6.26.2011

Homemade Hummus

I absolutely LOVE hummus. I only tried it about 2 years ago for the first time!  It has since then become one of my Trader Joe snack weaknesses. I always try to sneak a tub into the shopping cart mostly unsuccessfully because it is a rather expensive treat that hardly lasts one sitting.
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In keeping with this whole getting back to the best and basics of life theme I’ve had going and with the help of my trusty cooking source: Cook’s Illustrated, I embarked on the quest.
Um. It takes 5 minutes! It’s the simplest thing ever! It seriously costs pennies! And there are endless easy variations!
I don’t want to get in trouble for reprinting the recipe. . . so here’s a secret link!
Actually, I’ve got five minutes right now. . .

6.22.2011

Apartment Hunting: Bright, Sunny, 1.5 br!

As we started making our plans to move to the city at the end of the summer more concrete, I jumped at the chance to start looking for our new home.

And so I found the most beautiful, perfect apartment for us to live in. . .

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Now let me redefine our new “perfect.”
1- Lots of natural light!  CHECK!
2- At least one extra bedroom. “.5” works. It means it does not have a closet. Actually, in city-terms it means it is a modern-day large walk-in closet. That’s ok! It has a window! Works for us!
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3- A bedroom large enough for the basics: bed, vanity, dresser. Must have a window. (2 windows?! double CHECK!)
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4- A kitchen. We won’t be picky. We know our current one is a major luxury- even for a house it would be! This will do. (wow. 1/4 of our current one! That’s OK It has a TWO windows AND eat-in space!)
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5- A bathroom.  (spacious!)
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6- PARKING!
7- (And actually should be #1) Safety. A beautiful, young and safe neighborhood, 1.5 blocks from a Catholic Church and a park!
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MAJOR BROWNIE POINTS: faces WEST! hardwood floors, great colors (just like we painted our current rental!), molding, impeccably clean, great storage (pantry, bedroom closet, and storage through the back door), gas appliances.

NOT-SO-GREAT-BUT-WE’LL-TAKE-IT: laundry not in unit, but shared downstairs, move in date: NOW.
But come-on?! Did you see those pictures?! And these were taken around 7:30 p.m.!
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You’d never believe what a find! Well, perhaps now you do! It was the 2nd place I looked at, but the first one Tommy found on padmapper.com (great resource if you’re apartment hunting!). I even (of course) asked if the price was negotiable, and was quoted $100/mo less if we move in July! I think we scored major points being a married couple with law school around the corner (maturity, stability).
I couldn’t stop raving about it to my husband once I looked at it. . . but low, and behold, the afternoon before we had an appointment to see it together and sign the papers. . . our plans suddenly took a major direction change. . .
We are moving. And I don’t mean from the suburbs to the city as planned. We’re now going South! South to Atlaaaa(long A)ta, Geooo(long O)rgia. So goodbye tiny-but-perfectly-gorgeous find! Hellooooo new adventure!

6.20.2011

Apartment Gardening

Better late than never! We decided to go for it, even though we do plan on moving. We had the seeds already so why not use them, and why not enjoy the process? If we’re lucky this year we might be able to enjoy some of the “sweat of our brow” before we move like we did last year! The next lucky tenants will get what’s left :)

Left side: basil Right side: green onions.

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Pots: left to right: jalapenos, jalapenos, bell peppers.

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Nothing so far…. maybe some sunflowers or another flower assortment.

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And just for kicks, to see if anything can grow in this. . . mud. . .

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Left to right: watermelon, cantaloupe, and pumpkins!

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haha he put the packets upside-down. . . men. . .

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And a big pot of carrots surrounded by chocolate mint that was already there!

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Some of the plants shot up within a week! Now we’re actually glad we didn’t bother germinating for weeks ahead of time. When the weather is right nature does its thing!

6.01.2011

Living the rustic life

Our recent trip to Oklahoma in April for a friend’s wedding left us feeling a bit nostalgic for the peaceful, rustic life. Unfortunately that 12 hour (24 rt) trip had to be done in one weekend so we didn’t get the chance to experience much of the rustic lifestyle.

When the weather FINALLY warmed around these Midwestern parts we took advantage and away we went from noisy, crowded, concrete Chicago to a relative’s quiet, isolated, little cabin out in Neshkoro in the beautiful Wisconsin country. 

Little trips like these are much needed. It’s so nice to go away, disconnect and unwind even for just a weekend here or there each season. I was getting cabin fever being cooped up for so long. We hardly had a Spring this year!

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We enjoyed day and late-night bonfires every day!

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We found these great mopeds in the shed and took them for a ride! It was incredible!

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We admired that 100-year-old barn that was soon to be fully demolished.

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Quality. Built to last 100 years!

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And we took a little (err big) memento home! We are going to make a picture frame for the above picture!

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Ah, the taste and feel of summer at last!  

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We went out for dinner at this amazing restaurant near Lake Lucerne. We ate a delicious meal. To prolong our outing, we ordered drinks and watched a gorgeous sunset!

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Tried the local grub: potato skins! HEAVENLY!

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And hit up the local flea markets!

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Doing nothing is no vacation. (double negative?) Change of pace, rest, and  good food is our kind of vacation. We all need rejuvenation so we can come back to our busy, daily lives with new focus.

"I have always seen rest as time set aside from daily tasks, never as days of idleness. Rest means recuperation... In other words it means a change of occupation, so that you can come back later with a new impetus to your daily job." –St. Josemaria Escriva

Can’t get away right now? Try a change of pace in your daily life. Slow down a little in small things. Make something you love like strawberry jam from scratch. Check out the inspiration for my title : Kristin’s blog: Living the Rustic Life.

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