Sometimes it's time to do a home remodeling project. Sometimes one of you is very patient and careful and generally awesome at these projects. Sometimes the other one of you really hates these projects and likes to moan the whole time about how she just wants it to be done RIGHT NOW.
Sometimes you just need to give that someone a snack and put her in a time out for 5 minutes. Watch as she returns with a better attitude and gets it done.
This recipe makes two open face sandwiches. Perfect paired with a salad for a light lunch for two. Or a protein pick-me-up for a crabby lady. Who might have bumped her head really hard four times during prep work for said DIY project. Just sayin'.
2 pieces of bread
1 medium tomato
1 small can crab meat
2 tablespoons mayonnaise or Vegenaise
A few dashes of hot sauce
2 tablespoons smoked Gouda, shredded
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped green onion
4 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
Fresh cracked black pepper
step one: Toast the bread and set aside.
two: Cut the tomato into thin slices.
three: Combine the rest of the ingredients well in a small bowl and chill for 15 minutes. Then spread the mixture in a thick layer on each piece of toast. Top with the tomato slices and enjoy.
I recently had a birthday, and Mike promised me a homemade breakfast one morning to celebrate. Actually, this was a continuation of ongoing birthday celebrating. We'd already been to Bar la Grassa earlier in the week for some amazing pasta (the gnocci with cauliflower and orange is a must - but I must admit I didn't ask if it is vegetarian). And my sister treated me to delicious chowder at Duke's Chowder House during my visit to Seattle the weekend before (the North by Northwest seafood chowder was super good, and my sister loved the award-winning classic clam chowder). And prior to that, I had a lovely lunch with a friend in Stillwater.
I'm a firm believer that birthdays are made to be celebrated for at least a week or two.
So to continue the theme, Mike asked what I'd like for breakfast. The cold, snowy weather seemed to call for banana nut bread. He whipped up this delicious recipe for Extreme Banana Nut Bread from AllRecipes.Com - with the following modifications:
He halved the recipe, then reduced the sugar by half again, so he could add M&Ms left over from Halloween. They gave the bread a confetti appearance - fun for a birthday breakfast! Also, instead of all-purpose flower, he used Gold Medal's "Better For Bread" flower, which is finer in texture (and also makes great homemade pizza crust and noodles).
Top it with some Earth Balance or butter, and you have yourself a cozy, tasty breakfast with a festive feel.
My husband recently bought me this pasta machine for our anniversary. I'd been wanting one for a long time, so he did extensive research, as he does, and found a fabulous one.
It's an Atlas 150 by Marcato. You run the dough through the part on the left. You can use the noodles that come out for lasagna. Or, you can move the crank handle over to one of the attachments on the right if you want it cut into spaghetti or linguini noodles.
These guys were my first batch - a little limp and ragged. Subsequent efforts have produced a noodle with better bite. The secret appears to be folding the sheets and re-feeding them through the first part a few times before moving them over to the linguine maker. Also, I've started leaving them at different thickness level, which is regulated by a knob off to the side. The result: A much better bite.
Also fun - you can add fresh or dried herbs to the dough when you mix it to get flavored noodles. Lately we tried a variety with a combination Italian spices such as oregano, basil and garlic. The noodles were super yum! I think next I will try fresh basil with lemon zest.
We decided it was time for new pics of our latest pizza-making adventures. We are loving our Uuni woodfire pizza oven and using it every opportunity we can get. Sadly, the gorgeous weather will only last so long, and our pizza-making days will be over 'til next year. So we are seizing the moment.
The top photo is my veggie pizza. I used a basic pizza sauce with some pizza seasoning, garlic and cayenne mixed in. I topped it with some delicious mozzarella and kalamata olives from a local Mediterranean market, plus fresh basil from my potted plant and a few slices of fresh tomato on top. Heaven.
Mike made a very yummy looking sausage, onion and mushroom pizza with a few olives and basil leaves tossed in for good measure.
For the crust, we made this recipe from Jamie Oliver. We've used it several times and really love it. The dough is dry enough to slide on and off the peel into the woodfire oven. When it's done, it is soft and chewy on the inside and a little crackly on the outside.
We had a great time relaxing on the patio, enjoying the beautiful evening. In Minnesota, you have to savor every last drop of summer and fall and save up those memories to get you through the long, cold winter. We take that duty very seriously.
It came! The Uuni 2 has finally arrived! Since it was coming from Europe and had to make it through several ports and customs, it took awhile to reach the US. The small company worked really hard to keep it moving though, and we were pumped the day it came to our doorstep.
Figuring out how to make the right dough is our current mission. It has to be rather dry so it can slide off the peel and into the oven. Trickier than it sounds.
Here's a gluten-free variety we whipped up for some visiting friends.
It has been a trial-and-error process, but with tasty results. So tasty we gobbled the pizzas down without thought of taking a photo. Next time!
Are you getting enough vitamin D? Here's a reason why you might want to make it a priority:
A research team has found a link between older adults with vitamin D deficits and dementia. Experts from the University of Exeter Medical School analyzed health data from more than 1,600 American seniors. They noted that people in the study had a 53 percent increased risk of dementia if they were moderately lacking in vitamin D. Subjects with a severe deficiency of the vitamin were at an even higher risk - 125 percent.
You can read more about the study in this article on Yahoo Health.
