Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Day, Oh Who The Heck Knows: Fulghi Is My Hero.

Occasionally The Trophy Wife can over extend herself, and by herself, she means her husband. So with all this extra work I have been giving Fulghi, I just haven't had time to blog! Spouse-management is a job unto itself! I mean, while Fulghi has been working, I've had to catch up on episodes of The View, and Oprah for that matter, all while I sipping a frosty diet coke! And don't forget my responsibilities to Facebook! (I mean, seriously, Mafia Wars ain't gonna play itself.) I have to juggle these grueling tasks, while still overseeing Fulghi's progress and advising him in the case of any mistakes. The road of The Trophy Wife is not an easy one to travel...

Here is what The Trophy Wife has been up to for the last month...

First we have The Trophy Wife's Guide To A Successful Marriage in action. Fulghi works all week long, only to come home to his second job. Remodeling the kitchen. Who has time to fool around when every waking second is taken up with hard labor? Trust me on this one gentle readers, idle hands are the devil's playground!

You tell ME this doesn't look like a happily married man!
Put down the screwdriver, Fulghi, and nobody gets hurt.
So Fulghi has been working several weekends in a row to get this kitchen put back together. He is truly a saint, and for some reason still loves me in spite of it all. Although, he did make it clear in no uncertain terms that this would be the last kitchen remodel. I say, oh Fulghi, don't be naive. The kitchen may be done, but The Trophy Wife and her nefarious plans will not be stopped. Kitchen be damned! The Trophy Wife can make plenty of work in the rest of the house!

So for your viewing pleasure, here are the results of Fulghi's blood, sweat, and tears... At least now he won't have to sob himself to sleep at night.

Looking in to the new kitchen addition.
Check out the swanky new chandelier.
Looking into the new pantry.
Now I have a place for all my cookbooks, and room to add more!
View of the new kitchen addition.
Another view.
Another view,
looking from the new kitchen addition into the living room.
Another view with a new cabinet
just for my grandmother's Franciscan Pottery.
Fulghi is a man among men.
Smart, handy, loving, kind, and patient (obviously).
What else can be said?

He is my hero.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Day 28: Thankful

The Trophy Wife is thankful tonight. Her cup is full. She has a wonderful husband, beautiful children, loving family, and friends that make her laugh.

Tamara made a beautiful cake for me for my birthday, from scratch. It tasted so wonderful that two days after my birthday, not a crumb remains. But even better than the taste, was the love with which it was made. It gave The Trophy Wife a tear, and The Trophy Wife is NOT a crier. So this blog is for Tamara. Thank you for my cake, and thank you for your friendship. Nothing could be sweeter.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day 21-27: On The Way To Cougartown

Yesterday I started down the long green mile to being old enough to be a cougar. The Trophy Wife has turned 39. Luckily, this day that serves as an altar to my fading youth is followed by my wedding anniversary. 15 years of wedded bliss. And yes, The Trophy Wife was a child bride. So while The Trophy Wife is becoming aged, she will not join the ranks in cougartown. The Trophy Wife has job security. She has meticulously followed...

The Trophy Wife's Guide To A Successful Marriage:
Make your husband so miserable he wouldn't want anything to do with yet another woman.

I say to Fulghi: "Fulghi, would you ever leave me for another woman?" And Fulghi says: "What would I want with another woman? Don't I have enough trouble as it is?" All these politicians wives should call me. They all need to ask not what they can do for their husbands, but what their husbands can do for them. All in the interest of family values of course... Oh but I kid, I kid! I am the lucky wife of a wonderful husband, and for that I am truly grateful. The longevity of our marriage is due entirely to this man's endless reservoir of patience. Happy 15 Fulghi!

We've had a week of celebrating birthdays and an anniversary. (Tyler's is 5 days before mine) There has been lots of dinners out, and special birthday feasts. And luckily The Trophy Wife has had quite a respite from too much cooking. This was especially true on Tyler's Birthday. I had visions of crafting a beautiful Ariel cake. (She was having a Little Mermaid themed birthday.) Mounds of ocean colored frosting, Ariel swimming across the cake... but it was not to be. My little precious imp uttered the 7 words that would leave me reeling, and questioning the efficacy of my parenting in the past 8 years.

"Mommy, I want a cake from Vons."

What? Who? What? She went on to tell me how creamy and buttery the frosting was, and how this was her only true dream in life, and that if she could only have a cake from Vons like the other kids always have, her life would be complete. Way to put a dagger through my heart Tyler. Your mother stands for all things homemade, has made bread from scratch for the last 9 months, is known for her award-winning cakes. My child prefers a lard-frosted, chemical filled, tastes like cardboard, cake from Vons. I'm beginning to think she must have been switched at birth. Who is this changeling? If she wasn't my doppelganger, I would be demanding a full refund. In cash.

