Chronicles of Grilling: Part I – The GRILL

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Okay. I am finally in the mood to start the tale of our new grill. I don’t know what the hold up has been… we have enjoyed our new cooking tool about 15-20 times since we purchased it earlier this month. We love it! We really do… Maybe I’ve just been selfish — maybe I haven’t wanted to share such a special part of our lives.

We write a lot about our kitchen adventures. Ever since we began dating, cooking together and enjoying meals together has been a very important and intimate part of our relationship. I am not ashamed to admit most of our arguments start in the kitchen. Sometimes we get so stubborn that our cooking technique or recipe variation is the only way something should be done, and then we start fighting about it. But we also solve problems in the kitchen. There’s not a lot that can’t be solved with a yummy dinner or luscious dessert.

But let me tell you something, since we got our grill, we’ve seen eye to eye on all things grill related. We don’t have a lot of grilling experience between the two of us — Brian grew up on charcoal grills, and I never grilled much because I DETEST touching raw meat, so that was left to the parents. So grilling has been a grand adventure so far. And because of that, I think I want to protect this part of our lives from becoming tainted by the opinions of others. I’m being honest here — our grill is awesome and you have no idea how much we love it! There are some days that we use it more than once!

As I sit here on our fenced in little back porch area — only big enough for our two chaise loungers (from Cabela’s!) and our grill — I just NEED to finally get my thoughts and feelings, recipes and pictures out there for the world to see… even if the world of my blog readers is only a handful of close family and friends. 🙂

So without further ado, here is our new grill: Charbroil – 4 burner + side burner.

Isn’t it gorgeous??? I mean, manly and awesome?

Close up of the burners… Brian takes such good care of them and keeps them cleaned off so that they will last a long time!

Here’s a close up of the side-burner connection handiwork that we successfully assembled without arguing! We did have to step away from it the night we started putting this bad boy together. The directions were in the wrong order and things were not fitting right and attitudes were starting to get the best of us. But the next morning, things went more smoothly when we did the steps in a more logical order. 🙂 Sometimes guys are right and don’t need directions.

So, there you have it. Our grill… I’m going to write part II right now and it’ll be posted later this week. Enjoy!!!

Chirp, Chirp, Chirp

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Let me preface this lovely little story by sharing a little secret with you… I am NOT a morning person. I need to be awake for at least an hour before I am ready to even think about the day being a good one. Since Brian and I have been married, he’s noticed that he gets one of two different Jeralynn’s in the morning. Some mornings I am a ball of fire — energetic, silly, appearing to be happy with the world. Other mornings, he knows to keep his distance. Mornings where I can wake up without the assistance of an alarm are by far the best mornings! I’d much rather follow my internal clock than the horrible sounds of any alarm.

Brian, on the other hand, is a morning person. He’d much rather be up before the sun comes up, drinking coffee and reading the news, than sleeping the morning away. He’s pretty mellow in the morning and does what he needs to do to get ready without complaining.

Waking up together has definitely been one of the biggest adventures of our married life thus far because we wake up so differently.

Now that I’ve given you the background information that you’ll need in order to truly appreciate this special moment, let me take you back to 4:40 AM Wednesday, March 28, 2012…

I woke up because I thought I just needed to use the ladies room. But then something just felt off, so I walked through the apartment making sure everything was in its place. It was while I was in the computer room that I heard this chirping sound. It was very intermittent and I couldn’t exactly tell where it was coming from. I decided it wasn’t worth looking into and just went back to bed.

I laid back down and heard the chirping again. By this point, I was pretty much awake and not too happy about it. But I didn’t want to wake Brian up, so I just grabbed my phone and read some emails. The chirping was coming about every 30 seconds at this point… and my annoyance with it was rising steadily. I realized that the chirping was coming from OUR ROOM! The only thing that could be making that horrid sound was the smoke detector.

