Sunday, September 11, 2011

Officially a Gardener!

I picked four radishes this morning! Well, I started with the first one that looked ready to be pulled and eaten, rinsed it off in the sink, debated for a second, and did a taste test.  A bit soft in the middle but really great flavor so yay!  I picked three more that looked viable and similar size to the first and I'm calling it a gardening success, considering that I have no idea what I'm doing and I had to translate the seed packets from Italian to English to just even learn how long they took to even germinate (they didn't say how long they would be ready to pick after germinating-had to try and figure that one out for myself and it was either 4 weeks after sprouting or when the radishes began to crown out of the soil.)  There's only a handful more left to be picked but now I know that the soil on that side of the planter box is good and should be able to recycle it for another go-round once I pull the rest!  

The lettuce is still probably in the "halfway there" stage but with the rain and constant watering, it's still looking healthy and happy and getting bigger and prettier every day, and the skinny little green onions are doing their best to get greener and longer as well.  Can't wait to see how those turn out as I'm absolutely certain the lettuce will have no issue-and supposedly once we trim one head of lettuce you can leave the root in and let it grow another.  Will have to look more into that as where we heard that from was friends of ours who'd planted baby lettuce plants instead of bringing them from seed, so I've got some lettuce research to do, but still!  Happy with my first official little radish harvest.


Allie H.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Just a quick note about nail love...

I am a genius! So in love with sparkly nail polish but it's a pain and a half to get off...the eggs we buy here come in plastic containers instead of cardboard so in lieu of one of those polish remover jars with the sponges, poured remover in two egg compartments, soaked two nails at a time for about a minute, dipped the cotton ball in and rubbed off-so easily came off! Feel free to abuse the tip, everyone! It works.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Digs

We've been moving in to our new place!  We need light fixtures in all of the rooms which is going to be interesting because the ceilings are VERY high, so that should be fun, but we're started the procession of boxes and Chloe is very confused.  Last weekend we took over a first batch of boxes and a bottle of Prosecco and after hauling everything upstairs, popped the bottle and started shelving books!  We had a bookshelf left for us by Kris's now ex-coworker Francisca who said that if we wanted it, it was all ours!  We have such good furniture karma!  We've since made a second trip and dropped more boxes off (quick run, because we were going to have to deal with evening traffic, so we didn't stick around to do more unpacking.)  Chloe's already worried about people wandering out in the hall beyond the front door and will start to growl and we need to squash that behavior pretty quickly.  We're sure that when her stuff is there and we're no longer there for more than an hour, she'll get the idea that if we're not worried about the neighbors, she doesn't need to worry, either.  The only downside for me is that this building doesn't have fireplaces.  Or an elevator.  So furniture moving, when we get to that point, its going to be interesting, for sure!  I loved having this fireplace we have here in this current apartment but suppose we'll just have to make do with the heaters.  Sigh!  I love love love love LOVE the new kitchen, though, so much more spread out, no cabinets in corners to deal with and am thrilled about the two little balconies that are going to be the new homes to my plants, our patio chairs, our BBQ, and hopefully once we stop paying two rents, a little outside table.  One's right outside the kitchen and the other right outside what will become the living room.  Our new bedroom will be able to fit both our closets and quite possibly the dresser I'm utilizing as well and I just know that when we move them, I'm going to be re-organizing all the non-drawer spaces.  Again.  But it'll work out!  We're so super excited to be moving downtown where more of our friends live and to discover new places to hang out, and to be able to walk Chloe in the park everyday and spend more time by the lake.  Moving in summer heat/humidity is a bit un-fun, but we're moving away from the construction sites that are right across the street from our current building and get up and running every morning by 7:30, and we're moving before we lose the view that is about to be obstructed by the building that is apparently going to go up in the lot that can be seen from our patio, so good timing for us!  Anyway...have pictures of our new place!  It's awesome.  It's like one big long rectangle with a hallway that goes from our bedroom on one end and the bathroom on the other with living room, guest room, and kitchen all on one side.  


Allie H.

Getting the kitchen!

Used a new-found recipe today for Cream Cheese Pasta Sauce for lunch today.  Made bowtie pasta with tomatoes as a bed for oven-baked pre-breaded chicken patties.  I'm a recipe bug and collect the like crazy but need to work on implementing more of them more often!  This sauce was pretty basic but could be kicked up with a little more spice.  It's cream cheese, butter, milk, and garlic and I'm guessing they meant garlic powder, which is what I used, and know that next time I'll definitely be using freshly minced to flavor, and maybe a generous teaspoon of red pepper flakes and possibly some black pepper, too.  Since they suggested using for pasta or chicken my brain went "Both!"  I think it turned out pretty well and will keep it around to use again in the future.  I didn't use 6 Tablespoons worth of butter, less, maybe 4, but I think it turned out fine.  My current new-found addiction of Pinterest and seeing other people's food pins is netting me some really good cooking ideas that I'd like to try.  The only problem is that we can't always get everything a recipe calls for so would have to substitute but once we settle into our new apartment (which I have pictures of and we've started moving boxes into! Second blog today...) we'll be surrounded by a bigger variety of grocery stores and I'm sure we'll be able to find most everything we need one way or another.  But here's the recipe for the sauce, feel free to use and abuse and if you make any variations and it comes out good, let me know!  I'm interested to know what works for you!  

Cream Cheese Pasta Sauce

8 ounces cream cheese (I used herb flavored)
6 teaspoons butter
3/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic

Directions: Melt together cream cheese and butter in a saucepan over low heat until smooth and creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in milk and garlic. Simmer over low heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add the cheese in the last minute and stir briskly. Season with garlic powder and pepper. Serve over chicken or pasta.

Allie H.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Just for fun!

A friend of mine posted this and I re-shared...because sharing is caring!  It's fun!
Watch 100 years of East London Fashion


Allie H.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Good news(multiple!)

Good news note number one: We have the keys for the new apartment we're going to be moving into within the next month or so!  Cannot wait to get in there, take a bunch of before and after pictures of all the empty rooms, and after when all our stuff has invaded!  It's one less extra bedroom, and only one full bedroom, but still plenty of room for everything.  We fixed the car last night, so everyone, cross your fingers that it stays in good shape to start moving slowly!  I especially love the kitchen and the little balconies and can't wait to organize everything all over again and put my plants out to keep growing...
Which brings me to good news note number two:  After a bout of caterpillar-induced decimation to my radishes, they're bouncing back, and they should be ready to pick soon!  I'd found online, thanks to my new addiction, Pinterest, a homemade recipe for pest control and made up a batch-and after a few days, it did the trick!  The ravaged leaves are coming back healthy and my green onions seem to be thriving (while not bothered by pests I didn't want them spreading to my herbs) and are growing rather well.  My lettuce, not altered by the pest invasion, is a couple of inches tall and blooming rather well.  I'm so excited to be able to use it when it's ready to pick!  My roses, on the other hand-not doing so well.  Going to keep off the pest spray for them for a while and re-up the fertilizer for a while and see how they do.  See pictures below:

 Lettuces thriving

 Look closely-they're little green onions, I swear!
 My poor roses...
Another green onion-planted later than the first batch and doing somehow better...hmmm.  Still excited!

Enjoy!  Allie H.
( it out!  It's fun)