I could probably survive a zombie apocalypse

Last week, I started reminiscing about living in France and I realized that the thing I miss the most was the availability of freshly baked bread and organic meats and vegetables.  I loved going to the farmer’s market every Sunday to purchase fruit, veggies, eggs, bread and a roasted chicken. all organic and all locally produced.  Those days were the very best.  While reminiscing, I realized that I may no longer be in France, but there is no reason that I can’t have the same delicious foods.  I decided I should get back to baking and focus on making and eating more organic foods with less preservatives.

So, first up – bread!  I found this very simple recipe for no-knead artisan bread on Simply So Good and decided to give it a try.  I whipped up the dough on Friday evening around 6:30pm, and let it rise until Saturday around 5pm before popping it in the oven.  It was so easy and turned out so well!

bread(That loaf lasted until yesterday evening, and I actually baked another loaf this morning before work!)

I didn’t want to eat the same old processed butter on such a delicious loaf of bread, so I whipped up some homemade cultured butter to accompany it.  I used this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen.  It required a little time (set up the cream and yogurt on Friday evening and actually turned it into butter on Monday morning) and a fair amount of effort (mixing the cream into butter/buttermilk mixture, squeezing out the buttermilk in cheesecloth and then washing the butter six times to get the rest of the buttermilk out before rolling it into a log), but it turned out so well!  I’m not sure that the cost and effort is really worth it to consume only homemade butter, but it’s definitely doable for a special treat.

butterAlso, the act of making butter made me really study the butters on the shelves at the nearby grocery stores, and I’ll probably be a lot more picky about which butters I buy in the future.

I also purchased a wonderful new cookbook, The Homemade Pantry by Alana Chernila (available from Amazon here), which has recipes for tons of basics, like granola, nut butters, ricotta, mozzarella, pop tarts, etc.  I can’t wait to give some of those recipes a try.  I think I’ll start with the granola first.  Guys, I’m on a roll with the healthy eating/organic cooking thing!

Mixed in with all the cooking (I also made a huge batch of red beans and rice yesterday!), we also took Gordy on his first foray into the ocean yesterday!  He’s still not entirely sure about water, but he loved the barnacles.

photo Between this weather and the Seahawks making it to the Super Bowl, this was a fantastic weekend in the Emerald City!

Home Inspection… check!

Today, I had my very first home inspection of THE house.  I went in quite anxious as 1) I’ve never bought a house before, so this is my first home inspection and 2) the house was built in 1926, so there is no telling how many problems could exist.

I waited anxiously (not quite pacing, but almost) while the inspector roamed and roamed, looking at every possible issue.  And… there are very few issues!  There are, of course, small things that will have to be addressed over time, like outlets that need to be replaced, screens that are torn, and a water heater that may die in the next couple of years.  But, for a house that is 86 years old, I say those are pretty minor.  My realtor said that on a scale of 1 to 10, this inspection was an 8.  I can live with an 8!  We had the sewer system inspected, too, and it needs to have some work done.  So, we’re going to ask the sellers to work with us on that one.  We’ll see if they will.  Either way, though, this house, for all intents and purposes, is OURS!

I’m so excited.  And so in love with this house.  Is it weird that I’m madly in love with a building?  Probably.  That’s okay.  I take joy in clean desks, new office supplies, and arguing motions in court and I fall in love with buildings.  I’m marrying a city planner who likes analyzing city ordinances and reviewing building plans and dreams of being a treasure hunter.  We all have our quirks.

THE house, in pictures:

The living room, looking into the dining room. This is the room that first sold me.


The kitchen (about three times the size of our current kitchen).


Double oven!

I was determined to have a double oven, so the fact that this kitchen already had one was just further indication that this is THE house.

Master bedroom.


Master bath.


The backyard.

While we don’t have kids yet, this house clearly works for a family – the people moving out have two young boys.

I’m really looking forward to settling down in this beautiful home, beginning our life together, and starting a family.  Wedding planning and house buying has been stressful lately, but it’s really coming together and I’m just so darn excited.


Home ownership?!

Ike and I have been considering buying a house when our lease ends (in May). So, I started frequently (obsessively) checking the Redfin.com listings to see what types of houses were available. We picked a couple of neighborhoods in the Emerald City in which we wanted to live and I searched, and searched, and searched. We also got connected with a fantastic real estate agent (contact me if you want her info), and the house hunting began!

We didn’t plan on buying anything too quickly, waiting until closer to when our lease ended so that we could move at just the right time. However, quickly into our search, I found the perfect house! We continued looking at houses, but I kept thinking of THE house. It took me a little bit of time to convince Isaac that this was, in fact, THE house, in THE perfect neighborhood, but after a few weeks of talking about it, I finally had him convinced!

So, we decided to go ahead and make an offer. I’ve never purchased a house before, so I didn’t know how long the offer process would take. It turns out, the offer process can be extremely quick!! We made an offer on Friday, they counter-offered that evening, we counter-offered right back at them, and then they accepted our counter-offer on Saturday morning! Less than 24 hours of negotiation later, and we had ourselves a house!

