Wednesday, June 30, 2010

yum?


Mexican chocolate tofu pudding seemed like a good idea.

And then I realized I didn't buy enough tofu.

I had exactly half the amount.

Ok. That's cool. I'll just halve the whole recipe. No problem.

Things were going pretty good, I have to say, and then I added the entire amount of sugar syrup.

You see, I'd already started making the full amount before I realized I had to halve everything. So even though I said to myself, only use half of this, I still dumped the entire thing in.

Result: soupy pudding.

To be honest, it did start to firm up on the top once it chilled a bit in the fridge, and I think had I gotten the proportions correct, it would have been almost like chocolate mousse. It was definitely taking on that bubbly airy texture.

But underneath all that bubbly airy mousse was chocolate soup. Not good.

So I whirled it around in the blender again and ran it through the ice cream maker.

It's a pretty good chocolate ice cream, I have to say. It's got a weird powdery after-taste which might be the result of freezing tofu. 

But it's not its fault. It was never designed to become ice cream.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

if you like stupid random posts, this one's for you -- also, it's got cats in it!

Leash Cat looks extraordinarily happy today.

Unfortunately, poor Idle Husband had to have a root canal on Saturday and ever since, he's been feeling very sore and very feverish. Which really sucks since it feels like it's about 100 degrees outside and inside right now. Anyway, I've been busy being nurse while trying to get my usual stuff done around the house without making any disruptive noises. 

So, over the weekend, I think we used every single cup in this house. Normally, I have a one cup per day rule, but with IH being sick, I lost track pretty easily. This one's for ice water, this one's for juice, this one's for a smoothie -- gah! We're getting down to the tiny decorative juice glasses that serve no function other than just being too gosh darned cute to get rid of. I should probably use the dishwasher, huh? But it never gets things clean and there's always some sort of grit left in everything when I pull them out. It's like the previous owners washed their shoes in there (which honestly wouldn't surprise me). Just the very idea of putting dishes in there that are going to hold my food or go in my mouth makes my skin crawl. Is there some way to clean a dishwasher? Sigh. I'm so biased against those things, I don't know if I even want to bother. I don't get why I never latched on to the dishwasher culture, though. Sometimes I wish I would have. The idea of them seems good. They probably make life easier. Like the washing machine does. I just think it's because I never had one growing up, and I was always in charge of doing the dishes (sorry mom! but if we agreed that I'd dry and she'd wash, she'd get doing something else and the dishes would never get washed and I'd end up doing them anyway). It was only natural that doing the dishes by hand would end up becoming almost like meditation to me. I love love doing dishes (kind of like how I'd love to work on an assembly line in some factory somewhere. Ahhh assembly line work. It's the best!). Right. So I've got a nice system set up, it's a nice quiet time to be by myself reflecting on stuff (like how some of the best ideas come when you're in the shower), and I love the satisfaction of seeing a dirty dish go in and come out clean (cuz I'm weird like that). Anyway, I'm not discounting the fact that my gram had a dishwasher that never got anything clean, either. I quickly got in the habit of rubbing any fork or knife or bowl with my hand to make sure there wasn't anything baked on it before I used it. *shudder*

I just realized this is one of those weird, random, no purpose posts that is so uninteresting, I went off on a tangent about dishwashers. Awesome. Also, sorry.


Because I want to end on another completely random note, I saw this posted along my walk today. So sad! You can't read it very well, but it says that Shnoop was upset with their other kitten and wanted to go outside (cat pouting at it's finest), and they're so very worried about him. He is declawed and chubby. That's my favourite part. He's chubby. I hope they find him, though it wouldn't surprise me that he's hiding under a bush in their backyard, teaching them a lesson about how he deserves just as much (if not more) attention than the kitten.

Monday, June 28, 2010

squeee!

Super excited about this -- Domino magazine is back online!

They're still loading past stories and pages, but there are already quite a few up to see!

