Sunday, April 13, 2014

Project Life 2014: Week 14

It's been a goofy, good, and gracious week.

Sunday, April 6: Birthday celebration! Hanging out with the family for General Conference and birthday time.

Light the candles!


Monday, April 7: Waiting for the bus on a bright sunny day. These are my favorite red shoes.

Red shoes are the best

Tuesday, April 8: Oh man, I love how sunny it's been lately. You can't even know how much it makes a difference.

Shine

Wednesday, April 9: Driving to work together. I love this time together every morning. It's filled with funny talk, the billygoat game, and selfies.

Cheese!

Thursday, April 10: Someone was nice enough to warn me and my fellow bus riders about a damp seat. People are so nice!

Don't sit here!

Friday, April 11: The tulips are appearing! Happy!

It's spring!

Saturday, April 12: I spent some time in the afternoon just hanging out in the garden. Double happy!

Happiness = tulips

We hope you have a great upcoming week, friends!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Grow Easter Grass in One Week

Okay, Easter is just around the corner, but there's still time.

Time to grow some wheat grass.

It looks so cute decorating your Easter baskets and takes about a week to grow. A week!

Easter cuteness!

This is what you need to grow wheat grass on paper towels:

  • 1 c of hard red wheat (don't use dry pack wheat--it won't sprout)
  • Paper towels
  • Paper plates
  • Spray bottle
  • Cute Easter tins or baskets

1. Pour the wheat kernels into a Mason jar and fill with water; soak for 24 hours. They will start to sprout a little.

Soaking wheat kernels

2. Depending on what you want to decorate, cut a couple of shapes to fit your baskets or tins. I found some round Easter tins at the dollar store, so I cut out a few circles out of paper towels and laid them out on a paper plate. You'll need a couple of pieces for the bottom and a couple pieces on top.

Paper plate + paper towels

3. Spritz the bottom paper towels with water. Spread some seeds on the paper towels, then place a second layer of paper towels on top and spritz well. For the next 48 hours, spritz the paper towels several times a day, trying not to let the paper towels go dry.

Spread the wheat

4. Transfer the plate to a sunny spot, keeping the paper towel on top still and spritzing a couple times a day. You will begin to see some sprouts!





5. Once you see green, then you can remove the top paper towel. Keep growing and spritzing till you get the length you want. The roots will have intertwined themselves into the bottom paper towel and you should be able to move easily.




6. Place the grass in your Easter tin and decorate with Easter eggs and cute fuzzy chicks.

Easter reveal

You will die from cuteness overload. And you can trim the wheat grass later and blend it in a smoothie. It's a two-fer!

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Project Life 2014: Week 13

It has been a pretty florid, fun, and favorable week.

Sunday, March 30: Our first tulip! Thank goodness that tulips are pretty hardy even in crazy spring snowstorms! This tulip perked right up after the snow melted.

Spring in Utah

Monday, March 31: Selfie! Just hanging out before calling it a day.

Selfie!

Tuesday, April 1: I checked my weather app this morning and it said it was going to 82 degrees and sunny! I was so excited that I wore a skirt with no leggings. As I gathered to leave, I realized it was NOT going to be 82 and sunny that day. It was not till later when I realized the weather app was set to show me the weather for Orlando, Florida.

Orlando!?!

My iPad played an April Fool's joke on me. Ha ha! Oh well!

Fooled me, iPad!

Wednesday, April 2: Oh the sky was gorgeous today!

Pretty Utah clouds

Thursday, April 3: I took another Illustrator class and we were asked to make a fake website. Of course, I made a fake website about goats. Maybe I should make a real website about goats because we love goats...

Ha ha! Goats!

Friday, April 4: We were fascinated by this car and we were trying to figure out how this damage occurred. Lee thinks the corner of a semi backed into the car. I think a huge bolder smashed into the side of it. What do you think happened?

Smashed!

Saturday, April 5: This weekend is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints General Conference. I love General Conference! And because we're usually hanging out at home watching each session, there is a lot of cooking during conference weekend. I made a roasted cauliflower soup with smoked bacon. Yum!

Cauliflower soup! Yum!

Anyway, we hope you have a fine upcoming week!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Project Life 2014: Week 12

It's been an eager, enjoyable, and encouraging week.

