Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday already? It's ok, how 'bout a recipe!

This past weekend was an acceptable weekend.  I say acceptable because it wasn't out of this world, but it wasn't awful; therefore, it was acceptable.  You can't complain about that.

I honestly don't even remember what we did Friday after work.  Yup, can't remember for the life of me.  I guess it wasn't that awesome.  I do remember Saturday.  We went out to my boss's house for a little get together and cook out.  I made black bean burgers and Nutella rolls.  Nom, nom, nom.  Then after we all stuffed our faces, we went outside and made smores.  It just wouldn't be a summer (okay, it's still technically spring) get together without a bonfire and smores.  It was pretty funny watching my boss's daughter roast marshmallows.  Towards the end, she decided it was more fun to just start them on fire and watch them melt.  Don't worry, she was supervised the whole time and there was no danger.

That was the good part of the weekend.  The bad part was when I woke up Sunday morning with a huge kink in my neck.  I spent half of the day on the couch laying on the heating pad.  Not how I had imagined the day going.  But luckily I was back up and running by the afternoon.  I finished painting shelves for my studio, planted my snap peas in the garden, got all the laundry done (which I haven't touched in a month, yeah I know, I'm a sad mess sometimes), and cleaned the house.  And I did this all without disturbing the busy student.  Impressive.        

But now it's Monday again, and I'm back to the daily grind. Work has been crazy busy and I'm trying to get two different projects finished up. Let's just say they aren't necessarily cooperating. Yay Science. That's what we say when things aren't working. But I have a nice 4 day weekend coming up, so it will be worth it. I think I see some painting in my near future.

And because this was a boring update with no real projects or any real content, I'm including my Black Bean Recipe.

Black Bean Burgers

  • 2 cans black beans (I like to use the jalapeno beans)
  • 1 c frozen spinach, drained (fresh can be used, but I've found it works better with the frozen)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 sweet pepper (I used half green and half yellow)
  • 4 cloves garlic (give or take)
  • 1 1/2 - 2 c bread crumbs 
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper
  • Lime juice
  1. Dice sweet pepper, onion and garlic.  I use my food processor and dice them very small.  Saute this mixture with olive oil until fragrant and the onion is transparent.
  2. While this is cooking, rinse the black beans.  Place in bowl and mash with a potato masher.  You want this to be somewhat chunky.
  3. Add spinach and egg.  Mix up.
  4. Add cooked veggie mix to bowl  and mix.
  5. Add bread crumbs.  I start with one cup and add more as needed to get a nice consistency.  You want them to form nice firm patties.  
  6. Add salt, pepper, and lime juice to taste. 
  7. Once it's all mixed up, place in fridge for one hour.  
  8. Then form in to patties and saute on both sides until golden brown.  I will brown them on both sides and then move them to the grill to finish.
  9. Serve with your favorite toppings.
Hints and Tips
  • I don't normally cook them on the grill with foil, but if you are having trouble with falling a part you may need the foil.  
  • If they don't seem be holding their shape, add more bread crumbs.
    • I've even formed them into patties, placed them on the skillet, and then decided they were not the right consistency.  So I threw them back in the bowl and added more bread crumbs.  This is a pretty forgiving recipe
  • The last time I made these, I cut up half a jalapeno (seeds and all, we're spicy rebels) and added it to the saute mixture.  Turned out really great.
  • Feel free to try this with other types of beans.  This is based on a recipe I found on Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice, which uses white beans.  Stop over there to see the original recipe as well as a fantastic recipe for sweet potato buns.         
  • I normally get 8 patties from this recipe.  Me and J only can eat about half of them, so I freeze the left overs.  
    • Just place patties on a cookie sheet and stick them in the freezer.  
    • When they are completely frozen, I wrap each one in freezer paper and place them in a freezer bag marked with what they are and the date and throw them in the freezer.
    • Then I just take them out and let them sit on the counter to defrost (the microwave might work as well) and then just grill or saute them. 
    • Perfect for a night when we need a quick meal.   

I love me a good beef burger (and a buffalo one even more), but I love black bean burgers.  They are sooooo good.  Now if you've never had a bean burger, don't expect them to have a "meat" consistency.  They don't, they have a "bean" consistency.  But don't let that scare you, give them a try.  They are super yummy.

Now it's time to get back to science.  Good thing I have Deals Gone Bad to keep me company.  Stay creative everyone!   

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Nacho Kitty

I don't have a bunch to share today. I'm still working on small projects around the house. J only has 3.5 weeks left of class left, so hopefully more substantial projects will pick up soon.

