Upcycled Wine Cork Garden Markers

OMFG you guys, the vernal equinox has already passed, St. Patrick got drunk and puked on the sidewalk outside my house, and the Easter bunny’s cousin Igor is coming soon! All of this means that it’s TIME TO START GARDENING AGAIN!!! I’m legitimately excited about this and not just shouting because Igor scares me when he breaks in to my house to “exchange” my iPad for a basket of chocolate bunnies.

I live in an area where you can’t start planting the exciting stuff until mid-May, but they already started selling flowers at the garden store, so I’m not waiting any longer. I planted some seeds this weekend, and because I’m all about instant gratification I also planted flowers which will freeze and die almost immediately.

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I have already established that I am the best at planning a garden (protip: plant 3’ tall flower bushes between your step stones, that way you might work up enough of an appetite to want to eat another fucking zucchini).

There are about 4 or 5 million posts about DIY garden markers and MINE IS THE BEST. By saving wine corks and then reusing them, you have an excuse to buy more wine and you look like you’re being environmentally friendly.

 

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I tried to hide the cheapest looking corks so you’d all think I only drink fancy wine.

You will need:

Some wine corks

Paint

Skewers

Maybe a hammer and a nail

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I was so proud of this action shot that I didn’t bother to repeat it with the color I actually ended up using

Instructions

  1. Drink all the wine.
  2. See if you can jam one of your skewers into your cork without stabbing yourself in the hand. If you can’t, grab a thick nail and a hammer. Maybe also grab some padded gloves if you’re not confident about your aim. Nail the nail into a cork and then remove it and insert the skewer into the hole. Repeat with the rest of your skewers.
  3. You can try labeling them without painting first, but it doesn’t look very pretty, so I recommend painting the corks at this point. I took pictures of myself painting them black, but then I repainted them with silver because they were too hard to read with light lettering on a dark background. Go with light paint.
  4. Grab some sharpies or more paint to actually write the labels. I also drew a couple of fucking adorable plant illustrations on the corks because I’m amazing.
  5. Mark your plants as you plant them. Once the plants have been in the ground for  a few weeks, your labels will be obscured, so this whole process will have rendered useless!

Happy Gardening!

Serafina

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Healthy Irish Breakfast Smoothie for Cold/Flu

In case you didn’t notice, no one posted last week.  That’s because I chose to ignore Serafina’s last post and decided she had another week scheduled and this was actually my scheduled week.  So in reality, I’m not late.  That’s how that works.

 

I’ve been battling a baby cold since last week (I got it from my baby), so I’m hopped up on cold meds.  It just doesn’t make my pristine body feel great, you know?  I had originally planned for a “real” recipe this week (just kidding, you should know better), but I opted for this miracle smoothie instead, in case anyone out there is also battling ailments, and wants to take a natural approach to their health.  Some people wonder why I don’t cook anymore and come up with more edible recipes, and usually I just tell my husband to shut up and if he wants something edible he can go out and buy it himself.  This is an example of proper marital communication.

 

Can you still call it a smoothie if you don’t use a blender?  Yes, you fucking can. The health community makes up all sorts of shit, so why can’t we?

 

This recipe was handed down to me by my ancient Irish relatives that were hiding out in Scotland because they were caught running a grifting scam.

 

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I recommend Super Orange but Pink Lemonade is good too.

 

Mary McEllen’s Irish Breakfast Smoothie for the Sick

Ingredients:

  • Guinness
  • Emergen-C
  • Morning

 

Directions:

Add your Emergen-C to your properly poured Guinness (you could also use a different Irish stout, but I don’t know how effective it would be).  Drink it with breakfast, or with your morning coffee.

 

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It’s really fucking hard to take a pouring picture with a giant-ass camera and not many arm muscles.

 

 

You will pretty immediately feel the effects.  You’re welcome.

 

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Don’t make the smoothie come to you, it’s lazy.

