Thursday, February 28, 2013

FARM FRESH 2-28


We have been members of our local CSA for almost a year now and I have nothing but positive things to say about it. There are those times when the sheer volume of weird veg (I'm talking about you beets and kohlrabi) can be a bit exasperating, and of course living in the South, I've learned that sweet potatoes are pretty much a given ALL YEAR LONG but overall, it rocks. 

I've had to get really creative with our weekly meal plan. Though it can be a challenge, thanks to Pinterest (follow my boards at beautyinbits) and sites like allrecipes.com, not to mention a zillion amazing food bloggers, there is no shortage of recipe ideas out there for the taking. I hate eating the same thing over and over, and before we belonged to Johnson's Backyard Garden, there were often weeks where we begrudgingly relied on the spaghetti/taco/enchilada/pasta lineup, stocking our carts with oodles of processed canned, boxed, and sacked food--simply because we couldn't think of anything else to make. 
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Having a visual of what produce we are getting for the week--and it is a giant amount if you are wondering-- has forced us to research recipes and ingredients that we would never have attempted before, usually finding that they are delicious as well as healthy. Even if you go to the farmers market regularly, you are probably going to come home with same 5 safe veggies you always buy and shy away from say beet greens, napa cabbage, and fresh parsley. 

It is a good feeling knowing that I am eating and serving a diet wholly based on foods that are fresh, organically farmed, and in season, thus maximizing their nutrients and taste.  As you can see, recipes I find, really just serve as inspiration. In order to keep costs down I usually end up subbing half the ingredients for something I have on hand. Some of my latest cooking adventures, in no particular order: 

Sweet Potato Burgers based on this recipe. Non-meat dinners are a tough sell to the Man, but we agreed these were pretty good but needed some changes: 
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-I would eliminate the egg. The texture got too gloppy. 
-Use black beans instead of white  just for a little more texture and color. 
-Cook the shit out of them and press them a little thinner so they get a nice "chicken patty crunch" 
-Served with roasted red pepper instead of avocado. It's a better texture foil to the mushy potato
-Add mustard to the garlic sauce. It needs the tang. 

Kale Quiche based on this recipe. This recipe is EASY. Thumbs up from all family members. I served with fried potatoes for a "breakfast for supper" meal. 
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-Save yourself an hour and just saute' the kale. Chop it up. Bam. 
-I used pre-made canister bread crumbs because I was sick and lazy, and they worked just fine. 
-Next time I will pump up the jam (Uh pump it up, yo pump it!..sorry, if you're under 30) with some canned artichokes, mushrooms, and crumbled sausage for a fuller meal. 
-I didn't have any fancy guyere so I used leftover shredded mozz and parm. Same effect. 
DELISH. 
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Black Bean Brownies based on this recipe. These are made with black beans instead of flour (if you're a gluten free hipster). 
Ruby hates black beans but loves chocolate. Mwah ha. Mommy 1. Toddler 0. 

-Use a muffin tin. Easier to portion and no messy pan. duh. 
-There's only 3/4 cup sugar in this recipe which isn't bad but I may try applesauce next time?
-I put 3 or 4 chocolate chips on tops before baking. It's just enough to pretend their chocolate. 

We freakin' gobbled up these suckers and the Man said he couldn't tell they were made o beans. 
SCORE. By the way, these have nothing to with the farm but I'm proud of them and it's my blog. 

Random Ass Salad inspired by whatever I could find in our house the "day before grocery shopping".
Made with variety of farm fresh nummies, and hard boiled egg, on a day when we had "nothing to eat." It turned out so pretty I snapped it. Mega-nutrients.

Sweet Potato Soup based on this recipe. Gorgeous and smelled amazing. Warning if you're from Minnesota..it is spicy! 
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-I roasted up the sweet potatoes in my toaster oven a few days before I actually made the soup and stored them in the fridge. I use that thing so much it is like charred and black and the bottom burner isn't working--time for a new one. I do 90% of my baking it it and it is awesome for roasting up a pepper, garlic, or random ingredients without using so much energy and heating up the whole house. 

-I used half of a tiny can of whole chipotles in adobo sauce instead of powder. Yummy and adds texture and color.
-Instead of the zest, I just squeezed the juice of a small orange into it for some tangety tang. 
-Of course I added a big clove of minced garlic. Because recipes without garlic are just dumb. 

SO GOOD and different!  

Ultimate Chicken Soup for Colds and Flu. 

