Friday, April 30, 2010

Confession: I bought something new.

Today, I indulged a bit. I bought three new things!

It started with the discovery of this blog. It was love at first sight. Then, as I perused her older posts, I found this one. Seriously? A beautiful J. Crew look-alike for $20?

I then spent a little time on the Kohl's site. I've never been a huge fan of Kohl's, mostly because there isn't one close, and (hello) I'd mostly rather thrift. But, nevertheless, I checked out their clearance. I found these opaque tights in dark green and fuchsia-purple for only $4 each! I googled around and found a 15% off coupon code, and swooped up the cardi and tights, after bugging poor A about it all day.

I had some other items on my shopping list that I did not end up getting. For some reason, A thinks I have way too many shoes. I don't know where he got that idea...

I wanted these green rain boots, but opted out in the end.***
I also had these cute little tuxedo shoes in my cart for a bit, despite the fact that they are Sketchers brand, which I despise. They are only $10! I would break my no Sketchers rule for $10. They don't even have my size anymore, so it must not have been meant to be.

***I bought some cute boots at Forever Young Shoes around Thanksgiving last year. They are black and sort of slouchy, fake leather, and were only about $40. After just one season, the fake leather is totally peeling up, and they look terrible! That is what I get for trying to go cheap. I have also been eying Hunter Wellies online for about 5 months now. The wellies at Kohls are cute, and cheap, but I'm worried that I'll have another bad experience buying cheap shoes as a way to save money. More shoe buying of less-expensive shoes is not necessarily cheaper than just going with the nice expensive shoes in the first place. Lesson learned. Now, if I can just convince A...

Hipster Thrifters

Hey everyone!

I did a little outfit post over at Hipster Thrifters today. For the details, and an update on the shop, check it out there!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dinner tonight (Last Night, really).

Pesto Linguine.***

1/2 an onion
head of broccoli
sliced mushrooms (1 package, fresh not frozen)
1 red pepper
olive oil
sea salt
whole wheat linguine
pesto, as per this recipe
shredded asiago cheese

Cut up the vegetables. (Meanwhile start boiling water for the pasta.)

Start some olive oil over medium heat, maybe 2 T, then add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, then add broccoli and peppers, cook another five minutes, (you could also start cooking the pasta now) and finish with mushrooms and another five. Switch off stirring and covering pan with lid to trap in moisture. Sprinkle with salt.

After draining the pasta, add some scoops of pesto (till it "looks good," I think I added three scoops) and stir it up, then add the asiago to taste. You could also use parmesan, I just accidentally bough asiago.

Serve the vegetables on a bed of the delicious pesto linguine, and enjoy!

***This was inspired by the pesto cavitapi at Noodles and Co., which is my favorite there!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Gio would be proud.

And if you understand that reference, I love you.

I've been making some delicious sandwiches lately. Sandwiches are one of the more challenging things to make vegetarian, which I am still doing and LOVING, by the way. If you eat meat, you can have a sandwich with just meat and cheese, mayo and mustard, and it is still good. Cut the meat out, not so good. I do a lot of pb&j, with almond butter, which is good, but sometimes you just want a savory sandwich!

Sunday I made some pesto for the family dinner noodle bar. Everyone gave it rave reviews, so they were either just being kind, or it really was good! I liked it, but I'm a sucker for pesto. I found the recipe from Martha, my usual go-to for recipes. She suggested not adding the usual parmesan so that it would freeze better. Then, I substituted walnuts for pine nuts because pine nuts were $20 a fricken pound, which is too rich for my taste, or at least my wallet.

So here's what I did.


1 cup walnuts
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
8 cups (4 oz.) fresh basil
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup olive oil

Turn the oven to 350, spread nuts onto a cookie sheet, and toast about 10 minutes, or until golden and fragrant. Give the pan a little shake halfway through to "stir" them up.

While those roast, start some salt water a-boiling. While that gets hot, prep your basil by rinsing it and pulling off the leaves, stems can go in your compost. (found some at Sunflower Market, a 4 oz. bag for under $5. And that is a TON of basil!) Add basil leaves to the boiling water. Once every leaf has been submerged, transfer everything to a colander to drain. Rinse the basil with cool water. When it has cooled, squeeze out the excess water, like you are wringing out a towel or something. (This boiling process is supposed to help the pesto keep its color when frozen. It also made it easier to fit all the leaves into my tiny food-prep processor.)

Combine the nuts, basil, salt and pepper, and garlic in a food processor, and blend them up. Add a little olive oil at a time, processing until smooth. Taste the pesto, add more salt as needed. Enjoy!

Okay, so I made two recipes of this pesto with the intention of freezing it. We've been eating it on pasta, which is so good, and then yesterday I did a sandwich experiment with it!

I started with two pieces of multigrain bread, slathered some delicious pesto on one side, added some crumbled feta (remember how the pesto has no cheese?), baby romaine, and sliced tomato. I could have died eating this sandwich for lunch! It was SO good!

Today, I didn't have any more tomato, so I replicated yesterday's sandwich with artichoke hearts instead of tomato, and did pesto on both slices of bread. Also, SO good! I am pretty darn proud of my sandwich making skills lately.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

How does your garden grow?

