Archive for Beautiful Things
Have you heard of Blis (Best Life Information System)? If you are a reader of I’m an Organizing Junkie, you probably have (I think I found out about it by clicking on an icon on that blog). It’s a database to organize every single aspect of your life. According to the website:
BLIS is organized into 7 thoughtful sections: calendar, to do & to plan, home, health, activities, my choice, and address book. The web pages print easily to beautifully pre-designed pages; perfect for saving hard copies in the stylish leather bound binder.
You can view the demo here.
I think it looks really cool, but I can’t believe how expensive it is! I guess I would expect it to have a one time fee of $125, like most software, not a yearly fee. What happens when you can’t pay that anymore? Do you lose everything you’ve saved?
I just don’t think I can afford something like that… (*Sniff*)
My biggest Internet discovery this week is the website Polyvore, a “free, easy-to-use web-based application for mixing and matching images from anywhere on the web.” People create sets, or collages, made from images on the web and share them with other Polyvores. They also create groups and befriend other members with similar aesthetic interests.
Enjoy! And, go ahead, make your own!
Tim brilliantly reminded me about the pea greens that we had left over from our last Chinese take-out and this was my lunch today. Delicious! Oh, for those of you who are curious, but don’t want to watch the video, to make this comfort food (I like it best as a late-night snack), add sesame oil, soy sauce, and sliced green onions to cooked wheat berries. It’s brilliant!
My husband recently turned me on to a particular food writer at the New York Times, Mark Bittman, who has a collumn called The Minimalist. In it he creates simple dishes in a few minutes accompanied by four minute videos to prove it. He also has a blog called Bitten. You, my devoted readers, know I’m having a hard time feeling motivated to cook, and his foods are delicious and easy, with just a few ingredients. Score!
Below is the link to the recent article and video about potatoes with dandelion greens, which stayed on my husbands mind for days.
The photos are of dinner a couple of nights ago, just in time for St. Patty’s Day. Tim made the potatoes with dandelion greens, which have a mild, almost sweet flavor – it’s hard to believe there was actually a green out there we had never tried before! I ate them with veggie sausage patties (which Tim slightly overcooked, but what’re’ya gonna do – at least he cooks when I clearly don’t want to!) and Tim ate them with some kind of German sausage.
I’ve been bad again, not blogging the way I thought I would when I started this adventure. And the day is so incredibly sunny, so unbelievable, that part of me wanted to feel upset about the state of my house. This should be a day where I open up every window and let the air flow through my sparkling domain. But it ain’t gonna happen today, and I’m not going to allow myself to get upset about it. Yes, that part keeps tugging at me: that part of me that is embarrassed and feels guilty about the pile of dishes, the insane pile of mail, the shoes that are overtaking every inch of the downstairs, the crumby, spilled-upon countertops, the fact that I’ve not mopped my kitchen floor once since we’ve moved in. Not once! (We’ll talk more about that in another post.)
I’m not going to bother being upset by the way air flowing through the house might just be spreading the dust and filth around. Anyway, it’s bad. The house is bad. I couldn’t possibly entertain a guest that might stop by – I’d have to grab my purse and recommend that we go down the street for coffee. And what if my landlord stops by to pick up her mail??? (The pieces of her mail that I have been collecting since Christmas! and that I can’t find because they’re spread out in numerous piles throughout the downstairs.)
But I’m choosing to ignore all that, because I want to relax outside in this healing sunshine for awhile, and then I’ve got a ton of school work to do, so I’m not going to waste my day trying to clean the awful, awful house. I’m hoping that after taking care of myself so beautifully and getting some schoolwork done, I’ll be able to pour a glass of wine this evening, turn up the music and tackle the house once more.
And here is the reason why that just might work: This is the first day my husband has been on call for a couple of months, meaning he’s not coming home tonight, meaning, I can have an unconventional, answer-to-nobody-but-myself day today. I can eat cottage cheese and fruit for dinner and then tackle the dish pile, instead of making more dishes by cooking. So, I choose to have hope today – that I will get to the bottom of it all eventually – just not right at this moment – when the breezy air is tinkling in my neighbors wooden wind chimes and it feels like a day to be spent poolside – at the beginning of March!
I had a wonderful New Year’s Eve in California with some of my best girlfriends, whom I only get to see once a year. We decided to cook dinner before going out. I mentioned the Deconstructed Pesto, since it’s easy and one of the few dishes for which I can think of the ingredients off the top of my head. We also had on hand cans of olives, hearts of palm (a unique and delicious food that I had never eaten before), and artichoke hearts, as well as avocados and tomatoes. My friend, Misty, arranged the beautiful salad you see above based on a salad that her Argentinian father makes, which is composed of just hearts of palm, tomatoes, and olives. Drizzle some good olive oil on top, pepper, and serve.
A couple of suggestions to make the best tasting salad (these things I know because my husband and I tried to recreate the salad on the night of the oysters, and made several mistakes):
- Use grape or cherry tomatoes and keep them whole, the hearts of palm are already tangy and the extra acidity from sliced tomatoes throws of the whole salad.
- Use good quality whole hearts of palm, not the “salad” or “sliced” style.
- Add olive oil and pepper, but leave off the salt and vinegar for people to add themselves on their own plate, again, the salad is already salty and tangy, a dash of salt and vinegar tastes good, but the salad should not be left to marinate in them.
- Finally, for a special night, add artichoke hearts and avocado, as we did on New Year’s Eve. The smoothness of the avocado creates a lovely balance for this tangy salad.
Below is proof that we were indeed cooking:
We were proud that we mangaged all this food preparation despite the fact that this was the amount of wine and port we had for three young women:
My mother was given these bottles after a wine tasting the day before, so we had a fun night of tasting $10-25 bottles of wine, mostly Pinot Noir, and $30 Tawny Ports. We hardly made a dent in the bottles and gave them back to my mom the next day.
And finally, a view of our picnic spread:
I’ve been meaning to post pics of Tim’s Deconstructed Pesto for weeks. When counting my blessings, I note how lucky I am to have a husband who does half of the cooking. One of my favorite of his creations is his Deconstructed Pesto:
- olive oil
- tagliatelle, fettuccini, or linguini
- cherry tomatos, halved
- pine nuts, toasted
- six heads of garlic, roasted*
- fresh basil, roughly chopped
- freshly grated asiago or parmesan cheese
- freshly cracked pepper
1. Cut off tops of garlic heads and roast them in the oven for 45 mins to an hour. Squeeze out the roasted cloves and keep them whole.
2. Saute the garlic in olive oil for a minute then add chopped tomatoes and chopped basil. The oil will infuse with garlic flavor and the tomatoes will release enough juice to caramelize into a sauce for the noodles. Add salt, pepper, and a bit of grated cheese as desired.
3. Meanwhile cook the noodles in boiling, salted water and toast the pine nuts in a small pan on medium to low heat (don’t let them burn!).
4. When you are happy with the consistency of the sauce, toss in the cooked noodles and toasted pine nuts.
5. Serve when mixed thoroughly, topped with shredded cheese and cracked pepper.
Eat this with a tossed salad and garlic bread as you wish. Perfect for a night when you want a cozy restaurant meal at home!
*My husband insists that the roasted garlic is the whole point of the dish. You could certainly do with fewer heads of garlic, you could also just mince some garlic and saute it in the olive oil and forget the whole roasting thing. The choice is yours.