I do have this adorable picture of Nacho.  I don't get a lot of good pictures of her because of all the soul stealing she does.  If you own a Tortie, you know what that face looks like.  So I was so happy when I was able to snap a cute picture of her.    

She is such a cute kitty.  And she is one of the best, well behaved cats I've ever owned, neurotic, but well behaved.  And look how adorable she looks.      

Monday, April 16, 2012

Happy Monday

I hope that everyone is having an enjoyable Monday so far.  I know Monday's can be difficult (I'm extremely exhausted), but don't worry, it's almost over.

We had some rain finally this past weekend.  This was a good thing.  Madison had a fire ban because it was so dry.  And my plants are happy again with a good dose of rain.  And luckily we were able to avoid the severe storms that hit most of the area.  There was lightning strike pretty close and the resulting thunder scared the crap out of everyone, but that was the extent.

Aside from a few rain showers here and there, the weather was fairly enjoyable for mid April.  Temps in the 70s are my idea of perfect.  If only we could have 70s all the time.  And nice weather equals stuff gettin' done.

We really did get a lot done, and that is why I feel so exhausted.  But hard work also makes me a happy girl.  Now lets see, what did we get done this past weekend?

I replanted my spinach seedlings in the window planter on the sun porch.  They should be safe up there, far away from the bunnies. Can you see the little seedling?  It's the little green guy in the picture.  All the rest of the organic material in there is from the wind and storms we had.  Now we just have to sit back and wait for delicious spinach.  Yum!

Yoda had her blood drawn for heartworm testing on Saturday, so we decided she earned a little adventure.  And yes, she was a huge baby for her blood draw.  She did get a blue bandage, which fell off in minutes of application.  Then she got to go to two different pet stores.  She's so cute, she has no interest in other animals or people, she just wants to explore.  And she got extremely bored while we were watching the Jackson camelion crawl around her cage.  She was pooped when we got home, so I guess it was a good day.

We also got the trim cut and up for the open shelves.  Look how nice and finished they look.  I'm in love.   Now I can't wait to get the shelves up by the stove.

And I added the little birdie picture and copper horse because the wall still looked bare.  I'll see if it stays that way.  And I picked up the little horse for 49 cents at the thrift store.  How could I pass that up?

We also picked up another wind chime.  I know some people don't like them, but we love them.  And the new on sounds so pretty.  And with all the wind we had this weekend, we got to listen to it plenty.  It looks pretty nice too.  Now our little bamboo guy has a buddy. 

And last but not least we picked up a compost bin at Menards.  J designed and made some last year for his community volunteer project and was planning on making us one this year.  But this one was too good of a price to pass up.  We figured we could use this for a couple years, and then build one in the future.  I'm so excited to have a compost bin.  I already have a layer of leaves and veggies from Saturday's dinner in there.  Now to try and be patient and wait for lovely organic compost to magically appear.  I'm gonna have one happy garden.   

What did everyone else do this weekend?  Was the weather as cooperative for you as it was for us, or did you get hit with some of those storms that went through?  

Friday, April 13, 2012

Yay it's the Weekend!

Now I know that I technically had a short week because I was sick for most of the week, but I'm still happy it's the weekend.  Well, almost the weekend.  And because I missed most of last weekend, I'll be happy to have a full weekend to catch up on stuff.  It's our first free weekend in a while, and will be our last free weekend for a while.  I know we're super popular.  Okay, it's not that, we just have crazy busy schedules.

But anywho, this weekend will bring us some free time to work on projects and it will bring us some much needed rain.  Now I know, a rainy weekend is sucky, but having to water my plants in April is weird and I will welcome the rain. 

And as soon as the weather warms up a bit more, I can plant these babies.  That there is my future garden.  All waiting for us to get the soil tilled and fertilized. 

I can't wait to start this year, I have so many new things I'm giving a try.  I already have 5 garlic plants going strong.  I made my own little peat pots this year.  I mean they aren't peat, but you get the idea.  I started some of the herbs a week or so ago, so they are sprouting like crazy.  They will be going in their respective pots soon.  Yay for fresh herbs and vegetables.

