Friday, April 29, 2011

P-dog update

Prairie loves all toys but was particularly excited about this rope toy. We are stockpiling treats and toys for the 16 hour drive to Texas in a few weeks.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Better than hummus

Roasted red pepper dip! Easy and delicious. Perfect for a light summer dinner when its too hot to cook.

In a blender puree one cup cooked red lentils, 1 cup roasted red peppers (out of a jar is good), 2 Tablespoons olive oil, garlic and salt to taste (I used 3 cloves and 1/3 t). Next time I'd use slightly less garlic, but this stuff is good! A half cup of feta would be excellent as well.

Now I just need some proper pita bread instead of these whole wheat tortillas (which you may have noticed also substitute for naan...).

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Finished with furniture

When we moved in, we didn't have nearly enough furniture for a 3 bedroom house. But thanks to some Craigslist sleuthing, we now have dining furniture, a master bed and now, we have enough seating in the family room plus couches in the sun room. Woo hoo!

I have always wanted to have space to have two couches facing each other. I love this arrangement - Plenty of seating for several people (and easy to pull up more if needed) - and still very comfy for watching TV. I was stoked to find this couch (for $30!) - its a really quality piece (hardwood frame and firm cushions) and the upholstery is in great shape. I'd eventually like to reupholster this but there are several other things higher on the list (closet doors? remove wallpaper? kitchen remodel?). 

I almost walked away from these couches - they are late 90s and very ugly. But, I decided to go for it - the price was right ($50), they were clean and the upholstery was in good shape. They are definitely placeholders until we find something better, but it has been so nice to be able to sit and hang out in the sun room with the fan on and the windows open. And we no longer have a big room with nothing in it.

And the best part? I moved all three couches all by myself in my station wagon.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Attack of the rutabagas!

I grad school I subscribed to a weekly CSA basket. I prided myself in eating all of it every week - even if it made for some pretty terrible dinners - back in those days most dinners either took the form of a burrito, coconut curry or stir fry served with peanut sauce.

I found out that the rutabaga was not appreciated when I came home from a trip to find this...
...and I was actually mildly annoyed that food had been wasted.

Thankfully my cooking has improved. I followed a combo of these two recipes. (both sites are great for authentic indian recipes with instructions that a gringa can understand). Here I substituted rutabaga for potatoes. Finely (1/2 inch) diced and boiling thoroughly gets rid of any bitternesss from the 'bagas. This recipe was a winner for me - vegetarian, healthy, and can be made with pantry staples. Its worth going to a good spice shop to get all of the spices - it makes all the difference.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Backyard Inhabitants

We have a pair of green anoles  that live by the back door - the other day I caught this guy sunning himself on a stick that had fallen onto the jasmine. The same day I watched her boyfriend display his dewlap (red skin fold under his chin) out the study window. I love where we live!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Better (for you) pasta

I try not to eat too much pasta because it can be empty carbs. But its an easy week night dinner. I use whole wheat pasta and mix veggies in when I toss with the sauce. I usually shoot for equal parts veggie and pasta - and any mild flavored vegetable works - here I used zuchinni tossed with whole wheat penne in vodka sauce.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Since we got Prairie my activity level has about doubled - walks twice a day, throwing the ball for an hour at the dog park, etc. I think my body has noticed because I have been craving carb heavy foods and eating lots of ice cream.

Now I am a fan of everything in moderation and I had been eating each bowl with a serving of fruit, but ice cream is full of sugar and saturated fat and not exactly a healthy option.

Enter this delicious frozen yogurt. Easy, healthy and delicious!

I followed this recipe from Heidi Swanson of 101Cookbooks. It was so easy - a large container of whole milk yogurt, 1/2 c fructose and a generous dose of Mexican Vanilla. I wouldn't change a thing - though next time I'll make it with Greek Yogurt (which is already strained) and save myself a step.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Farmer's Market Haul

Can't believe there are already squashes in the market. Yummy!!

I got these strawberries from a cute little Grandma and Grandpa - they had onions and berries. These berries were perfectly ripe with not a single blemish.
 The market was super crowded this morning, so I quickly visited my egg guy and veggie guy and grabbed 2 lbs of these berries for $4. As soon as I was walking back to the car, I regretted not getting more.

Lucky for me Wards (the grocery store) had flats and half flats for cheap and I now have 6 pints of berries chilling in my freezer.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring in our backyard

It definitely feels like spring around here - we've had gorgeous dogwoods and azaleas, and now the jasmine is blooming. I know it will soon be HOT so I want to enjoy it while I can. We have a few toads that live by the back door, and this little nest recently appeared in the holly bush by the kitchen window - we have a pair of  cardinals, so I think it is theirs.

And its warming up around here, so it was time to put up the down comforter and get ready for Auntie Joy's visit next month.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Another craigslist score!

CL finds here are few and far between and mostly with a lot of overpriced junk - but I have had some good finds. Here is another one. A handmade persian rug for $70. Perfect for the kitchen.

I am now on the hunt for a carpet for the entry and then we will be set!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rainbow River

On TD's last Friday in town we packed up and headed to the nearby Rainbow Springs for an early anniversiary & happy goodbye trip. Rainbow Springs is the 8th largest spring in the world and has crystal clear blue water. The river starts at the head spring and runs about 6 miles before it runs into the Withlacootchee River.

 Our canoe Penelope Penobscot is still in Austin, but we were able to rent a canoe for the day. Prices were reasonable and they let us bring Prairie in the bus and in the canoe.

Prairie was super over stimulated at the beach and at my softball game, so we weren't sure how she would do in the canoe. I was very glad to have TD there to help dog wrangle.

She did great though! She wasn't sure at first, but we eventually unhooked her and let her roam free in the boat. She partially made it over board twice, but in general she was really good. She attempted to get in our laps every now and then, but mostly stayed in the middle and stuck her paws in the water, chasing after dragon flies and waterbugs etc.

After our float, we headed up to the headsprings and State Park to do some hiking. The habitat was very neat and we had a good wildlife day. We saw a few large skinks, and this Southern Fence Lizard.

This is a HUGE gopher tortoise burrow. The entrance is over a foot wide, and the entire mound is over 10 feet across.

The long leaf pine saplings are so cool - they look like grass trees or something out of Dr. Seuss.

We saw this Barred Owl on the drive home. He was on the ground in the bar ditch, so we thought he might be injured, but when we turned around he was fine, and we got a good look at him in the tree. Every time Tom hooted at him, he turned around to look at us. We also saw a red fox in our neighborhood near our house. We are both loving our new location and how easy it is to get out into nature here.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

We're going to miss this guy!

Boo Hoo! TD flies back to Mexico this afternoon - he was here for almost a month and we had a GREAT visit. Prairie and I will both miss him and can't wait to see him in May for my sister's wedding!