Happy Friday! Glad it was a short week for me. Did you notice? Finally I listed new pieces in my Etsy shop! Here they are! I thought I'd try something new for a change and make something with pearls. I took their pictures using my new fancy camera. I will have to tell you all about it one day (soon-ish).
This recipe comes from one of my favorite places in the world - Wegmans! I found a new favorite and modified it ever so slightly. It is easy to make and incredibly flavorful, not to mention good for you! Warning: I followed the recipe below and made enough soup for the two of us for a week, if not longer! If you have a small family, consider scaling the portions as needed (or you can freeze half - I haven't tried, but I imagine it'll be fine).
Ingredients 2 Tbsp Olive Oil 1 pkg (8 oz) Cleaned & Cut Mirepoix 4 cloves (2 Tbsp) Peeled Garlic, chopped 1 pkg (16 oz) Green Lentils, sorted and rinsed 1 can (28 oz) Cut Roma Tomatoes with Basil 2 cartons (32 oz each) Vegetable Culinary Stock 1 tsp coriander seed or ground coriander 1 tsp cumin 1 tsp turmeric 1 tsp cinnamon 1/4 tsp powdered cayenne pepper 1 can (15.5 oz) Garbanzo Beans, rinsed and drained 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro Salt to taste
Add olive oil to stockpot on MEDIUM. Add mirepoix and garlic; cook, stirring, 5-6 min, until soft but not browned. Stir in lentils, tomatoes, stock, coriander, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.
Cook, covered, 20-25 min.
Puree briefly (about 15 seconds) with handheld blender, just to thicken (don't puree all the lentils). (I do not have a handheld blender and used a regular one.)
Stir in garbanzo beans and cilantro. Season to taste with salt. Simmer about 5 min on MEDIUM until heated through. Add a few fresh cilantro leaves before serving (optional).
A couple of months ago, I noticed that my lunch bucket started to disappear some days. Ruby swore she didn't take it. It turned out that Husband had been taking it to work to bring his lunch! He expressed interest in a similar item, and I contacted Susan to see if she'd make Husband his very own lunch bucket using manly prints. She, of course, let me choose my own fabric, and custom-made the most perfect lunch bucket - one you'd expect a man's man to carry around. (I thought he looked kind of cute carrying around my floral bucket.) He couldn't wait until Christmas, so he got it as an early gift and put it to good use right away. Here it is:
Then, when my sister visited recently, she saw my lunch bucket and said she'd like one like it but bigger. Well, the great thing about Etsy is that you can customize just about anything! I contacted Susan with the measurements my sister had in mind, we picked out fabrics, and two weeks later these beautiful buckets came in the mail:
Mine is on the left, my sister's is on the right. (Even though I already have one, what's better than one lunch bucket? That's right, TWO lunch buckets!) I love how roomy they are; each fits Tupperware of any size you want, and a few extra things! It can even be used as a small bag.
I found this recipe while anticipating some green chard in last week's Urban Organic box. When no green chard turned up, I decided to make the soup anyway and use spinach instead. It turned out great - a simple soup that's easy to make! Here is the recipe.
Ingredients 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 1/2 cups chopped onions 1 1/2 cups chopped peeled carrots 3 large garlic cloves, minced 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin 10 cups (or more) low-salt chicken or vegetable broth 2/3 cup pearl barley 1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice 2/3 cup dried lentils 4 cups (packed) coarsely chopped spinach 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Preparation Heat oil in heavy large nonreactive pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots; sauté until onions are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir 1 minute. Mix in cumin; stir 30 seconds. Add 10 cups broth and barley; bring to boil. Reduce heat; partially cover and simmer 25 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with juice and lentils; cover and simmer until barley and lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
Add spinach to soup; cover and simmer until spinach is tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in dill. Season soup with salt and pepper. Thin with more broth, if desired.
My new office is freezing. To keep warm, I have been drinking this tea at work. Last week, I purchased a tea diffuser at a tea shop and brought it to work. It is amazing! No more struggling with loose tea leaves in my cup. The little strainer keeps them contained, and the result is a delicious tea! I love it so much that I brought it home this weekend to take pictures for you.
