I swear the temperature in my apartment rose seven degrees just from designing this. I’d like to think some snow melted, too.
The second March was on my calendar, I decided it was Spring enough. I can’t wait any longer for sunshine, green grass, and just that whole feeling of newness. What’s funny is that even though I am not a fan of birds and flowery smells, when given the choice of these versus snow and cold, suddenly I can’t wait for all that chirping outside my window. Until it actually starts. Grass is always greener, or something like that…
Speaking of grass, this bucket list is full of all the things I want to experience from now until Summer, when I’m sure a new (and much longer) bucket list will be made. Ever since last winter when I did my Holiday Bucket List, I’ve been a little obsessed. It’s just such a fun way to make sure I really enjoy everything the season has to offer. Plus, I really like lists. So, there’s that.
What’s on your list for Spring? Did I miss anything?
I’ve been at it again.
I feel like I only ever cook in binges. I’ll get really tired of going out to eat or having frozen meals, so I’ll put together this huuuuge list of foods I want to make at home, and then I will spend days preparing all of them and refusing to eat out. Then I get sick of being in the kitchen, washing dishes, and throwing away ingredients that go bad before I can use them all, and then the cycle starts all over again.
This weekend’s menu included a blueberry breakfast cake, another recipe that was given to me by Dan’s sister. You can see from the list of ingredients there that it calls for 2 scoops of a cake batter flavored protein powder. I could only find this in huge canisters, and since I knew I wouldn’t really be using much of it after making this, I decided not to spend a small fortune on one. I was hoping to find it in a single-serve packet, but that didn’t happen, so I ended up with a Muscle Milk shake.
To make up for it, I decided I would just eliminate the water from the recipe, decrease the amount of egg whites, and add a bit of flour. You know, because I’m an expert and can just change recipes like that. (SPOILER ALERT: I am NOT an expert.)
I still had high-ish hopes when putting it into the oven.
This is what Dan’s sister’s cake looked like:
And this is mine:
Fail. I ate a little bit of it, and while it doesn’t taste bad at all, it has the consistency of a mushy baked oatmeal rather than a cake. I feel too badly about the starving kids in Africa to tell you what I did with the finished product.
I redeemed myself a little on the next attempt, however.
This one comes from one of my absolute favorite bloggers and was mainly an attempt to put our brand new food processor to the test. Falafel is something I’ve been wanting to make for a long time, but I don’t think I realized just how many spices were involved. It makes me feel like 5% more of an adult now that I have cumin in my pantry.
I’m a little bit giddy over our food processor now that I’ve used it. Although it’s a bit loud, it whips things up in a matter of seconds.
Again, I had more of a liquidy consistency than I wanted, so I had trouble rolling the falafel into balls to be baked. I ended up with more of a patty shape, especially after they flattened out a little while baking.
I couldn’t possibly have made these without the feta dip that goes along with it, because cheese.
I left out the cayenne pepper and the garnish because I’m not really into spicy things. I’m mostly into cheese. Ok, fine, I’m only into cheese. I could put this little cloud of whipped deliciousness on everything.
These were great for a little afternoon snack, but I also plan to throw them into a wrap with some lettuce, the feta dip, and diced tomatoes.
What do you think? Would you try any of these recipes? Are there others that you’ve been wanting to make? I suspect my next food-related post will have more to do with restaurants than home-cooked meals, but leave me some ideas for my next binge!
I really feel the need to preface this post by letting you know that I am not a food blogger and have no idea how to take photos of things and make them look appetizing. That will become obvious in a matter of sentences.
This past week an amazing thing occurred: I reached my threshold for the number of meals eaten at a restaurant or take-out place, no matter how delicious. There was the macaroni and cheese that should be winning awards, a celebration at TGIFriday’s that involved multiple appetizers and desserts, and last night there was the visit to a new burger place nearby. While all were delicious, my stomach is wondering if I even remember how to cook at home anymore.
So I had to show it what’s up.
Last night I made a batch of chia seed pudding. I am late to the game with these chia seeds. It’s all everyone has been talking about lately, adding them to oatmeal, smoothies, even sprinkled over pasta. It’s shocking to no one that I jumped on board once the word “pudding” got involved.
With only four ingredients to mix, this is probably the easiest thing I’ve ever made.
I followed this recipe and mixed everything together in a medium sized bowl.
Then I stuck it in the fridge overnight and taste-tested it before breakfast. The consistency was not quite as thick as a pudding, but not completely liquidy either. I think I used the wrong coconut milk and was meant to use the one in a can, but it did thicken up a little more during the day.
