Mom, I love you but I am OBSESSED with Good Will. You know that rush you get when you find something on the clearance rack in your size that's really cute? I don't have the patience to sift through clothes on a rack that might be in my size and then try it on only to discover it looks cuter on the hanger. Instead I've become addicted to hunting down kitchenware at local Good Will stores. There are about 6-7 stores within a 45 minute radius of my apartment. It's like going garage sale hunting any day of the week, rain or shine, any season. On my recent trip I found these really cool milk glass bubble bowls. I'm totally into milk glass. I am seeing it everywhere! Usually I am on the look out for pyrex casserole dishes, anything that looks vintage or unique which explains the asian tray I picked up. I have no idea what I am going to do with it but it looked cool and it was only $3.00. This is cheap fun. I spent a whole day perusing local shops, snagged some cool stuff and only spent $10.00. That's cheaper than most of my quick trips around Target just killing time and lasted longer than an hour. That store has some sort of magical power over me. I hoped onto Google to search for other local stores and discovered shopgoodwill.com. It's a Good Will auction site similar to eBay but not as popular. That means it's way easier to win stuff. I can't tell you how many times I have lost a bidding war because I couldn't click my mouse fast enough in the last few seconds of the auctions when it sat unchanged for days. I literally killed 2 hours of my morning looking at all the cool stuff they had on this site. I then discovered my newest obsession. ENAMEL WARE! I bid on an assorted grab bag of goodies. I then proceeded to eBay to see if there was anything similar to it to compare how much it's worth. I wanted to make sure I wasn't bidding too much for it. I only bid $10.00 on the lot. I soon discovered how cool enamel ware is, it's very collectable. Unfortunately all the stuff I liked was the REALLY expensive stuff. I can't really justify spending $80.00 on a casserole dish. For now I will settle on hunting it down in thrift shops while other shoppers stare at me while I dance in the aisles with my rusty gold.
While out this weekend hunting for GoodWill goodies I stumbled upon a market that I had yet to check out. It was small and consisted of mainly artisanal cheeses, breads, gourmet deli and a tiny produce section. I stumbled upon a bag of key limes and thought "they're so cute and little!". Similar reaction most girls have to infant clothes. I had to buy them but I had no idea what to do with them besides the obvious pie. I remembered saving a recipe for preserved limes and dug up the recipe. After reading the directions more closely I decided it was too much work and wanted something easier and less seasoned with herbs I had never heard of. Where do you buy Fenugreek seeds? I'm pretty sure Acme doesn't sell that. I tried my luck on Google and to my surprise, my new favorite blog Food In Jars had a recipe for preserved key limes. SCORE!!! This recipe literally took 10 mins to make. I can't wait to try these in a few weeks. I have no idea what preserved citrus tastes like but based on the detailed descriptions I've read about I am pretty certain I will become addicted to these bad boys. Worst case scenario is I wasted $2.00 on something I'll never eat again.
Preserved Key Limes
from Food in Jars
The rest of my evening consisted of tackling the dreaded plastics cupboard. I hate organizing these damn containers, just as much as I hate putting them away. Such is the life of an exciting girl.
Sometimes you're tempted to eat something even when you know you shouldn't. I have always been tempted to nibble on meaty dog treats and wet kitty food. Call me weird, but my nose says "YES EAT IT!" I can imagine the name of these delicious granola bars comes from another person's desire to eat the unthinkable. I tried out this recipe for Bird Food and it is a keeper. It looks like the biscuits you can for pet birds to eat but it's way tastier. I tweaked the recipe a little bit to suit my own taste. I swapped dried cherries for the raisins (I hate raisins but Nathan eats them by the handful). I also ran out of honey so I topped it off with some maple syrup. Check out my cool new vintage measuring cup I found at Good Will for a buck. Mom, are you jel? After they cooled I cut them up into bars but they would be tasty crumbled up on top of greek yogurt or oatmeal. I discovered the cheapest way to snag all the ingredients was to hit up the Whole Foods Trail Mix station, way cheaper than buying the ingredients separately in the bulk bins or buying pre-packaged bags in the aisles. If you live in VT I think most of these items are in the bulk bin section of Healthy Living which also has a trail mix area.