 

Pinch me for not wearing green and you’ll get an Irish kisser to the face,

Mary Ellen

Birthday Cake for Chickens

As you all know, I am completely and utterly obsessed with my chickens. They turned two last week and we had quite the celebration. I wrote about my chickens last year as well on their birthday. This year my boyfriend called me out on playing favorites with the youngest chicken, so we celebrated everyone’s birthday mid-week instead of just celebrating on my favorite chicken’s birthday. It’s important to try to grow as a chicken-parent over time. Sometimes your co-chicken-parent provides meaningful feedback and you have to at least pretend to listen. Other times you just make the chicken cake on the day it works out with your schedule and it happens to look like you are compromising. Who’s to say?

Anyway, I do love all of my chickens so very much. This year’s chicken birthday cake wasn’t quite as big of a hit with them as last year’s (there was more fruit in last year’s), but they enjoyed it nonetheless.

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Carrot Cake Oatmeal Birthday Cake for Chickens

Ingredients

  • Oats
  • Water or almond milk
  • Grated carrots
  • Pecans or other nuts
  • Raisins or something
  • Cinnamon
  • Banana for serving

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Instructions

Make oatmeal by placing oats, etc on the stove with water/milk and applying heat. It’s not very complicated. I believe in you (I mean, I don’t really, but I also don’t feel like writing out the rest of how to make oatmeal, look it up on youtube it if you are still confused).

Put the oatmeal in a ramekin to set and leave in the fridge for a few hours. Once you’re ready to serve the chickens cake, cut a banana lengthwise and gently wrap around the oatmeal cake.

Put in the appropriate number of candles and then blow them out before you take it outside. Cut into several pieces so the chickens don’t fight over the food and everyone gets some.

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I still love my chickens more than you

Serafina

Time Management (pt. 2)

If you’re anything like us, you’re always looking for ways to increase not only your professional productivity, but your personal productivity as well.  Serafina has touched upon this topic fairly extensively, but this is really an ongoing, and continuously evolving topic.

 

I’m going to share my greatest secret that is basically foolproof on how to better manage your time and increase your productivity.  There are no lists here, because it’s just one thing.

 

It’s called Skyrim.

 

Yes, I’ve mentioned off-handedly before on the miracle of this product, but I decided there needed to be a specific post about how to use it.

 

It’s quite simple, really.

 

Say you have a huge project due the next day, but you’ve been putting it off.  Skyrim. Got people depending on you to pull through on something big?  Skyrim.  Do your children need attention?  Skyrim, but don’t involve them.

 

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I’m a master at time management, this is what genius looks like.

 

I’ve only played this character for two days but look how far I’ve come.  Level 34, bitches.

 

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Master of the thieves guild, enchanted glass bow.  What are YOU doing with your life?

 

Now, if you excuse me, I need to return some fairly angry phone and text messages.  Totally unrelated.

 

Don’t even fucking think about killing Paarthurnax,

 

Mary Ellen

Broccoli Cheese Frittata

You guys, I have some rough news. You see, Mary Ellen and I have been friends for a long time, and I watched her go through the horrors of not eating gluten for YEARS before she ate some bread and was like “oh fuck yeah, this shit’s the best!” Well, my dearest, darling-est boyfriend is now talking about going GF. It’s literally killing me. You read that right, it isn’t figuratively killing me, it’s very literal. Because gluten is life’s antivenom (I guess the venom part is just normal life. Too dark?)

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I tried to take a pretty picture but didn’t even bother getting all the feather particles off the eggs

Anyway, I try to be supportive every now and then, so I made a quiche without the delicious gluten-y crust. And then I put broccoli in it, which he doesn’t eat anyway. He wasn’t happy. But the good news here is that my chickens are laying eggs more frequently since it’s getting closer to spring, so I had an abundance of eggs. My chickens are such good girls. At least they still eat gluten with me.

