Sunday, April 13, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 4.13.14

Happy Passover!

The holiday to commemorate Moses taking the Israelites out of Egypt is celebrated by a week in which we eat no leavened bread. As a kid, this sometimes seemed like a hardship because there were no sandwiches for lunch, and I couldn't eat any of the Easter candy my friends would bring to school (since Easter often occurs during Passover). As an adult, however, Passover has become one of my favorite holidays because it is full of delicious food we eat only once a year. There are the traditional foods, like charosets and gefilte fish, and then there are family traditions like spinach cheese balls! All of it is wonderful and extra special because it only happens once a year.

And without further ado, here is this week's menu.

Sunday: eat up the last of the leftovers!

Monday: Passover Seder at my parents' house

Tuesday: potato quiche (from Design Megillah last year - loved this one!)

Wednesday: Passover beet salad & leftover lamb from Seder

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: cheese soufflé and salad (using matzah cake meal in place of the flour for the soufflé)

Saturday: spinach cheese balls

Living Design Passover Meal Plan
my artsy picture of spinach cheese balls from last year

Monday, April 7, 2014

Thesis. Time for a Hiatus

No sooner do I come up with a great idea for my Conservation Monday series, which would combine my passions for design/decor and the earth, than thesis work becomes an all consuming force.

In an effort to help me focus during these last two months of grad school, I'm going to take a temporary hiatus from blogging.

I plan to still post my weekly meal plans, because I have found that they help with my kitchen accountability. If I told the internet that I'm cooking X tonight, I better cook it, right? Silly maybe, but it's helped us with our food waste and budget so I can't argue.

But aside from weekly meal plans, and perhaps the occasional photo dump, I will probably not be posting anything until Memorial Day. Graduation is in sight, and during the summer I will be back!


Living Design
some tulips from the farmer's market last week - a lovely bit of spring

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 4.6.14

It's the last full week before Passover begins, so this weeks meal plan is focused on eating up all the chametz, or leavened food, in the house. During Passover we don't eat any bread products other than specially cooked matzah.

It's also finally warm enough for grilling! Sean and I are so happy for this lovely warm weather. Not that I'd be upset if we got a few more rainstorms, we still need rain here!

The week's menu:

Sunday: grilled steak, mushrooms and sourdough flatbreads

Monday: leftovers

Tuesday: eggs & croutons & steamed broccoli (from The Farmstead Egg Guide and Cookbook)

Wednesday: mustard pork chops and kale (these weren't made last Saturday because of a meeting, so onto this week's menu they go!)

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: spring onion bread pudding & leftover steak

Saturday: either leftovers or dinner out after our "niece's" 1st birthday party

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 3.30.14

Welcome back to my weekly meal plan post!

In this week's CSA box we received some endives, which I've never actually cooked before. I tried them in Belgium when I was studying in Italy, but I'm looking forward to cooking these myself this week.

Sunday: lentil salad from last week (life got in the way of our original plans for that night)

Monday: leftovers

Tuesday: cheesy polenta with oven roasted tomatoes

Wednesday: roasted endive & pear salad (Cooking from the Farmer's Market)

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: grill something?

Saturday: mustard pork chops

Friday, March 28, 2014

Design Finds of the Week #6

This week I want to share some more great images I've found in my thesis research.

This image of St. Edward's Parish Church in England has been a huge inspiration. I found a lot of uncredited images of this beautiful Gothic door grown over by two yew trees, but eventually traced them back to a few Flickr accounts and this website. It was actually through Wikipedia that I was finally able to find the correctly sourced photo I had been seeing all over Pinterest. Yet another reminder to check out the Pinterest links before blindly pinning!

 
© Copyright Martyn Gorman and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License


Another beautiful yew tree, this one at St George's Church in Cowhurst, England:

 
 © Copyright Tim B

Yew trees are so amazing. Did you know that they are often hollow inside as they grow? So fantastic and so peculiar...I am enjoying finding images of these trees to inspire aspects of my thesis! 
 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Conservation Monday #7: Living Green for any Design Aesthetic

Although "green living" or sustainability are not design choices themselves, it seems that they have become identifiable with certain decor styles. Sustainable decor conjurers up ideas of hippie or bohemian style, while the idea of living waste free seems like it would only apply to minimalist, modern design.

