Monthly Archives: August 2012

August Meat CSA

Here’s what we’ll happily be noshing on this month:

That’s 2 lb ground beef, 1lb ground pork, pork rib chops, breakfast sausage, mild Italian sausage, a whole chicken, chicken wings, chicken breasts, and a dozen chicken eggs.

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Taking Stock

Home sick today with wicked allergies. The allergies themselves aren’t the worst part, it’s the drugs! All my prescriptions when taken together (as instructed) equal airheaded, basically drunk Kelly. Not work appropriate.

So I’ve been collecting the bones, parts, and scraps from all of our chickens from Pat’s since May. And my zip bag in the freezer could not fit another scrap in it, so it was time to make some stock. I saved all my garlic and onion peels, parsley stems, and various veggie scraps over the past week, and combined them with some other aromatics–garlic bulb, onions, carrots, green beans, scallions, leeks, a handful of cherry tomatoes, a tiny summer squash–in a large pot with a touch of olive oil (really, only a tiny little bit!).

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I threw in a teaspoon of peppercorns and two bay leaves, let the veggies go for a very short time, dumped in “leftover wine” (a term foreign to my vocabulary….), then threw in the chicken carcasses. Sixteen cups of water went in, the temp dropped to low, and the cover went on.

That was like 4 hours ago, and I don’t plan on touching it for another 4.

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Veggie CSA, Week 11

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Or, for those of you who like more order:

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And that, my friends, is that. Getting hungry just looking at it.

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I Have Something Big I Have to Run by You…

…Me.

Over the past few weeks, I have had this inexplicable and completely ridiculous urge to go running. Which, if you know me even a little, is w.e.i.r.d.

 

To what can I attribute these odd “gotta run!” feelings? Well, it has been everywhere lately. Por ejemplo:

1.     Two blogs I read on a daily basis–Corporette and Young House Love–have featured completely off-topic posts/threads on running;

 

2.     All those Color Me Rad 5k posts on FBook…you know you are seeing them too;

3.     The ‘Lympics and the commercials that aired throughout;

Subliminal messages to run…working on ME?! I guess so. Dudes, I’m as surprised as you are.

 

I haven’t run anywhere (on purpose) since, I don’t know, 1999? My dad was a XC runner in high school and I thought “heck, I can do that too!” And I got it into my head that I’d “train” over the summer and be in fighting shape by the start of school. So like four times per week that summer, I’d walk or ride my bike through the woods to my junior high track and hoof it for a while. I think I got up to like 4 or 4.5 miles one time. AND I HATED IT. It was hot, the track smelled unpleasantly of old tires, and the MP3 player had not yet been invented (or if it had, 13 year old me sure didn’t have one)–my Discman had terrible skip protection, for what it’s worth. God, remember having to have skip protection?! Damn.

 

Needless to say, I did NOT participate in XC that year or ever. Thankfully, I had another family sports legacy to live up to: gymnastics! Thanks, Dad! I wasn’t great. No, I was awful. I think I did the “Level 3” floor routine a hundred times and messed it up every time. I remember once getting a wicked wedgie during my routine and uh, fixing it, right in front of the judges. Major points deduction haha. Gabby Douglas I was not. But damnit if I wasn’t flexible–and I still am! I can still do a front-to-back split (and I can get up from it, unaided too)!

 

Where was I? Ah, yes. I hated running in gym, too, but I liked sprinting. Not enough to do track (…too much–you guessed it!–running). I ended up playing tennis in high school, which was great because it is just sprinting in a skirt with a racquet in your hands. At every tennis practice, I would cheat on the measly 1/3 mi warmup run, but I was the jerk begging to do “suicides” (aka lines). Such a weirdo.

 

Fast forward through college to law school, and I still hated running of any kind. The summer after my first year of law school, I was in a car accident and when I went to the ortho for MRIs and x-rays afterwards, he discovered a benign compression fracture in one of my vertebra. He said not to become a marathon runner and to keep any extended workouts low impact. Which I read as: “Do not run ever, unless you are being chased by a lion. And even then… meh.”