Here are the three pieces of my diffuser:
Here is the diffuser assembled - first, without the top, and then with.
I have my eye on a few more items at tagodesign! I found another Etsy favorite. :) Check it out - you might too! Naomi also has a blog where she introduces her readers to Japanese culture and her handmade creations.
We eat a fair amount of fruit and veggies, but we stick to the same few things, which gets boring after a while.
To branch out and try something new, I signed up for Urban Organic - a company that delivers fresh organic produce to your door! The are several box sizes; I decided that the Value Box that contains a variety of 15-18 different fruits and vegetables each week depending on seasonal availability, is a good one for starters. Customers have the option of choosing a weekly, bi-weekly or on demand delivery.
The first box arrived this week! I was so excited to get it. Here is what it contained:
SPINACH (I got a double portion - one bunch came instead of green chard)*
GREEN LEAF LETTUCE
ZUCCHINI (instead of green beans)*
KIWI VALENCIA ORANGES TANGELOS
BRAEBURN APPLES EGGPLANT
*Urban Organic makes substitutions if the quality of certain products is not up to par. This add an element of surprise to your box!
Ruby checked it out, and gave it thumbs up.
The quality is good, and we are enjoying the variety and convenience. We are working our way through the box, and already tried a new barley and lentil soup with Swiss chard with the box ingredients! (Since I did not get green chard, I used spinach instead. Delicious!) The recipe follows shortly.
This adorable little guy is a two-month old kitten Dash! He is my God brother. His adoptive mother, Alison, and her family fell in love with him at the shelter just a few days ago and brought him home!
The funny thing is, Alison is the only girl in the family. She's got a husband and three energetic boys. She wanted a girl kitty, but girls were nowhere to be found. And now they have Dash! It must have been fate. ;)
Although we haven't met in person, we already saw each other on Skype. We also keep in touch via e-mail. It's so great to finally have a God brother!
Dash is a mischievous little guy. He is remarkably similar to myself - he bites his Momma's silver wire when she makes jewelry and tackles her; just like I, he must be in the same room with humans; he is incredibly naughty and he even looks a little bit like me. Even though he lives all the way across the country in CA, I think he may just be my brother from another mother!
I used to read a lot and often. Then all of a sudden I started reading little and seldom (even though I was supposed to be reading all day every day - that's what grad school is for, right?).
Anyway, I recently finished three books (all classics):
1. 1984 by George Orwell This may be the only book I have ever read that does not contain one humorous sentence. Not one. Otherwise, a great book (albeit terrifying - but that was the intent).
2. This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald I liked Fitzgerald's first novel much better than "The Great Gatsby". He writes beautifully - what an amazing craftsman of prose. Just delightful!
3. The Alchemistby Paulo Coelho A charming story about a Spanish shepherd who travels to Egypt in search of treasures, this was an easy read - I finished it in several hours. Written as a tale, this story is full of words of wisdom and various lessons.
The longer I am on Etsy, the more I shop there! This year, multiple holiday presents for my family came from Etsy.
One of them is this gorgeous set of five petite prints of spring wildflowers. The artist who captured their delicate beauty is Ann Wilkinson of Ann Wilkinson Photography. When I found this set in Ann's shop, I knew the set would make the perfect gift for my sister, whose favorite flower is lilac. She had been looking for a set of floral pictures to decorate her apartment, and IKEA has the ideal square picture frames for these beautiful shots.
Check out Ann's shop - you will find the most unexpected images, from nature's treasures to cityskapes. You can even carry a piece of Ann's art with you everywhere you go with these essential key rings!
Thank you, Ann, for your beautiful work! My sister absolutely loved this precious gift.
My Little Acorn earrings and necklaces in brecciated jasper are so popular that I decided to introduce them in a few other colors! So far I've got them listed in a gorgeous turquoise and a black tourmaline.
I love making unique jewelry that makes people happy! Custom bridal jewelry and other custom orders are welcome.
To view my current selection, please visit my Etsy shop: http://jacjewelry.etsy.com.
Thanks for stopping by!