Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Antipasto-Style Penne

So, this is the cast of characters from this recipe I made on Sunday for ekklesia. It looked very yummy (this was my first time making it), but I did decide to tweak the recipe a little. The ingredients are: parmesan cheese, a jar of roasted red peppers, pepperoni, a jar of chopped kalamata olives, a jar of marinated artichoke hearts, a small package of pine nuts, a box of penne pasta, and that stuff in the glad ware back in the back is what was left of my homemade pesto from last summer. (Speaking of, now that I've used it all, I can't wait to make more!)

Boil a big pot of water. I never measure the water. I just fill it about 2/3 of the way up. Now, after the water has begun to boil and before you put the pasta in, make sure you salt it heavily (I always do because the people on Food Network say to and so I listen to them...).

Pour the whole box of penne in, stir it and let it boil away for about 12 minutes (directions on package).

While that's cooking away, you can get the toppings ready. Drain the olives, roasted red pepper, and artichokes.

Cut your pepperoni into quarters. I used about 1/3 or so of a cup.

Put your pepperoni and pesto (about 3/4 cup) in a large bowl.

Chop your olives (not pictured because I bought already chopped ones), artichoke hearts, and roasted red pepper.

Then (well, if you're like me and all the chopping and draining took you about 12 minutes), drain the pasta and pour it in the big bowl with the pepperoni and pesto. Ok, I have to admit that I rinsed my pasta with cold water which I KNOW is a big no-no, but I was going to serve the pasta cold, and I was running out of time...

Add in the olives, roasted red pepper, and artichoke hearts. Toss everything together so it's all coated with the pesto.

Ok, here's the part where I tested it and decided it needed *something.* I remembered that my amazing Italian aunt (who is one of the best cooks I know) puts balsamic vinegar with her pesto. So, I added a tablespoon or so to mine. Thanks, Aunt Jackie, because it was PERFECT!

Then I grated about a 1/3 of a cup of fresh parmesan on top and tossed it in. I then covered the bowl with plastic wrap and popped it in the fridge.

While the pasta was getting nice and cold in the fridge, I toasted the pine nuts in the oven (400 degrees for about 7 or so minutes). Brings out the natural oils and such (blah, blah, blah...again, Food Network tells me to do so!)

I took the pasta out of the fridge and topped it with the pine nuts. There you go! It was SO good. Believe me. And, the balsamic really, really added a lot to it! Calories: 404 per serving (this is about 8 or so servings). Not bad for pasta, huh?

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Couch That Changed My (Design) Life...

About six months before John David and I got married, I was visiting my grandparents in Pandora, Ohio (a very tiny town an hour or so south of Toledo, if you know where that is). My grandparents, parents and I went antique shopping in some towns surrounding Pandora. We walked into an antique store in some small town of which I now forget the name (I really SHOULD remember, because it's where my epiphany took place, but I don't...). I strolled in, past the "normal" antique furniture and odds-n-ends and started towards the back of the store. And, there. it. was. You know, it really should have had a spotlight shining on it and there should have been "ahhhhh" music playing (You know the tune, when someone sees something they have to have and the spotlight is shining on it and then the music plays. No? Think of when Aladdin sees the lamp for the first time in the movie. THAT'S what I mean.). I knew I had to have it. It was perfect. I didn't know what I loved about it, but I knew it was special.

Then, the store owner came up and told me they had gotten it from an old factory that had closed. It was used in the break room, but the factory had been closed down for some time and the couch had just been in storage. He said he guessed it was from the late 50s, early 60s. He was right. This Stratford couch was most likely made around 1960 or so. I love the clean lines, wood and metal legs, and the vinyl. Now, while I will say that it is not the most comfortable couch I have ever sat on, it is the coolest looking (in my opinion). It started my love for mid-century modern design, and for only $300 (it's a sectional, too), I think it was a pretty darn good deal.

I took some pictures of my beloved couch. They aren't THAT good, because I'm not an excellent photographer like Shannon or The Pioneer Woman, but I tried!! : ) And, it's black so it's really hard to see the detail, but again...I TRIED to take good pictures of it!

Note the clean lines and wood/metal legs.

And the buttons. Oh, how I LOVE the buttons.

Here it is in all its glory (Please do not pay attention to my VERY dirty coffee table. It's still cluttered from craft bazaar items)!!

