coconut-curry chickpea quinoa pineapple burger

Sometimes you just need to sink your teeth into a nice burger. Being a vegetarian (A lifestyle choice, my diet used to consist of Doritos and pasta…when did I eat fruit? I couldn’t answer that) that doesn’t happen. BUT every once and a while you get a reaaaalllyy good veggie burger. One that can win any meat lovers heart. If you like Indian spices, smooth coconut and bursts of warm pineapple…you’ll being making this burger weekly. IMG_9462IMG_9447 IMG_9452 IMG_9453 IMG_9464This burger pairs perfectly with sweet potato fries, your favorite chips, or cold veggies with dip.

I found this great recipe over at cheekykitchen.com. SO GOOOOOOOOOOOOOD.

Chickpea Quinoa Pineapple Burger

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon curry
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Goya Adobo Seasoning (or onion salt)(Haley: I used 1/2 teaspoon onion powder and a dash of salt)
1/4 cup fresh chives or scallions, chopped (Haley: I used a bit of chopped red onion)
1/2 cup quinoa, cooked
2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (Haley: I made my own quickly my toasting bread in the oven and chopping in my food processor)
4 slices fresh pineapple
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seed oil
1/4 cup mayonnaise or something similar
lime zest
pepper
4  hamburger buns
4 teaspoons butter
lettuce

(Haley: I also added slices of red onion)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the chickpeas, coconut milk, curry, garam masala, adobo seasoning, and garlic powder in a food processor. Pulse until pureed. Stir in the chives, Quinoa, and panko crumbs. Form into 4 patties.

Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the pan with olive oil and a bit of sesame oil. Pan fry patties until golden brown on each side. Then set aside the patties and grill the pineapple until golden brown grill lines appear on each side of the fruit.

Butter the inside halves of the hamburger buns with Earth Balance butter. Bake, buttered sides up, in an oven preheated to 400 degrees until the butter is melted and the buns are toasty.

In a small bowl, stir together the lime zest, pepper, and mayonnaise.

Serve the Chickpea burgers topped with grilled pineapple, your flavored mayonnaise, and a bit of lettuce on top of your burger buns.

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simple non-toxic floor cleaner

Cleaning is not my favorite thing in the world. Really it’s something that I’ve fought for a long time. Stupid adult responsibility. While we’ve all got different standards of cleanliness, we all have to do it. I mean eventually you have to do laundry. Eventually you have to sweep. Eventually you have to clean dishes. I have all sorts of tricks up my sleeve to making cleaning “fun”. I’m motivated by activities that involve multiples senses. I like to turn on an audiobook, light a good smelling candle, have a snack in a bowl that I can grab every time I complete something, or try to get my space as bright as possible. Doing at least one of those things helps motivate me to clean.

Recently though I’ve gotten more interested in cleaning techniques, products and tricks. Often I look up new ways to clean whatever it is, which makes the whole process more enjoyable. Mopping for example. I’ve always used some chemically floor cleaner. About 3 times a year, I dump some blue super chemically smelling stuff in a bucket and mop up the floor.

I decided to try something new with the whole floor cleaning business. I found a non-toxic formula that had great feedback online and gave it a go.

IMG_8888Mix one gallon of hot water with 1/2 cup white vinegar, 2 Tbs baking soda and a few drops of your favorite dish soap.

It’s that simple. You can use it on your kitchen floor and it’s great for your wood floors. After a good sweep and dust mop, I was actually excited to clean. The moment I started mopping I could tell the difference. First off it smelled amazing and fresh. Secondly, it actually got marks off the floor much more easily than my chemically store bought stuff.

Here are some “after” photos…well more like “during” photos. I had recently finished mopping and while the floors are still shiny-wet in these photos, I’m amazed at how they’ve retained a nice reflection in them after drying.

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IMG_8896 IMG_8897But I don’t know why I felt it necessary to mop the floor this particular day. Especially since we’re in a muddy after-snow transition, and without any type of entryway for said muddy stuff the floors quickly got some nice spots on them. But hey you can’t stop living. IMG_8887Maybe I’ll tell you about my laundry tricks someday. It’s seriously a little wacky. I just like trying new things to keep it interesting, which makes my laundry methods a bit intense.

And here’s a picture for your viewing pleasure. Gideon, on nicely laundered bedding. IMG_8919

simple valentines bunting

IMG_8562During our short stretch of snow days I, as could have been predicted, spent countless hours on Pinterest. Of course people are pinning all sorts of valentines ideas which I normally pass up and don’t spend time on. But the past few days, I’ve had nothing but time. So I decided to follow up on a pin that led me to felicityjane.com where I printed off the bunting from this free template. 

I’m so glad I did! Simple, cute, quick and not flashy or overly pink. Love it.

