she's a brick house

It is almost May.  The warmer weather means we can officially start on all of our outdoor projects as well as a bathroom re-do inside.   We are getting a new driveway/ front patio in the next few weeks, and we have decided to paint the exterior of our brick house.   I know painted brick is not for everyone, but in this particular case it will be an improvement.  I have been obsessively looking for inspiration for all of these projects.  Here are a few examples of my favorite painted brick.

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6



Sauced. Chimichurri // Easy Chive Aioli

Here's the deal. If you have kids, you probably get requests for the same couple of foods day in and day out. It can be maddening. "I said you could have anything you want for dinner, and you choose hot dogs. You heard me say anything, right?" If you have been reading for a while you probably already know that L and I are pretty lucky in that our boys are pretty adventurous eaters. Especially Finn. That dude will eat anything. However, this does not mean that he wouldn't eat pepperoni pizza for every meal if he was allowed. It is our job as parents to keep it interesting. Keep them curious about things other than compressed mystery bits. Damn it if mystery bits aren't tasty sometimes, though.


If you are going through one of those "guilty" phases, where it seems like maybe you should be saying "yes" a little more than "are you kidding me! no way, dude!". Have no fear. Sauce is your friend. Sauce will help when they ask for things they wish to cover in ketchup, but you want a little more. Everybody wins. And we all like to win, right?

Warning: Sauce is not to be used to cover something up. If it was shitty to begin with, it will just be something shitty with sauce on it. I suppose if you are musing about putting it on some sort of batter fried tube steak, you already knew what you were getting yourself into. Carry on.

Angus chuck sliders / Yellow tomato / Avocado / Jack cheese /  Red onion / Baby greens / Chimichurri
Tots / Chive aioli

I like these 2 sauces because they are quick, easy and can turn the simplest things into something just a little bit better. Not to mention they are extremely versatile. Burgers, tots (yeah, tots), grilled meat, fish, veggies. Hell, put it on your cornflakes. I'm not here to judge.


1 cup Flat leaf parsley // 1/2 cup olive oil // 1/4 cup red wine vinegar // 1/2 cup cilantro // 3 garlic cloves // 1/2-1 tsp. red pepper flake (adjust to your preferred heat) // 1/2 tsp cumin // S&P to taste

Combine all ingredients into food processor or blender. Mix until combined.

Chive Aioli

2 garlic cloves // 3/4 cup mayo (wanna make your own, go for it!) // 1/2 cup chives, rough chopped // 2 Tbl. olive oil // 1 tsp. white wine vinegar // S&P to taste

Combine all ingredients into food processor or blender. Mix until combined.




bacon and leek breakfast "pizza"

 Sometimes combining several of your favorite things can end up with questionable results. We woke up Sunday hoping that our desire for bacon, crispy hash-browns and pizza was not going to end up as one of "those" dishes. It most certainly did not. Quite the opposite, actually.

 Bacon and Leek Breakfast "pizza"
3 medium leeks // 1# bacon // 2 cup shredded potatoes // 6 eggs // shredded cheese // Olive oil

 Preheat oven to 450. Combine potatoes, 1 egg, 2 Tb olive oil, and 1 tsp salt in a bowl. Mix gently to combine. Press mixture into pizza pan or cookie sheet. Place in oven and cook until edges begin to brown, about 10 min.
While crust is in oven. Cook bacon to your preferred crispness, place on paper towels to drain. Reserve about 1 Tb. of bacon fat for leeks. 
Thinly slice leeks and rinse really well. Squeeze excess water from leeks and place in saute pan with reserved fat over medium high heat. Saute until beginning to brown.
 Rough chop bacon and combine with leeks in bowl.
Remove crust from oven, top with bacon/leek mixture. Crack remaining eggs and place back in oven until whites are almost set, about 6-7 min. Careful not to overcook. 
When eggs are almost done, remove from oven and sprinkle cheese over the top and continue cooking until eggs are cooked and cheese is melted. Remove from oven, serve immediately. 
Top with your favorite hot sauce and flat leaf parsley or fresh spinach. 



Best Days

Oh Monday. Despite our warm welcome to you last week, we have gone back to hating you. No offense. It's just that we actually enjoyed ourselves this weekend and really didn't feel like getting out of bed today. We're sure you understand.