So last week I was at Costco, and fell prey to my hunger pangs. I purchased an entire flat of croissants. Luckily The Barefoot Contessa has a recipe for Croissant Bread Pudding (pg. 192), so I was able to assuage my guilt. This bread pudding was so yummy, and custardy (if that is a word), I just loved it. The Trophy Wife, however would not just eat bread pudding alone. No, The Trophy Wife is all about the sauce.
The perfect compliment to the warm cuddly goodness of bread pudding is...

The Trophy Wife's Caramel Sauce

1 cup water
3 cups sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream.

Combine water and sugar in saucepan, and cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved. Once sugar is dissolved, turn heat to high and let mixture cook until it turns a nice caramel color. Once the mixture is turned to high, you should no longer stir, but should occasionally swirl the pan. Very Important Point: After each stir or swirl, you should brush down the sides of the pan with water and a pastry brush. This will keep the caramel from turning to sugar.

When the sugar mixture has reached desired caramel color, remove from heat and SLOWLY add 2 cups of Heavy Whipping Cream while stirring. Be very careful, because when the cream is added, the sugar will bubble up. So start SLOWLY! And ta-da, there you have it: The Trophy Wife's Caramel Sauce. Good for topping ice cream, rice pudding, bread pudding, or for that matter, eaten straight from the pan. Once it cools, of course.

The Trophy Wife's NEW AND IMPROVED Guide To A Successful Marriage:
Caramel Sauce. Lots of it.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day 15-20: No Rest For The Wicked

For the last week, I have been immersed in the reconstruction efforts after the Curbside Couch Debacle. This included, but is not limited to: making slipcovers for furniture that found new homes, hanging chandeliers (well, that was Fulghi,) installing hooks in the girls room (again Fulghi,) going through closets, and closets, and closets, and general reorganization. In the words of Fulghi: "you've done a number on this house." I told him that with all this "Free-styling" I've saved him over 80K in home addition costs! I was going to eventually make him add on to the house so that we could have a proper dining room. Poof! Now I have made a dining room where there once was none! He should be very grateful...

New Dining Room - Formerly Family Room
The new chandelier is compliments of My Mother and Father.
(Early birthday gift!)


More Slipcovers
My first attempt - please be kind.

New TV Room
Minus old couch.

Re-arranged Living Room
with added "puzzle table."
My theory is, when you live in a 1929 Spanish house, you and the house gotta work together. You have to come to a mutual understanding. You need to let the house know, even though she's a little old, she's still got a lot to give. The times they are a-changin', and sometimes the way we started out in life is not always the way we will end up. So we have re-purposed rooms and thought outside the box. So far we are really enjoying the changes. We have more room for homework and dining, and homework time seems to be more efficient. Next-up is the breakfast-room-into-kitchen transformation, and mud room metamorphosis! There is no rest for the wicked, and well, you all know me...

Now, in case you, gentle reader, have worried that my family has gone hungry this week, fear not. While I have been utilizing left-overs whenever possible, I have ventured on in my quest to dominate the Ina Experiment.

Ideas for leftover chicken and potatoes!
Night One: I sauteed an onion until caramelized, added diced chicken and potatoes, and along with a generous splash of salsa, heated through. Popped into tortillas, they made pretty good burritos.

Night Two: Took another onion and sauteed with some bell peppers, added leftover chicken mixture, placed inside two sides of a melted-cheese-tortilla-sandwich (also known as a quesadilla.) Sour cream, avocado, done.

So now we come to the next recipe in the experiment. Gazpacho! (pg. 79) If you try this, prepare for lots, and lots, and lots of chopping. It makes a bit (that's butt-load for you in the know,) and fyi: wasn't a hit with the kids. It was a hit with me, though. It reminded me of childhood trips to The Good Earth restaurant with my mother. I would always order the gazpacho and the herbal tea, and I always LOVED both. So go figure. My kids love Indian food, but put the kibosh on the gazpacho. Since we are now on night three, yes folks that's count 'em THREE NIGHTS of the gazpacho (with still enough soup leftover to feed a small village,) I'm sure I'm in for a fight...
A butt-load of Gazpacho

More of a hit were the Turkey Tea Sandwiches (pg. 58) that I served along-with. The have a nice sweet/savory vibe with the cinnamon-raisin bread, basil, smoked turkey and spring onion cream cheese. And in the words of my beloved Ina: "a nice depth of flavor." I found them to be the perfect accompaniment to the gazpacho, and two grouchy kids.

Plated and ready to go!