 

And thus, and excuse was born.

 

It was an excuse bigger than me. No longer did I have to say “naw, I just don’t like to run,” I could now say “aw, shucks, I’d love to, but doctor’s orders.” And I did say it, all the time. Somehow this made me feel less lazy and less guilty about just not enjoying it, like runners were better people than non-runners and I had to have an excuse for being a lowly and pathetic non-runner. That was mostly in my head, but come on and admit it, we all know that runner who believes that being a runner puts him/her on par with Jesus himself.

 

But, ever since losing weight, I’ve realized that it could be easier. I’m, uh, “gifted” in the chestal region (understatement), which makes me favor low impact workouts, but my situation may have changed from losing weight. The black eyes are fewer and further between 😉

 

The stars aligned about two weeks ago, with all the aforementioned subliminal messages combining with my realization after a very (very) short jog with Agnes: I can do this now.

 

After I talked to Steve, a former runner himself, and asked some questions, I decided I should find a way to go for it. I emailed one of my bffs, who successfully completed the C25K program, and asked her if it was really do-able. Her response of “absolutely!” sealed the deal: she and I have similar exercise mentalities, so her word was all I needed to download the C25K app and commit. My resolve was set: I am going to do this.

 

Running is appealing to me now because it is simple in its demands: shoes, road, a little time, and music. Done and done. Our neighborhood is perfect for this: the big loop is a mile, and the little interior loops can add on and make a run longer and more interesting. There are several neighborhoods or locations nearby that I can tack on for a different view.

 

I know you’re thinking that this will be great for Agnes, too. Negatory. She’s a terrible running companion, although she’s faster than you’d expect for someone with five inch long legs. She gets distracted, or bored, or SQUIRREL! and she can’t be depended upon to keep up with you and just run with it. So, no Agnes. Sorry, bambina.

I’ve blocked off three days per week–2 weekdays and Sunday–to do the C25K program. I just finished Week 1 and my friend is right: absolutely do-able. To keep me honest, I take a screen shot of the app saying I’m done and post it to Instagram…keep me honest, Instagram friends, I’m at knobleg529!

 

Going forward, I’m a little nervous, unusually excited, and I’m hoping I can prove myself wrong: 13 year old Kelly didn’t like running, but maybe 26 year old Kelly does. Hey, 13 year old Kelly also hated cheesecake, and that’s clearly no longer the case.

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Veggie CSA Week 10, and a Yard Update

This is the kind of week we LOVE. The bright and colorful veggies of summer are here, and they are gorgeous. I’ll let the photos do the talking this week.

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Amazing, gorgeous, and appetite-inducing. Even Aggie got in on the veggie-admiring action!

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And there were some big, beautiful sunflowers that I put in water on the mantle, then proceeded to take 1 million photos.

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They are glorious next to our Mike Bryce painting.

And it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t Instagram things to death…but this cried out for a neat filter!

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…and so did this one:

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Veggies are such great models.

Our garden has been coming along nicely. Most of my tomato plants are lush and bearing tons of as-yet-ripened ‘maters. The cherry tomatoes are packed with little green marbles, and I’ve pulled maybe two dozen red ones off so far.

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Unfortunately, I’ve had a few visitors to my tomato plants (not the potted ones on the deck, but the ones in the ground):

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That, my friend, is the tomato-loving hornworm. I’ve pulled a few of these juicy bastards off my plants, but it’s not too bad. We’ll live.

My carrots and radishes (in window boxes on the rock) are coming along slowly, but surely. My cilantro bolted beyond hope after a few weeks, but the basil and oregano are doing great.

We also limbed up the dreadful gigantic holly bushes out front and did some planting under them to fill some of that gap. The hollies are going to be completely sacrificed eventually, in favor of something much smaller and easier to tame.