Why was this weekend good?

There was a little work, on the clock.
There was a lot of work, off the clock.
There was lounging, and movies.
There was a race.
There were friends, and Madmen.
 As always, there was food. Plenty of food.

We hope your weekend was also productive and filled with food!




Salad Days - Israeli Couscous & Purple Kale

Here is a quick salad I whipped up for Lindsay yesterday. After eating slightly more "American" than usual for the past few days, she asked that I follow a few easy rules for our meal. 

Healthy, Hearty, Fresh, Tasty
Light but filling.
Not meat-centric, but maybe meat, if you want.
Maybe kale, or a green. Or something else.
Ya know, just whatever.

Ok, got it. Wait, what? 

After my confusion subsided, I decided to employ my standard technique when given this type of culinary instruction. Take lots of her favorite stuff and cram it into a single dish.

It worked.

Israeli Couscous & Purple Kale

2 Cup Israeli couscous // 1 Bunch Purple kale // 1 Medium red bell pepper, small dice // 3/4 cup Raw almonds // 1 1/2 cup Yellow grape tomatoes, halved  // 1/2 - 3/4 cup Feta // 1/2 cup Red currants (dried) // 2 Garlic cloves // Juice of 1 lemon // 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil // Large handful of flat leaf parsley

Bring 2 1/2 cups of salted water to a boil. Add couscous and cool until water is absorbed and couscous is al dente. Rinse under cool water. Set aside to drain thoroughly. Chop kale into bite sized pieces and rinse well. Chop parsley and garlic fine, whisk together with olive oil and lemon juice. Mix all ingredients together. Serve over additional greens sprinkled with more almonds. Or not.


Key Lime Pie Cookies

Key lime anything is popular around our house.  I have been making key lime tarts for years and years.  To say they are a favorite dessert is an understatement.  I like making them and I definitely have the process down to a science, but sometimes you need to change things up a bit.   So yesterday, John suggested I make cookies, and I decided to challenge myself to make the flavors of a key lime pie into cookie form.  I must say this experiment was successful on all levels.  The cookies have a slightly salty finish and the filling is insane.  Gavin suggested I make him a bucket of it to eat.  Pretty gross, I know, but the cream cheese frosting / lime curd filling really is that good.
These cookies are time consuming.  But some of the most delicious things tend to be.  You could break the process up a bit and either make the lime curd a day or two ahead or bake the cookies the day before and fill them the day of.  How ever you decide to do it, they are worth it.

 Butter // Graham Cracker Cookies

1/2 cup salted butter ( 2 sticks) cold, cut into small pieces  // 1/2 cup granulated sugar // 1/4 cup packed brown sugar // 1 egg // 1 teaspoon vanilla // 2 cups flour // 1 teaspoon baking soda // 1 teaspoon cream of tartar //  1/2 cup crushed graham crackers

Combine butter, and sugars in bowl of stand mixer and beat until light and fluffy( about 2-3 minutes)

Mix flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda,  and cream of tartar in separate bowl.  Whisk together.

Add egg and vanilla to butter mixture.  Beat until well combined.

Pour flour mixture into wet ingredients.  Mix on low speed until just combined.  

Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least two hours, preferably overnight.


 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Roll out your dough to about 1/4 inch thick and cut out with round cutters. 
*Since this is a butter dough, I divided my dough into quarters and put what I wasn't using in the freezer.
 I used a 1 inch cutters for mini cookies.( These cookies do tend to spread).  After cutting my rounds I placed them on a parchment  lined baking sheet and put them in the freezer while I rolled and cut the next batch. 
Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  leave to cool on the cookie sheet for five minutes then  transfer to a cooling rack.  Repeat until all cookies are baked.

  Lime Curd

 l teaspoon lime zest // 1/2 cup key lime juice // 1/2 sugar // 2 egg yolks // 1/2 stick unsalted butter, cubed

Whisk together zest, juice, sugar, and eggs in a  saucepan. Add butter and cook over  low heat, whisking frequently, until curd is thick enough to hold marks of whisk and first bubbles appear on surface, about 6 minutes.
Force curd through a fine-mesh sieve and  cover the top with parchment paper paper. Cool completely, set aside or refrigerate for later use.  ( Curd will be good in the fridge for up to two weeks)


1 package cream cheese // 2-ish cups powdered sugar // lime curd 

Combine cooled curd and cold cream cheese.  Beat on high until completely smooth.  Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until desired consistency is reached.  I used about 2-ish cups.

