Monday, November 29, 2010

Green Christmas

First things first, the title of today's entry has absolutely nothing to do with a lack of snow on Christmas. On Friday, when so many people were breaking down the doors at Target and Walmart to get the best deals, I took my dog on a hike. That morning, I was checking my Twitter feed and I noticed posts from a couple of my favorite eco-friendly folks, @Treehugger and @Teecycle_org . Both were encouraging people to turn Black Friday into Buy Nothing Day. And I thought it was a great idea. I decided, why stop at Black Friday. I wanted to turn this into a greener Christmas, but making gifts for my family and friends instead of buying them.
Now, I'm not so unrealistic to think I can actually buy nothing all Christmas season... obviously I'd at least need to buy some supplies. And I did yesterday. But I'm hoping to use as many recycled objects as possible and buy as little as I possibly can this season. My biggest challenge, I think, is going to be my nieces and nephews. Not quite old enough to understand my decision, all they'll know is that Aunt Katie Didn't buy them the video game they asked for... so I'm racking my brain, trying to make sure the gift I choose to create is the best it can possibly be, so they won't even care. I'm still making plans, and still coming up with ideas... but I've got a few so far that will have me sewing for quite a while... But I'm really excited about the idea.... and any craft project ideas are welcome!
Anyone else crafting gifts this season? What are you making???

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Cooking Adventures: Caprese Mac

So, the other night I had a brainstorm... and it led to what may be one of the best culinary inventions I've had so far... I took my favorite thing in the world, macaroni and cheese... and combined it with my favorite salad, caprese, and now I feel brilliant. Because, well, yum. Anyway, it's not really an exact recipe, but here's what I did... and you'll get the idea.

For starters, I made a roux in a saucepan by melting two tablespoons of butter and combining it with two tablespoons of flour. Then I added 1/2 a cup of milk and wisked until the roux dissolved into the milk. Then I added the cheese. You can add whatever you want, but i did about a 1/4 cup of mozzarella and then a few tablespoons of parmegiano reggiano and romano. The mozzarella is kind of non-negotiable because that's a key ingredient of caprese, but beyond that you can basically do what you want. I also seasoned with a pinch of salt. If you don't add the parmegiano reggiano, you'll probably need more salt. Then I added about four tablespoons of pesto. Jarred is fine, I guess. But I used the stuff I preserved over the summer. When I make pesto, I usually freeze it in ice cube trays and then put the cubes in a zipper bag in the freezer. It's perfect because each cube is about two tablespoons.
You should turn off the heat while you add the pesto. Too much heat can turn basil black and it looks a little gross. Toss the sauce with some cooked pasta. I used elbows, but just because I already had some cooked in the fridge. I think twisty pasta works well though, because it holds the sauce better.
The final touch is to chop up a seeded tomato and add that. I used the last of the fresh tomatoes from my garden. Just make sure to remove the seeds or the whole thing will end up too soupy. If tomatoes are not in season, you could always add a can of diced tomatoes, just make sure to drain off the juices first.
I don't have any pictures because, well, I ate it too fast. But trust me, this creates a delicious bowl of gooey goodness. The sauce has a creamy pale green color and a nice pop of brightness form the tomatoes. Soooo good.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The wedding boycott

So. Yesterday was a meltdown. I'm not going to deny it. But, sometimes meltdowns are needed in order to fix what's wrong and make things better.
Which is what happened yesterday.
I've been struggling hardcore with the expectations of what a wedding "should be" vs. what Josh and I want our wedding to be. People telling me I can't do certain things because it's not how things are done. And it was pissing me off. Like, acting like a five-year-old, digging in my heels, fine then we'll just elope kind of pissing me off.
And I don't wanna be pissed off like that. I don't want to elope. I want to celebrate with my family and friends. And Josh REALLY wants to celebrate with our family and friends. And I REALLY want Josh to have the wedding he deserves.
So. The meltdown. It was a good thing. Because after I came on here and had my little meltdown, I had a really good conversation with my future mother-in-law. She seems to really get what we're trying to accomplish with our wedding planning. And she said something that made me look at her like "wow, are you always this brilliant??"
She said we need to stop planning a "wedding" and instead, throw a party at which we'll get married. Brilliant, right? Because the word wedding has so many expectations that it's like, well if you're having a wedding, you need to do X, Y, and Z. But if you're throwing a party, you can pretty much do anything you want.
And cue weight lifting from my shoulders.
So we're boycotting weddings. We're throwing a party. And it's going to be amazing and fun and everything that our friends and family would expect from a party thrown by me and Josh.
And I'm breathing again.