Rules to Live By (most of the time)

September 15, 2010 § Leave a comment

How do you orderyour life?  Calendars, Outlook reminders, lists, Post-It notes…  Me, I tend to create rules because for some reason if I add something to my personal canon, it seems easier to adhere to.  I’m sure why, but it usually works, so I go with it.   

One of my first rules was instituted several years ago to kick my daily Diet Coke habit- do not store Diet Coke on the premises.  This rule helped decrease my soda (and caffeine) consumption without going cold turkey.  Every once in a while, I slip and a six-pack of diet soda finds it way into my house.  Thankfully, the rule is so ingrained that once the soda is consumed, it’s easy enough to revert back to the default rule.

Best Stainless Steel Cleaner, Ever

September 10, 2010 § Leave a comment

 

Do you regret your stainless steel appliances as much as I do?  Before we even moved into our home last summer, we needed a new stove. Let’s just say that overzealous cleaning of a 20+ year-old appliance is a bad thing and that it may result in only one consistently working burner.  When it was finally delivered, our stainless steel, downdraft stove looked amazing, until I cooked dinner on it.  I’ve been battling smudges and fingerprints ever since. I could regale you with a list of all the stainless steel cleaners that I tried, but it would be wasteful since none of them worked. 

Then, a good friend let me in on her secret, Pledge.  Spray a little Pledge on your stainless steel appliances and wipe (with the grain) using a microfiber cloth.  This is the point where a more conscientious blogger would share before and after photos with you, but I just can’t bring myself to.

The Secret to Selecting A Good Eggplant

August 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

Why is it that there are ‘secrets’ to selecting good fruits and vegetables? And why do I never seem to get them right?

Recently, I found myself on Savor Seattle’s food tour and during our visit to Frank’s Quality Produce, our guide, Caroline, shared the secret to select a good eggplant (i.e. one that isn’t to bitter). Look a male fruit because it has fewer seeds and seeds are what can make an eggplant bitter.

How can you tell a male eggplant for a female? It’s rather simple. Check the indentation at the bottom of your eggplant for a nice roundish belly button, rather than a dash.

Well-Stocked Kitchen = Trouble

August 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

Have I mentioned my serious sweet tooth? It constantly undermines any attempt at eating heathy.  Case and point, tonight, we had salad and oven-baked salmon for dinner. Delicious and healthy, right? 

But then 9:00 pm rolled around and the world conspired against me:

Well-stock fridge + dessert craving = blueberries with fresh whipped cream

And then, I made things worse by bringing someone down with me because I made enough to share.  But really, can you blame me? There was half a big carton of heavy whipping cream (leftover from making ice cream) and fresh (local, organic) blueberries and only one natural conclusion to draw.

Here is a basic Whipped Cream recipe:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1-2 tablespoons of sugar

Just pour the heavy cream into a mixing bowl and whip with a hand (electric)* mixer until peaks form.  Add the sugar and vanilla continue mixing until the peaks stiffen.  Stop beating before it gets lumpy. If you want to step it up a notch, add a flavored liqueur, like Kahlua, Bailey’s or Cointreau, about 1-1 1/2 tablespoons per cup of unwhipped cream.

*If you want to cancel out all the calories you’re about to consume, by all means use a whisk and some arm power.  But do anticipate that you’ll need to avoid using your dominant arm for at least a day or two after hand beating whipping cream.

Girl Time and A New Salad

August 19, 2010 § 2 Comments

Last week, but I took a road trip to Spokane to visit one of my college roommates.  I loved every moment of it, even the four and half hour drive in each direction.  You see, I haven’t taken the time to explore much of Washington beyond Seattle and the Eastside, so it was amazing to see how varied the landscape is.  

The best part of my trip was spending two whole days with Keia, one of my dearest friends. We rolled two years of catching up into a few days.  There was a lot of talking and laughing and eating.  One of the high points of the visit was a leisurely patio lunch at an organic restaurant called Luna after a morning spa treatment.  This is where I met my new salad crush. And, I’ve spent the last week coming up with an approximation of this lovely meal:

Mixed Greens with Nectarines, Blueberries, and Goat Cheese

Salad

1 package (5 0z) mixed or spring greens

2 nectarines, sliced

1/3 cup blueberries

1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese

Dressing

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil, preferably extra-virgin

1/2   tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon finely minced fresh rosemary

Sea Salt and pepper

Directions

Mix the dressing first by whisking together the white balsamic vinegar, honey, finely chopped rosemary, salt and pepper. Then, slowly whisk in the olive oil. 

Fill a large bowl with your greens, nectarines, blueberries, and goat cheese. Pour dressing onto the salad and toss to coat evenly.

And now for the best part, share and enjoy! Or if you (like me) live with someone who is not a salad enthusiast,  indulge  in a moment of gluttony.

Mojitos = Cleaning Aid

July 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

It has been fairly warm here. Yes,  low-80′s qualify as warm if you don’t have air conditioning. Come five o’clock  in the afternoon my house starts to feel like an oven, and I start looking for a cool drink.  Recently, I’ve been indulging in an evening mojito. Last night as I was cleaning up, I tossed a half of juiced lime and a couple of mint stems down the sink. I’m in the habit of tossing an occassional lemon wedge down the sink to freshen things up because it reduces our use of bleach.  Can I tell you how amazing this smells?  Try it. 

Unnecessary Warning: Don’t try this if you don’t have a working garbage disposal.

Photographic Interlude: Eleven (Blooms Day)

July 16, 2010 § 1 Comment

Summer has finally arrived in western Washington and here are the flowers to prove it. Last week’s heatwave seems to have officially signaled that summer has arrived.  And while, I do love rainy weather (a good thing considering my adopted home), all the rain has also given me a new appreciation for warm sunny weather. 

Jackson & Perkins: Moondance Floribunda Rose

Unknown white hydrangea

Echinacea Purpurea White Swan

Unknown red poppy variety

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