Saturday, September 24, 2011

I ironed my walls

So I recently joined Pintereset, and have started looking around at some great DIY ideas.  And I came across this one about making your own iron on wall art.  And I thought- hmm - I have tons of left over fabric from a million and one projects.  And I hate how plain and drab our walls are (but we refuse to paint because we are going to sell it soon).
Boring corner.  Wall art in an attempt to bring color.
And we have this little wall art thing that we said we were going to paint a square of colored paint behind just to add a little bit of punch.

Close up - even with color in it still looks drab.
 And so instead of painting, I figured I would iron on some fabric - then no repainting when we sell it.  Brilliant.
 I found a large scrap piece of blue/gray fabric from a duvet I made.  I had some pellon transfer/fusible.  I didn't have a ton so I just cut strips and ironed them around the edges of the square.  This fabric frays so I tucked the edges and pressed them into the other side of fusible.  Skip this step if you are using jersey/non-fraying fabric.

And then I ironed it to the wall.  The directions for pellon say to use a damp press cloth.  I didn't - but I set the iron to no steam and the iron has a steam burst button.  I just used the steam burst as I held the iron on the wall.  Worked great.

Square fabric with transfer already ironed to edges.

Ironed onto wall.
 And then I rehung the wall art (I actually had to peel back the fabric to find my nail holes.  It peeled back perfectly, and then I just reironed it once the nails were in place.
Oops-didn't quite have a big enough piece- will just move up the bottom pieces of art.
 And I think it makes quite a bit of difference.  The color of the art piece really pops out now.  Still a very boring corner - but I think much better.
A mini window in a boring corner.
Watch out walls - I have about 100 yards of fabric just waiting for projects.  I have endless ideas.  Stripes, squares, words........

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Once A Month Cooking -Edition 2

So awhile ago I mentioned how I started doing "Once a month cooking".  And a lot of you have been reading that post.  So I thought I would do a little update.

This summer (which now seems to be over already - but I refuse to turn on the heat yet.  Just can't do that when it is still technically summer.  Must move soon) I didn't do it as much because we just ate whatever came out of the garden.  But it seems that those days are over.  So back to OAMC.

I have made the following since the last post:
Gnocchi: I love gnocchi.  This recipe bakes it instead of boiling, and I really liked the results.  It made a ton, and now can easily have single serving dinners ready in no time.  I make a sauce from this recipe to go with it.
Empanadas: I used this as an idea, but really make any empanadas you like.  I use pie dough rolled thin as the crust because I don't have time to make it.  I can make about 12-16 empanadas from 2 pie crusts that come in the box.  And if you haven't made emapanadas - you should.  Quick and easy.  Put whatever you like inside of it.  I like black beans/cheese/veggies.  Or mushrooms/goat cheese/spice.  Or kohlrabe/potato combos.
Cauliflower penne: Think of this as a grown up mac n cheese.  This is one of my favorites.  Takes a bit time, so makes for a great freezer recipe because it is the number of steps that takes time.  Easy to make it in bulk.  I just freeze it before I bake it - so will need more time to bake or thaw it first.  Seriously try it.  My brother who has to have meat with every meal loved it! And he didn't need meat for that meal:)

Baked penne: I don't have a recipe for this as I just make it up every time.
A box of penne - boil until al dente
16 oz of ricotta
A ball of mozzarella (I like to use the balls and rip it up instead of using the pre shredded stuff)
A ton of tomatoes or a jar of sauce.  I used fresh tomatoes - score them, drop them in the boiling water before you cook the pasta- remove after a minute and plunge into ice water.  Then the skins peel right off. Chop them up.
1 egg
Spices - I like basil and fresh oregano

Once the pasta is cooked and drained - add everything else to the pot and mix with the pasta.  Once everything is a bit melted, pour into 8x8 pans.  Cook in 400 F oven for 25-30 minutes -until cheese is bubbling.
I freeze one tray and then thaw it before cooking.

