Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New Townhouse: preliminary tour

      So the moment we (at least I) have been waiting for; the first tour of our new Townhouse!  

1) Entryway


So this is the view of the backside of the front door, the stairs to the second level are immediately to your left as you walk in. On the right there is a very large coat closet.

2) Dining/Living Room

This is a shot of the dining area looking into the living room (I am standing in the kitchen taking the picture) I like the large dining space and all the windows, I'm definitely going to get some curtains!

Alternate view of the living room from the sitting area. If you look in the previous picture there is a splash of light coming in from the left side. There is a smaller alcove area, large enough to fit about two chairs. I'm thinking about getting some chairs for that area and making a reading or game area there; but more on that later...

3) Kitchen and Laundry Room

The Kitchen, while not the size I would like, is still larger and has more counter space then the one I had in my old apartment, I can't wait to show you what I'm going to do with it once everything is unpacked! The Laundry Room is pretty much empty now, the new LG washer and dryer come Thursday! I'm also planning on installing shelving over the units on the wall.

4) Stairway and Storage Closet #1

Pretty much self explanatory. That storage closet is to your immediate right as you get up the stairs

5) Guest Bath and Storage Closet #2

Another self explanatory one. That storage closet is between bedrooms 2 & 3. I LOVE ALL THIS STORAGE!!!!!!!

6) Guest Bedrooms

Guest Bedrooms 1 & 2 are pretty much identical, with the only difference being that one has a bigger closet. The plan is for one to be Kyle's office and the other to be a guest bedroom/my music & practice space.

7) Master Bedroom and Master Bathroom


The master closet is inside the bathroom which is kinda cool. That means that whoever gets up early can shower, change and get ready without ever going back into the bedroom :-) (good for me when Kyle gets up early)

This is the view from the bedroom window! That there is Monterey Bay! Nice view eh?

So that's the place, the movers come tomorrow with our stuff so look out for some before and after pictures!

Hope you liked our home tour! Be sure to come back and visit soon!

Until Next time ---> I'll be unpacking boxes!

-Little Rhody Girl

Monday, December 10, 2012

Scenes from the Pacific Coast Highway

          Here are some images I collected during our trip up the Pacific Coast Highway between Santa Monica and Monterey Bay. I especially like the three panoramas I got as the sun was setting. I gotta tell ya, that iphone takes a mighty fine picture, mighty fine..


-Little Rhody Girl


Sunday, December 9, 2012

First day in Monterey, or, everything leading up to it

So we made it through the first half of our first PCS! (for those of you non navy folk PCS is military speak for "Permanent Change of Station.") Our packers came first thing Thursday morning and immediately went to work. They were amazing! I have never done a professional move in my life (up until now it's all been u-pack-it-yerself and a u-haul) and I was so impressed with their ability to pack so fast and so efficiently! My friend Alex, who is a vet of a few Navy moves, was gracious enough to come and be with me and do some hand-holding during the morning. Her presence made me feel so much more at ease!

Living Room Friday Morning
Living Room Thursday

 Pretty Freaking efficient huh?

Anyway the packers were pretty much going non stop until late that afternoon and by the time they were done most of my worldly possessions were either labeled, stocked, stacked or otherwise organized and packed. Kyle and I had already made plans to attend his ship's Christmas party that night at the Prado Restaurant in Balboa Park. Kyle actually won a nights stay at a hotel after the party at a really swanky hotel downtown, so the original plan was to check in to the hotel early so I had time to change and shower there before the party. Unfortunately the packing ran late so I wasn't able to get down to the hotel until 10 minutes to 6. (Let me tell you that the cocktail hour for this shin-dig started at 6 yikes!) 

Let me tell you that I got showered, dressed, made up, hair done in 20 min!!!!

We went to the party and had a great time. I actually got to meet and chit chat with another navy couple who are Monterey bound in a few months! It does put the pressure on me to find all the new place essentials (grocery store, good restaurants, decent dive bar, good OB-GYN etc.) but I am glad that I will at least know someone from my previous life in San Diego.

So Friday the movers came and loaded the truck and were pretty much done by noon. That left the remainder of the day to clean the apartment then we were on the road first thing Saturday morning. 10 hours later we were in Monterey Bay, exhausted but happy to be done.

