Saturday, April 11, 2015

Pallet project Part 1 - taking apart a pallet.

Not the most artistic person in the world but love making things from nothing. Cleaning up the yard last fall we noticed an abundance of old pallets lying about and decided that reusing them would be a fun project. 

The usual problem I have is getting the old pallets apart without splitting them so I have come up with a (what I think is) genius method.  Yup, I just use one of the 2x4s. Ok maybe not genius but compared to some of the methods you find on the internet this has to be the easiest -I mean who has time to make a pallet separator out of metal or have the strength to use a hammer? 
Basically, I just take the 2x4 and place it under the boards I want to loosen. Make sure it is as close to the board and where it is nailed in as possible. Brace the pallet and slowly push down on the 2x4 causing the other side to lift up. (You are using the other board behind the 2x4 as a support brace.) Don't force it so much that you hear it crack but you will hear creaking sounds. My trick is to start in the center and then go to each side and repeat until the board "pops" off. Of course you're going to lose some of the boards but for the most part the boards will pop off and all that is left is pulling the nails out. Once you have removed most of the boards I will just place an extra piece of wood to use as support when removing the last piece. 
Pretty easy, right?
Wait till you see what we have been working on.

Another trick I have learned? Whenever working on a project always reward yourself for all the work you have done. For us it was a fire, cigar, and some whiskey. Aww the good life.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Happy Spring...

Spring is in the air and the Magnolia trees and Cherry Trees are in bloom and Easter is fast approaching. Most of you know that I had given up sweets for lent which turned out to be a great segway into a healthier body and younger looking skin and now that I got that under control I can turn my attention on organizing and decorating for Spring. I love how Spring inspires me to clear out the old clutter from my living space, body and life...Spring is the time to say "hello" to new things and new experiences. I just can not wait to see what this season shall bring me. Maybe it is time to pack up and move to a new spot, maybe a new career opportunity in brewing and maybe love is in the air...maybe all of this is happening right now? Hmmmm I may have said too much- I'll fill you in on that later :)

For now I found these delightful arrangements for Easter Brunch.

Just adorable, don't you think? 

As I sit here waiting for the scones to bake and drinking my cup of coffee I can't help but envision new and brighter art for my walls. Minted holds my attention as I view the latest work by independent artist. 
Yes, all these prints say SPRING to me. 

See it here
What a fun collection of prints. 
My Art Wall by Tina, see more art prints
My Art Wall board by Tina. See more art prints

What do you do to welcome Spring?

Scones are done and look too good to wait. Happy Weekend. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Can I just say....It's amazing!

"The spice is enough to make you take notice but at the same time you just can't stop eating it"

Yesterday was pretty close to perfect hammock weather so the Cheffy and I  made sure we carved out part of our day to grab a drink and take refuge from the sun in our "caterpillar" hammock. Pretty sure that is not the correct name but it describes it so beautifully- this is the type of hammock that can completely wrap you up. Anyways, Cheffy decided to bring some of his citrus marinated pulled pork home from work and so Taco night began. First things first....Margaritas! Check. The second thing-SALSA! Can I just say.....It's amazing! Talk about the perfect spring/summer snack that is healthy, fresh, and goes with an assortment of dishes. And today I'm going to show you how easy it is to make with roasted peppers -mmmmm.


1 red pepper
1 green pepper
2 jalapenos
1/2 red onion
5 tomatoes
2 tomatillos
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbls lime juice
2-1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper to taste

How to:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Rub peppers and jalapenos with oil and place on  a cooking sheet in heated oven. Roasting time is 15 minutes. You'll want to turn the peppers over about 7 minutes in or until they are speaking to you. 
Meanwhile peel, rinse and cube the tomatillos. Cube the tomatoes and chop the onion. As you can see we used the food processor so it took us literally a couple of minutes to do. 
Add finely diced garlic to your bowl reserving the cilantro for later. 
By now your peppers are done and ready to be peeled. They are super hot once they come out of the oven so be very careful when peeling the roasted skin off of the peppers and jalapenos.  Make sure you take the seeds out and throw them away with the skin before placing the tender fragrant peppers into a blender. We are going to just blend them up a bit before adding them to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. 
roasting peppers

Pepper puree with chopped veggies
To finish it off add the cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. 
Taco night
The salsa was spicy, fresh and a little smoky from the roasted peppers. Tonight I am going to add it to some pan fried chicken and tomorrow I may just bring a little to snack on while at work. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Seattle dining "Experience" Staple and Fancy

Staple and Fancy Mercantile....I just didn't get the name until I had the pleasure of dining there recently. Located in a renovated old machine shop in Ballard it boast graffiti brink walls,  metal encased wooden tables, a wall that opens completely and planked flooring -giving it a relax vibe. How could I have missed this place?....Its an Ethan Stowell restaurant and was just voted best Italian restaurant in Seattle by the Daily Meal
Staple and Fancy 
"Staple and Fancy is simple, Italian-inspired food and offers innovative à la carte staple choices in addition to a popular chef’s choice fancy menu. The latter is a multi-course feast of seasonal dishes crafted by the chef for each table. We really recommend that you relax and put your dining experience in our hands. We’ll take care of everything."   via the website. I get it. 

