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21  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Healthy Eats-Along 2012 on: January 31, 2012 06:38:41 PM
I just want to let you all know that your talk about quinoa a while back, and how yummy it was piqued my interest. So today I bought some at the store. I can't wait to try it out and make these quinoa patties I found a recipe for. They seem really versatile (add whatever veggies and spices you want, topped but whatever sauce or avocado or whatever your want), so I feel like I could eat them differently every week and still be eating healthy. I was going to try it out tonight, but then I got caught up making a container for our new compost pile (to keep the dogs out of it), and I'm going out to birthday dinner tonight. Maybe tomorrow... I'll post and let you all know how to it turns out!

I want to thank you all, also, for inspiring me to try new foods. I've definitely been a picky eater my whole life, but it is severely compounded by the fact that I don't like trying new things. But you all make all of this food sound so YUMMY that I just have to at least try it! Add to that me cooking in the kitchen, and you guys have been amazing at inspiring me to get out of my lazy, close-minded rut and try something new!
22  HOME SWEET HOME / Exterior Decorating / Yard Art / Gardening: Discussion and Questions / Tomatoes, Sunflowers, and Rose Hips! Oh my! on: January 30, 2012 03:38:00 PM
So I decided that since today was so lovely (70 and breezy here in lovely Southern California), I would go take a look at what's ready for harvest in our yard.

I started with the little lemon bush we have. It's a sad little thing in the front yard. It would probably be much bigger and healthier if it had more space (it's growing in the small dirt patch between the walkway and the driveway. Only a few of the lemons were ripe, but that's ok. I couldn't eat a whole ton all at once anyway.

Next I went out back and checked on the avocado tree. Nothing ready, but they're starting to grow bigger and plump up (can't wait til they're ready!!).

Then I went over to our monster cherry tomato bush. Sean's step-dad used to plant cherry tomatoes between all the rose bushes when he lived here. He would have to tear them out and replant every year, because they never made it longer than a season. He hasn't lived here in a year and a half, and I haven't replanted anything. There are only two cherry tomato bushes left, and one of them is kind of sad-looking (probably needs a trellis to climb up). The other one, however, decided to take over on of the rose bushes it was planted next to. Now this plant is a monster rose/tomato hybrid, and a monster to try to harvest. You have to wear thick gloves because the rose bush is all tangled with the tomatoes, and it's just not nice. However, the tomatoes go CRAZY. They love it! I got a huge bunch of them - awesome considering most people aren't even planting their tomatoes yet!

Also, a random orange that fell over the wall from the neighbor's yard. Score!



A while back, Sean noticed this weird "weed" growing in the middle of the yard. He was cleaning up, and decided to pull it. "WAIT!" I said, "It looks like it's going to bloom or something! Let's just give it a week or two and see what it does. There aren't any other plants nearby, so it isn't hurting anything to leave it." So we waited. Sure enough a week or so later, it turned into a sunflower! We have no idea where it came from, or how the seed came to be planted in our backyard. We don't really water any of the plants (they all seem to be doing just fine without our help!), so it's just one big mystery how it got there and survived.

Today I decided to harvest it. I looked up online how long to wait and when to harvest and what not (the flower has long-since died, and all the petals fell off - I was afraid I had waited too long, and would lose all the seeds). Turns out, I waited just the right amount of time! Awesome!!



I'm amazed at just how many seeds came out of this one sunflower! I'm not quite sure what to do with them all.

Also, I was looking at our rose bushes. Most of them aren't blooming right now - it hasn't been warm enough. But one of them has these big giant rose hips. Does anyone know how/when to harvest those? I tried looking it up, but I don't know which type of roses they are (all of them are different, and they aren't labelled or anything). Here's a picture of some of the rose hips now.

23  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Healthy Eats-Along 2012 on: January 30, 2012 03:05:10 PM
Ooh! Ooh! Pick me!

I haven't tried these out yet, because our avocados aren't ready to harvest yet this year, but I checked on them today, and they're growing. It sounds soooo good, and way better for you than using all mayonnaise and mustard. I would probably try to sub in more avo and take out the mayo altogether.

Avocado Deviled Eggs: Makes 12 servings.

Ingredients:

6 hard boiled eggs
1 medium avocado, diced small
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
Salt to taste

Directions:

Cut boiled eggs in half lengthwise and carefully scoop out yolks. Mash yolks with a fork. Stir in diced avocados, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, and salt to taste. Fill egg whites with yolk mixture and place on a serving plate. Sprinkle with cayenne or fresh, chopped parsley.
24  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Healthy Eats-Along 2012 on: January 27, 2012 11:05:00 AM
Hmmm I haven't had pickles in forever, but they used to be one of my favorite snack foods... May have to look in to that.

As for grocery shopping, I recently came across this blog http://zerowastehome.blogspot.com/ and have started incorporating the ideas into my life, and especially, into my kitchen. As you all know, I can't cook. For shit. However, this blog has really inspired me - our current ways of shopping and buying are not sustainable and what not.

Sean and I have started shopping in the bulk sections of stores like Sprouts and Whole Foods (a little pricier than Sprouts, but way closer to our house). It means no more frozen dinners and cans of spaghetti-os for me, though, and I couldn't rely on Sean to cook ALL the time. So this week, I cooked THREE WHOLE DISHES ALL BY MYSELF! (Trust me, when all I can do is hard-boil eggs (and that's only a recent accomplishment in and of itself) it's HUGE).

