Thursday, May 31, 2012

2 healthy recipes you need to try

I swear this is not a food blog.  But goodness, I do love to cook.  And a blessing upon the person who invented pinterest and gave me even more encouragement (not that I need it) to try new recipes and methods simply because they look and sound interesting.

Here's two recipes I've made this week that you should try.  One I've made a bajillion times and can't get enough of, and the other is new to me but a new fave.  BOTH are impossibly easy.

First up is my favorite fresh guacamole.  There's nothing like it, and can I just say that chopping all that stuff up is FANTASTIC therapy after a particularly rough day at work?  Thanks.

Rach's Guac
adapted from: Jess's Guac

1 medium tomato
1 medium onion (red is my fave, but yellow or white will do)
2-3 ripe avocados
lime juice (fresh or bottled)
garlic salt
cilantro (fresh is best)
Chop everything up and mash it all together in a bowl.  I add a healthy couple dashes of lime juice, a seriously healthy shake of garlic salt, and either a good shake of dried cilantro or chop up a big handful.  You can also add in fresh parsely if you can't tell it apart from the cilantro in your herb planter on the porch...oops.
The only way to make guac is by taste.  Try it and see if the flavors gel well together.  I usually end up adding a lot more garlic salt to get just the right blend.  Other times, I'm in a lime-y mood and throw more of that in.

If you're not used to working with avocados, check out this handy video.  It changed my life for real.

Roasted Cabbage Wedges 
adapted from Martha Stewart

1 head of cabbage
kosher salt
black pepper
olive oil

Line a baking sheet with foil.
Brush the baking sheet with a little olive oil.
CAREFULLY slice your head of cabbage in slices an inch or slightly thinner.
Lay your slices out on the baking sheet (1 big baking sheet was enough for a small head of cabbage).
Brush the tops of the slices with a little more olive oil.
VERY generously sprinkle the slices with kosher salt and give them a good grind of black pepper.
Sprinkle with paprika.
Throw them in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes.
The edges will be brown and crispy and the middle will be tender and flaky.

I served this with polish sausage, but seriously, I could eat it for days.  So delish.

In non-food news, it's almost Friday, and therefore, almost prom night!  Mind you, chaperoning prom is certainly not the same as attending in high school, but it's still kinda fun :)  More about that this weekend!  Hope you've had a great week!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Long Weekend that Never Should have Ended

Holiday weekends are glorious.  Mine started with getting an iphone.  Hello, brave new world.  Smartphones are crazy fun, people.  I have been living in an instagram-less cave for far too long.  I'm converted.

Just to prove my brand-new coolness, here's the weekend in review a la my fancy new toy.
the only soda I can stomach
colorblocking in 90 degree heat
my kinda trailmix...90% chocolate, 10% trail mix
bright florals for church
breakfast in bed by the hubby...banana bread french toast!
kitty loves a lazy holiday morning just as much as we do!
so THIS is what it's like to have your own pool...le sigh
fun summer toes...Revlon's Cherries on Snow
Please note that I really did DO something this weekend.  I just don't have pictures of coveting pets at the feed and garden shop with a friend or hours of ultra-sweaty gardening.
Here's to knocking out this week and sliding into another weekend!  Huzzah!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tids + Bits

+watched some videos on fishtail braiding the other day and now I kinda can't stop.  Works well for my thick-as-heck hair, but goodness, does it take a while!

+if you're wondering what this is, it's my phone in a container of rice.  RIP, sad little phone.  *Disclaimer--this is not a ladylike comment.  My endocrinologist says I need to be "as active as I can tolerate".  psshh.  So in the spirit of being cooperative, I decided to go for a walk/hike on an 85 degree sunny afternoon.  My running shorts didn't have pockets, so I did something I've never done before...I tucked my cell phone in my bra.  40 minutes later, I was back home and my phone was dead.  d.e.a.d.  I'll be darned if I ever exercise again.  The rice brought it back enough to turn it on, but not enough to see the screen.  Sniff.

