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FTW Wednesday: Produce Geek!

14 Mar

FTW(ednesday)

Yes, I am in fact alive.  Yes, I also suck at regularly posting.  For that, I must apologize.  Hopefully, you’ll find this little tidbit as awesome as I do.

I work with Produce on a daily basis, and in the last year it’s really opened my eyes to the Seasons in a whole new way.  I watch as prices fluctuate and quality tapers off at the end of a season, or picks back up when it gets into full swing.  I watch in amazement as people play $10 for Organic Strawberries in the middle of winter.  I get to try everything year round, and experience the changes.  It’s really an awesome experience.  It has opened my eyes.

Like I often do, I hunt around online for stuff I like.  I came across a great website, Produce Geek. They post once a week to tell you what is at Peak Season, Value Priced, or just otherwise tasty. They also have an Organic Produce Geek. Check them out, and let me know what you think!

Produce humor...a.k.a - We got bored XD

~Manda

A new year

1 Jan

 

“Something opens our wings. Something makes boredom and hurt disappear. Someone fills the cup in front of us: We taste only sacredness.”

 ~ Rumi

May you find your ‘something’ this year to open your wings!

 

Image:  Xu Huai Zhai , Plum Blossom, 103×102cm, ink and color on paper, hanging scroll

Countdown to Halloween: Pumpkin Bread

30 Oct

I love fall cooking – pumpkins, apples, stews, soups, breads.  Yum!

Here’s a vegan pumpkin bread recipe I found, and it’s a keeper. The name doesn’t lie. It is super moist which is sometimes hard to find with vegan recipes. The one change I made was I had pumpkin pie spice mix instead of separate spices. I just added it to taste.

And if you have some left over pumpkin. May I suggest a homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte.  If you’re a tea girl, like me, you may prefer a Pumpkin Chai Latte.

Happy Baking!

~ Manda

Countdown to Halloween: Pumpkin Fudge

28 Oct

I want to start off by apologizing.  It seems between Robin’s Pumpkin Crack and the recipe I’m about to give you, that we might be trying to kill you.  I assure you, that is not my intention.  However,  Oh.my.gosh pumpkin fudge!!

Pumpkin Fudge

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 7 ounces marshmallow creme
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Line a 9×9 inch pan with aluminum foil, and set aside.
  2. In a 3 quart saucepan, heat milk and sugar over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
  3. Mix in pumpkin puree and cinnamon; bring back to a boil. Stir in marshmallow creme and butter. Bring to a rolling boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 18 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat, and add white chocolate chips and vanilla. Stir until creamy and all chips are melted. Pour into prepared pan. Cool, remove from pan, and cut into squares. Store in a cool, dry place.
Here’s some of my tips.
  • This boils VERY HOT!  Please be careful.  Especially when it’s at a rolling boil, if it spits on you, you’re burned.  Believe me, I am and it didn’t even take a full second of contact.
  • Use white chocolate chips with cocoa butter.  It will melt better.  If not, you will be stirring forever and probably still have chucks.
  • If it’s for a party, look for some cute Halloween or fall shaped cookie cutters.  They’ll be on sale now, or very soon
  • If you do not have a good Will Save, lock this up!  It’s tasty!
~ Manda

Modifying Journals

1 Jun

My latestest craft obsession seems to be modifying journals.  I originally bought two small black journals on clearance with the intent of making hollow books.  That didn’t happen, I do still have one left.  Instead…

To the left, a gift to a co-worker.  It has a lotus blossom with a dream charm.  The wheel of dharma and an endless knot, as well as two ravens in white.

To the right, for the Dia de los Muertos swap on Craftster.  My partner has received now, so it’s safe to post.  The journal is covered with a colorful bandana, then affixed with various day of the dead themed items.  A fuzzy cross, a hand pieced sugar skull, cross charms, flowers and butterflies.

Some detail shots below.

Thanks for looking :)

~Manda

Donations for Japan

28 Mar

Japan is a hot topic right now, if you haven’t heard. You may be wondering how you can help, but you don’t want to get scammed in the process.

Let me introduce you to your new best friend for charities, Charity Navigator.  It rates charities and also lets you know if all of your donation will be used for the area in which you gave.
Japan Earthquake and Tsunami: How to Help.  This is for the Japan effort specifically.  If you look to the side there’s a list of charities, their ratings and a column which states if your donation will go solely to Japan relief or not.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just about Japan, this is an awesome resource for all your charity needs!  However, since Japan is current, here’s a few other neat links that relate:

WE ADD UP – We Love Japan shirt.  WE ADD UP is awesome.  Organic cotton shirts for awesome causes, and you get your own unique number when you order the shirt.

Zombie Squad.  I’m sure I’ll get some eye-rolls for this one, but aside from my zombie obsession, it’s an awesome organization.  Their members raised over $13,000 in days!  All of this money is going to Japan!  How cool.  ZS itself though?  A community that believes in disaster preparedness.  Being ready for “zombies” means being ready for floods, earthquakes, fires, etc.  Learning how to cope, what to expect and having a plan.  There’s discussions on everything from firearms, to bug-out-bags (BOBs, a packed bag to grab when you have to leave FAST), to first aid, to…yes, zombies.  Check them out!

