talked to the previous homeowners who know I'm living here. I HAVE THE CUTEST FRONT PORCH EVER. AND you said 'I wasn't sure anyone was living there'?

At this point I'm totally embarrassed...but don't worry, it gets better.

"Yup, I'm around. I live on a backwards schedule, so unless you're up in the middle of the night maybe you won't see much of me?" ALSO, let me take this moment to say I have NEVER seen this guy before either. I hang out on my front porch. I've been working in my backyard. NEVER SEEN THIS MAN BEFORE. I thought there were college students living in that house. "Well, thank you so much for mowing my lawn, you really didn't have to do it. I was planning on mowing Thursday when I'm off." [I'm in my scrubs, it's obvious I'm headed to work.]

"Oh, it's no problem. I mowed my lawn the other day and noticed yours was getting a little long. Honestly, it just started driving me nuts, so I just decided to mow it."

BURN. Cue increased mortification. I am a terrible grown-up, home-owner, neighbor.

"I can do the backyard too."

"NO!" *moment of silence* "I'm definitely going to to mow the backyard when I'm off. I want to do it. Don't worry about it."

"OK."

*more awkward half-laughs* "Uh. OK. Well, thanks for mowing for me, Neighbor."

And just so I'm not the absolute worst, I DID mow my own lawn [with the ancient LawnBoy that came with the house--Gabe inherited it when they purchased in 2006 and it was old then]. My shoulder is still sore from starting it.
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Pretty sure he's just nice. I'm not sure if the burns were intentional or I'm overly sensitive. [I mean, I am sensitive.] He did offer to let me use his lawnmower and get in his garage to get it, so that's good, right?



April 17, 2017

ten things

ONE: I'm obsessed with this combo: sweet potatoes + brussel sprouts + egg
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dice a potato, dice some onion, quarter a few brussels :: throw the onion and potatoes in a pan with some olive oil, cook until the potatoes are soft then add the brussels :: sprinkle in some salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin [my fave!], cayenne, and cook until everything has color :: put on a plate :: in the same pan cook an egg or two to your liking [over easy with a runny yolk, please]  EAT
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Of course you can add diced tomatoes, sliced avocado, a dose of sriracha, or some meat if you'd like. You bacon lovers would probably enjoy this if you cooked the bacon first and then proceeded on with cooking everything else in that bacon fat. Apparently non-vegetarian people like that.

TWO: Did you know that Rifle Paper Co has FABRIC??? I ordered some from Hawthorne Threads. I was a little scared to cut it, but I put on my Crafty Cap and made a purse.
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I almost wish I was good enough to sew clothes, but alas, I have been down that terrible rabbit hole a few too many times.

THREE: POLDARK. Oh my goodness, BBC. A few random people mentioned this one to me and I was home alone in the middle of the night and finally started watching it.
HOLY COW. SO. GOOOOOOOOD.

Highly, highly recommend. I love the story. I love the cinematography [I'm going to have to travel to Cornwall, who wants to go?]. I love the characters.

FOUR: I know I mentioned it last month, but I CAN'T STOP BUYING the Makeup Revolution eyeshadow pallets.
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I think three is enough. Right? Right. NO MORE. I'm on a makeup buying hiatus.

FIVE: I just decided I needed that hiatus. Dangit. Four months no new makeups? 😭

SIX: These booties from BCBGeneration took me all over Chicago for a day -- hoofing it seven miles all over without any foot pain.
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🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻 🙌🏻

SEVEN: I can't stop watching Anna from glitterandlazers for some plus size fashion hauls.

EIGHT: Have you started shopping at ALDI yet? GET THEE A QUARTER, BRING YOUR OWN BAGS, AND FIND YOUR NEAREST ALDI. I don't mean to shout, but it's just so good.

Also good? These flatbreads, I recommend over and over.
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NINE: What do you think the best way to save money is? I've tried some different things: the envelope system, just dumping money in my savings when I can, cash only...is there a better way? Besides stopping with my makeup, clothes, and shoes problem? Marry a wealthy man? Jk, I totally don't need a man for financial purposes.