I love reading Bea Johnson's blog Zero Waste Home, and she has inspired many of my own efforts to consume less. But while I admire her minimalist, white home, it is not my chosen style. I love color, and prefer a cozier feel. I like extra blankets on the couch to curl up with the cat (as Fleck tries to add her own thoughts to this blog by crawling onto the laptop keyboard). And I will admit to still having some inexplicable emotional attachments to otherwise useless things. But that's ok! Today I want to discuss how living an eco-friendly lifestyle is adaptable to any decor style you wish for your home!

Let's start with furniture. The most sustainable furniture choice is one that already exists. Yep, this means used! But used doesn't need to mean grimy thrift store finds that scream 80's.

For instance, my dining table was my grandparents' table. It is a simple, elegant and fairly timeless style. They chose a high quality wood which still looks great. And it has multiple removable leaves so that it can accommodate more people should we ever host a seated dinner party. (The physical constraints of our dining room don't allow for much expansion, but it's a flexible option for later down the line.)

(Please forgive the odd light balance of this picture - it's from sometime last year as I was beginning this blog. Time to take an updated picture of the dining room!)


While we're looking at this picture of the dining room, let's talk about the rest of the furniture there. The chairs were an amazing hand-me-down: my college roommate and awesome friend was given these chairs for free by a neighbor when we first moved into off-campus housing. When we graduated, she was moving back home so gave me the chairs. I'm currently in the process of refinishing them (thesis before painting! thesis before painting!) since they do show their age, but they're still strong and in good condition.

That bookcase holding my cookbooks and serving pieces was Sean's when he was a kid. It actually was bought to match his bed set when we was in high school, but by chance it's a fairly close match to the dining table and it works quite well in here.

And what is on the bookshelf? Mostly hand-me-down cookbooks! We've been given a lot of cookbooks as gifts, some new and some old. It can be fun to go through the old ones, especially the 1970's era "Cooking for Two" books that were passed to us from both sets of parents!

Oh, and the art in the dining room used to belong to my aunt! I actually hadn't realized before typing all of this just how many pieces in this room came to us from other people. Wow! And you can see that my decor is not minimalist at all -- I have many cookbooks that I enjoy going through, and I have beautiful serving pieces that are decor most of the time but handy when I need to use them.

Of course, there are some areas of the home where newer choices are more eco-friendly. One item that I've been reading about lately is the mattress. Many typical mattresses use unsustainable materials as fill, and then use cheap chemical flame retardants. These chemicals offgas as we sleep -- with our faces only a thin layer of fabric away. Organic mattresses may use natural latex or wool, and no chemical flame retardants. Unfortunately, they are considerably more expensive and often require a bed with slats to prevent moisture build up and mold. Since our bed is a platform, but we need the storage it provides and aren't ready to buy a new bed frame and organic mattress, this is something that is just on my wish-list for now!

At the risk of writing a huge essay, I'll end this post now. Hopefully I've given you some ideas on how to translate sustainability and waste-free living into your own design aesthetic. Since there are so many more aspects to talk about (not to mention looking at other decor styles besides my own) I think my Conservation Monday posts for the next few weeks may focus on eco-friendly design. Stay tuned!

And of course, if you have any ideas for green design, please share them in the comments! Have pictures that showcase green living joined with your own design style? Direct me to a blog post of yours and I'd love to feature it!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Weekly Meal Plan 3.23.14

It's officially spring break from school, but there's no real break from thesis work! What this does mean is that Sean is home for dinner on Monday (yay!) so I've actually planned to cook that night instead of our usual leftovers. Here's what we'll be eating this week:

Sunday: dinner in Berkeley after Accidental Death of an Anarchist?

Monday: chicken with sautéed beet greens

Tuesday: pasta with lemon zest & ricotta (from Cooking from the Farmer's Market)

Wednesday: lamb meatball & swiss chard soup

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: lentil salad with asparagus & herbs

Saturday: something with the London broil from our meat CSA -- BBQ if the weather is nice...marinade and broil if not. Plus salad either way.