I have been sick all week and done so much coughing that I was getting six-pack abs and hadn't slept for nearly 3 nights. I found this recipe and literally drank about a gallon of this soup yesterday while recovering. I pretty much followed it to the letter, except:

-I only added 2 chicken legs without the skin so there was a lot less meat
-I added a big spoonful of turmeric to my bowl before serving. That stuff cures everything. 
-Ditto for a small clove of raw garlic. Smooshed it right into the bowl and filled with soup. 
-Squeezed lemon over the top for tang and Vitamin C. 

It is HOT HOT HOT, but so savory and delicious. Again, Scandinavians beware.  I suppose if you're a spice-weenie, you could eliminate the hot stuff, but I could literally feel the soup burning up the germs, the spice clearing my airways and the salty, chicken goodness soothing my sore throat and bronchial tubes. I feel 60% better today.  I even heated up half a cup of the broth, right before bed and crashed out for a decent night's sleep. Note: This pic is the soup on day two. It looked a lot prettier the first day. I strained out the gook today and have just been tugging on the broth all day. 

And finally This Tex Mex Shrimp Salad from this recipe. So delicious! 
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-I used frozen shrimp because we always have a bag on hand. 
-I served with warm, fresh tortillas because quite frankly if we ate a salad for dinner, we would be ordering pizza two hours later. 

Hope the rest of the week finds you inspired in your cooking, and in good health! 
Happy Eating! 
Rachel 

photo credits 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6


Monday, February 18, 2013

REMEMBER WHEN 2-22-13

Based on the popularity of my 90's Revival post last year, I am starting a new series on the blog called "Remember When" for a little dose of flashback silliness. I get a huge kick out of reminiscing about the crazy trends of our past. Hope you love it! 

Remember when Dr. McDreamy . . .  (Rawr)
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Was just Ronald Miller.
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And he did the African Anteater Ritual to win the cheerleaders' hearts
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I must have watched Can't Buy Me Love 8000 times..it's still my 80's favorite. I wanted to be Cindy Mancini soooo bad. I wanted my hair to look like this:
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But alas, it looked like this: 

hah ahhahaha... Falling. Over. Laughing. 

And I wanted a suede outfit like this:
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But instead I had a big fringey sweater like this. 

My obsession with tassels started a LONG time ago. To the group of poofy-banged, acid-washed jean-wearing, Mountain-Dew sucking friends that I respectfully cropped out of this shot.... You're welcome.  

I could watch this flick again today and enjoy it just as much. Though the style is long outdated, (or maybe cool again? Double eek.) the message is relevant today. You're going to have to sit with the geeks eventually so get over it and be a nice person. 

Enjoy!
~Rachel

credits 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

THRIFTY BITS 2-20-13

I'm pretty much the happiest person on earth when I am pillaging my local thrift stores. I'm not sure if it is just the thrill of the hunt, the ridiculously cheap prices, or a hangover from my treasure map days in the back yard when I was little but I LOVE IT. 

I'm going to start posting weekly finds. Yes, I go weekly. I don't mean to, it just happens. For the record, we take a bag out for every bag we bring in. There never seems to be a shortage of baby clothes, toys, gadgets, and random shiz that we are no longer using to donate to the cause. 

Some recent treasures. 

Bug wear:  Bandana halter top!? The freakin cutest. 


Vintage floral linen fabric. It may appear on a dolly very very soon. 

This little apron for the Bug. She has started "helping" me in the kitchen and it can get messy. 

Vintage pillowcase in a purty floral. SO SOFT. My hubby really is a good sport with all my flowers. 

Vintage still life. To replace the one I sold and feel sad about. 

Thrift stores I heart you. Let's never breakup. 
~Rachel 

BLUE MONDAYS 2-18-13

It has been a while since I did a Blue Monday post. It is literally blue in ATX today. While the temperate zones are still finishing up Winter, we are in our rainy spring season and busy getting things planted in the garden. The skies are gray, its a bit chilly (for Texas) and we are coming off an odd weekend of being tired, doing a bit of bickering, and just not quite clicking like we usually do. 

Some blue spaces that fit the mood. . . 

1.I love the styling of props in this photo. Handmade vessels and natural flower arrangements, the Mediterranean tone of this blue combined with the texture of the wall. Yum. E. 

2. Dreamy contemplative blue with oversize, abstract art, and immaculate styling in little geometric piles. I love how this vignette has lots of tchotchkies (Is there really a correct spelling of that word?) but it still seems simple and serene. 

