A home for all things crafty, health-conscious, cake-related, or in need of a wagon!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Lulu and I as fairies.

John is "the 1%", complete with lots of anti-protest and pro-Reagan signs.

My awesome wings

Our costumes don't really go together, but that's ok.

Happy Halloween from the House of Laughlin!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Easy Peasy Vanilla Sugar

A while ago, I discovered that PCC sells vanilla beans for super cheap. So, I bought a few, and then didn't know what to do with them. Other than slicing them open and leaving them in liquor for a few months to make extract, you can make vanilla sugar!

Get a jar. Put some sugar in it. Slit open the beans, and submerge them in the sugar. Leave them in there for a month or more. Surprise! Vanilla sugar. Use it in your coffee or tea, on oatmeal, or anywhere else you might taste its mild flavor. (Ice cream anyone?)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Designer Kale

I harvested the rest of our purple kale today. There was so much, it filled a bucket. Since I didn't want to have a bucket in my fridge, I pulled out this awesome bag my sister left here last month. Thus, designer kale!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dave's Killer Bread!

How have I never tried this before? Oh yeah, it's really expensive- but DELICIOUS!! I got a "sin dog" cinnamon loaf today, toasted up some of it in the toaster oven.. and it is wonderful. (It was really nice to use my$20 WF freebie from Living Social today and just buy fun stuff.) And? Organic. AND? VEGAN. Can you believe it? This is a totally unpaid endorsement; and I'm ready to try some other flavors now. :)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Chickens in Redmond!

Well, it looks like Redmond might be finally allowing us to have some chickens! The issue is up for discussion again next week, but according to the "issues" area here, we should be able to get up to 8 chickens by next year!
I'm sure there will be some opposed parties, but it seems to me that since the city has come up with amendments to the current law, it will probably go through. The only sad part for me is that they are just specifiying chickens, not ducks-which I really wanted. (although I'm not so sure that I like eating duck eggs- so was sort of leaning towards chickens anyway, despite their scary feet and propensity to pick on each other. Sigh.) There are tons of pretty chickens out there to choose from, like these gorgeous girls:
Speaking of chickens, I really should show you this:
If you've never read the bloggess before, you really should. This post is freaking hilarious. And? I should totally get one for outside the chicken coop- you know, for scaring away raccoons and other predators. Completely necessary.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Things I have done to get rid of a cold....

I have been sick now for almost a month. I was almost totally better last week, then boom! Hit with a sinus infection. Today is day #3 of antibiotics, but here are all of the other things I've tried so far:

1.) Watching lots of Friends

2.) Kleenex with lotion (on box #3)

3.) Alternating Day-quil and Ny-quil

4.) Steaming my face with a wet towel heated in the microwave

5.) Jamba Juice Coldbuster (x2)

6.) Multiple calls to my mom (a nurse) asking for reassurance that I would one day get better.

7.) Garlic

8.) Take-out pizza (x2)

9.) Pho (x3)

10.) Several different kinds of tea, including Sleepytime yesterday (that I forgot I had) since I hadn't slept for 2 nights

11.) Used up both of my sick days in the first 6 weeks of school (yeah, I only get 2 paid ones, but it was totally worth it.)

12.) Afrin (totally evil; do NOT recommend!)

13.) Antibiotics

14.) Crazy saline nose rinse that is basically a nose enema:

(this was probably the worst one, mostly because I just can't get behind self-drowning- but it did sort of work yesterday.)
But, last night I was finally able to sleep a bit, and woke up today almost feeling like a normal person. Hooray! I think the face steaming has been the most helpful. Here's hoping that all of you are not sick. :)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chickpea and Spinach Curry

This is the most used cookbook in my house. If I showed you my actual copy of it, it would not look like this: It is more roughed up and definitely has some battle stains. But, I love it. It's changed the way I bake for sure, and I will never eat anything less than real maple syrup on waffles again (srsly? that other stuff is just corn syrup with some flavoring.). That is neither here nor there... today is all about this amazing Chickpea and Spinach Curry. It's really easy, and if you have some basic canned goods and fresh spinach in your house, you're pretty much good to go.

Chickpea and Spinach Curry
(stolen and slightly adapted from VWAV by Isa Chandra Moskowitz- why is it so hard for me to spell her last name?)

1 12-oz can stewed tomatoes (she calls for whole ones and then has you chop them up; I just get pre-chopped ones)
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tsp. mustard seeds
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced (I may have used 1 tsp. of powdered ginger)
3 tsp. curry powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 cardamom pods
10 c. fresh spinach, rinsed and roughly chopped
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 c. water (approximately)

The spice list can look a bit long and daunting, but I just measured them all out together into a small bowl. When it was time to add them, I just threw it in!

Heat the vegetable oil in a large pan and add the mustard seeds and cardamom pods. Cover with a screen if you have one; once they start to pop, those suckers can hurt! Cook until they start to pop, then add the onion. After it starts to brown, add the garlic and ginger (if using fresh). Saute 2 more minutes. Add spices and some of the juice from the stewed tomatoes. Stir. Add the tomatoes and drained chickpeas.

Then add the spinach. This is where you may need to add some water- I added at least a tomato can's worth- but I also wanted to have enough sauce to serve this over rice. When the spinach has wilted, you are basically done! Serve over brown rice and salt to taste.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Crafty Day!

Yesterday, we had a crafty day at my house. I think it's going to become a monthly thing, so if you live nearby and want to come, let me know!

I started out by putting out all the Halloween Marthas I own. I was shocked to see that I now have 7 of them!

As crafty days go, we of course made a run to Ben Franklin. Everything there wanted me to buy it. This called out especially loudly:

It's totally from this great movie called "Dream for an Insomniac" and happens to be right before the quote that I have as my email signature. ("Anything less than extraordinary is a waste of my time.") So I had to have it.

Then my husband earned MAJOR husband points, not only for buying a collection of all the Doctor Who special movies, but then he brought us this:

Pain au chocolat and some apple turnovers from The French Bakery! We all worked on some of our own projects, and then we made:


Then of course, Jenn wanted to make one for her dog, Arry.

Then we had to try it on all the dogs


And Lulu, who knew she was earning a cookie for this picture.

All in all, Halloween Crafty Day 2011 was a major success!!