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



Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Signs of Spring, Part One!

Although there may be some snow/rain (I call it "snain") going on today, there are still a few signs of spring out there! These are taken from my back porch.

Camelias!
And Day Lilies have come up! I'm not as excited about these, since not all of them bloom... but it's a start. Next time? Bulbs!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Soup, Glorious Soup!

What is better than a Coldbuster from Jamba Juice when you're sick? (not much, really...)
How about some soup?!

Lemony Vegetable Quinoa Soup
inspired by Arabian Lentil Soup from Appetite for Reduction, by I.C.M.

1 small onion, diced
1 tsp. olive oil
1 c. quinoa
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 small zucchini, diced
2 large carrots, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1" section of fresh ginger, peeled and diced or shredded
1/4 c. lentils (all I had left!)
9 c. water +bouillion or vegi broth
1 tsp. coriander
1 tsp. cumin
4-5 leaves of kale, chopped
Juice from half a lemon

Chop up your onion and heat it with the oil. Then add the garlic and ginger. When the onion is translucent, add the broth.

Then add the quinoa and lentils/garbanzos. After it has cooked for about 10 minutes, add the zucchini and carrots.

Bring to a boil!

While everything is cooking nicely, you can add the spices. For me, we are out of ground coriander, so I used a new trick; smashing up coriander seeds! Place the amount you need into a ziplock bag...
Then smush it with a rolling pin! This leaves a bit of the outside, unfortunately, but it gives the lemony taste that we want, so I deal with it.

Then, after the quinoa is cooked and the soup is ready, add your kale to cook for just a couple of minutes. At last, add the lemon juice. It really is delicious, especially when you're sick!!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chocolate Orange Graham Crackers

Are you ready for one of the most easy and delicious desserts ever? I thought so...

Get these three ingredients: Graham crackers, soy milk, and chocolate of choice (I also threw in a couple of bittersweet chocolate chips, but forgot them for the picture. Oops!)

Take a few squares of chocolate, (and a couple chocolate chips if you want) and put them in a microwave safe bowl. Melt them over full heat for 30 seconds at a time, stirring in between each cycle. When they are melted...

Add a couple of tablespoons of soy milk. Mix together.


Until it looks like this. Then spread them on graham crackers (regular or cinnamon. I like the cinnamon!)

You can either make them into little sandwiches, or serve them open-faced like this. YUM!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

2011, The year of being awesome

It's my birthday today! And in honor of it, I'm bringing up something I've been thinking about for awhile now... I call it "Just say NO to boring!" I've realized over the past few months that I've been wearing increasingly less interesting clothing. And maybe it's because it's winter. Or maybe because it's dark. Or maybe just being slightly depressed has done it- but whatever the cause, I'm through with it! I came across this blog by a 14 year old called Style Rookie; and it's pretty amazing. She's going through a phase that I remember going through in my early 20's. Reading the things I used to read (Girl, by Blake Nelson), listening to music I used to listen to (Hole), wearing interesting clothes like I used to, and dressing for specific occasions or moods; and I thought, "Why the hell am I wearing and doing such uninteresting things? What happened to me?" And I was done. I thought, "I don't have a 9 to 5 corporate job. I don't even have a 'professional' type job. Why shouldn't I wear whatever I want to?" So, yeah. I'm making a concerted effort to wear more interesting clothes; scarves, boots, hats, earrings, the works. I'd rather err on the side of weird than be boring for a while. How about you?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Zero-waste home


I was reading this really interesting article in Sunset yesterday (it was a little old, but bear with me) about this family who has committed to having zero trash come out of their house. Now it's not really ZERO waste, but definitely less than the average person. While I think the idea of having no trash whatsoever is a bit difficult for most people, I was inspired by this family. They suggest doing some small steps, one at a time, that will gradually add up; instead of trying to do everything at once. The focus is on buying things without packaging, keeping only what you need and use, and avoiding plastic (since even if it is recycled, it is stil turned into something that will end up in a landfill). Some things I think I will try:
1.) Make some re-usable bags for produce and bulk items at the grocery store- if they're lightweight cotton, they won't really affect the cost of the items, and it's one less plastic bag to throw away.
2.) Compost- I already have a small canister, we just don't use it. We can either start a compost pile in the backyard, or just add it to our yard waste container. Also going to start putting the bunny's droppings in the yard waste/compost, rather than the trash.
3.) Reduce buying things with excess packaging
4.) Bring reusable containers for deli items- like cheese (although I'm not sure if they have Tillamook at the deli; this is the main cheese that I get because it is sooo tasty, it is semi-local, and it does not contain animal rennet- which many cheeses do.)
5.) Possibly buy more reusable "paper towels"; I have a couple of them, but not really enough to make a difference.
Some things I will not be doing:
1.) I cannot give up kleenex. Sorry, but if I had to wash enough handkerchiefs to make up for nose blowing and such... just doesn't seem very cost/time effective to me.
2.) Bulk shampoo/soaps: The ones I use do not come in bulk, and this also is not very cost/time effective to me.
For more ideas, you can visit The Zero Waste Home and read the family's blog!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Ginger Tea

This ginger tea is my new favorite thing right now. Sometimes ginger teas can be too... well, gingery. They cloud up with ginger, and that's just too much for me. (like the Stash brand; I just can't do it.) But this one? Is great. There's a slight hint of cinnamon and citrus to it that it just fantastic. I even don't mind that it cost $1 more than the other teas because it's organic. It's THAT GOOD.

