Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bird

Oh, Robin.

I just adore you. Thanks for warming my heart today.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Crafty Vegan Food Adventures #4

I was a cooking fiend yesterday. I love throwing things together on the fly, especially when they turn out as delicious as my Friday Snow Day spree. I didn't take pictures of most of what I consumed because I was a ravenous beast. However, everything I made was so quick and delicious that I wanted to share.

For breakfast, I had a bowl of steel-cut oats with cinnamon and maple syrup. This held me over for about 45 minutes. Something about the cold makes me constantly hungry. Nevertheless, I waited until noon to throw lunch together.

I carefully considered what we had in the apartment (minus the emergency rations since big mean boyfriend wouldn't let me touch them :P) and decided I needed to use up my portobello mushroom, spinach and avocado. From there, I came up with a spinach salad topped with roasted portobello and a dijon dressing, my favorite go-to. I marinated the mushroom in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a clove of garlic before roasting it on foil for about 10 minutes in a 425 oven. To make the dressing, I mixed together a little olive oil (around a teaspoon), about 2 teaspoons of red wine vinegar (it's also delicious with lime juice instead), about a tablespoon of dijon mustard, and three dashes of cumin. Just cut up the mushroom when it's done and top the spinach with it and the dressing. On the side, I had guacamole and whole wheat tortilla chips. I rarely make guacamole at home because my love is allergic to avocados, so I didn't have all the ingredients. So, I mashed up the avocado with the juice from half a lime and a couple of spoonfuls of chunky salsa. To make the chips, I used SnackFace's method from two whole wheat tortillas (365/Whole Foods brand). I topped with salt and cayenne. The whole meal was delicious!

Almost immediately after, I decided to make a vegan cappuccino in my French press. I read about the process initially on Hungry Hungry Hippie's blog, but then I read somewhere else that you don't even need a special frother -- a regular French press works. So I made my French press coffee, cleaned out the press, heated some almond milk for one minute in the microwave, threw it in the press, and pumped. The result was surprisingly authentic. Now, non-dairy milk does not froth up as much as the cow variety, but it's close. I topped with a dash of cocoa powder and a little sugar. Delicious! I'm making another one today.

And I actually have pictures of the rest of my food! I bought chickpea flour recently to make these insanely good Brussels sprouts and have wanting to try something else with it. I have Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian cookbook, which I love to read but barely use. She has a super-easy recipe for farinata that I decided to whip up for dinner. Oh my goodness, it was ridiculously easy and insanely good. Basically you sift together 2/3 chickpea flour and 1/3 teaspoon of salt, then slowly combine 1 cup of water to remove all the lumps. Let it sit for 30 minutes. The basic recipe doesn't have any spice, but I added a teaspoon of Italian seasoning here. Preheat the broiler. Now put a tablespoon of olive oil in a 12-inch, oven-safe frying pan (mine was only 10-inch but worked great). When it's hot, pour in the batter. Then top with black pepper and another two tablespoons of olive oil. (I only used one more because we were out. Tragic!) It'll cook about 4-5 minutes, until it starts to firm. Once this happens, transfer it to the broiler for about four minutes, until it's golden and gets a few brown spots. Eat it as soon as you can get your hands on it! The recipe says it serves 2-4, but I ate six of the eight pieces all by myself. Here's a picture taken in my kitchen with terrible lighting after I had eaten half the farinata:



I topped it with crushed red peppers for a little more kick. I think it would be awesome with some sun-dried tomato and cheese, if you're so inclined. A blurry close-up:



If I hadn't made it myself, I would have sworn it was full of eggs. It had such an interesting, frittata-esque quality.

My taller half and I needed -- yes, needed -- dessert. I'm low on a lot of supplies, including white sugar, chocolate chips (totally out), and vegan butter (also totally out). Luckily I found a cinnamon coffee cake recipe in The Joy of Vegan Baking that worked with what I had. I'm not going to reproduce the whole recipe here, but you can find it by using the "search inside this book" feature on Amazon. Anyway, for a cake with no butter in it (canola oil instead), this sure tasted rich and buttery. The topping was my favorite part, though I omitted the walnuts because my love is not a fan. Check out the first two tiny pieces I ate:



Mmm . . . so good! I actually preferred this room temperature to warm. It was even better as breakfast this morning with a mug of Choice Irish Breakfast Tea. (And you gotta love our Paris map plates. They're from Target.)