Found via: poppytalk

so I guess this is happening today


I thought they were done on Friday, but I guess not. They're all at the school today for scheduled bouncy castles and sumo wrestling fun. I'm actually super jealous of the sumo wrestling. How much fun would that be?!

Friday, June 25, 2010

now this is a front yard

note the raised concrete sides

I have been obsessed with this front yard since early spring, when I just happened to glance over and see a dirt yard with a few tiny plants popping up here and there. Ever since then, any time I drive by (which is any time I go to Superstore), I slow down, crane my neck, and try to see what's going on.

I wanted to go for a walk up this way for a long time just so I could get some pictures of it, but honestly, I've just been too lazy. Today, I threw caution to the wind and pulled over to snap some pictures through the windshield (as much as I like taking pictures of everything, I always get this eerie sense that people are looking at me strangely and what I'm doing is just plain weird. So I try to take pictures covertly as much as possible). I can't believe how this garden has developed from dirt plot to lush blooming explosion in a matter of months, and I friggin' love it.

Can you understand why the standard grass yard is so boring and stupid to me now? Wouldn't you rather lazily go out and pick a few weeds from this yard rather than spend your Saturday sweatily mowing the grass in your ugly work clothes, pushing around an awkward roaring lawnmower like some sort of workhorse? Wouldn't you rather wander out to your car every morning and smell (what must be) a heavenly rose scent and maybe cut a few blossoms for your car or for your desk at work? -- you'd definitely have an infinite supply of roses for bouquets in your house.

Let's deconstruct it:

Everything here is pretty low maintenance, actually. Besides deadheading (I love doing this. Trust me. If you spend a minute and do it, for almost every flower, it'll bloom all summer long), you don't really have to bother that much with these roses, and when the poppies are done, their seed pods are just as pretty. She's filled in any holes with some random annuals which add some interesting pops of colours. Also, doesn't it look really clean and fresh and tidy despite all the plants jumbled together? And I like her simple concept of using only a couple main flowers in a similar colour palette. It's so easy to get carried away and put a ton of different varieties and colours in a garden.

I've only seen someone working in this yard once, and she looked like a kindly old grandmotherly type. I really admire her unconventional thinking. She's just amazing. Would it be strange if I asked to be her surrogate grand-daughter?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

the green and white bouquet

I never think of daisies as actual flowers. They've always been a weed to me.

1. oriental poppy seed pods; 2 & 3. goutweed flowers; 4. white daisy

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

guess who got caught in the rain this morning?


Before leaving the house, I thought, noooo I don't need an umbrella. Besides, every time I think to lug it with me, I don't have to use it.

So I've spent the better half of today looking (and feeling) like a drowned rat. Then, two things happened to add insult to injury. First, the rain cleared right up as soon as I was thisclose to getting home. And second, as soon as I thought it looked overcast enough that it'd be a good day to spend inside with the oven on baking bread, the blistering sun came out. I had to close the front curtains because I was roasting, and I've only just turned the oven on. You win this round, weather. (There's a full moon coming up, isn't there? There has to be some logical explanation.)


Here's the culprit who (most likely) was knocking over my lettuce planter. I've decided he's too cute to keel, and I may even consider providing him with some shelled peanuts from a more squirrel friendly feeder. (maybe, if he's a good squirrel, he'll start pulling insulation out of that motorhome. Extra nuts for him in that case!)

Oh, I forgot to mention, Idle Husband made the most amazing tuna salad for me for dinner on Sunday. I just have to give him props for that cuz honestly. As far as tuna salads go (and I ate a ton of them in university), this was by far the best I've ever had. He's renewed my interest in the usually plain, dry, and tasteless salad avec tuna (like, how many ways can you say this? It's getting repetitive), so I've decided to promote him to official tuna salad chef! (don't think I won't make him a badge or something, cuz I will)

Monday, June 21, 2010

today started out ok

update on this pan -- it's still soaking beside the sink

I hate this pita bread recipe! I know it's the first one I've found that's even come close to producing an authentic Greek pita, but you know what? I don't give a damn. I hate eeet!! Working with it is a nightmare. A. Night. Mare.

