My favorite quote…
A year and a half ago, I created this entryway at the back door in an attempt to have some sort of organization and control over coats and backpacks. It works sometimes. Sometimes not so much. But now the wall has everyone’s initials attached to their designated space, so I am positive this personalized touch will have everyone hanging up their coats with a great big smile on their face. Right? Or not.
But at least it looks cute. 😉
This recipe for Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup was found by my good friend, Crys, who is also my Pilates
torturer instructor. (I will post the source as soon as I find it!) She has a blog called Dancing Moon Pilates where she shares her inspirations, recipes, fitness tips and DIY projects. Crys is also my thrifting, antiquing, home improving buddy, a.k.a. partner in crime, when it comes to home projects. She’s an AWESOME cook too! Check out this soup recipe. It looks delicious!
Since it is winter (even though it’s going to be 70 degrees this weekend) I thought a soup recipe would be a good one to start with. Growing up one of my favorite comfort foods was always a Grilled Cheese Sandwich and Tomato Soup. As an adult I still love the meal but prefer a more “grown up” version of the soup. This delicious recipe requires a slow cooker. Enjoy!
Makes about 2 quarts (about 8 servings)
2 (14 oz) cans diced tomatoes, with juice
1 cup finely diced celery
1 cup finely diced carrots
1 cup finely diced onions
1 tsp dried oregano or 1 T fresh oregano
1 T dried basil or 1/4 cup fresh basil
4 cups chicken broth
½ bay leaf
½ cup flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese
½ cup butter
2 cups half and half, warmed
(or skim milk if you’re trying to cut some calories)
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1. Add tomatoes, celery, carrots, chicken broth, onions, oregano, basil, and bay leaf to a large slow cooker.
2. Cover and cook on LOW for 5-7 hours, until flavors are blended and vegetables are soft.
3. About 30 minutes before serving prepare a roux. Melt butter over low heat in a skillet and add flour. Stir constantly with a whisk for 5-7 minutes. Slowly stir in 1 cup hot soup. Add another 3 cups and stir until smooth. Add all back into the slow cooker. Stir and add the Parmesan cheese, warmed half and half, salt and pepper. Add additional basil and oregano if needed (the slow cooker does a number on spices and they get bland over time, so don’t be afraid to always season to taste at the end).
4. Cover and cook on LOW for another 30 minutes or so until ready to serve.
I started out 2012 with the blog name Ode to my Abode. This past year I changed it to House of 34. I wanted to share more than just DIY projects. House of 34 is about sharing ideas and experiences, laughing and making fun of myself (and occasionally others, all with love of course), as well as DIY Projects. My goal in writing about my DIY projects, though, is to encourage you to try new things yourself. I’m not an expert at anything. But for reasons not yet known, 😉 I’m not afraid to try anything either. I believe if you have an idea in your head, you can do it.
Thanks for all your support! Blogging has been a wonderful experience. I have “met” some pretty awesome people in cyberspace! 😀 House of 34 is a happier place with all of you in it.
Thought I would share some of the top posts from 2012. Thank you again!!
I’ve thought about this past year, and although I managed to get a few projects done, I wondered if I made any sort of meaningful contributions to the world.
After scouring all of 2012’s posts, it became clear I didn’t change the world, but here is what I know… a) I have amazing followers, b) you still follow me even when I share my dorky moments, and c) some of these dorky moments maybe, just maybe, contributed a teeny tiny bit of wisdom, goofiness and laughter. 😉
Developed a revolutionary way of cleaning mattresses!
Discovered flat abs requires more than 8 once-a-week exercise sessions. I wish I had better news on that.
Took a job as Test Drive Dummy and pushed my finger “through opening”. It hurts like the dickens, people.
Gave a name to a troubling condition called 90 percentitis. It’s a problem many DIY-ers have when they have too many creative thoughts in their heads at one time.
Told the world to go crazy and buy TWO cans of frosting with cake mix!!
AND, last but not least, gave you way better directions on how to deposit a check at the ATM machine than Hubby gave me. (The folks behind the security camera are still laughing!)
My Hubby asked me to deposit a check. He said it’s easier now. No deposit slip. No teller. Just go to the ATM machine. The check gets scanned and you’re done. Got it! Sound like something I can handle.
I apparently over-estimated my banking abilities. I pulled up and rolled down my window. I saw where the check needed to go. The directions said to “deposit check here”. So I hung myself out the car window, to reach the deposit slot. But the check would not go in. I tried again and again, forward, backwards and upside down, the ATM would not take my check.
Thinking Mom just wasn’t doing it right, my daughter unbuckled herself and climbed over to the front seat. She was going to try. Now she’s kneeling on my lap, wedged between my chest and the stearing wheel, hanging out the window herself. She tried and tried, but the ATM stood its ground. It would not take my check.
