Saturday, March 31, 2012

Apartment Files: Storage Improvements

As anyone who lives in a small place knows staying on top of clutter is the key to a happy life.  And probably being a minimalist by nature is the real secret.  However, I am not a minimalist.  I like to collect things and I want to be comfortable.  If I go for a hike, I come back with cool rocks.  If I go to the beach it's impossible not to pick up a shell or two.  If I go to a thrift store, I buy dessert plates.   I LIKE THINGS!!  So small space storage is going to be the key to my happiness as long as I'm living in a 450 SF apartment.  To this end I've made the following improvements recently.

In the living room, I upgraded my TV cabinet from a borrowed cast-off nightstand to this pair of IKEA PS Cabinets, with locking doors.  Perfect for when the little wandering toddler comes to visit. 

And in the bedroom I finally got a dresser.  I had the following three choices:
This lovely set of Danish dressers for $1200 (identical, only one pictured).  Beautiful, and not a bad deal for a pair of dressers.  However, more than I wanted to spend right now, and I don't really have room for a pair.
This Art Deco highboy for $375.  Actually really liked this, but I have some other pieces of 30s furniture in Albuquerque that I like, but don't love in the overall context of my home.  In the end I went with something cheaper.  Kind of regret it though when looking at this photo.  You are so pretty Art Deco dresser.

This is what I ended up with, a blondish no-name mid-century dresser which needs some refinishing.  I like the shape, but not the yellow-y finish.   The decision was made because this dresser was big, located 10 minutes from my house, and under $100.  I don't love it, but it'll do for now. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Apartment Files: Decorating the Kitchen

I just ordered these two prints from the Sevenstars Treasurebox store on Etsy. 

Seriously, excellent illustration style and a recipe?  Perfect.

So excited for them to arrive.  Now if I could just find a spicerack that I like.  (Not normally a  spice rack person, but I need to free up cabinet space since my kitchen is tiny).

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Culinary Chronicles: Sourdough for a Small Kitchen -- Crepes

I almost always prefer a savory breakfast to a sweet one.  A few weekends ago I put together my standard sourdough pancake starter on Saturday night, but Sunday morning I just wasn't quite up for pancakes drizzled in syrup.  Instead I remembered the sweet potato and bag of spinach that I needed to use up in the vegetable crisper.  What's the savory answer to pancakes?  Crepes!  I modified the pancake recipe into crepes by omitting the baking soda, and adding water to the mix to thin it down.

A quick sauté with some onion, and a drizzle of an improvised goat cheese sauce, and they were delicious.  Later that afternoon a classic lemon and sugar crepe to go along with my tea.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Light postings = busy life

I just noticed that I've only posted three things so far this year.  I've never been a regimented blog writer, but I will admit that I've been neglecting this space lately.  There are lots of reasons-- visitors every weekend of February, a broken oven(!), no major changes to the apartment to document, a broken computer (!!!), a new computer that doesn't like my old adobe software (I'm very loyal to photoshop for editing my photos, but I can't justify the $1200 cost for a new creative suite since I'm not using it for work right now), a new phone (finally an iphone, which connects me to the internet in non-blog ways).  I have a couple of posts partially written, and a few planned updates to the apartment.  I'll try to do better when it comes to the blog.  Meanwhile the new iphone has made me an Instagram adopter.  If you aren't on Instagram yourself, you can see my posts here.  And I'm still pinning inspiration items on Pinterest here.

Culinary Chronicles: Quinoa and Fennel Salad with Citrus Dressing, Fresh Peas and Fava Beans

Yesterday was one of those perfect weather days here in Southern California.  This is what it looked like at 7:00 am.
  (Just want it noted that the skull+ antler garden art is not remotely my style, but my landlords')
I went to a barbeque last night and after such a beautiful day I really wanted to bring something super fresh and spring-like.  At the farmer's market I saw lots of fresh fava beans and fennel bulbs, and I knew I already had some quinoa cooked up and waiting in the frig.  A quick stop at Tawny's to raid her garden peas, mint and citrus trees and I had a delicious salad.  Worth noting the recipe for future use.  If it's not so spring-like where you are, try this warm quinoa breakfast drink instead, and come back to this salad when spring hits you.

The salad:
3 cups cooked quinoa
1 fennel bulb, sliced thin and cut into strips
1 red pepper, sliced thin and cut into strips
1 cup fresh picked and shelled peas (or frozen if you need to)
1 cup fresh fava beans (if you can't find them just use two cups peas, dried beans would work, but the point of this salad is freshness!)
small handful of fresh mint, finely chopped (about 3 Tbsp once chopped)
small handful of green portion of fennel bulb (ditto)
zest and juice of two small lemons
juice of one large tangerine
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Cook the peas and fava beans until just tender.  It's more time consuming, but do it separately.  My fava beans cooked so fast that they were a little too soft, whereas the peas were a little tougher.  Drain each, then throw all ingredients in a big bowl and toss well.  Keep refrigerated until ready to eat to maintain the crunch of the red pepper and fennel.