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Chickens look weird without arms if you think about it too long. But if they had arms they’d be little t-rex arms since they’re dinosaur birds

Ingredients

8 eggs

1 large or two small heads of broccoli, chopped into small florets

About ½ cup cheese (or if you hate going to the store, 5-6 slices of cheese chopped into small pieces)

½ cup unsweetened almond milk or regular milk

Olive oil

Small amount onion powder

Salt and pepper

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I’m sure you can’t tell which cheese option I went with. Are there really any benefits to shredded cheese? It’s just more work, even if you don’t include the trip to the store

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400

Heat oil and onion powder in cast iron skillet (or another oven safe skillet) and add broccoli. Cover and let steam/simmer for a few minutes until bright green and just a little soft

Beat eggs with milk, add a little pepper and salt, then stir in cheese

Pour egg mixture over broccoli and even out where your massive chunks of sliced cheese went if that is a problem

Cook for about 10-15 minutes, checking frequently. It’s done when the middle is just set

Let it sit for a few minutes before serving.

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It’s such a pretty frittata. My boyfriend wouldn’t even try it.

May you all find something with gluten to eat very soon

Serafina

A Very Carefully Planned Tea Post

As the title of this blog clearly shows, today’s post has been thoughtfully planned out with as much care as I generally give to writing on this blog.

 

I have spent the better part of the week eating a healthy diet of fast food, balanced with nutritious donuts and cookies.  My skin has a definitive glow, that isn’t powdered sugar glistening in the sun.  I ate a bag of donuts for dinner.

 

Since I clearly have adulting down to a science, I decided to end my day reflecting on my life with a pot of tea.  It’s been a long week, full of excitement and drama but mostly just poop.  I just wanted to take pictures of my new tea set, but I guess I’ll come up with a bullshit list of life-changing bullet points so you know how to frame your own life.  I’m feeling generous, and drunk with an oversized ego right now.

 

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Q-Tips can’t be used in your ears.

I read an article about it, and it was incredibly bitchy and pushy about the whole thing.  Why did I buy Q-Tips in bulk at Costco then?  WTF do you need them for?  The article said they’re good for makeup but if you’re using cotton swabs for makeup application then I need to talk to you because something has gone wrong.  They’re wasteful, unless you need to dispose of earwax.

 

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Look the gift horse in the mouth.

And you fucking take a long ass look at it’s mouth.  I’ve been given a lot of dead horses and honestly  I’m tired of writing thank you cards for long expired horses.

 

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Drake’s real name is Aubrey.

And he’s the greatest musical genius of the last seven generations.

 

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What’s Weird Al up to?

I’m just curious.  How’s he doing?

 

Sometimes, we all need a moment to unwind and really meditate on the important things in life.  It’s how we keep stress at bay, and our pores clear.  It’s called “self care” or “treat yo’self” or whatever.  It’s also important to coin a bunch of terms and phrases for things to justify doing things like drinking tea and showering.  If you are showering regularly, that’s called self care, not basic hygiene.  It means you’ve decided to put down all your stressors and self care yourself.  Other things that you can do for self care, in case you need another list: drink water, eat food, sleep, get dressed, walk, talk to friends, and pet a dog, just to name a few.  I hope you were able to get all the self care you needed through my tea pictures today, though.  You can save that shower for tomorrow now.  Answer those emails with ease, baby.

 

Remember it doesn’t count if you don’t post about it on social media.  Bonus points for videos and selfies.  Pics or it didn’t happen, bitches.

 

Mary Ellen

Beet, Carrot, Apple, Ginger Juice

I’m going to try something different with you guys today. Instead of my usual fool-proof recipe that I provide you so that you can finally learn to cook and stop disappointing your family, I’m going to walk you through a cautionary tale about juice.

In a misguided “it’s still early in 2018 so I should try to eat healthy or something” attempt, I decided to make juice without a juicer. You see, juicers are probably expensive, and I don’t really like juice that much. So I never got around to buying one. I also never got married, so I only have kitchen appliances that I decided to purchase with legal currency or received as a hand-me-down. Anyway, no juicer. And I thought I didn’t care about juicing until I found several recipes for a beet-carrot-apple-ginger juice that’s made in a blender. Let’s start with the recipe and then we’ll get to the cautionary tale part…

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Ingredients:

Beet (peel it and cut it into some pieces so your blender doesn’t explode or something)

Apple (same instructions as above, but less important because apples aren’t as hard as beets)

Some carrots

1” chunk of peeled ginger

Instructions:

Throw it all in the blender with about ½ cup water or other juice (I used water, why would I be making juice if I already had juice?)