Hubby said it was easy! What was I doing wrong? And at this point I realized that I was most like being taped by a security camera. I don’t even want to think about what we looked liked. I can only imagine the roaring laughter that would occur if anyone watched that tape. Mom and daughter, half way out the window, shoving a check at an uncooperative machine.
I almost gave up and drove away. Then a thought occurred to me. What if I insert my debit card in to the ATM machine? When I want the machine to give me money, I use my ATM card. Maybe that would work!
And what do ya know… The deposit slot opened up and took my check. And I swear, as the ATM was finally scanning my check for deposit, I heard snickering coming out of the deposit slot! I think I even saw the sides of the slot turn up in a slight smile.
I’m only telling you this embarrassing story in hopes that it will prevent any one else from listening to her Hubby about how to work an ATM machine. He missed telling me a several crucial steps. Like.. Take out your ATM card. Put the ATM card in to the machine. Punch in your security code. Choose “DEPOSIT” then insert your check. Those are important! Like really important. Otherwise you will just be hanging out your window trying to jam a check into a CLOSED deposit slot! With people watching. And laughing.
Last night, Hubby and I went out with another couple to a restaurant called Epic Chophouse in Mooresville. (Located in the heart of historic downtown Mooresville, for those who live in the Lake Norman area.)
The restaurant is located in a historic part of town. We heard the food is amazing! Hubby and I joked how we felt like young, hip people going out on a school night, having drinks, conversation, and being with friends. We didn’t feel like old moms and dads who would normally, at that time of night, be in our pajamas and slippers, getting ready to put our kids to bed, then ourselves. That is, until the menu arrived.
This is what Epic Chophouse’s websites says: Epic Chophouse offers fine dining in an elegant and comfortable setting. Our great selection of steak, seafood, other fine foods and wine has quickly made us one of the most sought-after dining choices in the Lake Norman region of North Carolina. Our experienced chefs can please the most discriminating palate and our friendly staff strives to give you wonderful dining experience. Come on over for a relaxing night of great food and drinks!
Sounds great, huh? We have discriminating palates. We were ready for a wonderful dining experience! And there we were. All of us with huge menus in front of our faces, excited to see what we were going to eat. Then we put down our menus and looked at each other. We could see each other. We could not see our menus! Only one of us had reading glasses on. Two of us did not bring any. And one of us just gloated because he could read the menu just fine. Yay for him. (Insert sarcasm.) The rest of us, however, were like 3 blind mice!
A couple of us tried to magnify the menu with our cell phones. That didn’t work. It just made us look like idiots. No one had arms long enough to read without glasses. I tried to hold the menu away from my friend so she could see it, but I nearly fell off my chair trying to get far enough away. All of our efforts was making us look ridiculous. We ended up passing the one pair of glasses around the table to read the menu. The waitress came back twice to see if we were ready to order. Sorry, not yet. Still passing the glasses! It took 20 minutes. So much for cool and hip!
Despite this sad moment when none of us old fogies could read the menu, we had a fantastic time! The food and drinks were yummy. The company was great! And the decor gave me decorating ideas! Gotta love that! 😉
For my Friends and Neighbors… Here is a little about the restaurant:
First a little history… At the time Mooresville was founded, a saloon sat on the current site of Epic Chophouse. The saloon was torn down in 1888 to make way for a modern dry goods store named the Rankin Store. The store was divided into 5 sections, with a portion of the current main dining room used for cloth, notions, shoes and general merchandise. The bar area was used as the mens department, and the area over the main dining room was used as the women’s and children’s department. A millinery department was located at the rear of the women’s department; where only the finest and latest ladies hat styles were crafted. The section now occupied as the banquet room served as the merchandise unpacking and pricing area.
The present day kitchen housed feed and seed, and there was at one time a mezzanine used to display rugs and provide storage. The large octagon floor area featured an opening called a well. This allowed light and heat to penetrate the upper floor while providing better circulation during hot summer months. The original building contained a rope elevator furnished by the J.B. Westbrook Company of Danville, Virginia. In 1907, this was replaced with an electric elevator built by the Park Elevator Company of Charlotte. A 21st century environmentally friendly elevator was installed in 2005. There are three centuries of elevators within 30 feet! The founder of the Rankin Store died in 1906, and the store was reorganized as W.W. Rankin Company, which stayed in operation until the 1950s. The building then became Morrow Brothers Furniture Company until around 1980.
Today, this wonderful historic building is home to Epic Chophouse… an upscale dining experience with a “chophouse-classic American style” menu. Epic Chophouse is owned by Jim Morasso, Larry Sponaugle and Rick Mack. Both Mr. Sponaugle and Mr. Morasso have been in the restaurant business for over two decades, and Mr. Mack is an entrepreneur as well with RDM Architecture and SynergyOne in Davidson. The Executive Chef is Jon Spencer, CEC and Sous Chef is Tim Chung. Epic Chophouse offers a variety of steaks, chops, seafood, pasta and some Southern specialties, and also has an intimate bar area for relaxing with friends.