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The gentleman who owned our house, S. Allan Horne ("Tink the Tailor") from 1943 until his death. I think we found this photo in the attic... Not sure who the woman is, maybe his wife, Dollie?



A huge loaf of pain de campagne, made in my cloche (earthenware baking thing), using a recipe from Rustic European Breads from Your Bread Machine by Linda West Eckhardt and Diana Collingwood Butts (the recipe includes yogurt, rye flour, bread flour, and whole wheat flour--it is very hearty!):

A photo of our house in the (rare) snow:

It is very much a work-in-progress, but here are some pictures of my office with actual furniture in it. *grin*

First off, the corner where I work:

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Okay, gas bill be damned, I cranked the heat up. It was 13° out when I woke up this morning, and it's supposed to be 10° tonight. I expect this kind of weather in Boston or Michigan, but not in the South! Fortunately, the house (the rooms we are using, anyway) is staying relatively warm.

Should I be worried about the rooms we're *not* using? If we're using the water, the pipes won't burst, will they? Right now we have about 2/3 of the rooms closed off (front porch, sewing room, living room, den, two upstairs bedrooms, downstairs bathroom) and are using/have open the rest (hallways, upstairs bathroom, two bedrooms upstairs, kitchen, dining room). We've got a gas heater in the kitchen (unvented, alas), in the upstairs bathroom (also unvented) and one in the dining room (vented) plus a space heater (oil radiator) in the bedroom.

I can't even imagine what it will take to heat this house when we actually start using *all* the rooms! Well, we'll probably leave the spare bedrooms closed off most of the time unless we have guests. But there are 3-5 gas heaters we aren't even using right now (large, vented ones in the living room, sewing room, and den and small, scary, unvented ones in the front porch/sunroom and downstairs bathroom). Our gas bill last month was $200, and I don't even want to think about what it will be this month!

How much do you usually spend to heat your house in December and January?

The Office, Part II: "After"

View looking towards the door into the master bedroom. If you love an old house, you have to embrace some of its quirks. We couldn't get 100% of the paint off the wallpaper, so there are bits and pieces of it, but I call it "texture"!


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The office is 90% finished, and we will start moving in furniture tonight, so I thought I'd share a little photo essay of our progress. We started with this:

white bedroom office

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If you don't mind...

...please let me brag just a tiny, tiny bit, because it was soooooooo exhausting!

Last night's fantabulous dinner!


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I know we've been sadly derelict of late with updates on the house, but we're planning on getting a fair bit done over the next few weekends, so look forward to new photos soon!

Menus and cookbooks

Okay, I'm still not exactly sure what recipes I'll be using for Thanksgiving, but we've decided the main gist of the meal:

chestnut soup?

homemade parker house rolls

chive mashed potatoes

green beans with blue cheese cream sauce and toasted walnuts

cranberry sauce made with blackberry wine

cornbread stuffing

turkey with garlic and lemon (and Larry will make gravy--I'm terrible at it!)

sweet potato casserole (the real thing, no marshmallows)

baby greens salad with chèvre, candied walnuts, and dried cranberries

banana, chocolate, and peanut butter pie (that's a single pie, the recipe is by Karen Barker from the Magnolia Grill)

sugar-free pumpkin pie (for my mom)

pie pie (yes, Larry has decided that he is making pie with pies in it for Thanksgiving--really!)

I've also been planning the menus for the next two weeks (starting Tuesday/payday). I really like doing it this way because we don't have to shop at the last minute. And the leftovers last us at least an extra day, so I only need about 5-6 recipes for a two-week period. This time I'm cooking recipes from the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites cookbook. They are:

Festive Black Bean Chili (with cornbread)

Tuscan Beans with Sage (with chicken sausage)

Middle-Eastern Chickpeas with Spinach (with rice)

Curried Sweet Potato Roti (with rice pilaf, I think)

Mushroom Spinach Crepes

Vegetable Udon Sauté

Yes, lots of beans, but we are trying to be healthy + save money, so that's no surprise. I'm cutting down a bit on the pasta, if only because I'm not supposed to be eating a lot of tomatoes right now, and cream sauces are too fattening. *sigh* But soon, soon, I will have to make penne with pumpkin cream sauce. What the hell...I think I'll add that to the list. (From Everyday Food.)

Here is the recipe, so I don't lose it:

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I hope my mom likes the recipes I've chosen... she doesn't eat very well at home (she doesn't like to cook). I like to spoil her when she's here. I thought about doing an Ethiopian meal, too, since that's one of her favorite cuisines, but it's just too much work on top of Thanksgiving. So we'll stay with simple recipes using lots of beans and veggies. Fortunately, my mom loves both those things, so I think she'll like what I've chosen. (Not sure if she's keen on Udon, though!)

Cookbook reviews coming soon

Now that I am reunited with my collection of 150+ cookbooks (added to my more recently acquired 50 or so cookbooks), I have decided to start 'reviewing' some of them both as a way to make myself actually use more than two or three of them and to focus more on cooking from scratch. This is the first cookbook I'll be 'reviewing' (scare quotes there because I'm not in any sense a professional reviewer!):

This cookbook, like all the other Moosewood cookbooks, is primarily vegetarian in emphasis, with a few fish recipes. It was published in 2005, so it is a relatively new addition to the Moosewood series of cookbooks. You can find out more information on the Moosewood Collective, the folks who publish the cookbooks, here.

First review coming soon!

p.s. If anyone is interested in co-reviewing (i.e. cooking from the same cookbook and giving your opinion on the recipes therein), just let me know! And yes, I know this is supposed to be an Old House blog, but dang it, I think the original 1916 owners of our house would appreciate the idea of cooking from scratch.