Sunday, March 23: Lee and I got a coconut from a restaurant earlier in the week. A coconut! All we had to do was poke a straw through and start sipping. Coconut water isn't my beverage of choice, but it was refreshing.

Coconut!

Monday, March 24: Signs of spring! Wahoo! Well, maybe the algae is getting a little out of hand.

City Creek

Tuesday, March 25: Another sign of spring. I love daffodils! They are so cheery, even in rainy spring weather.

Daffodils!

Wednesday, March 26: Lee was making his second batch of drinking vinegars. Apparently, I shouldn't have disturbed him. Just kidding. He doesn't smile until I am done taking the picture, the punk!

Why are you bothering me?

Thursday, March 27: I'm taking a beginning Illustrator class and we were checking out all the vectors that were created on this picture of Elmo. Elmo looks like he is covered in blue bugs--disturbing!



Friday, March 28: We went to the St. Vincent concert at The Depot and it was AWESOME! Annie Clark kicks butt and it was such a fun show. I also have a new hero--Toko Yasuda. She is St. Vincent's backup singer, keyboardist, and bassist and she kicks butt too!

So close to St. Vincent!

Saturday, March 29: I took a Growing Medicinal and Gourmet Mushrooms class taught by the Biocentric Bros through Lifelong Learning. We got to take home a inoculated wood block and learned how to start a straw bucket. I'm so excited to give it a try.

Getting instructions on how to start growing my own mushrooms at home

Anyway, we hope you have an extraordinary upcoming week!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Project Life 2014: Week 11

It has been a dandy, daring, and diligent week for us. How was yours?

Sunday, March 16: We're taking the Financial Peace University classes (Dave Ramsey) again with my brother, and this week, we were talking about leaving a good legacy and we went over insurance and how we should have a will. Lee decided to quickly draw up a will during class. On the back of his hand. According to his hand will, I get everything.

Handmade will

Monday, March 17: Happy St. Patty's Day! We celebrated it by going to the opera about a Chinese woman with a heart of ice, who finally understands love in the end.  Totally a great way to celebrate St. Patty's. The Utah Opera did an AMAZING job! I absolutely loved Liu and Turandot--they are some seriously talented women. By the way, you should listen to this version of Nessun Dorma for fun.

During intermission at Turandot at the Utah Opera

Tuesday, March 18: I just had to take this picture to show how light it's been lately when I walk out of work. The Walker Center light wasn't even on yet! I love Spring.

I heart sunny days!

Wednesday, March 19: I saw this sunset on my way back to my car; you can't help but feel lucky to catch this kind of light. Plus, I can't believe how awesome my cell phone camera is! Gorgeous!

Sunset in Bountiful

Thursday, March 20: Because we've cut out a lot of TV lately, we have gotten into the habit of sitting and talking on our bed when we get home. I love the time with Lee. (We had finished eating dinner and a popsicle for dessert, that's why Lee has a stick in his mouth.)

Chatting and hanging out

Friday, March 21: Our dear friend, Gem, once again pulled off an amazing play at the the Jr. high school she teaches at. They did Aladdin this year and it was a crazy fun play. Our favorite character, hands down, was the flying rug. The kid who played it was hilarious and we had to get our picture taken with him.

With the flying rug kid at Alladin

Saturday, March 22: I somehow convinced a bunch of people to sign up with me to do a bike ride in June called the Little Red Riding Hood--it's all an all-women ride, and I've done the 50-mile version before, but now I'm training for 70 miles. I figured I should start training or all of my friends will ditch me.

After riding back from the University of Utah

Anyway, we hope you have a dazzling upcoming week!

Friday, March 21, 2014

What's making us happy this week

It's been a really great week and we have been busy, so we don't have an extensive list of what is making us happy.

We did want to share this totally awesome TedTalk by Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut, who showed up on my radar a while back, tweeting with William Shatner and making awesome videos where he'd answer questions from space about being in space.

Then he played this crazy duet with the Barenaked Ladies...

This guy is so cool.



I might have to get his new book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything. It sounds like my kind of book.


Anyway, enjoy and have a great Friday!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Browned Butter Banana Bread with Crystallized Ginger and Chocolate

Growing up, the only form of bread my Chinese family made on a regular basis was banana bread.

Fancy banana bread with ginger and chocolate

When our mom passed away, we all found ourselves in the kitchen making food for each other while our dad was working crazy shifts either driving a bus or running community education classes in the evening. We all picked up cooking pretty quickly, but baking was a challenge.