Blend

Dump into a sieve over a bowl and wait for it to drip out

 

Ok, now that the nitty gritty is out of the way, let’s talk about why you should never make juice with a blender, especially this juice.

First of all, the blender handled the task pretty well and didn’t explode, so that went fine. I was really busy trying not to stain my clothes as I dumped the “juice” pulp into a sieve/bowl so I didn’t get any pictures of that step. Luckily for you, as I have mentioned previously, I am a certified courtroom illustrator, so I can recreate the scene for you with ease and accuracy.

sieve and bowl

Now, as the juice is dripping into the bowl at mind-bogglingly slow pace, you might think that it smells really fresh and that you’re excited to drink it. Don’t get your hopes up. After the first round of straining, mine was still SUPER chunky, so I had to strain it a second time with a finer sieve. All told, I spent like 15 minutes mushing around pulp before I got about 200ml juice.

juice with straw3

At this point, I figured this juice had to be fucking mind blowingly amazing or no one would have ever wasted their time with it in the first place. So, I took my first sip, and it was kinda ok. Then I took my second sip, and I thought it was kind of interesting, and warming with the ginger juice. And then when I took my third sip, I audibly gagged and had to try really hard not to vomit in the kitchen.

After that shock wore off, I thought it through and realized that I was just having an uncontrollable gag reflex and horribly unpleasant warm feeling in my stomach because of the ginger juice. No biggie. So I did what any good girlfriend would do, I brought the juice to my boyfriend and made him try it. He didn’t describe wanting to vomit, but he reported feeling repulsed before passing on a second sip.

So I was now faced with a dilemma, I had about half the awful juice left but I had put so much work into it I couldn’t bear to waste it. After deliberating for about 20 minutes, I decided that I had no choice. I gulped the rest of it down, which was a deeply regrettable decision.

You know, after all of that I’m actually having trouble deciding if this was a cautionary tale or a strong endorsement. Let’s do a Pro/Con list, those always help:

Pros:

  • Your kitchen sink will make you feel like Dexter when you are cleaning up
  • You will feel very healthful prior to drinking this juice
  • Your blender probably won’t explode
  • You can give your chickens some beet greens, which they LOVE!
  • If the Dexter part really resonated, you can cover your hands in the leftover pulp and pretend that you murdered your boyfriend for a few seconds until it gets just a little bit too dark or he walks in on you and looks like he might call the cops
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I had a picture of this that was in focus, but I felt this one captured the moment a little better

Cons:

  • You will most likely vomit upon drinking the juice, or at the very least experience severe nausea
  • Your kitchen will be very messy and beet juice stains everything
  • You will most definitely get a beet juice stain on your favorite sweatshirt, no matter how careful you are
  • You might develop a taste aversion to all of the ingredients in the juice as a result of drinking it
  • If you end up keeping the juice down, all of the bodily excretions you have over the next several hours to days will “bleed” red because of the beet juice (wait, should this be on the pro list?)

You know what? We’re tied! 5 pros, 5 cons! I guess I’ll just leave it up to you to decide if you want to make this fancy blender juice!

Happy juicing!!

Serafina

They See Me Rolling Rice Balls, They Hatin’

There are two things that I love doing more than anything else.  One is stalking random people that I don’t know on social media for hours on end, reading comments on all their posts, and printing out pictures of their pets.  The other is trying to recreate food I see in cartoons if the cartoon characters get really excited about the food.

 

I was going to post a lentil recipe this week, but if you haven’t noticed, Serafina literally has taken all the lentils.  There are no more lentils left.  And now she thinks jackalopes are fruit, instead of the very real death guardian rabbits.  I think her mind is going.  Sad!

 

So, instead, I’m making rice balls.  They made them in an anime I was watching called Maid Sama and even though the main character apparently made them incorrectly, and with tissue paper as an additive, I decided I was capable of trying it, albeit with the Kleenex granules.

 

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This is a pretty accurate representation of how I looked while making these.

