Tag Archives: Home Improvement

Foodie Wanna Be

There is something incredible about a well prepared meal- not just the taste but the color, aroma, and mystery of a well crafted dish. But, it’s even more than that. Food can invoke a memory and even help change a mood which is a big part of the reason restaurants are so popular—that and there are no dishes to wash afterwards.

I like to cook, but would not call myself an accomplished chef or anything like that. But, I like to play around. Part of this last year’s adventure for me (living in a partially finished apartment) has been learning to create appealing meals without an oven or stove. Tricky? yes, but for Christmas my younger brother bought me an amazing free standing electric skillet. It has become my favorite cooking buddy, and last week my dad finished putting in the apartment’s counter top which has been wonderful. No more balancing three plates on unstable surfaces. Yes, there have been some casualties. I still miss my snowman mug. All the electrical outlets are now in as well  which means no more blowing the breaker by using the microwave and toaster at the same time. I am still hoping for a stove, but I can see it in the near future.

But, in celebration of surviving an interesting year of learning to cook with limited resources (and a tight budget) here are some of my more successful experiments.

Basil Chicken- a quick and tasty dish. I love rice, and chicken breast are so easy to thaw in the microwave and cook in my trusty little skillet. The secret to this dish is butter and some dried basil. Simple, but it smells amazing when it is cooking and tastes pretty good too.

I love Saturday morning breakfast. I like to scramble up some eggs and then add tomatoes, spinach, and cheese. The best part though is homemade chai, but I drink that everyday and usually a couple times a day on the weekends. Special thanks to my Kenyan friends who keep me well supplied with tea leaves. I am not an addict or am I? I just know that chai makes every day just a little bit better.

A quick snack- salsa, spinach, and cheese. Microwave and then top with some sour cream because sour cream improves everything. I like to cut mine into pizza slices, but it’s good rolled up too.

Indoor picnic- Bratwursts, corn, and tomatoes. I like to fry the frozen corn up with the bratwursts after they have cooked for a while. It gives the corn a nice roasted taste.

The best take to work lunch. Slice up left over bratwursts with cooked bow tie paste, mayo, spinach, and tomatoes. Don’t forget the best part, lots of parmesan cheese.

On the go breakfast- Avocado on pumpernickel toast. Salt the avocado, and it makes a delicious spread.

What are your favorite quirky meals?


Filed under Home Improvement, Humor

Camping without the Stars

I’ve chipped most of the drywall mud off my fingers. Now I just have to wash off the tools and put my bedroom back together. That shouldn’t be too hard seeing as my bed consists of an air mattress, a sleeping bag, and a quilt. Living in a partially finished building is kind of like indoor camping.

I have moved past the eating off paper birthday plates stage, but my breakable dishes are still safely wrapped in newspaper and sitting in boxes stacked around the kitchen. Since I’m such a chai connoisseur, I did unpack a good portion of my mug collection. Right now they are sitting safely in my refrigerator so that they don’t break when I shuffle furniture around to mud. So far I’ve only had one causality. Sadly, it was my snowman mug.

It’s amazing how many meals can be made using a rice cooker, electric griddle, microwave, and pizza oven. I know the pizza oven is a bit of a luxury, but once you start using one it’s hard to go back. Only being able to have two appliances plugged in at once is a bit of a challenge but, like with camping, the food tastes better when you really have to work for it.

Having to slow down has been good for me. I’ve been so use to throwing dishes in the dishwasher and cooking fast meals that spending a lot of time on meal prep and clean up can be annoying. But, it’s a satisfying feeling when the pancakes are cooked and when it turns out that a Gatorade bottle works fairly well for mixing up orange juice from concentrate. I have a new respect for pioneer women and can understand why a good portion of their day was spent cooking and cleaning. For the moment it’s an enjoyable adventure cooking on what’s available, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to having a real oven again. For now, I’ll just have to adapt to living with everything, but the kitchen sink.


Filed under Home Improvement