We’ve enjoyed having a yard in which to garden so far. So much so that we’re looking forward to next summer. We’re thinking hops for Steve’s beer, potatoes, and maybe some raised beds.

How grows your garden?

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Powder Room: Done.

Well, it has been done for kind of a while. Like, since the first of July. Slow blogger over here!

The final after?

Ta-da!

I ended up taking Steve’s suggestion and I hung some art that we already owned: black and white photos that I took when I was studying in Barcelona. You can see one here, over the towel bar. The others are behind the door.

The mirror looks a.w.e.s.o.m.e and was worth the annoyance of having it arrive broken. My cheap-o fix is undetectable to the untrained eye. The size is perfect, and it is delicate enough to look custom and special.

As you can see, I kept the window frosting after all. If you remember, it did not look that nice when I put it in. Here’s a tip: if you install the film-style window frosting (I used Gila, available at Home Depot for like $25), do not try to do it alone. Do not apply it at night. Do not decide half-way through that you hate it, crack open a beer, and then decide you should finish it. But most importantly, don’t tear it down after all that. Because it does settle down a bit, the bubbles dry out, and the edges relax. And it doesn’t look awful after all.

The sink was a beast to install. When our plumber came to fix the in-wall rough in connections for us, he gave us some good advice for installing a pedestal sink: RUN AWAY! Ok, no, he didn’t say that. But he said to do our homework, be careful, and schedule plenty of time–10 hours!–to get it up and running. He was right (well, he IS the plumber in all this). So Steve did just that: he studied up, and planned a whole day. And he did an awesome job. I love love love it–it’s the perfect size, the faucet is classic and modern all at the same time (now I’m just makin’ shiz up). The sink is from Lowe’s and for the two pieces–the base and the bowl–it was like $60ish.

The “everywhere gray” paint looks great with the crisp white bead board and moulding. I wanted to pop the neutrals with some yellow, so in came the towels. They are from Target (story of my life, yo) and I’m pretty sure that my parents received something similar for a wedding present in 1971. The Smith and Hawken (…Target) wire basket is filled with toilet paper and extra towels, and solves the “where do I put that?!” problem.

The marble shelf we replicated from Pinterest is awesome–perfect size, goes nicely with the marble tile in the hole, and suits the new square white accessories wonderfully. Those were from Home Goods and totaled something like $15.

Last but not least, I needed a plant in there. So in came my Pinterest-inspired mason jar planter with a burro’s tail. It hangs over the toilet from a pre-existing ceiling hook. It’s darling, darling.

 

So, how much did all of this cost?

Ok, so I am bad at keeping track of specifics, but I keep receipts (…ok, just from this project so far)! I did, however, keep track of most of the accessories:

Uhh, my math skills are bad, but the accessories *did* cost about $134. Add up the tags in this pic, and it’s more. That’s because I counted the window frosting as an accessory in this pic, but not in the total; it is covered in the big figure above.

Our original budget was “safely under $600.” Ok, so that didn’t happen. But we were not planning on the MASSIVE plumber bill. Had the original plumbing not been the DIY equivalent of a fiery train derailment, we would have been pretty close to the budget. I chalk this up as a win, frankly. I’ve read that any renovation shouldn’t cost more than the cost per square footage of that room, to prevent over-improvement. The cost per square foot of this house is roughly $101. The room is about 4.5 feet x 6 feet, so 27 square feet….so it should have come in at or under $2,700. We are half that, so go us. Go us.

Ok, just because it is so good, here’s a before:

::shudder::

And the lovely after!

Yay!

 

 

Before and After

The chicken wings in the freezer called my name. Steve was away, I was hungry, and there appeared to be the perfect number of wings for just one. Oh, twist my arm, whydontcha?!

I concocted a homemade sweet and spicy sauce from ketchup, Trader Joe’s sweet chili sauce, butter, salt and pepper, and chipotle hot sauce. I roasted the naked wings for a short bit, then tossed them in the sauce. Then I broiled them for a bit.

