Saturday, March 29, 2008

Discovering Auctions!

I have a new past time... auctions! It must be the thrill of holding that little number up and battling it out (really, I'm a wimp) while racing the "clock" with the fast talker (do they go to auction school for that?!). Steve and I met up with his friend Ray on Saturday and hit three auctions before 2 p.m. Seriously, it hurt waking up that early! The first two auctions were take-it-or-leave-it in addition to cold and windy, but the third had some very unique things only found in that part of Pennsylvania on that particular day. It was great! We came away with some much needed (and wanted) items: a large Persian-style wool rug, an oak swivel office chair, an electric griddle (for PNP, a resist used for etching metal), and an old wood and cast iron sled... at $71 for everything, we made out! Of course I am currently thinking back longingly about a couple of things, but that's to be expected. Then there's the added bonus about auctions; you can buy whatever you want... so long as you're willing to pay for it! Three cheers for giving new life to old objects!

Update: Above you will see a picture of our new rug. I love it. The colors and design work well with our little farmhouse and we really needed something on the floor to separate the living room from the dining room. Nevertheless, as my mom says, "there's a price for getting things so cheap..." With rain comes humidity and thus new odors in our rug have surfaced. Despite doing EVERYTHING I can come up with, we have been confronted with (like a brick wall) the ever permeating smell of WET DOG! Tonight I'm taking the third pass with the steam cleaner! Help! Any suggestions?! Editors Advisory: although we don't have a dog, we think dogs are great, but YUCK!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy Spring!

These are a couple of blown out Easter eggs I made this year for my mom (b&w) and Steve's mom (color). Thanks to Juliet of The Broken Plate for the tip, I've entered them into the Hatch 1st Annual Easter Egg Coloring Contest. Fun! I hope you had a nice weekend and are enjoying all the wonderful things coming to life outside. I know I am! Go now... VOTE!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Salad of the Week: Lentils with Basil & Polenta

So it's more of a side dish than a salad, but I figure the definition blurs when you put anything on a bed of greens! Either way, a test group and one daring boyfriend have confirmed that Lentils with Basil & Polenta is "really good!" Here goes this super fast and easy recipe...

2 teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus more to brush
1 package Trader Joe's Lentils (fresh and found in the produce department)
3/4 cup Grape Tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh Basil leaves
1 roll ready-to-serve Polenta (any flavor except cilantro, in specialty or natural food grocery isle)
A couple handfuls fresh Baby Greens
Fresh cracked Pepper & Sea Salt to taste
Crumbled Feta Cheese

Brush slices of polenta and saute or bake as directed on package. When complete, cut into cubes (round slices are also nice served around edge of platter). Set aside.

In a large pan, drizzle 2 teaspoons olive oil. When warm, add entire package of lentils (separated) and grape tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cook on medium-low until tomatoes start to soften. Remove from heat and gently mix in basil and polenta.

On a platter, spread a bed of fresh baby greens and top with lentils and polenta. Finish with crumbled feta and fresh basil, and garnish with a sprig of basil.

A fresh side dish great year round served hot or cold (and great with shrimp)!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

body+soul's: Better Bling

If you haven't already come across the recent article titled Better Bling in body+soul's March 2008 magazine, it's a brief, but to the point read worth taking a gander at. A guide to the eco-conscious consumer, Better Bling takes a reveling look beyond the veil to explain where precious metals, diamonds, and colored gems are sourced; how they are accessed and who is working to unearth them. Many in the jewelry industry are aware of the issues surrounding the materials we use, but often the consumer is left in the dark about the all-to-frequently horrific history of their jewelry. This article puts it all out there in not too vague terms and offers alternatives such as purchasing from eco-conscious jewelers who use metals and stones that are recycled and/or ethically sourced (!), recycling old jewelry, and buying estate jewelry. Most importantly, Better Bling encourages the consumer to request information about the source of the materials used in their jewelry stating that by demanding information, consumers can start a trend that initiates change. Links to industry resources as well a selection of eco-friendly jewelers are also provided. Go to the body+soul website to see a gallery of more eco-jewelry.