Sooooo, what did I plant (or am going to plant):
  • Roma tomatoes
  • Hybrid Super Sweet Cherry Tomatoes
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Jalapenos
  • Heirloom Picante Hot Pepper Mix
  • Short and Sweet Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Green Onions
  • Red Onions
  • Garlic
  • Spinach
  • Leaf Lettuce Mix
  • Snow Peas
  • Dill
  • 4 kinds of Basil
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Chives
  • Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Arctic Kiwi
I think that's it.  We'll see if we want to add anything else.  I would love to do cucumbers but I don't know if we have room.  It's one of those things that we might have to wait until everything else is planted.  I also would love to do loofa, but I might wait until next year to try that.

And I cannot wait for my Arctic Kiwi.  I even talked someone at work into planting them as well.  The plants are really pretty and the fruit is awesome (or so I'm told).  Not like the traditional kiwi at all, but more melon like and without the skin.  How cool is that?

Do you plant a garden every year?  If you do, what do you normally plant?  This is only our second year with a real garden (we did containers before we bought the house), so any tips and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  

I leave you with a picture of Fatty the Ferret enjoying a nap on the sun porch.  What a cutie pie.  Have a great weekend and as always never stop being creative.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Bedroom Arts

I finally have all of the art for above are bed hung.  The pictures have been sitting on the floor for months.  I showed you how I matted the large picture here, and how I hung it here using a fantastic large art hanger.

Well I decided that I loved the Heavy Duty Hangman picture hangers so much, that I ran to the store and grabbed two smaller ones for the smaller frames.  I do love these picture hangers.  They come with self drilling screws, so no pilot holes, and they don't need anchors.  Awesome.

And the Ikea lights finally made it up on the wall.  We've had these longer then we've had the frames.  They have been sitting on our dresser, just hoping they would make it up on the wall at some point.  So I figured it was high time we used then as actual lights and not just decoration.

We still have to hide the cords and build our floating night stands, but I think this wall is looking better all ready. 

Here is an absolutely awful photoshop depiction of what the bedroom will look like.  We have to build floating shelves because we have under bed drawers, so no standard nightstands for us.
We actually have these babies from Ikea.  They were a little bit more then what we wanted to spend, but we LOVE them.  They are one of my favorite things in the bedroom.  We both keep our pants and sweaters in them.  I have to say, I love waking up in the morning and being able to grab my clothes for work without actually getting out of bed.  It's quite the luxury.

And now that I have the light sconces on the wall, I could get rid of the floor lamp.  Which in turn means I can now pull my under bed drawer all the way out, which is pretty nice.     

Take care friends and stay creative! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


That's about how we feel around here.  J and I both have the flu.  We're both absolutely miserable and nothing, I mean nothing is getting done.  But who could blame us?  My Sunday and Monday were spent huddled on the couch trying to get some sleep.  Blah.

Before we got sick, we did get a little bit of fun in this past weekend.  J's friend has started a non profit record company that gets the names of local punk/ska/rock bands out to the masses.  And this last Saturday was their first Compilation CD release.  The link is above on my tabs if you are interested in downloading the CD (only $5, but be warned the music is not necessarily work or child friendly, this is punk we're talking about). 

We had a lot of fun hanging out with our friends and listening to 5 fantastic local bands.  We went to a cookout before the show and I may or may not have had too many hard ciders.  I'll never tell.

Common Kids
All of the bands that played that night were from WI.  So if you're like us and love punk, there are plenty of bands to go see.    

The DUI's
The pictures of the bands aren't that great because I was "running" the sound board.  Okay, I was actually just sitting there and every once in a while I would move a dial.  But I had no idea what I was doing and really our one friend was the one adjusting the sound. 

Unfortunately as the night wore on, I started to feel like crap.  And by midnight I was sick as a dog.  We left as soon after the last band played and that's when I really started feeling bad.  And now here we both are, sick as ever.  Good thing I felt okay Saturday, I would have been so sad if I had missed that.

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend and that your week has started out better then ours.  I hope I'll be back to my normal self soon and getting some projects finished up!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Accent Colors!

I am so close to finishing up my studio I can taste it.  Okay, let's be honest, It won't be completely finished, but it will be 90% done and usable.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can finish up the small amount of trim I have left and start putting things back in order.  Woot Woot!

Last night J and I ran up to Menards to pick up all those little things we needed to finish up projects around the house.  We got more picture hangers like I used to put our large picture frame above the bed.  I picked up more foam brushes, I think I should just buy stock in these.  I got a ton of veggie seeds for the garden and potting soil.  And of course I picked up some more spray paint.  Yay spray paint.

