BIG news,  domesticity,  Family Matters,  house stuff!,  Lemon Week,  the sticks


just a little excited

Houston (and everywhere else too), I have an oven!!!!

It is so great. It is the best thing EVER.

You know the best way to make someone bake tasty treats? Take their oven away for half a year. It worked like a charm on me. I never knew I used an oven so much until I didn’t have one.

It was so exciting to have one again that I was baking in that thing less than three hours after it was installed. I’d probably have baked sooner but I wasn’t in town yet. I was still out at the beach for our weekly visit with Toby. But you can bet I hightailed it out of Orange County as fast as I could so I could get home and put this hunk of 1970’s junk to work. I was soooo very happy.

My Dad is here this weekend and in less than two days he has installed my oven, painted my bathroom floor mint green (that actually clashes terribly with the avocado green tub but is a zillion times better than the water-damaged press-board that used to be there), fixed the one spot in my yard that Holly was escaping from AND taken the cover off my swamp cooler so I can be cool as a cucumber once summer gets here.

Tomorrow if he has time after jury duty (he’s a busy guy) he might even install a motion sensor light in my backyard so I can do laundry in the dark without having to plug an extension cord in. Is my Dad awesome or what? He blows me away with his selflessness and this is just how he is. He’s always like that. He’ll give you the shirt off his back and then ask if you’d like his shoes too.

sparkling it up

Anyway, back to my best-thing-ever oven. I do not care one bit that it’s an old hand-me-down from my mom’s trailer on the other side of town. It is a thing of beauty in my eyes. And it works!!! That’s all I care about! So I shined it up…

NEW working oven!

(I’m just a wee bit excited with the Fonzie thumbs.)

lemon bars!

…and put it to use making lemon bars of course! (I seem to have forgotten the “s” in my recipe. Oh well.)

The cherry on top of this whole first-day-of-baking after not being able to bake for five months was that I finally got to use the hand-me-down Kitchen Aid that Bethany gave me back around New Years. I know! Do I score when it comes to hand-me-downs or what?!! It even came with stickers! Bethany got a new one for Christmas and mailed me her old one. You know that postage was a whopper.

Sadly, when I got it I had to leave it in the box and hide it in the back corner of Bug’s room. It didn’t fit on my counter and I knew that I couldn’t really use it for anything until I got the oven fixed, which seemed it like wouldn’t happen until the tenth of Never the way we were going around and around trying to find a thermal couple that didn’t exist.

Well the tenth of never did come! And baking with a Kitchen Aid is about a thousand times better than I even expected. The ease! No wonder all you crazy foodie people love baking so much! It’s easy when you have a handy dandy mixer machine that does all the hard work for you. I had no idea!


So I mixed and I whirred and twirled that Kitchen Aid like I was a musician and it was my guitar. And then I texted Bethany excitedly, of course, and took about a thousand pictures. If you ever want to know why there is flour in the buttons on my camera, now you’ll know why. But don’t worry, I blew a bunch of compressed air on it afterwards and I think it’s still as good as new—I hope. What can I say? I use my equipment.

pop it in the oven

Then I popped those lemon bars in the oven and went outside to enjoy the sunset with the neighborhood kids.

twilight clouds

There were these really cool lenticular clouds out that looked amazing at twilight. I tried to capture it on the camera but unfortunately, it’s pretty hard to take a photo of them without all the distracting houses and trees in the way. Distracting cat-fairies riding by on tricycles are great though.

drive-by fairy

all done

And then the lemon bars were done! They were so tasty. Except I got a little over-zealous with my backyard lemons and added an extra tablespoon of zest that wasn’t in the recipe. Ooops. All the kids in the neighborhood have been reporting with puckered lips that the lemon bars are way way way too sour, which leaves way too many lemon bars for all the adults who are so annoyingly watching their calorie intake. Watching calories can be so tiresome. Thankfully, I have had company over in the last few days and I’m happy to report that I only have about four lemon bars left in my fridge taunting me. Tomorrow I’ll have to take a glamour shot of one so I can share the taunting with you. It’s only fair.

towel racks!

