Wednesday, February 23, 2011

We bought a house!

Well, we never thought that house hunting would go so smoothly, but we found a house that we LOVE!  I guess I watch too much HGTV, but I was expecting the experience to be a lot more dramatic or difficult. The house is in a great location for both of our jobs, has a great layout with a lot of potential and has a wonderful yard.  We made an offer on Tuesday and found out today that it was accepted. So, here goes nothing as we enter the craziness that is preparing for closing over the next couple of months.  

Here's the floor plan below... I'm super excited about the formal living and dining room, yay for a lot of space to decorate! The kitchen needs updating and that will be our biggest project before we move in, but it's a great space. 

So, it looks like I'll be taking this blog in a more decorating/DIY direction in the next few months. Hope you're excited to follow along and watch our progress, I know we are! :) 

Friday, February 18, 2011

House Hunting!

Yes, it's true! We're officially house hunting. :) We are so excited and blessed to be able to buy a house at our age in this economy.  Everything seems to be falling into place and we hope to move into a house sometime before our apartment lease ends this summer. 

So, of course, you'll know that I've already got the interior decorating/home design bug... There are tons of decorating, DIY project and home blogs to read for inspiration!  They're so fun, it's like a hidden internet world. Of course, who knows what house we'll actually end up with, so right now, it's just fun to dream.  We've looked at some houses in the area with our Realtor, and a few are really great!  The market seems to be picking up and houses are selling quicker.  Last weekend, one house that we loved sold within 3 days of being on the market, crazy!  

Here are some pictures that I've stumbled upon that I love:

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

We love risotto.  It's Kevin's specialty, but I'm pretty good at making it too ;) We've been eating healthier recently, cutting out a lot of the rich but delicious items I love to make... but this creamy vegetable risotto was calling my name.  However, it's a great way to incorporate your favorite veggies into a meal.  Plus if you want, you can cut down on the fat by using olive oil instead of butter or using little to no cheese at the end.

Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto
- 1 cup arborio rice
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
- 1 bunch asparagus, diced
- 3/4 cup onion, diced
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tbs butter or olive oil
- Garlic powder, salt, pepper and Italian herbs, to taste
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Start by prepping all of your ingredients, it will make everything much easier if you're ready to add them when you need them. Dice the onion, slice the mushrooms, mince the garlic, and chop the asparagus. Add the chicken broth to a pot and heat over medium-high heat. You want this to be boiling or very close to it, so it can cook the rice immediately when it is introduced to the risotto.

Add 2 tbs of butter (or olive oil) to a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms, sautéing until the onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic; sauté for about one minute.

Once the garlic is fragrant, but not browned, add the rice to the pan. Stir so that the aromatics can infuse the rice, but do not let the rice brown.  Pour the white wine into the pan and stir. Allow all of the wine to evaporate, then add about 2/3 cup broth to the pan.

Stir often, adding broth when the liquid in the pan has been absorbed by the rice. Once about half of the broth has been used, add the asparagus and stir (the asparagus is added late so that you don't overcook it).  Continue stirring and adding liquid until you have added all of the broth and the rice is cooked through.  Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper and Italian herbs to taste. Swirl in 1 tbs of the remaining butter and parmesan cheese and serve immediately.  Serves 4.

source: Newlywed McGee original

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mashed Cauliflower

I've been pretty busy recently, but I wanted to share a fun and healthy recipe with you guys. I first found a similar recipe a few years ago on the South Beach Diet and it's great! In the SB cookbook, they call it "Surprise Mashed Potatoes," as it is a really good and perfectly healthy substitute for mashed potatoes!  So, if you're looking for a way to reduce the carbs in a meal but you still want to feel like you're eating your delicious 'mashed potatoes,' try these!

 Cheesy, Mashed Cauliflower 
- 1 head of cauliflower, chopped
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 tbs butter or butter substitute
- 2 oz fat free cream cheese or neufchatel
- 1/2-1 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- turkey bacon bits, for garnish

 Boil the cauliflower for about 10 minutes until fork tender. Drain in a colander then place in a food processor. Process until you reach a smooth consistency.  If you don't have a food processor you can use an immersion blender or break the cauliflower up with a hand mixer on high.

 Stir in the butter, cream cheese and shredded cheddar over low heat. Add garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with a sprinkle of cheese and turkey bacon bits, serve immediately.
Serves 4-6

 source: modified from South Beach Diet Recipe

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