365 – Day 6

2/28/11

365 – Day 6

by Valerie | 02.28.11 | Photography, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

365 – Day 5

2/27/11

365 – Day 5

by Valerie | 02.27.11 | Photography | No Comments »

Fort-itude

Blanket Fort

I felt that fortitude was an excellent name for this post as we built a blanket fort & took on the task of a major spring cleaning (3 closets, a pantry, several bookcases, & various other nooks & crannies of our home) this weekend. And Ryan made some really amazing roasted tomato orzo soup, which helped fuel us on for the huge cleaning we’d undertaken.

I was inspired by this post on Apartment Therapy to have my very own blanket fort & it was just as awesome as I thought it could be; I’m not sure why we don’t build these for ourselves more often! All 3 of us, including Melody, are really enjoying our fort & I’m not sure which of us will be most disappointed when we take it down – us or her.

Blanket Fort

Blanket Fort

Blanket Fort

by Valerie | 02.27.11 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants, Recipes | 1 Comment »

Roasted tomato orzo soup

Roasted Tomato Orzo Soup

Val was craving soup, and I was feeling inspired to invent something in the kitchen, the orzo had been sitting in the pantry and needed to be used, so this soup was created.

Ingredients:

  • 2+ dozen tomatoes on the vine (we used 27, many were small)
  • 1 package of orzo
  • 2 tbsp buttery spread (Earth Balance)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup veggie stock
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 tbsp butcher’s pepper
  • salt
  • fresh grated parmesan cheese, optional

Begin by roasting the tomatoes in the oven at 450 degrees. It will take about 35-40 minutes to roast them, or until the skin starts to peel and brown here and there. Make sure to flip them half way through. Once finished, set aside to cool so that you can handle them. Once cooled enough to handle, remove the core and most of the seeds place in a food processor and puree.

In a pot, cook the orzo following the instructions on the package. Set aside when finished.

Heat a large soup pot to medium heat. Add the buttery spread and melt it. Add the garlic and sweat for a few minutes, about 3-4. Add the celery, onions, and carrots, and cook until the celery and carrots are cooked through and begin to be tender (they don’t need to be completely soft). Add the wine and bring to a boil. Let it boil and reduce, about 10 minutes. Once the wine has reduced add the tomato puree and the veggie stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for about 5- 10 minutes. Add the orzo, fresh thyme, butcher’s pepper, and salt to your taste. Serve and enjoy.The pepper is key, it adds a nice zang to the soup. Top with a little grated parmesan cheese, chow down.

One quick note, the orzo will absorb a fair amount of the liquid over time. If you want it more broth-y, just add some more veggie stock and tomato puree. This soup is best on a relaxing weekend and eaten while inside the comforts of a blanket fort.

Roasted Tomato Orzo Soup

by Ryan | 02.27.11 | Recipes | 1 Comment »

365 – Day 4

2/26/11

365 – Day 4

by Valerie | 02.26.11 | Photography | No Comments »

365 – Day 3

2/25/11

365 – Day 3

by Valerie | 02.25.11 | Photography | No Comments »

365 – Day 2

2/24/11

365 – Day 2

by Valerie | 02.24.11 | Photography | No Comments »

365 – Day 1

2/23/11

I really enjoy photography! I love to take photos often, although I don’t take them every day, so I’ve decided to challenge myself to take & post at least one photo a day for 365 days. This is not a new idea, of course, & lots of people have done & are doing the same thing; but, I think it will be interesting to look back at my photos on February 23, 2012 & see them as a whole & the story that they tell.

I’m already participating in a Flickr group in which I submit one photo a week that fits that week’s theme; you can check out my Project 52: Photo a Week & 365 photos on my Flickr account.

by Valerie | 02.23.11 | For Funsies, Photography | 2 Comments »

Weekend fun

3's company

We started the weekend with dinner out on the town & headed to the LLIC silent auction at Vault of Midnight, where we got our hands “stamped” with smiley faces.

Luchadore thumb wrestlers

Saturday we had breakfast with friends & enjoyed a luchadore thumb wrestling match while we waited for a table, then headed to wait in a really long line at the Arborland Borders to take advantage of their store closing sale, played with some adorable rescue puppies who were up for adoption at PetCo (I almost walked away with one…I was this close…), & ended the day enjoying dinner & drinks at the home of our Irreverent Vegan pals where we cooked down a delicious Mexican feast.

8/52 The View From Here by valatal

Also, Amy gave me this gorgeous, rose colored, antique mirror – which I’m super excited about finding the perfect spot for in our home! And I picked up some lovely P&B flowers to bring a little spring into our home (it’s snowing outside…again…and just when we though things were looking up with 50 degree weather on Friday).

Forsythia

by Valerie | 02.20.11 | Around our home, For Funsies, Princess Puppy Pants | No Comments »

Easy Fiesta Rice

Easy Fiesta Rice

I wanted some rice to make tacos with our leftover  seitan con mole, but was a bit uninspired to cook just plain white rice. While perusing the Mexican food section of Busch’s for some tortillas today I saw something called Fiesta rice. I actually don’t know what Fiesta rice really is, but I assume by the package of pre-cooked rice that it has corn and peppers in it. Long before we started cooking more often, and before we acquired a rice maker, I thought making rice was something that takes way too long and too much effort and would have bought that package of rice. But times have changed and my version of easy fiesta rice was born.

Ingredients:

  • white rice (about 3/4 to 1 cup, we have a special cup measure for our rice maker)
  • veggie stock (about 1 cup, again it is based on our rice maker)
  • half a red bell pepper diced
  • half a can of corn (drained)
  • 1+ tbsp of buttery spread (eg. Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 teaspoon of green chile powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • salt and pepper

Cook the rice using whatever method you choose. We chose our Zojirushi Rice Maker and just substituted water for veggie stock. Let cook, fluff when finished. Leave it on warm.

In a pan over medium heat melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Add the red bell pepper and cook until soft. Add the corn, cumin, and green chile powder. Cook until corn is cooked all the way through and even starts to brown. Reduce heat to low, add the rice and some additional buttery spread (makes it yummy and helps prevent burning and sticking to the pan). Add salt and pepper to your taste preferences. Serve it when finished.

Rice Cooker

by Ryan | 02.20.11 | Recipes | No Comments »

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