Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Fiestaware Christmas

We were amazingly lucky this Christmas and received EIGHT place settings of Fiestaware! We now have place settings for twelve people...wow! Since we ended up with twelve place settings we decided to go back to our original six different colors and get 2 of each color : )

Look at all the pretty colors!
Our cupboard isn't even big enough for all of the dishes, haha.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Fun New "Hair Do"

okay, maybe a few words...
it's actually not that overly shiny in person.
this is a horrible picture with flash,
that's why it's so darn shiny!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Yet another food post...

When trying a new recipe,
make sure to read the recipe in its entirety
before starting to cook...

to avoid spills like this because the pan you use is way too small for everything!

Even with the spills, it turned out delicious!
It's pretty simple.
Just some veggies, noodles and sauce.
(The sauce is soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar, water and chili sauce.)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Amazingness in an all natural bowl

I just tried spaghetti squash for the first time ever.
I am so going the store after work in the morning to get another one to try it this way...

Doesn't that look like pure amazingness?!


I think I need to live in a different state.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I've been big into cooking lately...in case you couldn't tell ; )
So, I thought I would share my dinner from last night.


A little less than conventional pizza, but pizza none-the-less.
It is schiacciata bread with a basil canola oil and minced garlic blend brushed on top.
Then, alternating rows of yellow squash and zucchini, onion scattered all over and finished off with a Colby-Jack cheese blend.
I also had a very small amount of mozzarella that I crumbled over one section and another very small amount of pepper-jack cheese that I crumbled over another section. (just to test it out)

I did not use much cheese because I wasn't sure the Colby-Jack cheese was going to taste quite right and I figured less would be more in that case.
If I were to make it again...a little more cheese.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hearty Grain Soup with Beans & Greens

2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 large onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 large clove garlic, minced (about 2 tsp.)
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups cooked kasha (buckwheat) *see note at bottom
1 15-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 15-oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed, divided
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 lb. kale, trimmed and chopped
3 Tbs. chopped fresh parsley
2 to 3 tsp. balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper

Heat 1 Tbs. oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook 3 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. Add garlic, and cook 5 minutes more, or until onion is lightly browned.

Stir in broth, kasha, tomatoes, 1 cup beans, oregano and rosemary. Bring to a boil. Press half of kale into liquid with wooden spoon until it wilts. Press remaining kale into liquid. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 to 20 minutes, or until kale is tender.
Purée remaining beans in food processor. Add puréed beans, parsley and remaining 1 Tbs. oil to soup. Stir in vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, and serve.

I added lots of salt and pepper and still think it needs more. It makes quite a lot of soup, so maybe my "lots" wasn't really lots for the amount of soup! I also should note that I used an Italian seasoning mix instead of the oregano and rosemary because that was what I had on hand and I accidentally used 1 Tbsp of balsamic vinegar instead of tsp.

ENJOY!!! : )

To cook place 2 cups water and 1/4 tsp salt in pot and boil. Add 1 cup kasha and stir well. Turn heat to low and simmer 10-15 minutes or until water is absorbed and kasha is softened, but not mushy.

Wordless Wednesday: New meaning of "cat tree"

Friday, December 3, 2010

Buckwheat and Black Bean Soup *updated*

I made this batch of Buckwheat and Black Bean Soup this morning before I went to bed after work. It turned out alright. Next time...I'll be leaving out the lime juice though. I liked it a lot more before I put the juice in. I actually almost didn't because I had a feeling that I might not like it, but thought...no, no, it's in the recipe for a reason. Ugh. Big mistake.

1 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp)
1/4 cup kasha or buckwheat groats
1 tsp chili powder
2 cups veggie stock
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans or 1 15oz can black beans
1 cup grated carrots
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 bay leaf
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
2 Tbsp lime juice
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper and saute 5 minutes. Add garlic, kasha and chili powder and saute 3 minutes more. Stir in broth, beans, carrots, corn, bay leaf and 2 cups water. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 20 minutes or until kasha is tender. Stir in cilantro and lime juice.

(recipe courtesy of www.vegetariantimes.com)

I did not use any cilantro as I do not really like it and did not have any on hand. I also only used 1 Tbsp of lime juice. Personally, I will not use any lime juice next time I make it. I added a little cumin to my soup as well.