About then, Brian stirred a little, checked the time, rolled over to me and asked if he was just imagining the sound. I said no and suggested that we get up and take the battery out. Maybe that would stop the god-awful chirping. So, we got out of bed, turned on the lights, and Brian climbed up to check things out. This darn smoke detector was a pain in the rear to even figure out how to get to the battery compartment. By the time we (and by we, I really mean just Brian) got the battery out, it was STILL CHIRPING!!!

Sure, go ahead, laugh at us… of course we are probably the last people on earth who didn’t know that smoke detectors chirp because the battery is low OR missing. We shouldn’t have even wasted our time unless we were prepared to put in a new battery. Also, in our middle of the night haze, we couldn’t figure out how to disconnect the AC adapter plug that’s also plugged into it.

So, back to bed we went — after taping cotton balls onto the speaker thing on the smoke detector. Yeah, it looked silly… no, it didn’t really help. I was FUMING at this point… stomping  twirling around the house, cursing singing the praises of the wonder of smoke detectors.

I put a blanket over my head to try to keep the sound out — and Brian and I did not speak even a mumble to each other. We were both livid and if we would have tried to talk this out, there would have been blaming and yelling and screaming and one heck of a fight. I’m pretty proud that we handled it like awake, mature adults. I WAS mad — but not at Brian, but there was nothing to take the anger out on since I couldn’t even reach the dang smoke detector. And it’s lucky I couldn’t… I would have beat it with a baseball bat and then stabbed it to death!

So when the horrid alarm went off less than an hour later, I was less than thrilled. We laid in bed discussing whether or not to get out of bed when Brian got a call to sub. So while he was getting ready, I drove to Walgreen’s to get a stupid 9 volt battery. When I got back, we figured out how to disconnect the smoke detector and put in the new battery.

Well, it was still chirping… so now, the battery is out, the smoke detector is on the unmade bed, and I can’t even look at it without getting angry. When Brian gets home, we’ll look at the owner’s manual together and put it back together. And while we’re at it, we might as well change the battery in the other detector because the next time I wake up to the sound of chirping, it better be from blue birds outside my window.

The First Weekend Update of SPRING

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Spring is in the air, dear readers! And the Mosers are enjoying every minute of it! I mentioned in my last weekend update that this week is my favorite week of the entire year — and it did not disappoint! Let’s recap the highlights:

Monday and Tuesday, Brian and I went to Central Catholic for some pretty intense last minute coaching sessions of the year. It was great that Brian came because he offered a fresh point of view that helped us find some little fine-tuning changes that could be made.

Wednesday, we were able to go to the 1st annual Night-Before-State-Speech-Picnic! It was a great bonding experience for the team. We did a couple really awesome activities, ate some delicious food (So glad I help with a team where parents are ALWAYS willing to help! We definitely have some angel moms and dads on the team!), and ended the night with a big group hug!

Thursday, we headed off to Kearney at 5:50 AM. That is NOT my shining time of the day, but I was pumped and ready to go. I didn’t sleep much the night before — I was filled with such nervous excitement, my brain just couldn’t manage to slow down. I finally fell asleep by going through the lines to three of the events that I helped on a weekly basis. I figured if I know them that well, it was a sign that they were well polished and ready for state!

Overall, it was an outstanding day! We qualified 6 events to finals and ended up 4th overall. I was disappointed that we didn’t get more events to finals, but I told all the kiddos that they were #1 in my heart. And it’s TRUE! I adore each and every one of them. While we are losing 5 exemplary seniors, we have underclassmen who are ready to rise to the top next year. AND I CAN’T WAIT!!!

Friday, I made Brian go with my sister and me to see the high school production of The Sound of Music. It was a great performance! Granted, I was a little judgmental of some of the little details… like sound, lights, and scene changes… but that’s only because I ran those machines — I know the glorious things they can do. But the acting was extraordinary! The singing was beautiful! When it was over, I just wanted them to start again (except for the fact that it was WAY past our bedtimes)!