Assemble and enjoy!




Hello Monday morning! Normally, we despise you. However, after this weekend we're happy to see you for once. We are certain it will wear off as soon as we punch that clock, but for now, glad you're here!

You know you had one of "those" weekends, when your Sunday bedtime has your 5 year old questioning "why are we going to bed in the daytime?" After our pajamas were on, and our teeth were brushed, no one protested our early retirement until the alarm went off 12 hours later! To say that this weekend took it out of all of us, is an understatement.

Without going into all the details, we'll just say:

Work, bleh.
Unrealistic expectations, frustrating.
 Bad things happening to good people, F that.
No sleep, very, very bad.

On the upside, our paychecks will be better than usual. Our house is remarkably clean. We are finally well rested. All good things.

It definitely was one of the most trying weekends we have had in a while, however, we were able to sneak away for a few hours on Friday and spend some time with our friends. If it were not for them, we would never be able to make it through days like these. So thanks, friends. You know who you are.



Mango // Ginger Whiskey Sour

As far as classic cocktails go, it doesn't get much better than a whiskey sour. At least to me, anyway. Just so we are clear though, I am not talking about some bastard child, out of the bottle, high fructose, neon colored abomination. No, no, no. This is not how we do things, and you know it! Bottles taste like chemicals, and they cost more to buy than fresh ingredients. So, unless you are a lazy ass, or a teenager with limited access/funds and bad taste. You have no excuse!

That being said, I am not always a slave to tradition. While I do believe that fresh ingredients and traditional preparation is of the utmost importance when making a proper cocktail. There is nothing wrong with taking a little creative license every once in a while.

Like this, for example.

 Mango // Ginger Whiskey Sour

1 oz. Fresh Lemon juice // 1 oz. Simple syrup // 1/2" piece fresh ginger (peeled) // 1/2 Mango (cubed) // 2 oz. Bourbon // Lots o' ice

Special Equipment

Cocktail shaker // Muddler // Small mesh strainer

Make simple syrup by combining equal parts water and white sugar in a clean container with a tight fitting lid and shake until combined. Simple Syrup will keep for a long time in fridge.

Place ginger, mango and bourbon in cocktail shaker. Use muddler to mash ingredients together until mango and ginger are totally incorporated. add lemon juice and simple syrup and enough ice to fill the glass. Put on the top and shake vigorously for 30-40 seconds. Strain into glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with mint, if you are trying to impress someone.

These are quite tasty. Drink them with someone who doesn't mind it when you proclaim your love  to them over and over.



yours, mine, ours.

 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 //

Yeah, we know, we have kind of been a little crazy about our outdoor inspirations lately. Really though, can you blame us?  Spring has been in the air since January! This collection is a representation of projects we actually intend to recreate/use for our space.



best days.

Sitting down to write this, there is a realization of how good this weekend really was. Neither of us had to work on Saturday. That, in and of itself, was awesome! We took the day off to celebrate with our Aunt Ruth. It is not every day you turn 90! If only we could all be so lucky to live as long and lead even half as full of a life as she has. Really, she deserves a post all her own. Or two.

Saturday night was reserved for a surprise party. Having friends that live abroad and don't visit the U.S very often, is as good of a reason as we can think of to celebrate. Maybe, a little over celebrate.  Maybe. Oh well. Needless to say, we were less concerned with snapping photos than getting loud with our favorite long haired German.

Sunday was dinner with Grandma in Michigan. All the usual suspects, ham, potatoes, asparagus, plenty of deviled eggs. So we ate. Jumped on the questionable trampoline. Ate some more, and enjoyed the company of our niece. It had been quite a while. Good times.

In a nutshell, we are incredibly lucky to have the friendships and relationships we do have.  Sometimes we lament the fact that all of our ties are not as strong or tight as we wish.  And then we have a weekend like this.  What more could you ask for?


