Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Dinner

Halibut with Roasted Beets, Beet Greens and Dill-Orange Gremolata:

This was such an easy and awesome meal. Like the last uncommon-for-me ingredient I used (lentils), I found the whole roasted beet and beet green thing to be surprisingly delicious and satisfying, a great outcome considering I had been expecting not to like it much at all.
I had honestly been expecting Boy to hate this, but as it turns out he grew up eating beets and likes them as much as he likes any vegetable so he finished off the last stray slices from the roasting pan. I loved the beets as well, but went back for seconds on the greens which were deliciously chewy and a perfect little bit of bitter contrast to the other ingredients.
I followed the recipe as written using Mahi Mahi instead of Halibut and served everything with some steamed brown rice. So freakin' healthy you can probably see me glowing!
As you may know, I require a sauce so to finish the dish I made a little drizzle using the juice from the sacrificial zest orange, amped up with a spoonful of frozen orange juice concentrate and a few healthy tablespoons of butter swirled in off heat.
Everything is baked on one pan which is about as good as a three-part meal gets as far as I am concerned, and I'll look forward to making this again when we (hopefully) have fresh beets from our CSA box.
Happy Sunday!

Friday, March 28, 2008

And the Lid Thunked Open

It's garbage day, and I just busted a chick trying to dump her personal trash in my freshly emptied can.
It's quite a ways to the end of our main driveway, but, unlucky for her, I was up in my studio and near a window that faces that direction and the thunking noise of the lid flopping open caused me to get up out of my chair and look to see what was going on.
She was parked at the end of my driveway and in the process of hauling three huge lawn and leaf bags full of what sounded like liquor bottles and cans out of her car trunk and into my can.

Because I wasn't going to have to throw away anything this whole next week and therefore wouldn't mind storing her can full of drinking-fest detritus until next garbage day?

Um, no.

I busted out the front door and screamed "HEY" at her from the stoop at the top of my lungs.
I think I freaked her out. And when she looked up from her task, I screamed "WHAT are you doing?"
It went on from there, but suffice to say that she was persuaded to remove her party trash from my garbage can at full volume from 200 feet away.

I'm sure my neighbor thinks I'm insane.

But you know, I'm the kind of person that won't even put my doggie bags in someone elses' trash can when I'm out with PupCake, so that some stranger felt it was appropriate to FILL my can with her trash was quite an affront. (And for the record, I wouldn't mind if people put their doggie bags in my can. Around here, that they are picking up their dogs' business at all is something to celebrate.)

Ahhh...parents-out-of-town-teenage-party-trash. I remember it well, and evidently I chose my dumping grounds a little better, because I never got busted getting rid of it.
Or screamed at.

Anyway, this, which I love way, way too much:

is going on Etsy!
There are no words to describe how much I adore the color combination of the fabric I used for the lining on this. In fact, I am grooving hard on the whole olive, purple, orange thing in general lately.
Just one addiction in a whole sea, really.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

They Say to Feed a Cold

So I have had this insane virus thing that everyone else seemed to have had but that I thought I evaded. But then I got it. And the best part is that for at least the last week, one of my ears has been solidly plugged up which makes me feel like I'm living in a thought bubble. So between that and the whole mucus issue, it's been a rather unproductive couple of weeks.
I ate like almost a whole pan of rice krispie bars last weekend.
I thought it might make me well, but it didn't take.
And then a couple of days later when I was finally feeling un-shitty enough to venture out for some groceries, I found these:

And yes, I caved to the conspiracy to get us to eat more corn syrup and bought them.
And now I have to make more rice krispie bars.
And eat them all.

Full report later.

P.S. Did you see my new FLOR? It's so cool!

Friday, March 21, 2008

"He Who Put it There...."

...can take it back", to quote Boysmom.
So it's the first day of Spring, and I'm SO over it.

Yesterday, my neighbor kids were jumping, jacketless, on their trampoline. Today, this is the activity and attire of choice:

Aside from the obvious fact that, um, IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE SPRING?, this little development is a problem for me because I have a footwear issue.

have had it.
They have a hole in them down there by the toe and both sets of laces are on the hairy edge of breaking, and I'm loathe to buy a new pair until next fall because, until last night, the weather was just at the point where I could switch over to my running shoes for the warm seasons' outdoor dog activities.