1 c. raw sesame seeds
1/2 c. raw sunflower seeds
1/4 c. raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. unsweetend coconut
1/2 c. sultanas (golden raisins)
Heavy pinch of salt
1/2 c. smooth peanut butter (natural, just peanuts and salt)
1/4 c. honey
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 8x8 square pan with parchment paper. Basically mix all of your dry ingredients together. I found it worked best if I mixed the honey and peanut butter together and melted the mixture a bit for easier mixing. Press the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 mins. Cool completely in pan before cutting up.
Since my boyfriend has started working night shift this week I have been having some issues sleeping. It doesn't help that I am addicted to Law & Order SVU, I have a wild imagination and there was an all day marathon on USA today. Needless to say there is a possibility I will be sleeping with one eye open tonight with a knife under my pillow waiting for a rapist to jump out from my closet or creep out from under my bed that I've already triple checked. To pass the time I decided to tackle another kitchen project. I was the lucky recipient of a cheese making kit from Mom and Dad for Christmas. It's been collecting dust in my kitchen just waiting for me to have some free time to test it out. It was a painless process. All you really need is milk, rennet and citric acid. You can find most of these items at William Sonoma, Amazon, Whole Foods or other specialty shops. I learned that the milk you use is important. Whole milk is a must and it seem to be preferable to use raw milk. If that makes you uncomfortable you can use pasteurized but NOT ULTRA PASTEURIZED, it won't work. There are tons of websites and Youtube videos that can guide the way. I watched a few tutorials and dove it. I went a little wild and added a little bit of liquid smoke to one of my mozzarella balls. YUM! I could have probably figured out how to rig my grill into a make shift smoker but I should wait till Nathan is here to supervise, I don't want to destroy something or pass out from fumes without a witness to call 911.
Pioneer Women making mozzarella
New England Cheese making Company trouble shoots common mozzarella FAQ
In other exciting news I am at war with fruit flies in my apartment. I'm not 100% sure what their source of food is but I have been trying to eliminate all sources of potential smorgasbords. In a last ditch effort I made some fruit fly traps. I've used them in the past with mixed results. I'm hoping these work. I fill containers/plates with a bit of red wine vinegar and oil. The theory is that the flies are attracted to the intoxicating aroma of the vinegar (I can understand that, I love vinegar too!) but when they go in for the kill the oil traps them like quicksand!
Not only do I make food, I like to make my own cleaning products. They're cheaper and I like to know what goes into them. I have had some successes and some duds. Making my own laundry soap, SUCESS! Making my own dishwasher detergent...FAIL. I have been making my own dry laundry powder for about a year but have been interested in making my own liquid version. I have seen various recipes on Pinterest but never really had the time to tackle this project. One of the silver linings of being unemployed is I get to cross all sorts of projects off my growing list of Pinterest ideas. Luckily the ingredients for this laundry soap are the same as the ones I use for the dry version. The full directions for this concentrated laundry soap can be found here. I can't wait to do a load of wash to try this out. The end product looks so whipped and dreamy you are almost tempted to eat it but DON'T DO IT!!!!
My recent obsession is playing Wii Fit, particularly the karate game. I am so good at it! I can even beat my boyfriend at it. This is a major feat considering all gaming systems were banned from our house as a child. This has caused me to be considerably uncoordinated when playing video games as an adult with people who spent HOURS jumping over ducks, eating mushrooms that made you fly and spitting fireballs at opponents. I had to play outside, use my imagination, spend time with my sisters... BUMMER! (Just kidding, Mom and Dad!) With all this activity I was in the mood for something asian. I settled on Asian Noodle Bowls. I have made these in the past when I was bored of taking lettuce based salads to school for lunch. These can easily be made in advance for a weeks worth of lunches. I generally spend 1 hour in the kitchen using my samurai knife skills, put everything in plasticware and I'm set for the week. I keep the "dressing" separate, this ensures that your veggies won't get soggy. What I like about the noodle bowls is I can add whatever I want depending on my mood. In the past I have generally had a variety of veggies, a protein, a noodle and whatever dressing I have around. Let's break this down...
Choose whatever you like. Some suggestions:
Snap peas, mini corn, bell pepper, scallions, avocado, cilantro, cucumber, carrots, mushrooms, bok choy, etc.
I like to marinate either tofu or chicken the night before and cook it up while i'm chopping up the veggies. I have become addicted to this marinade I found in Bon Appetite that I use for chicken, tofu cubes, kebabs, EVERYTHING!