I have a few favourite favourite parts from this recipe that are so impossible to achieve, it's actually quite funny:
"...knead with your hands until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl." haha good luck with this one!
"Divide into six pieces and roll out..." eeeeeeheee!  Lightly touch the outside of the dough with your hands and it will immediately fasten to your skin. Then pull until you get something I would describe as a 'wad.' Leave your rolling pin in the drawer. There's no need for more dough casualties.
"Dust both sides [key word here] lightly with cornmeal..." take a cupful of cornmeal and dump it on the counter, then take whatever damn wad you managed to get, and roll that sucker all around and in, making sure to cover it completely with cornmeal. Then start patting the dough into something resembling a pita shape, all the while patting more cornmeal on and pushing it onto the dough. Then do the same thing for the other side.


I've tried the recipe in it's original form with the KitchenAid. I've tried it with less water. I've tried it with more flour. I've tried it again exactly as written. Nothing I do makes it right. Sorry. But this recipe is bullshit, and I'm not making it again. I'll find a better one. Also I'm never making anything from that stupid website ever. again. Thanks for never responding to my question about it while still managing to tweet every half hour, stupid.

And why do you figure every ziplock bag you pull out of a box is already sealed shut? Why? So I have to desperately grasp and fumble with the damn thing trying to get it open while my hands are covered in chicken slime? Is this some cruel joke? Does this make ziplock manufacturers laugh? -- maniacally, probably.

And there is too. much. crap. on. this. desk. and. I'm. super. annoyed. about. it.

And if I catch whoever keeps knocking over my planter full of lettuce, I keel you, too.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

inspiration binder

vintage floral wallpaper, brightly painted bookcase backs, light and airy bed frames, clusters of chinese paper lanterns over the dining room table
(pictures from Lucky magazine. Bookcase picture from Jane magazine)
wooden recliners, mismatching bed sheets, teal blue with pops of yellow and orange, bamboo roller blinds
(all pictures from Lucky magazine)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

beginners luck

So, as it turns out, macarons aren't all fun and games.

I really have no idea what went wrong here, but they were looking fine until just after the 5 minute mark, when they puffed up way too much. Once I took them out of the oven, they sunk like a stone into their little feet. I think it could be due to a few things I did differently from the first time.

  1. I went by feel when mixing the almonds and meringue together. I used the same recipe with the directions from another where it said that the batter should flow like magma. Based on what I've read about macaron failures, I think it's very possible I over mixed it;

  2. I tried tinting them with regular ol' food colouring. I used exactly one drop. Most recipes I've seen only use powdered or gel food colouring to minimize the moisture content, but I did happen on one that just said 'food colouring', so I thought I could get away with it. Maybe not;

  3. I traced out circles on my parchment as a size guideline, but I think I used too much batter to fill them. It spreads out quite a lot, actually (probably from the over mixing), so I really should have only piped the outline then slightly filled the rest in rather than gobbing it all on to fill the circle;

  4. I think they're overcooked as well. I can kind of see the pink tint to them, but there's an unsightly golden ring around most of the tops, and I don't like it.
Anyway, I'm not even going to bother making my filling (sob! I actually planned a nice rose buttercream). Instead, these are going to stick around to accompany some strawberry rhubarb sorbet I made today (Idle Husband loves these cookies no matter how they turn out).

You haven't seen the last of me, macarons!!

fluorescent poppy explosion





Monday, June 14, 2010

another lunch idea


As soon as I saw those cute little Gladware containers, I just knew they'd be perfect for Idle Husband's lunch. They fit the perfect snack sized amount of, well, anything you can possibly think of!

