Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Kale Salad

I never thought about eating raw kale (usually I would saute it) but it is actually quite good. And we had some kale in our garden that needed to be harvested.

Quick and easy raw kale salad:
  • fresh (raw) Tuscan Kale
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • walnuts
  • freshly grated hard cheese
cut kale into thin strips, squeeze lemon on top, put a little evoo, add salt, throw in some small walnut pieces and top with grated hard white cheese

Monday, November 29, 2010

Get in the Spirit

One of my goals over the weekend was to get in the holiday spirit. We did some evening wandering to look at holiday lights and ice skaters... My bus back to Boston didn't leave until 1 so I had some more time to wander around before the bus ride back.

I wandered through some holiday markets, enjoyed a hot apple cider in Bryant Park while watching the ice skaters and tried to take in the holiday spirit to find inspiration for holiday decorations, gifts and cards...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Take the Train

I was sorry my sister could not come to spend Thanksgiving with my in-laws and was determined to get to spend some time with her so I took the train from Brattleboro VT to New York, NY.

It was a long ride, about 6 hours - I could have flown to California in that time - but there was a lot to look at and not too crowded so I had a nice relaxing trip. When I studied abroad I really enjoyed taking the train to get around and rarely think to do it in the States. If you're traveling somewhere I would recommend checking out the train!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thanksgiving provides a good reminder to reflect on all there is to be thankful for. Being surrounded by the love of family is a good reminder - even if I can't be with my family in reflection I can feel the love of family and friends around me.

Growing up we would go to my Aunt & Uncle's house for Thanksgiving and while the turkey was cooking the whole family would go out for a walk on some trails near their house. That was always one of my favorite parts of the day. It has been 13 years since I've spent a Thanksgiving with my family. My husband's family lives where people hunt so there are some dangers involved in an attempt to go out for a walk - since I don't have any bright orange clothing - but this year we were able to go for a short walk which helped me to feel close to may family from 3000 miles away.

There is so much to be thankful for, so much beauty in the world to appreciate and a roof over my head, shoes on my feet, every new day and food to eat.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cranberry Nut Bread

When I asked what I could bring for Thanksgiving the response was cranberry nut bread. So, I looked up some recipes and settled on one I found at Simply Recipes

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chopped cranberries
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 Tbsp grated orange peel


1 Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

2 Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped cranberries and walnuts to coat with the flour mixture.

3 Mix together orange juice, sugar, butter, egg, and orange peel. Add to flour, cranberry, nut mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until just blended.

4 Pour into a greased 9x5 or 8x4 loaf pan. Bake at 350°F for 55 to 60 minutes or until done (a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean).

5 Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Serves 8.

It was a good and easy recipe. However I made it with dried cranberries instead of fresh cranberries which I assume is what the recipe actually calls for.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Create for You Tube

Today I experimented with making a short video to put on You Tube. I'd taken photos of all the steps to fold an origami crane and though they would work as a flip book so why not a short movie. I realized that a big missing piece for interest was music so I made an attempt with Garage Band and made a really simple scale so there would be some music with the video... and now it's here.

Monday, November 22, 2010


We learned an important lesson over the weekend... remove the paint from the floors before sanding them. So, there's a new step in this floor project. I spent almost 8 hours today stripping paint off of the floors.
Safety first! I was using highly toxic chemicals to remove the paint so I wore a mask with chemical filters, heavy rubber gloves and long sleeves, pants and sneakers, turned off the heat so the fumes wouldn't get circulated through the house, opened the windows and put a fan in one to suck the fumes out.

I had some Citristrip and Ready Strip left from some other work we had done so I used them up but they were not nearly as effective. For most of the floors I used Klean-Strip.

Hopefully there is enough paint off the floors now for us to be able to sand them. There were at least 3 layers of paint and then what looks like some kind of stain underneath it all. I ran out of stripper before I could finish everything so there will be one more day of this...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Holiday Present