But they've served me well, these Keen Targhee. I did the math with a little help from my Garmin Forerunner GPS, and I think they've got close to 1500 miles on them over two winter seasons of dog walking, which is nothing compared to the old guy I met in town the other day. He told me he walked his dog every day for 23 years and figures he has 23,000 miles around our town! I told him to check back with me in 20 years and we could compare notes...
Anyway, these boots have been wonderfully comfortable and warm and waterproof and lightweight enough to be fairly decent for running, which is a lot to ask of a shoe. But I can't say that I'm sad to see them go. What I am sad about is that I'm going to have to put some duct tape over that hole and keep them out for at least a few more days.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mailbox Bonanza

Last Friday was a mailbox bonanza day of the highest order.
First, a free hat from Saveur magazine for renewing my subscription. Extra nice because I have been growing my hair out from practically buzzcut short for like the past year (or two? I lost count), and I am finally at the point where enough sticks out the bottom of a baseball cap that I don't look like a melon-headed baldie. So I can actually wear the thing.
Next, and way better, was a super cute and very clever patch thingie from Animal Flowers Art Studio via Etsy. I ran across these little treasures completely by accident and just had to have one to sew onto the back of my motorcycle leathers. And as if that wasn't cool enough, Jodie, aka monster patch maker extraordinaire, tucked three of the cutest MOO cards ever into my package!

Thanks Jodie!

And then...
Did you know that Zazzle now has an answer to the MOO? Yes! (It HAD to be coming, right? And frankly I'm surprised it took so long.) They're called Profile Cards, and of course, in the interest of R and D, I HAD to order some. They got here within just a few days and I must say they're pretty darn neato. I'm not as crazy about the shape, which is slightly narrower and longer, a true half-sized business card, and the image isn't quite as crisp, but they offer several different varieties of card stock and many, many different fonts which I think is a big, big win.
For comparison purposes, I ordered the same image that I've had printed on MOO cards, and you can see the two examples below:

As a minus to MOO, the last batch of cards I got from them were less bright and the color slightly off. Not enough to make me want to bother with sending them back, but less wow than my previous boxes. As such, in this example, I think the Profile card looks better because the color is truer, but if you look closely you can tell that the clarity of the print is not quite there. It's dot-matrix-ey, whereas MOO is perfectly clear and photo quality. A minor complaint, but when we've all been indoctrinated into the tao of MOO, it's something that's hard not to notice.

Here's a peek at one of the many font likey:

The Zazzle cards are purchased in packs of 20 and come pre-loaded into this handy plastic dispenser...not that you'd want to do without with your MOOPocket, because they fit in there just fine :)
Compared to their competition, I found the Zazzle card maker user interface to be way less slick. A little futzy even, but I guess that's one of the trade-offs for more choices. And they're slightly more expensive, ranging from between $6.95 and $8.95 depending on what card stock you choose. Zazzle is offering free shipping on your first pack until March 31st, but it looks like it'll be 1.99 after that, with discounts for multiple pack orders. And if skinny isn't your thing, you can get custom chubby cards from Zazzle, too!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Late for WFDW and Some Crafty

Salmon Cakes with Garlic-Spinach Saute

If you can get past the scariness of what's inside the can of canned salmon, this is a quick and tasty recipe that takes all of fifteen minutes to prep and cook. I upped the ante by adding fresh minced ginger and an extra scallion to the patty mixture, and I found that I needed an egg to get everything to hold together but still, a simple throw-together kind of meal. Besides, how can you go wrong with anything served over sauteed spinach?

Then, remember the lowly "leftovers" bench I made from the scraps of the dining table project?

While I was on a quick little IKEA jaunt the other day and perusing the acre of cool new summer stuff, I found these nifty cushions covered in the most fabulous of fabrics, ever. I just couldn't live without it's spotty, orangy deliciousness, and since it appeared to be close to the dimensions of the leftovers bench, I figured I'd get one.
It ended up needing some tweaking...I had to cut down the overall length by a few inches which meant I had to also do some major sewing surgery on the cover, but the good part is that I then had some excess fabric I could use to make straps to hold the finished cushion to the bench:

Sort of looks like a real piece of furniture now, huh?

P.S. The selection of plant pots is in the store right now is awesome! The white one holding the bird of paradise plant you see was only $35...probably a third the price you'd find a big, big pot for anyplace else.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stop the Violence

So imagine my surprise and horror, when, the other day while I was off chilling out on the net, surfing Flickr, I came upon a case of MOO card violence so terrifying and awful that I just couldn't stand by and passively witness.
It was horrifying, I tell you. Horrifying.
MOO card enthusiast Dan was trying to be resourceful, and you know, I completely understand resourceful. But in his resourceful quest, MOO cards were harmed. Fossil fuels were at risk.
I know.
It's unspeakable.
MOO cards.