It certainly doesn’t photograph well, and it does look a bit like a bowl of sesame seeds in milk, but I promise you it tastes amazing. If you have a sweet tooth (and if you don’t, I’m highly suspicious of you), you won’t be disappointed. You can taste the coconut and the cinnamon, but the texture of it is more like a tapioca pudding.
Definitely very pleased with that one.
The next recipe came from Dan’s sister, who works in nutrition and personal training, and has been sending me some awesome new foods to try.
These were also super easy. I’m not that into meat and although I will eat ground beef, I prefer not to, so instead I used this beefless ground beef from Trader Joe’s.
It’s already cooked, so all I had to do was mix it with taco seasoning and stick it in the microwave for a minute. I’m not lying when I say it tastes JUST like taco meat.
After that, we mixed in some spaghetti squash and tomatoes, and scooped it into our taco shells.
Then we added our toppings.
And then we enjoyed eight of these little guys.
Perhaps we still need to work on the portion control (DAN.) but it was hard to stop when they tasted so good!
What new recipes have you tried lately? I have a couple of others to try this weekend, so stay tuned for part II!
Today was perhaps the nicest day outside so far this year. So I spent it inside doing Pinterest projects.
Before you sign me up for Pinners Anonymous, I have to say that it’s not really due to my Pinterest addiction (which I’m not denying exists), but more because I can’t get out of my own way today.
Went to the library to get new books – came home and haven’t picked them up.
Wanted to get outside to take some photographs of the sunshine – have only left the apartment once and I didn’t bring my camera.
Planned to make a list of meal ideas for the week and then shop for ingredients – just had apples and caramel for dinner.
That’s pretty much how my day has gone. I have this whole list of things that sounded fun at the time, along with another list of chores and errands to get done, but I just don’t have the energy to do either. I don’t know if it’s winter that has me down, or the fact that we just found out our cat has a urinary disease that calls for a very expensive and likely permanent new diet, or maybe I’m just getting old and lazy. Whatever it is, thank goodness for Pinterest because it’s all I have accomplished today.
I found a pin a few days ago that suggested an interesting way to remove scratches from leather and thought I would try it out on our bar stools. The stools are probably close to 10 years old now, and the cats have destroyed them by jumping on and off them, or hanging off the sides of them.
These stools have more punctures and holes than scratches, so I didn’t have high hopes.
According to this pin, the trick is to add a little bit of…
I’ve actually read that this can harm leather and cause stains over time, so definitely do your research before you try it, but because these stools are old and one step away from the dumpster (am I 7? because saying stools and dumpster in the same sentence makes me giggle), I figured anything was worth a shot.
And I was not impressed at all.
They’re a bit shinier, but still look almost the same as the before shots above.
Like I said, I didn’t expect much to begin with, especially since these go way beyond minor scratches, but aside from the fact that I can now fry vegetables on the back of my jeans when I stand up from these chairs, we’re calling this a FAIL.
But thanks for pretending that I would choose vegetables if given the option to fry anything.
Next up was this cute dry erase frame. These are all over Pinterest if you search for them, but I used these two as my inspiration.
I wasn’t really feeling the bow, but I liked the idea of lined paper for a to-do list. I pulled out some of my craft supplies and found that I already had a black frame, the perfect piece of lined paper, and some cute stickers to match.
I’m pretty pleased with how this came out. The letters are a little crooked, but I’m going to go ahead and say NAILED IT!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go take care of something on this list…
Thanks to a whole bunch of Presidents that I wasn’t around to vote for, I had today off, but as everyone knows, “long weekend” is one of the truest oxymorons there is. Or, untruest I guess, by definition.
Let’s start with the part where I make sense.
Friday was Valentine’s Day, so we went out for a nice dinner and then came home to watch a movie. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know this roughly translates to “added another title to my list of Movies That End with a Scene from the Back of My Eyelids.”
Saturday we went out for breakfast and to do a few errands before the big snowstorm. Which big snowstorm you ask? I have no idea, I’ve lost track. I did end up finding some mats for our bathroom floor, smoothie ingredients, and a bridesmaid dress for my sister’s upcoming wedding.
Sunday we decided to be a little adventurous and head to Twin River Casino. The “adventurous” part has to do with seeing how much secondhand smoke you can breathe in before giving up and going to the local mall instead. It was there that I finally ended my two-year long search for brown boots!
I got a great deal on them, even if I didn’t buy them with winnings from our casino adventure!
From there we drove back up to Boston to check out the Frost Bar. Because it’s not cold enough OUTside.
It is a bit expensive (and a LOT cold), but we knew going into it that it was likely a one-time thing. It was still fun to see all the sculptures and enjoy the experience, even if the glasses were made from ice and I was more than a little concerned my lips would end up stuck to them.
