Wednesday, September 24, 2008

...and still more home improvements

Can you guess what's going on? My parents are coming to visit for the first time since we replaced the siding...and...basically, Tavo and I have became crazy HGTV-esque banshees because we are introducing our parents this weekend (and we want to be showered with praise for all our hard work)

So, as its Wednesday night, we're getting down to the last projects. Here is our completed house (my apologies--its dark out!)

Tavo was super busy doing our shelves. We have an odd little alcove in our bedroom, and it just makes more sense to have shelves there than large dressers taking up space in the main part of the room.

Tavo also decided that the huge, homemade bookshelf my old roommate left with me should be moved into our main room. He moved the shelf AND our books!
....and we saw that my old roommate didn't bother to move the shelf when he decided to paint the room...(and we aren't going to paint over it--we both just like it)

And of course, we ate my ALL TIME FAVORITE MEAL! Our friend, Pepé, came over to work on our ancient desktop--so I set up everything for "make your own pizza station" Which turned out to be a silly waste of time, because everyone wanted EVERY topping. Here's the goods:

Tavo catching me using the "secret ingredient" (kroger crushed tomatoes)

"No babe!! Get a pic of the vegetables!!" (caramelized onions, mushrooms sauteed in wine, green peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, and black olives) mozzarella and fresh grated parmesan waited in the fridge..

I chopped up some garlic for the top...everyone wanted that, too.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

We did it!!!

Our big project, which took almost two years (actually, just 6-8 days of really hard work and about 600 to procrastinate) is done. We painted our half painted house....but actually finished this time!

...back in time....

We have a very old house...and we got it for a good price. That means that this wall of siding was pretty much rotten. We scraped and scraped and primered...but sometimes, its better just to call Dad and say, hey--can you come down from Detroit and teach me the fine art of residing a house?

Dad said, sure! Put a few Budweiser on ice for me. (I am lucky to have great parents!!)

Mom said, do you want me to start painting the unrotted parts? I had bought this khaki paint, but I didn't really like it. Especially when my neighbor painted their house about 2 tints from it. I'd joined the beige/khaki crowd, half-heartedly.

Mom is the fastest painter this side of the Mississippi...seriously. She did all this, with just a brush, in about 20 minutes. forward 1 1/2 years...our house is half painted weird khaki, with the other parts (those by overgrown bushes and other very mosquito-y areas still original green) I was at a breaking point. Our house had been half-painted for more than a year, and our tallest ladder couldn't reach the top. Three of our neighbors had a ridiculously similar shade of khaki/tan. We needed to make a change. So....we decided to buy some red paint.
oh, and we painted. We started Saturday, with 2 brushes and a 5 gallon.

and we had vittles. I'd actually bought some ground round to make burgers for Tavo. I generally do not buy meat--actually, I have not done it since I ate meat (more than 10 years) ...but Tavo had been so gung ho on this project that I wanted to surprise him with a hamburger on a homemade bun (btw--homemade buns are kind of hard, at least mine were. While tasty, I will probably use store bought buns next time, because these were just too dense)

Hamburger. (has garlic, onion, cumin and coriander mixed in beef, also fresh tomato and broccoli slaw)
...and my jerk tofu burger. Again with the overpowering, tough bun!! The slaw was OK, but I'm going to either get a cabbage or buy the cabbage slaw bag next time. Broccoli slaw is very...broccoli.

The jerk tofu was right on. Not too much of a recipe here, I just freeze it, squeeze it, and fry it.

before we ate, had to trim out at least 2 sides of the house...

Post eating, Tavo enjoyed being 20+ feet above the rest of us. (then we realized we needed a 30 ft. ladder to reach the peaks)

It's too dark to take any more pictures right now, but...we finished. Need to do some trim work, but the fact that house, and peaks, are painted is pretty awesome. Yes!

p.s. I would try and hide our address, but the fact that food delivery places and google maps can't find our place makes me feel okay.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dinner anyone?

Tavo was running some errands last night and I had settled into one of my favorite activities--a whole bunch of cooking. The plan was, he would go out with the boys and I'd have a good time cooking up food for the weekend and listening to 1690 am and dancing around the kitchen. We have a HUGE project this weekend and I knew if we didn't have plenty of food all set to eat we'd end up ordering pizza a couple times daily. Plus--I really like cooking.

Then a few friends called, I told them to come on over and wait for Tavo. Then Tavo came, and brought beer. And before we knew it, everyone was in the kitchen hanging out and the party ended up right here.

There's no beer in the freezer!!!

The Atlanta Journal Constitution had some great recipes in their food section this week--here is some Beef Stroganoff for Tavo. He gave it rave reviews, so I'm putting the recipe below.