... how about a calendar? Getting to play with the puppy the other week I took a lot of pictures and was trying to figure out what to do with them all when I remembered it's the holiday season and I could use the photos of the puppy to make a calendar for my friends for Christmas.
The hard part was choosing which photos to use and since I had such a hard time narrowing it down I chose to use 2 photos per month. Then I looked up a 2011 calendar so I was sure to get the days in the right places. I did the whole thing in a word processing program, inserted the photos and then inserted a chart to make the calendar part. So next year as the puppy keeps growing they'll be able to look back and remember what he looked like when he was just a few months old.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

chinese kale - garden to table

It has been windy! Since my hoop garden was not exactly expertly constructed the wind tends to take up the plastic, so I've been trying to remember to recover it in the evenings. It was nice a sunny out today so I went out and took the plastic the rest of the way off of the garden so it can get some sun I just have to remember to cover it up again tonight. The garden still seems to be doing well. The Chinese Kale I planted seems to be thriving and I needed lunch so I picked some of the kale leaves...


tofu - I like it when it's a little crisp so I put some olive oil in a pan, cut up the tofu and put it in the warm oil until it was golden and tossed it with salt and garlic powder
kale - I put a little toasted sesame oil in a pan with chopped garlic and ginger, half a spoonful of chili paste with garlic, soy sauce, kale, once the kale was cooked I added the juice from half a lime and chopped and added some mint

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I have been trying not to spend money. When faced with a problem this morning - being out of coffee - I had two choices, buy more beans or buy a cup. I decided on option number two (although I'll still need to get some beans for tomorrow) because sometimes it's also nice to be able to treat yourself and it's a warm day for this time of year. Even with some rain our I can sit on the new deck and still be dry!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

tag it

It's getting to be that gift giving time of year again and one of the things I always forget is gift tags so I decided to make some of my own. I have a little gnome who looks festive so I took a photo of him. I removed the background from the photo and then dropped it into a word processing program. I set up 8 tags per sheet and kept them simple, the gnome photo, To & From fields and then Happy Holidays note at the bottom. After printing I cut the tags up and made a hole to thread apiece of ribbon to be able to tie them to presents. I also made a few designs that were just holiday pictures on the front and space to write on the back. I posted them in my etsy shop.

Monday, November 15, 2010

blue skies

With the days being more dark and gray I'm already thinking about blue sky days. I realized that I have a lot of photos of blue skies so I decided to go through them. When looking at them I got an idea for a card set to add to my etsy shop. I picked four blue sky days, one to represent each season and will be a set of 12, 3 of each of 4 designs. I have a little more work to do but hope to have them up soon.

Friday, November 12, 2010

pet photography

Since I got to play with Finn again today and discovered yesterday that he does a lot of napping I decided I would use some of my time with him today to do some photography practice. By the end of my time with him I'd taken about 500 photos. Thank goodness for digital photography! And thank goodness for puppy naps because it's hard to capture him playing when he moves so fast but napping he's easier to capture.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Some friends of mine were going out of town for the weekend and asked if I could feed and play with their puppy during the day for a few days, so of course, I said yes! The puppy is only about 12 weeks so he is cute and cuddly but not really trained yet so it was a bit of an adventure.
The big thing I learned today was that the puppy likes to put everything in his mouth! Walking him was an adventure because he wanted to pick up everything and he kept wanting to stop and play with sticks and flopping down in people's yards. Thankfully it's easy to get his mouth open and get things out of his mouth so he doesn't eat them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Latin Inspired TV Dinner

When I babysit a few nights a week there is dinner waiting for me in the fridge at the house. I decided I would try to get better and leaving a new twist on TV dinner at home for my partner so I can cook something for lunch and have some of it ready for him when he gets home.

Today's cooking...
Arroz con gandules, frijoles negros y chili rellleno

To make the rice:

saute 3 pieces of bacon (cut into small pieces)
1/2 of a spanish onion (cut into small pieces)
saute for a few minutes

Add 1Tbl of each of the following;
parsley flakes (because I didn't have cilantro)
garlic powder

add 1/2 Tbl of each of the following;
ground cumin seeds

add 1 tsp chipotle chile pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Add 1 1/2 cup rice (I used brown)
stir together to coat the rice

add I can green pigeon peas (Gandules verdes)
Add 3 cans (using pigeon pea can) water

cover and cook until water is absorbed

Black Beans
let sit in a pot of water overnight
drain, rinse

poblano pepper tops (4 peppers used for chili relleno)
bay leaves
tablespoon olive oil
cook until tender

I also made chili relleno and had some left over brussel sprouts, then I plated it on a pie pan, so it just needs to go in the oven to be reheated.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

catch the colors

The leaves keep dropping and all the colors will be gone from the trees soon.
I decided to go for a walk, get some fresh air and enjoy the colors.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Rain Haiku

It is supposed to rain all day. I woke up to the sound of the drops being pushed against the window by a wild wind. It will be a good day to stay inside. I remember learning about different types of poetry in an English class and having to try writing in different styles, so I am challenging myself today to write a haiku about the weather.

