Thursday, June 30, 2011

My First Loaf

It's official I have baked bread in the world's tiniest oven, it happened! I don't know what it is about making bread that intimidates me more the timing, activating the yeast, who knows it seems best left for the experts. This summer I have been into tackling new ways of being more resourceful in our home. Spend less make more is my attitude or better yet just learn to do more things yourself. So when I picked up Jenna Woginrich's book Made From Scratch Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life on a whim at the library I knew I had to pursue my little diy endeavors. This book totally speaks to me, Jenna's writing is funny, informative and motivating. Her book shows an honest and accessible way to create what she refers to as her own "Homestead". There are true accounts of failure and triumph on topics such as home sewing to raising chickens. When I read her chapter on the country kitchen and her recipe for bread I finally felt confident to attempt the adventures of bread making. And guest what? I totally have two whole loafs of bread made from scratch sitting on my cooling rack. I am totally having french toast in the morning!  
Also check out Jenna's blog here.

Friday, June 24, 2011

DYI: Kitchen Organization Time! Washi Tape Labels!

Hey dudes today I am overhauling my kitchen! I like many are broke and also love to repurpose like every thing I own. I find it to be much more satisfying when I know that I can redesign my home with the tools I already have and save a pretty penny. So here is a mini tutorial on organizing and labeling bulked goods!

1. Get some Japanese Washi tape! What's that you ask?? It's that really cute tape you have been seeing every where; you can get it in a lot of craft and stationary stores now or buy it online here at Cute Tape.
I use Washi one because it's pretty and two because it peels off really easy without leaving a sticky mess, making it really easy to relabel your jars. You are going to love this tape I swear!

2. Get yourself a Sharpie Ultra Fine Point marker and write your jar contents on the tape! Make sure you use permanent markers otherwise your words will wipe right off your tape making you sad.

3. Gather all those collected / recycled jars hanging in the recycle bin or under your sink, yeah you know those guys. Wash the jars, making sure they are completely dry. Fill with your bulk spices, lentils, teabags, what have you and stick on your labels! Voila! 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Recipes: Vegan Mushroom Stroganoff!

  So last night I whipped up this recipe for mushroom stroganoff cause I had to make some thing with the mushrooms before they went bad. Isn't that how all good things start? So after consulting several sources and my BFF Larissa, a widely known lover/maker of mushroom stroganoff, I create this vegan recipe. 
  Before an amazing trip to go see an outdoor screening of Slacker and talk with Richard Linklater (yeah, I'm bragging a bit! but it was pretty much the most Austin thing we could do) I put this meal in front of Regina and we sat down to have our first bite, after she said to quote " Wow this is like better then Three Bros! I mean it!". For those of you who don't get the reference Three Brothers is a famed Long Island Italian all vegan restaurant, which is pretty much the best complement I have ever received! And then we proceeded to stuff our faces. This is totally a "Hey Mom I can't believe it's not butter" recipe and you can feed it to your non-vegan friends and they will never know!! Leave me a comment if you make it and tell me how it turned out at your house!

Serves: 4  Prep: 10 min. Cook Time: 20 min.

- One package of Whole Wheat Linguine Broken up in to 2/3 inch pieces

- 1 1/2 cups Tofutti Sour Cream (or any recipe for vegan sour cream)

- 1 1/2 cups Veggie Broth/Stock (I dissolved one Rapunzel Brand Vegan Bouillon with sea salt cube with 1 1/2 cups simmering water in separate pot and then turned the heat off and set it aside)

- 3 heaping Table Spoons of Flour 

- 3 Tablespoons Earth Balance, Olive Oil, or Smart Balance Light (yes it's vegan!)

- About 10 White Button Mushrooms Sliced (Baby Bella or Portobella would be a fine substitute)

- 1 Yellow Onion roughly chopped 

- 1 Large clove of Garlic minced

- About 2 Tablespoons Hungarian Paprika 

- 1 Tablespoon dried Parsley, plus more for garnish ( you can also use fresh parsley if you have it)

- 1 Tablespoon Sriracha Chili Sauce (you can also sub it for ketchup or tomato paste)

- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

- A couple twists of the black pepper mill 

In a heavy bottom skillet, I use my cast iron skillet, add all of the earth balance and heat over medium high heat, add onions and 1 of the tablespoons of paprika. Cook until onions are soft about 3 mins, then add mushrooms, saute until mushrooms and onions are fully cooked then transfer to a bowl or dish and set aside.

While you are sauteing the mushrooms and onions, cook the whole wheat linguine that you broke up in to pieces according to the package directions.

Reduce the heat of the skilled to medium and add Tofutti sour cream and veggie broth and whisk together. Add minced garlic and continue whisking adding one tablespoon of flour at a time,the sauce will begin to thicken up. Once sauce is thickened whisk in worcestershire sauce, sriracha, parsley, paprika, and black pepper. Stir back in the cooked mushrooms and onions you set aside in to the sauce and heat through. Serve over noodles and garnish with parsley!  Enjoy! Xox, Lka

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

DIY: Spiral Bound Notebook!

Last night I had an awesome opportunity to take a class on how to make spiral bound note books with Melissa Stewart of Crab Apple Designs at Green House Austin. Melissa is like a super craft woman, she makes the coolest note books and a million other things that are awesome, she sells her creations at Green House and also on etsy you might want just everything so brace yourself. So I have pretty much been holding on to this crazy Russian horticulture book for ever just waiting for my next project and it served perfect as the cover of my notebook.

