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

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wild Rice Salad

Here's another one from last week's Clean Eating Extravaganza! (adapted a bit, of course)  The wild rice I used this time was a bit on the sticky side; still very tasty, but just different that what I'm used to.

Wild Rice Salad
1 c. wild rice, cooked (takes about an hour, so give yourself time)
1/2 c. cucumber, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
1 c. soybeans
2 green onions, chopped finely

Mix together, then drizzle with dressing:
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp. tarragon
salt and pepper to taste

Mix together all ingredients, then sprinkle with 7-8 finely chopped basil leaves.  

The original recipe also contained tomatoes and corn, but I was a bit tired of corn (and J. was tired of tomatoes), so I left them out.  This was very good as a side salad to some grilled salmon!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Outside the Twins' House

When Maria and Corinna bought their house a few years ago, it came with an amazing garden.  Amazing!  So amazing, that I was kind of jealous.  Fruit trees.  Piles of strawberry plants.  These cool Dr. Seuss-type plants that I love.

I think they're called Euphobora or something like that.

With a little patio in the back, and a HUGE expanse of grass.

Lulu loves grass!

They have a detached garage, and a cute little shed out there too.

Here are those strawberries that I mentioned... I can almost compete!

Gorgeous wisteria, over the back door.

Tree lanterns, and more grass

Peas with a little gnome


They also have lots of cute mini garden sections, with tiny friends to spy.

Just lots of hidden corners and new plants to find.  Such a nice place to hang out!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The best French toast EVER! (and it's vegan!)

French toast and I don't really get along.  Usually when I try to make it, I try to be all healthy and use wheat bread or something, and it gets all soggy and trainwrecky.  Not this time!!
I used Isa's pretty much foolproof "Fronch Toast" recipe, and some potato bread... and it was lovely.  Of course I slightly changed it!

French Toast, Cast of Characters:

Potato bread, cornstarch, soy milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the surprise star: chickpea flour!

In a wide flat pan, mix together...
1 c. soy milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/4 c. chickpea flour (also called garbanzo bean flour)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg (the other secret ingredient, that makes everything taste like donuts!)

Let the bread soak in it, then flip and soak the other side.

Heat up your frying pan, and spray with some cooking spray.  (The recipe says to use several Tbsp. of oil for frying- but why bother?)

Cook on one side, then flip and enjoy the deliciousness.  The chickpea flour really DOES work wonders; it makes the french toast have a crust, and keeps it all together; but doesn't taste all eggy and gross.  Serve with syrup and fresh fruit.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Raised Beds at the Twins' House!

Last weekend, John and I traveled to Beacon Hill to make some raised garden beds for the twins' b-day present.  They turned out really awesome!
First, they had to set up a makeshift workbench, because the small saw at Home Depot was broken.  This was actually much more difficult than it looks, despite the fact that I was exempted from this part of the process.

Then we laid out the wood, and all of our crazy supplies.

 John worked on putting together the boxes, and I amassed all of the things that we would plant.  In total?  3 tomatoes, some sugar snap peas, wax beans, a transplanted rhubarb (that will hopefully survive), rosemary, parsley, lettuce, cilantro, watermelon, mystery squash plants, CORN!, red onions, leeks, chard, and kale!

Moving the boxes to get the most sun, and also to see them from upstairs.

Stapling in the weed fabric (oh, and adding the hay- that's what's in that trash bag there).

Dirt mixing by headless people. (We used 50% compost, 50% organic potting soil)

This box has mostly greens, squash, and watermelon, with some herbs in the front.

Note the extra cute plant labels I picked up. :)  You can supposedly use pencil on them, and reuse them- but I don't really trust pencil to withstand all the rain we get!

Other bed with beans, peas, corn, tomatoes, onions, and leeks.  The corn is totally an experiment, but one that I hope works out!

Also note, the tomatoes are under juice container cloches- just until it gets above 50* at night.  Still a bit too cold for them to be out unprotected- they would make it, but this supposedly will make them more hearty and produce better throughout the season.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Veggie Chili

So, I've been using this book a lot lately, in a effort to eat a bit more healthily, and have more veggies/less carbs in our meals:
And last night? I made some veggie chili.  It wasn't exactly  how it is in this book, but pretty damn good nonetheless. Here's what I did:

Veggie Chili:
2 tsp. oil
1/2 onion
1 bell pepper
4 cloves garlic, chopped/mashed (I use the frozen TJ ones- so easy!)
2 small carrots, grated
1 can diced stewed tomatoes
2 Tbsp. cumin seeds, toasted (heat in a small frying pan without oil until browned)
2 Tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 can kidney beans, drained
1 can black beans, drained
1 can whole corn kernels, drained
2 1/2 c. vegetable stock
1/4 c. quinoa
1/4 c. red lentils 
3/4 c. veggie crumbles (I used Morningstar Farms)
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried basil
3 squares extra dark chocolate (she called for 4, 75% cocoa- I had 3, 65% cocoa)

