Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Manning's First Kill

As I sit typing a frivolous email, I hear Manning running at a fast speed through our house. I think "That's pretty fast," but all thoughts go the wayside when I see there's something in his mouth. My fears immediately go "Is it a dead bird? Oh I really hope it's just a large piece of mulch." As soon as he placed it at my feet, the horror flick inducing screams begin! My little puppy has brought me a present...a dead chipmunk. Not sure what I would've done if it scurried around our house! One quick call to Mr. Diva and 10 minutes later, Manning's first kill was cleared. Dead rodents are not in my job description!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer DVR-ing

My DVR might not be working as hard as it would be during the regular season, but it's still jamming out on a few seasons. While I'm waiting on the experts to help me with my tile project, I thought now would be a great time to put a plug in for some of my summer favorites.

1. The Closer: I love Kyra Sedgwick in this role. As Mr. Diva loves to point, I have a bit of a problem when it comes to criminal-type dramas. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a good whodunit!

2. Leverage: Action, double crosses and spy-like technology...what's not to like!

3. White Collar: I heart a Tiffani Amber Thiessen sighting!

4. Psych: This show's obsession with all things 80's makes for some fun cameos.

5. Top Chef: My reality pick for the summer because I love me some Tommy C and of course DC!

Make or Break
1. Burn Notice: I like this cast, but I'm getting tired of the formula. I'm hoping we spend more time on Micheal's past than helping out all the clients; otherwise, this show's getting a burn notice from me.

2. Entourage: As long as we have lots of Ari and Drama, this season should stay on the DVR. Anything else might have this series on the chopping block!

Already Dead
1. Hot in Cleveland: White hot Betty is a cast member, so I gave it a try; however, the jokes and the rest of the cast just make you wish you were really watching the Golden Girls.

Best to Watch Live:
And for the next week, I'll be one of the few people not watching the World Cup. I'll be on the the Duece or the U watching my favorite tournament of the year, Wimbledon!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Demolition Diva Part 2

This installment of Non-Stop Diva is picture free as some of the images were just to scary to share.

As I mentioned earlier, I took a tile class at Home Depot a few months ago. I went in thinking I can handle tile, but I left scared enough to just hire a professional. Oh how time plays tricks with the mind! I was most uncertain about installing a sub-floor. Before the class, silly me thought I could just rip up some carpet and throw some tile down. Oh how I wish that were true!

Well as you saw, the carpet is up and I have no choice but to move on. Last night, I laid out the backer board and cut the outer pieces to size. It was a pain in the ass, but nothing compared to what lay ahead for me today...duh duh dummmmm...mortar, nails and concrete. As the mortar first went down, I really started to hate this project. I was seriously on the verge of calling in re-enforcements, but I pushed on. The boards are down and seaming tape in place; however, I still need to secure the boards to the concrete below with screws or nails. Neither of which wants to go down without a big fight. Since it seems like a power nailer or hammer is a necessity, I've thrown in the tile on Tiling Stage 2 and called in the professionals. They're coming in Tuesday to secure the boards and lay the tile (hey if they're coming all this way...why not!) Then, I'll swoop in for grout and sealing. The clean freak in me is SO ready for this project to be done.

Blueberries for Diva

I grew up on loving the Robert McCloskey novels Make Way for Duckling and Blueberries for Sal. Make way for Ducklings made my first trip to Boston Public Garden ever so magical. Blueberries for Sal just makes me want to go out in the field and pick some delicious berries. Since early summer is full of delicious berries, I thought it only fitting to try out a recipe for Overnight Blueberry French Toast from The Best Casserole Cookbook Ever (a fabulous early bday gift).

Blueberry Maple French Toast with Blueberry Sauce
For French Toast:
1 large loaf French bread, crust removed
1 package 8-oz cream cheese
1 c fresh blueberries
10 large eggs, beaten
2 c milk
½ c maple syrup

For Blueberry Sauce:
1 c sugar
1 c water
1 1/2 T cornstarch
1 T butter
1 c blueberries
Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes and spread ½ in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Cut the cream cheese into cubes and scatter over the bread. Scatter the blueberries evenly on the top and cover with remaining bread cubes.
Mix the eggs, milk and maple syrup in a large bowl. Pour over bread mixture. Press bread to ensure that it is all covered by egg mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Remove casserole from fridge 30 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350. Bake the dish covered for 30 minutes and uncovered 30 minutes longer.
While the French toast bakes, make the blueberry sauce. Combine the sugar, water, cornstarch and butter in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and boil for 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in the blueberries and reduce heat to a simmer for 8-10 minutes until blueberries burst. Slice the French toast and serve warm with the sauce.

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have a fellow foodie visiting from DC to help taste test this recipe. I love these make ahead breakfast dishes, especially when you have visitors in town. You do most of the work on Friday and then wake up Saturday with an almost ready delicious treat. This recipe did not disappoint. It's fully of delicious blueberry goodness! We loved it so much that we ate it again on Sunday. For the final version above, I've cut the cornstarch as the original amount didn't fully dissolve in the sauce AND the egg amount because Mr. Diva found it a little soggy. I'm thinking this dish could and should be tried with other berries, perhaps a strawberry version is in the Diva's future. Mmm nothing like Berries and Cream!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Demolition Diva

It's already one crazy week at Casa Diva, so why not add a big renovation project to the mix! I've been wanting to get pull up the nasty cream carpet in our sunroom from the moment we set foot in this house. Well now that Manning has his little dog door with full on dirty doggie paws that project is a must.

Long before the dog was on the scene, I hit up a tile class at Home Depot. It's a freebie and SO informative. I spent 2 hours learning from one of the best instructors out there. If you're in Nashville, be on the look out for Paul at the Thompson Lane store.

I'm hoping that if I take it a little bit day by day, my latest endeavor won't be that bad. So today was D-Day. I pulled up the carpet, padding and nasty tack strip. All in all, it was probably an hour of not too bad work with the tack strip being the worst of it all.

So for now, we're left with an empty floor ready for some self leveling mortar and Hardie backer board. Ohhh so glam! I promise some great before and after shots next week. Remember this room use to be a nasty lime green!

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