 

~Manda

And the winners…

21 Mar

So congrats to Robin and Debbie!  You each get your own set of Pi earrings.  :)

It’s Pi Day, and I have nothing to wear…

13 Mar

If you’re like me, this is what you think two days before Pi Day.  Most likely, you’re not like me and that’s probably a good thing. However, I knew I had to remedy this situation for myself and so my go to is Etsy.  There are some really really cute Pi earrings out there. Buuuut, the day snuck up on me and I had to fend for myself. So off to the craft store I went. And the results? Heck yes!!!!  I’m totally set for 3.14! :) And because I cannot possibly keep all this geekiness to myself, I am please to present Without a Map’s SECOND GIVEAWAY!  That’s right, you have a chance to win a pair of these babies for yourself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How it works:

I’m giving away TWO pairs of Pi earrings, they will be some combination of black/blue/silver/green.  All you have to do is 1) Leave a comment of how you’re celebrating Pi Day OR 2) Leave a comment with Pi, to the furthest decimal place you can do off the top of your head (no cheating/googling, it’s just for fun and won’t be held against you).

Be sure to leave your email with your comment, so I can contact you.  Numbers will be drawn via random number generator.

The contest will run until Friday, March 18th at midnight.  So get on it!  And tell all your geeky friends!

Keep it irrational :)

~Manda

Make Your Own Vegetable Stock

5 Feb

My latest thing seems to be trying to use as much of something as I can.  Reusing leftovers, making them into something else until it’s gone.  Well, towards the end of December I found a bag of root veggies at the store.  The bag included carrots, parsnips, turnips, etc.  I’ve been eyeing this every season for years now.  I wanted to make something tasty out of it!

First, I took all the roots and chopped them up.  Poured oil and spices (I think I had most of a poultry herb mix lying around) over them and baked them.  That was dinner the first night.  Of course the boyfriend wouldn’t touch any of it but the carrots, so there were lots of left overs.

So I took the leftovers, dumped it in a pot and added enough water to cover the veggies.  I cooked it for about an hour and strained all the vegetables out.  Sadly, this is where the reusing ends.  I *really* wanted to puree these down, but I didn’t have a food processor, nor did I have a heavy cream to add…maybe next time!

 

From here, I let it cool down and then poured it into ice cube trays.  I only have two, so this took me until the next day to finish (I get creative late at night).  I let the trays sit overnight and then broke the cubes into a freezer bag and repeated the process until it was done.  I’m actually using it tonight (told ya, late at night…) to make some Quinoa Cakes.  If those turn out well, there will be a recipe for those too.

My tips from this process:

  • Have trays specifically for broth, or flavorful items.  After several washes I can still smell the spices.  Though, mine may just be cheap plastic.
  • Measure out a cup of broth and count the number of cubes it fills.  WRITE THIS DOWN, you’ll need it later for recipes.

It was really simple to do, and it’s a great way to make your own stock and use up vegetables (or left over meat and poultry).

Now back to the kitchen with me!  :)

~Manda

 

Cast Iron Intimidation

26 Jan

I’ve wanted a cast iron skillet since I can remember.  My mom had multiple, and she always cooked in them.  I grew up thinking it was a necessity in the kitchen.  So I started looking into them.  This lead to a lot of apprehension.  They’re scary!

Fast forward a bit, and I found one at a local discount store for $15!  It was a Lodge too, which is awesome because it’s USA made!!  Score.  So, needless to say I scooped it up.  Then brought my new baby home…and set it on a shelf for six months.

Everyday I would see it and sigh.  I didn’t know what to make, was afraid to clean it wrong.  So it sat, and sat…

Then, I needed something to blog about.  Yes, seriously.  So I took it down, and stared at it.  Then I sat down and googled recipes.  I came up with two that intrigued me.  One on potatoes and one for corn bread.  Now, if you know me at all, you know I don’t actually use recipes.  I just look at them and get an idea, then I do whatever I feel like.  This has only backfired on me a few times, so obviously I have not learned me lesson.

First, the potatoes…

2 tbsp of butter

1 small onion

garlic to taste (I had some leftover, roasted from an earlier meal)

2 lbs fingerling potatoes

pepper to taste

I put the butter, onions and garlic in first and cooked those until brown.  Then I threw in the potatoes.  Cooked about 20 minutes, until tender.  It’s very simple, but it came out awesome and I couldn’t be happier with my first cast iron dish!

 

Next, the corn bread…

 

For this one, I used Bob’s Red Mill Cornbread mix.  I followed the recipie on the back, the only thing I did before was to put the skillet in the oven with about half a stick of butter.  When the butter is melted and the pan is nice and hot, you pour the cornbread mix in and bake.

If I were to do this one again, I’d either get a different mix, or add sour cream and a can of corn.  The mix itself was rather dry.

I must say, I”m no longer intimidated, in fact…I think I might be addicted :)

 

~ Manda

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