 

I’ve done approximately no research into what these are, and I’ve never had them before, but I trust cartoons more than the Food Network so I’m an expert now.  Also, I’ve been eating these non-stop for days.  I love them and they are my baes now.

 

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This is all I had to go on besides the visual aspect.  Salty and not crunchy.  Got it. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Sushi rice
  • Roasted seaweed (I personally prefer Korean seasoned roasted seaweed)
  • Salt
  • Canned tuna
  • Mayo

 

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This seaweed is amazeballs and cheaper than the stuff at Whole Foods, which is good because I’ve been just crunching on giant sheets of it.

 

Directions:

Cook up the rice, and cut the seaweed into strips.  Drain the tuna, and mix in a glop (distinct measurement) of mayo.

 

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Visual of a glop and sea chicken.

I wish I could give more more direction after all this, but… you know, I just made it up along the way.  First I set out my rice ball amounts and then I salted each side.

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They were all different sizes and I also almost knocked them into the sink.

While the rice was still hot, I molded it into balls and burned myself.  Still working the hot rice, I also tried to make a triangle shape.  Then I forgot these should be stuffed so I dug into the rice balls and shoved some tuna and mayo mixture in it.  Pretend this is on purpose, and mold the ball back and put a strip of seaweed around the bottom.

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Maybe cut the strip a little straighter than I did.  No one cares though because I ate this one immediately after snapping this.

And there you go.  Rice balls.  I’m going to make some more right now.  I bet you’re sad I didn’t make chicken this week.

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Don’t worry I still had chicken.

 

A rolling rice ball doesn’t gather moss,

 

Mary Ellen

 

 

Jackfruit Lentil Enchiladas

My dear blog friends,

I endured many hardships in writing this post. (I know what you’re thinking: there’s no way that’s true. She’s sitting comfortably in her house having just eaten leftovers of the dish she is posting about. What could she possibly have to complain about? Well don’t you fucking even start!)

First of all my free photo editing software crashed and I was worried I’d have to update it, but then it started and it was fine (again, I know what you’re thinking: she edits her photos? Yeah, I do. I spend like 20 seconds toiling over the free editing software that I almost kind of know how to use.)

Then, I had to find my hobo gloves because my hands were just slightly too cold and I thought I might die if I couldn’t experience 100% physical comfort in that moment.

Then, I found out that I’m in school again. Wasn’t I in school long enough? I thought so. I told them I was over 30 so they should just give me a fucking master’s degree and the first person I talked to was like “yeah, obvi” but then the second person was like “no, you have to complete the requirements and blah blah blah.” That second one was an exact quote.

And then I had to go comfort my chickens who are still super traumatized from Mary Ellen’s last post.

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Ew, there’s a cat hair on the can.

Anyway, I’ve come across a bunch of vegetarian recipes that use jackfruit. They all start off by talking about how jackfruit is fucking disgusting smelling just like durian which begs the question of how anyone ever started eating foods that make you gag when you try to cut into them. So I went the obvious route of buying canned jackfruit which doesn’t make you vomit when you open it. And then I made enchiladas which are probably more like smothered burritos, but I’m not changing the title.

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Unlike fresh jackfruit, this just smelled kinda briny like olives or something

Ingredients

1½ to 2 cups cooked rice

1 cup cooked lentils

14 oz can jackfruit, rinsed

8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded

2 cups enchilada sauce (I used homemade sauce from this recipe)

6-8 tortillas, depending on how thick you like your enchiladas

Olive oil

Taco seasoning (I used a homemade blend from this recipe)

1 or 2 cups of veggies to throw in (optional- I used frozen zuchinni, with disappointing results, but other veggies generally work well)

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I think I was supposed to cook the jackfruit longer. I’m not sure though.

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350

Cook your rice and lentils if you didn’t already do so because you were being lazy.

Chop up the jackfruit. I followed the instructions from this site to shred them, but it was way too much work and I’m just going to chop it all up and let it cook down next time. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with eating the seeds or the tough parts and the random seeds that I missed picking out tasted fine.