First step, looking up how to write a haiku.
From what I understand the 'American' version of this traditional Japanese style of verse sees this style written as three lines, the first having 5 syllables, the second having seven and the third having five again.

water rolls down now
shatters on darkened pavement
pool together new

Friday, November 5, 2010

Basil Harvest

The basil was not looking good... so I cut it all and decided to freeze it so I can add it when I'm cooking instead of having pesto for dinner.

I washed the basil, put it in the food processor (blender would work too) with a little oil and when it was all shredded up I put it in a thin layer in a freezer safe container and put it in the freezer.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

2011 Calendar

November! Time is going by so quickly. With Halloween behind us and Thanksgiving and winter holidays right around the corner it's time to starting thinking about holiday gifts for this year and getting ready for the next year.

Today I decided to make a calendar.
I started by going through the photos on my computer and picked out some of my favorites that seemed seasonally appropriate.
I decided which image seemed the most appropriate for which month.
Then I had to choose a size and style for the dates. I've
noticed that I and most of the people I'm in contact with these days seem to keep all of our dates electronically, but it's still nice to be able to have a calendar, for a nice picture and for a quick reference, so I decided to keep the format small and to save some paper I decided to print two months per 8.5 x 11 sheet and too keep it uncomplicated by not using any folds or fancy fastening. I punched a whole at the top of each sheet and tied it with a ribbon to hang the calendar.

Then, since I have my Etsy shop I decided to post the calendar there too and see if there's any interest.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hoop Garden

I have some vegetable that could still use a little more growing time but it is getting cold out and there will be frost soon. And If I harvested everything before it freezes and my veggies die it would be too much food to eat before it spoils - I still have all that lettuce to eat- so I decided to make a sort of hoop garden. The challenge is doing it using things I already have...

I found:
  • two thin bamboo pieces
  • a metal trim piece (piece of wood and a nail)
  • a large wooden steak
  • a large pice of bamboo
  • string
  • plastic panting drop cloth
  • somebroken bits of pavers and bricks

I moved the planters I had things growing in in between the two beds so that they could be covered too. The veggies at one end of the bed were shorter than the ones at the other end of the bed, so I used the small bamboo and string, I tied the string around the tops of the bamboo and used it to pull them together so they would be curved and closer to the beds. At the opposite end of the beds where the vegetables are taller I put the large bamboo and wooden steak and tied the string between them also.

The metal trim piece was wobbly so I nailed it to a board to give it some rigidity in the middle and placed the board between two of the planters so it would stand. Then I put the plastic over the top of everything and used binder clips and chip clips to hold the plastic on to the supports.

It's not a beautiful or expertly constructed hoop house but hopefully it will help to extend the growing time a little so we'll have a few more weeks of fresh vegetables from the garden.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


It's November 2nd again which means it's time to vote! So, this morning when the alarm went off I rolled out of bed, grabbed some coffee and headed out...

They are predicting that there will be higher turn out for this election than there has been in 20 years. I thought I might be waiting for awhile with the before work crowd but there weren't too many people yet.

I always get a bit nervous about voting. I'm not sure if it's that I somehow suddenly feel all this pressure for participating in decision making that will impact the whole... Or it could just be flash backs to multiple choice tests... maybe I didn't read the ballot question information carefully enough, didn't study enough, and now I'm going to fill in the wrong bubble and fail.
Nerves aside it is a good feeling to be participating with the community, everyone gathering in a single place for a single purpose and to have a voice on the crazy ballot questions.
During elections I also am reminded that it was hard fought by incredible activist women for me to be able to participate and have a vote and is also privilege that I have by living in this country so it is important to participate and not take it for granted this privilege I have.

So... make sure you get out and VOTE today!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lettuce Harvest

It is getting cold out. I'm hoping there will be a bit more growing time for my vegetable garden but as the temperature drops there are a few things that need to come out, so tonight I did some harvesting...

I picked all the lettuce, most of the tomatoes even though they're green and the rest of the radishes. Looks like we'll be having salad and fried green tomatoes or a green tomato salsa or something... hmmm....