Sweet Potato, Apple, Carrot, and Lentil Soup: Autumn in a Bowl

It is finally cooling off in the mornings and evenings here in Charleston, though the midday is still hot enough to make you sweat while standing in the shade. Jealous of everyone’s Facebook and Pinterest posts about hot tea, cozy quilts, and pumpkin everything, I decided to at least make it feel like autumn in my kitchen.

Using items we keep stocked in our pantry, I made a most delicious and very healthy fall soup. I love all soups, but this soup was even a hit with my husband. I used a recipe from allrecipes.com as my baseline and adapted it to include items I needed to use up as well as more protein.

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Operation Organize-My-Pantry COMPLETE

Okay, it’s been a while since I have written. Things have been a little hectic in my life, but rest assured that more posts are soon on their way. I have cleared some space in my life and am looking forward to having more time to focus on blogging in the near future.

Though things have been busy, I have still worked hard to stay productive. My first project, as  promised in a recent post, was to clean out and organize our pantry. This was no small task, but I can already tell that the time and effort I put into it will be returned to me with interest. Continue reading

Baby Quest: Part One

It’s no secret to the people who know us and it is at the forefront of my mind daily, but I have yet to blog about our quest for a baby.

For the past eight months, my husband and I have been trying to conceive (or TTC as abbreviated on fertility forums). Prior to those eight months I spent six months getting my body in better shape, changing my diet, removing toxins from our environment, and reading every book/watching every documentary I could find on the subjects of reproductive health, family planning, pregnancy, and labor. I am a planner and a doer. When I want to achieve something, I can and will. It’s as simple as that; or so I thought.

Unfortunately, getting pregnant is not like writing a paper for school, getting accepted into college, nailing a job interview, or finishing a race. There’s no application, no 100% proven method, no track for improvement. In fact, it seems the harder we try, the more we work to improve, the more we stress over the results, the less likely we are to succeed. Continue reading

How I Spent My 27th Birthday or Please Excuse Me, My Nerd is Showing

On Friday, I celebrated being alive for 27 years – go me! Here are some highlights of my day:

The Hunger Games

12:01am – Used the excuse of switching the laundry to stay up and read The Hunger Games.

12:47am – Ate cookies and peanut butter to satiate my cravings for rich Capitol delicacies.

2:30am – Decided I should get some sleep so as not to be a zombie for my birthday festivities. Katniss and her singed hair would just have to wait in the fiery arena until I had time to read again.

7:00am – Woke up and groggily finished writing my 50th blog post. This is a big accomplishment for me and I think it quite appropriate for it to fall on my birthday.

9:05am – Got a call from my mom wishing me a happy birthday. It doesn’t matter how old I get, my mom always makes my birthday special. Continue reading

How to Milk Your Almonds

Almond milk is one of the easiest things you will ever make. It is also one of the tastiest. To me, almond milk ranks second only to bread in the category of “Things That are a Million Times More Delicious When You Make Them Yourself.” The sweet almond taste of rich and creamy, homemade almond milk is so much better than the flavorless substitute sold at grocery stores.

Almond with Udder

Using a picture from a magazine and broken pieces of pink candy, I made an almond with an udder. Yes, that's how cool I am.

Here’s what you need:

  • About a handful or two of raw almonds
  • Water
  • A blender
  • A chinois (fancy chef speak for a fine mesh strainer) OR any strainer plus cheesecloth OR a clean, thin tea towel
  • A pitcher or other container
  • Pure vanilla extract (optional) or other flavor enhancers (see Step 7) Continue reading

What’s Your Pinterest Personality?

Like so many others, I am knee-weakening, stomach-fluttering, heart-pounding in love with Pinterest.

Pinterest Logo

Pinterest is brilliant because it has something for everyone. For lifelong learners like myself, it’s a beautiful and effective way to keep track of all the projects, books, recipes, and crafts you want to tackle. For businesses, it’s an enticing venue where your patrons advertise your products for you. For social media junkies, it’s another entertaining distraction from the monotony of Monday through Friday.

If you haven’t checked it out, do it now. Better yet, send me your email address and I’ll send you an invite so you can start pinning ASAP.

Though I’ve only been on Pinterest a short while, I find the personality themes of pinners both interesting and hilarious. C’mon, you know pinners like these. You may even be one yourself! Continue reading

How Many Moles Does it Take to Organize a Pantry?

On my way out the door yesterday morning, I caught a glimpse of something the size of a chicken wing scurrying across my kitchen floor. My immediate thought was palmetto bug. If you are from someplace other than the lowcountry, you may not be familiar with these beastly cousins of the common cockroach.

Palmetto bugs are typically 1 1/2 to 2 inches long, according to the all-knowing Wikipedia and as confirmed by my unfortunate familiarity with the creature. They are big, they can fly, and they make a loud crunch when you kill them. Even worse, they live in huge colonies. If you find one skulking across your bathroom counter, you need to recognize that it is just the expendable crewman sent out by its more intelligent siblings to search for food. There are always hundreds more lurking in your walls, attics, and garages.

I turned to get a better look at my enemy and to determine which shoe I needed to kill it. Of course my husband’s shoes are bigger than mine, so I generally opt for their increased smacking surface. Not to mention, I’d rather not spread crunchy bug guts on the bottoms of my cute sandals.

I looked over at the shadow moving across the kitchen, and lo and behold it was no palmetto bug. My ninja-like nemesis was, in fact, a baby mole. Continue reading

How to Dice an Onion, or There’s No Crying in Cooking

This post is an ode to the tear-jerker of the kitchen. The onion is an under-appreciated vegetable. I use onions in just about every savory dish, but they rarely get to be the star of the show. Think about it, how many dishes have “onion” in the name. I can only think of three off the top of my head, but almost every meal in our house starts with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a diced onion.

Spring Onion

A spring onion from my Ambrose Farm CSA share.

I learned many things in my two semesters of culinary school, but one of the most practical lessons was how to dice an onion. Spherical produce, like onions, is difficult to cut into uniform sized pieces that cook evenly. But there is hope! Practice these simple steps and you’ll chop onions just like your favorite chef. Continue reading

The Secret of a Happy Marriage

Since getting married, my definition of “things that are sexy” has broadened to include my husband doing the dishes, taking out the trash, and asking about my day. I like to call this “beforeplay.”

beforeplay (noun) - foreplay that happens before foreplay: He seduced her with the tantalizing beforeplay of watering the geraniums. 

Borrowed from Photobucket

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