We worked on our garden today. We are doing a smaller garden, spacing out plants out more. Last year it was a jungle, and packed so full it was difficult to harvest. This year I hope we can harvest more and eat more with a spaced out garden, plus we are doing a CSA, so we'll have produce from that as well. Seems like the past two years A has mostly done the seed planting, but this year I got in there and got my hands dirty.

We planted purple and traditional orange carrots, red beets, yellow and white onions, and shallots. We also got rutabaga to plant in June, parsnips, which have to be soaked overnight for germination, and some greens. I'm still working on the greens patch, looking for some more cardboard to put down for a path over existing weeds, so that I don't have to pull them. We'll buy herbs, tomatoes, summer and winter squash, and peppers at the plant sales for Red Butte and Wasatch Community Gardens, which will be on the weekend of May 8th.

A mowed the lawn and worked on firewood for next year, and we both worked on weeding, cleaning out leaves/needles/junk, and sweeping up on the side patio. I love that feeling of accomplishment felt after a day of working in the yard!

This morning, we also had breakfast at the Original Pancake House. I had the apple pancake, again, and it was heavenly. I probably won't have to eat again until dinner! A had the 7-grain pancakes with fruit, and a bowl of oatmeal. He can eat so much! Maybe it is a good thing that I don't exercise like he does, because our food costs would go way up! Anyway, I know that restaurant is part of a chain, but they make some darn good pancakes.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Does it seem like I haven't blogged a lot lately? It is because I haven't. Because I am so unbelievably crazy busy. Busy enough that I had a group meeting (for class) at 7:00 on a Saturday, because that was the only time we could all get together. Busy enough that when my dad asked me how A was doing, I replied that I didn't really know, because I haven't really seen him much myself (how sad is that?). Busy enough that t is a good day if I'm getting two complete meals in. So busy.

The end is (sort of) in sight. While I know school will be over soon, for this semester, anyway, it still seems really far away. I still have two big papers to write, one big one to finish. One powerpoint presentation remaining, one guerrilla project to complete, a bunch of service hours still to do, and a public meeting in Morgan to attend. I still have to attempt to get 9 hours of work in there (I know, doesn't seem like much, but sometimes it is a stretch) and luckily, my employer has been very gracious and understanding when I don't quite make it.

Want to know one of the things that has taken the hit from all this business? My house. Oh goodness, it is depressing. Every day I dump everything in the front room. There is a pile of books, papers, purses and bags, and shoes. Kitchen? seems like no matter how many loads of dishes I wash, there are always more waiting on the counter. Bathroom? We won't even go there. Laundry business? Let's just call it Mount Laundrimore. Maybe I should go try to remedy part of this mess instead of complaining to you all about.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

No-Knead Bread

Love homemade bread but hate kneading? Well, no knead with this recipe! (Ah, so punny. I know.)

I made bread over the weekend, so easy, so delicious, and only has four ingredients! (And no, HFCS is not one of them.)

I found the recipe from The Steamy Kitchen. So here's how you do it, my way.

Step 1: measure 1/2 cup whole wheat flour and 2 1/2 cups bread flour into a large mixing bowl.

Step 2: add 1 teaspoon kosher salt.

Step 3: curse a little in your head because you don't have instant yeast.

Step 4: measure out 1 1/2 cups warm water separately (which would normally be added directly to the flour mixture) and add a little over a teaspoon of regular yeast, to dissolve. Let it sit for a bit, then add to flour mixture, and stir it all up.

Step 5: furrow your brow and wring your hand a bit because your dough looks really dry. Cover the bowl with seran wrap, leave it out on the counter, and go lie in bed, worrying about whether or not it will turn out.

Step 6: the next evening (12-20 hours later) turn the dough out onto a well floured surface. pull in the edges to make a nice ball. (See Steamy Kitchen for pictures of this.) Make sure to wet your hands when you do this. Turn the ball, seam side down, onto a well-floured cotton towel, the smooth kind, not the bath-towel kind. Fold the edges of the towel over your dough, and put it in a bowl to rise for 2 more hours. (After two hours, I put it in the fridge, with the intention of baking in the morning.)

Step 7: Take your dough out of the fridge. Turn on your oven, up to 450 degrees. Put a covered dish in the oven, let it warm up in there for 30 minutes. Then do some crazy maneuvering and dump your dough ball into the dish. Now the seam is facing up, and will look super cool when it is all baked. Replace the lid, and put your bread in the oven, baking for 30 minutes.

Step 8: After 30 minutes, remove the dish and lid, squeal with excitement at how awesome the bread looks, and put it back in the oven, lidless, to bake for another 20 minutes.

Step 9: Remove your golden loaf, to cool on a wire rack. Wait anxiously, listening to the crust crackle, for it to cool a bit. Then cut of the end, slather it with something delicious (butter is always a good choice) and gobble it up.

Enjoy! Let me know if you try this, I'm interested to see what you think! (Also, I made this into more steps than it probably needs to be. Really, it is just mix, rest, shape, rest, bake. It took me three days, but I only spent a few minutes each day actually making the bread, the yeast did the rest of the work!)
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