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That’s greek yogurt in the middle. Odd, but delicious.

See? Delicious!

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And so ends the tale of Kelly and the Wings.

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Veggie CSA This Week

Or, “It’s A Small Week After All.”

We had a few bouts of torrential rain here over the past week or so, and the farm told us via their weekly email newsletter that some crops didn’t fare well and to expect a little less of some stuff this week. Which, actually, works out quite well for moi. Steve’s away on business for the better part of this week, so it’s me, Aggie, and my trusty glock living it up. Just kidding, robbers, I’m scared of guns.

I went to the farm after work today, but not before stopping at home to get the four legged fluff nugget. She is not allowed at the farm, so she just rode down with me–she lurves the car–and stayed in the car while I ran in.

Thankfully for me, the greens were a major victim of the rain, so it wad just one basket this time. That’s enough for two dinner-sized salads. Perfect. There were cute green bell peppers and summer squash, both green and yellow varieties. I tend to grab the tiny ones, but they had some mega sized ones that were “free” (ie, don’t count toward your weighed amount) so I grabbed a big yellow squash, too. There was basil and onions up for grabs, so I grabbed.

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I left a few things on the table. Kohlrabi, beets, scallions, and pick your own string beans (the dog was waiting, and PYO can take a while). I just roasted 2 lbs of beets that had been collecting in the back of the fridge for a while, so really, not a single additional beet is welcome in this house for a while.

Looking forward to some salads and maybe some stuffed peppers, and I keep seeing good zucchini and summer squash recipes on Pinterest. Hmm. I’ll be sure to report my findings!

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Hello, My Name is Kelly

… and I have a problem.

Craigslist.

Yeah.

Specifically, I have a thing for trolling Craigslist for pieces that are under fifty bucks, could benefit from some paint or stain, and are solid classic designs. And man, have I been lucky.

It all started when we realized (ok, I realized and told Steve) that we had a severe lack of useful furniture in our guest rooms. Yes, guest roomS. Our house has three bedrooms. We occupy one, and empty beds occupy the other two. With no plans for people joining this family to fill said rooms for some time (sorry Nana), they are presently guest rooms. Or, dressing rooms. And an office. And a room for Roomba to be plugged in and sleep.

Anyway, there are two other bedrooms: a big one, and a little one. The big one is the same size as our bedroom, the small one is about half that size.

The big guest room has always had a queen size bed/headboard, a nightstand with two drawers (the headboard and nightstand are part of the set we split up–we have the dresser and bureau/mirror in our bedroom), and a director’s chair.  And that was it. Period. Nothing else. Well, there were some lamps and an iHome on the floor in the corner, which, as we all know, is the proper way to welcome guests into your home. This is the room, empty as can be, right after the paint and floors were done way back in December.

The bigger guest room, painted MS’s Milk Pail green.

The smaller bedroom is actually quite full, but it would take an overrun of guests for us to actually stick someone in there. So, we sort of don’t care. It has a twin bed with an upholstered headboard, a desk, filing cabinet, and a tall bookcase. The tall bookcase is a big MDF-and-paper-veneer behemoth left over from when my parents bought their house (…before I was born), but it is solid and we needed some storage, so we took it. It will likely move to the basement eventually, leaving a big gap in space and storage in the small room.

The bigger guest room is the one that has gotten me into trouble on Craigslist, as there was a more pressing need to add useful and stylish storage. So we decided that we’d need a dresser, a vanity or sideboard-type console table, and an ottoman or something that guests could put a suitcase, etc. on. We wanted this room to be very comfortable, but look rustic-ish and exude a camping-gone-five-star theme. Watch Dirty Dancing, Moonrise Kingdom, and Dan In Real Life in rapid succession, and you should get the idea.

We were able to find a great ottoman at Home Goods, so that was easy. But then the Craigslist search began.

