My New Signature Pizza and the Cactus Show

I’m ready to declare this my signature pizza:Untitled

  • thin crust
  • olive oil
  • apricot preserves
  • roasted garlic
  • rainbow chard (heat a little olive oil over medium head, add chard, fry (covered, stirring occasionally) for approximately 10 minutes until pleasantly soft, add salt and pepper to taste)
  • a little parmesan
  • a little smoked gouda
  • thinly sliced brie (I remove the rind)

So good. It’s kind of similar to the last pizza I made with chard, although that one is a lot more work.

Sorry the only picture I have is the bad one I just took of the microwaved leftovers at work (the other slice has red sauce, roasted garlic, yellow peppers, onions, and parmesan/mozzarella/gouda).

We went to the Colorado Cactus and Succulent Society show at the Botanic Gardens yesterday. It was cool. We bought a cactus that’s winter hardy and will allegedly grow to be 5 feet tall. We also got the guy below, who was picked out by Soren. I have a thing for cacti/succulents in glass containers, if that can be considered a thing.

another silly photo of usat the Botanic GardensUntitledUntitled

Update: Veganize this pizza by omitting the parmesan, gouda, and brie. Instead, put some homemade parmesan substitute (use a food processor to process equal parts pine nuts and nutritional yeast, plus a little salt) and a very light dusting of vegan mozzarella (Follow Your Heart or Daiya, or homemade if you have it) on the pizza before baking. When the pizza is finished baking, allow it to cool a bit and cut into slices. Before eating a slice, add some homemade brie. (It’s important to add as you eat, because this brie melts right away. If you have leftovers, you’ll want to reheat and then add the brie.)

For homemade brie, follow the first brie recipe (on page 12) in Artisan Vegan Cheese (no affiliate link). It’s very good but be aware that you’ll need several days to make it.

Coffee Table Update (Woo!)

In case you were wondering about our exciting coffee table acquisition (I’m sure you weren’t, but), we went with Option 1. (You can get one of your own here. Make sure to google “overstock coupon code” before buying anything there.)

coffee tablecoffee table

Sorry about the bad pictures — I don’t really know what to do about the lighting situation in here. The table is a huge improvement from the old, trashed ottoman. Yay!

Replacement Parts

living room improvements

Quick! What’s the ugliest thing in this living room?

It’s the hiddy blanket-covered ottoman monstrosity, right?

Under that blanket lurks an ottoman that used to be awesome but now is completely covered with catGhetto Decorating Tips scratches (see the old picture at right; it looks even worse now). It also, as of this week, has a giant hole on top where somebody apparently tried to peel it apart. Even so, we’ve been trying to get by with this ugly thing because, well, aside from the spending fast, my problems with replacing our trashed ottoman are twofold. First, I didn’t want to replace a soft ottoman with a hard coffee table while we had a baby who was just learning to walk because I didn’t want him to hurt himself on the table. Second, I didn’t want to replace the soft ottoman with another soft ottoman because, if I’ve learned anything during my years on this planet, I’ve learned that cats will scratch the ever-lovin’ hell out of soft furniture such as an ottoman, which, deliciously, is generally available for scratching from every angle.

We’ve been scraping by with this thing by keeping a blanket over it to hide the destruction. This approach has many problems including but not limited to the following: you can’t tell from the above photo because the blanket is totally off center for purposes of taking that photo, but the blanket doesn’t actually cover all the damage; Soren, who can walk without falling into furniture now, pulls the blanket off pretty much every day, so if he’s awake, we usually throw the blanket in our room so he can’t drag it around the house and get fur all over it, which means we have to look at this thing all the time; the blanket is always covered with cat fur, which never comes off completely even after being washed; and honestly, that shit is just janky as hell. If I recall correctly, I included a disclaimer in my spending fast that allows for replacement of necessary items. Arguably, a coffee table is a necessary item in our house.

So tonight I’m drinking beer and looking at coffee tables on the internet. (It doesn’t get more exciting than this, folks.) I would prefer to not spend a ton of $$ on this, but I’d like to get something that will last for a long time, because we tend to keep stuff forever, or at least until it gets to the point of our current ottoman, which pretty much makes me embarrassed to have people over to our house (not kidding).

The room looks the same as the top picture, minus the floor lamp (it was wobbly but we hope to fix it up one day because I love it). So it’s pretty much beige, sage green, and brown. It’s a long, narrow room so a square table wouldn’t work. I want something modern (if I had a style, it would be 70s Miami socialite grandma) and reasonably durable. We won’t have the current sectional forever, but I’d replace it with something similar. I don’t mind mismatched wood. I don’t like tables that are predominantly metal or glass.

