I don’t want to jinx this, but I think we may have found a handyman. This man, who is not only talented in the areas of carpentry and finishing work, is also nice and polite. But most importantly, he might single handedly keep our old house from falling down around us.
We have a list a mile long of things that have to be done to our house and property, and we’ve only lived in this house for nine years. Neither my husband nor I are skilled at working with cement, wood, or even paint. We probably shouldn’t even own a house – we should have a landlord. I’ve teased my husband for not knowing which end of a hammer to use, but honestly, I’m no better at home repair than he is.
Our house was built in 1927. It’s a beautiful house – a half-timbered English tudor. The man who built my house and the two large, neighboring homes was a wealthy oil man. An interesting note is that the homes on both sides of us were built for the man’s two daughters, and ours was built for the caretaker of the properties!
Like many homes in the U.S. that were built with money in the 1800’s and early 1900’s, there was a lot of European influence in the design details. Features like a carved travertine fireplace mantel, distressed wooden beams on the ceiling, arched doorways, and a winding, wooden staircase railing make this house unique. But historic or not, stuff happens to houses as they age.
As is typical with every town and city in this nation, I’m convinced, it’s nearly impossible to get people to work. You call – no one answers. You leave a message – they don’t return the call. They say they’ll come out – they don’t. They say they will work – and you never see them again. And so forth. I think everyone I talk to thinks they’re the only one to whom this happens. But it’s rampant.
Then we found this guy. Our guy, who shall remain nameless, has worked at our house for about two weeks. He’s even been up on the roof finding holes, which would explain the water damage on our walls. He didn’t even mind emptying all of the gutters, which were full. He also took the initiative to tell us about certain things that would be problematic in the near future. And, he takes iphone photos to prove it. I like that. Especially since neither my hubs or I will get up on the roof.
Now I’m not telling you all of this to make you jealous. Besides, we’re overdue for this kind of help! It’s just that I wanted to do something nice for this man, because I appreciate his hard work.
Somehow strawberry blondies came to mind. The guy probably needs a good chicken dinner (he’s had a lot of bad luck recently), but hopefully he’ll enjoy these. Sweets seem to make everyone happy.
I’ve seen a recipe before for strawberry blondies, but it used strawberry jam. Ick. Maybe in the winter? Because it’s strawberry season, albeit a late one, I thought I’d make these blondies with fresh strawberries. I also included white chocolate chips.
For those of you who don’t know what blondies are, like my husband, they are the non-chocolate version of brownies. Here’s the recipe.
Strawberry White Chocolate Blondies
6 ounces sliced strawberries
2 teaspoons white sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, not packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup white chocolate chips, about 4 3/4 ounces
2 teaspoon raw of turbinado sugar, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees farenheit. Grease or butter an 8″ square baking dish.
Place the sliced strawberries in a bowl and toss them gently with the sugar; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the soft butter and brown sugar. Beat them together with an electric mixer until they mixture is smooth.
Add the eggs and vanilla extract together in a small bowl.
Add to the sugar-butter mixture and beat for about 5 minutes.
Add about 1/2 cup of the flour and mix slowly to combine; don’t overmix. Then switch to a spatula and fold in the remaining flour , salt, and the baking powder.
Then fold in the strawberries and chocolate chips, but leave a few pretty strawberry slices for the top of the blondies. Place the blondie batter in the greased baking dish, and smooth the top and fill in the corners.
Use the few strawberry slices to place on top, pushing in a bit, so that they cook within the batter.
Place the baking dish in the oven and cook them for 30 minutes. If the top of the blondies still look a little doughy, turn off the oven and leave them in the oven for five more minutes.
Remove the blondies from the oven and let them rest for at 30 minutes. Carefully slice and remove them from the pan, then cut them into eight squares. Serve them warm or at room temperature.
They even make a nice breakfast treat!
verdict: Well, even though I was giving these away, I had to sample them since I had made up the recipe, and you know what? They’re darn good! And pretty, too! If I’d been smart, I’d have saved 8 slices of strawberries so that each square had it’s own pretty slice on top, like this one. Maybe next time!