Sunday, March 29, 2009

procrastination pays occasionally

Glad I didn't put my beanies outside like I wanted to on Wednesday. You can't really see it here because I took the pic too late in the morning, but we got some snow last night. And cold. Not freeze yer toes off when you set foot in the bathroom cold, but cold enough to harm some little beans. Only 6 of the 27 I planted here grow. Lame. This wasn't even seed from previous planting seasons; it was packaged for the 2009 planting season. Silly Martha Stewart seeds. I'm going back to the store brand, even if they aren't on sale. I should just learn to plan better and buy my seeds and seedlings from a company that grows organic and heirloom varieties that aren't owned by Monsanto. It's virtually impossible to fulfill that last qualifier when buying from any commercially available seed company you'd find in a grocery or department store kiosk.

Friday, March 27, 2009

morning snuggles

This is what happens when I sit at my computer for over 5 minutes in the morning. Bird flies himself over and proceeds to begin the snuggling and preening fest. He's a love monster. Any other time and to anyone else he's just a little green chicken monster; especially now that it's spring. The parrots seem to go hormonal right along with all the other birds and we get several weeks of nothing but brat bird. This adorable makes up for it though.

Please don't get mad at me for having my birds flighted. Fully flighting my birds is a personal decision that I took a lot of time researching and debating about. I feel that flighting birds is the healthiest thing for them. I know there will always be the chance that they could get scared and bolt away outdoors if ever put in a position where there is an open door to the outside or something happens and their cages are not secured when travelling or moving. That knowledge and that worry is outweighed far by the health and psychological benefits for a bird that can actually be a bird.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

cabbages! (and taters)

Aldi's has cabbages $0.69 per head this week. We bought 5 of them. That coupled with the 2 gigantic head we still had left from when when Shop N Save had them on sale last week and boy howdy do we have some cabbage! I love me some cabbage. Fried, in soups, pickled, made in to kraut or kimchi, any old way you want to make it I like it.

Yesterday after returning from our grocery-getting excursion we started on making cabbage rolls.

This is most of what went into the cabbage rolls. We made up a couple dozen with a vegan rice stuffing and about a dozen containing sausage and rice. The spices were all used to flavor the rice, which you see boiling away in the beginning of the cooking process below.

Messy stovetop is messy. It gets cleaned, just not usually before I take pictures of it in use. :p

Sauteing onions in olive oil. I have friends who despise onions. In suspicious tones they claim "You can't trust a vegetable that turns clear when you cook it."

After boiling the leaves in small batches until tender enough to origami it up without breaking, stuff with rice mix and fold like you would egg roll wrappers. Here is C finishing up the last of the vegan ones.

When you're ready to have yummy stuffed cabbage goodies, put some in a crock pot or stovetop pot and pour in some plain old canned tomato juice. If you're feeling special you can use something like V8 or the store brand vegetable juice blend. Tomato works fine for me, though. Especially with the army of spices I have at my disposal.

And for the super frugal reading this, Aldi's also has 10lb bags of potatoes for $1.99 this week. We boiled and mashed 15 pounds worth of them last night. They'll be portioned off and frozen along with the extra cabbage rolls soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

good morning

That's my kitchen right now. A mess I know, but MUCH better than it has been. I crammed myself into the corner between the fridge and the wall to get this shot. I've been clearing out clutter, recycling things, and putting things in their new permanent homes on the new shelves slowly but surely. This is the last of the chaos. That's my crafting desk there and a small table G left behind that will now serve as a bench with storage space underneath.

The tool bag is still out from putting in a new faucet in the kitchen last week. We can now wash medium to large sized dished without clanging them on the sink basin and possibly breaking or cracking them as well eventually attach that water filter C has been bemoaning the disuse of since he moved in. It just wouldn't fit on the faucet so we could still use the sink.

