Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kitchen Redo: The wallpaper

We are starting the long process of redoing our kitchen--the bane of many a home owner. It started out like this before we moved in: (Note the carpet on the floor and yellow wallpaper!)

And we made it look like this, very lived in mind you:

We want it to look like this:

Just kidding! We'd be happy with a window, but I'll settle for no wallpaper, wood floors, and lighter walls. We started the first step: the walls! Under the yellow plaid wallpaper is a red flowered wallpaper that is stuck to the drywall. It actually rips the drywall when we remove it. We are not new to this since our bedroom was similar. We used a wall paper stripper and pulled!

Now wallpaper free, we will sand and spackle to make the dry wall smooth and paint it with an oil based primer. Andy will actually do that part while I leave for a bit since the smell makes me sick. After that, we'll just have to paint. We are debating between a green kitchen,

or an orange one.

We'll keep you posted!

Have a great week!

Veggie Fried Rice Bowl, the Recipe!

Without further ado, the Veggie Fried Rice Bowl recipe taken from The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook by Kim O'Donnel.

Veggie Fried Rice Bowl
We've all been there: Tonight's the night you've got just 20 minutes to put dinner on the table. With some cold cooked rice on hand (make a pot the night before), you can whip up the bestest and fastest food there is. This version defies old stereotypes and delivers light, bright results, a workful of colorful veg that still have their crunch. 

Note: This dish requires cold cooked rice, so plan to make ahead, at least 4 hours in advance. Chop and prep all ingredients before even thinking of turning on the wok.

Makes three or four 2 cup servings. 

2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 teaspoons sesame oil
2 large eggs, beaten (plan B: 1/2 cup toasted chopped cashews)
1/2 cup shallots, diced (about 2 bulbs)...we used onion
Fresh chili peppers, seeded and minced (use what works best for your heat tolerance)
1 Tablespoon minced garlic (2-3 cloves)
1 cup diced carrots (about 2 carrots) or chopped fresh green beans
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
4 cups cold cooked rice (about 1 1/3 cups uncooked rice)
1 cup mixed celery, diced, and baby bok choy, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Here's What You Do
1. Heat a wok or a deep skillet over high heat.
2. Place 1 Tablespoon of the vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon of the sesame oil, and the eggs in the wok. Tilt the wok so that the eggs cover the entire surface, making it thin as a pancake. Cook for about 45 seconds; the egg will set quickly. With a thin-edged flipper or tongs, fold the egg in half and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into thin strips.
3. Add the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil, followed by the shallots, chili pepper, and garlic and stir-fry for about 20 seconds. Add the carrots and bell pepper, lower the heat to medium, and stir-fry for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture begins to soften.
4. Add the rice and celery mixture. With a wooden spoon, break up any clumped rice as needed. Add the soy sauce and stir well, and cook for an additional 3 minutes or so. Stir in the egg strips.
5. Turn off the heat. Stir in the cilantro, if using, and drizzle the remaining 2 teaspoons of sesame oil.

Note: You may make this dish without eggs. If so, eliminate the teaspoon of sesame oil at the beginning of the recipe and proceed with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. going straight to adding vegetables and aromatics. Stir in the cashews just at the end, before serving.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fried Rice, the healthy way

I received a package in the mail the other day. I was delightfully surprised that my good friends Tiffany and Justin, all the way in DC, mailed us a cookbook! It is called The Meat Lover's Meatless Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes Carnivores will Devour by Kim O'Donnel.

I was complaining to Tiffany that I needed some more protein in my diet, being a vegetarian, and how many eggs can a person eat! I was delighted to receive this little nugget of inspiration that is filled many protein packed meals.

We are going to try a handful of recipes in the next few weeks, but I really liked the Veggie Fried Rice Bowl. And it's super simple. First you heat up wok with vegetable oil and sesame oil and fry a scrambled egg in it. Then you remove the egg and cut it up for later. Then you add some great veggies like carrots, peppers, a leak, and some bok choy, or probably whatever you want.  And don't forget cold rice! That's the secret. We actually had cooked brown rice a few days before just for this meal and it turned out perfect.

We added some fried tofu for some extra protein umph.

We mixed everything together.

And fed it to a hungry Amy!

It was muy excelente!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Crafty Things, Baby Style

In the last year a lot of babies have come into my life. Friends and family have definitely given me oodles of ooh-and-ahh moments...and I just had to give back. I made some of these awesome gifts for these babies in my life and they are too cute not to share.

I found this great fabric cube pattern here. They don't really have a blocky look so much as a rounded cube, but they are still fun and make fantastic juggling balls! I tried to play around with the textures, colors and sounds. In addition to each side being a different fabric, in one cube I put a bell and in another I made a crinkly side. I think they also taste delicious because I'm pretty sure the first place these things went was in the mouth!

It's never too early to learn that everything has its place and every place has its thing! These fabric buckets, made from some soft flannel and an old pair of jeans, is a soft and safe place to store anything, including fabric cubes! I found the pattern here, but made it much bigger. The circumference is about 12 inches I think. It can also be used as a hiding spot for small children and cats!

And for the little niece in my life, how can you pass up a cute little pink dress? I can't! When I saw this onesie dress, I  knew I had to make it. I didn't really know what I was doing, but it turned out lovely. I also made it pretty big, since babies grow fast, but also because I thought it would be a cute spring dress and I made it in the winter. Not pictured is the cute bloomers made from the bottom of the onesie I cut off. 

I love crafting, but baby crafting is way more fun! I think its because everything is cuter when it's mini-sized. So what will be next?

Molded Crayons 
Party Turtles
Stick Horse
Pumpkin Hat
The possibilities are endless! 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Where to Begin?

Its been a year since I've last updated? Where do I start?

We bought a house! It's a funky little house, but we like it.

It has great views, which we love. I'm so glad we can see the mountains and the sunset. This photo was obviously taken in the Spring. Right now we have a few feet of snow!

We've adopted a dog, Allie (she is my brothers and we have her while he is in the army).
She's pretty cute.

I became and Aunt! My brother Travis is now the proud father of a little girl named Anne.

She's a cutie and I can't wait to watch her grow up.

Andy and I took a trip this Fall to the beach to watch Justin and Tiffany get married. Beautiful all around. Congrats you two!

So that's a quick year in review! Hope to be more current as time goes on.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Were Moving Up

Finally, after 3 years of living in Vermont, I got the job I came here for. It is with the Green Mountain Farm to School Program as their Education Coordinator!

I will be working with schools during and after school to increase garden education, teach children about healthy eating, and getting local food into school meals. Both Andy and I are very excited for this new change in our lives.

The job is about an hour away though, so we might be looking into moving again. We'll be going into the Northeast Kingdom, pretty much the middle of nowhere...unless you count mountain expanses, numerous lakes, and the Canadian border. We'll be far from the city, but it will be a great adventure!

Monday, December 21, 2009

I've been cheating on you

I must admit, I tried out another blog location. I was unhappy with how this site was organized and how information was put on. I posted something here:

I'm going to keep looking around and if I move for good, I'll let you know!

Christmas is coming so quickly! We have just two days of work left before we hit the road. We hope to be in town for a week and then go to Washington, D.C. for New Years. My very good friend has lived there for years and I haven't visited in awhile. We are getting very excited about our "vacation," but Andy's mostly excited that he doesn't have to work!

Since it is the holiday season, I wanted to give my employees (all three of them) something to say thank you. We decided to go on a weekend baking adventure for these:

After making 200 rolls, I want to eat them all! And they taste even better than they look. If you want to try them yourselves, check it out:
Merry Christmas my awesome Afterschool Teachers! You ROCK!!!!!