14 June 2011

what did you do today?

Me?  What did I do today?  The mister and I ripped down gross wallpaper from our kitchen and installed a vinyl tile backsplash!  And and and this entire project (including the rental of a vinyl tile cutter) cost just under $50!!!!  I'm nifty and thrifty....recognize. 

BEFORE:  Dingy, green and white, possibly from the 60s, peeling wallpaper.  Icky.  

AFTER:  Fun, shiny, not peeling black and white checks.  AWESOME!! (please, ignore other dingy aspects of the kitchen....they will be remedied soon)

Yay for productive days!!!  Now, I'm going to sit in the middle of the kitchen floor, drink an entire bottle of wine, and enjoy my black and white tiles.  


13 June 2011

Vegan Yum Yum

Well folks, I enjoyed doing the last food blog so much I decided to do another :) Being a stay at home lady for the time being has reignited my joy for delicious vegan cooking.  
So, today we have yummy left over veggie stir fry with easy peanut sauce.  I hate measuring anything, so you will find that a lot of my measurements are inexact.  I feel as though measuring takes all the joy out of everyday cooking -- and I'm lazy, so please feel free to estimate ingredient amounts to your preference and tastes!

8 oz. super firm tofu - cut however you want :)
Half medium onion - chopped
Half red pepper - chopped
3-4 cloves pickled garlic (or regular garlic if you don't have any pickled)
Couple handfuls of chopped baby carrots
1 medium zucchini - quartered and chopped
Handful of your fave mushrooms - chopped
Ground ginger to taste (I used about a tablespoon)
Creamy peanut butter 
Soy sauce 

Start by heating up about a tablespoon of vegetable oil in whatever skillet you have that will hold all these delicious veggies.  Once the oil has heated up, toss the onion and red pepper in the pan and simmer for about 5 minutes.  

In the meantime, you can mix up the peanut soy sauce...I use a dollop of peanut butter and enough soy sauce to thin the sauce to a drippy consistency.  

Don't forget about the onions and red peppers on the stove!  It should be time to add the tofu, carrots, and the ground ginger.  Yell 'BAM!" or something when adding the ginger, for funsies.

Stir the ground ginger into all the ingredients and saute for another couple of minutes.  Then, add the zucchini and mushrooms.  After I add the last of the veggies, I like to put a lid over them so they cook faster and the flavors mingle nicely.  Just take the lid off and stir the veggies every couple minutes until the veggies are to your desired firmness. Yum.  

When the veggies are cooked to your liking, take off the lid and add the peanut soy sauce.  Stir in the sauce and serve with rice.  


Yum yum yum yum....


08 June 2011

here we have a food blog

Well folks, the mister and I have been busy moving and I have not had a lot of time to cook delicious vegetarian meals.  We've been eating out a lot, and that's been cutting into our ever tightening budget.  Now that we have gotten our kitchen stuff unpacked in our new house, we will be eating out hopefully only a couple times per week.  Hopefully meaning we still want to eat out all the time because we're in a new city with delicious dining fare, so we will eat out whenever we can :)  
Back to the idea of eating at home...With the recent revelation that I have so many stomach problems because I'm very lactose intolerant, I've been eating mostly vegan fare.  This has been super easy in Portland (wiki says it's the most veggie friendly city in the US).  The groceries have tons of tofu and fresh veggies *swoon* - it's been easier than ever to be vegan.  
With the time crunch on meal preparing, I've been simply throwing together whatever is left over in the fridge and cabinets - this particular dish turned out really delicious, so I had to share.  I'm calling this Dark and Lovely Chili:

8 oz super firm tofu (cut into cubes)
2 cans black beans
1 can tomato paste
1 pack chili mix
2 cups water
2 cups uncooked rice
Dollop of your favorite vegan sour cream

Start cooking the two cups of rice in whatever way you want - package instructions or in a rice cooker.  I'm lazy and like to not worry about the rice while it's cooking, so the rice cooker is for me!

Now, put a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in whatever pan will hold all the remaining ingredients (I used a 4 qt).  Over medium heat, saute the tofu cubes until all sides are light brown.  Throw a little salt on that shit.   

While the tofu is sauteing, drain and rinse the two cans of black beans, because no one likes the taste of that nasty liquid starch they use to pack the beans in the can.  

Time to just throw stuff in the pan!  Plop the rest of the ingredients right down on top of the cooking tofu - black beans, tomato paste, chili packet, and water.  

Mix the ingredients up in the pan and bring to boiling.  As soon as the entire mixture is boiling, turn down the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 10 minutes (until desired consistency is reached).  I generally just simmer until the rice is finished.....lazzzyyy.

 Finished!!!!  Now, just slop that chili in a bowl with some rice and a dollop of vegan sour cream and viola! You have an easy, yummy, filling meal for cheapies!


24 May 2011

How to strip!

Strip paint from Victorian door hardware, that is...