But, if you want to make some on your own, you can always just grate up some fresh ginger and add it to some boiling water with a little honey. Cheaper, and homemade, all in one!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cold Avoidance


It's true... I have a cold. I've been fighting it with pho and loads of tea, but to no avail.

The nice people at Sparkpeople have posted a list of things to do to avoid getting a cold; let's see how many of them I do: (and maybe this will help you to avoid my fate!)

get enough sleep- check
eat lots of veggies- check
vitamins- sometimes, check
drink alcohol once in a while- ?? not every day, but sometimes
get moderate exercise- when I'm not sick! check
lower stress- yoga! check


However, they do NOT mention avoiding children. Being that I am a teacher, this is the number one source of pretty much every cold I've ever gotten! So yes, avoid children at all costs! :)

My plan now is a two-tiered approach: day-quil+ny-quil and various herbs (ginger, garlic) and teas. Oh, and lots of sleep.

What do you do to fight/avoid colds?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pho

Why is pho so freaking delicious? If you've never had it, imagine a bowl of noodles in a clear broth, add some carrots, broccoli, snow peas, bean sprouts, fried tofu (I wrote "friend tofu" at first... yes, tofu is your friend!) and some green onions. Then. The basil. Add some Thai basil (the purple kind). SO GOOD. And then a piece or two of lime, squease the juice into the broth and then throw the whole thing in there to steep. You can also add a sliver or two of jalapeno (really helps if you're sick, which I kind of am right now) and some spicy "cock" sauce. A little plum sauce or soy sauce too, if you like. Then wait a moment to blend the flavors together... and dig in! Pho is esp. good when the weather is overcast and rainy, or just cold out. Go try some today!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Polyvore.com

This is really a very cool site that lets you put together "sets" of things you deem worthy of remembering... and I'm totally planning to base some purchases on it! Pioneer Woman mentioned it a few weeks ago, and I love it. :)

Shimmering Rose Hair Clip
$4.80 - canada.forever21.com
Hair flower accessories »

Tumblr
$480 - openingceremony.us
Glass shades »

peacock chair
$6,406 - hivemodern.com


Funny Boston Terrier photos
funnyflatfaces.com


glitter
tumblr.com


Enamel Coffee Pot.
jpeterman.com


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Insanely Easy Dinner!

Today, we are making Ravioli Florentine (or Ravioli with Bechamel sauce and some veggies). For one of those nights when you want something in the land of healthy, but really don't want to work too hard, and just found some frozen pasta in the freezer. That's what I'm talking about!

Wut you need:

1 package fresh (or frozen) ravioli (ours was butternut squash from Costco)
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 green onions, sliced thinly
3 Tbsp flour (roughly)
2 Tbsp butter
1- 1 1/2 c. milk (any fat content= ok, I used 1%)
1/2 tomato, diced
2 c. fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. marjoram

In a large frying pan, cook the onions and garlic with the butter. In a large pot, boil some water and cook the ravioli.

When the onions have softened, add the flour. Stir it around until the flour starts to brown.

Then add about 1/2 cup of the milk. Mix it around until it starts to thicken, then add a bit more, until you have as much thickened sauce as you would like to have. Add the spices.

Then add the tomato and spinach. Let the spinach wilt for a minute or so.

Then add the ravioli. Serve and season with salt and pepper. Va bene!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Thank God It's February!

January is such a bleak month. It's the kind of month that makes you want to stay in bed all day, eat chocolate chips, and watch t.v. from the 80's until the sun decides to come out again. Granted, this January was not as bad as last January, but I am still reeaally glad it's over.

February? Now February is a month I can get behind. Things start to bloom. There is chocolate and red and pink things in the stores. It's my birthday month! We are gettting kittens this month! Tax returns come in, and the world seems a little brighter. Oh, and even though it's still really freaking cold outside, I feel like because the sun is out, I can do things like start spring cleaning early by de-allergening the bedroom!
Like this:
Shaking all the dust off the comforters

Even Lulu is happy! (well, sort of. She looks a little scared here really. But she did get to go out on the deck, and she was happy about that!!)

And the geese are coming home! I could hear their melodic squaking a mile away.
All in all, I could not be happier that it's finally February!