Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yummy Dinner

Got a lot of fresh vegetables? Have I got a recipe for you! I love it because it's quick and flexible. Basically, you just take whatever veggies (and meat if you want it) and simmer them together.

Begin warming some broth over medium-high heat. (I used one can of chicken broth, and one can of vegetable broth because that's what I had on hand.)
If you're using meat, you should probably pre-cook it before adding it to the broth. (I used pre-cooked chicken sausage, so I just added it here while it was cold.)
Add the harder veggies early so they have time to soften. (e.g. carrots, celery, green beans if you like 'em soft. My roommate and I disagreed on this point.)
Cook those for a while before adding other veggies. (I used zucchini, onion, and corn.)
If you're adding potatoes, those should go in early with the meat and carrots. However, if you forget to put them in early (like I did), you can always microwave them for a few minutes to soften them and add them with the rest of the veggies.
Add salt, pepper, and any other seasonings you would like.
Toss in some chopped parsley before serving!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ten on Tuesday

Well, I am blatantly stealing a great idea from my new friend Rebecca and her corner of the blogosphere: Ten on Tuesday. Basically... I tell you ten random things that have been happening in my life recently! I suppose it could also be Five on Friday, or Six on Sunday... but since today's Tuesday, and I want to start today, but I don't want to do two, or twelve, or twenty... I think ten is just right. :)

1. My favorite thing about the Halloween season is candy corn and mellowcreme pumpkins. Mmmm, pure sugar! A close second on the Halloween-favorites list is dressing up. I haven't actually dressed up for Halloween in quite a few years, because I like to spread it out through the whole year. (Although since I'm a "grown-up" now, I sort of do my dressing up through really cool fashion accessories. Anyway.) I have an entire storage box filled with all manner of dress-up items. In college, my roommate and I used to dress up randomly and run around the halls distracting people from studying. Ah, those were the days...

2. Tuesdays are looooooong days for me. I'm going to have to get typing if I'm going to actually get this post in on Tuesday! I didn't get home until 11:20pm tonight.

3. Over the weekend, I (finally) made pickles and pesto! It took me a few tries to finally get all the materials that I needed (you can read about it here), but I got it all accomplished! As a result, the kitchen is a mess and I am putting off cleaning it. Give me another day or so and I will post pictures from the pickle-making up on my other blog. I didn't take any pictures of the pesto-making, but I have another batch of basil that's ready to be chopped, so I'll do more soon.

4. I've been noticing a trend lately in the movies I'm watching. I was going to do a whole blog post about it, but I never got around to it, so I'll give you a synopsis here. The trend I'm noticing is that people are watching - and loving - movies with morals. Even coming from a Christian background, Hollywood has such skill in entertainment that I find myself wanting the characters in movies and tv shows to get their happy endings rather than do the "right" thing. But there are a few filmmakers out there who are gradually turning the tides. For instance, if you haven't seen Bella, Once, or Waitress, to name a few... go watch them. Now.

5. Nectarines are my new favorite fruit. Especially locally grown nectarines that I get from the local CSA. I ate one today, and I swear it was better than Cherry Vanilla ice cream.

6. The sermon on Sunday was really great. Sometimes I'm so distracted thinking about youth group or Sunday school, or who I need to talk to after the service, that I don't spend much time paying attention to the sermon. (True confessions... don't tell my pastor!) Last week he started a sermon series based on Phillip Yancey's book What's So Amazing About Grace? and I was really impacted by this week's message. The text was from Hebrews 12:14-15.
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
I realized that in some of the significant relationships in my life, I haven't been showing much grace lately, which has some interesting implications. As Pastor John said, the deeper our appreciation for God's grace in our own lives, the more we are able to offer his grace to others. So if I'm having trouble giving grace to the people who are closest to me, what does that say about my relationship with God lately? Hmm...

7. Yikes! I'm only on number 7 and I have five minutes left to post this! Better write less per number.

8. My newest favorite way to waste time on the internet? Etsy. What's that? Etsy. It's like eBay / Amazon for crafty people! Everything on the whole stinkin' site is handmade by someone just like you and me. And let me tell you, there is some awesome stuff out there! Plus lots of people on Etsy are into the "green" thing and use lots of recycled or "upcycled" (new term for me) materials in their crafts. Check it out!