I still can't believe we are really here! Watch for some pics from our trip up the Pacific Coast Highway!

Until next time ---> I'll be in the practice room!

Little Rhody Girl

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Favorite Things 2012

So today I woke up late around 8:15 for my Dentist appointment. Now I should mention that if my college age or even my early 20s self was reading this she would snark at my old maid comment of "8:15" being late but anyway. I walked down to my car and turned it on, at least I would have turned it on if I could have. Turns out the battery was dead, and by dead I mean that when the AAA guy hooked up his computer thingy to the battery the charge barely registered. Ugh....

Here's the evidence

Well $90 later I have a new batter and I'm really no worse for wear (the dentist had a nice chuckle at my expense too which was very entertaining.)

So I came home and began to sort through all the plants on my patio that I'm giving to my friend Yvonne, who graciously agreed to be step mama to the plants that I can't take with me up north. After that I started thinking about Christmas a little bit. With the move coming up and all the stress of packing up my life I haven't been in the Christmas mood just yet, which is a shame because Christmas is my favorite time of year. I have been very unhelpful with the "so what do you want for Christmas?" question so after I compiled a list for gifts for friends/family I thought a little about myself and what I would like. Surprisingly the list came pretty easily:

1) j. crew gift card: I need to start beefing up my wardrobe a bit, so things like gift cards to clothing stores (Banana Republic, GAP, Nordstrom, J.Crew etc are always well received!

2) All-Clad Copper Core Skillet: I currently have a 10 piece set of Emeril all-clad anodized non-stick pots & pans. They have held up well the last 5 years but certain parts of the non stick coating is starting to come loose. Also it's pretty much impossible to sear anything in a non stick pan. Now that I have started to cook a little more seriously I want to graduate to the big girl cook-ware. This is the Cadillac of cookware and I think the best way to start my kitchen set update is with a nice french skillet *drool*

3) FORLIFE Curve 45-Ounce Teapot with Infuser: I told Kyle that I wanted a teapot for loose leaf tea because currently I have no way to brew loose leaf tea. This pot looks well made and comes with a stainless steal infuser, plus it's cute!

4) Eat Sleep Clarinet T-Shirt: Something to wear while practicing! (Which I should probably be doing right now....)

5) Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking: Saw really good reviews for this book on amazon. Apparently this book unlocks the "ratios" of basic recipes and allows you to have a lot more freedom with experimentation allows a safe way to be more creative. Very appealing to me who considers any cooking without a recipe well outside my zone of comfort. 

6) Ruhlman's Twenty: 20 Techniques 100 Recipes A Cook's Manifesto: Another cookbook on my wishlist. It was one of the International Association of Culinary Professionals' 2012 Cookbook Award winner. Need I say more?

Hopefully one (or more of these) will end up under my tree this year. What's on you list for Santa this year?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

You know you're moving when....

All of your pictures are stacked on the floor as opposed to um I don't know, up on the wall!!
(Hi Zachary!!!)

Your husband likes to balance precariously on computer desks to spackle holes in the wall.

Friday, November 30, 2012


So I am a used-to-be blogger. I don't know if there is anyone out there in cyberspace that is still listening because I stopped blogging about two years ago (sorry ladies!). Now that my next Navy PCS move is upon me I am feeling reminiscent of my blogging days, hence I am here again at my computer. It's been so long that when I was blogging regularly the blogger template and interface looked completely different. I had a temporary flash in my head that I can only assume elderly people get when confronted with unfamiliar technology. "What the heck is going on here?" "When I was a lad blogger's interface with dark blue and was A LOT more complicated!!" Anyway I digress.

I have been up to quite a bit since I was last here. The most important thing on the horizon is our impending move. By impending I mean the movers show up next week. Prayers are appreciated! I'll be keeping you guys posted!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Rouxbe Recipe: Basic Tomato Sauce

My first recipe that I created using Rouxbe was basic tomato sauce. I am kinda familiar with the 5 mother sauces of classic cooking but I have only every made a very basic Bechamel while making Mac & Cheese. The 5 classic mother sauces are traditionally the building blocks of which all other sauces can be made.

They are:
  • Bechamel 
  • Veloute
  •  Espagnole
  • Hollandaise
And...... Tomato Sauce! 

