Thursday, November 19, 2009

Yep, That's Right. I'm Growing Grass in my Second Bedroom.

As I prepare for a dog to arrive into our home come January, I was started thinking about how I'm going to house train a dog if we get one as a puppy. And even if it's older, I feel bad leaving it at home all day not being able to go to the bathroom. Yes, I know, people do this all the time, but for some reason it's bothering me.

So, thanks to the lovely Jen Miller, I got the idea to grow grass for the dog that we would keep out on our porch!  I was so impressed the first time I went to Jen's and saw her little Pomeranian, Duke, running out onto the porch to use the grass Jen had grown for him.  She leaves it open just enough for him to run in and out during the day while she's gone, solving the problem of having to rush home after work every day.  Brilliant!

Unlike Jen, I did not come across this idea until about two weeks ago, when it's already too cold to start growing grass outside.  Secondly, Jen has a concrete patio, so used metal oil trays to grow her grass in.  I, however, have a wood porch and metal would completely ruin it once it started to rust.  So after multiple stops at multiple places in Seattle, I went to Target in search of something that would work.  The best thing I found ended up being the top to the plastic storage bin you see above.  It's about three inches deep - perfect for a little bit of soil and grass seed!

So two Sundays ago, Jon and I went to work planting our grass. He wanted to buy the cheap $5 bag of seed, but wanting to make sure this worked, I opted for the $15 jug of supercharged, fertilized, mulch included grass seed.  As I said, it's too cold to grass outside now, so our creation is now sitting in our second bedroom by the window - it looks super funny/random when you walk in. It said it would take about nine days to grow, so I began watering my grass with a Windex bottle every day.  About five days later, I came home to find the grass was starting to go.  Two weeks after planting, it's not about 3-4 inches long and filling in nicely.  I'm a tad obsessed with it, but I know the dog will like it :)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Pet Adoption - A New Adventure

I've recently received some exciting news!  Our lease was coming to an end in January, so we were faced with the choice of moving or staying in our current condo.  We love our place (despite the somewhat questionable location in Northgate), but when we moved in last January, the owners told us we couldn't have a dog.  At that point, I could live with it, but it has now become a must for Jon and I.

Thanks to Jon's amazing negotiating skills and a crappy economy (they know they'd have trouble renting to anyone else for what we're currently paying), they said yes to a dog!  So now begins the search. I originally wanted to find a Boston Terrier from a breeder, but quickly changed my mind for two reasons: a) the cost from a breeder was looking like upward of $1,200 (and that doesn't include micro-chipped, spay/neutering or shots) and b) there are just so many dogs out there that are wonderful just waiting to be adopted.  Needless to say, we're planning to adopt.

Thankfully, there are a ton of options in the Seattle area for adopting dogs.  We're waiting until after the holidays to actually adopt a dog (too much traveling in the next two months), but that hasn't stopped me from scouring the adoption pages and  Here are the local shelters I have found so far:
 If you know of any others, please let me know! I'll be checking them all out over the next two months so I know what to expect and what the procedure is once the time comes.  Until then, I'm going to begin puppy proofing my place and reading up on my "What to Expect When You Adopt a Dog" books!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Thrift Store Frames Redesigned - Project 1 of 2

I totally scored at the thrift shop this weekend!  I'm typically a Value Village shopper, but drove past Goodwill and swung in to take a look.  The clothing aisles were packed, so I headed straight back to the furniture and frames section where I stumbled upon these beautiful cherry frames for only $2.99 each.  A total steal for being so sturdy and having no visable dings or dents!

I immediately had two projects in mind.  The first, and the one I will show you here, was a place to hang my earrings.  I've seen frames adorned with mesh in a couple of stores and at the Fremont Market, and have always wanted to make one.  There's one vendor who sells them at the Fremont Market for $30, but there's no way I'm paying that much for something I can do on my own. So, after explaining my project to some poor guy at Home Depot (he obviously did not understand the struggle that comes with having multiple pairs of chandelier earrings in the same box and getting all tangled), he directed me to a couple of different places.  What I ended up going with was screen door mesh in a dark charcoal color.

Once I got home, I cut out a square the same size of the frame inset.  Then I realized I had never thought through how I was going to secure this thing...hmmm...

Thankfully, I have a glue gun that I just love (everyone must ahve a glue gun; you can fix just anything with it).  After gluing down one of the longer sides, I stretched the mesh across the frame and secured with pins to keep it tight while I glued down the other three sides.

And, PRESTO!  An organized and beautiful way to hang my earrings.  I'm thinking about adding hooks to the side for small necklaces, but we'll see.