Wednesday I made Cheesy Potato Soup - TOTALLY DELICIOUS. I didn't put as much cheese, so it was healthier.

Last night I made Chicken Fried Burgers for Sean, and Butter Garlic Pasta for me. - Burgers fell apart cuz I've never made a burger before, and Sean wasn't home to show me how. The pasta was pretty good. It had green olives on it. Next time I would sub them for black olives, because they're milder, but it was still good. Also, didn't use as much butter as the recipe called for (well, didn't use as much ANYTHING as the recipe called for, considering I split it in 4).

I can post the recipes if anyone's interested.
25  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Healthy Eats-Along 2012 on: January 23, 2012 10:09:20 PM
I'm going to try to drink more water. When I feel hungry, I'm going to drink a glass of water BEFORE I start making food. I've heard the statistics that "some outrageous percent of Americans is at least somewhat dehydrated," and I /know/ I am one of them! All I really drink is water (except occasionally when we go out to eat, I might treat myself with a no-caffeine Sprite or Rootbeer. But even still, I know I don't drink enough.
26  Craft Swaps / ARCHIVE OF SWAPS THAT ARE TOTALLY FINISHED / Re: Grimm TV/Fairy-tale Swap (SIGNUP 1/23/2012 - 2/3/2012; MAIL BY 3/5/2012 on: January 19, 2012 10:56:09 PM
Ugh! I'm so torn! I love the show, and I have so many ideas on what to make... I just don't know if I have the time to do the swap. Grrrrrr
27  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Healthy Eats-Along 2012 on: January 19, 2012 10:46:01 PM
So I was hanging out at my mom's house today (cuz... that's what you do when you're 21 and unemployed, haha), and she was making lunches for my dad for the week. I sat down to a bowl of it, and then proceeded to DEMAND the recipe (this coming from the girl who isn't allowed in the kitchen for fear of burning the house down!).

1/2 cup bell peppers
1/2 cup onions
1 can of artichokes
1 bag of mushrooms (just the pre-sliced white or brown ones from the store)
1/2 bag of meatless meatballs (vegetarian. just sub in normal meatballs for the carnivores)
1/3 bag of penne noodles (or whatever)
1 jar of ragu
2 heaping tablespoons basil pesto

Bell pepper and onions in the pan first, add a little drizzle of olive oil, add the artichokes and mushrooms. Meatballs cook in the microwave at the same time. Noodles cooking in boiling water. When the noodles are ALMOST done, drain and transfer to the veggie pan, then add the sauce and basil pesto. Warm for a minute and done!

She says the reason she hates making pasta is because it's all carbs. So by bulking up the sauce with edible stuff instead of just spices, you need less pasta, and you still feel full. I ate a small bowl of it, and I really wanted to go back for seconds (and thirds and fourths!!), but I resisted because it was my dad's lunches for the week... Now I just have to convince the man-child in my house that veggies are good and that he should make them for me (cuz I still don't cook!).
28  HOME SWEET HOME / Pet-Related Crafts: Completed Projects / Re: Simple Pet Bed (link to tutorial) on: January 17, 2012 03:05:23 PM
I've never really had any problems with guinea pigs chewing fleece bedding, or fabric toys. Their teeth are designed for grinding, so occasionally they will chew on the cage bars or the edges of their huts, but not really on anything fabric...
29  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Craftalongs / Re: Abundance of Embroidery thread craftalong-2011 Ongoing on: January 16, 2012 10:30:39 PM
French knots? Seriously? It took me forever to learn how to do them, and even so I avoid them if I can. You, madam, are a goddess!
30  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Re: Healthy Eats-Along 2012 on: January 16, 2012 11:24:17 AM
Health prompt for this week:

Please share one healthy recipe you either already love or are going to try soon.

Review last week:

How did your goal from last week go? What are you going to do to keep working on it this week?

Review: I was way under on my calories most days (like, 500-700 under), but also under on my protein. I only hit my protein mark once. Yesterday I was 15 over on calories (damn you Starbucks gift card!). For this week, I really want to keep striving to get closer to that protein goal. I've been keeping my eye out for foods that are higher in protein (been eating a lot of PB&J sandwiches). Also, I want to make sure I eat breakfast every day. I think that's probably why I've been so far under my calorie goal. If I don't eat under 2 in the afternoon, and only eat 2 meals, I won't have enough calories by bedtime.

Recipe: I honestly can't cook to save my life. My parents to this day won't let me in their kitchen for fear I'll burn the house down. However, Sean and I attempted to bake our own bread this week. When his parents moved to Washington, they left behind a bread maker. All you do is pour in the ingredients for whichever type of bread you're making, and press start. 3 hours later you have a freshly-cooked (good for you!!) 2-lb loaf of bread.

We did this after starting to read the ingredients on the back of the bags of bread at the store. There are so many preservatives and additives and 'enrichments' in that crap! I couldn't even read half the list!!

So we started with the simplest recipe - white bread. 6 ingredients. Flour, Salt, Sugar, Milk, Butter, and Yeast. THAT'S IT! I was amazed. It isn't the greatest bread for making sandwiches (maybe next time we'll try the wheat), and it has no preservatives, so you have to keep it in the fridge. BUT it makes a good piece of toast, or garlic bread for a dinner side. Plus, I love the idea that you can put the ingredients in the thing in the morning, go to work, and come home to a fresh-baked loaf of bread. Makes the house smell amazing!
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