9. Speaking of ways to waste time... Today I revisited one of my guilty college pleasures: Snood. It's a horrible, horrible, time-sucking computer game. Don't play it. It will drag you in.

10. It's 11:59! I'll be better next week.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Projects on Hold

Lately it seems that everything I try to do has to get put on hold because I'm missing some essential ingredient for the project. We have a membership to a CSA, and every week when I go to pick out delicious home-grown fruits and veggies, I jealously eye the pickling cucumbers. Finally I decided to just go for it, and ordered some spice mixes to make your own refrigerator pickles! I was so excited that I rushed out to the CSA to pick up my cucumbers... and they didn't have any! Extreme disappointment. Never fear, I thought, I'll just buy some at a roadside stand. Before I did that, though, I realized that I'll need some place to put the pickles! At the moment I only have about half a dozen canning jars, and they're mostly being used to store craft things. So I set out yesterday to buy canning jars at the hardware store. First I went to Home Depot. No luck. Try WalMart, they said. Instead, I tried Lowes. And Target. Both void of any kind of canning products. So I went to WalMart. After wandering around the store for about a half hour, I finally broke down and asked someone where they would be. "Across from the Jewelery Counter," she said, "...if we have any left." I rushed over to find three lone canners, lots of pickling lime and salt, and no canning jars of any kind or size. Perhaps I shouldn't wait until the end of the growing season to start these things.

Still in the mood to "make" something, I decided to look up a recipe to make pesto, since I have a basil plant that is going crazy and I can't come up with enough things to make with it. And of course, wouldn't you know it, a main ingredient in pesto is pine nuts. Who just has pine nuts randomly laying around the house? Not me.

So today I'm going to try a different WalMart. I won't give up on you, pickles!

There was a bonus side note to all the running around looking for canning jars yesterday. While at Home Depot, I picked up a handful of paint samples!!! Those things always get me excited. So much possibility...

In the meantime, here are a couple cute magnets I made the other day. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Big Cat. Small Box.

In my new home, I have a cat (really someone else's cat).

This cat is inexplicably and irresistibly attracted to all forms of paper bags and cardboard boxes.

If you leave one laying around the house, he will undoubtedly find it, and climb inside.

Even if it's way too small.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Time for a little SALSA!

(I mean the eating kind, not the dancing kind!)

As you know, I and the roommate recently moved. We are now long-term housesitting (8 months or more) for a family in my church. Along with their lovely, globally decorated house, we also got a big yard with lots of space for my potted plants (and an actual HOSE to water them with instead of carting jugs of water from the kitchen!), a garage (only one car so we take turns), and a dog and a cat. Polly the dog is a whole story all by herself, but the cat Eanie Moe (who I usually just call "cat") has a delightful attraction to all kinds of bags and boxes, and he climbs in them and hangs out whenever he has the opportunity.

(You can't tell in this picture, but he's also quite cross-eyed! I don't know how the poor thing sees to walk.)

Anyway! On to the salsa. (And hopefully, an end to my over-use of parentheses in the above paragraph.)

ANOTHER great thing that we inherited by moving into this house was a CSA co-op membership! The family purchased a membership for the whole summer, so that even though they're gone now, we still get to go pick up a load of fresh produce once a week!!! Yum. Since there were four of them, and now there are only two of us, though, it means that we have LOTS of extra stuff. This week I decided to make some fresh salsa. Here's the recipe: (out of a Rachael Ray magazine, tweaked by me!)
Salsa Fresca
1 c packed cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1/2 onion
1 jalapeno chile
2 1/2 lbs. ripe tomatoes
juice of 1 lime

Basically, you just pulse together the first 5 ingredients in a food processor and then season with the lime juice and salt. I ended up using extra garlic (I like garlic!) and because I didn't have a jalapeno, I used 2 banana and 1 poblano peppers. I think making fresh salsa is all about tasting as you go, and making it work for you! Mine turned out quite yummy, AND I have enough tomatoes and peppers left to make another batch since I'll probably eat all this one in about a day!

Next week's produce pick-up day, I'm going to make PICKLES!!! Mmmmm...