I struck gold right away. And by “struck gold,” I, of course, mean that I found a school-bus-yellow dresser with great bones and awesome hardware that I just had to have. Steve liked it, with the caveat that it had to be painted. Duh, I’m with you there. When we went to pick it up, we were charmed. The young woman who sold it to us was cleaning out her parents’ home–her childhood home–and the dresser had been hers as a child. Her father was stationed in Japan when she was a little girl, and he had the dresser made for her in Japan. This made sense: it was a great combination of campaign and tansu style. There were the telltale corner brackets of campaign dressers, along with gorgeous hand-forged wrought iron tansu pulls. It was something special. And it was thirty bucks.

I sadly don’t have any photos of the before on this dresser, but you can just imagine when you see the afters.

Armed with a tutorial (google Centsational spray paint) on how to spray paint furniture, a ton of spray paint (Kilz primer, Valspar satin Thorny Brush) and a can of Minwax Polycrylic, I started. And this, my friends, is the gawgeous shiny finished product. Like I said, imagine it screaming matte yellow.

Reattaching that hardware was a beast.

I’m insanely proud of it. There are some spots where the yellow shows, like around the handles. The corner brackets all came off for the painting process, but the tansu handles couldn’t be removed. So I taped the handles in an upright position and covered the brackets behind the pulls in vaseline with Q-Tips. Gloopy and gloppy, but it worked like a charm.

Like I said before, I was also on the hunt for a narrow desk or vanity-like piece for along one of the walls. Loving the look of Chippendale-esq, faux bamboo (perhaps too many episodes of Golden Girls? Impossible: there is no such thing as too many episodes of Golden Girls!), it was in the back of my mind that I’d find something like that. Not keeping my hopes too high, I just trolled and looked and waited.

And, again, I scored. Evil laugh.

The before?

The picture posted on Craigslist.

Hmmm, that could do! It was forty bucks, and came with a sad looking wicker chair:

Sorry for the shadow… but it was bad. Full of cat hair and dust.

I had basically no interest in the chair, as it wouldn’t go in the bedroom. But I took the chair–the guy was desperate–and figured we’d either stick it in the basement or redo it.

Well, I whipped out the spray paint again (this time, Valspar Cobolt Cannon, plus high gloss clear spray)….and Blanche Devereaux’s desk looked like this:

Yeah, we definitely still have a stripe of Cobolt Cannon grass.

Schwing!

And the ugly cat hair chair? We decided it could be a great addition to the area formerly known as the eat-in-kitchen. I wanted a bold color, and when Steve okayed that, I said “you pick!” So he chose Valspar’s Indigo Cloth, a rich royal blue. I added a coat of the spray high gloss coat after, and here we have quite the improvement:

Still drying, but you get the idea.

I’ll post true “Afters”–the pieces in their respective places–when I have those areas more organized.

There’s one more Craigslist find that I’m super excited about, but I haven’t gotten anything done with that yet. For a whopping thirty-five bucks, I scored this beauty:

The top is thinly veneered and needs to be sanded down, but the rest is solid wood.

My plan right now is to sand it down and stain it a dark teak color, then wax over it. This will probably go in the nook at the top of the stairs (under the window), or in the smaller bed room where the tall bookcase stands now.

Sit tight for updates!

 

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Veggie CSA Catch Up

Alrightythen. Super quick catch up–mostly photos–of our veggie CSA from Casey Farm. I posted about the first week, but then not about the others. Oops. Bad blogger. Bad!

So, we got:

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and

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and

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and

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Lots of greens, alliums, cucumbers, and the start of squash-o-rama. And beets galore.

There are times when we eat all of it, and times when we forget and have wilty or dried stuff lingering in the fridge. Last year, I was a hot guilty mess about waste. Now? Not so much. Enter: the compost bin. We bought a unit at Lowes or HD, and paired with a pail under the kitchen sink, we are able to usefully dispose of scraps and leftovers, sans guilt.

Hopefully I’ll be better about weekly CSA posts going forward. I’m doing the Casey Farm pick up this week, so I promise pictures of that.

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