Last week, I made layered jello and it was the best idea I'd had, because it takes absolutely no time to make and pour jello into these little cups, and with them premade, I just have to grab one out and stuff it in his bag. It looks like I fussed, but I didn't!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

the last of the Domino inspiration

dark wall + quirky art = <3
I love how fresh and bright this bathroom is with all the white. The tiles are especially inspiring.
Now, instead of sculpted hedges, I'd have a bed of peonies there and only poppies in that middle one and have I mentioned how much I love delphiniums? They'd look great up against the fence. Look at all that delightful (non-grass) pea gravel!
who knew purple printed chairs and a yellow printed couch would look so good together? It's hard to see, but the wallpaper is really great, too.

the wall colour doesn't translate well here, but it's a kind of minty, frosty green with chocolate accessories. Love it! 
I want to do white molding over dark walls, too!
the turquoise colour is so great, but look at that little picture on the lower right. They've used the flooring as a backsplash, too, they've only cut it into brick shapes instead of leaving them square. It's also important to note that that's my absolute favourite kind of flooring.

Back before Domino, Lucky magazine had a wicked home feature (I'd start buying that magazine again if they put that section back), and I used to rip all those articles out (along with design articles from other magazines) and keep them clipped together in a haphazard pile. One day, I realized I had too many pages ripped out to fit in one clip, and that's when I started organizing them into a binder. So now I'll go through my big binder of magazine pages and see if I can find anything interesting there! 

Friday, June 11, 2010

a week of obsessions

1. pearl barley. The texture is amazing! Why haven't I been eating this instead of rice all these years?! (more on this later)

2. getting a half decent picture of the super pretty waxwings that suddenly showed up. I was surprised to see that they were eating the juniper berries. So I'm sorry, junipers. Personal, heartfelt apology. I stand corrected. There is a purpose for you afterall.

not quite! damn focus

oh now we focus when the angle is dumb. awesome.

3. farmer's markets. T and I walked to our local one last night. It was it's first night of the season and you could tell. I think there were only about 10 vendors (and I'm counting the hotdog, popcorn, and mini-donut carts). We're going to give them a couple weeks to get their act together and then check up on them again. It would be so so so nice to have a useful farmer's market within walking distance.

4. the broken fence. I had a dream that we fixed it and then built a garage-like structure over our entire backyard. We couldn't see the motorhome, no one could see us, and everyone's garbage couldn't get into our yard and we sat out there all the time. We were like, haha! Who's obtrusive NOW?!

5. macarons. After making semi-successful ones, I only want to make more! Not to eat, just to make! I've never felt so satisfied and dance-around-crazy excited about baking as I was when I saw those little feet appear. Next time, I'm going to focus on fillings and I might might colour the shells! Eeep!!


6. poppies and peonies. My orange poppies are thisclose to opening.

poppy watch continues

Did I tell you how my neighbours mowed over their practically-a-hedge of orange, oriental poppies last year and subsequently killed them? And subsequently killed a little piece of me in the process? Well, this spring, I noticed a peony growing happily almost where their poppies used to be (never forget), and I've been watching it, excitedly wondering what colour and type it was. You know, since the peony easily ties with poppies as one of my all time favourite flowers (hey, guess what I've always dreamed of having an entire garden plot of!) And then Tuesday came (it shall forever be known as Black Tuesday), when he whipped out the lawn mower he suddenly owns (what?! what?! wait!!! NOOOOOO!!!), and, as I stood in my window and watched, vrroooom right over the peony. This man knows how to hurt me. Deeply.

7. lettuce and chives. I've almost given up on my poor tomatoes who've gone from getting kinda bad to are those dead? Oh wait, there's still a leaf growing. On the bright side, with all the rain and cooler weather, the lettuce I planted last year is doing extremely well! That's right! I planted this lettuce last year and it was so hot and sunny, that I gave up on all my lettuce dreams. The poor things kept getting majorly sun burned no matter what I did. Now that I've discovered these little lettuces doing their thing on their own, I planted some more seeds. If I can't have fresh tomatoes, at least I can have lettuce.