TEN: Divide - Ed Sheeran

GAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. Amazing. Stupendous. Beautiful.

THE TALENT.

Do I sob through "Supermarket Flowers"? Yup.
Do I car dance through "Barcelona"? Yup.
Do I associate "What Do I Know" with Mutual Kumquat? Yup. [Holla at me my Brethren friends!]



March 26, 2017

strawberry white chocolate chip cookies

strawberry white chocolate chip cookies
Have you seen the new Beauty and the Beast yet?

OHMAHGAAAAAAAASH.

It's so good. Go see it. NOW.

Also, swoon over Dan Stevens' beautiful baritone with me. Just open that up in a second window and listen while you read.

We can criticize the music, but the two leads aren't trained singers and they don't sound like trained singers. It's refreshing. My only complaint about the singing is Emma Watson's breath control, what coach helped her develop a style where every phrase is 2 bars long?
strawberry white chocolate chip cookies
Since I'm so good at giving recommendations, second recommendation? MAKE THESE COOKIES.

They're kinda like the best thing to come out of my kitchen in awhile. And that's saying something.

I was visiting my parentals and my mom pulled out some fundraiser cookie dough from the freezer. The kind? Strawberry Shortcake [from Otis Spunkmeyer to be specific] and they were good. So I was inspired to make my own...that were equally as good or better. (-;

AND HOLY COW. I don't know how similar these are to the original that I ate one time eight weeks ago, but they are YUMMY.

These cookies are a brown sugar base with the brown sugar flavors deepened with a bit of molasses. You could leave the molasses out, but you don't want to. Trust.
strawberry white chocolate chip cookies
strawberry white chocolate chip cookies
strawberry white chocolate chip cookies
Break the freeze dried strawberries up into pieces about the size of the chocolate chips. As you break them, some will crumble, but it doesn't matter as long as you're over a bowl. All those little pieces are going to add even more strawberry flavor!

I like these as a larger cookie with a 3 tablespoon scoop. This recipe will make 2-3 dozen cookies.

Strawberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp molasses
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 (1.2 oz) package freeze dried strawberries [OR 2 (4 oz) packages dried strawberries], broken or cut into small pieces

Preheat the oven to 350. In a mixing bowl combine the butter and brown sugar. Then add the egg, vanilla, and molasses. In a separate bowl combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to your butter mixture. It's gonna be THICK! Mix in the white chocolate chips and the freeze dried strawberries with a wooden spoon and a lot of elbow grease. Scoop the dough onto your lined cookie sheets [parchment or silicone liners] and place in the oven for 11-14 minutes depending on how crisp you want the edges. Tip: let the cookies sit on the warm cookie sheets for at least 5 minutes before you take them off to cool.
strawberry white chocolate chip cookies


The strawberry rundown:

I'm about 92.6% certain the original cookies had a strawberry flavored dried cranberry as the strawberry.
a) you can't find those anywhere and
b) if I'm making a strawberry cookie, I want some dang strawberries in it!
strawberry white chocolate chip cookies
Eventually I found the two options of dried strawberries or freeze dried strawberries.

The dried strawberries are a dehydrated strawberry with a chewy texture similar to a prune or raisin. The freeze dried strawberry is a crunchy, tart berry that most people have tried in their Special K Red Berries cereal.

In my first round of these cookies, I made a double batch with half of each of these varieties. My ever-so-helpful co-workers gave their opinions. I tried them myself. I knew we were all going to like the dried strawberries [the ones I could only find at Target for $3.99 a bag, WHO IS GOING TO BAKE COOKIES WITH AN $8 INGREDIENT??] and I was feeling sad because no one was ever going to make these dadgum cookies.

I WAS WRONG.

The freeze dried strawberries were a winner. They impart more strawberry flavor. They are still slightly chewy as they regain some moisture from the cookie. They're 100% strawberry, no sugar added [because that's important in a cookie (-;]. They're available everywhere for less than $4. I purchased my bag at Aldi after seeing them at Kroger, Target, Meijer, and Marsh. Check by the nuts or the raisins.