Friday, September 14, 2012

Kitchen Chair

A lifelong dream of mine has always been to have a big, comfy chair in my kitchen. (Dream big, people.) I (obviously) spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and I've always thought that it would be really wonderful to have an easy chair in the kitchen.
My current kitchen is pretty big and I've been lobbying hard to put an arm chair against the wall by the door, but Benjy has always thought that a chair that big would disrupt the flow. I've been keeping an eye out for a comfortable chair that isn't too big- and today, I finally found one.
And I got it for $10!!!
I've been wanting to check out the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Portland, and I finally got around to it this afternoon. There wasn't a ton of furniture (lots of cabinets, light fixtures, and doors, though) but there were a few wooden chairs and some nice dressers. I really liked the captain's chair that I ended up buying because it wasn't too big, but was nice and wide and had good arm rests. It's no easy chair but it has good bones and is a good size for the space I have in the kitchen.

I have to admit that the pictures I've taken are very forgiving and it really needs to be varnished or painted. But for $10, I really don't mind spending a little time to make it look shiny and new.
The icing on the cake to this whole story is that when I looked up this kind of chair on the internet, it looks like they run about $145 new. I am the bargain queen!

So what color should I paint my chair?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tempeh is Amazing

I'm not a vegan or a vegetarian, (Obviously- ask me about the two chickens I smoked this weekend- haha) but I really enjoy making meatless dishes and typically eat a meatless dinner a couple of times a week. My breakfasts and lunches are generally meatless, which is easy since I'm not a big fan of bacon or sandwiches.

I'm a huge fan of eggs and beans as protein sources, and I love tofu when I have it in restaurants- but I've never done a good job of preparing it at home. I've basically given up trying to cook it myself.

I've known about Tempeh for a couple of years now, but I've never been called to try it or to try to cook it (because I'm so bad at tofu- I assumed I'd ruin tempeh too) until my friend Chelsea told me that she loves to make sauteed Brussels sprouts and tempeh and drizzle it with sesame oil. I love browning Brussels sprouts in a skillet and I love sesame oil, so I thought I'd give her technique a try! Of course, I put my own spin on it so I thought I'd write out the recipe. This dinner was honestly a million times more delicious than I thought it would be (and a million times more delicious than it looks in the lousy picture I've posted), and incredibly easy. So next time you're looking for some meatless Monday inspiration, give this a try!

Marinate the Tempeh:

Tempeh, cut into 1/4" thick slices
1/2 C soy sauce
1/2 C rice wine vinegar
1 t Sesame oil

Combine Soy Sauce, vinegar, and sesame oil. Marinate the sliced tempeh from 20 minutes to several hours

Cook the sprouts:

1 dozen Brussels Sprouts, halved
Olive Oil

Cook the Brussels sprouts in a skillet in olive oil until they are easily pierced with a fork and the flat sides are a little browned. 101 Cookbooks has a great explanation of how to do this- just don't add any cheese to this particular batch.

Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Cook the Tempeh:

1 shallot sliced (or half an onion)
Tempeh in Marinade
olive oil

Fry the shallot in olive oil until it is soft and a little brown. Add to the sprouts, reserving the oil. Fry the tempeh for about 3 minutes a side, until the marinade is reduced and the tempeh is golden brown and heated through. Add to the bowl with the sprouts and onions. Drizzle with additional sesame oil and squeeze a quarter of a lime over everything. Stir to combine and serve with mashed butternut squash (recipe below).

Mashed butternut squash:

1 butternut squash (peeled and cut into large chunks- I bought mine this way because I am lazy)

1 T coconut oil (or butter, if don't care that it's not vegan- I wanted to stick with the theme)

salt and pepper to taste

Microwave the squash in a covered bowl with a splash of water for 10 minutes. Mash the squash and add the oil, salt and pepper.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Winter is Coming

September has arrived and some cooler weather has rolled right in with it! I'm loving it- and loving the fact that my friends visiting from the south this past weekend got to enjoy some refreshingly cool temperatures!
Of course, my enjoyment of the weather is tempered by the knowledge that it's going to get a lot colder before I know it! My issue tends not to be with the weather outside, but with the brisk 62 degrees inside the house. I maintain my office at a higher temperature (since it has a separate electric heater that is much cheaper than our ancient oil heating system) and the house warms up once I use the oven to make dinner- but the couple of hours before I start making dinner (we like to eat around 8pm) tend to be dark and cold. So, a reminder to myself: The gym is always warmer than my house!