Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

I made this recipe (rom here) this weekend and it was delicious.  And super easy.  What could be better?

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 cups granulated sugar
1 (15 ounce) can 100% pure pumpkin
1 cup canola oil (This is a lot of oil, so I'd substitute some apple sauce for the oil)
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray three 9x5 inch loaf pans with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine sugar, pumpkin, canola oil, water, vanilla, and eggs. Mix until smooth.
4. Slowly blend in flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Evenly divide batter between the three loaf pans.
5. Bake for 60 minutes, or until browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove loaves from oven and cool in pans on a wire rack for 15 minutes. With a knife, go around the bread and loosen the loaves. Remove from pan and cool completely before slicing.

*  Note:  this recipe makes a lot of bread, so be prepared to share or put a loaf in the freezer for later.

Monday, November 28, 2011


I haven't dropped off the face of the earth and I haven't had this baby yet--life has just been busy, so blogging has taken a back seat for a bit. 

Anyway, the bathroom project is coming along (finally).  We re-laid the tile and it stuck, so we were able to grout last weekend and finish up some final tiling this past weekend.  Removing the tile from the wall resulted in big holes in the drywall, so the drywall has now been patched and painted.  Next weekend we'll spend putting up the new backsplash tiles and then we can put the vanities back in.  Huzzah! 

In other news, Thanksgiving was this past week.  Yeah, it was the day before Black Friday!  Remember that day?  Chris grilled the turkey on his new Weber grill and it was un-freaking-believable:

Also, Griz seems to be excited for the kiddo to get here.  She spent quite a bit of time in the stroller and the car seat this weekend.  Both pass her seal of approval:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekend Cooking

This weekend I'll be 33 weeks pregnant (whaaaaa???), so it's time to start cooking some make-ahead meals to freeze for when we're too tired or busy to cook after the baby comes.  My criteria?  The recipe must be mostly hands-off, as we're going to be spending some time removing tile off the bathroom walls and grouting the floors this weekend.  The recipe also must use mainly ingredients I either already have or can easily get--I'm not looking to spend half my weekend running around buying groceries.  In addition to some old stand-by's like camp stew, Pinterest has been a great source for crock pot meals that can easily be frozen.  Here are a few I might try this weekend:

Lasagna Soup, found here.

Buffalo Chicken found here.

Lasagna cups here.

Not something I'm making to freeze, but instead serve on Thanksgiving, Mushroom Bread Pudding.  I made this last year and it's insane.  I HIGHLY recommend this recipe if you've been asked to bring a side dish to Thanksgiving this year.

Recipe found here.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Two More Steps Forward

This past weekend we made progress on the bathroom.  Hallelujah!  As documented here, this project has been SO frustrating, but I'm starting to feel more optimistic that a) we will finish the project someday and b) when we do, it'll look great.

On Saturday, we spent several hours pulling up the tile (that we had just laid about 3 weeks ago) and scraping off all of the thinset.  We got the floor nice and smooth, swept, vacuumed, vacuumed again, then wiped down the cement board just to start with a clean surface that the new thinset would (hopefully) stick to:

During this process, we pretty much identified that the problem was due to bad thinset.  I think the bag we had originally purchased was just old; it scraped off ridiculously easily as a very fine powder. 

Of course, Grizabella helped:

Not really.  She napped on the bed most of the time and only came in for a final inspection.  We passed.

Then on Sunday, we got to work relaying the tile (that we had just laid 3 weeks ago.  Did I mention that already?  Sorry.  Just a little irritated about the whole thing.).  Since we had already cut the tiles to fit the last time, we just had to keep track of which tiles went where and so the whole thing took about an hour and a half to lay.  Chris mixed the thinset and acted as the "gopher" while I sat my 7 month pregnant ass on the floor and laid the tile.  Our system paid off:

The best news?  After letting it set for 24 hours we walked on the tile and...IT STUCK!!!  Choirs of angels sung, rainbows appeared, and puppies and kitties pranced around in harmony, it was so magical.

This means that we can pull off the wall tile this coming weekend, put the grout in, and if we have enough time, we may be able to reinstall the vanities!  We're getting there!

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Living Room Chairs!

A week or so ago I bought two of these chairs online for the living room:

I'm so thrilled with how they look in our living room:

We still need to add a few finishing touches to the room:  curtains, some side tables, and better lighting will be first, then I also want to add some crown molding to the bookshelves to make them look more like built-ins.  I also desperately want this pillow for the sofa:

Oh yes, it will be mine.

Anyway, although we still have a ways to go before the room looks like I want it to, it's still far, far better than where it was a year ago:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This project SUCKS

Sorry about the brief hiatus.  We've been busy around here and the bathroom project is not really going all that well.

Looks not too bad, right?  We laid the tile and waited the requisite 24 hours before stepping on it, only to find this:

Preeeetty sure that you're not supposed to be able to lift tile up like that. 

So, are you ready for a kind of long story?  Two weeks ago, we laid the tile.  Found out that the tile didn't stick in several places.  The following weekend we installed the vanities anyway so we'd have a functioning bathroom while we had guests in town last weekend for my baby shower.  So guess what we get to do this coming weekend?  We get to uninstall the vanities, fix the floor, then wait for the floor to dry before grouting.  Then we can reinstall the vanities!

But wait!  There's more!  The vanities and faucets are so much taller than the previous ones that the medicine cabinets don't fit between the vanities and the light fixtures.  So now Chris has to move the light fixtures up a few inches to accomodate everything.  All of this is before we even tile the backsplash or put baseboards back on. 

So, that's what we've been up to lately.  Good times!!!
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