+gardening is perhaps my favorite thing to do these days.  Got the 'taters in...they're popping up now, so I need to cover them over today.  Hubby bought some fun whisky half-barrels, so we've got carrots, onions, and parsnips in those.  Those are about half of my tomatoes--so excited!  Still have so much more to put in!

Linking up here today. Photobucket


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pretty Please?

Anyone up for a button swap?  
With sugar on top?

(Do you like what I did there???)
Happy Tuesday from my oh-so-creative brain :)

Email me!

Monday, May 21, 2012

DIY Cheap-o "Canvas"

So a while ago, I tried this project for my friend's birthday, and it turned out SO WELL.  She loved it, but I didn't take any pictures :(  So I finally got my act together and took some pics when I made a few more.  I love how these turn out, very inexpensive, and fairly easy.  I'll be doing plenty more of these!

First you need to order a large photo.  Your finished product will be the size of the photo.  I ordered poster prints from snapfish because they always seem to have some kind of good sale.  I ordered 11x14's this time and paid about 3.99 each, maybe a little less.  I've heard you can get enlargements nice and big like that at Costco if you're into fancy membership stuff like that :)  I wanted something bigger than 8x10's for a  little more pop.  Snapfish also has an option to pick up in Walgreens and a few other locations if you're in a hurry, but snapfish products are always on my doorstep 2 days after I order them.

Then you'll need to get a piece of wood.  You can go to Home Depot and get them to cut you a piece the size you need.  But since husband forbids me to go to home improvement stores and get things he can "make" or "do" for me, I begged him to hook me up with some boards.  He bought a big sheet and cut up lots of pieces for me so I'm stocked for future gifts.  I had him cut the pieces exactly 11x14 as well.

Then I sanded the heck out of them.  Husband was very brave and handed me the power sander for this part.  He gave me a quick lesson and let me go to town...umm...power tools = a.m.a.z.i.n.g.  I wish I had a power tool for putting on my makeup in the morning.  Makeup is so annoying sometimes.  I digress.  Get those edges sanded really well and go over the surfaces so the mod podge will adhere well.
I primed the one side and the edges of each board first.  

Then, a coat or two of paint.  I picked a really light gray.  I bought a sample at Home Depot for about $3 and it's lasted me for 4 of these projects...still have about half of it left!  Leftover house paint will work well, too.

Note: if you're a desperate addict and can't complete tasks without an iced coffee by your side, just make sure you pick up the coffee and drink it...not the paint...or the mod podge, for that matter.

When your boards are completely dry, now it's time to mod podge.  Don't be nervous if you've never used it.  The basics are to be generous, but spread it out in an even application.  Use a foam brush and move in one direction.  Get a little extra around the edges so it sticks well.  You'll need to move fairly quickly before it gets tacky.  And get your cat out of the way.

So mod podge the non-painted side of your board, also the back of the picture, and then press the picture carefully to the board.  Use your forearm to smooth it out and flat (no bubbles).  Make sure the edges are lined up nicely.  Let 'er dry!  I'd give it at least a good 20 hour if you've got other things to do.

Now for the scary part.  You need to mod podge over the top of the photo.  Yep, just smear it right on!  Be very generous, but even it all out with that foam brush in one direction.  You'll want to do this part wherever you're least likely to experience floating dust, debris, cat hair, and mosquitos.  When the application looks even and covers ALL of the photo (even the very edges), you wait.

Really.  Trust me.  IT WILL DRY CLEAR.  I've mod podged many times, but there always comes a point where I freak out that it's not going to dry all the way.  When you reach this point, walk away, have a margarita, and come back a few hours later.  IT WILL ALL WORK OUT.

And wa-lah!  The finished product!  Love it!  The canvasy-texture just makes the photo really unique and special.

These are pictures of my older brother, my sister-in-law, my adorable nephew, and their puppy.  I did the family black and white one for my brother's office, the color shot of the 3 of them for my sister-in-law...

and this precious one for my mother for mother's day.  It's proudly propped on her mantle.  Can't wait for the new baby to arrive in July so I can complete the set!

The kitty was kind enough to help with the gift wrapping.  She's nice like that.