The best thing about making your own notebook/sketchbook is that you can put what ever paper you want in to it and make it customized to your tastes. You might not be so lucky to have access to a spiral bounder but there are ton of other ways to make your own books. I love this project by Boy Girl Party. Make your self something awesome, cause you deserve it! Xo, Lka.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A Few Notes: Reaching Goals

Ok, this might all sound a bit cheesy, but please hear me out. I have a really hard time setting goals and sticking with them as most people probably do. Lately I have been feeling that there are more and more things I want to accomplish in my life. Moving to Texas from NYC was a total change of pace, I no longer had my built in exercise of running/biking around the city which was replaced by driving around in my car. I had just been feeling unhealthy in general and decided that it was time to change my bad eating habits ( like grabbing Wendy's from down the street (I never ate fast food until I move to TX)) and take charge of an exercise regiment, which is hard when your broke and have no idea what to do! So I finally found a few things that worked for me working out at home to on my TV doing the Self Magazine work outs, (trust they have all been tested by me) and starting a yoga practice at our amazing Coop run yoga studio here in Austin (pay what you wish!!). So I was feeling pretty good but it can be a hard thing to stick with all of this when you can't see your progress, that is where the kindergarden star stickers set in! I know it sounds totally stupid but every time I exercises I put a star on my calendar and write what physical activity I did. Not only do you feel special (because you are 5 years old) but you also can visually see your progress. 
I would recommend this to any one even if your goals are learning to sew every thursday, teaching yourself to cook weeknights, or maybe you really hate doing laundry and every monday you lug your stuff to the laundry mat you get a star. I don't know sounds pretty great to me, maybe even every 20 stars you get ice cream (because your 5 years old) - or a martini night (because your 5 years old and also of legal drinking age). 
At any rate your goals are important so don't let yourself feel defeated, be the defeater!
Xox, Lka

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Vintage Finds: Bar Cart!

Greg and I have been searching high and low for a while for a vintage bar cart and we finally found one the other day. Well, Greg found it while I was in a meeting but it was found! This bar cart is actually what they call a warming cart, a plug can be attached and the top will heat like a hot plate. We removed the cord and kept the glass top which looks kind of neat and plus when you are making drinks and you spill easy clean up. The only problem was when we brought it home we had a hard time making it fit nice in our space with out looking like a soar thumb, so we removed our end table and placed our lamp on the cart, now it doubles as an end table! Another fun idea to create a mini bar in your home if you don't want a huge cart in your house is to find a large rimmed tray and set up service for one or two of your favorite drinks, which you can keep out or store away when you are not having a party. Any ways make yourself a martini, happy summer and cheers! Xox, Lka

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What I ate for dinner last night: Tandoori Chicken

So I am in love with my new Droid phone and of course I instantly downloaded the Epicurious app. Which is amazing btw, if you don't already have it get it for your smart phone asap! It's free and you can search recipes and make instant grocery lists. Any ways, I made the recipe for Perfect Pan-Roasted Chicken Thighs, which really did come out perfect! The only thing I did differently was I added a drumstick into the mix (which cooked perfect following this recipe) and I also rubbed the chicken with Tandoori spices (I bought mine at the grocery store) along with the salt and pepper. The other thing I made was some couscous with veggies, just make couscous according to package directions in the mean time I sauteed some cut up green beans, tomatoes, and a clove of diced garlic in a little bit of olive oil and then just mixed it in to the cooked couscous. I also served everything with little lemon wedges! It's not an authentic meal but it was delicious! Try it out! xox Lka.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cookbook Roundup

After viewing sfgirlbybay's post yesterday on the affordable art website 20x200 I was totally enamored with this print (above) by the artist Jane Mount that I found scouring the pages of 20x200 website. I totally need it for my kitchen don't you think? Anyway it got me thinking about how I have cooked from all most all of the cook books in the drawing above but I don't own that many cookbooks mainly because the Austin public library has such an amazing selection that I check out 2 or three books per week. (Insert national public library infomercial staring me here.) So this sparked me to take this photo below the photo below of my cookbook shelf! I have also listed the stables and random cookbooks that I own below. Enjoy! xox Lka.

1. The Joy of Cooking - (Duh!) By Rombauer, Becker, Becker
2. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook - Marion Cunningham
3. Veganomicon the Ultimate Vegan Cookbook- Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero
4. The Classic Italian Cook Book - Marcella Hazan 
5. Great Food Fast - Everyday Food
6. The Cooky Book - Betty Crocker

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pizza Party!!

   "Hey what's a matta' wit you?" That seemed like a good opener to this post about the amazing pizza party that we had over at my good friends Terry and Elizabeth's house last night. Terry has been really into the blog The Food in my Beard and had been reading up on the pizza oven that this blogger had previously made, which totally sparked this night to happen. I know he also played around with the dough and sauce recipes which I do not have but you can find simple recipes on the interwebs! Now that's Terry presenting our first pizza out of the oven in an Italian stands, we were all pretty proud that it came out looking like a pizza! But the taste was out of this world! Terry had been slaving away making all the pizza dough and homemade sauce so when we came over all we had to bring were toppings. The trick we found to a good pizza is the oven has to be insanely hot like 500 degrees and you need an awesome pizza peal and stone (in the oven), also you need to flour everything so the dough slides on to the stone nice and smooth. Pointer number two is if you make your own sauce don't put a lot of salt in it because when you add the cheese the slat factor goes up. Other then that just add good people a couple of bottles of wine and the godfather sound track and your pretty much ready to go!