These are accent colors for my studio.  Not for anything big.  I'm actually painting my magazine holders with these colors.  I know the picture is sort of crappy, sorry.  I took the early morning.  But I can tell you I'm in love with that teal color, it's called Lagoon.  It's delicious.  I want to paint everything with it.  Yum!

I also picked out the accent color for the studio.  I think I'm going to go with the dark blue.  It's looks so nice with the other two colors.  I'll be painting my shelves and bookcase with this dark blue.  Just that perfect pop of color.  Now I just have to get paint and shelves and paint them and put them up.  Well you get the idea.  I hope I'll get some of this done this weekend.

We also have a Comp CD release party to go to this Saturday. It's going to be fun.  J and a couple of his friends have a non-profit record company that helps local rock/ska/punk bands get some exposure.  This weekend is their first comp CD release.  So if you happen to be in the Madison, WI area, you should definitely go to this.  It's going to be a fantastic, gritty, punk night and $5 gets you in the door and a limited edition CD.  It will be fun!!

Have a fantastic and creative weekend everyone!   

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The dreaded bathroom

There is one room in our house that I have not had the pleasure of sharing with all of my lovely readers, well there are a few rooms, but you get the idea.  This room is the upstairs bathroom.  The bathroom that is used 90% of the time (band guys use the downstairs one).  So without further ado, here is our upstairs bathroom.

Wow that was a little painful.  At first glance this room doesn't look too bad, okay there is an overwhelming amount of oak in there, but it's better then a lot of the bathrooms we saw when we were house shopping.  Let me break this room down for you.

First we have this, the peeling awful ceiling.  It has been this way since we moved in and is just getting worse.  Everyday I look at it and cringe.  It disgusts and angers me.  We have to do something and we have to do something soon.

Then we have the thing everyone notices when you walk in, the oak.  Now normally I would be okay with some real oak paneling (as this is).  We have it in our family room and like it.  My mom had it in one of her houses and it looked fine.  But this is too much.  EVERY SINGLE PERSON that has come into our house has made a comment about it.  And the comment is usually "when are you going to get rid of that."  Soon, very soon!

I mean look, there is even a wooden toilet seat.  I'm sorry, that's going too far.

And my least favorite thing is the wood trim around the bathtub.  It doesn't match all the way around the tub (different widths) and it molding.  And with my allergies, mold is on my top 10 most wanted list, or is it an unwanted list.  The trim is going!

And if we move over here we have our original Sears Co. vanity and mirror.  There was a matching cabinet over the toilet, but I took that out a while back to make the room more open and bright.  It's okay, not really our style, but okay.  It's going.  Yup, that baby is going to go to the Restore this summer.  We're building our own cabinet, watch for that DIY.  And we're also going with a double vanity.  We might as well use this room, we have it.

The flooring is also going.  We want a modern color pallet, and the crappy green and white floor doesn't cut it.  I mean look at how it was installed.  I'm hoping this was a quick fix to try and sell the house.

We have a lot planned for this room.  It's not going to be as daunting of a task as the kitchen, but it's our other major renovation.  We more then likely will have to tear up the floor and subfloor because we can feel a few "soft" spots.  And there is discolorization around the toilet.  But luckily this room is much smaller then the kitchen, so it should move a lot faster.  Yay for major renovations!  Make sure to check back soon for some progress pics.     

Monday, April 2, 2012

Is it Monday already!

Wow, how do the weekends slip by so quickly?  I feel like I was just excited about it being Friday and leaving work 30 min early and now it's Monday morning already.  I did accomplish a few things this weekend, I just don't really remember how and when.  Do you ever have that problem?  The weekend just seems a blur.  Well no use in whining about it, time to get this week started.  

I painted the trim in my studio.  Yes this is an old picture, but the room looks exactly like this.  Painting trim is a large job and it has to be done, but I always feel a little let down when it doesn't actually look like I did anything.  I spent hours taping and priming and painting Sunday.  But it will all be worth it when it's done.  Which I'm hoping will be in the next couple weeks.

I'm also happy to announce that my winter garlic is growing well and hopefully will be ready soon.  I've never grown garlic, so this was a first for me.  Now lets hope the harvest will be bountiful.  Our lilacs also have blooms on them already, early April and they have blooms crazy (that's not my picture above, ours haven't opened yet.  Thank you morgue file).  I can' not wait for that wonderful sweet aroma.  I love lilacs.

Well, lets get this week started.  My To Do list is pretty long this week.  J's on spring break this week (he still has to work, but no class), so I'm hoping we can get a few smaller projects done.  Fingers crossed.  What do you have planned for this week?