We’re house hunting and I need help.
But first, I’ll tell you about this salad. House lovers, scroll down.
This salad = yumyumyum. I have always loved thinly sliced Brussels sprouts in salads (I slice mine on a mandoline – works like a veggie cutting charm) and I am a sucker for chopped salads with lots of texture, like that Chopped Thai Chicken Salad. We have juicy chicken, toasted walnuts, and shredded Parmesan going on in this bowl with the crunchy greens, plus the most creamy dreamy wonderful dressing ev-er made from fresh orange juice, honey, and sauteed onions. Oy. I superlike it.
Guess what Bjork said when I sent this to work with him? And yes, maybe I do pack his lunches because maybe I have a compulsion to eat every single leftover morsel ever, and he has no idea what’s in the fridge, so what? He said this: THAT SALAD IS REALLY GOOD. And just like that I’m married to a person who likes Brussels sprouts.
Okay, house time. We went into this process thinking that we were looking for an older, charming house in the city that had character AND lots of newer updates, including a large window-y dream kitchen, was close to parks and shops, and was within price range. And then we somehow ended up with these two as our current leads.
House #1: The Easy Happy Home
This little guy is a very practical house very close to where we currently live, featuring a super open floor plan and totally spotless rooms. It’s in a great school district, close to good friends, and within walking distance from a great park. Not makes-my-heart-pound-adorable, not in our dream city neighborhood, but nice, clean, and comfortable. I really feel like we could move into that house tomorrow and we’d be settled in by dinnertime.
Then it would be Christmas morning and I could stand in the kitchen and look over a breakfast buffet type thing into the living room (open floor plan, yeah?!) and gaze upon my husband and my future pug snuggling by the fireplace, and simultaneously flip pancakes onto my future and hypothetical children’s plates as they sit across the way at the dining room table in all their pajama cuteness. I’m not crazy about the exterior of the house and it doesn’t have a huge zing factor, but… do we even need zing? I don’t know. I can easily imagine us being very happy and comfortable there.
PS. Visualization is how I house shop. I think it’s a girl thing.
House #2: The Charming Fixer-Upper Home
As soon as I saw it from the street, I fell in love. Then I saw the inside – the fireplace in the living room, the hardwood floors, the large master bedroom with lots of big windows, and the original 1940’s kitchen wood cabinetry with lots of detail, and fell in love deeper-ly. But guess what? It’s dirty and old and needs major updating. We would be buying the house with the intention of putting some serious money into renovating it with refinished floors, new paint, and a partial kitchen re-do.
But can I just run with this for another minute? It has absolutely undeniable old charm in things like arched door frames, a curlycue banister, a future playroom cedar attic, and a swinging door from the dining room into the kitchen. EEEP! What?! We had said we weren’t going to do a fixer-upper this time around, but we got completely sucked in by the sweet story-like details of this place. I LOVE the potential that I see when I look at this home.
It’s on a golf course, it’s within walking distance to a popular park on a lake, and it’s in a great city neighborhood with lots of other cute old houses on the block. But wait. Golf course? Is that weird? We can’t decide. It’s like literally we can see the golfers teeing off right in the backyard. But then, the view is great, and we sat on the back porch for a while tonight to test it out and we kinda liked just watching people zip around in their golf carts across the open green. It wasn’t too noisy or anything, other than the occasional ping of the golf ball. Then the police came and kicked us out for being creepers and sitting on a porch that we don’t own. Just kidding, but they probably should have.
Will you tell me what you think? We need some help.
Especially if you’ve done the fixer-upper thing and especially if you have anything to say about the golf course. It was actually really helpful to hear from you when I posted that picture of the house with the small kitchen on Facebook way back when – you talked some sense into me, like don’t buy a kitchen that can only fit one person. Good advice. I need some peeps who can help me set my house-buying emotions straight. Yer cool, guys.
- 1 cup cooked chicken, cubed or shredded
- 4 cups sliced Brussels sprouts (for me it was about 20)
- ½ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon butter
- juice of 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Prep the salad: Prepare the chicken. Prepare the Brussels sprouts by very thinly slicing them with a mandoline. In a food processor, pulse the walnuts a few times until chopped. Place in a small skillet over medium high heat with no oil or butter and toast until golden brown, stirring or shaking constantly.
- Make the dressing: In the small skillet, saute the butter and onion over medium high heat until the onions are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the onions to a food processor. Add the orange juice, honey, and olive oil. Puree until smooth and creamy. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Place the Brussels sprouts in the empty sauteed onion pan and place over high heat. Stir for 1-2 minutes until you can smell them and they turn bright green. Remove from heat. In a large bowl, toss the the Brussels sprouts, walnuts, chicken, and Parmesan.
- Toss the dressing and salad together. Serve warm or cold. If you plan to keep leftovers, keep the dressing separate.