Funny stories... tales from the road... life with us.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Recipe Sharing: Chocolate Pecan Pie

This is the pie I made for dessert last night. I actually made two pies and popped one in the freezer for future use. This is definitely not waistline friendly, but sometimes you gotta splurge. :)

Chocolate Pecan Pie

Yield: 8 pieces


  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted (I used light butter)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 3 tablespoons bourbon liquor
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves (next time, I would chop these up a little bit)
  • 1/2 cup mini milk chocolate morsels
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked pie shell (recommend you use a deep dish crust)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter in a small saucepan. While butter is melting, add beaten eggs to a medium sized bowl. Stir in brown sugar, flour, vanilla extract, corn syrup and bourbon until combined. Add butter when just melted. Mix in the pecans and chocolate morsels. Mix all together. Pour mixture into pie shell. Place on a sheet tray and bake for 50 to 60 minutes.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dinner Menu

Rob and I are having some friends over for dinner tonight, and since we both worked today, I wanted something easy, but good. I settled on lasagna, and our friends graciously offered to bring salad and bread. My favorite kind of guests!

I usually make my grandmother's lasagna recipe -- it is really terrific -- but thought it might be fun to make something new. So, we are having Tyler Florence's Ultimate Lasagna, which I made yesterday and is in the oven as I type! What's interesting about this recipe is that there's cinnamon in the sauce. Strange, huh? I tasted the sauce yesterday as I was assembling the dish, and the flavor is strong, but really good. I hope our guests like it!

For dessert, we are having a chocolate pecan pie. So good. I'll share that recipe later this week. Better go put the finishing touches on the appetizer cheese plate and accompaniments. Guests to arrive in 20 minutes!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Weekend Round-Up

We've had a great time this weekend, and now that it's 8:27 on Sunday night, I'm wishing Monday wasn't coming so fast.

Saturday, we went to Fountainhead Regional Park for a hike and some geocaching, and we ended up going for seven miles. Yikes! It was muddy and we had a few challenges -- I literally had to climb up one hill using my hands to pull myself up, and we had to cross a river -- twice -- where the bridge had washed out. The first time, Rob scooted across a downed tree and climbed up some roots, and I v-e-r-y carefully walked across a submerged log. I had two walking sticks to give me balance on the way across, but one broke about halfway along. I thought I was going for sure going in for a dunk, but gracefully made it across. On the way back, we saw a downed tree across the river, but not submerged, so we went across it. Challenging!

As a reward for our big adventure, we feasted on Ledo's pizza and fancy treats from a new cupcakery.

Today was church, market, laundry, walk, etc. The usual Sunday. We are hosting friends for dinner tomorrow night, so I made lasagna and a chocolate pecan pie. Yum.

Have a great week!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Home Improvements

Here's a photo of our newly painted bathroom. I'm very happy with the way it turned out! It's definitely a bit bluer than I thought it would be, but it's a cool, icy blue. I've searched and don't have a "before" photo (and I don't know why I didn't think about taking one on Friday!), but it used to be a sunny yellow with gold fixtures. Rob did a great job replacing the faucet, knobs, towel holder, etc.

Please excuse my streaky mirror. I must have snapped this photo before I cleaned it. That mirror has a long history... it came out of Rob's great aunt's house in Maryland, and I've always liked it. It just needed a good cleaning, but the wood is beautiful and I've been looking for a good place to hang it. Fits perfectly!

Monday, March 23, 2009


I'm working from home today and getting A LOT done. So far I've knocked out a media proposal, newsletter editing and a bunch of miscellaneous little projects. Next up, lunch and a marketing plan that I've been stalling on for days weeks.

This is unusual to work at home, but we are having our hallways and staircase painted and some trim replaced today, so my boss was great about letting me be home with the contractors. One crew is painting inside, and one is sawing away outside. Productive!

I have enjoyed the quiet - no phones ringing and office pop-ins - and the fact that I got to watch the entire Today Show!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Goodbye sunshine, hello rainy day

So I am taking a break in between coats of pale gray in my formerly-yellow powder room. As I rolled on the first swath of cool gray, I felt like a rain cloud moving in over a sunny sky. The yellow just isn't the look I'm going for anymore, and with our revamped kitchen and to-be-painted-by-professionals-on-Monday staircase, the powder room needed attention too.

To decorate, I'm moving some things around the house (bringing downstairs a wreath and a fleur di lies frieze) and didn't need to buy much new, other than obviously the paint and a new faucet that Rob's going to install. I'll pick up a new bathrug that goes with the color and wah-lah! New bathroom.

Before cracking into the painting this afternoon, Rob and I did a 3.5 mile hike this morning at Bull Run Mountain. It was a little cool when we headed out, but we warmed up quickly on the uphill start! It was nice to be outside and in the woods. We saw lots of hikers out and on the trails.

Rob is watching Maryland lose in March Madness. Yikes.

Off to change the laundry and check my paint drying! Hope you are having a good weekend -

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mrs. O

In the last few months, I have been pretty impressed with Michelle Obama and the spirit and sense of community she's brought to the administration. Yes, she's got killer style and has graced the cover of many magazines, but her value is way more than skin deep.