After that full day, we came home and said “well I’m exhausted, let’s discover that our cat needs to be taken to the emergency vet where we will stay until 1am yayyyyy!” Actually, I don’t remember saying that. This little guy was such a trooper though, and he’s feeling much better today.
To enjoy my final day off today, I met my mom for some shopping, lunch, chatting, and gelato. I bet you can’t guess which one was my favorite? Wrong! It’s my mom
Back to the office tomorrow, unless snowstorm #793,062 can pull through for me. How did you spend your “long” weekend?
You’ve heard of The 12 Days of Christmas? Well, here we’re doing The 14 Days of Valentines.
Because I don’t live with a small child (I suppose this is arguable), Dan tends to be the one to benefit from these silly little projects that I get myself all excited over. Side note: STILL upset about not having an Elf on the Shelf and am thisclose to buying one for next Christmas so I can create obnoxious and un-kid-friendly scenes all over our apartment. I’m not even sure if I would rather be the one hiding the elf, or the one finding him, so I would have to coerce Dan into participating at least half the time. I know there must be other 30somethings out there that hide elves for each other even though they have no children and one of them is Jewish. Please email me and we can start a support group.
This project came about while I was shopping at The Paper Source and finding millions of cute things for Valentine’s Day. I originally thought of putting together a little basket, similar to a Christmas stocking, but hey, why do that when you can complicate things and do 14 days of gifts instead of just one?
Each gift was under $5 with the exception of the coffee above and a cute little book from The Paper Source that I will show you below. Lesson learned = do not step foot into Paper Source unless you are prepared to want EVERY.THING. Oddly enough, I had never been to a Paper Source before this shopping trip and figured it was mainly stationery. Surprise! It’s not. Tons of small little gifts, games, home decor, food items, etc. I used to think the same thing about The Paper Store until I actually went inside and discovered they sold books, clothes, shoes, jewelry, and candles there, too. I kept confusing The Paper Store with The Paper Source, but now that I’ve been to both, I know it doesn’t matter because I just want all of it.
These books are just adorable. There are 50 pages with fill-in-the-blank phrases and sentences where you can personalize everything for the person you’re giving it to.
Positive reinforcement, right? Dan actually IS very good at vacuuming and goes over places multiple times and even does the closet, which I would totally be lazy and skip.
There are several different versions of these little books, and I actually bought the one above for Dan and the What I Love About Mom journal for….wait for it….my mom.
Every gift had a Valentine’s Day theme to it, or was red and/or pink, except for Dan’s favorite kind of muffin because they’re blueberries, not redberries. I can’t change nature.
A few were food-related because, hello, have you met me?
Others were more practical.
Some were fun!
Some ended up being a bit disappointing.
And some were cute, if you can consider The Dark Side cute.
Today’s gift was a Valentine’s Day card.
Does that seem lame after all of the other gifts? Like I should have ended with a grand finale of pink confetti and stuffed (or live) snuggly animals with a trail of rose petals to the door where one of The Avengers was waiting with flowers? Oh well. But! We will also be going out to dinner later at a new restaurant we’ve been wanting to try and food is always exciting, right?
I knew we were internet friends for a reason.
Another snow day for me today! My office NEVER used to close for weather, but in the last two years we have had several snow days. While I do enjoy them (not going to work, hello?!), I’ve spent a good part of the afternoon pinning things to my Pinterest vision board that make me think of summer. I’m just kind of over the snow and the cold this year. The unexpected day at home is the one good thing that comes from it, but I’m ready for the bonfires, flip flops, s’mores, and nights by the water with good company and a fruity drink.
And obviously the ice cream.
With all of this free time, I’ve also been doing a lot of reading. It’s one of my goals for 2014 to read a lot more and I have an entire Goodreads list of books that I hope will someday make their way into my hands.
I’m currently reading Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. I’ve read two of her other books and loved, loved, LOVED them both (Dark Places and Gone Girl), so I hope this one is just as good.
I just finished Blowing My Cover: My Life as a CIA Spy, which was a book I saw for sale at this place when Dan and I did an espionage-themed adventure there. I’ve been kind of obsessed with all things CIA since binge-watching three seasons of Homeland a few weeks ago, but the book was just okay. I liked getting the inside scoop on the life of a spy and some of the things they go through in training (I would crap my pants.), but I found the author to be kind of arrogant and off-putting, and a lot of it was just her whining about the job that she originally tells you is her “dream job”. It was a quick read though, and fairly interesting.
Next I’m thinking of reading one of the Rainbow Rowell novels because the entire internet won’t shut up about them and I need to know what I’m missing. Have you read one? I will probably go with Eleanor & Park first, but Attachments sounds like it might be fun.
Another book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time is January First, but I feel like it might be a little depressing. I just love true psych stories though, especially when it’s just a little bit twisted.
