Thursday, July 26, 2012

progress!

craigslist, overstock and rue la la :) we've been busy shopping for deals! the end of the month is the best time for craigslist, since people are preparing to move. and rue la la has had a white sale a while back, but it's just now coming in... this was my first overstock experience - $2.95 shipping!! on six dining chairs!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

putting up, part II


in my ongoing quest to reduce food waste, i spent my rainy sunday afternoon juicing and making pizza. sounds weird, but those two things are the fastest ways for us to use up produce. 


i used the surplus of fruits to make super yummy juice: peach, plum, blueberry.  i bought a breville juicer two years ago when i went on a cleanse after a particularly bad deadline. the kind where you eat greasy pizza and takeout every night of the week and work until late, six or seven days a week. where you condition your body to crave sugary, caffeinated drinks and candy to get you through the long days. anyway, i did the cleanse to recondition my body to normal. very hard, but worth it. so since then, i have LOVED fresh juice. especially anything with peaches - peach, apple, and grapefruit is the best! the colors are awesome and it gets frothy at the top. perfect sweetness. strange photo, i know, but this is the juice right when it comes out of the juicer. love!


and i make pizza to use up veggies & herbs on their way out. no photo, because it was ugly (sorry!). it had leftover grilled rosemary chicken, basil, spring onions, and chopped tomato with mozzarella and parmesan on my homemade whole wheat crust. 

we also had a productive house shopping weekend: dining room sideboard and master bedroom dresser off craigslist, 1950s advertising proof lithograph from the georgetown flea, and dining room chairs from overstock.  can't wait to finish a room to post the photos! : )



Saturday, July 21, 2012

i have a tomato!

the back patch is growing!


this is the small patch between the large tree and fence, before i cleared it out. all ivy and thorns, over gravel. with one peony and a bunch of daylilies.


this is the patch after clearing. i planted tomatoes (yellow, orange, red, mini & big) and eggplant. i didn't get rid of all the gravel because that would be a LOT of work. i'm going to slowly get rid of it. by next year, i'll have a better bed.



this is the patch today! the tomatoes are doing well, there is a green one already on the large plant in the corner : ) 



Friday, July 20, 2012

putting up

update on the pink: thank you for your support! it is staying : ) we'll start working on getting it furnished now! goal is to have it ready by labor day, when my mom and sister come to visit.

so i've mentioned my farm share before... but i also travel for work. and if i'm not traveling, i'm working really long hours. which means i end up throwing away more food than i'm comfortable with - it's embarrassing the amount of food waste i throw out! my goal this season is to NOT waste so much (you know, besides the black banana i just put in the trash).

we had a TON of zucchini and a bunch of green beans that we were not going to eat before i went to north carolina this week, so i decided to freeze them for later.


i cut up the zucchini into cubes, since that's the way i typically use it. and i washed and cut the beans into the size i prefer (about an inch long).  then i blanched them - boil in UNSALTED water until al dente, then immediately place into an ice bath.


i just put a ton of ice in a measuring cup and used a slotted spoon to remove the veggies from the boiling water after about 3 minutes and into the ice bath.  i used the same water for both batches - the internet said i could! - to save clean-up time. then the cut, blanched veggies went onto wax paper to cool a bit. 


i put them in the freezer, exactly as shown.  after a couple of hours, i transferred them into separate freezer bags (next year, i'll do glass containers - one step at a time to reduce waste!).  freezing them spread out first eliminates the giant, icy clump that could happen and makes it easier for me to use a little bit at a time.  which is better, since i'm usually cooking for one or two. i did the same thing for the blueberries - minus the blanching. i just washed, dried, and spread them on a cookie sheet. once individually (mostly) frozen, i switched them into freezer bags. this is really important for the blueberries, because i only use a few at a time: oatmeal, smoothies, baking, yogurt. 

loving my adventures in home-making : )



Sunday, July 15, 2012

Saturday, July 14, 2012

miss piggy's room


painting and color theory are things i'm supposed to be good at; i went to architecture school, i work in design, i took art. i had private watercolor lessons where i wasn't allowed to use white, black or brown but had to make those colors out of the main colors, for goodness' sake. i actually enjoy it - it's relaxing. i make myself a big drink - like the iced cafe au lait above : ) - and turn the music up loud. and even better if i can convince someone else to do it with me. our house came fully stocked with paint supplies in the garage: brushes, rollers, trays and liners... the joys of a benevolent seller that lives cross-country and has been renting the house out : ) all we need to do to paint a room is run to the hardware store that is 3 blocks away. it couldn't be easier.

i wanted to paint the guest room white, with a whisper of pink. i have friends with gorgeous pink rooms (alycyn & olivia), and i had seen it online... refreshing but relaxing, a tad feminine.  i want to pair it with dove grey and crisp white linens, a metal bed, and a tall, white lacquered dresser. maybe an industrial bedside lamp, mounted to the wall. simple vacation photos or framed black and white family photos on the wall, and a plush rug.  our mirrored side table as a bedside table holding a walking guide to georgetown, smart trip cards for the bus, freshly cut hydrangeas, and a glass water carafe.  i had a vision.