I think I need to join mod podgers anonymous.  Who's with me??

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Here Fishy Fishy

Let's talk about fish.  Being the classy lady that I am, the only seafood I experienced growing up was frozen fish sticks and on special occasions, Long john Silvers.  Hubby loves him some sea creatures, so he's pushed me to try all kinds of stuff when we go out to eat.  Can't say I'm totally sold on little bits from the depths of the ocean, and I sorta hate that you have to dish out the big bucks to try the stuff, but I'm learning to appreciate fish as a "lighter' meat option for dinner.  It can be quite tasty when prepared with just the right flavors and without overcooking.  One of our current favorites is local blue fish fillets.  And here's my favorite way to prepare it...
yep...salt and peppa', mayo, dill, and capers...oh, and mustard (didn't make it into the picture)
I lay my fillet on some foil over a baking sheet with a little smudge of olive oil.  Sprinkle fillet generously with salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, mix a healthy spoonful of mayo (1/2 a cup-ish if you have a really big fillet like I did), and a tablespoon of mustard (or a teaspoon of mustard powder).  Slather that on top of the fillet, like so.

Now for the decorating.  I sprinkle a very very generous amount of dried dill weed (fresh would be way better if you have it), some capers on hubby's half, and this time, I also tossed on a bunch of fresh parsley.

Now throw 'er in the oven at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes.  Make sure you don't dry it out, but get a nice brown on the edges of the sauce.  How do you know if it's done?  You can temp it and make sure it hits 140 degrees but not much more, or just take a fork and make sure it's nice and flaky, not fleshy and raw-looking.
Mmm...tasty.  We like ours with rice and a veggie...
Are you a fish fan?  Love it or leave it?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Bad Case of Gardener's Leg

The husbot and I spent about every possible minute outside on Saturday work work working away in the yard.  And when it came time to get dressed for church on Sunday morning, I realized that I had a bad case of gardener's leg...scratched, bruised, bitten, bee-stung, and sun-kissed knees.  So flattering.  So, naturally, it was the perfect chance to reach for a maxi skirt.  I'm going to have to buy some stock in maxi skirts for the summer if this is how it's gonna go.

How do you keep your legs looking like you've never worked a day in your life?  Secrets??

And no, this post doesn't come with accompanying pictures of my oh-so-icky legs.  What, that's not allowed in blogging?  It will drive my readers away?  Fine then.  You want a picture?  You get a picture.

No, these are not my legs.  This is shrimp scampi, made by my husband the other night for dinna'.  Absolutely love when he comes home early and is inspired to make dinner before I even have a say in the matter.  And you know what I would say if I HAD a say in the matter?  Fabulous.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I got mugged

a while back, I came across this adorable blog...and consequently, one of the best ideas ever.  A mug swap.  My husband will tell you mugs are just one of the many things I'm sorta obsessed with...pitchers, tea pots, vases, vintage silverware, cupcakes...and we're just getting started.  But there's little that makes me more giddy inside than drinking a fabulous cup of coffee from a great mug.  

So I signed myself right up and dear Susan set me up with this great lady.  Susan really knocked it out of the park with this match-up.  We are both teachers who love to cook, bake, and garden.  Amanda makes some really amazing cakes that make me salivate rather unattractively.  But back to the point...

So the idea is that you get matched up with another blogger, you blog-stalk each other for a little bit, and then you go out in search of the perfect mug for your match.  Amanda's mug is on its way south to her right now, but I was lucky enough to get mine in the mail right after my birthday!  Double-score!  Check it out...

Don't mind the ridiculously-manicured nails...fixing that tonight.
yay!  love it!!!
So tonight, Amanda, my friend, I am christening this baby with a cup of tea with fresh mint and lemon as I watch the rain fall on my little plantlings on the porch.  
Wish we could share a cup of tea on the porch together and commiserate about end-of-the-school-year blues!  

Thanks, Susan, for a great new friend, and thanks, Amanda, for a mug that I LOVE.  It's cheery, colorful, and definitely ME.  You nailed it!