I know not all of my friends are Obama-family fans, yet you have to admit that she's really dived in and made an impact since January 20. She says that she was taught at an early age to really get involved in her community, and I think she's done just that.

A few of the notables.... she's visited D.C. schools to read to students and met with military families to learn about their lives; she's helped to build an affordable, energy-efficient home on the National Mall in a service effort led by YouthBuild (a youth and community development program); she's been on a tour of many of the government agencies, thanking the employees; she's brought music and arts to the White House weekly. Oh, and she's seemingly a great wife and mom.

I really like that she's working so much with students, including having a local elementary school help establish new garden near South Lawn fountain to supply the White House kitchen, and a luncheon she hosted Thursday bringing together amazing women who have accomplished "firsts", and then heading to city schools to speak. Hers's a video of her remarks:

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lost Generation


Friday, March 13, 2009

Even Lauer Feels the Pinch

From USA Today's Lifeline Live:

"Matt Lauer's been grounded. NBC's Today show says there will be no "Where is the World is Matt Lauer?" extravaganza this year because of the economy. Today Executive Producer Jim Bell said he had solicited suggestions from viewers for Matt's jaunt, but many told him the globe-trotting trip sent the wrong message, reports AP. Instead, NBC's morning show team will be spending a week in May exploring affordable vacation spots in the United States."

This is a very interesting change, to me. On one hand, I can see that NBC is respecting that the economy stinks and people aren't jetting off to exotic vacation spots.

On the other, how many people actually followed Matt's itinerary for their own trips? Wasn't it more for the entertainment of those of us who will never travel to Victoria Falls or Reykjavík or Marrakech? A little glimpse into corners of the world, their cultures and their people? And isn't entertainment spending up right now, since people are treating themselves to little luxuries vs. big splurges? So how about some free entertainment (paid, of course, in your cable subscription) with that fun Lauer?

Seems to me that Matt's trek around the globe provided that entertaining insight to the viewers at home... but maybe that's just me. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Random Thoughts

We enjoyed some really warm weather last weekend! Temps in the 70s and fresh air made it so nice to be outside. We spent a bunch of time geocaching on Saturday, and then enjoyed great pizza and pie in Leesburg. A really fun day!


Paula is ridiculous in AI. Does anyone else still watch this? She always has on the dopiest outfits and says the goofiest things. Honestly, predicting a finalist three singers into the season? Come on. Randy is still my favorite judge because his feedback is always constructive. Kara is getting there too. Simon is just Simon.


For those readers thinking of and praying for my friend Shellie, her husband Mike and her boys Adison and Leonidas, read her touching blog post today about the boys' first meeting. So, so sweet.


For sale: one mostly-cute cat. She's taken to nipping on our new wood blinds, and I'm not going to have it. Any ideas? She's not easily deterred. We've tried water bottles and shaking cans of quarters and rattling plastic bags. When she does bother to stop her badness and look up, she gives us a look like, "you've got to be kidding me" and goes right back to her destruction. Help!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Almost Friday

I've been too crazy at work this week to blog much, and I have so many blogs to catch up on reading that my Google Reader is about to pop. I'll get to them eventually! This week has brought me a big media blitz (both good and bad) that's kept me on my toes. Never a dull moment.

Tomorrow is Friday! Whoo hoo! Rob is excited to see The Watchman, so we are going tomorrow night. I haven't a clue what it's about, but the guy from Titanic and Dead Denny from Grey's Anatomy are both in it. Should be fun to be a part of the crowd that's expected to fill the theaters tomorrow night for the opening.

Tonight we celebrated almost-Friday with chocolate chip pancakes for dinner. Yum!

Oh, and if you want to save $$$ at Ann Taylor Loft, take in a pair of gently used slacks (no jeans), and take $15 off any full-priced pant.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Recipe Sharing: Goat Cheese and Roasted Corn Quesadilla

From the most recent Cooking Light magazine. So good!

Goat Cheese and Roasted Corn Quesadilla
Yield: four servings

1 c. corn kernels (fresh is best, but frozen is okay)
5 oz. goat cheese, softened
8 corn tortillas
green onion, diced
salsa (CL recommends salsa verde, but any kind is okay)

Saute corn over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, and mix in bowl with goat cheese. Divide corn/cheese mixture among four tortillas. Sprinkle with diced green onion. Drizzle with salsa and top with second tortilla. Coat skillet with PAM pre-heat to medium-high. Cook quesadilla for 1.5 minutes each side. Cut into wedges and serve with more salsa.


Sunday, March 01, 2009

Waiting on the Snow

We are supposedly getting snow this evening and tomorrow, and the weather guy this morning said we could get anywhere between four and nine inches. So far we have a skiff and I am watching for the rest to arrive.

This weekend has been pretty easy and fun... we've not done much, other than a little geocaching yesterday afternoon and a free dinner last night. I won a radio contest for dinner for two at a restaurant in Bethesda, so we finally cashed it in. Place was really odd -- we were the ONLY ones there for the majority of the meal, and one other couple finally showed up. Food was actually really good, until we got to the dessert. It was terrible - I think my little chocolate cake had been microwaved, and Rob's cheesecake was blech. Either way, it was still free!

Today was church and laundry and just being lazy. My favorite kind of Sunday.

If you are looking for some good recipes, check out my friend Stephanie's new recipe blog. Good finds!