Cook the jackfruit with a little olive oil and taco seasoning for a few minutes, then mix it with the rice and lentils in a large bowl. Add in cheese, a little enchilada sauce (maybe ¼-½ cup) and any veggies you are using.

Put the enchilada mix in tortillas and place in a 13×9 pan with some enchilada sauce at the bottom. Once all your enchilada mix is tortillaed (it’s a word, trust me), cover in enchilada sauce and finish with cheese.

I usually cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes until the enchilada sauce and cheese are all bubbly.

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My boyfriend took a bite of this and said “it’s not a terrible texture.” Huge endorsement. You can all get excited now and go buy jackfruit.

Enjoy a jackfruit recipe that won’t make you gag while you’re preparing it

Serafina

A Tale of Two Chickens

I forgot to post last week. I have no excuse, because I did the recipes and had all the pictures and most of it written and I just forgot. I’m not sorry. I’ve mostly been busy playing Skyrim so I have a very good excuse.

I went insane at Costco recently and bought a ton of chicken. All sorts of chicken. And then I also decided to get some whole chickens and be like, super amazing with my cooking. But then I just made porridge.

If you’re unaware, you can buy a PACK of two whole organic chickens at Costco. For the people who are on a budget, and love eating chicken all the time, buying it Whole is way more cost effective. Worried it’ll take more time to prepare? Worried that it’s scary? Worried you’ll fuck it all up and you should have just gone with your usual dry-ass chicken breast recipe that you’ve convinced yourself is good enough? Well, unfortunately, your first two worries are probably correct but the last one is not.

Follow me while I take you on a chicken journey.

It all started when I decided I wanted to make dakjuk. I was about to just do a recipe that used all my regular techniques of cutting corners and using store bought, pre-prepped stuff, but then I found this lady. She mentions, subtly, two ways she makes her porridge and I was so intrigued by the prospect of boiling a whole chicken because it sounded so gross I needed to try it.

Oh Costco. I love you so much.

So, a different lady’s blog that I browsed while trying to figure out what boiling chickens was like was a bit of a mental case about it. She acted like it was the most disgusting thing in the world and that she really only does it to save money, etc etc and prayed to Jesus the whole time because it was so hard for her. And I really wanted to hold her close and whisper, “honey, Jesus doesn’t want you to suffer so in His name. Just use gloves, bitch.”

It looks really horrendous because I’m very bad at carefully removing things from pots.

See it’s not so bad.

Anyway, it wasn’t that bad. I mean, I was expecting a lot of bad after reading her post, but it was pleasantly easy and not bad at all. Also, you don’t need a recipe. Throw the chicken in a big pot and boil it with some veggies for an hour. Remove the chicken, debone it, add bones and more water to the pot, and boil for another hour. Strain and you have your stock. It’s easy as shit.

It makes a lot of stock.

So, boiled chicken (when you do it with veggies on the bone with skin) is actually really good. I used this recipe for dakjuk and holy crap it was amazing. Seriously, it will forever replace chicken noodle soup as my sickly comfort food, and it is a nice dish to have to rest my body after a weekend of donut binging. Make like three times more than what the recipe calls for because it won’t be enough.

So what did I do with the other chicken? I roasted it. I’ve never roasted a whole chicken before either, and everyone has a really fancy recipe that makes it intimidating. Through the Korean Bapsang blog I found this recipe.

However, I like to be thorough, so I trussed the chicken like this. It actually did produce a better roast, though I don’t have much to compare it to, except turkey at Thanksgiving, which always cooks unevenly I feel like. Anyway, we ate some of this for dinner one night and then the rest got chopped up and mixed with the leftover boiled chicken and I made the most amazing chicken salad sandwich that I’ve ever had in my entire life. Mmmm chicken chicken chicken.

So there you go. That’s what I’ve been doing lately. Sacrificing chickens left and right while also leveling up as a khajiit in Skyrim is how I’m fulfilling my New Years’ resolutions. I’m sure Serafina is crying and totally traumatized at this point, trying to comfort her chickens because she reads this blog out loud to them and I must admit it was a bit of a hostile post. Don’t worry I’ll post about something less chickeny next time.

No lollygaggin’,

Mary Ellen