After scouring thousands of websites (I exaggerate), I’ve found three options I like:

coffee table options

Option 1

coffee table options

Option 2

coffee table options

Option 3

(Option 3 would be two of those, connected to form a coffee table.)

So far, I have a favorite and Ben has a favorite. Prices are, in no particular order, cheap as hell, reasonable, and expensive.

I’ll keep you posted, hopefully soon!

Do-It-Yourself Pot Rack

In this edition of HBP Cheap-Ass Decorating Tips, I present the do-it-yourself pot rack Ben just made out of random crap.

Ben had been talking about making a pot rack forever. His original plan was to use a bicycle wheel, but at some point that became a light fixture in Soren’s room. part of Soren's roomThe next plan involved some sort of shelf with hooks on the bottom, but the only place for it would’ve been over the stove, which didn’t seem like a good idea — it would’ve been either too close to the stove or too high for my 5′ 6″ self to reach without climbing on something, and I’m not fond of climbing on stuff because I’m quite clumsy.

The pot rack project became more urgent this weekend, because we’re trying to (finally!) baby-proof the kitchen, for real. (Ben installed cabinet locks a long time ago, but there’s still a lot to be done in there.) Part of the baby-proofing project involved finding a new home for the pots, pans, and lids, which were residing on our little mini-island cart thing. We let Soren play with pans, but don’t want him pulling them off something himself and getting hurt. So, a pot rack. But how?

After vetoing the shelf idea, I turned to Apartment Therapy, which awesomely had just what I needed: DIY Pot Racks for Every Small Space Situation. Our kitchen isn’t really small, but I like these options because they’re, well, do-it-yourself and cheap, plus I didn’t want some giant pot-rack thing hogging space in our somewhat weird kitchen.

Our inspiration was the fifth option, the over-the-door pot rack made with replacement grates for a grill. Awesomely (apparently that’s my word of the day), we had an unused bun-warmer grate that came with a grill our friends gave us. It didn’t really fit on the grill and we’re not fancy people who need a specific grate for warming buns, so we wouldn’t miss it. We didn’t want to put it over a door (hell, our kitchen doesn’t have any doors even where it probably should — our house is a little door deficient), but we did want to put it over a window. I know that sounds weird, but we have a window in the kitchen that looks out to our scenic laundry/utility/DJ room. I never liked having a curtain on this window, but it wouldn’t be bad to at least somewhat block the view of Oxyclean and the drying rack that usually is covered with BumGenius diapers (the ones that aren’t supposed to go in the dryer).

In addition to the grate, our pot rack required the following items:

  • 6 “Exterior EZ-Cable Clips,” which are used to attach cables to the outside of your house
  • 2 “Rubber Insulated Cable Clips”
  • one piece of copper pipe (we already had)
  • 16 small S hooks
  • one large S hook (we already had)
  • 12 screws (we already had)
  • 2 5/8″ x 2 1/4″ stainless steel screw eyes
  • some 16 gauge galvanized wire (we already had)

Total cost for new supplies from Home Depot = $13.

Ben attached the grate to the window frame with the EZ-cable clips. This setup didn’t seem sturdy enough to support the weight of the pots and pans, so he added the copper pipe, which he attached to the window frame with the rubber insulated cable clips. He attached the small S hooks (he used the small ones because you can crimp the top of the “S” so they won’t fall off the rack when you pick up a pot) at even intervals on the top and bottom of the grate, and then hung the one large S hook on the side for the stock pot. The screw eyes and wire are a safety precaution to protect the window from swinging pots and pans and are hidden from view when the rack is full of pots and pans.

DIY pot rackDIY pot rackDIY pot rackDIY pot rackDIY pot rackpot rack in context

The last picture shows the pot rack in the context of our weird-ass kitchen after dinner preparation is underway. There’s a lot of fake meat on the stove here.

It’s not the most groundbreakingly stunning thing in the world, but it’s pretty much exactly what we wanted — an unobtrusive, functional pot rack the baby can’t reach that also partially blocks an ugly view. Woohoo! (Check the photos on Flickr for notes if you want more specific information, not that you would.)

I might do something with how the lids are arranged — I’m not loving how they look here. Also, I might hang a few utensils from the empty S hooks. And, while I’m thinking about it, we probably should put some of that frosty window film stuff on this window, so you don’t have to see diapers while I’m telling you about our pot rack. Sheesh.