THE house.

Isn’t it wonderful?  It’s a 1926 Tudor house and I’m madly in love with it.  Madly.  We have inspections scheduled for this week and we have until Friday to make sure that the financing is all in place.  Provided those things go smoothly, we may move in as early as March 15!  Eeeks!  I’m so excited.  This is as exciting as finding out I passed the bar!  I can’t wait to start decorating and making it mine ours.

Home Sweet Home(less)

I have now been home for almost two weeks.  Exactly two weeks ago last night, I was enjoying steak frites with one half of C² for my final night out in Lyon.  It already seems a lifetime away!

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been quite busy.  My first day in town, I enjoyed a wonderful Mommy and Me day, which involved shopping, hair cutting, eating and wonderful company.  It was the perfect way to ease back into living in Seattle.

On the list of food Id missed in France, Ivars clam chowder!

That evening, I met up with Chris for my first sushi of 2011.  We enjoyed late-night happy hour at Redfin, of course.

On Saturday, Isaac and I went to the Ram to watch part of the final four tournament.

Happily watching basketball games at the bar. This was clearly before the Kentucky loss. Boo.

Then, we went to Sarah’s, where she hosted a fabulous “welcome back/we’re almost done” party.  It was great!

Sunday, I had to focus on my final exam for the French program, which was not easy to do.  And, it was made even more difficult by some car issues.  As I was leaving Tacoma to head to my mom’s house, I heard a loud screeching noise and had to pull over.  Three hours later, I had been towed from Tacoma to the shop near my mom’s house.  Oy.  Just what I needed!  I was finally able to finish my final French final at 12:59am, just in time to submit it before the deadline.  Phew.

Then, I began classes bright and early on Monday morning.  Instead of taking a light schedule (which would have been the smart thing to do), I decided to sign up for basic income tax, professional responsibility (the one class I need to take in order to graduate), entertainment law, and conflicts of law.  Two of the classes are compressed – so they end in May, and two are non-compressed – so they end in June.

After surviving my first three classes of the quarter, Kate and I met up for lunch at Portage Bay Cafe, which was wonderful.  Then, I got my car back – turns out the problem was just a rock in the brake pad.  Phew – could have been much worse!

The following week progressed relatively uneventfully (with the exception of meeting up with Meghan for lunch on Tuesday, which was great, and happy hour on Thursday – where I got kicked out of the bar for an expired license!  Oy).

On Friday, Sarah and I went to our third annual opening day Mariner’s game.  We brought along the guys, who made for excellent company, despite the horrendous performance of the team.

Sarah and her boy.

In exchange for my attendance at basketball games, Isaac gets dragged to baseball games. Im sure he secretly (very secretly) loves it.

Before the game, they did a tribute to Dave Neihaus, which was very sweet (even if the opening tribute song by someone named Maclemore was a bit unexpected- though clearly very heartfelt).

Oh Dave. We miss your voice!

Actually, that was pretty much the highlight of the game.  It all went downhill from there.  Sarah and Ben left after the seventh.  I forced Isaac to stay for another half an inning, but that was as much as I could get out of him.

At this point, Isaac insisted we leave. Can you blame him?

After leaving the game, we met up with Sarah and Ben at Ivar’s on the waterfront, which ended up being a lot more pleasant than the game!  For one, it was warm inside.  And, there was clam chowder!

Fun times at Ivars!

After the game, because I’m homeless, Isaac and I stayed at his brother’s house in south Seattle so we didn’t have to go all the way back down to Tacoma.  While the family was asleep, the cats nicely waited up for us.

The welcome.

On Saturday, I ran some errands with my mom (which involved renewing my car tabs and getting an emissions test – the wonderful things you have to do after you’ve been gone for three months!) and then I went to Heidi’s wedding!

Heidi and Doug cut the cake.

It was a very sweet wedding and Heidi looked very happy!  That’s the second marriage of people I know who met on eharmony.  Clearly that online dating stuff can work.

I got to see most of my old coworkers from the immigration work, which was nice (albeit strange).  I can’t believe it’s been over three years since I worked there!  And yet so little has changed…

In addition to seeing the old coworkers, I got to hang out with my favorite four-year old (since Ike’s brother and sister-in-law were also there).

He keeps getting cuter and cuter.

And, possibly the best part of the day, I got to wear my new very favorite (way too expensive) shoes!  This was the first time that I had been able to wear heals since I broke my toe.  It was a little rough, but totally worth it to wear the shoes!

See the shoes?? (Sure, the bride's cute, too, but did you see the shoes?!)

I don’t know the last time I was this excited about a pair of shoes.  And believe me, that’s saying something!

Happy Jax.

On Sunday, I attended my cousin’s first birthday party at a tapas bar in Belltown.  Interesting venue, but it was fun to see many of my family members that I hadn’t yet seen since my return from France.

Overall, I’ve been very busy!  But I’m pretty happy to be home (even if I do miss C² and the Sunday markets!).  Now, if I could just find a home…