Saturday, Brian and I enjoyed what started out as a do-nothing day. We woke up without the friendly services of our LOVELY alarm clock. We drank coffee/tea at our own pace. We caught up on news/facebook/blogs. We did some laundry… and that’s where our do-nothing day turned into a “CRAP! How many towels do we have to clean up the standing water in the laundry room because the drain hose was wiggled out of its hole and now the water from the large load of bedding is all over the floor!” kind of day. I’m happy to report that we do have enough towels to clean up that size of a mess. Brian is also a pro at putting the dryer hose back on the dryer after we pull it out to dry the water. The best news is that the washer is NOT broken! PRAISE THE LORD! I don’t know what happened, but the other night when we did a quick load of laundry to get us through the rest of the week, it was abnormally loud and we didn’t think anything of it. It appears that all the extra jostling pulled the drain hose out and when that happens, the water still has to go somewhere… and in this case, that somewhere was the floor. Everything is fixed. And all of our towels (whether they needed it or not) are now clean. 🙂

We did a lot of grilling this week, too. And a bit of subbing, and a bit of working at Cabela’s. But that’s the boring part.

Now that speech is done, we’re going to have ample time to finally sit down and share our grilling adventures. I think I’m going to also have time to start crafting again (so if you have ideas, give ’em to me!). We’re also getting ready to decide what we want to garden on our tiny back porch and what we want to garden at my parent’s house. They have a HUGE garden area and said that if we helped, we could reap the goods… so we will!

Oh… P.S. Hunger Games came out on Friday. Brian and I read the trilogy and loved it. My goal is to go to the movie sometime this week — we’ll see if it happens!

A Day Off

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It feels like I’ve been go go go lately. I’ve really enjoyed subbing so much and helping the team. But MAN it was so nice today to just be home. I submitted one application and have three more that just need to be printed out and mailed.

That being said, here are the things I didn’t get done:
-blogs to post later this week.
-special treats for State Speech.

Okay, I take that last one back. It’s 9:00 and I have a load of towels in the laundry and plan to get another load done before bed.

Maybe Brian will write up a post tomorrow… I did organize the pictures, but then instead of writing about them, I just salivated over the juicy steak, the tasty egg rolls, and the scrumptious salmon.

So yeah, it sounds like I had a completely useless day — but I finished a lot of application stuff that I had been stuck on for a week.

And hey, every once in awhile, you deserve a day where you just step back and enjoy the sound of rain coming through your open windows.

Wild and Windy Weekend Update

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Whoa! This week has just FLOWN by! Poor Brian got the nasty end of the cold that I had — his came complete with fever and all. Poor guy was miserable the first part of the week. 😦 But I’m happy to report that as of right now, we’re all fairly healthy. These wild Nebraska winds are kicking up something in the air that’s giving us some early allergy symptoms, but I think we’ll survive!

I honestly don’t know how many days we subbed this week… maybe a total of 5 between the two of us? Yeah, that sounds right. I got to sub for a very good friend of mine. I felt some pressure knowing that I KNEW the person I was subbing for — but it sort of worked to my advantage. I was able to text her some of my questions and threaten to call her if the students were being naughty. It was quite the experience, and while I enjoy subbing for middle school every now and again, I could not do it full time. All of my middle school teacher friends are SAINTS! God must have given them a special kind of patience that he forgot to give me, that’s for sure!

The most exciting part of our week was speech related. On Tuesday, (man that feels like FOREVER ago) I went with the Speech Team to Districts. They took 18 events — the most a team can take. All 18 events made it to finals — and of those 18, we are taking SEVENTEEN to State Speech this coming Thursday. I am so unbelievably proud of this team. As an alum, a coach, and a lover of forensics, my heart just bursts at the seams when I think about the talent that these students have. It’s ridiculous. (Now let’s just hope all of them take advantage of the coaching opportunities they have this week so that State can be as momentous as Districts!)