...I seem to never follow recipes anymore! I remember when I was little, I would yell at my mom for not following recipes because I thought they were written in stone and HAD to be followed. I now know I was completely wrong and have turned into my mother and never follow them at all!
The beginning of a beautiful love affair...

(Okay, colors are a bit off cause I had to use the flash. It was dark and I just couldn't wait to share! But, you get the idea! I will try to get a better, more accurate picture later)

I had only purchased three sets because Bob's mom is possibly going to give me another set for Christmas, so we'll have a normal four sets then! The goal is to get 8 total, but that will be a while...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mmm. Mmmm. Mmmm.

Yesterday I made some uber yummy butternut squash soup and after making that I felt like making something else so I made some sweet potato soup too! I was hoping to make a few more kinds of soup this morning after work, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to make it to the store since we got more snow and the roads aren't in good shape right now.

Since I couldn't make any more soup when I got home from work...
I decided to have a nice big bowl of butternut squash soup!

It was so good I think I could have licked the bowl clean.

I restrained myself though and just scraped every last drop I could out of the bowl : )
Now its time to do some laundry and then go to bed!
Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Do you remember a few days ago when I said I dream of Fiestaware in these colors in my kitchen?
I finally ordered our first few sets last night!
3 sets and a butter dish to be exact.
We only ordered 3 because we're hoping to get one from Bob's mom for Christmas and we also realize we can't afford to buy a ton all at once.
It will be a long process of collecting everything we want : )
I changed my mind a bit on the colors I wanted.
This is what we're going to go with

So that way we can have four colors with two of each color!
The butter dish is going to be the blue color.
I cannot tell you how excited I am for them to arrive!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

31-35 of 103 Randoms About Me

It's been over a YEAR since my last Randoms About Me post!
So, I thought it was about time...

35. I make a mean black bean burger! Even the meatatarian who is my boyfriend enjoys them : )

34. I severely disliked cats until we got one. Now, I'm a little kooky and spoil the heck out of our 3 kitties. Yep, that's right...3! We've got our own little G-Unit going on at our place: Gidget, Ginger and Ghita.

33. Since this apartment has a garage that we can park in, I have not had to brush snow of my car when I leave to go somewhere! I've never had a garage to park in!!! It is amazing : )

32. One of my favorite restaurants is Galactic Pizza...their delivery people wear costumes and drive electric cars! They have such a fun unique atmosphere and SO MANY unique types of pizza to try. YUM! I just wish we lived closer to get there more often...*sigh*

31. I am hoping to go back to college next year. I would like to go for Veterinary Technician. In case you haven't noticed, I have a passion for animals : )

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Since I have been working nights I've found a new passion... Orangutans.

That may sound a little strange to some of you, but they are truly amazing animals. They have more human-like behavior than you could ever imagine. They have friends, they cuddle, they groom each other out of love, they pick on each other, they play, they fight, they help each other, they learn from each other and they watch out for each other. There are outcasts, shy guys, scaredy cats, bullies, adventurists, popular orangutans and flirts...just like in the human world. They are just amazing to watch.

How did I fall in love with them you ask? Orangutan Island on Animal Planet.

Since watching so many episodes and being so amazed by them I decided I wanted to do my small part in helping them. So, I adopted an orangutan! Two of them to be exact : )

I would like to introduce you to my adopted orangutans...

First is Kesi.

Here is her story:

Kesi is a Swahili name which means ‘child born in difficult times.’ You’re probably wondering why she was given an African name. After all, orangutans don’t live in Africa. They live in Southeast Asia. Times are extremely difficult for wild orangutans. They are being pushed to the brink of extinction due to the rush to convert rainforest into palm oil plantations. Their habitat is being destroyed while they’re still living in it—and with nowhere to go, orangutans will not be able to survive in the wild. So that is why this precious little girl was given the name Kesi.

Kesi’s story is particularly brutal. She was brought to Nyaru Menteng back in September of 2004 when one of the paramedics found her during a rescue at a palm oil plantation in central Kalimantan. She was barely three months old, with her first teeth just barely coming through. When the paramedic took a closer look, he was shocked by what he saw: Her left hand was missing.

