That’s No Moon! It’s a Charging Station!

In case you haven’t noticed, even though I’ve been stuck in the recipe rut for a while (my waistline will attest to this), I am a little OCD.  Though we regulate video games and save them only for the weekend (if earned through chores and behavior), the kids have tons of online homework every night (:-/).  This means a tablet for everyone and the annoyances which come along with trying to keep them charged, in a central location and to not lose the chargers.

I also admit that I have been horrible lately about playing on my phone or Kindle in bed every night and I wanted to have a place to put them that was out of my reach.  I used to devour books nightly and lost my way for a while…Again with the first world problems.

Anyway, my need for organization drove me into the garage with a plan.  I had a 2″ X 4″ frame which I’d built for a cat tower that I’m slowly, very slowly, working on and so I decided to re-purpose it.  I took shelf boards, cut them to fit into the frame and screwed them on an angle.  I put a 1″ X 2″ lip on the bottoms of the shelf boards, with angle trim to hold the devices in place and drilled holes into the bottoms through which to feed cords.

Finally, I used industrial Velcro to adhere a power strip to the bottom and cut groves to feed cords through the back side, thereby avoiding the giant mess of cords which usually plagues me.

I’m not done painting it, but I feel like another trip to Home Depot this week would just be sad (people seem to think I work there now), so I used paint I had on hand.  Yes, it’s 2 different colors because pickins’ were slim.  Don’t judge!

I’m loving this though!  My inner Adrian Monk was looking over and smiling at it until I drifted off to sleep last night.  Hope this inspires you!

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Why, I Artichoke You!

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May the 4th be with you, everyone!  Yes, I could not have timed this better.  Last night I made artichokes and I think I scared my children by consuming them with a speed and pleasure they have never before seen.  I couldn’t help it.  I adore those weird looking things!  My mother used to make them on special occasions when we were growing up and I remember feeling the same level of excitement when they hit the plate in front of me.  I have my mother to thank for most of my exposure to lesser known foods and I hope to expose my kids to the same wonders.

I only made 2 artichokes last night because Jamie wasn’t home and my boys don’t inhale them like I do, but the recipe will make 4.

Eating an artichoke can be daunting for a lot of people, so I’ll try to give an easy tutorial for those new to their wonders after the recipe.

Boiled Artichokes

Ingredients
  • 4-5 quarts water
  • 4 artichokes
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1/8 cup lemon juice
Dip Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup mayo or Miracle Whip
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice (you may need to add a little more if using mayo)
  • Salt, pepper, Tony’s to taste
Directions
  1. Fill a 6-8 quart sauce pan with enough water to cover the artichokes, and then add the 1/4 cup salt and 1/8 cup lemon juice.  Bring to a boil.
  2. Cut the top 1/3 off of the artichokes, trim the stems so they will sit flat on a plate and snip the sharp points off of the outer leaves (if necessary).
  3. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, place the artichokes, leaves up, into the boiling water.  Use a heavy pot lid or similar to keep the artichokes submerged (I learned this trick from Emeril and I love him for it!), like so:Artichokes2.jpg
  4. Reduce heat to a gentle boil and cook for about 30 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, combine the dip ingredients, adding salt, pepper and a dash of Tony’s (if desired) to taste, stirring until creamy.  Set aside.
  6. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the cooked artichokes and place upside down to drain, cooling until not to hot to handle. Artichokes3
  7. Serve with dip.

For the artichoke newbies:

  1. Remove the leaves by pulling gently downward and away.
  2. Dip the thicker end of the leaf
    Artichokes7
    Gross?  Maybe.  But this is what it should look like when you’ve eaten it.

    (the side which pulls away from the body of the artichoke) into the sauce and then scrape the thicker, lower inside of the leaf with your teeth to remove the “meat.”

  3. When you get close to the center, the leaves get smaller and you can actually eat the meaty end without scraping.
  4. When you reach the fuzzy looking part, you are at the heart.  Simply use a spoon or knife to remove the fuzz and enjoy the heart.
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The fuzz hiding the good stuff is easy to scrape away

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Caprese, So Easy!

I apologize for being silent so long.  Sadly, we live in a mysterious suburban black hole where our only choice for an internet provider is Suddenlink.  I am now entering day 5 without service and realizing how over-dependent I am on the world wide web.  I have already used 75% of my data on my phone plan just doing homework and writing the blog Friday.  Ugh, first world problems.  We truly are blessed…

Anyway, it’s time for me to admit something…I love tomatoes and basil.  I don’t mean that I could eat it a lot or that I’m very fond of them.  I mean I could live off of the combination for all eternity.  I could sleep on a bed of them.  I could bathe in…I believe I’ve made my point.

When we moved back to Louisiana and I realized that an heirloom tomato plant or two in buckets could not withstand the various plagues of insects we deal with, I went to ground…so to speak.  I am cloning plants like crazy and so excited for the Mortgage Lifter and Black Cherries we have coming in!  Last year we had one so big that I was able to make 5 tomato sandwiches out of it.  5!

Anyway, my take on Caprese varies.  This time I added the prosciutto for a little extra protein and so that we could make a meal out of it.  Luckily, my whole crew feels the same as I do about tomatoes, so it was a hit.  It’s such an easy meal or side and you can use virtually any dressing you like; oil and vinegar, balsamic, Italian, etc.  The secret is fresh mozzarella…and of course fresh tomatoes and basil.  Just play with it, but here’s what I did.

Caprese Salad

Ingredients
  • 4 large tomatoes, sliced
  • fresh basil leaves, enough for every tomato
  • 1 roll fresh mozzarella, sliced and enough for each tomato
  • 1 pack prosciutto
  • Balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressing
  • Salt and pepper, if desired, to taste
Directions
  1. Layer in order: tomato, prosciutto, cheese and basil then place on a platter.
  2. Cover all with dressing and salt and pepper, if desired, and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Done.