Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday... spring will come!

 Since the 3-11 earthquake in Japan I have been a bit overwhelmed at work and too tired to make any posts at night but I really want to keep the blog rolling. We have been having a rough start to spring here in the east.  But lo and behold our Magnolia tree has buds!

And the tough little crocus have graced us with their presence...

Rumor has it that we are expecting some snow on Friday, please tell me it's an April fools day joke!


Monday, March 21, 2011

Our 7 Year Anniversary and dinner at the 12 Grapes restaurant....

Brett took some slack for this little note that we sent out to announce our engagement. It was August and pretty hot, he lived in a top floor apartment of an old house, so he had no shirt on, but really the point of it was how excited we were and how cute the little paper ring was that he made me with a heart on it that said marry me? My real ring was not ready at the crazy jewelers.

 We had a wonderful wedding at The Fountainhead in New Rochelle NY on March 21, 2004.

This year to celebrate our 7th anniversary we decided to try out 12 Grapes, one of the local restaurants in Peekskill NY, that we have heard rave reviews on. 

It was almost a washout because when I came home from getting my nails done Joshua did not appear to feel good. After a lengthy thermometer fight I found out that he was running a 100.2 temp. Luckily Brett's dad offered to drop of Brett's mom and then he would go to the movies. Brett's dad can not be exposed to sick kids because he had a kidney transplant last year.

So we finally made our way into Peekskill to Division Street and were pleasantly surprised by the amount of people walking around to the various restaurants. It was pretty hopping! 12 Grapes had a big group of people already dining 6:00 when we got there and as we were seated the restaurant really started to fill up. Later in the evening the 12 Grapes offers live music.

We started out with some nice bread in a really tasty basil infused dipping oil.

There was a really nice selection of wines by the glass, they offer 12 reds and 12 whites, hence the name of the restaurant 12 grapes. 
I chose a nice Italian red.

My handsome date!

I like the fact that Brett is not embarrased to order a martini with the name " French kiss"

We decided to share the mixed field greens salad and it was plenty for both of us. It was really good and pretty too.

The aged cheese and meat appetizer was a selection of four cheeses and charcuterie. It was way too large a portion for the two of us and I did not love the meats. Despite the potent meats I did really enjoy the cheese and pickled vegetables.

My main dish was a rather large portion of chicken with a truffle sauce over spinach and sweet potato slices. It had an earthy taste, I really liked how they cooked the sweet potatoes. I don't like to waste food but I did not finish this portion to save room for dessert.

Brett choose the steak with a blue cheese sauce and side of nicely cooked asparagus and crispy potato wedges. Once again the portion was quite large but the food was very good.  These items were restaurant week specials but similar dishes can be found on their dinner menu.

I wrapped up the big night out with this really yummy decaf cappuccino that brought back memories of Fuji lunches at a place we called the "white house" which is really called Il Sorriso in Irvington. They even served it with the rock sugar that makes it the best!

And the piece de resistance was this really delicious molten lava cake that we shared. It was really terrific!
Going out to dinner in Peekskill was a really nice night out, the little city has some big potential! It's nice to know that there are some really nice places to go out right in our backyard. For our next date night Brett and I want to try the Birdsall House where they have a big reputation for their large selection of beers. A friend just mentioned to me that they have a killer beet burger that I am curious to try out.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Mom's Irish Soda Bread Recipe.

I like to try to teach the boys about their varied heritage and being that I am half Scottish/Irish (grandparents from Ireland mom from Scotland) I wanted to teach the boys how to make Irish Soda Bread. I finally got a copy of my mom's recipe and I willed us to bake after dinner tonight.

The boys are always up for baking even if it's after dinner on a school night!

Mix together:
4 Cups Flour (sifted)
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

We split the recipe as we go so each boy gets to add half the ingredients.

Jacob asked me if it was starting to look "Irishy", LOL.

Add 1/2 cup corn oil and mix with a fork (or pastry blender).

 We use a fork (or two).

Mix in 1 cup raisins (by hand). For those who like caraway seeds this is when you would add one tablespoon of those. I have a strong aversion for them!

This is when Jacob decided that he probably won't eat this bread because it has raisins in it...


Slowly stir in 1 cup buttermilk and one egg that have been pre-mixed in a separate bowl.

This is what it looks like when you've finished mixing. Put the dough on a floured surface and knead around ten times or until smooth.

Shape it into a ball.

Flatten it slightly. Place it on a pre-greased heavy pan (we use a heavy cookie sheet).  Then cut an X across the top of the loaf.  Brush with corn oil then bake at 350 for about 45-50 minutes or until brown.

Here is the finished yummy bread! I sprinkle a touch of granulated sugar on the top since they ate not very sweet. We made one for work and one for home.

Joshua was so excited to try it this morning but he did not love it. I think it's something you grow to love! I know I loved it and so did Brett.



Sunday, March 13, 2011

The new couch and ottoman...Before and after

From this view the old couch did not look so bad but when you sat on it the cushions were so squished down that you could actually start to feel the wood. Needless to say it was getting uncomfortable. It served us well, it moved with us from our first rental house in White Plains, and put up with the abuse of the boys first years. It cam from Jennifer convertible for a steal and the actually still sell the same one! The couch jutted out a little to far blocking the entry into the living room a bit, since it was not bought for this room. The ottoman was also loosing its softness and from the multiple jumps that the boys made from it one of the buttons had been long missing. (Thats where I would put the basket of remotes!)

I had to trim to edges every once in a while to keep the fray from getting out of hand LOL...

The cusions had thier share of stains and were rippling from years of use.

So we went for an upgrade at Raymour and Flanigans. I special ordered this couch for this particular color. What I really liked was that you could mix and match different pieces of sectional to get the right shape for your room. I choose a U shape with two chaise lounges on either side.
The couch took us a few days to get used to when we first got it it was so cushiony! We were overwhelmed at first! We really love it now. The ottoman just arrived on Saturday and I absolutely LOVE it. It has storage!

Here is a different view where you can see how it opened up the entry to the room. I can even use both of the brown stools that we got recovered they were once Brett's Nanny's. It's hard to see the pattern on the ottoman but it has all the colors of the room in the design.


Now I am working on finalizing plans for the fireplace renovation! Stay tuned!
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