So that’s my list for now. What books are you reading, or wanting to read? I need to make a list for my next snow day (Monday?!)
So I didn’t actually go to Sochi or anything, but I did go to The Container Store. This is hard to type because I have to alternate between sitting on my hands to keep from jazz-hand-ing all over the place and tucking my legs underneath me to keep from jumping up and down. This project made my LIFE. It made it so much better, so much easier to deal with opening a cabinet in this place, and just so much nicer to be at home.
Shall we begin?
My main goal was to organize our pantry cabinet because it’s a nightmare, as you will see in a minute, but when I was walking around The Container Store, there was this freak earthquake and all kinds of things just kept falling off the shelf into my basket. It was so scary. The craziest part was that an ice storm was happening outside at the same time and I needed something to weigh down my car in order to keep it from sliding. Once I placed the giant shopping bag of organizational tools in my back seat, I was safe. The Container Store saved my life!
First up was our baking pan cabinet. There is not a cabinet in our house that requires more noise to remove one item. Somehow, the pans we use all the time seem to end up on the bottom (science?) and then you have to play Jenga with them to get one out.
I wanted a way to organize individual pans so that it was easier to get things in and out of this cabinet and not send the cats running for cover every time. I like the result, with two small exceptions.
Looks great, right?! The only things I’m not sure about are the pizza pans on the top right and the glass lids on the top left. We use the pizza pans the most out of anything in that cabinet, so I was hoping to make them a little more easily accessible (picking up a frying pan is sooo hard), but they don’t fit standing vertically. The glass lids just seem like an accident waiting to happen when someone puts one back too quickly and they bang into each other.
I think I can deal with both for now, but I’m keeping my eye out for other solutions.
Next up was the cabinet under the kitchen sink. This is another place where everything we use seems to end up underneath/behind something else, and I had no idea what was even in the back.
Two simple shelves and this cabinet looks neat again. And I can see everything in the back!
Underneath the bathroom sink was another problem area. We are going to quickly look at a before and after here without paying too much attention to what’s in this cabinet, for obvious reasons.
I know it doesn’t look shockingly different, but having my straightener and curling irons standing in that little basket rather than having to untangle them from a pile has been amazing! The best part is that I was able to fit so much more underneath here that I cleaned off a whole other shelf in my bathroom. I’m still struggling with what to put above the towels, but I’m sure I will find something.
I also bought two small gift boxes for under $1 each and turned them into dividers to organize the little things floating around in this dusty drawer:
and turn it into this:
On to my final project. I saved this one for last because I thought it would be the most time-consuming and overwhelming, but it was surprisingly easy.
It doesn’t look too bad in this photo, but that’s because of two things: I forgot to take a before picture until about three minutes after I started, and most of the mess is in the back because the cabinets are so deep.
In order to get anything from the back of a shelf, you pretty much have to take everything in front of it out, only to realize that what’s in back is so old that it expired months ago.
A good chunk of things from this cabinet ended up in the trash, but what’s left is so neatly organized that I have to keep opening it and exclaiming to Dan that I can see all the spices! And why do we have so much cinnamon sugar?!
In addition to the Lazy Susan, I added a small container to hold all the little items like icing and honey sticks, and then some larger, longer baskets so that we can pull out a basket when we want something instead of an entire shelf’s contents.
I literally want to live inside this cabinet. Which is totally possible with all this room!
So that’s my Olympic-sized post about organizational projects taking place around here. There is still plenty more to be done, but I need to wait for my wallet to catch up and then I’m going for the Gold!
A few weeks ago I saw this book in a friend’s Instagram photo and I was intrigued. This was back when I was still trying to figure out whether I wanted to do weekly resolutions again (spoiler alert: nope.), and before I decided on my goals for 2014. This seemed like a fun idea that wouldn’t be too time-consuming, but would also get me through the entire year (five times!) with a small little daily project in case I missed my weekly ones.
Because I can’t just enjoy free time, I have to plan something/start a project/make a to-do list to fill it. There is probably at least one neurosis currently residing in my brain.
Anyway, I ordered a Q&A a Day journal of my own and am loving it so far! Some of the questions can get pretty deep and you find yourself needing a LOT more room, and some are just cute, simple questions like the ones below.
I keep the journal on my nightstand and have written in it every night since. It really only takes a minute or two to answer the question, but I think it’s going to be so much fun to go back and see my answers, especially five years from now!
You know, when I’m old. I’m sure I’ll be mortified by some of the answers my SO 5-years-ago self wrote down.
In case you’re wondering, waking up was rough, and what I’m obsessed with right now is organizing (post coming soon!), Homeland and the CIA (which explains the other book on my nightstand), and filing my taxes (I’m a geek.) What are you obsessed with?
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