When we arrived we were immediately taken to our table where we were greeted by our server as well as one of the head Chefs. To my delight our dinner companions ordered the Chef's choice Fancy Menu for us so all I had to do was order a drink and sit back and enjoy the show.
Parsnip Puree with fried sage and in the background House made Charcuterie.

Kumamoto oysters served with freshly grated horseradish. Super sweet.

Steak tartare served with toasted points. 

Sashimi hamachi with avocado puree.
Roasted bone marrow. Silky and just so flavorful. Biggest surprise of the evening.

Roasted Dungeness crab
Gnocchi with braised pork
Noodles in a spicy tomato sauce. 
Seared black Cod with fingerling potato and cauliflower. 
Wood fired Sirloin with parsnip puree, bacon and a demi glace that swooned my senses. 
Cappuccino. For me the best way to end a scrumptious dinner. 
 While normally the chef's choice "Fancy" dinner would be 4 courses we were given special treatment. Having one of the chefs in tow with us warranted us what I can only call a fantastic Dining "Experience". 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Sugar I love...I hate you....ugh.

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Apparently I am a masochist and I love to torture myself,,,, I have officially given up sweets for Lent. Yup, no sugar for 40 days. Didn't sound so bad 2 weeks ago but today I am feeling it. Could be that I am a stress eater...always have been, and stress has been my best friend and companion these days.
Not a practicing christian but I'm spiritual enough that I wanted to respect the upcoming holiday traditions and guidelines and pay homage to my god that when my boss and friend reminded me of lent I quickly did an inventory on my lifes must have and realized sugar has been a major player since Christmas...ok ok, since Thanksgiving. I really didn't think giving up sweets would affect me so much, I knew I liked them but I had no idea the amount of sweets I was indulging in until giving them up. And for that matter I had no idea the effect sugar had on my body until a week after lent began and  I stepped on the scale to find that I was 2 pounds lighter.....this week? yup 2 more pounds lost. All this without changing my other eating habits or adding any additional exercise; I would actually say that I have worked out less than normal these last few weeks. So, how the weight loss then?
Did you know that our body's can only metabolise about 9 tsp of sugar a day? So you think you only eat around 9 tsp or 45g a day. Let's see:
On average I consumed about 79 grams! and that is not even counting the hidden sugar in foods like Chinese foods and spaghetti sauces or the donut binge I would occasionally find myself having.

7 g of sugar- 1 cup of strawberries (breakfast smoothie)
14 g- banana (mid morning snack)
7 g - 2 small sugar cookies (mid day snack)
10g - cup of tomato soup (lunch)
10 g- yoplait yogurt (post work out snack)
4.2 g- mini laffy taffy (just cuz)
10 g - one slice of pizza (dinner)
17 g - cup of ice cream (dessert)

So besides weight gain what are the other effects of fructose? (from Sarah Wilson's I quit sugar article)
A few factoids to get started. To be clear, it’s fructose that’s the enemy, not sugar per se. And here’s why! I’ve learned that fructose:
♥ makes us eat more, because we humans haven’t  evolved an ‘off switch’ for fructose to signal when we’ve had enough (all very well back when we were cave people and sugar was rare).
♥ converts directly to fat in our bodies rather than to energy for our immediate needs.
♥ inhibits our immune system, making it harder to fight off viruses and infections.
♥ upsets the mineral balance in our bodies, causing deficiencies as well as interfering with mineral absorption. 
♥ messes with fertility.
♥ speeds up the ageing process.
♥ is linked to dementia.
♥ has been connected with the development of cancers of the breasts, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, lung, gall bladder and stomach.
♥ causes an acidic digestive tract and indigestion.
♥ can cause a rapid rise in adrenaline, as well as hyperactivity, anxiety and a loss of concentration.

After reading this article and seeing the 4 pound weight loss I am ready to see if I can "quit sugar".......

.......Who's with me? 

11 weird things sugar does to your body
I quit sugar 
Thanks Diana for sharing this post on sugar. 
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