But even cooler than taking 17 events to state was getting Brian to come and watch me coach. I wish he would have started coming with me earlier in the season because he has a knack for coaching! He gave some great critiques in our sessions. He’s even decided that if he doesn’t sub at all on Thursday, he’ll accompany the team to Kearney for State to help get kids around to various places on campus — since we’re so familiar with it!

So yeah, basically, we’ve been living and breathing speech. And will for the next four days. BUT, as of right now, I don’t sub tomorrow. So my goal is to finish up and submit some job applications as well as write up three blog posts to be published throughout the week. Here’s what you have to look forward to: Grilling Part 1 – Brats and Salmon, Grilling Part 2 – STEAK, and a yummy post about the home made vegetarian egg rolls we made. Although, when we made them again to actually take pictures of the process, we added pork since it wasn’t a Friday.

We both have a few sub days already planned this week — we’ll take more as they come. We also have the finishing touches put on our resumes and cover letters, so this week we will be sending out job applications. We are praying — and would appreciate any extra prayers — that God will lead us to the places we need to be.

Have a great week, readers — this coming week has always been my favorite week of the entire year. SPRING! State Speech! GICC’s Musical! The air is filled with a feeling unlike any other week of the year. Embrace it!

April Showers Bring May Flowers… wait, it’s still March :(


It’s time again for another weekend update. I apologize for not blogging at all this last week — but I just didn’t have any ideas and things were crazy in the Moser house.

The public schools were on spring break, therefore, we were too. It’s hard knowing that you’re probably not going to work at all for 5 days, but not being sure because there are two districts that could maybe call, but probably won’t since they have short weeks. It’s not like we felt we could take off and go somewhere because of the “what if” of the whole situation. And we just hate turning down subbing opportunities.

Although, maybe it’s a good thing we had a week off. When the in-laws were here last Sunday, I just felt off… I knew I was coming down with a cold. Monday morning I woke up and could hardly move, I was completely drained of energy and my head and chest hurt. At about 5, I started having these horrible deep chest coughs and got worried that I was getting pneumonia or some horrible illness, so we went to Urgent Care to find out what was going on. The nurse practitioner I saw said that she thought I was getting influenza and would probably develop a fever in the next 24 hours. Great news, huh?! Well, I asked what it would be if I didn’t get a fever — the answer: just a nasty Rhino-virus (they call it that because it makes you feel angry, just like a rhino, right?)  that we can only treat the symptoms. So she loaded me up with a few different prescriptions that could be filled depending on whether or not the fever ever showed up. It didn’t. So treating symptoms it was! I really hate treating the symptoms, I just want to fix the CAUSE! It’s the persuasive speaker in me…

Instead of spending lots of money on different meds, I opted to try some home-remedies — and they WORKED! I plugged in the humidifier, steamed up the bathroom for some Vicks-ed up spa time, drank LOTS of honey/lemon hot water, kept heating pads on my ears, and slept. Two days later, I was feeling LOADS better!!

Just in time, too. The weather was looking BEAUTIFUL outside! On Friday, as Brian and I were getting ready to sit down in front of the open window to enjoy the sun while we read our books, I got an email from Target. They were bragging about their patio sale, and I said, “Brian, I know what I want to do today. Let’s buy a GRILL!” So we researched some grills on Target’s website, found one that cost the EXACT amount that we had left in Target Gift Cards (By the way: Thank you to everyone who got us gifts/gift cards for our wedding — you will never know how much everything we got affects our lives on a daily basis!). So we gassed up the van (ugh… why is gas SO expensive all of a sudden???) and headed to Kearney. Thankfully, when we saw the floor model, we fell in love AND they had one left in the back we could take home. It cost us $18 (tax+bag of white chocolate M&M’s)! Such a deal!!! We stopped and saw some friends, got some frozen yogurt (Hate that GI doesn’t have any fro-yo places) and headed home.