Tomato sauce is actually quite simple to make. It contains only a few simple ingredients, the secret is cooking it low and slow to give it time for the flavors to meld. The end product is something that is so far beyond jarred grocery tomato sauce that I don't even know if they should be considered the same thing. This sauce actually tastes like fresh tomatoes, I know crazy right!?

The secret of this sauce is the kind of tomatoes you use. Now I never really knew anything about the differences between canned tomatoes but apparently there are many!!! This recipe calls for 4 cans of whole San Marzeno tomatoes. These lil beauties are grown only in a remote area of Italy which turn out these special variety of tomatoes because of the "volcanic" quality of the soil (the Valle del Sarno is right near Mount Vesuvius). They are especially canned with a DOP label on the can which denotes that they are authentic San Marzeno tomatoes. Apparently in 2010 the Italian government confiscated about 1,400 TONS of "counterfeit" tomatoes (are you serious?) 

Now I know what you're thinking, "do you really expect me to drive hours out of my way to a teeny tiny little Italian gorcery store which is probably run by the mafia to spend probably crazy amounts of money on canned tomatoes?" Yes the tomatoes are a little steeply priced (I paid about $3.50 for a 28oz can) but I found them easily at the Supermarket down the street from my apartment. 

Now if you even THINK about using cheap-o whole tomatoes you just stop right there missy! Ok I'm just kidding, really any brand of whole tomatoes will turn out a great sauce, but the use of San Marzanos  will turn the sauce into something really spectacular! 

This recipe actually makes enough to feed my little family of 2 for several pasta nights and I can still save some for pizza, chicken parm, to dip mozzarella sticks, whatever! 

classic Rouxbe Recipes

  1. 4 28 oz cans San Marzano tomatoes
  2. 1/2 medium Onion
  3. 4 large cloves of Garlic
  4. 1 5.5oz can tomato paste
  5. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  6. Pinch of sea salt and black pepper
  7. 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  8. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 

Finely mince the onion and thinly slice the garlic. De-seed the tomatoes by hand using a mesh strainer or a food mill, reserving the liquid.

To start, heat a heavy bottomed pan over medium heat


 Heat Olive oil and add the onions, cooking for a few minutes until the onions become softened and turn a light golden color, next add the garlic and cook until they are fragrant about 1 minute. Next add the tomato paste and cook until the tomato paste darkens, stirring frequently

Add the tomatoes

Add a good pinch of salt and bring to simmer 
(simmer means you should see it bubble about once every 2-3 seconds)

Cook, uncovered for about 45 minutes

Then it should look like this...

Add the basil (you can chop with a knife or rip it by hand for a more rustic feel) and salt and pepper to taste. You can add an additional splash of olive oil too if desired.

I have used this to make chicken Parm and served it over fresh pasta. Next week I'm going to try and doctor the base sauce with sausage and peppers to serve with pasta. The rest I froze in Ziplock bags

My First Success!!!

See you in the Kitchen,

Little Rhody Girl

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Introduction to Rouxbe

Hey all!

Some of you may remember me from my previous blog (of the same name) that I kept pretty well up until last year. Over the last 8-9 months I have done some real soul searching and after thinking of different layouts, designs and themes I settled on providing some more focus on the blog subject matter. I have realized over the last few years that I respond well to schedules and lists. So I have decided ::bum bum bum!:: to start up again. 

I have decided to use this site to chronicle my experiences through the Rouxbe cooking school, which I joined last month. 

 I have become quite savvy in the kitchen since I got married and sometime last fall I finally figured out that I had kind of hit a plateau; there was nothing that really sparked my creativity anymore. I reached the place where most recipes I could master without really challenging myself, I can follow directions as well as the next gal after all. I wanted to learn to cook without using a recipe. So when, throughout my online travels, I discovered the Rouxbe online cooking school and I was immediately drawn in. I saved up my pennies for a few months and finally had enough for the year long membership a few weeks ago.

Check out their intro video

So I am going to try and post at least once a week to update you on the progress of my journey through cooking school and **eventually** ::fingers crossed:: graduating from recipes and unleashing true magic in the kitchen

See you in the Kitchen,

Little Rhody Girl