Thursday, April 10, 2014

DIY Infused Olive Oil

Once upon a time I bought a giant thing of organic basil and didn't know what to do with it all.

So my boyfriend suggested infusing oil.

This sounded like an excellent plan. So we saved and washed an empty wine bottle and got to work the next day.

Infusing oil is really easy. You can basically make it with whatever you like. 

We went with garlic, basil, and some spices (red pepper and black pepper)

Place your basil and garlic on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or so at 450.

It's important to dry everything out because if you don't, your oil infusion grows mold early on (ew).

Here's what it should look like when it's all dried out from the oven.

 Closer up picture.

Then add in as much spice as you'd like.

 Pour in your oil (Extra virgin olive oil)

And voila! 

I would not recommend filling your entire wine bottle. Although we used this infused oil a lot for cooking, it still became moldy after 3.5 weeks. Luckily we'd already used a good portion of it.

Infused oil is GREAT with a hearty loaf of French bread + balsamic mix. But we also found that it was delicious over veggies and especially a veggie pasta medley we made with pesto + infused oil as the sauce.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March Favorites

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Happy April, Aries babies! Here's my second official monthly favorites wrap up for March. It's been a really good month in particular. Forgive the lack of posts, but we've made a good group of friends and have spent time exploring, adventuring, and hanging out.
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 Tove Lo EP has been the theme music of this month.

CHVRCHES is super great always, but I've been digging this song in particular. 
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 I've read some books this month!

 Although Love Letters to the Dead is not out for a few more days, I was lucky enough to receive a galley. I'm almost done, but I can confidently say I love it. In fact, I was thinking "man, people who love Perks of Being a Wallflower will love this book!" and then I saw Stephen Chbosky blurbed the cover! The writing is raw and emotional and just gorgeous.

 I've challenged myself to read at least one book that has been made into a movie each month. I'm halfway through The Lovely Bones and can't believe I haven't read this sooner! I can't wait to watch the movie when I'm finished.

One of my favorite blogs, A Beautiful Mess, has started an online book club and The Lowland was March's pick. Since February's pick was The Fault in Our Stars, I knew these ladies would pick great reads for discussion. I wasn't disappointed by this one! However, it is a little slow in the beginning but worth finishing. 

April's book is Longbourn (A story told from a servant's point of view serving the Bennets a la Pride and Prejudice!) I'm sure this is a fantastic read as well.

I saw Divergent!

I ended up reading Divergent because I won a galley of the book a few years ago. It's a thrill ride of a novel and the movie is just as good! I even convinced all my friends I've made since I moved out here to see it too (success). I would totally see it again.


I finally finished all 3 seasons of Fresh Meat.

And I can't seem to find ANYWHERE confirmation of a 4th season. (Nooooooo)

So, anyone got any TV show recommendations to fill my void? The funnier the better. 
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I'm not exactly sure what these are called, but I call them "power bowls." I'll probably end up doing a post on them, but it's basically like a salad but packed with protein, fruit and/or veggies to give you lots of energy! Panera has their own line of power bowls and there was a spot where I used to work in AZ that had a "build your own" bowl. There's no wrong way to do it! This one is romaine, arugula, avocado, quinoa, corn, broccoli topped with olive oil, lemon juice and pepper. 

 I can't get enough toast/avocado/egg breakfasts.

I'm also digging these quinoa sushi rolls! Mmm.

I feel like it's such a stereotype, but I totally get why LA people are super into eating right. It's so accessible. No where in Texas or even Arizona are there multiple family and/or chain vegan/veggie/organic/juicing places on every corner. Plus the wonderful weather makes it inspiring to get out and get fit. So, yes, it's been inspiring to get out and eat better!
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awkward stage of growing out my bangs.
March has been good to me in terms of getting to know new friends and exploring new places. We were lucky that both my sister and my boyfriend's family came to visit for spring break.

As I mentioned in another post, my sister and I took pictures together as a gift to my mom. Here's a failed out take where I thought it'd be a great idea to climb and sit in this tree to get good pics. Way too windy...and awkward.

We've also been hiking with Gizmo! He loves it, and he's super pooped when we get home. 