I’m happy to report that I have baked lemon bars, roasted cauliflower and cooked a Sunday roast (actually my mom cooked it but I still got to take credit for it). And! As if that wasn’t enough good news I now have towel bars, something my kitchen was sorely lacking.

Life is good. It’s oventabulous.


  • Madge

    Yay!! An oven!!! I’m so happy you finally have a working oven. I never realized how much I use mine until we were talking about how you didn’t have one. Niiice, a Kitchen Aide mixer. One of these days I’ll get one of those. Right now I get a work out with hand mixing.

    I’ll trade you lemon bars for dinner rolls on Friday if you’re game. :P

    Also, your dad is the best. What a great guy.

  • Doreen

    Oh wow! Was so glad to hear (from your uncle Tim) that you finally had an oven installed! Don’t know what I’d do without mine! Anyway, enjoy baking, Brenda. This is one thing I love to do too….bake cookies, cakes, etc. :) At Christmas time it’s my customary thing to bake cookies and a ginger-bread house! What fun!
    Take care.
    Love, Aunt Doreen :)

  • Katie

    yeay for ovens!! and lemon bars! :) I’m glad you have a dad that takes care of you so well. :) You deserve it! :)

    Also.. I wouldn’t say no if you decided to share the lemon bar recipe.. just sayin.. :D

  • Deidre

    Ah, i remember not having an oven and then getting an oven! Bliss.

    Also I am so jealous of your hand me down kitchen aid. I dream of kitchen aids…and food processors and sharp knives (solely in non-stabbing people kind of way! promise!)

  • a chris

    Wow. I know it’s vintage, but is that oven ever shiny! And I know it’s got to be because it’s a standard-size, but it fits so perfectly into the oven space. That can’t be a complete given, because not all ovens have that second (keep-warm?) compartment. Glad your Mom didn’t get rid of it.

    There really is something joyful about how shiny you got that oven. Your Mom must have taken good care of it too. Happy baking!

    Aside from the obvious counter-space issue, one big thing keeps me from wishing for a Kitchen-Aid mixer (let’s face it, it’s a machine and it’s a shiny brand — so I want one, even if I don’t cook enough to warrant it): if I bought one here (for a zillion pounds) and we moved to North America, it would have the wrong plug and voltage specification.

  • pinky

    Ahhhh – that is so, nice – you have an oven! And you are right, you never realize how much you actually use an oven until you don’t have one anymore. I lived in a tiny apartment for years that had no oven at all, no place to even put one, and believe me, I wanted an oven SO MUCH. Baking cookies in a toaster oven just wasn’t the same :-)

    (and yes, the Kitchenaid is a thing of wonder. I don’t bake a lot, but when I do, I haul that thing out. I’ve had it for a decade and it is still going strong. Have you ever watched Good Eats? I love how Alton Brown has flames painted on his steel gray Kitchenaid.)

  • kj

    Yeah for “Super Dad”! What a wonderful man he sounds like! But, what? No pictures of him?!? :)

  • Melissa K. in Nebraska

    I love that you stood on a chair or stepstool or something to get the whole kitchen/ingredients/preparation shot for us.

    Cat-fairies… ;-)

  • Mrs. Wilson

    mmmmmm lemon bars are SO GOOD. I can only imagine what baking with a mixer must be like, because I do it all by hand and that’s why I don’t bake very often. I need a mixer!

    I’m so glad you have an oven now! That’s so AWESOME!!!!!

  • Katie

    Haha, love the Fonzie picture! Yay for ovens! My mom’s oven has been broken for over a year but now she’s so used to putting dinner in the crockpot she hasn’t thought of buying an oven in a while. I personally can’t think of that many crockpot meals that sound good, so I’d probably be eating pizza for a while haha.

  • gingermog

    Hello, I’ve just been listening to documentary on American history on BBC radio 4, mighty interesting too as most of what I know about the American Civil War, apart from the basics has been gleaned from Louisa M Allcott novels and Gone With The Wind.