We had had grand visions of grilling fish for supper on Friday night, but we soon found that we were hungrier than we thought and the assembly of the grill would take too long. In fact, we didn’t even finish the assembly Friday, we stopped at 10:30 and went to bed. Saturday morning, we got up, assembled, waited impatiently for lunch and then GRILLED! More on what we grilled to come this week…

But today, it’s rainy and dreary and we are feeling the effects of the time change. Not only that, but I think my super-immune system husband has found his kryptonite-virus. He is coughing up a storm and is taking a nap as I type this — and let me tell you, dear readers, my husband NEVER naps. Let’s just hope that my super home-remedies will have him fixed in no time. We’re in for a crazy week of subbing and other adventures (mostly having to do with our GRILL!).

I hope when you finish reading this, you can do what I’m going to do: Curl up on the couch, read a good book, and enjoy the fact that SPRING is just around the corner!

A Short Weekend Update

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Ick. I do NOT feel well tonight. I think I’m getting another cold and possibly an ear infection. Hopefully an early bedtime tonight will help.

Because I feel so blah, I’m just going to give you a list of the top 10 things that happened in our week:

1. Brian’s parents came to visit us today! It was so great to spend part of a day with them and catch up. And they got to see our house a little more put together than the last time they were here. Too bad Brian’s sister chose a soccer thing over us… 😉

2. I judged my last speech tournament of the season. It was a great day and I will really miss Saturdays. Although it will be nice to sleep in. Up next: Districts, then State. I will go to both and I sure hope they do well!

3. Vegetarian Egg Rolls with homemade sweet and sour sauce on Friday. We forgot to take pictures so we’ll make them again later in the week and blog about it.

4. Tasting Brian’s homemade coffee. It’s pretty good, and I really don’t care much for coffee. I guess it’s worth the horrible smell as he’s roasting beans. Thankfully, he’s devised a plan so that it doesn’t linger in the house.

5. Subbing in the same classroom 2 days in a row. I feel like I can bond with kiddos better. And they were a great class!

6. Reading Dr. Seuss at school, then coming home to Brian and talking about our favorite books.

7. The weather! The last few days have been beautiful, even if they were a bit windy. I can not WAIT for spring!

8. HyVee Friday Samples.

9. Reading. Brian and I have tried so hard this last week to read at least a chapter before bed. It’s such a relaxing way to unwind after a crazy day.

10. Solving the entire Sunday Jumble! I was pretty proud of myself. Speaking of word games, Brian and I currently have 8 Word With Friends games going against each other. We’re crazy like that.


I promise on Tuesday, I’ll do something more exciting!

Anything you’d like to see us share? Let me know! 🙂

Homemade Coffee Roasting

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A few weeks ago, I created a new hobby for myself, one that obsessed me before I even really began it.

Roasting my own coffee beans.

For the last few years I’ve known that my trying coffee roasting was inevitable. I tend to go all-in on my passions, absorbing all the knowledge about a subject I can, and looking at it from multiple angles. Not sure how this could have played out had I been born decades earlier, but over the last couple months, I’ve scoured pages of Google results for roasting instructions, watched countless YouTube videos of roasting techniques, and even tracked down (what its author claims is) the only book dedicated to the practice of home coffee roasting.

Finally, I was ready.

And eventually, I convinced Jeralynn to be ready too, since there were some issues to iron out first, namely cost and filling the kitchen with smoke. Indeed, there are some costs in getting green beans shipped to my door since WalMart only sells products that more than .001% of the population wants; the supply-and-demand of the free market  does few favors to connoisseurs. The problem is that buying in bulk is the only way to justify shipping prices. Beyond that, I argued to her, it can actually be cheaper than buying already-roasted/ground coffee beans. As for the smokey kitchen…. pretty proud of that solution. See Appendix #1.

The first step was receiving my sample from The Coffee Project (email them your address, and they’ll get you a free sample of your own). Here’s what they graciously sent me (click for bigger picture):


The second step was deciding how to actually roast the beans. Here’s where my research almost became too much… so many options, even if some were easy to rule out. A legitimate, professional coffee roaster can cost anywhere from around $100 to thousands of dollars. It can also be done with things you have around your house already. Cheap methods include using certain old models of air poppers, oven roasting, and stovetop roasting. I opted for the stovetop method, and so I pulled out an old saucepan (literally, from our Goodwill box) for my first attempt, not knowing how the pan might fare if I didn’t know what I was doing (which I didn’t).