Under the tool bag is a couple of plastic totes and two 50 pound bags of cheap dirt. One is aged cow manure (I know the wonders of this stuff from the pasture dirt back home) that was less than $5 and plain old generic potting soil that was $1.25. One tote will be used to plant and raise some potatoes that were found sprouting when we got the kitchen (mostly) in order. Another will be used to plant summer squash since we will be moving when our lease is up and I want to be able to take them with us. I didn't get any squash last year because I planted too late and squash borer beetles annihilated my plants before I really knew what was going on. The last tote for planting is a small one I will be planting with a combination of basil types; lemon and lime, globe and Italian sweet. I'd really like to have a Thai basil plant as well. I killed mine after wintering it over so well by putting it in the green house too soon this spring.

I woke up early this morning courtesy of crashing ladder sounds from somewhere nearby our building. I woke up thinking one of the birds had had a seizure or stroke since there were a lot of crashing sounds when Crash had a stroke and died. Birds are fine. They're actually chilling out on opposite cages right now as if they belong there or something. Weirdos. Any other morning they're fighting mad that the other has the gall to actually set foot (or beak) on their house.

Half naked chicken on the right is Bird chilling on Lily's house eating her green pepper. The thief. He doesn't even try to be sly about it anymore, either. Guess that's why Lily's taken to raiding his food dish on a daily basis while he's preoccupied with veggies she never really wanted in the first place but I keep offering in the hope she'll eventually realize green stuff isn't poison and is actually pretty tasty.

Breakfast is in the oven. Sliced potatoes (the slicing side of a good hand grater is awesome for doing this efficiently I found this morning) on the bottom, the last of a bag of frozen mix veggies on top of that, drizzle the whole thing with leftover homemade Caesar dressing (the no egg version from Pioneer Woman), sliced fresh green pepper on top of that and all topped off with some nice ground mixed peppercorns, kosher salt and Kraft brand parmesan cheese from the little plastic bottle. I'd rather not buy from Kraft, but it was on super sale and that really is a story for another day. That white stuff all over the bottom of my oven is a mix of salt and baking soda that I threw in to get overflowed cheese (from lasagna a couple weeks ago) to stop burning and smoking. I cleaned most of it out, but I'm waiting for a nice warm day I don't have to work to get out the washing soda and go to town actually cleaning the oven. Open windows, sunshine and outside sounds make it easier for me to clean.

I should go mix up a batch of quick bread of some sort to more efficiently make use of the oven being on today, but we haven't eaten the results of my last early morning baking spree yet. There's still half a loaf each of cornflake/date/sunflower and chocolate/banana with Hungarian half sharp paprika added. The banana one is my favorite. I skimped on the sugar when I made them though, so they've lasted longer than quick breads would normally in this house. I figure we get more than enough sugar already even though we've practically eradicated soda and other things from the house. Pepsi was on sale this week at Shop N Save, though, and C picked some up while I wasn't with him and had sent his to the store for something else. Oh well. It's tasty occasionally, even though I can't possibly go through an entire bottle in a day like he can.

Monday, March 23, 2009

handmade toy swap update (way late)

That last post was actually from Saturday evening, not February 20. February 20 was when I had started it. I fail at blog upkeep lately. Sorry folks. I do have some pics today, though they're none of them particularly exciting.

These were the required materials for making a little bird toy for the handmade toy swap. White mohair yarn, black felted wool skirt, needles, seam ripper )far taking apart the skirt at the seams, scissors, pattern from Lolly Chops. (Go check out her blog, it's always full of cute and awesome. Right now it's full of spring-type cute and awesome.) I included the organic cotton sewing thread here, but I didn't actually end up using it for the toy.

Here is the disassembled skirt with pattern pieces pinned on. I made this toy one really slow day at the spice shop before our order for the week arrived to be put away. I used the mohair yarn to do blanket stitch on the outside of all the seams so that it would contrast both color-wise and texture-wise. I also used it to make large French knots eyes.

Regrettably, I do not have a photo of the finished bird. Or any of the finished toys I made for the handmade toy swap for that matter. I lost my camera's battery charger and used the absolute last power left on the batteries to get these snaps. Then the bird went off in the mail to my swap partner in California along with a pink and white felted bag to hand on a doorknob and carry 10 different colored crocheted fish toys for a counting/color game and a crocheted duck from this pattern (it's a pdf).
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