I promise I didn't mean for this to become a home improvement blog, but fixing up the new house is aaaaalll that has been on my mind lately.  So, let's get to it.

Our new house was built in 1911 - this means good things and this means bad things.  Let's focus on the one of the many good things for the time being.  The house came with most of it's original hardware sans one door plate (on the first door you see when entering the house, mind you).  I HAD to find the exact match for the other hardware in the house...HAD TO.
One trip to Hippo Hardware (new favorite place to shop for the house) and we found the plate, but it was sadly covered with decades of paint...

The nice people at Hippo told me all I had to do to remove the paint was boil the plate in water.  That's right, boiling water - the wonderous paint remover.  I was skeptical, but tried it anyway.  

To my surprise, about 20 minutes of boiling and all I needed to do was peel the paint off with my fingers (and subsequently wash my hards a dozen times after because I am convinced that whatever paint was on the plate is highly toxic).  

After another 10 minutes of heavy scrubbing, here it is!  Pristine and a perfect match for the rest of the knobs in the house.  Seriously kids, I am kicking ass at fixing shit.  


18 May 2011

i am woman

I began the day not thinking much of the tasks I was about to undertake, but it soon dawned on me that I've never done anything like this by myself.  I'm talking about serious house painting here, folks.  Don't get me wrong, I've helped out while my parents painted their house (when they let me roll one solid line or hold the paint pan for them), and I'm what I like to refer to as a 'hobby artist,' but never have I had a goal of painting one room per day (over three days) completely solo.  No seriously, S-O-L-O.  The lover is out of town and not even present for moral support.  The first day of painting didn't seem daunting until I stood there, in an empty house, with tools in hand.  It was time for me to partake in this lone venture of home improvement.  

Step 1:
Tape up the shits that stay a sparkling shade of white.  

Step 2:
Do the hard part first - paint all the edges and corners of the room.  I've always been a 'save the easiest for last' kinda lady, because I have the most energy when I start a project.....not so much when I'm halfway finished.  This step was not too difficult because of the previous taping :)

Step 2 notes:
Painting the top of the wall where is touches the ceiling blows, it BLOWS!  It goes kind of like this: move ladder to desired starting place; get paint on the brush (straddle the line between not too little and not too much paint); get up on the tallest step on the ladder - almost fall - balance self; paint!  at a 45 degree angle applying just the right amount of paint as to cover the existing paint color but GODDAMN!  DON'T GET IT ON THE PEARLY WHITE CEILING; paint all that you can reach; climb down from ladder - almost fall - catch self on freshly painted door lining - wash paint off self; move ladder to next spot to paint; repeat; repeat; contemplate jumping from ladder; REPEAT.

Step 3:
I like to call this the 'easy, fun part.'  All you gotta do is smoosh some paint on a roller and roll away covering all the space that is not currently painted.  Easy, fun, DONE!

Step 4:
Stand back and enjoy.  

I honestly don't remember the last time I felt a deep sense of accomplishment.  I am woman, watch me paint and dominate household tasks!  For the hard work I put into room number one, I feel goooooood.  I'm ready to tackle the other rooms in the coming days.  I am making house painting my bitch, one room at a time!


06 May 2011

jobby job job/housey house house

Well it's been two and a half weeks here in PDX and both M and I have found jobs!  The mister will be managing a bar in the Pearl District (getting PAID, mind you), and me....welllll, I have been offered a job that I don't want o_o I do think I will hold out for a job that I really really really want, unless times get tough.  I guess it's time to wait and see :)

Also, the mister and I have found a new place of residence in the Alberta Arts District.  The house is within walking distance to anything we would want (including this delicious little restaurant with mostly vegan options!).  It's an adorable 2 bedroom, one bath house with a huge basement (with washer and dryer) and plenty of yard space to garden in the fenced in back yard.  It's not without flaws, but the landlord is the coolest old man ever and is giving us free rain to make the house our own.  First on my list of improvements is paint, loooottttsssss of paint.  I've already been lusting after a backsplash for the kitchen and will paint the walls one of the colors in said backsplash.  Let us marvel:

We will have to install some closet hardware too, becasue the existing hardware is less than desirable for two people with a clothes hoarding problem.  In addition, the outside of the house will be painted as soon as there is a full week without rain (ha! we'll see about that one) and the front yard will need some homey landscaping.  I'm excited to get started!  We will move in on the 30th of May.  Wish us luck :D


02 May 2011

living out of a suitcase

Well well, the mister and I decided not to renew the lease on our sublet, so we're moving to a new place!  It's exciting, while at the same time it's hard to think about staying packed up for four more weeks until we move into a new place.  We are looking hard in a specific Portland neighborhood and are hoping to find something super cheap so we can save up for many future endeavors (to be discussed later :)).
For now, we are essentially living out of out suitcases until we find a rental for the next year.  Irritating, yes - Exciting, yes - Stressful, yes.  So many emotions, so little time to find stability.

Wish us luck.