Saturday, March 31, 2012

Things I Want

Hey guys - my birthday is coming up in a few short days.  Even though I'm long past the age of receiving hoards of gifts on my birthday, I've compiled this wishlist of things I'd like for my birthday.  Here they are, in no particular order.

Teacup Pomeranian
Via Pinterest
I know Chris doesn't want a dog, but even he is on board with this one.  He says it is too small to count, it's more like a guinea pig than a dog.  So you'd better believe I'm already researching breeders.

Floral Print Jeans
Via Pinterest
Yes, I know that I'll only be able to wear them for a few months before I am too ashamed to be seen in them.  I don't care.  I want them.

Bright Color Jeans
Via Pinterest
Again, I am well aware that there is a limited time frame in which I'll actually allow myself to wear these.  Doesn't matter.  I want what I want.

27" Monitor
My current monitor is tiny.  And now that my office/studio/art room is finally nearing completion, I feel like I should have a more impressive workspace.

Vintage Travel Bar
Via Etsy
This is just too cool.  It's cheap enough that I should probably just go ahead and buy it, but that's just my way.  Instead, I'll just pine over it until someone else buys it and then I will be sad.

Truly Madly Deeply Cutout Back Tee
Via Urban Outfitters
Again, I should probably just buy this.  But no, I'd rather wait until it's not available anymore and spend the rest of my life wishing I'd have purchased it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Meals 03/19 & 03/23

Hooray, we cooked some things again last week!  We tried creamy prosciutto pasta and beer can chicken.  Both of these meals were a rousing success.

The creamy prosciutto pasta was a lot more delicious than this photo would lead you to believe.  We used broccoli instead of the edamame called for in the original recipe.  We also used half heavy cream and half 2% milk.
Creamy Prosciutto Pasta
 I didn't actually make the beer can chicken, Chris did that while I was at work.  I don't think he used any one particular recipe, but rather combined several recipes into something of his own creation.  I was out gardening when he took it out of the oven, and he started dismantling it before I had a chance to snap a photo with the beer can still inside.  I did manage to get a picture before we hacked it all up and ate it.

Beer Can Chicken
We also had steamed green beans, which are not pictured.  When we had eaten our fill, I pulled off the rest of the edible bits (not sure what I am going to do with it - maybe chicken salad or chicken & dumplings) and threw it in a pot with some herbs and spices to make chicken stock!

Simmering chicken stock
Finished chicken stock
In retrospect, I wish I would have used a bigger pot so I could have gotten more stock out of the carcass (ew, I hate that word but I don't really know what else to call it).  Ah well, now I know for next time.  I put it in the fridge to cool, and easily scraped the fat off the top when it solidified, which was pretty neat.  Not entirely sure what I'm going to do with this, either.  Maybe make some chicken noodle soup or just straight up drink it as a snack.  It made the whole house smell amazing, by the way.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Green Things

Over the weekend I went to Black Creek Greenhouse with Kim to pick up pots for the water garden projects we intend to make.  There'll be more on that later when we actually make them - it's still too cold out for the water plans we want to use.  For now, though, enjoy these photos I took at the greenhouse:

It's so refreshing to see so much green!

Glazed terracotta pots.
Fairy garden!
Detail shot of the fairy vegetable garden.
Detail shot of the fairy fountain.

I think I could happily live in a greenhouse.  Everything is just so green and fresh and amazing.  And so warm!  We've been having such great weather around here lately, but now it seems March has reverted back to its old ways.  So unfortunate.

I didn't buy any plants at the greenhouse since I want to start most of my vegetables from seeds.  And it's still too early to plant most store-bought seedlings outside anyway.  I did, however, finish clearing out the vegetable garden from last year.

I also planted the sugar peas, set up the fences for them to climb, and marked off the layout for the rest of the vegetables when the time comes. 

Wanna know what goes where?  1) sugar peas, 2) corn, 3) zucchini, 4) broccoli, 5) cauliflower, 6) carrots, 7) beets.  As mentioned in my previous post, the rest of my veggies will be going in to containers.  I haven't quite sorted out the container situation yet, but that's okay.  I've got plenty of time.  It is, however, soon time to start my seeds inside.  Want to know where I am getting my info for planting dates and methods?  I'm combining the seed starting and container information from Backyard Gardening Blog and the charts for when to plant seeds and transplants outside from these charts from Esbenshade's.

That's all I've got so far.  There should be another update soon when I start the seeds inside and/or buy a container and start the lettuce seeds outside.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

It Begins

We were pretty bad about cooking meals last week (the only meal we ate at home was delivery pizza), so unfortunately I don't have a recipe post for you this week.  However, we can talk about something equally as exciting - this year's vegetable garden!  Yes, it's a little early.  But with the amazingly warm and beautiful weather we've been having, can you blame me for being anxious to get outside and grow something wonderful?  I don't think you can.