There you have it, folks. If you don't like it, then fine, there will be more mid-century modern things in the world for me to buy, but I love it and never want to get rid of it! Ever.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Weekend Wrap-Up

Since I just woke up from my second nap this weekend, I am beginning to really understand how much I value my time off from work on Saturdays and Sundays! : ) I'm sorry I missed my post on Friday about the garden, but, believe me, there's hardly anything happening in it. I will do an update post sometime in the next couple days.

Instead of blogging on Friday, I went to hear eventhesky, the band my husband, brother and a couple of close friends are in, play at the Crow's N3st (a new music venue in BG that one of our friends owns). It was a blast. Really. The are amazing, and I am so proud of them!

Saturday was a long day. We got up at 7:30 to get ready for the craft bazaar at TC Cherry. There were a lot of booths set up (with amazing crafts), but not so many people came. I figure it was just because the weather was pretty stormy, but we still had a lot of fun talking to friends and the other merchants at the fair. I hope that next year more people come, because I PROMISE it was amazing! I just wish more people came to shop, that's all! So, if you want to buy candles, soap, necklaces, hair clips and bow headbands from us, we still have some available! Just message me to let me know you want something! I'll post pictures soon, so you know what the knitted items look like!

I really do treasure the times that JD and I get to spend together on Saturdays. Last night was no different. We watched Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory AND Charlie and the Chocolate Factory while we snacked on chocolate I had won at the bazaar as a door prize. (Yes, did you know that BG now has its own chocolate store? It's next to BAC, and it's amazing. It's called Mary Jane's Chocolates.) Perfect night, indeed.

Today, I woke up and made food for ekklesia. I made an antipasto-style pasta, which I'll post the recipe for later this week. It was delicious! We really just had a great time hanging out today. We really didn't discuss a certain topic, just shared a meal then went to the park (some of the guys played disc golf while the rest of us took the kids to the playground). I love swinging on the swing-set, so I was happy! Then I took a nap and now I'm writing this. Ahhhh, I love the Sabbath.

Long story short, it has been a perfect weekend. I wish EVERY day was the weekend. Now, THAT would be perfect! : )

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My Amazing Husband's Eco-Friendly Post

So, my husband amazes me. I mean, obviously, I think he's already the coolest person ever, but he also is so handy. He washes the dishes, does all the laundry, cleans the majority of the house, does all the yard work, and never forgets to be romantic to me! He really is the best ever! Plus, did you know that he also makes soap and candles? Yep. That's right. And, he's all mine!! :)

Tonight, he took me through a tutorial on how he makes soap. I took pictures!

Here is our cast of characters: glycerine, soap mold, plastic wrap, measuring cups, whisk, colors, moisturizing add-ins, botanicals, and scents.

He puts pieces of glycerine in the mold to see how many he will need to fill up the entire mold.

Then, he puts all of them in the measuring cup.

Very important: He says you MUST cover the glass with plastic wrap to keep the moisture in so it will create suds when used. Then he pops the container in the microwave for 45 seconds at a time.

He whisks every 45 seconds until the glycerine has completely melted (Penelope wanted to help).

Capo helped, too. By looking cute! : )

After the glycerine has melted, he poured a little bit in the bottom of each mold.

He then poured some oats on top of that little part of hot glycerine. He popped the mold in the freezer to let all the soap set up a little bit (he was trying to create a layer for the oats).

With the rest of the glycerine, he added powdered milk, Vitamin E oil, and honey almond scent.

He added some yellow and blue color (to try to make a brown, which didn't QUITE turn out).

And, then he added some oats to the mix.

He got the semi-hard bottom layer of soap out of the freezer and poured the rest of the hot mix on top.

And, there you have it: honey almond soap with oats and Vitamin E.

Here's a finished lavender bar. I was too impatient and wanted to blog before the honey almond had set up, so I took a picture of a bar he had made earlier this week.

Oh, and he makes candles, too! All different scents and colors, but all soy wax with metal-free wicks! I told you he was amazing!

