12/11 – Favorites

copy-of-1(From left to right)

  1. Echo Dot. We are living in the future here at my house, thanks to my dad. He sent us an Echo Dot for Christmas, which means I get to say things like, “Alexa, play Sturgill Simpson,” and his voice magically fills the kitchen. Or I can say, “Alexa, play Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” and Conway Twitty’s twang makes my boys giggle. The thing I like best about Alexa is that she seems pretty reliable. I hooked her up to my Bose speakers and she stays connected…my iPhone required fumbling around to find music and then fumbling around to connect it to the Bose. I haven’t looked into her other features yet, but, so far Alexa, you are peachy.
  2. Avacodos in smoothies. I’ve started paying a bit more attention to my nutrient and my calorie intake. And while smoothies usually end up being pretty high in calories, I’ve been enjoying them the past couple weeks. My old stand-by is an avocado, banana, organic cucumber smoothie with coconut water, ice chips, and vanilla protein powder. My newest love is avocado, banana, almond butter, cacao powder, coconut water, and ice chips. I might a little maca powder, bee pollen powder, or chia seeds to either of those…
  3. Jillian Michaels: No More Trouble Zones. Okay, last week I praised 30 Day Shred (also by Jillian Michaels.). But the super cold temps we’ve been having here in Colorado meant all of my working out was indoors, so I revisited the “NMTZ” work-out…and it is WAY harder than 30DS. I will be using both to help get me in shape for my big trip to Mexico in January.
  4. Thai Beef Bok Choy Bowl. Oh CSA, how I love thee. I was looking for a quick dinner to use up some of CSA produce, and stumbled up this beef/book choy bowl. I have to say, I wasn’t sure that I would really like it, but man the final product was delicious! I substituted several of the ingredients (I didn’t have Thai chili paste–I just squeezed in some lime juice and added a little bit of minced jalapeno pepper). I would make it again for sure.
  5. Alone. When I edit photos, I’ll often have mindless tv shows on in the background. Design shows are great, Pretty Little Liars worked well, and now that I’ve stumbled upon the History Channel’s Alone show, I will be binge-watching that while editing. So good! Ten men (why no women?) alone in the woods trying to survive using the 10 (or however many items that they’re allowed) items they’ve brought from home… The first season was filmed on Vancouver Island, which since I am obsessed with mountain lions, I happen to know it has the highest concentration of cougars in all of North America. I can’t even go for a walk alone in the CO woods due to cougar fears…being alone on Vancouver Island?! Yikes! If it weren’t for predator fears, I think I’d do pretty good on a show like that.
  6. Better Things. I stumbled upon this tv show and ended up watching the entire season in a day or two. I think I actually sat and watched the show (instead of multi-tasking with it on in the background). Louis CK co-founded the series and writes for it. Some of the topics are a little raunchy, but so much of it is dead on. I laughed. I related. I smiled.
  7. Standing Rock. Still sending out good vibes to ND. Even though we got some good news last week, one of my girlfriends was just there and she reported back that, “things are not as they seem.” I am a little skeptical of victory, so I will continue to send out good vibes.
  8. My baby is two!  We celebrated his birthday Friday and then again yesterday. I can’t believe how quickly time marches on.
  9. The Krazy Coupon Lady. So I am not good at coupons. Like, I have a few on my fridge…and maybe I’ll even remember to grab one or two before heading to the grocery store. But then I’ll forget, and leave them in my car…and so on and so forth. But since I’d love to have more money in 2017, I’ve started researching options and iPhone apps. And I stumbled upon the Krazy Coupon Lady app (as well as Flipp, Cellfire, ShopSavvy, Grocery IQ, Favado, Ibotta…). We’ll see how it all goes, but I was made aware that today Amazon is selling Green Toys (the brand) for 50% off and I stocked up on a couple Christmas presents that I was considering getting anyway. So, we’ll see how it goes.

UPDATE FROM LAST WEEK: My kraut wasn’t that great. Too sweet for me. So I think need a bit more info to successfully ferment cabbage. If I figure anything out, I will most definitely share it here.

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12/4 – Favorites

favorite-things-december-four

(From left to right)

  1. Bing Crosby’s White Christmas – This CD will be played on repeat in our home during the holiday season. So cozy.
  2. moe.’s Season’s Greetings – When it isn’t Bing, it’s the best, cheesiest, happiest Christmas music: moe. “We were together at Christmas…”
  3. Jillian Michaels: 30 Day Shred – To stay (or get?!) in shape over the holiday season, I’m trying to do Jillian’s 30 Day Shred EVERY.DAY. Which is totally do-able, except for when I fall asleep in J’s bed while reading books to him at bedtime.
  4. Shepherd’s Pie – It took about 90 minutes for me to make this recipe, but it sure tastes good. I made a couple substitutions, including using pre-made pie crust (that I let get to room temperature) and onions and garlic (instead of leeks and shallots). I love that it uses many ingredients from our farm CSA including potatoes, kale, celeriac, carrots, and onions.
  5. Westworld – My husband and I have been enjoying this show over the past few weeks. It’s a bit on the violent side for me, but an interesting concept, and Thandie Newton’s character Maeve is fabulous.
  6. Easy Fermenter Wide Mouth Lid Kit – In my spare time, I’ve been dabbling in all sorts of fun things, including making kraut. After not feeling totally confident of my last batch of kraut made in an open crock, I am trying batch 2 using the Easy Fermenter…two more days until it’s ready!
  7. Standing Rock – I’ve been sending good thoughts out into the world about this. I am hopeful thanks to the latest announcement by the Army Corps of Engineers, but I don’t think it is over yet. In today’s craziness, it would be so nice if something that I believed in happened.
  8. Glossier’s Boy Brows – Check out Glossier’s Boy Brows. I love this product. In fact, I stopped wearing mascara months ago (except for the very occasional big night out) in favor of using this everyday. It makes me feel like I put forth at least a little effort, but I don’t have to worry about red, itchy, or raccoon eyes.
  9. The Army-Navy game. One of my favorite days of the year! Come Saturday, you will find me in front of the television cheering for Navy. My veggie chili (and old Whole Foods recipe) will have a couple cans of Navy beans thrown in for some good luck.
Images from (l>r): Amazon, Amazon, Amazon, Food Network, HBO, Amazon, Change.org, Glossier, I Love Philly