My original plan was to expand the garden again.  The first spring I lived here, it was pretty small.  Last year I doubled the size, and my intention to double it again, expanding it out into the parking area.  However, in
order to do that I'd have to move the fence.  If I move the fence, I'm going to have to figure out how to move the gate. And all of this will make my yard a weird asymmetrical shape, which makes me uncomfortable.  So I don't think I am going to expand after all.  But I was pretty excited about growing a lot of vegetables, and there's no way to fit everything in the current vegetable patch.  So I'm going to try my hand as some container gardening.  I've been doing a lot of research and I think this is completely
do-able.  Here's the list so far:

Sugar Peas

Green Beans

I'm thinking about growing some pumpkins and butternut squash out in the parking area, since I don't want them vining all over and smothering all the other plants in the garden.  But Chris has expressed some doubts about this plan, so I'm not sure yet.  I really don't know what he has against the idea of our own personal pumpkin patch.  I'm a bit up in the air about the corn, since I was so disappointed when all my beautiful ears were ruined by bugs last year, but I'm willing to try again.  After all, I'm still planting cucumbers again and I have not yet grown one successfully in the three years I've been trying.  Kim had a lot of luck with cucumbers in a container last year, so I am hopeful.  I tried them in a container the first year, but that was at the apartment and they were probably not getting adequate sun on our tiny balcony.

So far I've torn down most of the big stuff from last year's garden and have gotten started on about a third of the weeds.  I really should have done all of this last fall, but alas.  I want to get the sugar peas in the ground as soon as possible, so I'm hoping to have all the dirt turned and ready to go by the weekend.  I also want to get the lettuce started, so I suppose I'd better buy a container for it.  Kim and I are going to the greenhouse again this weekend (we went last weekend as well, just for scouting purposes), so that shouldn't be a problem.  Or maybe I'll use one of the various empty pots I've got sitting out on the side porch.  I wonder if any of them are large enough...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday Tunes

This week's tune is a cover of Coldplay's Paradise by The Piano Guys.  Isn't it just the most amazing thing?

Peponi (Paradise) - The Piano Guys

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A Chronicle of Last Night's Sleep

11:16 pm - Got into bed.  Chris was still downstairs painting, but Mako joined me.  Fell asleep almost immediately.

12:42 am - Was woken up by the loud sounds coming from Chris (i.e. snoring).

02:23 am - was woken up by the sound of Mako jumping onto the lid of the snake tank from our bed and then attempting to dig through the screen to get at said snake.

03:12 am - was woken up by snores again.

04:01 am - was woken up by the sound of the snake slithering around.  It was the dry, rasping sort of slithering noise one reads about in horror novels. Was unable to get back to sleep for almost an hour.

05:45 am - woke up for no discernable reason.

06:36 am - woken up by alarm clock, was forced to drag my exhausted self out of bed to face another day.  Even though I was very tired, it was a relief to know that the night was over.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Oh boy, another cooking post

It would seem that marriage has turned me downright domestic.  Weird, right?  But this cooking thing is actually a lot of fun.  Who knew?  Here are the recipes I made last week.  I actually remembered to take photos this time!

Cinnamon Thyme Chicken

Cinnamon Thyme Chicken
This was pretty okay, overall.  It wasn't quite salty enough for me.  And I probably would use less coriander and more cinnamon.  And fresh thyme instead of dried.  I think Chris liked this one more than I did.

Winter Vegetable Pasta With White Wine And Parmesan

Winter Vegetable Pasta With White Wine And Parmesan
This was also pretty okay.  Well, I guess better than pretty okay.  The only thing I didn't like about it was the kale.  I know that everyone on the internet raves about how great it is, but I really didn't like the texture at all.  Again, I would use fresh thyme instead of dried.  I don't like the weird crunch the dried stuff adds.  It is like eating pine needles.  But maybe that's just me.

So, there you go.  I know that, for most people, two homemade meals a week is not very impressive, but it is kind of a big deal for me.  We're trying to go out to dinner less and also to eat more healthy foods and I feel like we're making pretty good progress in that direction so far.

Friday, March 9, 2012

More Cooking Adventures

Chris and I did a bunch of cooking again last week. Well, a bunch for us anyway. We ate at home Monday, Tuesday, and yesterday (Sunday). This is an impressive feat for us; as I've mentioned before, we are chronic restaurant patrons. Again, I forgot to take any photos. I'll try harder to remember next week.

On Monday, we had pickle chicken. We've had this before and liked it a lot. It still looked just as gross as the first time, but it was still delicious. It was a little bit saltier than I would have preferred, though. I'll have to try low sodium chicken broth next time. Or better yet, maybe I'll make my own.

On Tuesday, we ate butter and dill salmon. It was amazing! We used fresh dill (from the grocery store - unfortunately none of my herbs survived the transition indoors at the end of the summer), which was so much better than dried in this recipe.

On Saturday, I made cheddar, beer, and mustard pull-apart bread. It is the first time I've ever made bread by myself and it turned out really well. I'm super impressed with myself. One side of the top got a little burnt, but that is entirely the fault of my ancient oven. It never cooks anything evenly. Maybe we'll buy a new stove as well when we buy the fridge.

On the subject of the fridge, our new door has been installed (you can see the door, the hardware, and the installation process on the Hateful Hovel blog). So I guess we'll probably be getting our new refrigerator pretty soon. I am excited about it, don't get me wrong, but I just hate spending all that money. Ah well, I guess it will be worth it in the end.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sketch 10

Materia, Kathleen, Mercedes, and Francis
Materia and her daughters from Fall On You Knees.  I'm going fan art crazy lately.