I felt it my civic duty to take action; to stop the violence.
To save the planet.

So I sent Dan a message and offered to send him his very own MOOPocket. Free.
Because I am that kind of girl, and because I love sharing the love.
But, being the fun, creative guy that he is, Dan came up with a better idea....a swap.
He very generously offered to trade me a print of one or two of his photos for a MOOPocket.


So I checked out all of Dan's photos and chose two that I loved and that I thought would be cool for the walls here at Modern in MN. Because what is better than original art?

Free original art, maybe?
(And while I'm on the subject of art, take a peek at Dan's "toys" set and the "Toy Box" pics....they're just. too. funny.) Remember disco ken, aka Tom Comet and his companion?

And in the mean time, I mailed off Dan's extra special custom designed leather belt loop MOOPocket.

Fast forward to a couple of days later, and what should appear in my mailbox by two fabulous and fun photos! Whoohoooo!!

Thanks Dan! I hope you heart your MOOPocket!
And do check out Dan's website here for more about him.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Last Nights Dinner

Mustard Crusted Pork with Lentils and Carrots

I LOVED this! And what a happy surprise, because to tell you the truth, I am not much of friend of the cooked carrot. And lentils aren't something that I'd consider an exciting under any circumstances, but in this dish, combined with the other ingredients, they're delicious and something I'm imagining looking forward to having again.
The best part was that this is basically a one dish meal and really quick and easy to make.
My only complaint was that a lot of the mustard crust fell off when I tried to slice the pork. Not sure how to remedy that, but this isn't really the kind of dish where a perfect looking plating matters much anyway. Next time, however, I am definitely going to put the meat on a rack to get it up off the bottom of the pan in an attempt to get a more evenly crisp and crusty crust.

So, the pork was delicious and tasty and juicy and the mustard part went perfectly with the sweet of the roasted carrots and the richness of the lentils. Whooda thunk. A cooked carrot I acutally loved and a simple basic meal that's basically just a few things thrown together.
Hurray!! A winner!!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Does This Count as an IKEA Hack?

So, Whats For Dinner Wednesday last night was so boring it only gets two sentences. Cabbage and White Bean Soup with Chicken Apple Sausage:

Don't bother.

After that, I was messing around with needle felting onto some of that IKEA canvas I mentioned before, because it was something I could do in front of the TV while I watched the Project Runway finale.
Today I sewed that canvas up into another mini-messenger bag:

As you can see, I lined it with purple and trimmed it in one of my favorite bursting-with-color prints which made it just that much more fun. I have no idea how the felted bits will hold up on the canvas like they are, but I think it looks neato all 3D like that. Like colorful little warts :)
The pictures sort of suck because I had only the last of the daylight to work with, so I'm going to try and get some better ones tomorrow and get them up on Flickr.

Sunday, March 02, 2008


I guess I am an all or nothing kind of person...go big or go home as they say. As I have mentioned here countless times before, just winging it tends to be when I am most in my element, which I think this has a lot to do with the fact that for me, one of the most exciting things about the creative process is just discovering where something will lead and seeing what will happen. I firmly believe that some of the coolest and most interesting ideas come about as a result of having to adapt to deal with the unanticipated and unexpected. The caveat being, of course, that sometimes this means miserable failure.

So maybe it is that I'm addicted to the risk. The gamble.
But really, there are very few instances that come to mind where something has gone so horribly wrong that I regret having started, because at the very least, there's something to be learned.

Anyway, my point...
Much, much too long ago, a certain someone gifted me some fantabulous fabric that was practically BEGGING to be turned into a stylish yet functional bag. But, not being willing to squander said fantabulous fabric on experimentation and not quite having a clear direction for design or being ready to fully commit to one, I started working up a prototype in some cheap IKEA canvas that I had in my stash. But, being unable to make any concrete decisions about how I should proceed and feeling like I was generally putting a lot of effort into something that wasn't really for anything and therefore a waste of materials and time, I quickly lost interest and tucked the project away into my WIP's box.
I guess it needed to percolate my head that is.

Then the other day, finding myself with some time on my hands and no longer being able to ignore the design urge, I pulled out that fantabulous fabric that had been flapping out in the mental wind on the clothesline of my brain for so long and decided to dispense with the indecision and make something with it.

That little adventure ended up going fairly well, I think. In fact, I think I sort of love what happened, so much so that this morning has me thinking I'll try and make another for myself. Oh yea...I forgot to tell you that this whole project was born as a top-secret surprise for my fantabulous fabric-gifter pal. I hope she loves it too!


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