Showing posts from August, 2012

DUDE! Get On That Already!: Making a DIY Pot Rack

You know those projects that have been hanging on your to-do list so long you barely recognize them as words anymore? Those things you leave shut tight behind a closed door hoping one day they will fix themselves or just disappear? Dude! Get On That Already! The challenge created by the good folks at Young House Love, to clean out those spaces that are filled with unfinished projects and un-used decor. Join in! What are you going to finish this week?
We started building a pot rack in MARCH! Took a few measurements, bought the supplies in April, started with the hole drilling, and there it sat waiting to be painted all summer long. Finally I got around to it the other day. So here's my step-by-step tutorial.

Step 1: Take measurements. Decide where you want the thing to hang. Make sure it won't be hanging where anyone is likely to bang their head, nor block line of sight in the middle of a social common area. Remember that you need to measure this including…

Menu: Aug 26-Sept 2

More updates to our little organizational white board!

We added such things as breakfast and the weather forecast. I kept checking the forecast for the week when I was making the to-do list, and I got tired of being asked at completely inconvenient times what the weather was supposed to be like today. So I decided to include a basic weather forecast for the week, and Mum suggested we put it in the empty space next to the dates. Win! So we did.

I also started including breakfast ideas into the menu plan. No one else really needed lunch planned out so half that area was wasted space anyway. Having things planned makes it easier to eat those meals that are difficult for me to make decisions about because I always wait too long to eat them. If I ask Mr. Moon to go make breakfast, we don't have to spend half an hour going through the same conversation over and over again ("What do you want?" I don't know. [we both futz around online for a few minutes.] I'm hungry, wou…

Mornings & Insomnia: On the topic of making important mornings a little less brutal

Morning and I, we are not friends. We tolerate each other well enough, as long as we don't spend too much time together, but the earliest I'm willing to wake up without complaint seems to be about 9am. This pretty much means that the earliest I'm willing to make appointments or plans is noon, and that's kind of pushing it. I'd prefer to be waking up then.

That being said, for some reason when it comes to things like Celtic festivals and the like, waking up at 6am and out the door by 7am is a challenge but not a hardship. I usually pay for it, and two days in a row is nearly impossible, but it's worth it to walk through the dewy grass with a cup of coffee and the sound of bagpipes on the wind. 

Lately I've been having a terrific bout of insomnia that even melatonin can't touch. Especially when I try to go to bed at midnight because I have to drive Mr. Moon to work for 9am. Neither one of us wants to be up this early, and both of us had trouble falling a…

Was it something I said?

I told Mr. Moon that I would like to grow an aloe vera plant. He asked me, "what is its natural habitat?"

"It likes water and dirt."

Apparently this was not the right answer?

New Menu Planning Strategy

There are 7 days in a week, right?

Here are our goals for meal planning, in no particular order:

1: Fish day
2: Vegetarian days
2: Freezer meals
1: Salad day
1: Crockpot meal
1: Hearty meat dinner
2: Fend For Yourself days
2: Batch meals

But that's 11 days! Oh noes! Let's see how that breaks down into a week. Remember, days are fluid but let's use them anyway for illustration purposes.

Monday: Vegetarian Batch Crockpot meal
Tuesday: Salad
Wednesday: FFYS
Thursday: Hearty Meat Batch Dinner--roast or crockpot
Friday: Fish
Saturday: Vegetarian Freezer Meal
Sunday: FFYS

That... was actually a lot harder than it looks. But I got all the requirements! I kind of want to put that goals chart above right onto my white board, so I don't forget what we're trying to accomplish--so I don't forget to plan meals that can be frozen easily, so I don't forget to schedule something to be pulled from the freezer. We'll see. Maybe I'll just write it out on a card that g…

Menu Plan: Aug 19-26

Do you ever have one of those weeks where you make plans, and then they get dashed completely, so you make other plans, and those change too? It's Tuesday and I have adjusted our menu plan for the week three times already. That's why I haven't gotten a menu blog up yet! But I may as well post it, regardless of what else changes.

Part of the problem is that Pops refuses to participate in the weekly menu planning. We ask him if he has any requests, and he says no (or sometimes asks for a roast or something). We ask if there are any plans this week and he says no. Then suddenly the dinner that was planned for 7pm needs to be switched to 6 or 9 because he has a meeting to go to, or the day planned for leftovers requires a more constructed meal because they're having guests over for cards or they've decided to go out. When these things result in whatever was planned got getting eaten, it also results in more waste than I'm comfortable having. It's frustrating.

Recipe: Vinaigrette tutorial

A friend was needing vinaigrette ideas, so I wrote this out for her, and as I got into it I realized it's totally blog material. So I thought I'd save it in case I need to share it again!

A traditional vinaigrette is: 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar (and some mustard, salt and pepper). That means that if you want to make 2 cups of dressing, put in 1 1/2 cups of oil and 1/2 cup of vinegar. But the 3:1 ratio works at any quantity. Apple cider or white vinegar is best as a staple.

To pick your oil: Olive and canola oil are the two most popular for dressings. Corn oil is also fine, especially if you'll be cooking. If you want to use a flavored oil, stick to 1/3 flavored oil and the rest

With that quantity in mind, add about 1/2 tbs of mustard, any kind EXCEPT yellow, dijon is preferred--this is to help the oil and vinegar stay together (called emulsifying) and is thus an integral part of the dressing, so if you're going to omit it for any reason, you may want to include some…

Smile Time: Care Package from my Mommy came in!