A happy but tired pup.

I've also love making new friends out here. It's one of the things that makes it feels like home. 

I also love being out of the apartment. In Arizona it was so hard to do things outdoors because it gets so hot. But the weather is so gorgeous here that we walk down to the beach practically every weekend! 

And sometimes sports are fun ... (after two margaritas) 

This game was mostly me chasing the ball.

Life is better with friends who make you laugh :) I'm glad I've found good ones here!

How was your March?

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Quinoa Sushi Recipe

I don't always eat healthy, but I try.

I think one of the best things is finding a healthy recipe that's also *almost better* than the original. This? It comes pretty close.

On this Tuesday Foodsday, I'm going to show you how we made quinoa sushi rolls!

quiona sushi recipe

Here we go.

Cook quinoa according to the box/bag. I used 1 cup quinoa which means 2 cups water added. 1 cup quinoa maybe doesn't seem like a lot, but it will make 2 very filling rolls!

If you've ever made sushi rice before, you may have this on hand. You'll need rice vinegar, sushi seasoning, salt and sugar. If you don't, I read a recipe that substituted all this with apple cider vinegar. I'm not sure how that turned out, but I know that all the above will make your quinoa sticky enough to roll.

Once your quinoa is cooked and fluffy, set aside in a bowl.

I mixed 1/4 rice vinegar, 1/8 sushi seasoning, a tsp of salt and a tbs of sugar on the stove until all the salt and sugar were melted.

Then you pour all that on your cooled quinoa (cool for roughly 15 min) and stir until mixed thoroughly. Let it cool again for another 15.

While it's cooling, prep your rolling station!

Also: Don't stir your quinoa with a metal utensil. Only use plastic. I don't know why, but everywhere I read said the same thing. 

When your quinoa feels room temperature, scoop and pat a good layer on your wrap. It's easier if you keep a little jar of water near you because the quinoa will be sticky and stick to your fingers.

Now for the fun part! Add your fillings. We had arugula, cucumber, avocado, and carrots. 

After your fillings are set, roll and squeeze!

When you cut your roll, keep the sink running with super hot water. After each cut, rinse the knife off. It's so much cleaner, trust me! We took a few times to perfect this haha. (oops at our dirty sink behind this pic, lolz)

Ready to eat! My favorite is dipping it in a sriracha-soy sauce mix :)

I feel like it's just as filling as sushi with rice, but you don't feel as bloated after eating an entire roll!

Crab mix would be great in here too--or salmon. We didn't have any so it's just a veggie roll, which is really delicious. 


Monday, March 31, 2014

Bathroom Makeover!

I did something I probably shouldn't have done. But it looks pretty so that makes it okay?

We were lucky enough to move into an apartment that had JUST been remodeled, but we wanted to put some "homey-ness" into our place. Specifically the kitchen and bathroom. Our living room and bedroom is a neutral tan color that I actually don't mind, but the bathroom and kitchen are WHITE ON WHITE ON WHITE. And these two rooms are the only rooms that have fluorescent bulbs, so it makes it look even stark-whiter. 

I am really horrible at anything interior design, but I figured I would get it a shot. I don't think we were supposed to paint in this apartment, but oh well. If I'm going to live here for a year, I at least want it to feel welcoming. 

Here are the before pictures:

I've never had a bathroom that's been just mine. I've always shared with sister/roommates/dorm-mates/house mates, etc. When we first looked at this apartment I was shocked at how huge the bathroom was! So much counter space! I can have my own drawers and take baths and spread my stuff out getting ready! (It's the little things, y'all.)

The shower curtain I brought along was also white, which made everything look bland and blegh. 

And now, the AFTER pictures!

I thought a light gray was a good choice to offset the white, and I love the calming blues.

Everything pictured is either from:
- Ross
- Big Lots
- Dollar Store
- Recycled bottles 

I told you I'm cheap.

Recognize these DIY shell picture frames? We went with a beachy theme since we live near the ocean.

Those towels lint-ed effing EVERYWHERE. But they're pretty and they match.

The small mason jar is a recycled pesto bottle I painted, and the jar next to it is from the Dollar Tree. 

So that was my little project for this month. (: