Monthly Archives: July 2012

Bathroom version 2.0

I don’t think I ever shared my first attempt at my bathroom renovation, but I’m sure you guys can guess what it involved? That’s right, removing wallpaper! After I stripped it, I painted it a cool blue color but nothing really got done in the room. A few lost shelving units got hung up and a random piece of art thrown on the wall, but over time the room just kept disappointing me. Here’s what it looked like before:

So a few days ago, I decided to lighten up the room!

Here’s the after, if you can call it that – of course I’d love to re-do the tile, the light, the window, etc, etc. But since I’m working on a small budget this will have to do for now.

The yellow is leftover paint from the hallways and living room, so the whole house has a much more cohesive feel. My favorite part is the homemade open shelving – just a few pieces of wood I screwed together, painted and then anchored into the wall.

Like the art?? Well, you’re in luck! We’re selling it on MINT Studio’s etsy right now, along with some other great typography prints!

This is behind the door – I wanted to start hanging towels there, but wanted some unique towel hooks. (Also, has anyone ever noticed how expensive a few towel hooks can be!?) So instead I went to our local recycled home resource store and found some vintage doorknobs! Just glued them together then screwed them into the wall.

I love using unexpected containers to hold things! A few teacups hold bobby pins, nail clippers, tweezers, etc. Glass jars hold q-tips and cotton swabs. While it’s not a crazy makeover, it really proves how much a coat of paint can really lighten up a room! I feel like my mornings are much brighter these days…

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Mushroom Mondays – Beef Stir Fry

I realize that many of my “recipe” posts are a bit subjective. I like to think of them more as guidelines and inspiration for you to maybe try something new or revisit and revamp an old favorite. I know I do some things a little strangely but don’t we all? I love learning new tips and tricks from others, and I just hope to teach you all something useful through all this nonsense.

Ingredients:

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Carrots
  • Bell Peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Mushrooms
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Olive Oil
  • Butter
  • Stir Fry Steak
  • Rice or Rice Noodles
  • Soy Sauce
  • Rice Wine (Optional)
  • Sesame Oil (Optional)

Please don’t feel that you have to go out and buy those last two ingredients for this – straight up soy sauce is all I usually use but I had bought these to try out a homemade terriyaki sauce recipe and they do add quite a bit of depth to the sauce, I will say that.

Slice your onions and carrots into long thin pieces and start to saute them in a little olive oil. Season with pepper and red pepper flakes and very little salt. Remember that we’ll be adding soy sauce later, which has a very high salt content. Unless you want to drink a gallon of water with your dinner, cut down on the salt when seasoning your veggies.

Do the same with your bell peppers and add them to the pan.

Then slice up your mushrooms and add them in with a little butter.

Once these are all mostly done cooking, I like to add the broccoli cut into pretty small florets – they don’t need too long to cook or they can get mushy and just start to dissolve. ugh.

Here’s a little trick I like to use. I think that ground ginger is a bit intense and like to use the real thing whenever possible so I bought a big knob of it about a month back and yup, you guessed it, stuck it in the freezer. Now whenever I make an Asian style meal or something needing a little fresh ginger flavor; I take it out and saw off a little piece.

That’s probably about 1/4 inch thick. I also don’t really like pieces of ginger, so I don’t chop it up like I do garlic. Instead, I put this whole thing in and let it do a little melting to get just a hint of ginger flavor. Just make sure you fish it out at the end! Nobody wants to chomp down on this thing.

Next I add the bean sprouts and some chopped garlic. You’ve probably noticed that I like to add garlic at the end of my veggie cooking in all these recipes and here’s why – garlic can burn and turn bitter if it gets cooked too long so minimal time on the heat is better.

Sometimes I’ll make brown rice with stir fry but we both really like these rice noodles. Whichever you choose, plan out your timing and cook according to the package instructions.

Just before adding the meat, I’ll pour just a TBS or two of the rice wine over the vegetables (“sweet cooking rice seasoning”) and let it cook out for a minute. Then a few TBS of soy sauce and a couple drops of sesame oil. Really, this stuff is strong, a couple drops will be plenty.

I always get so intimidated buying beef – I need some sort of cheat sheet for what cuts are used for what kind of cooking…so if anyone has some tips I’ll take them! Sometimes I luck out though, like when I came across “stir fry steak” that was pretty inexpensive and already cut into these nice little strips. Love it when they make it so easy for me! I have learned that with cheaper meats, you need to be very careful about over-cooking or it can become very tough and chewy. So as soon as the pink is gone – you’re done!

When the noodles are done cooking, I like to add them into the stir-fry pan and stir it all around to get them nicely coated in the sauce; much like you would do when making spaghetti. If your sauce looks a little thin – just add more of each of the 3 ingredients (in the same proportions as before).

Time to serve! I like to add a few sesame seeds to the top and a couple extra drops of soy sauce. Someday I might actually invest in a wok and then I can make some REAL stir fry.

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