 

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Music Monday – The Strumbellas Acoustic

It is definitely possible that I’ve been living in a closet for the past few months…

Ever since I stumbled upon the Strumbellas on SiriusXM’s Coffee House channel last week, I’ve been hooked. I can’t get enough of this acoustic version of the Strumbellas singing their song “Spirits.” It was even in my dreams last night, and I woke up singing it.

Does anyone know where I can own an acoustic version of it? Please?!

Homemade Corn Tortillas

diy-tortillas-7

On an evening when I was feeling particularly motivated, my husband and I made really good tacos AND homemade corn tortillas. (I am still not quite sure what got into me.)

The taco recipe was worth every second of time–I am not so sure about the homemade corn tortillas.

diy-tortillas-1

After doing a bit more research, I stumbled upon this recipe from the New York Times website, and it is motivating me to make my own tortillas again.

To give you an idea of the steps I went through, see below:

diy-tortillas-31. I combined the masa harina with a teaspoon of veggie oil, a 1/4 tsp of salt, and 1 1/4 cups of water to form a dough with the consistency of play-dough. (After further research, it seems to me the dough should be a bit more moist than that.) I let my dough sit for 5 minutes, but the NY Times recipe suggests letting it sit for 30 minutes to a few hours.
2. I separated the dough into the number of tortillas I was planning to make.

diy-tortillas-43. I placed a piece of dough between a zip-lock bag (of which I had cut open the two side seams).

diy-tortillas-54. I flattened the dough into a tortilla shape using my hand. (At one point, I did use a pizza dough roller which made the dough too thin for me to work with.)

diy-tortillas-6 5. I peeled open the bag and plopped my tortilla into a non-stick skillet that was set to medium-high heat. After cooking for 30 seconds, I flipped over my tortilla and cooked it until the edges curled. I then flipped it one more time. My recipe mentioned brown dots as a sign of being done, but my tortillas never really turned brown even though I cooked them for far longer than the recipe suggested (30 seconds and then about 60 seconds a side).

6. After removing the tortilla from the skillet, I placed it in between two plates that were lined with a damp dish cloth. If I did this again, I may line each tortilla with a damp cloth.

**Plan to use two skillets to expedite this process! I wasn’t prepared for how long it took to make each tortilla, and made space for a second skillet about half-way through. Next time I am starting with two!

I didn’t think that the flavor of these was worth the extra effort, and I definitely didn’t nail the texture (mine were pretty crumbly), but because we eat tacos about once a week, it would be worth it to tinker with this recipe (and others) a couple times to see if I can get outstanding homemade tortillas.

 

My Second Attempt at Homemade Yogurt

Homemade Yogurt

I’ve been reading about how easy it is to make homemade yogurt, and my MIL has been making it for a while, so I was pretty open to trying.

I stumbled upon the Cultures for Health website when I searched the internet for yogurt making. I wasn’t sure what culture to purchase, so I bought a pack of four different types of yogurt in hopes that my kids will love one of them.

When I found a bit of free time, I made my first batch. I followed the directions that came with my purchase, and mixed cold milk with the viili starter in a mason jar. I placed the jar in my oven and waited…and waited…and waited. My milk wasn’t doing a thing.

So the next day I turned off our air before I headed out for the day. And when I returned hours later, I sure had some yogurt. I smelled my mixture and couldn’t decide if it smelled good or bad. (I don’t really tend to love the smell of any dairy products.) I put it in the fridge and sampled a spoonful. It was just okay.

Because I wasn’t sure if the yogurt was good or not, I decided to make another batch.

yogurt-making

The Second Batch

I decided to switch things up a bit for Batch 2.

I heated up a couple cups of milk to 180F and then reduced the heat to 110F. Once it reached that temperature, I added 2 TBS of my first batch, mixed it up, and then put it in my oven.

This time, I turned off the AC in the house at the beginning of the process. I turned on my oven so that the light went on, but didn’t select a temperature.

Within 6-7 hours, the yogurt had set and I put it in the fridge.

I ate a bit today and sweetened it with honey. Although I was slightly skeptical of my ability to make yogurt that wouldn’t make me sick, I seem to be just fine and plan to have some more for breakfast tomorrow with granola and less honey.