this is not it. this screams "newborn baby girl" and phil is horrified.  he literally said that it looks like miss piggy's skin.  i had ace hardware match farrow & ball's mallow, which looked perfect as a tiny swatch. but as it started going up in the dark room, i just couldn't keep defending my choice (phil was questioning me as soon as i took it from the guy at the hardware store - "you're painting my room PINK???").  so we're off to a housewarming party, hoping that as it dries it either mellows out or will make a great base coat.  oops... thank goodness this didn't happen when i blindly chose colors for the professional painters when we refinished the walls downstairs!  crossing my fingers to be pleasantly surprised when we get home tonight.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

the freshman 10

one of the unexpected side effects of our first house: weight gain. yes, seriously. between house projects, my longer commute, and general laziness, we have put on 5-10 pounds each - in two months. sad faces. and the more i eat popeye's, the more i want it. trouble! and phil's knee has been swelling, so i have also been using it as an excuse to not exercise... hehe : ) anyway, the honeymoon is over and it is time to start being healthy again! 

i already get a farm share once a week: a file box full of veggies delivered to my office every wednesday from a farm in pennsylvania. this is the second CSA i've tried, and this one wins since they deliver to my office!  i've found this to be the most cost-effective way for us to get fresh, seasonal, local produce on a regular basis.  as much as i love the farmer's market, i am not good about waking up early to go every week. plus, it encourages me to cook with new foods. this week, our box included: a bunch of spring onions, beets, swiss chard, zucchinis, blueberries, yellow plums, purple plums, and red potatoes.  nothing too crazy, but i would have never bought yellow plums!  and it is time to resume the exercising. hopefully it helps with the terrible sleeping schedule i've been keeping, too. like i said, i am definitely off the wagon!

yesterday, we went to the pool because it was over 100 degrees (again).  then we came back and made moscow mules.  if you have not had a moscow mule, you are missing out! i used to drink them in denver, but rediscovered my passion at jack rose. the drink is supposed to be served in a special frosty brass mug, but jack rose had too many stolen...i don't know if they're even still serving the drink on the menu. anyway, making them at home is very easy and MUCH less expensive. and you can serve them in coffee mugs, to make it fancy. which, clearly, i am. so you pour 1-2 shots of vodka over lots and lots of ice, then add another shot's worth of lime juice, and top off the glass with ginger beer. ta-da. that's it! alycyn, beth, and i enjoyed a few of them pre-dinner because they are such a great thirst quencher. but take it easy and have some water, too - especially if you made yours with two shots! 


we've been grilling since it is so hot, and last night was no exception. phil grilled up some skirt steak, and i made roasted potatoes and a chimichurri sauce for the meat.  it was a great, low-cost, (fairly) low-calorie meal that we were lucky enough to enjoy with alycyn.  we made our meal into little fajitas, too, with tortillas and tomatoes. the sauce is a creamy sauce that tastes a lot richer than it is. this is an approximate recipe; i don't measure and i make it up as i go along, so let me know if it doesn't turn out! this makes a few cups of the sauce, which was enough for three people last night, plus enough for phil and i to use with salmon for tonight's dinner. also, it is REALLY garlicky - so reduce if you don't love garlic (like i do!)

CHIMICHURRI SAUCE
4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1/2 to 3/4 bunch parsley, washed and de-stemmed
1-2 cups other mixed herbs, washed (i used basil, rosemary, sage, and chives - because that is what was in my garden)
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon water
3 tablespoons olive oil

put everything into the blender, in the order listed. pulse until mixed, and add olive oil or water if not runny enough. i like a little body to my sauce, but you can thin it out if you want. i do part water to reduce the fat, but olive oil is good for you, so you can use all oil if you want. the great thing is you don't have to chop anything. soooo easy. 

we loved it! : ) 

this morning, phil and i went for a hike through glover-archbold park. it's so peaceful! i highly recommend it, for those who haven't been. and now my sweet friend mary is over for crafting on a rainy afternoon. we had a nice, low-key (low-cost!) weekend with friends: free pool, free hike, and eating at home. off to make my smoothies for the week... i think i'm going to try a plum smoothie to use up some of the CSA fruit : ) 


Monday, July 2, 2012

lights out

worst thing about the neighborhood: overhead utility lines. storm blew through last Friday, and our power was knocked out by the wind. they are expecting it to be out for a week! so many beautiful old trees down, and we are so lucky none fell on our block! no damage yet (except spoiled food!). not everyone was so lucky... I'll try to get a photo of a ridiculously large tree down near georgetown's campus. cars were smashed all along Massachusetts ave.

here's hoping the power is restored early - it is not dropping below 90 degrees all week! so grateful we are blessed with generous, sweet friends who are letting us stay with them : ) have I mentioned how blessed we are?? I cannot say it enough. thank goodness all our friends emerged unscathed and the power will be back on soon.

...next potential purchase: battery-powered large fan...