    I love your new oven, it looks new and shiny to me and fabulously retro. I remember my mother having a similar looking oven in the late 70′- 80’s it worked a treat for 20 odd years then something bust, which couldn’t be replaced as it was considered old sigh. Some modern ovens can have too many complicated knobs on, give me a simple one any day , we are secretly a bit scared of the we have, left behind by the previous owner, we know we can program it to do fancy things but we’re scared it will set the house on fire ( silly ) .

    Bethany is a great friend giving you her old Kitchen Aid, I secretly hanker over one I have a galley kitchen ( skinny like in a boat) and very little counter or storage space so I will have to moon lovingly over photos of yours. I think I recognize one of those tea towels in the last photo… time for me to head back to that shop I think and send you some more. Also shout out ( congratulations) for father for being so handy around the house, family is wonderful. xxx

  • gingermog

    Gone with the Wind the novel – not the film. Although my father remembered as a boy seeing the film for the first time when it opened 1n 1939 ( a film in colour!).

  • Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food

    They don’t make ’em like they used to… I’m cooking on an old electric Jenn-Air that refuses to die. I’d much rather have gas, but I can’t see getting rid of this perfectly good range.

    By the way? That recipe card box? My mom has the EXACT same one. What are the odds??

  • bethany

    Love it, and yay for lemon bars! I have to check that recipe out, my mom makes to-die-for lemon bars, but there’s always room for improvement. Nothing like taking something away for awhile to make it more desirable :). What a happy post … happy baking back to you and thanks for sharing the story.

  • gingermog

    P.s (Can you tellI’m in a chatty mood today) thank you teaching me a new word “lenticular”. I’ve never heard such clouds existed before, I’ve seen a catc fairies before ether, but now I come to think of it, they make purr-fect sense.

  • TexasLea

    Wow, an oven and a kitchenaid all in one day! Girl, go buy a lotto ticket, you’re on a winners streak! It is so great to hear so much happiness in your post. Enjoy the oven, the mixer, the sunsets and the cat fairy all you can. Oh, and tell your Dad folks in Texas thinks he ROCKS!

    Hey Bethany, I think I would tell Brenda that since you sent her the mixer she should send you a sample of her baking creations. ;)

  • BeachMama

    Dad’s are the best :) I think your Dad and my Dad would get along fabulously. It sounds like they are cut from the same cloth. I love that no matter how old I am if I call Dad he comes to the rescue.

  • norm

    Yay! Lemon bars! And, um, I hate to be *that guy* but you know it’s “thermocouple” not “thermal couple,” right? Hope that typo-ish didn’t make your wait longer than it had to be.

    SAJ says: Ha ha! You can be “that guy” all you want. I’m just tickled that guys even read my blog! Of course I had no idea it was spelled differently but it totally figures. I don’t think that is what stopped us though because I never wrote it down for anybody and my dad went with me to most of the hardware stores we searched.

  • Mallory Sinclair

    That oven is AWESOME! And considering it’s been around since the 1970s, it looks incredibly brand new!

    I have the exact same Kitchen Aid (minus the sticker) and IT IS FANTASTIC. Just wait until you decide to whip up pasta or bread dough and let it do the kneading for you. I use mine constantly. Yay for you!

  • Amy

    You so rock and bring a smile to my face with every post :) Your Dad sounds pretty wonderful too.

    Lemon bars, must try although in my parts lemons rather an imported delicacy!

  • DeeJay

    “I’d probably have baked sooner but I wasn’t in town yet. ”

    I literally coffee-mouth giggled at that line.

    Am so happy for you and your oven. You two make beautiful food together. I have a kitchenaid also. One Christmas the man gave me my desired Martha Stewart Baking cookbook. For the next year I’d wander to wherever he was playing, book in hand, and start reading from it to him. The common denominator for each read? Place ingredients in kitchenaid mixer and set on low speed for 2 minutes.” (or something similar to that).

    SOMEHOW he took the hint and the next Christmas I received Martha in the mail. Yes, I named my Kitchenaid Martha because she was the reason I was able to score her. heh.

    So happy for you!