Day Off. No apologies. No blue ribbons.

It seems like cheating. I am sitting on the couch right now, drinking beer, writing a post about tomorrow. Well, not really tomorrow. Lately, this weekly rant of mine has sort of taken on a life of its own.

When L and I decided to do this thing together, I wasn't quite sure what kind of a role I would play. I had watched her working on her previous blog and saw how thoughtful she was about the whole thing. Even in the smallest posts, her words, every part of it, calculated. Not to mention that she made it look effortless. Easy almost. And then we decided to partner up. She left her little nest and  decided to choose the guy who writes and then re-writes two sentence texts to friends. Probably not the most efficient choice she could have made. But, she did it. No pressure, John. No, none at all.

Of course, we have regular brainstorm sessions. Times when we sit and talk about things we'd like to do. Things to try. Her expectations for me. We talk until we are almost busting, and every scrap of paper within reach is covered in illegible chicken scratch. Until our eyes are red from bedtimes long past. We do this because our biggest concern is to be honest about who we are, but still keep it interesting for us individually. Doing it because, to us, it has purpose.

This has really been on my mind lately.  Maintaining our own identity and not getting suckered into the politics of the blog-o-whatthefuckever. It is really easy to sit down and blast through
a dozen random blogs and feel like, perhaps you might be missing something. Perhaps, there is some sort of set of rules, that we may not be following. It would seem that there is a formula, and you stick to it, because it works. Well, I am assuming it does. I guess what I am trying to say, is that I think lots of people are full of shit. I would prefer to not be full of shit.

Really though, how can you blame someone for only putting the best of what they do out for the world to see. Especially if they have done it for so long that there are whole relationships based on it. Relationships based on the fact that they will never meet their admirers. The whole thing is based on incessant comment and conversation.  Constant patting of backs and blue ribbons. Not good.

It's not good for me, because if this is how it is done, I will fail.  Because, if I give a compliment, I genuinely mean it. I you ask me your opinion, I will give it. I cannot and will not spend my time tagging along tugging on coattails telling you you are pretty, or handsome, or that everything you make is the most creative thing I have ever seen. Because, you already knew you looked good, right?

Perhaps I have not been doing it long enough to appreciate my role here. However I can promise you this.

What you see is what you get.
If you come here (to our blog), I appreciate it.
If you come here (to my house, which hopefully you were invited), I promise it will be every bit as dirty as it looks online.
If I consider you a friend online, I consider you one in real life.
I do not use the term friend loosely.

What we are trying to do, is document. We are cataloging so we can look back and be proud of what we have done in our little life here. Unapologetically, real life.  Transparent. Head first.



Salad Days. Spring potato salad.

Salad is good. You can eat it. You can feed it to people. It's easy to prepare. It is perfect for all that impulse produce you bought because "it just looked so nice". It won't kill you fast. It looks really good in pictures. Yay salad! It is so good, for so much!

I made this salad for our friends on Sunday. No one complained, or died. There were no leftovers. I would consider it a success.

Spring Potato Salad

3# Small potatoes // 1# White mushrooms // 1 Bunch asparagus // 4 Green onions // 1 Large Pasilla pepper

Add potatoes to large pan filled with cold water and a generous amount of kosher salt. Bring to a boil, until potatoes are cooked through, but not mushy. Bring a medium saute pan with 1/4" of generously salted water to a slow boil. Break the ends off of asparagus and add to saute. Cook until just tender, not mushy (See a trend here? Mushy = Bad). Remove asparagus from pan and put into ice water to stop cooking. Slice mushrooms into thick pieces. Heat large saute pan over high heat, add a small amount of oil to pan and enough mushrooms to cover the bottom of the pan but not over lapping each other. Sear mushrooms on both sides until golden brown. Continue until all mushrooms are cooked. Season with salt and pepper, set aside. Slice pepper and green onion thinly. Chop asparagus into bite sized pieces. Toss all ingredients together with vinaigrette. Eat.


 1/2 Cup olive oil // 3 Tb. White balsamic // Juice of half lemon // Salt // Cracked pepper // Minced garlic

 Whisk first 3 ingredients together in a bowl until emulsified. Season to taste with salt, pepper and garlic.

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