Thursday, 24 April 2014

Try it: Pizza Contest!


Tonight for dinner, we decided to do something fun.  Its been really busy in our house for a while, and we needed to laugh, and be competitive.  So D and I had a pizza contest for dinner.  We bought these little bread shells for pizzas and had them in the freezer.  The rules were that you could use anything we had in the house for toppings-- but it had to be an original pizza, one we have never made before.

Here's my entry: The Popeye!  It has Alfredo sauce instead of tomato sauce, mozzerella cheese, lots of baby spinach, grilled chicken and parmesan cheese on top!  For seasoning, I added some basil and black pepper, and that was all.  When I saw D's, I felt that my pizza was a little plain.  But I had faith that it would be delicious.  It had all my favorite things on it...

To tell you about his pizza entry, here's D:

D here.  I called my pie the Meatball Mozzarella Dream Team.  Okay, so maybe that's a little overboard.  Mix the above two ingredients with some onions and Parmesan over some kind of tomato sauce.  Overall a good pizza, just missing some kind of kick at the end.  Not sure what that could be yet, but all good things to those who wait.  Am I right?  Of course I'm right...I think.

We were our own judges.  The criteria was "tastiness" (?), combination of flavors, presentation, and who was the better looking chef. (So, that one was a tie.)

D won presentation.  I just threw stuff on top of my pizza and didn't really care about what it looked like.  The colors were pretty.  D had concentric circles of meatball, and in between those pieces were slivers of onions.  Dude takes care in his pizza making.

As for flavor... I won.  My pizza was kinda rich with the creamy Alfredo sauce, but it was good with the chicken and spinach and basil.  So yummy.  I thought it tasted like when you have a bowl of Chicken Alfredo pasta, and you sop the remaining sauce up with a piece of bread.  Don't you do that?  Of course you do.

So who won?

Since my pizza won 2 of the categories (excluding the best looking chef), that made my pizza the winner!  D agreed.  He thought his was missing something.  I think it would be good with a spicy sauce and some peppers.  That way it could be the "Spicy Meatball."

How do you have fun dinners?  Do you eat something special? 

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Indoor Gardening: Window Herb Garden

Spring may actually be here.  We will see.  But for now, the sun is making me happier than I have been for a while.  A bright day can even make me productive! 

I've had an idea that I wanted a herb garden in the kitchen for a while since we have that nice big window in there-- but no ledge.  I have found a lot of inspiration online for ideas to add plants to a space where there is none.  The most inspiring and inventive DIY solution I found came from A Beautiful Mess (of course),  but I don't have a workshop, or all those great tool to work with.  Plus, it wasn't really what I wanted.  I wanted to make sure that I could have different types of herbs, which is difficult if they have to share a planter.  So I needed something that would separate the plants. 

On a wander through Ikea (my favorite place!) I saw these great hanging planters, and thought of a new plan for my hanging herb garden.  These pots are the perfect size for the herb plants they sell at my local grocery store, so I bought 3 and planned my herb garden for my kitchen window.

Want your own hanging herb garden?  Here's what I used:

Shopping List

3 SKURAR Hanging planter pots from Ikea- $4.99 ea ($15.00)
3 herb plants, I found mine at my grocery for $2.99 ea ($9.00)
3 plastic planting pots, because my herbs came in biodegradable pots- 1.00/ 6pk
3 hooks, I bought a package of 6 white vinyl coated hooks so that they would be inconspicuous- 1.00/ 6pk

I love how they look in our very small kitchen.  It makes it much more alive!  Here's what I learned while hanging and planting our herbs:
  • I shortened 2 of the pots chains by removing 11 links from each chain.  To do this I used some needle nose pliers and twisted the 11th link.  
  • If your plants have biodegradable pots, you will need a plastic pot to put them in, or else once the pot breaks down, your plant will be sitting on the bottom of the planter, and there will be no room for drainage. If you don't have plant pots, you can re use yogurt containers with some holes in the bottom.
  • Use hooks instead of nails, it provides space between the plant and the window for blinds or drapes.
  • Herbs need direct sunlight, so make sure you hang them in a sunny window.  Our windows face west, so we get late afternoon sun.
D and I finished this in just under an hour.  And it made me so much happier!  I'm not sure if I'm going to shorten the chains some more that that they are all the same length, and sit in the top half of the window.  We'll see how they grow like this.  Do you live in an apartment?  How do you fulfill your gardener's itch? 

