24 January 2012

barley and millet risotto

I owe you people a decent post. Look, here I am! With words! Lots and lots of words, and a smattering of hyperlinks, just for you! :)

Not gonna lie: I think my frequency of posts was affected by two things:
1. Getting an iPhone (it's okay, I was shocked too)
2. Getting on Twitter (again... it's okay, I was shocked too)

In the long run, I think both of these things will be useful. Turns out I take way more pictures if I use my phone (and hey, the 4S has a lovely camera on it, believe it or not), and editing photos is way, waaay too much fun for me. My phone has also given me an appreciation of the square-format photo... it's beautiful! Regardless of Instagram's influence, it makes so much sense for me to love a square photo, given how much I love symmetry. I find it much easier to take a picture that looks balanced (at least for me eye) with a square photo. And really, if you don't believe me, go take a standard format photo and then crop it as a square -- I think you'll like it better. As for Twitter... well, the Twitterverse is still vast and mysterious. I barely have an idea of how hashtags and handles work, but somehow it intrigues me. For now, I like it mostly as a source of information. It's absurd how much you can learn from a well-selected Twitter feed. It's by far the fastest and farthest reaching networking I've ever done. I just hope nobody minds my occasional, inane posts of "Look at my dog! XD #cutestthingintheworld #puppykisses #snugglebug".

So I've got lots to talk about, but I think I'll just have to divvy it up amongst more blog posts soon. For now, I direct your attention to the archives of 101 Cookbooks for this lovely spin on risotto. Our kitchen is a risotto loving one, but it's nice to try a different approach from time to time. Heidi calls for farro, but I am too poor to stock farro in my pantry. If you can snag some you should try it, it's delicious. If you are also a cheep-cheep person, stick to pearled barley. As usual, I chopped some kale and threw it in -- I think the chewy texture went well with the grains. This was also my first time trying out millet; what a cute little grain. I've seen some breakfast millet ideas flying around the internet, and I think that's got some potential. If you know of any good uses of millet, let me know -- I've got a cup or two to use up someday. :)

02 January 2012

pear, banana, and kale smoothie

Whew! Holidays, check. Quality family time, check. 2011, check. Cue the snow for Minnesota now, yes?

So here's the part where I, as a member of the blogosphere, am required to at least be a teensy bit introspective. I do believe this is an obligation of one's first post in a new year. 2011 can be best summed up for me as "more of the same". I love Minnesota. I love cooking new fun things. I've enjoyed my time getting to know my sewing machine better. I'm pretty happy that I finally brought my knitting needles out and got knitty all over again. My dog walks on a lead like a pro. Jobby job keeps on jobbing. I keep running. I love my bikes. I've begun to take my blogging kind of seriously. I've been bitten by the photography bug -- I can't stop thinking about framing shots, and I can't wait to upgrade my camera... $omeday. So yeah, not really much to report, but that isn't a terrible thing. Also I will give myself a passing grade on last year's resolution to bake bread once a week. This turned into anything with yeast once a week, and then just making a regular effort to bake bread more often. I am now happy to say we do so often and you should too!

2012 will be mega important, this much is crystal clear. The graduation and job hunt have gotten pretty danged real for dear husband, and thus for me as well. I think this is all I can bear to say at the moment. My plan is to just keep loving my time in MN and I'll deal with changes as they come. And of course, I'll keep you updated as I digest said changes. For now, my 2012 to-do includes:
1. Build a bike. Single speed of course; let's start simple, but with BRAKES.
2. Sew new slipcovers for two chairs and the ottoman and all associated throw pillows.
3. Get dog to appreciate her boots.
4. Bring back the ye olde good tradition of writing Thank You cards.
5. Knit a sweater.
6. Improve my photography skillz. I think my holiday gift from my husband will totally help me out here in reaching my goals. :)

So now I'll talk to you about food! Sweet!

Particularly, let's talk about green smoothies. I have always loved the Green Machine juices; the taste is delicious and my inner child totally gets the giggles when others wince because it looks like I'm drinking pond scum. Healthy, delicious pond scum. This winter we've been stocked with kale at all times (I love leafy greens!!), and green smoothies are a great way to keep the kale turnover going. This smoothie has been resurfacing on the internet over and over again with various tweaks. Here's my iteration:

1 big handful of kale leaves (rip off the tough stems)
1 small anjou pear
1 frozen banana (I freeze them in slices)
1/4 c. cashews
~1 c. milk (your choice)
1 T. good honey
1 T. hemp protein powder (this is optional, but I really like it. It tastes like... granola?)

(I use the flat blade of the Magic Bullet for this)
1. Grind the cashews into a fine powder.
2. Blend in the milk.
3. Add the kale and blend until super smooth. Any flakes of kale will totally ruin the texture.
4. Add the banana, pear, honey, and optional protein powder. Blend until smooth.
5. Pour yourself a serving in a fancy glass and enjoy!

Are there any yummy veggie smoothies that you like to make? Let me know, I'm always on the lookout for good ones with a high success rate...