IMG_8564I printed two pages onto a nice burlap-brown colored card stock. Simply staple the top corners together. It creates a great hinge for the two triangles.
IMG_8563IMG_8571 IMG_8561You putting up any simple valentine’s day decorations?

simple homemade berry ice cream

Setting out for a long walk this afternoon, I knew it was going to be cold. But the sun rays were beaming through the windows and I figured, “Meh…how bad can it be?”. Answer: real bad. The wind caused tears to stream down my face and they subsequently froze to my cheeks (which is actually pretty uncomfortable when you have frozen stubby fingers trying to wipe them off), my ears started stinging and every time I inhaled my lungs burned. To top it all off I think I got a sunburn. Ugh. This is not Portland weather. The sun is nice…but it’s just a damn tease. There’s a reason I live closer to this ocean and not the Atlantic…I like having moisture content in my winter-air.

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Well anyway when I got home…I ate ice cream. I knnnooowww…seems weird. But my affinity for ice cream runs deeper than Crater Lake. It doesn’t matter what the temperature is outside. And lucky for me, I was finally able to save for the Kitchenaid ice cream maker I’ve been wanting since what feels like the beginning of time. I’ve made about five different kinds of ice cream, but so far my favorite is a variation of a simple mix and freeze recipe. I like the custard type ice creams that require eggs and cooking it all up before hand, but honestly that tasted too…store bought. It’s rich and creamy but didn’t remind me of homemade ice cream. It’s hard to explain. This strawberry recipe has been my favorite by far and it was fun to pull August-picked berries out of the freezer to use up.

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Maybe I’ll get to enjoy some more of this when it snows this weekend, right meteorologists!!??

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 cup half and half

2 cups frozen strawberries (or other berry perhaps?)

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Puree berries in a blender or frozen food processor. Combine all ingredients; stir until the sugar is dissolved. Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to it’s instructions. Should make about 1-1 1/2 quarts.

The vanilla variation: skip the strawberries and increase the half and half to 2 cups total.

Zig Zag Forever.

I almost can’t wait for 20 years from now when I look at this quilt (or pictures of it) and think, “Oh my goodness…I was totally into that whole zig-zag craze.” But you know…I’m a sucker for it. Bring on the freaking zig-zag chevron goodness. Lately, quilts have been the specific object of my chevron obsession. The ones that are all bright and cozy and perfect. Gathering up a barrel of scrap fabric, I decided to undertake one for myself. IMG_5967 IMG_6528 IMG_6527 IMG_6539 IMG_6537IMG_6190 IMG_6517 IMG_6451 IMG_6444Beside the obvious fact that it was time consuming, the pattern is relatively simple. Rectangles 3 1/4″ X 6″, sewn together into blocks with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Alternate blocks to make your zig-zag pattern and sew rows together on the diagonal. Then sew the rows together and trim it all down to square. Bam.

Zig Zag Quilt

I used up my scraps for the patterned sections, with a higher quality white cotton for the rows between. I found an old king-sized sheet with a nice, subtle, blue pattern at a thrift store that has that perfect sheet feel. Ya know, crisp and soft at the same time? I used that for the backing and binding. It’s 17 blocks across and 24 blocks down (12 rows of pattern, 12 rows of white). I honestly can’t remember what the final measurements are and I’m too comfortable on my couch to get up and measure it right now. It would qualify as a slightly small full. I lay it out on my queen-sized bed regardless of it’s smaller size, and it’s perfect.

Go zig-zag.

Cleaning your oven…with magic! (AKA baking soda and dryer sheets)

I don’t think I’ve ever posted about cleaning anything. The exception being this Pinterest Fail. Really, I’m not that good at cleaning and I don’t keep things clean so why would you want to hear from me about it? Recently I’ve been trying to be more “responsible” and annoying stuff like that. It seems to me, taking care of our things (AKA cleaning them) is responsible because, A. they last longer, which prevents us from buying more crap, B. a clean home-environment is a healthier and more pleasant place to exist and C. you’re allowing your space to be welcoming and open to others. Not that you can’t have people over when your place is trashy, but really, who wants someone to come into their home and be distracted by nastiness? I’m not talking immaculate level cleaning here folks. I’m talking basic upkeep. I SUCK at it. So I have to talk myself into all these reasons why it’s good for me to put down Candy Crush and/or turn off my sewing machine to sweep, wash the comforter or clean the oven.

So in my quest to clean the oven, which I was dreading, I went to the store and was a little worried about the products I saw there. They were either too chemically, too expensive or too something. I don’t know what that last one is, but I like listing in thirds.

