Monday, November 29, 2010

apartment evolution

It's been almost three months since we moved in, and I can only hang my head in shame at the long overdue-ness of an apartment post.
S H A M E !

The hubs and I moved into a 690sq.ft. studio apartment in September, and found it's amazing how much stuff you can accumulate even while living out of the country for a couple years! I know my parents are glad we finally took this stuff, and we were happy to gather it all up, though once again in shock (as I believe everyone is when moving) at how much stuff we actually have! I think it all multiplied in our absence!

Don't worry, we still found room to merit a couple of IKEA runs - gotta continue the international tradition: mattresses in Prague, tables in Taipei... And thanks to craigslist we picked up a few other items on the cheap :)

While it's still not completely "done," I'm beginning to feel confident enough to share a few select (read: edited, which means junk shoved off surfaces out of shot) of our studio, after months of trial-and-error rearranging.

Sequence one: living room

too empty

too full

too tabley

too linear

juuust right

now, that was (obviously) a few weeks ago, and things have been settling for a month - plant mishaps, no more halloween, art up on the walls... well here are a few up-to-date pictures to supplement:

Next time, maybe I'll clean the bedroom and kitchen for yinz guys!

Sunday, November 7, 2010


ok time to share some deliciousness:

for a while now i've been making a vegetable stew-soup (stoup, to borrow a rachel ray word) consisting of potatoes, carrots, odd spices, onion and garlic of course, and diced tomatoes with some stock for broth. I loooove potatoes in soup, so it was basically built around that key element.

but today while at the supermarket i spied some sugar pumpkins and squash on fall sale and had to scoop them up! The potatoes and carrots i always have on hand were calling to me, so i looked up some recipes to include the gourds and found this one to base (jump?) off.

I've already discovered how easy it is to substitute for canned pumpkin - a good 10 step process here - but it's basically: 1) cut in half or quarter the pumpkin 2) scoop out the seeds and stringy gunk 3) place in an oven safe dish/pan/casserole cut side down with about an inch of water 4) bake at 350 for 40-60 minutes and VOILA! the skin will fall right off and you can blend or puree the innards to your desired consistency!

Soooo, as the base recipe dictated, pureed pumpkin and set aside twice the amount (i love me some stoup!), then deviated: cut up half an onion and let sizzle with a splash of our amazing habanero tequila oil (sent from the gods ... or picked up at the st. john spice co. - best purchase EVER) then chop-chop-chopped the potatoes and carrots, some green beans and tossed them in with about a cup of the pumpkin water and a few more cups of regular water. I added a can of diced tomatoes as well as about a tbsp of cumin, salt, pepper, garlic powder, bay leaves red pepper flakes, chili spice and the pumpkin puree then let simmer for an hour or so.

OH MY GODNESS the smell was HEAVENLY!! Jake kept asking if it was done yet, and we had to keep checking via carrot-tenderness. Finally, we dug in and it was even better than it smelled!!! i don't know whether it was the oil, chili flakes, or spices that gave it such a lingering perfect spiciness, but i do know that the pumpkin puree gave it a creamy smooth texture that has been lacking in my previous veggie stoups. the pumpkin flavor combined with everthing else... all i can say is this autumnal stew-soup is going to be a top staple dinner around here for a very, very long time!