When the giving is this good only the best thanks will do. This week we’re dreaming about lovely llama pillows, fabulous wall decor, and whimsically delightful cards. Today’s forecast calls for tassels, fringe, and lotsa llamas.
Our garden has been an interesting affair, with the latest fun thing we tried being potatoes. Admittedly, we were a little skeptical about growing them, even well into the growing process, wondering how deep they needed the soil to be, how wide of a footprint they’d take up in the garden, and even how many we’d get. Well, all that worry was for nothing. The new potatoes we grew were neither deep in the soil, nor did they take up a ton of precious garden real estate, and best of they were prolific and ready relatively quickly. We decided to harvest them before they got enormous, and have been having a blast finding ways to use them. Look at these things : they’re bite size, adorable, and the perfect shade of reddish purple.
Probably the most fun way we’ve eaten them so far is on a kebab. They were particularly delicious surrounding shrimp, grilled, and then cut up and added to tacos with fresh cucamelon salsa from the garden. For the new potato kebabs we went with our standard olive oil + herbs mix, brushed onto freshly harvested and lightly boiled new potatoes, strung onto wooden sticks, and grilled till just barely crisp. To try these tasty bits out yourself you’ll need :
Tiniest New Potatoes
Your favorite seasonings : we went with generous amounts of Cavender’s greek seasoning, basil (dried or fresh), paprika, white pepper, black pepper, garlic (fresh or powdered), cumin, blacken seasoning, a pinch of thyme.
Anything else you can think of adding to those babies : we also make these with shrimp added to the skewers
Boil the potatoes in salted water for five minutes, or until fork tender, drain, and skewer with kebabs. Alternate with other vegetables or meat, as desired, brush generously with your olive oil and seasonings mixture, and grill till desired doneness, rotating periodically. We didn’t bother with greasing our wooden skewers and didn’t have a problem with anything sticking. They’re delicious alone, or with a little sour cream on the side.
This isn’t anywhere near so terrible as it sounds. Promise. A big something I’ve learned in this process is that the things we purchase tend to create a facade of who and what we’re trying to be, and don’t necessarily represent who and what we are. In beginning this challenge I thought I wanted to narrow things down to what’s really “me” and remove the things that aren’t. What I’ve discovered along the way is that my search is for authenticity. I want the things I own, purchase, and pursue to be things that accurately represent me. Aspirational purchases (those jeans I *might* fit into if I lost a few pounds) and impulse purchases are not for me. Neither are the expensive brand of yoga pants, or hanging on to a gift that just isn’t my style. I’ve given up fast food and haven’t looked back. So long cardigans! I’m building a wardrobe and a life that feels most authentic.
Looking back I wonder what took me so long to make the leap to a minimalist mindset. Deciding to downsize was a liberating moment and came with a realization – I was keeping all these things and clinging to the idea of them out of fear. What if I pulled away this facade? What would be left? What was my personal brand? When I pulled the facade away I found relief and a sense of freedom. All those things that aren’t in line with my personal brand were weighing me down, dragging behind me like an anchor, and taking up so much space. It was liberating to say goodbye to all those things represented a lifestyle I didn’t want to live.
Admittedly, it was a challenge in the beginning and I had to overcome some crazy thoughts. What it all comes down to is recognizing that it’s ok to not want what someone else wants. There’s no need to hang on to something just because it’s trendy, or someone famous has one like it, or it costs a lot of money. What works for you is all that matters here. That being said, it’s ok to change your mind about what you want. Minimizing a wardrobe doesn’t mean being stuck with the same, fewer, options forever. Over time weeding items out and adding new things in keeps the contents fresh. Also, it’s important to remember that these things are what define us, and as such they shouldn’t be aspirational. The items we own should complement who and what we are, add value to our lives, and be purposeful. Lastly, removing those things that aren’t a great fit isn’t a time for regret. It’s not a waste that these items were purchased in the first place or kept for a period of time. It’s happened, we’re making a change, if nothing else they’ve allowed us an opportunity to inch closer toward authenticity.
Romantically drab winter weather leaves us aching for even a small breath of spring. Today we’re forgetting about the chill, jet setting to somewhere better with champagne popsicles, glamorous attire, and the belief that having both those things is a lovely reason to celebrate.
Who doesn’t think “llama” when they think of love? These fun V-Day cards are here and ready to help you get in the Valentine’s spirit. This card features a festive llama, with “Happy Va-Llama-tine’s Day” on the front, and “To My Favorite Llama” inside. Folded cards are available in this design, can be purchased individually or as a set of four, and come with complimentary kraft paper envelopes in the Etsy shop; grab ’em while they’re hot! As always, keep up with the latest happenings by following the FB page.
Yes, we’re tackling one of those sacred items in the kitchen : versatile, savory, endless uses. There are myriad ways to cook this magical item, and just as many ways to use it, but when it comes to bacon I prefer to bake rather than fry. The thing about baking your bacon is :
You’re left with less mess.
It’s so easy to make it crispy, soft, or crispy on the outside with a soft middle.
There’s more control over quantity of grease.
My method begins with a classic baking sheet, lined with aluminum foil, and dressed with a medium sized puddle of your choice of oil. Strips of bacon are separated from the slab, placed together on the pan, slightly overlapping, and seasoned. Next is the fun part. Typically, I’ll season one side with Cavender’s Greek Seasoning, and then upon flipping halfway through cooking, will season the other side with generous amounts of black pepper, white pepper, garlic, and paprika.
The key to success when cooking bacon this way is to place the baking sheet in a cold oven, turn it on to 375 degrees, and bake till desired doneness. Mine is usually done in 30-45 minutes, with the strips crispy crunchy on the outside and a little soft in the middle. As mentioned above, I’ll flip and add more seasoning halfway through, and maybe even drain some grease to make the strips more crispy. When done the strips are cooled on a plate of paper towels, grease is drained off pan and stored in the freezer, and foil is balled up and tossed. Easy cleanup!
For softer bacon just leave the grease in the pan through baking and cook for less time; crispier bacon can be achieved by draining the grease several times throughout the process, flipping the strips more frequently, and baking longer.
On another note, if you haven’t tried Trader Joe’s bacon ends and pieces then you clearly haven’t lived. Unlike standard strips it’s literally the ends and pieces left over from cutting those perfectly rectangle slabs of bacon. While this isn’t ideal for uses that require a full strip it is super delicious, comprised of hearty chunks, and wonderful for all sorts of cooking, baking, and snacking. Added bonus : sometimes you’ll even get a couple full strips in your package.