Kabocha Soup
Vegetable korma: This makes an absolute ton of food.  I really liked it.  It says it makes 16 servings - I think it makes more than that.  So cut it in half if you are a bit nervous the first time!
Curry tofu quesadillas:  I don't really like tofu, but this was excellent.  Don't get the "tofu" taste but adds protein.  I just froze the leftover mix, and will thaw it and add to fresh tortillas.
Kabocha coconut curry soup: So so good.  The corn/cilantro relish makes the soup!  I use fresh corn for it.  Just slice off the cob and boil for a few minutes.  I also add a bit dollop of sour cream when serving.  Freezes great - just make the relish when you want to serve it.  I freeze soups in 1 qt mason jars as that is the perfect amount for 2 adult dinners.
Beet, rhubarb, orange salad
Roasted beet, rhubarb, orange salad: Oh my goodness. So good.  Fresh beets and rhubarb from the garden.  But I roasted and froze a bunch of beets, and will freeze some raw rhubarb to make again!
Chocolate chip zucchini bread: Had a giant zucchini from the garden. I got 4+ cups of zucchini from it.  So made half into bread and then shredded the remaining and froze it for another day.  For all recipes that say to use oil, I always use applesauce or yogurt.
Pumpkin chocolate chip bread: This is for muffins, but I am too lazy.  I made it into 2 bread loaves.  Cooked at 350 for 45 minutes or so - just watch it and test for doneness.

I think I made some other stuff, but can't remember.  So that's the update for now!

Do you ever do something that you think is so clever that you just smile about it every time you remember what you did?  Well I had one of those moments.  After making all this food, I throw it place it nicely in the crates in the freezer.  And then I have to remember what is in there.  I saw other people hang a whiteboard/chalk board near the freezer and list everything that is in there.  So I decided to make my own version.

What's in my freezer? 
And guess what?  That isn't a whiteboard.  It occurred to me that I could probably write right on the freezer.  And I did -and it does erase off.  And these little markers have built in magnets and erasers.  So this is actually the side of my freezer.  And color coded.  And don't worry - when it says "ground beef" it is actually just my homemade substitute.  I haven't secretly started eating meat.  Well other than what I mentioned here.
I'm so clever;)
So now you can go cook a ton, and remember what you made once it is in the freezer.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Tank is 1

My little man turned one last week while we were on vacation.  So hard to believe.  I still remember the feeling of being pregnant with him.  He would be all calm and still, and then go on a frenzy of kicking and punching.  Where as the Munchkin was always moving but just very little movements and flutters.  Well that has held true to both of their personalities.  The Tank can be so calm and peaceful.  But then he turns into captain destructo.  He has mastered unlocking/opening of cabinets in no time -including some that the Munchkin still can't open.  I think we are in trouble.

So here are some pictures from birth and last week.  When ever someone asks how old he is, there is usually a comment that follows about how big he is.  And yes.  I think he is currently the average size of a 2 year old.  So much for being a preemie!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I One tomato two...

So remember when I showed pictures of our crazy little garden back in July?  Well those plants were quite happy, especially the tomatoes!

But first I have to tell the sad story of my squash plant.  So I picked up a 4 squash seed mix last spring - mainly because I wanted kabocha squash and couldn't find the seeds. So I tried to guess which seeds were kabocha and planted a few of those.  Well I guessed wrong.  The giant squash plant that grew from our box started rapidly putting out little squashes.  It took several weeks to figure out that they were spaghetti squash -my absolute least favorite.  I was so bummed because I had 10 of them growing from one little plant.  But I got over it.  Because that is was a farmer city girl does.

So I found all these recipes.  And I found friends that liked them.  And then came the attack of the bugs.  I saw a little vine rot and figured I had vine borers.  But I wasn't too worried because the rest of the vine seemed healthy.  And then I picked a squash.  And saw a little "bruise" on it.  So I tried to cut it off - and was met by a writhing little bugger.  So GROSS.  I went and checked all the squash.  Every last one of them had little holes in them.  And in the meantime - a tiny little butternut squash had popped up.  And it too was being eaten by the squash borer.  So I had to rip up all the vines.  And woah when I did -that thing was filled with maggots I can't even say that word it was so darn gross.  So that will be the end of my organic squash growing days.

But the tomatoes - they are in a whole different world.  My one cherry tomato plant has put out at least 3-4 lbs so far (and it is still flowering and producing more new tomatoes)! I have made too numerous too count bowls of caprese salad -which might just be my most favorite thing to eat.

And the roma tomatoes in the community garden are going crazy.  I turned 6 lbs into 7 quarts of salsa.  And another 7 lbs of orange, red, and romas into crushed tomatoes and froze them.  And I am not done yet.
1 lb bags of crushed tomatoes

We have one plant I have no idea what it is doing.  Each tomato weighs well over a pound -maybe even closer to 2!  And it is full of green tomatoes.  And I bet they turn red while on vacation.  And I may not get to find out what they are.

The first red 1 lb tomato -can't appreciate the scale of this thing!
So the bottom line - I think I will only plant 2 tomato plants next year.