Beef Stroganoff
(from the AJC--altered a bit. They said to use 3 cups tomato juice--I didn't have that so we used tomato paste and beer)

8 oz mushrooms (we used baby portabellos)
1 cup chopped onions
1 lb beef (used chuck steak)
egg noodles
2 T tomato paste
1 dark beer (had a couple sips)
T worcestershire sauce
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Cook mushrooms, onions and beef over medium heat until meat is done. Add tomato paste and beer, (if you want, you can put the noodles in here, bring to a boil, and cover for 8 minutes. We cooked the noodles separately) Lower heat, stir in sour cream, and you're in business!

I also made some Asian Slaw to go with our sandwiches tomorrow. Its my favorite cole slaw--great on bbq tofu or tempeh sandwiches.

Asian Slaw

Bag of slaw mix (I'm trying the broccoli slaw this time)
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
T. rice vinegar
T. sesame oil
1 1/2 T. honey
roasted sesame seeds

if you want, this is good with jicama cut up and added, too

mix and let sit in fridge for at least 4 hours before serving.

I also made a loaf of sandwich bread and another recipe from Atlanta Journal Constitution, "Kale Chickpeas and Leeks Braised in Olive Oil" This was TOTALLY a winner, so I'm putting the recipe below, too.
Kale, Chickpeas and Leeks braised in Olive Oil

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large leek, white and light green part only, chopped (I went ahead and used 3)
2 garlic cloves, minced (I think I threw in 5)
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bunch kale, stemmed, chopped and washed in a colander
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed, or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas
3-4 small tomatoes (the AJC says roasted red peppers, but I had tomatoes that needed eating)

In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, such as a Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, add oil. When oil shimmers, add the leek, garlic, salt and paprika and stir until leek wilts, about 1 minute. Add kale, chickpeas and red pepper and stir to combine. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over medium heat for 20 to 30 minutes, checking to make sure pan doesn't scorch. If needed, add a tablespoon of water to keep a very small amount of liquid in the pan. Once kale is tender, taste and adjust seasonings, if needed. Serve hot, at room temperature or cold after a night in the fridge. -John Kessler, AJC

Sandwich Bread

1 1/2 cups water
1 cup wheat flour
2 1/4 cups white flour
1 1/2 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. salt
2 t. fast rise yeast

Put in bread machine, set to dough cycle. Pull out and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Here's us tasting the goods...

yep, we had some desert, too. These are my grandma's brownies:

At first I was not going to post the recipe, because she was pretty secretive about all of her recipes. Super secretive. Wouldn't even tell my mom most of them! But I browsed online quickly to see if I could find the recipe, and it was extremely common, so I'll go ahead and post it. I think it was probably produced by the Hershey company.

Grandma's Brownies

4 eggs
1 stick oleo (I'm writing it from her recipe)
1 cup sugar
1 can chocolate syrup
1 cup + 1 T flour
1/8 t. baking soda

1 1/2 cups sugar
6 T. milk
6 T. oleo
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Bake brownies at 350 for 22 minutes and cool. For frosting, boil first three ingredients, then add chocolate chips. Stir until melted, and frost. These are great stored in the fridge.

All right--we are now starting our project. We'll post the results--hopefully we'll finish by Sunday night!

(the white and green t-shirts were not planned!!)

Friday, September 19, 2008

feeling nostalgic for something I've never done

If I was in a movie, instead of real life, this is when that song would come on
I would stand up and start walking
all the students would stop and stare
I would pull off my blazer and let down my hair
children would appear and frolic around me
and I would dive into the Chattahoochee
with a bunch of kids
and we'd all splash each other
sometimes I wish I was in a movie

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

fake fried okra, jalapenos and eggplant

Fall is coming in and with that means the last of our Community Shared Agriculture vegetables. Last week, we got a whole mess of okra. I froze some for later gumbo, but decided to bake (fake fry) the rest. I've read about coating vegetables in mayonnaise, before dipping in the flour/cornmeal mixture, but hadn't tried it. I decided tonight was the perfect time to try it.

and the finished product:

Overall, it wasn't my favorite. That said, I did manage to eat all the okra and jalapenos in one sitting--hence, it wasn't THAT terrible ;) I made eggplant parmesan with the eggplant slices, and that was more forgiving. I'm thinking I should have just fried it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

blast from the not-so-distant past: Rio de Janeiro

You know, I was quite slow in posting our Brazil pictures, and we never posted Rio. I've got about 300 Rio pics, so I'm just going to post a few. Hard to believe we were there just a couple months ago! (warning to vegans--I do have some market pictures below)

Praia do Flamengo (and our silhouettes)

sunrise from our room

view from our room in the Maze, Favela Tavares Bastos

we backed up to the rainforest

Bohemia? Don't mind if I do!

gallery opening / music night at the Art Hostel

Sopa de feijão--one can never have enough beans (Look at that smile!)

market in Niteroi

Not quite as gruesome as the market in Marrakesh, Morocco--but still pretty wild

spice stands all up and down the street

this was our favorite restaurant--I think we ate here 8 times!

taken from below, this is a picture of our room. We were at the top!
(underneath the water reserve)

Cristo Redentor

studying our Portuguese aka reading the paper

yep, we hung out on the balcony a LOT