I remember trying to make French bread with my sisters and it just didn't work out. What do you expect from a bunch of kids who all could make rice like a champ (in a rice cooker, of course)?!? Our bread never did rise--we were good at killing yeast.

Me and my crazy siblings

But banana bread--we could make that. It was pretty simple. We always had a couple of bananas that were a little too ripe. Plus, it didn't involve yeast.

There's no way we could mess it up.

We made a basic banana bread. It was good and sweet. I can't remember where we got the recipe, but I think we used our mom's stained copy of the Better Homes and Garden cookbook.

I discovered this recipe a few years ago from Molly Wizenberg and fell in love with it, because it reminded me of the banana bread we made when we were kids. Even better though is that it has a little bit of an Asian flavor with the addition of crystallized ginger.

Go Asians!

Crystallized ginger = fancy and unexpected

Oh, and did I mention it has chocolate in it?

Go Oompa Loompas!

Let's add some dark chocolate chips, m'kay?

And when you brown the butter, it adds a deeper flavor and a little nuttiness without adding nuts. It seems like the ginger is brighter against the browned butter.

Beautiful, beautiful crust

I've got to be honest though, it takes a long time to bake. I put a loaf into the oven once thinking I had plenty of time and realized I had to pick up Lee at work about when I was supposed to take it out--oops! He had to wait a little bit. That's poor party planning on my part.

Besides stranding your husband at work, you get this dark amber crust and your home smells like you've been baking all day. Lee forgave me for when he walked in the door.

 I heart ginger + chocolate

So, got any bananas lying around?


Browned Butter Banana Bread with Crystallized Ginger and Chocolate
Adapted from Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table

Ingredients
6 tbsp unsalted butter, browned
2 c flour
3/4 c sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 c semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 c finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c mashed banana
1/4 c sour cream (full fat)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a standard-sized loaf pan with cooking spray.

Brown butter and set aside to cool. Here's a great resource on how to brown butter.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips and ginger and whisk together. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs lightly using a fork. Add the mashed banana, sour cream, browned butter, and vanilla, and stir well with that same fork.

Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and combine ingredients using a rubber spatula, making sure not to over-mix. The mixture will be lumpy, but all ingredients should be wet. Scrap the batter into the greased loaf pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until a inserted toothpick comes out clean. I would recommend not disturbing it  for at least 60 minutes because it may sink in the middle. There is a lot of moisture in this loaf, so make sure to let it cook completely or it will come out doughy in the middle.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in a pan for 5 to 10 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and cool completely.

It's hecka good, promise.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Project Life 2014: Week 11

This week has been a dandy, difficult, and diligent week. Weird combination, but it's true!

Sunday, March 9: We had a couple bunches of our tulips eaten, but our Anti-Deer Mix (a combination of paprika, chili powder, and cayenne pepper) sprinkled on them deterred the deer from eating more. Wahoo!

Our tulips are still here!

Monday, March 10: We were watching some soccer, and Lee looks annoyed that I'm taking his picture. He's not annoyed. He doesn't smile in pictures--it's something he brought back from Russia.

Lee doesn't like getting his picture taken sometimes

Tuesday, March 11: My good friend, the Tall One, and I had a little bit of a "fist fight" at the church with these handy word vector bubbles.

Zap!

Wednesday, March 12: Lee had spring break this week, and one of the things he did was try his hand at making a couple of batches of drinking vinegars. Aren't these SO beautiful? We'll let you know how it turns out in about a week.

Pretty colors!

Thursday, March 13: We had our friends/relatives over for dinner this evening. They had invited us to their home a few weeks ago, and when we were over at their home, Lee got a little freaked out by this old child's shoe that was displayed in their home. It was hilarious when they brought it with them to dinner and placed it somewhere for Lee to discover. Lee freaked out again.

Lee is grossed out!

Friday, March 14: We went to a life celebration of my coworker's husband who passed away this last week. This man loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, so there were ingredients to make sandwiches to honor and remember him. It was beautiful and touching celebration.

In remembrance...

Saturday, March 15: My good, good friend, the Hot Scot, and I went out for a session of hot yoga and brunch afterward at the Roots Cafe in Millcreek. We ate in the yurt! And the food was delicious! It was such a wonderful morning!

Happiness is a good friend

We hope you have a delightful upcoming week!