Project #2: Corkboard made from real wine corks!  Coming soon...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Season for Vegetables Has Ended

This weekend, I finally had to accept that winter is on its way and that my urban garden would soon be gone.  Both my tomotoes and peppers were still growing, but if they froze, all of my hard work over the summer would have been for nothing.  So, I swallowed the fear of chopping up my plants that I worked so hard to grow and did it.  Here's what I have left of summer:

I'm so happy that my peppers are actually turning yellow.  They were green all summer (I purposely picked yellow because they are sweeter), and I was at the point of thinking someone had swtiched the tags on the plants at Home Depot. I also have a ton of green tomatoes, that are slowly but surely turning red.  It will be nice to have a little flavor of summer left for the coming weeks.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Recipe of the Week - Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I have been trying to more creative with my cooking as of late and to help, signed up for the 'Daily Dish' newsletter from There was one that came across last week for Sweet Potato Gnocchi and I just had to try it. I randomly get obessed with foods and sweet potatoes typically fall on my obsession list list for fall (during the spring, it's usually pears; corn in the summer; butternut squash in the winter).
First, I will tell you that it was SO good and totally worth the effort. Secondly, unless you have made gnocchi many times before, prepare for a rather lengthy preparation process. The rolling process took quite a bit longer than I orginially anticipated. You will find the recipe below, courtesy of I've included my additions to the recipe in red:

3 2 (8 ounce) sweet potatoes
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake sweet potatoes for 30 minutes, or until soft to the touch. Remove from the oven, and set aside to cool.

2. Once the potatoes are cool enough to work with, remove the peels, and mash them, or press them through a ricer into a large bowl. Blend in the garlic, salt, nutmeg, and egg. Mix in the flour a little at a time until you have soft dough. Use more or less flour as needed.

3. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. While you wait for the water, make the gnocchi. On a floured surface, roll the dough out in several long snakes, and cut into 1-inch sections. Drop the pieces into the boiling water, and allow them to cook until they float to the surface. Remove the floating pieces with a slotted spoon, and keep warm in a serving dish. Serve with butter or cream sauce.

The key to making the gnocchi is adding the flour in slowly.  My additions and changes were made to help the sweet potato stand out more. Cinnamon and brown sugar are classic pairings with sweet potato and it just made sense. As for the salt...I just like a little more salt in my food. The night we made this, we paired the gnocchi with an alfredo sause and it was amazing. Thankfully, we had leftovers, which I ate today. I needed something a little lighter for lunch than alfredo sauce, so tossed the gnocchi with a little olive oil and garlic salt. It was just as delicious, and the taste of sweet potato stood out more.

While the effort was well worth the end product, I was thinking about how nice it would be to cook a big batch of the gnochhi and freeze it. This would not only cut down production time in the future, but also provide me with a quick and easy dinner. After a little research, it turns out you can freeze it! But before you go dumping a whole bunch of gnocchi into a bag and throwing it into the freeze, a couple of things to note:
  • After cooking the gnocchi, drain it and lay out on a cookie sheet to cool.
  • Put the cookie sheet in the freezer with gnocchi spaced out so they don't freeze into one big clump
  • After about 20 minutes, dump the gnocchi into a freeze bag!
Let me know if you make this recipe and how it goes!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lincoln Park in West Seattle - A Hidden Gem

A couple of weekends ago, Jon and I decided to explore a part of Seattle that we had not yet seen.  People are constantly going out of town when there is so much to be seen in their own backyard, and I'm trying to not be one of those people.  So, we narrowed it down to Golden Gardens beach or Lincoln Park in West Seattle.  Since Jon recently attended a wedding at the Golden Gardens Bath House, we opted for West Seattle and were so pleased with what we found.

On a nice day, almost everyone thinks of heading to Alki Beach (and almost everyone does).  But on the other side of West Seattle, Lincoln Park has beautiful scenery without the crowd. We wandered the beach - finding sea glass along the way - and enjoying the cool fall day.

And of course, we can't go anywhere without having a little fun :)

I highly recommend Lincoln Beach to Alki Beach if you are looking for a more serene setting with out the fear of getting run over by skateboarders. 

Saturday, October 3, 2009

All the makings of an amazing (yet HOT) homemade salsa

There's nothing better than homemade salsa using tomatoes straight
from the garden. We made some today an while spicy, it was amazing.

If you like it spicy, dice up six tomatoes (add more if you like your
salsa more in the mild side), half a white onion, three tablespoons
lime juice and two Serrano peppers (again, if you like it mild, only
add one).

Serve with corn tortilla chips and you're good to go!!