It wasn’t difficult to imagine what had happened. Starving and desperate to take care of her infant, Kesi’s mother had wandered onto the plantation in search of something to eat. In her weakened state, she was an easy target for poachers or plantation workers, and because she had a baby that could easily be sold for a few extra dollars on the black market, there was no hesitation. She was quickly brought down— and then they went in for the kill, finishing the job with a machete or knife. In the mad rush to kill the mother and capture the baby, one thing got in the way: Kesi’s little hand. An infant orangutan never lets go of his or her mother. Ever. Nor will a mother ever let her infant out of her immediate reach. With a vise-like grip, the only way to pry her loose might have been to cut her off. This, more or less, is the tragically brutal fate of many orangutans caught on palm oil plantations.

After Kesi was brought to the center, the medics discovered that her foot was also wounded— obviously cut by a knife or machete. What was truly incredible, though, was that despite all the pain she had clearly suffered, this little angel still smiled peacefully as she lay in her basket in the nursery. She was one of the tiniest and most delicate babies the staff had ever seen, and she quickly became a favorite.

With time, Kesi began to grow and gain weight. The wound in her left foot eventually healed and so did her spirit. She grew eager for adventure and started using two of the toes on her injured foot to hold onto smaller branches– even though she sometimes didn’t know how to get back down again. Whenever this happened she would cry out loudly for her caretakers to come and help her.

Through everything, she perseveres. She is always trying to reach higher branches, and while she is emotionally sensitive about her stump (not liking people to touch it) she uses it more and more—especially to feed. She’s especially fond of rambutans, and she’s reluctant to share, quickly scampering away if anybody tries to take some!

Staff members at Nyaru Menteng still can’t believe how much progress Kesi has made in her life. She no longer wants to be carried by caretakers to the forest. She successfully graduated from Infant to Baby School, and with so many new friends around her— who are a bit more experienced than her—she learns quickly. She now contrucs her own nests and has started to climb trees more and more. So even though Kesi was ‘born in difficult times,’ she’s a real fighter, and everyone believes that she’ll develop into a perfect wild orangutan.

Next is Pingky...

Here is Pingky's story:

Pingky is a 13-year-old female orangutan who was rescued by the O-Team from a garden behind a house hidden in a maze of small alleys in the remote city of Sintang, in the interior of West Kalimantan. When we found her she was tied to a tree with a rusty chain. Her neck had actually grown into the chain, making moving, eating, even drinking an ordeal for her. The wound on her neck was permanent and festering... You can read the details about Pingky’s rescue in the Sintang Report on redapes.org.

Just as one can read so much of the character of an old person in their wrinkles, showing years of accumulated smiles or sadness, Pingky’s face spoke of pure depression, deep sadness, and complete despair. Indeed at that moment Pingky was the saddest orangutan in the world.

Pingky’s face was extremely dark, giving her the visage of an orangutan in her 30s, and also
very leathery, from having no place to hide from the blazing sun. Being limited by a 5-foot
chain, she was constantly sunburned, something that can also happen to orangutans. Pingky was not particulary skinny-- she did get cans of Sprite and rice to eat, providing her with plenty of calories, but she had no real strength in her because of poor nutrition and inadequate vitamins for so many years. When we found her she literally begged us for some water. There was no source of water near her. One hardly dares to ponder about how often she must have been sitting there on her hill dying of thirst in the blistering sun for God knows how long…. Pingky weighed about 25 kilograms when we freed her. She had recently started menstruating,
something that in zoos with appropriate food may start as early as 8 years of age. She had also begun to have serious mood swings that scared her owner.

Pingky has long dark hair, which makes her look somewhat healthy. But actually the opposite
is true! Active playful orangutans normally roll around so much that their hair breaks off. For captive orangutans, long hair shows lethargy. Once the orangutans go back up into the trees their hair gets naturally long and oily to protect their skin from the raindrops that just roll off from their coat.

The rusty chain and the stinking festering wounds around Pingky’s neck severely restricted
her breathing. With big iron shears we cut her free, and after arriving at the Sintang Orangutan Rescue Center we immediately started removing the dead tissue from where the chain had been. After a clean up, Pingky woke up and was extremely uncertain about what to do. But when we would pass by her new enclosure she would show interest and, for those who want to believe it, gratitude to her rescuers...

Pingky's second picture is from when they first found her...the first is from this fall. Doesn't she look wonderful now?!?!

If you would like more information about orangutans and what you can do to help them, please check out http://www.redapes.org/

That project...

You know which one I'm talking about.
The one you are all excited about, you buy it and then...
it just sits there.
Nothing gets done.

Yep, this is that project.

I found this cute little hutch on Craigslist for $50.
I asked my aunt if she could pick it up and bring it up with her next time she came up to visit.
(It was in the area she lives in, which is 3 hours from me.)
Her husband was kind enough to pick it up and throw it in his truck the next time they came up.

After it was dropped off at my parents house, it just sat there.
And sat there.
And sat there.
And sat there.

It has about 25 layers of paint that need to come off before it can be turned into anything pretty.
Now, the weather is too cold to work on it outside and my apartment isn't big enough to work on it inside. Since it was in my parents' garage I decided I had better take it home as is because my mom will soon need to be parking in there (thank you snow, ugh.)

Even though it's not pretty I figured I should use it rather than having it sitting there just taking up space. I definitely need the storage since my craft "room" is our dining room, haha.
Looking at it now makes me even more excited for spring so I can get to work on it and make it beautiful!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I dream of having fiestaware in these colors.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Holey cow...

I'm standing here at work tonight and I suddenly realize I have a hole in my pants! It's right on the inner seam of my upper thigh. I immediately remember the sewing kit I found while organizing our junk drawer one night...I find it right where I remembered seeing it, yes!!! Noo!!!! It has no needle! Lots of little spools of thread, but not one needle! Our sewing kit is no sewing kit at all. It is simply a collection of many colors of thread.

I get desperate. I tried calling Bob to have him bring me a needle and thread, but got no answer. I even tried calling and waking up my poor mother (only because I knew she would be understanding)...no answer with her either. So I think for a minute. Okay, its small, its not really visable...I think I'll survive.

Except...the hole continues to get bigger and bigger. It is now 5 1/2 inches long! I still can do nothing about it. We have no needle, no safety pin....heck, I even searched for duct tape! Nothing. We've got nothing here that will help a girl when she's got a hole in her pants that is continuously getting larger. Ugh. I just hope that it doesn't get any larger in the next 2 hours...

Please keep your fingers crossed for me!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Goodwill Desk

I found this beauty at Goodwill the other day for $9.99!!!

I just had to scoop her up and make her mine!
She's actually perfect because she's VERY light...since we live in the upper apartment of a duplex with two flights of stairs to get to us, the lighter the furniture, the better!
Then, with the help of Bob's mom, I made her even more beautiful with a fresh coat of paint and some distressing...

Those are still the original drawer pulls because I haven't found any yet that I have fallen in love with. However, the original ones don't actually look bad : )
The pictures don't show the paint color very well...
I used Krylon's Oil Rubbed Bronze.
I know its typically used for metal, I just love it and it actually turned out really nice on the desk! I wish it would photograph better.
(Maybe I'll try again on a nice sunny day, it's a bit gloomy today)

She has now become home to my sewing machine.
The next task is to make a swag light to put above her because when I sit down to sew my big head covers all the light from the ceiling fixture which is behind me.
Since we only rent we have to find something plug in and rather than spending a lot on a plug in swag light to hang from the ceiling, I think we can make one!
So today we are making a trip to Lowe's to see if we can get the ingredients for one gorgeous swag light!
I also need to find a cute little chair to go with it!
I've been browsing Craigslist and I'm going to stop by Goodwill and the Salvation Army in hopes of finding something adorable and cheap!

Then, I have to make a new sewing machine cover because althought the one I have now is cute, it just doesn't look right with the desk.
Any excuse to make something fun, right?!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Dear Chicago Area:

Wells Fargo does exsist...I promise, I didn't make them up.
Last weekend while in the Chicago area we searched and searched and searched for a Wells Fargo...we FINALLY found one after the first three we got directions to didn't exsist.

When I saw this building I about jumped for joy! I was driving though, so I couldn't. I had made the mistake of not cashing my paycheck before we went on vacation...oops. Not that actually finding this bank did me any good. Since we were from so far out of town and my job uses a tiny little local bank, they could not cash my check for me : (

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Chicago Photos

There isn't really going to be any rhyme or reason to this post...
I just wanted to share some photos from my trip to Chicago this last weekend : )
Most of them are from the Navy Pier.
There are a few from Millenium Park and a few completely random.
Like this random macaroni statue...

(please, please, please forgive the crazy look on my face and the I've-done-nothing-with-my-hair-for-days-look. I really did do my hair that day...buuuut, we were in "The Windy City")