So that's my Friday cooking adventure. The snow stopped falling, but not before it left us several inches (4-8 is the area report -- I'm not good at estimating). Still, we're hoping things will clear up enough for us to get out this evening. We have tickets to see August: Osage County tonight, so here's hoping we won't be snowbound!

Friday, January 29, 2010

My Broken Grama

It's snowing. Again. We don't normally get this many storms in the winter here in northeastern Oklahoma. My office closed today, so I'm enjoying a day off. I can't complain about that. However, in between bouts of cooking (spinach salad with roasted portobello mushrooms and dijon dressing, guacamole, homemade whole wheat tortilla chips, and a vegan cappuccino in the French press), I've been bummed about my grandmother.

No, not the one who was in the hospital before with heart problems. This time it's my mom's mom, who lives here in Tulsa. She had a hip replaced in the fall. She had her other one replaced last week. She has been having a much rougher time healing this go, but it didn't seem too bad. My older cousin is playing caregiver, and they aren't getting on very well (not that they ever did...), so my mom drove down Wednesday night to offer her company and assistance. Thursday morning, my grandmother attempted to make coffee and peel an orange. Unfortunately, she fell and fractured her leg. She had surgery yesterday, and the break is bad enough to require some extensive rehab.

It only gets worse from here. My grandmother is on so much pain medicine that she's not responding to anyone's questions. So, instead of a normal rehab facility, they may have to put her into a nursing home to complete her therapy. She hates nursing homes. My mom is worried that my grandmother won't put forth any effort to feel better and, therefore, won't recover. On top of it all, she can't get anyone to talk to her. My mother is my grandmother's next of kin AND power of attorney, and even still, all the nurses seem to have no idea what's happening nor any inclination to find out. My mom has still never seen the doctor. She had to throw a fit yesterday even to get him on the phone. My car is covered in ice and snow, so I don't think me venturing out is a great idea. Instead I'm fretting and trying to talk my mom through it. If any of you watched Gilmore Girls, my mom gets things done about as well as Emily Gilmore. If she can't get a nurse to answer a question or take care of the IV that made my grandmother bleed all day yesterday (oh yeah, forgot to mention that), then I can't imagine who could.

All I can do now is hope things improve, hope my grandmother starts responding, and hope my mother can talk some sense into the folks at the hospital. I'd really appreciate any positive vibrations the rest of you can send.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Oh, Brigid, where are you?

I've been quiet around here. Sorry folks! My new job has stricter internet policies, so I'm still trying to find a balance and schedule for keeping my readers updated.

I don't have any pictures yet, but this week, I started a pottery class. Remember the metalsmithing class I took, wow, almost two years ago? The pottery class is at the same place. For only $100 (plus $25 in supplies), I get 8 weeks of instruction by a really funny, talented dude. It's only been one class so far, but I am in love! No, seriously. I expected to enjoy plopping clay onto a giant wheel and watching the magic happen, but I left class just elated on Wednesday evening. After at least three comments on my diminutive status, it appears I'm a bit smaller than the average potter. As a result, I had to sit strangely on the bench. This has left me with two giant booty bruises. Only today is sitting not uncomfortable. Hopefully I can prevent them this time, but we'll see. I made two bowls in my first class. They probably suck, but that's two more bowls than I've ever made before!

I'll return again soon with more proper updating. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thankful Thursday

It's time for another Thankful Thursday!

1. My new job. It's going well. I'm settling in nicely. :)

2. Love notes from my wonderful boyfriend. There's nothing like coming home from a long day of work and non-work-related meetings to find little Post-Its all around the apartment. That brightened my whole week.

3. The weather. It's not exactly spring, but we are temporarily saying goodbye to whole days below freezing. It was 55 yesterday!