Google. ALWAYS the solution. I googled, “Easy and safe way to clean your oven”. And BAM! I stumbled upon two incredibly cheap ($3 for me) and sorta easy way to clean your oven. This may not be news to some of you cleaning veterans out there, but baking soda is your best friend. Since this discovery yesterday I have already used it to clean out my kitchen drains and treat a mosquito bite. Marissa, at FinelyGround.net, shows you how this miracle product can clean ovens no problem.

At first I thought to myself, there is no way that just baking soda and water will clean my oven. NO WAY. Well, it’s a freaking Christmas miracle, cause it totally works. Still takes some elbow grease, but that comes with the task. You basically spritz your oven with water, sprinkle baking soda and go to town with a hard bristle brush. Wipe clean, and keep hitting the worst areas until it meets your standards. I went out and bought a new box of baking soda and used almost the whole thing. I found that a baking soda paste worked really well. I used a pan scraper to easily scrape off the worst of it, after baking soda had sat on it for a while. (Some let baking soda sit overnight…I don’t have that type of patience).

My before pictures turned out blurry somehow, but I promise you there was some pretty nasty, pretty burnt-on grossness. It was hard to see through the window. Here is an after shot:

IMG_5300Now before you dive into oven cleaning, I found this other seriously amazing trick to cleaning your oven racks. Now you might be thinking, “Who cares about clean oven racks?”. Before I had a clean oven I can tell you that I sure didn’t. After you have a clean oven the dirty racks just make it look like you’ve never cleaned…which is discouraging…which for me is bad cleaning mojo. If I feel like all the work I did was for naught, I’ll just stop and not clean again until 2015. This method of cleaning felt like an experiment, making the whole process, well fun. Jill, over at OnegoodthingbyJilee.com, explains that there are anti-static agents in dryer sheets that weaken the bond between the food and the pan(s) while the fabric softening agents soften the baked-on food. So she filled her tub with hot water, some dish soap for good measure (1/4 cup), 6 dryer sheets (I did a few more), and let them soak for 18 hours. I only let mine soak for about 4 hours. Best would be overnight I assume.

034You can kinda see the baked on grossness here. My jaw dropped when I checked on these bad-boys a few hours later. I used a dryer sheet to scrub away at the gunk…it just floated off. So much to my surprise that I hollered, “Matt! Get in here and look at this!”.

Now, there were still parts that didn’t come off easily, but I can tell if I took my pan scraper to ’em they would come off no problem, or if I let it all soak longer. I stopped with about 75% gunk removed. Which pleased me and looks clean in my oven.

SO BOOYEAH! Look at me, being all adult and taking care of things. Got any tricks I should know about?

Pinterest Fail – Watercolor Streamers

Well it’s happened again. I turned to Pinterest for help with some cheap DIY party decor. And once again, I botched a project.

A dear friend of mine has a baby on the way. I was decorating for her shower at our church. Church baby-showers are not typically supported by big budgets. So I figured I would try out this streamer water color idea. Cheap, cute, unique. And I had several roles of white Dollar Tree streamers left over from who knows what. How could it go wrong?

Here is the original pin:

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IMG_8142Now I thought the outcome of the above project was subtle but cute. I bet I could make them more vibrant.

Here’s how it works:

Mix food coloring with water until you get your desired color.

IMG_2749Dip the streamer into said water. IMG_2750 Give it a second. Pull it out. IMG_2751 Let it dry. IMG_2753

Seems simple enough. I started this project 2 days before the shower. (The shower was on a Sat morning…I made these on Thursday morning). Who would have thought it would take 2 whole days for these to dry? Not I.

Well. It didn’t take two days to dry. It took 8. EIGHT WHOLE FREAKING DAYS.

In the original post, she mentions the whole drying-slow thing and she actually took a blow dryer to hers. I was not in the mood for blow drying streamers. HENCE why I gave myself 2 WHOLE DAYS of buffer time.

Beyond the whole drying thing…here’s how they turned out:

First off, they became really brittle and crunchy. And Secondly, most of them ended up looking more like something in a surgeons trash can. (Which I noted would be handy come October.)

IMG_2873The colors bled, which could actually look cool…
IMG_2874…IF the color actually soaked all the way through the streamer. Instead the colors ended about 12 inches into the darn thing.

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They also soaked up rust off my old-craft cooling rack I set them on. Good for the crappy cooling rack…bad for the streamer.
IMG_2875I even set them out in the sun at one point, to get them dry faster. One rolled off and landed in the dirt. Ugh.
IMG_2876All in all, the lessons I learned for this are as followed:

#1. Use less water. Like a 1/4 cup is enough. But you probably won’t see the color by the end of the streamer…I’m guessing. And I’m not going to do it again to find out.

#2. This will be most handy when you actually need a bloody-gauze look. Halloween.

#3. Buy colored streamers.