So, that's my green, eco-friendly post for Earth Day: make your own soap and candles. But, if you don't want to/don't have time to/like ours better than you think you could make yourself and are in the Bowling Green area this weekend, come see us at our little table at T C Cherry Elementary School's craft bazaar from 9 - 2 on Saturday, the 24th! We're selling candles, soap, knitted headbands and flower clips, beaded hair pins, crocheted washcloths, and jewelry. We're very excited! Hope you can make it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Sweet Potato with Warm Black Bean Salad...

Is what I made for dinner. Here's the recipe from Eating Well. It's amazing, extremely easy, and at only 295 calories per serving (one potato + topping), it's so very healthy. I took pictures so I could give you, my blog readers, step-by-step instructions.

Cast of characters: 4 sweet potatoes (I only made 2 and kept the extra topping for later), a can of black beans, 1 tomato, 1 tsp. coriander, 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 c. reduced fat sour cream (I only used half of the sour cream).

Prick a bunch of holes in each sweet potato and then pop in the microwave for 11 or so minutes (that's how long it took the two I made tonight to cook through).

Drain and rinse your black beans. Throw them in a medium-sized bowl.

Chop your tomato into pretty small pieces.

Throw the tomato into the bowl with the black beans.

Pour in the tablespoon of olive oil.

Add the teaspoon of cumin.

Plus, the teaspoon of coriander and the 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Pop this in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes.

While the bean and tomato mixture is heating up, take your hot sweet potatoes and cut down the center. Squeeze the ends to make a "well" in the center. Caution: the potato will be HOT!!

Take the bean mixture out of the microwave, spoon 1/4 of it onto the potato and top with about a tablespoon or so of sour cream! And, voila!, you have dinner!!!

Now, if you don't think you like sweet potatoes, I BEG of you to try this recipe! It's not sweet or sugary at all! I'm so full from eating it, yet I want another one because it's that good. And, 295 calories? C'mon! That's just amazing!

Tomorrow: It's Earth Day so, of course, I'll blog about some of my homemade, eco-friendly hobbies. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Designer on a Budget

Not too long ago, I was standing in the kitchen (washing dishes) of one of my best friends in the world (and mentor and who I want to be like and the most wonderful person ever, really) discussing how to be more simple and how I didn't have to feel like I had to buy the newest, best clothes, and she looked at me and said, "There are plenty of clothes out there, why do you have to buy new ones?" For some reason, it was like a light bulb went off in my head, and I made the vow to try to only buy "used" clothes. Well, I've already failed at that attempt, but at least I'm trying. And, because I've been visiting more consignment stores (notably Beverly Hills Bargain Boutique here in Bowling Green. They don't have a website or I would have linked it), I have found a couple fabulous pairs of designer jeans. The first pair I got were these for $30. That's right folks. A seemingly brand-new pair of $170 jeans for $30. Wow. What a wonderful deal!

Then, I went back to look for capris. I found this pair for $20. Again, a pair of almost $200 jeans for $20! I don't know if you've ever consignment-shopped, but when you find great deals like that, you get this amazing rush. It's a great feeling!! I promise! You should try it.

Oh, and if you're really lucky, like my friend Christy, you'll find an authentic Coach bag (brand new) for $40. That's right. $40!

Man, I LOVE consignment shopping! More about my finds and what I'm looking for next week.
: )

Monday, April 19, 2010

My Mid-Century Obsession

So, I'm obsessed with having my own atomic ranch one day. What's an atomic ranch, you say? Well, the following pictures represent what I want my house to look like one day (i.e. an atomic ranch). I just have to win the lottery AND find the perfect place to buy all of this furniture (no reproductions for me, I only want originals)! Not out of reach, right? Ha.

Oh. My. Goodness. This house is AMAZING!!! Look at the lime green "pillars." They just DON'T make houses like that anymore (hence why it's mid-century: they're only made from the mid-50s to the mid-60s)!

This living room is perfect. Large window/glass wall/sliding door to the back. Amazing stone fireplace as the center. Beautiful combination of materials and colors: wood, stone, cloth, black, white, tan. And, amazing lamps. Wow.

I love red kitchens. I don't really like red, but I do adore red kitchens. So wonderful. Hard to believe this is at least 50 years old!!

Um, look at the large wall of windows. Need I say more? Beautiful!

And, yes, even this bathroom! It's so wonderful! Ahhh! I'm obsessed, really!

Next week: the couch that started my obsession (and yes, it's sitting in my living room)!