Friday, August 7, 2015

Eggplant Pizza Casserole

Hey there! Guess what, finishing school is actually more stressful than being in school. At least it is right now. In school there's a set order of how and when to do things, help when you need it (and when you don't), camaraderie of all being in the same dazed state after being repeatedly hit over the head with papers and exams, and other people giving you deadlines. Oh, and people are obligated to see that you succeed. That's not to say they will pass you in a class even though you didn't learn anything, but rather that you are to be given all the help you ask for. When you're searching for a job no body is obliged to give you anything. You're not guaranteed an interviews just because you completed your application on time. It is a strange new world out there folks. But I'm bumbling my way through it.

And what is one of the best ways of distressing? Eating chocolate! Uh... I mean cooking. So here is my latest way to try to consume as much pizza as possible while still remaining at least somewhat healthy.

2 large eggplants
1 lb mozzarella
1 1/2 cups of marinara (I didn't actually have any so I used tomato paste thinned with an equal amount of water)
1 15-ounce can of black olives
1 15-ounce can of artichoke hearts
1 lb. (ish) pepperoni
Olive oil for brushing the eggplant

 Slice the eggplant lengthwise at about a 1/4 inch thick. Lightly brush the eggplant slices with olive oil and place them on baking sheets.
 Bake the eggplant at 345º F for 30 minutes flipping them halfway through. The tops should be mostly dry when you're done.
 While the eggplant is cooking grate the mozzarella.
 Prepare the marinara.
 Slice the olives and artichoke hearts.
 Layer all the ingredients in a oven safe 9"x13" pan with the eggplant slices on the bottom then everything else in the usual order.
 I had enough to make two complete layers.
 Place the whole thing in the oven which is still at 345º F (I just left it on as I was assembling the casserole) and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until everything is warm and the cheese is melted.
 Eat with gusto!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

In Gratitude

...for the mighty fly hunter.
...for fans.

...for creativity.
...for beautiful salvaged wood.

...for unexpected finds.

...for fulfilled dreams.

...for self expression.
...for faith.

...for amazing skill.
 ...for non-human partners.

...for the Portland Timbers!
...for best friends.

...for morning cuddles.
...for personal space.

...for great literature.
...for great laughs.

...for everyday luxury.
 ...for being loved.

...for families you choose.
 ...for the family I was born with.

 ...for self care.
 ...for companionship.

...for summer ice cream.
...for loving the mundane.

...for this goofy face.
 ...for realizing you can't give all the time.

...for this goofy face too.
...for health.

...for not being the only household designer.
...for not killing far.

...for the floral guardian.
...for lemony yellows.

 ...for peach season.
 ...for purpose.

...for forgotten gifts from my past self.
...for good people.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Concentrated Cold Cure

You get a cold. Your friends find out. Let the frenzy of home cures being! You know the story. Everyone has their favorite treatment. Honey and lemon, ginger and honey and lemon, cayenne pepper and ginger, apple cider vinegar and honey, and on and on. I pulled together what I saw as the common ingredients in all of the cures I've been told about and decided to try mixing them all a concentrated form. Why would I do something so potentially gross? To see what happens of course. My hope is that when I feel a cold coming on I can take a spoon full of this crazy concoction rather than having to drink it by the gallon, or if that proves too noxious I can dilute it in hot water and just save some time and head scratching and I wonder when I have time to go pick up fresh ginger at the store (I don't usually have it on hand).

Gather together the ingredients
About 2 tsp of honey (raw is best if you have it)
1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper (I use a whole tsp, but that's probably way too much)
A hunk of fresh ginger
1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar or Lemon Juice (I decided to go with the vinegar as I tend to drink lemon water most mornings)
Tap Water

First chop up the ginger. Minced is best for getting the oils into the water, but I don't think it will complain if you aren't too fussy about it. I had a giant piece of ginger so I used about half and froze the other half.

 Place minced-ish ginger in a small pot and add some water, put on high heat.

 Bring it to a full boil for about 5 minutes. I did this to concentrate the ginger water, but I ended up diluting it anyway. It sill might be good for getting as much oil and stuff out of the ginger as possible.

 Set up strainer while ginger is boiling.

 Mix all other ingredients in your jar.

 Strain ginger water. I let some ginger chunks spill over into the water because I still think they have some goodness to give even after boiling.

Add ginger water to the other ingredients in the jar. Mine is a nice rosy pink because of the Cayenne Pepper. (it turns out my camera lens did get fogged by the ginger water steam after all, oops.)

Finally be sure to label the jar (including ingredients) so you know what the strange concoction lurking in the back of the refrigerator is in the future.

Enjoy to restore good health, hopefully!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Homemade Mouthwash

For a while I didn't have much use for mouthwash. It tasted icky, it burned my mouth, it was expensive, and it was unnecessary. Basically it just wasn't worth it.

Somehow this mouthwash convinced me to give it another go and it has been worth it. I like how I know exactly what's in it, that I can control how it tastes/how strong it is, and I can see how it might make a difference. Best of all, it's really easy.

I'm not going to pretend this recipe is original, but I also can remember where I got it or exactly the proportions of the original so I'm not going to cite where I found it. Anyway, I want you to read my blog, not someone else's :)

First collect all your ingredients.
Peppermint extract
Tea Tree Oil
Tap Water
That's it!

Add about 1/8th to 1/4 of a teaspoon of peppermint extract to a clean empty jar.
Then add about 10 - 15 drops of Tea Tree Oil depending on how astringent you want it to be. I like to think it's doing something so I go heavy on the Tea Tree.
Finally, boil your tap water to purify it then fill your jar with the water. The bonus is your kitchen smells amazing as it cools!

When it's cool pop on the lid, slap on a label and you're good to go. I usually take a good size swig from it daily (sometimes morning, sometimes evening, sometimes both) and it lasts around 2-3 weeks. Also, while it's within the realm of possibility to swallow the mouthwash I wouldn't recommend it, the Tea Tree oil can irritate. Swishing and spitting- save your stomach and have fun while doing it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

In gratitude

... for the Red Buds starting to bloom.

... for the ability to give.

... for pretty skirts.
...for the ability to receive gracefully.

... for yellow.
...for little things.

...for cleaning with vinegar.
...for the ability to separate other's emotions from my own.

...for inspired salads.
....the broil setting on the oven.

...for Arbor day.
 ...for the gifts from trees.

...for pompous sheep.
 ...for AZ ensuring that the ag quad gets farm animals once a semester.

...for new books.
...for long chats with friends.

...for healing.

...for putting relationships first.

...for abundance.
 ...for produce.

...for cool architecture.
 ...for a rough idea of how to make above mentioned cool architecture.

...for inspiration.
...for hope.