I discovered there were chives in the backyard last year, but I didn't use them as much as I should have. This year, I'm being more diligent. I love the way they smell.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

olioboard mood board creator

I read about the OlioBoard mood board creator this morning from decor8 and immediately went over there, signed up (for free -- I never sign up unless it's free), and started creating.

I think it's good for getting a general idea for decorating a space, but there were a few things I didn't like.
  • I wish they had paint chips you could choose from (unless they do and I just couldn't find them). I love wallpaper, but I'm not going to put it everywhere.
  • I wish they had more character pieces to choose instead of all the big box stuff. I suppose that could be both good and bad, but I just felt like no matter what mood board you create, it still wouldn't have as much interest as a mix of old and new items would have. The popular mood boards that were featured kinda looked like they were straight out of a catalogue.
  • It would be nice to be able to crop things a little more precisely. Some items were grouped together and I liked one thing in the grouping, but I wasn't able to seperate it out cleanly.
  • It also took forever to load the pages and the items. Unless forever was actually only 60 seconds. But 60 seconds in internet time is forever! -- No. Making the second room really did take forever. It took forever to load everything, so it took forever to make, and then I saved it, and it said it saved, but when I went to save a picture of it, it was all gone. All of it. Gone. I could have cried. (Again I have to remind myself: always ALWAYS take a screen shot. ALWAYS.) They must've been having technical difficulties, because the site went offline for a while. It's back now and loading much faster.
Otherwise, I think it'd be a fun resource to play around with when you want to get a feel for how you'd like a room to look. When things do load and show up, it's really easy to size and position them. It was nice to be able to arrange items exactly how I'd want them to appear in the room rather than just having a bunch of random stuff plopped on, picture-list style.

Here are a couple spaces I came up with in, oh, maybe about an hour and a half (not including loading time and hair-pulling time).
bedroom concept
It's not something I would necessarily put in my own house, but I like the overall feel of it.


 
porch concept
this feels so Greek to me. I didn't do it purposely, it just worked out that way. Specifically, I love that bench rocker. We really loved sitting in one we found at Walmart but design-wise, it was super ugly. This one's much nicer and they ship to Canada! (By the way, the art here is just a piece of framed wallpaper.)

Anyway, I've spent all day fiddling around with this website. It's a lot of fun to have this much creative design freedom. You should try it!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Monday, June 7, 2010

attempt #1: macarons


I did it. I finally worked up the nerve to make these super twee cookies. I think my motivation was mostly due to the egg whites. Lately, I've been trying to get rid of some of the older things from my freezer, and I remembered I had a bunch of egg whites frozen in an ice cube tray (I don't remember why, though). On hindsight, freezing them in an ice cube tray isn't a really good idea. Unless you plan on covering them because I found they dry out quite a lot. So, anyhoo, I defrosted them, strained them, and put them in a container in the fridge; until yesterday, when I hesitantly took them out and set them on the counter. Tomorrow I'm making macarons. Tomorrow. I can't go back now, the egg whites have been on the counter for more than 4 hours. It's on.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

happy kitty bunny pony

I love this book








Friday, June 4, 2010

macaroni and (fake) cheese

I think I accidentally stumbled on the best macaroni and cheese recipe and it didn't even have any cheese in it!

You weren't expecting to hear that, were you? Well, here's the deal. A while back, I bought a bag of nutritional yeast for some vegetarian burger recipe. Like all new things, I'd never heard of nutritional yeast, I'd never tasted it, and beyond that burger recipe (which turned out terribly, by the way), I had no idea what else to do with it.

Interestingly, the package had a recipe for cheese on the back of it. Cheese. I looked at it, wrinkled my nose up, and didn't really think of it again until last night.