Why is vitamin D so important? Not only is it a vital part of bone health, neuromuscular communication and immunity, it also acts as an "on" and "off" switch for many genes, according to the Yahoo Health story. In fact, it is linked to the activity of 1,000 genes, the article states.
Where do we get vitamin D? Exposure to sun, for one. Of course this is a tricky one, because overexposure to sun can damage skin tissue and is linked to skin cancer. And vegetarians and vegans may have difficulty boosting their intake through food sources, because most of the commonly known ones are animal sources.
The National Institutes of Health lists top sources including:
So vegetarians and vegans, your best bet might be to include mushrooms in your meals more often and get regular exposure to sunlight, in safe doses. And sitting by the window typing a blog post doesn't count, apparently. Health experts say sunlight that comes through a window will not cause the body to produce vitamin D. Darn it.
You can read more about vitamin D on this consumer health sheet from the NIH.
And so, we begin again.
After spending several years back in college to pursue a new career, I was super pumped to graduate and start my new job in May. Things have been falling into place so nicely, sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure this is real life.
Of course, I'm probably in the honeymoon phase, right? Reality will hit soon enough. But I'm very thankful for this opportunity to shift gears and try a path that's new and rewarding.
As my husband and I settle into our new house, we are also planning for guests. My sisters and niece will be arriving this weekend. We don't see each other very often now that we all live in different states, and this will be a really fun time.
One sister is an omnivore, and the other is a vegan. I, of course, fall in the middlish, diet-wise (pescatarian). And my husband is an omnivore. So I've been brainstorming meal ideas to please everyone. Here are some ideas I'm hoping to try:
Vegan Coconut Curry With Vegetables
(from the blog at "Pure Bar")
Also, Vegan Eggplant Meatballs
(from Mark Bittman, posted on SkinnyTaste.com)
And these tasty-looking treats from The Curvy Carrot:
Veggie Quinoa Bites
They are not vegan, so we may modify the recipe a bit.
Is your family like mine with its diverse diet preferences, needs and palates? What are your go-to recipes that you like to make to please everyone?
We are moving to a new neighborhood, and we are so excited. Our new home is near a lovely lake with walking and bicycling paths. There's also a beach. And then there are waterfalls (below). And delicious restaurants. And parks. So we are giddy.
We want to start off on a good note with our new neighbors, and we thought a backyard pizza party might be a fun way to do so. We have been researching ways to build our own backyard woodfire pizza oven, since store-bought ones (plus shipping) can be waaaay out of our price range. Then we happened upon this little gem - the Uuni. Or at least, we hope it's a gem, because we plan to pre-order the latest model.
I can't endorse it because I haven't tried it yet, but I am excited to order it.
I love the back story. It was created by a guy who really really loves pizza. He perfected crust and sauce recipes, but felt his pizza needed the woodfired flavor to really shine.
So what do smart, creative, pizza lovers with a dream do? They go to Kickstarter. And thus, Uuni was born.
We got really pumped when we watched the inventor demonstrate it in the video below.
While we wait for the Uuni to arrive, we are on a recipe-gathering-and-testing mission. We will soon report back with our findings.
Then, it's party time.
For Christmas this year, the Omnivore and I decided to make each other gifts.
We both embraced the creative challenge, but I'm pretty sure the Omnivore won this event. (Not that we're keeping score.)
So here's what he got for me (photo at left): An amazing indoor window herb garden. He started seedlings in cute little teacups and transplanted bigger plants into pretty pots. The teacups and pots all came from Goodwill, mind you.
It's so fabulous to see green, living things thriving in the middle of the long, cold winter!
You can see why I think he won this challenge.
My gifts for him were heartfelt, but I'll admit they were not at quite the same show-stopper level of awesomeness!
Nonetheless, they were fun to make, and I think he'll enjoy them.
The first is a BBQ rub. I used a recipe I found on Pinterest. It has ground coffee in it (plus lots of other good stuff -- but no preservatives or words I can't pronounce!) and it smells delicious. I'm excited for him to try it and see what he thinks.
DIY BBQ Rub Recipe: Click Here
Another gift I made him was a coconut oil-grapefruit lotion. A friend recently told me she uses coconut oil as lotion and overnight conditioner for her hair. It is a rich, moisturizing oil, and it doesn't contain alcohol or other additives, like many lotions do. And this mixture smells like a tropical beach!
The Omnivore suffers from dry hands in the winter, so this should help with that. He also is a big fan of foot massages, so I might try using this when I give those toes some love.
DIY Coconut Oil-Grapefruit Lotion
To make it, I melted half a jar of organic coconut oil on low in a pan on the stove. Then I poured it, 1/4 the total at a time, into a Mason jar. After pouring each bit, I added about 12 drops of grapefruit essential oil and swished the jar in a circle a few times to combine it. You'll want to give it about a day to cool and harden. (Note: Don't be alarmed if it looks a little weird after the first few hours -- it hardens slowly and looks like it's separating but should solidify into a pretty uniform, solid lotion. The lotion then melts when you apply it.)
Well, it's been a busy but good 2013 in our household. I'm again reminded how blessed I am to have a wonderful husband and lots of other fabulous people in my life.
Wishing you happy holidays and a spectacular 2014!
A vegetarian and an omnivore, learning to cook in harmony one meal at a time.
“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure.
In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.”
— Julia Child