I think she missed the memo that I was craving Dad's scones and my sister-in-law's Guinness Brownies. Oh, well, I am ever so grateful for what I did receive!

A t-shirt from the Summer Beer Festival in Depot Town's Riverside Park, Ypsilanti, Michigan. A CD from one of my favorite traditional Scottish music artists, Carl Peterson. Lightweight kilt socks in purple and green cotton, which feel absolutely delightful. A book: 1001 ways to use, recycle, etc, average household items.  Glancing through, I did see a few interesting points in the book, and I'm looking forward to reading it. This is right up my alley! Mr. Moon and I are considering the back of the shirt (shown here) to be a Bucket List of Michigan breweries that need touring, or at least visiting.

No beer or baked goods, but definitely items chosen with care and love.

The Latest Dirt: Fall Garden is sprouting!

It's small, but it's a start.

Top to bottom: Kale, Radishes, Broccoli Raab. These are the ones that demanded lots of sun on the package, but I admit I didn't plant in rows or pay attention to how far apart they should have been planted. Of course I saved the packages, and intend to thin out to the appropriate spacing and eat the micro/baby greens. 
This is mustard. There are tiny beet sprouts, but the red against the dirt just isn't terribly visible with a camera. It just occurred to me that the mustard and broccoli had been attacked by aphids but are not near any protecting companions, so I'm going to either have to get some garlic into these beds STAT or be diligent with the garlic-pepper spray. I refuse to put mint into my raised beds, because then I'll never get rid of it!
This is the mint we harvested from the mint garden, to make room for cauliflower and carrots. Since there is absolutely no way we were going to get ALL the mint out forever and always, …

Menu: Aug 12-19; Everything is Fluid

Don't you just love my bad alignment in this picture? It's readable though, and I'm a bit wibbly today, so you get what you get sometimes.

You may notice there are 8 days in this instead of 7. The last couple weeks, we've done the menu plan for the week first thing in the morning, and then been stuck trying to remember what was for lunch, dinner, and our to-do list for the day. I wrote it down so I wouldn't HAVE to remember! Mr. Moon suggested re-drawing the lines and adding another Sunday at the top. Then I could erase last Sunday, write this Sunday's information in the top slot with changes as necessary, and we could go ahead with the rest of the planning. I like the way this man thinks! So I set it up.

I was a little sad to lose even the 1/8 inch that we lost in each row, it makes writing three lines in the dinner column a little difficult. On the other hand, the lunch column doesn't HAVE to be half of the meals column, so I could make the dinner meals a…

Recipes: Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (Slow cooker meal)

So how do you make vegetarian sloppy joes?

First you solicit suggestions on Facebook for ideas. Someone will suggest Sloppy Joes and give you a recipe that looks... well, just too chunky and vegetable-y for your tastes. So, you will teak it slightly. Smaller chunks, more filler, etc.

Chop your veggies: Onions, bell peppers, garlic, some mushrooms would be grand here. This is the point where you need to decide just HOW vegetarian you want to make this. In our house, we are not opposed to using beef bouillon to give the illusion of beefy-ness, so there is some beef bouillon in this. I expect mushroom bouillon would do much the same, but we don't have any.

Sauté onions, peppers, and garlic until browned and starting to soften. Or, pull earlier than that because you're running short of time. Add the bouillon cubes at the last, so they soften and flavor the onions and such. I liked the pickled garlic in this, it works well in some things and not others but it definitely was nice in…

The Latest Dirt: Before or After? In Progress

What We're Eating:
Made a nice yogurt parfait for breakfast yesterday.
2 big dollops of plain, full-fat* Greek yogurthomemade granolaanother dollop of yogurthomemade granoladiced peaches  * I haven't found any low-fat/non-fat yogurt or sour cream that's not filled with extra starches. At least the fat is naturally-occurring!

I ate this sitting in the backyard on the patio, on a nice warm summer morning right before we attacked the garden. It was nice to take a moment to appreciate the work we've done already, that I could just wake up, head out there and eat my breakfast. Also, fresh and yummy!
 Monday was so warm, we just wanted something refreshing for dinner. Enter: Cucumber-Watermelon soup!
CucumberWatermelonGreek yogurtFresh mintFresh rosemarySalt & Pepper This is really supposed to be a "savory" soup despite the
sweet ingredients, so the pepper is essential. We used the immersion blender, but a regular blender would probably be faster for small batch…

The Latest Dirt: Mid-summer garden update

The last few weeks have been a chore. This was the beginning of the aphid infestation, around the beginning of July. It only got worse from here, as you will see.
My one, lonely garlic scape. It was delicious!
Mr. Moon would like you to know that the mint garden got as tall as his hip! It's started to die back in the heat since then, though. 
Isn't it strange how our plum tree has purple sections and red sections? That's because of these new starts. All the new parts are green. I asked at the nursery and it was recommended that we cut all the new starts out--they will overgrow the older, likely hybridized tree that is actually giving us plums. 
Sucker bugs! Why?! Took this picture for identification by the folks at the nursery, and they said it was likely the teenager stage of some sucker bugs. Best to get rid of them, suggested just using the garden spray I had tried for the aphids.
Speaking of aphids... This is the garden as of August 3. Those tall parts are mustar…