Ok, enough thinking and wondering, I finally decided. Time to try it.

I set the stove to Medium-High heat and began to let the saucepan get hot. While it got hot, I made sure I had everything I needed close at hand, since things start moving pretty fast once they get going.

I started by dumping the small amount of beans into the hot pan.

At first, not much happened. I had no real doubts that this would work, but after all the hype and preparation, and then to look down at these weird little beans just sitting there — no smell, no sound, no anything — had me already questioning my hobby in its infancy. But then, after stirring them around for a minute, a smell did emerge. It was not exactly a coffee smell, though. Just as the pamphlet included with my sample had said, the smell was of hot, wet grass. Best part of waking up…

It was very important to constantly keep the beans moving to avoid scorching the beans. I quickly abandoned my wooden spoon, and then a silicone spatula, before settling on the perfect instrument for the task: a metal whisk. Within just a couple minutes, the beans began changing color. A good sign! If not a sign of success, at least a sign of non-complete failure! The hot air emanating from the pan also started smelling more . . . roasted, I suppose. Warm, smokey, a little bitter. But still no smell of coffee.

And then, really quickly — remember, I said things happen really fast once they start — the beans went from looking like defective peanuts (note to self: could probably roast my own raw peanuts….) to looking like actual COFFEE. From start to finish, the whole thing was done in under 6 minutes. As the picture shows, though, some beans looked more like coffee than others. Not sure why, but I really struggled getting an even roast. Regardless, I knew (loose use of that term here; I have no idea) it was time to stop, before I burned the beans and effectively ruined my first attempt.

Into the colander they went to cool off. (While convincing Jeralynn to let me do this in our kitchen, I don’t think I mentioned to her the amount of chaff generated by roasting. Little tiny, papery bits of the bean that become detached and fly around during the roasting process. Yeah, I’m actually pretty confident I did not mention this to her when I was making my case.) I fetched the vacuum and its various attachments,

When the beans were finally cool to the touch, I poured them into a container for use the next day. It’s recommended they get 12-24 hours to “de-gas,” literally to give off CO2, before they are ground and brewed.

Fortunately, I was patient enough to wait until the next morning. I removed the container’s loose lid and . . . the smell of COFFEE filled the air. Yes, I know, like it’s supposed to. But these beans in front of me started off as puny green beans, beans  that I myself warmed to a wet grassy smell, beans that I personally took to the precipice of burning, beans that I saw from beginning to end turn into coffee. The fact that this small amount of beans not only looked like, but now smelled like coffee was anything but insignificant.

Finally, the drinking.

No doubt, this was one of the most flavorful, nuanced cups of coffee I had ever had. And yet, it wasn’t the coffee I’m used to drinking — very dark and deep. Instead, it was light, a little bright, with multiple hints of different flavors coming through.

This led me to a wholly satisfying final verdict.

I would not stop occasionally brewing dark-roasted store-bought coffee, as it fulfilled a very essential part of my coffee passion, but at the same time, I could interact with the process of coffee preparation on a much more hands-on level, which happened to produce a different, but similarly delicious cup of coffee. And thus, my new hobby is no threat to taking over my coffee passion, instead rounding it out into a diverse and increasingly fun part of my daily routine.

Appendix #1 “And how to deal with the smoke?”

Well, the first time I didn’t, and the apartment smelled pretty bad throughout. For my handful of future roastings, though, I came up with a pretty effective technique. I use two fans to create a virtual vacuum in the room: a small but powerful floor fan placed on the counter blows the smokey air over to the window, where a standing fan is at full blast blowing the air directly outside. It’s loud, and gets chilly between the fans, but it works. Pretty proud of the resourcefulness. 🙂

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