3.  I love EVERYTHING about this photo. I literally want to hump these happy chairs. 

4. Love the painted bamboo etagere. Love the shade of deep greeney blue. Love the groovy furniture including the caned stool as cocktail table. Love the weird creepy art. Doggy pillow must die. NOW. 

5.I am always attracted to shades that are difficult to tell if they are blue, purple, or gray. I love how use of paint gives this doorway architectural detail where there is none. McGenius. I love how the portrait of Mr. Fancypants adds warmth to a potentially cold vignette. The stack of magazines by the door looks like my beside neglected reading. Literally. Except it's neater. 

6. See I told you. The Man things I should just surrender. I will get it to them at some point! 

Sources. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5

Hope your Monday is less blue. 
~Rachel 



Thursday, February 7, 2013

AND THE WINNER IS...

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Drum Roll... The winner of my $40 shop credit: 

JACKELINE DAVILA! 

Congrats! I will message you with details, but I'm going to give you a chance to see it here first, because that's more exciting and you get the joy of sharing it with Wayne. :) 

Thanks to everyone who signed up and helped to promote my new shop, OMT on Etsy. It means so much to me that you took time out of your day to help a hard-working crafter mama! 

PS..Speaking of Wayne's World, I'm thinking of starting a new weekly (yeah right, busy lady) series called "Remember When." Based on the popularity of my 90's Revival post last year, I think we could all use a weekly chuckle over the ridiculous and wonderful trends of our past. I think I could quote the entire Wayne's World movie if I had to. Is that embarrassing or kind of awesome? Hmmm

Party on Wayne. Party on Garth. 
Rachel 




Wednesday, February 6, 2013

SEW HAPPY

There's a bit of a renaissance going on in our house right now. Last week I got out my old sewing machine and cranked out a few goodies, including this dolly for the Bug. When I left design school, I absolutely PILLAGED the sample room and brought home a giant box of beautiful upholstery scraps and trims. This yellow dress is one of them. It's silk linen with flower embroidery. Lovely. I used ribbon scraps and salvaged buttons. I used leftover stuffing from this project. I didn't buy a thing.  

She's far from perfect. I didn't really measure and I just kind of went for it. Where I goofed, I just stitched it back together. The janky, patchworky-ness (yep), actually adds to the handmade feel. 
Once I got going, I decided she needed a kitty too. I also made this little blue flowered skirt that comes off and on. 

We decided on the name Nina. The kitty is Mr. Pusskins, like the character from her new favorite book. Bug was amazed that I was able to make such a thing. She is still not sure how to play with her. She's used to sensory overload with Disney figures and a variety of toys that make noise, light up, etc. I will probably make her a friend so she can have little conversations. Her conversations between toys are HILARIOUS. "I will saaave you, baby" ?? 

This sparked a conversation with the Man about how we've allowed her pile of belongings to get OUT OF CONTROL. It's hard with well-meaning friends and family sending things in addition to the things we pick up for her, not to mention a giant collection of toys that my mom saved from my childhood. We want to be respectful but we also want to be selective about the things she's exposed to. We've been doing some material purging ourselves since the new year and decided it was time to do the same with her stuff. We agreed to reduce the "kid load" by 50%. It's a big figure. In some cases, this just meant packing up some collections until she is a little older. We are trying to replace cheap, disposable, and/or plastic toys with handmade, natural materials and things that require a bit of imagination at this stage. 

I never want to be the kind of mom that will not allow a certain toy just because its..well...awful, but I want to assert some influence over her toys while I have the chance. Right now her two favorite things are the Cinderella figure she got at the Dollar Store and a pair of small plastic cows...Whaddya do?  We are convinced the more we expose her to simple, healthy toys, the more she will seek them out.  Hope hope. Regardless, I had so much fun making Nina that I may try them out in my shop

I also pulled out this quilt that I've been working on for...um.... 5 years. 

Again, its made mostly with upholstery samples from my school days and scraps of clothing that I cut up. I am realizing that making it for our bed is a feat beyond my capabilities but that what I have already done is about twin size... I think this will be a quilt for Bug's big girl bed. Pictures to follow once I complete it. (If you can keep reading for 5 more years). 

I scored a goldmine of cuties at my nearby thrift store the other day... I embellished a few with vintage fabric, like this little cotton striped shirt. She looks like a little Bavarian princess in this one. So adorable. Here she is trying to pick off Nina's 90's lipstick.  


Also, it's the last day to enter the $40 giveaway for my shops on Etsy! For details on how to enter see last week's post below. Winner will be announced TOMORROW!! 
Cheers!
~Rachel