In a large pot, heat up the oil, onion, pepper, and garlic over medium heat.  Cook for a few minutes, until the onion becomes translucent.  (Add a Tbsp. or so of water if it starts to burn)  Then add the carrots, tomatoes, corn, and beans.  Add the vegetable stock, and mix in the herbs and spices.  I added the quinoa and lentils to thicken it up a bit- if you don't want those, you could just add a bit less liquid- maybe 1/2 a cup less.  Also add the veggie crumbles and chocolate.  Let cook for 20 minutes, until the lentils and quinoa have cooked, and some of the water has cooked off.  Serve with a little salt and sour cream to make it extra delicious!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Outside my parents' house

I promised to do this a couple of weeks ago, and what do you know.. time got away from me!  So... here are the rest of the pictures from outside my parents' house.

Freaking giant collard greens that overwintered (with Sosha in the background, happily looking on)

Leeks!  Mine never look like this!

Overwintered chard

Comparison of chard to ginormous collards  (I'm really wondering how they will taste? Bitter? Normal?)

Their main lilac that bloomed this year.  I think that this is kind of a hit-or-miss year for lilac.  Only one out of my three plants had any blooms at all, and it was really just one branch.  My parents had one of like five plants bloom, while their neighbors across the street had a plethora of lilacs, and my best friend (who lives in Seattle) cut hers back last year and got nothing as well.  Maybe it's just a certain type that bloomed this year? I have some like this (that bloomed) and my verigated one did NOTHING.

The front yard

Bleeding hearts, some kind of magically hearty fuschia plant, and stone fountain

The rest of the front wall, complete with cherry tree and gazing globe

Tulips, rhubarb, and geraniums- this area is going to get bricks for a patio soon!

Front porch: I love these grape hyacinths and creeping jenny plants!

More creeping jenny and a tree azalea!

This concludes the tour of my parents' house.  I'm going there again this week, so maybe there are some new plants to report!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Be a culinary genius!

The other day, I was making some salmon for dinner, and wanted it to be different than the usual lemon juice+ lemon pepper (which is delicious, but sometimes you need something new, you know?).  I looked around the kitchen and found a tangerine.  Success!

I juiced and zested the tangarine, and added about 1 Tbsp. of tamari to it.  Then I grated up some ginger.  (probably about 1/2" after peeling)

I added that, along with a sprinkle of hot chili flakes, a tsp. of vegetable oil, and a tsp. of sesame seeds. (If I'd had sesame oil, I would have added a little bit of that too.)

How can this experiment make you a culinary genius?  Just remember a few rules, and you can whip up a killer marinade/sauce at a moment's notice too!

Step 1: Start with a base: some kind of fruit juice, like a citrus or pineapple.  You could also use some sweet chili sauce, or really, even catsup if you were completely desperate  (I have never actually done that though, so you might be in the midst of a real culinary adventure if you try it!)

Step 2: Add something savory; I usually use a soy sauce or tamari, but you could also do a basalmic vinegar if you were going for something more European-tasting

Step 3: Add some spices; ginger+ sesame for Asian; chile pepper flakes are always good- or a little bit of sriracha; basil+mint+ fresh tomato for Italian-ish; citrus zest will put it over the top if you're going for more of a citrus-y flavor; or just add a blend of your favorites, and mix it up!

Step 4: Make sure you add a little bit of oil, just to help it all blend together.  Around a teaspoon should be fine.  I know I usually use olive oil for everything, but if you're planning on grilling whatever you're marinating, vegetable is better- it has a higher heat tolerance, and doesn't break down as much as olive oil does.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Seattle Tilth Edible Plant Sale

Seattle Tilth's annual edible plant sale was last weekend in Wallingford.  Piles and piles of plants were everywhere, along with chickens, donuts, and a steel drum band!

I love going to Seattle Tilth because I always get new ideas for things to use or reuse in my garden.  For instance, bamboo bits as garden edging:

Or a gorgeous espaliered apple tree:

I really restrained myself this year, with all of my plants that I started myself.  But, I always manage to find some new herbs that I must take home, like that 2-colored Ginger Mint in the background.  And how could I resist that giant $3 tomato plant?

We're also starting some raised beds at my sisters'-in-law's house next weekend, so I got them a blue rosemary plant. The goal is to do some greens (kale and lettuce), beans, peas, tomatoes, squash, watermelon, and maybe even some corn (if they let me!).  Their backyard gets so much sun and is already flat, I think it might actually work there!