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Carving out a Reading Nook

I love to read.  I read everyday.  Most of the time, I read before bed.  I find that its the best way to calm me down; and then I can really get into a story.  When I read, I need a quiet place.  So when I thought about making a little spot for reading, my bedroom became a great place for such a thing.  There's not much to my reading nook, just a comfy chair, a table for a drink, and some cushions and soft things.  And a light.  I may change the light, but for now its a great place for me to read and relax before sleeping.

Do you have a special place to read?  Where is it? 

Friday, 7 March 2014

Branch Weaving

Branch weaving showed up in my Pinterest feed, and I thought it looked really cool.  I really wanted to try it that minute.  But I didn't have a branch.  Because the city was living under 3 feet of snow.  And I don't pull branches of trees, because that's bad for them, and I'm not a 10 year old, so I waited until I came across one laying on the ground.

Last week, D and I went on a death-defying hike.  The trail was covered in ice.  So much ice!  What wasn't ice was knee-deep snow.  It was beautiful, but treacherous.  That bridge in the background?  Completely iced over.

But, I found a branch, and during one of my fave TV shows, I set to weaving on it.  When I finished, I thought it looked nice:

But, I had no idea what its use was or what I would use it for.  I needed to finish one of these, for some reason.  Now that I have, It sat on the coffee table for a few days.

When we came across these bottles on sale for $1, I knew where I could put my new weaving:

So now it lives on my bookshelf.  Making my books a little more interesting.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Homefront Progress

Slowly, we are starting to make this place our own.  It took us a while to get used to the space, and figure out what furniture we needed (or needed to get rid of.) This room, our office was one space that I was never happy with.  I felt that it was mainly storage, and not that pretty for a while.  I didn't have any plans for the craft supplies etc that I had.  So I made it my mission to turn this room into a space that I like in work in by the end of the winter.

In an attempt to make our workspace look a little more organized, we went to Ikea for Valentine's Day (so romantic!) and bought a cart for my crafty stuff.  With the shelf and the cart and the cabinet, I think it looks cleaner and more organized.  Everything is accessible, and with the cart I can pull over my supplies if I need them.

I'm able to keep all of my materials, and yarn and knitting books all in one place.  I love how bright this room is now!  Its a really great place to be creative.  Its not a huge room, which is fine, so we used a few tricks to make it a place where D and I could both use it and be creative.  The back wall is mainly storage:  The bookshelf holds our books and the bottom baskets hold other things not easily stacked on a shelf (mostly yarn.)  With the bookshelf on its side, we use the top as an extra counter top.  I can move the laminator and use our counter-top ironing board if I am sewing.  Otherwise, it holds our color printer and some journals.  I am a sucker for a journal.

The big purchase we made for this room was the chairs.  I wanted really comfortable chairs that you could sit in for hours.  In the end we decided on this accent chairs that we found.  They are so cozy:  I can sit on them cross-legged, the back is really supportive.  They are great!  They were not super expensive, but they were more than I would usually spend on a chair.  They were worth it!  I love sitting in here now. 

It feels really good to get a room to where you want it.  Still working on some other rooms in the house.  I hope you don't mind if I continue to share my progress in decorating our space!

Do you have a room that gives you trouble?

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Six words

I was told that Ernest Hemingway once won a bet by writing a six word story that was as touching as a full-length novel.  Apparently the story was this:

For sale: Baby shoes, never worn.

I don't know if this story is true, it may not be.  But it is an interesting idea.  I was thinking, if I had to write an autobiography in only six words, what would I write?  Here's what I came up with:

I'm interested in your thoughts.  What would your 6 word biography be?