What are you thankful for today?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Employed again

I started my new job yesterday. It's going well, and I'm happy here. However, my office is a big, beige, blank slate. The lighting is a little inadequate, and my walls, desk and bookshelves are crying out for some TLC. I already have my lovely painting from Audrey Eclectic, my pincushion-turned-wrist-rest from Noodle Salad, my handmade mug from Forever Tuesday, and my coaster from Mason Designs. I need to buy a calendar, datebook and tissues as well as bring some more photos. Everything else I want to make myself. This is a short list of things I want to create:

  • Pillow for my desk chair and other chair
  • Pen holder
  • Paper weight
  • Some kind of wall art
  • Decorated lamp

That's all I can think of for now. So, who has some ideas, advice or links to share? I need inspiration!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Art around the house

Sorry for my silence this week. I believe I mentioned before that I was taking this week off from working, and I've been trying to keep myself busy and away from the computer. I made a to-do list unthinkably long for anyone on vacation, but that's just how I roll. Despite a minor illness derailing some of my efforts, I've gotten a lot accomplished. Yesterday I finally bought nails to hang up some lovely art we've collected over the past three years. Check out my handiwork!

Let's start with the living room. Above the TV, you will see my beautiful trees:

Close-up:


On the left is fabric art by Art by Bethany. I was admiring it at Indie Emporium, and my lovely mother snatched it up for me for Christmas. On the right is a piece by Laura Nugent. The painting was my taller half's and my first big purchase together from Mayfest 2007.

On the opposite wall hangs our Audrey Eclectic Sexy Librarian.

She oversees our bookshelves, of course.


Catty-corner to the trees hang two family photos. My mom bought me the floating frames for Christmas, and I knew immediately who to put inside.

The top one is my love's family (including both of us), and below are my siblings. I took that photo shortly before Christmas 2008.

Over in the dining area hangs this lovely young lass by Cydney Grossman.


I purchased the charcoal at the Saturday Flea Market for $4, so I don't know much about it except that it's really, really pretty. See?

I don't know if it's a print or an original. I just had to have it! (Sorry these two photos are so dark. Our dining area gets no natural light, and the artificial light is pretty poor, too.)

Finally, in the bedroom, I put up this little thing I did a while back.

My taller half is crazy about it, but I'm not, so I thought the bedroom was the right choice. We can admire it, but nobody else has to pretend to love it. :)

I haven't put things up in the spare bedroom/office/studio yet. I will post pictures when I do.

Happy Friday!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!

It's time for the requisite New Year post. I sadly spent the last day of the year (and the last day at my job) with a pretty bad migraine. In addition to head pain, for me this includes clumsiness, foggy vision, nausea, sleepiness, and -- my personal favorite -- excessive drooling. SEXY. Anyway, I was not up for a lot of celebrating last night. Instead, we lounged around, played some Trivial Pursuit on the PS3, and popped the champagne cork. I look forward to sipping champagne on New Years Eve, oh, pretty much the who year. Conking out at 11:00 and only finishing 2/3 of a glass was not what I intended to do, but down I went. My taller half woke me just before midnight for the required smoochin', and then I passed back out. So I'm up bright and early today. :)

I'm not a resolution-making lass, but I do take the first of the year as an opportunity to dream up some goals or wishes for the coming months. Here's what I wrote last year. I did well enough on those goals. I started selling consignment -- a big, scary step for me. I learned new skills, though the sewing machine and I are still only cordial. I think I improved the Disciples of Etsy team some, and now I'm stepping down as leader. My studio remains an untamed mess.

Here are my plans for 2010:

1. Try new things every month. I'm already signing up for some classes (details in another post). I want to experience more wonderful things.
2. Get braver with my business. I want to push myself in some way. This year, I will approach more stores, apply to bigger shows, launch new products, etc. It'll never grow unless I plant the seeds.
3. Do more crafting for me. I tend to focus too much on "can I sell this?" Sometimes it's OK to make art just for the sake of making art.
4. Organize! Oh, to be an organized person.
5. Run a 5k. This goal won't go away until I do it, dagnabbit.
6. Write more for me. I get paid to produce sentences. I used to do it for fun. I'd like to devote more time to creating sentences on my own time.
7. Eat more vegan meals. I feel better when I do. Plus, it makes me feel more creative in the kitchen.
8. Do something amazing. I'll just leave it at that.

What are your plans for 2010?

About Me

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Tulsa, OK, United States
Hello! Welcome to my blog, which I run in conjunction with my Etsy shop, greyeyedesigns.etsy.com. Here, I'll track things I'm working on, do reviews and interviews, and offer advice and information. Thanks for stopping by!

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