I usually use soba noodles, you could use ramen or whole wheat pasta. You can easily make this gluten free with rice noodles. I found that the rice noodles were at their best when consumed right after cooking them. A couple of days in the fridge dried them out a bit.
I like to pour a mixture of things over my noodle bowl. Here are some of my favorite sauces
Chili garlic paste
Gyoza sauce (I can only find this in asian markets, tastes like the sauce that comes with potstickers)
Ponzu Lime (It's like a tangy soy sauce, mmm!)
My Mom's Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing (I hope she doesn't kill me for sharing this, it's GOLD! Makes everything taste good.)
Braggs Amino Liquid
Mom's Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing
1 clove garlic minced
1/3 c. canola oil
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
3 Tbsp. cider vinegar
2 Tbsp. water
1/2 tsp. sugar
Mix and enjoy, Also makes an AWESOME marinade!
Bon Apetite Marinade
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 c. unseasoned rice vinegar
1/3 c. hot chili garlic paste ( like sambal oelek)
1/4 c. fish sauce (I know it smells weird but it makes this work)
1/4 c. Sriracha
Let your chicken or tofu cubes sit in this magical liquid overnight. I like to broil the tofu to crisp it up. Delish!
I love beets and I love cocktails. I was able to combine two of my favorite things in the form of a signature cocktail to celebrate my graduation a week ago. Although I am smart, I didn't invent this cocktail completely. I stole the recipe from my favorite lady Martha Stewart. This is a beet shrub which is a tangy beverage. This is right up my alley. You will need a juicer or you can go to a juice bar. Luckily I bought a juicer about 18 months ago when I thought it would be a good idea to go on a juice cleanse diet after watching the documentary " Fat Sick and Nearly Dead". That lasted for about 3 days. I became a fierce monster and decided I needed solid food. I realized it was a better idea to focus on eating a well rounded diet as instead of liquid food. After this crazy idea, my juicer sat in the closet looking lonely. My boyfriend was convinced that I would never use it again and even offered to put it into the GoodWill pile we have compiled. I assured hime that I would use it one day, that day appeared last week. To make my signature cocktail I mixed 1 oz vodka with about 3 oz of shrub and topped it off with seltzer and a slice of lime. YUM!!!! Mom approved. She tried it and liked it.
I love to eat at Whole Foods but it can be pricey. I have recently fallen in love with their garlicky kale salad but had no idea how to make it. WIth the magic of Google I was able to find a knock off recipe and couldn't wait to try it out. I fully expected to eat the whole bowl of kale salad by my lonesome due to my boyfriends aversion to leafy greens. I let him try some and he seemed to approve. Two days later I knew I must have found a killer recipe because we were running errand and discussing possible dinner ideas when he says to me " Can we have a side veggie, maybe some of that kale salad?". Be still my heart. I almost fainted. I made it again and we devoured it, more him than me. Needless to say this recipe is DELISH and it happens to be gluten free ( MOM TRY IT OUT!!!) There are 2 unusual ingredients that I have never used before. One being nutritional yeast. I found it in the bulk bin section of Whole Foods and it has a taste I can't really describe, kinda nutty. The second secret ingredient is Bragg's Liquid Aminos. It is a gluten free alternative to soy sauce and it has an umami taste it. My boyfriend loved it, claiming it tasted like liquid beef jerky. You can try for yourself.
Inspired by the Whole Foods salad bar
Author: Eating Bird Food at www.eatbirdfood.com
Recipe type: Salad
Here's my attempt at creating an interesting blog so my friends and family can keep up with my daily adventures and try some of the tasty treats I've been whipping up in my little apartment kitchen. Since I have just completed my degree in nursing, I am on the job hunt. I've always wanted to have a super cool blog but have been too strapped for time. Being unemployed has provided me with more free time than I know what to do with. If extra time were money I WOULD BE RICH!!! So here is my attempt at providing hopefully some good blog post and pictures to keep you interested enough to check back in here when the feeling tickles your fancy.
I am an aquarius who likes long walks on the beach and the flicker of candle light. If you haven't noticed yet, Just kidding! I'm a Vermonter who has left my beautiful home state in search of adventure. This blog contains all of my favorite things, mostly food so that my family back home can keep tabs on me. Mom & Dad I'm still alive!!!! Side note: I am terrible at spelling and grammar. There are bound to be typos all over this blog. It's like Where's Waldo. If you look hard enough you will find an error.