Monday, February 11, 2013

Problems and Solutions

It seems all of my Monday posts start with a frozen, snowy picture from the previous weekend!  Our storms have been hitting on the weekends, for which I am grateful.  Weekend storms give us the luxury of shifting around plans in favor of being at home if that is what suits our fancy.  Paul and I had planned to go cross country skiing on Sunday morning.  When our ski date coincided with some pretty fierce freezing rain, we decided to postpone the ski day.

This left us with time and energy to tackle a few home projects, one of which has been in the works for months!

We have a room with very dark corners.  Over the last 3 years, we have shifted around various lamps and furniture arrangements to try to meet the needs of those who inhabit the room (the dogs, right now).  When I came across 2 candle holders in the garden section of Home Goods this past fall, I snatched them up.  I bought them with visions of turning them into hanging lamps.  Luckily when I brought them home, Paul liked them!  This is sometimes the problem with our home decor: I bring something home and it is met with the Paul veto.  Its ok, though, because we both want to like our space and the stuff in it.

It took a while for us to find the right parts to turn them into the lights we wanted.  We needed a socket, a plug, wiring, a switch and hooks.  After multiple trips to multiple stores, an internet order and weeks of scheming/procrastinating, we had what we needed to get the job done.

After a few nicks on Paul's fingers, much measuring and scheming of the positioning of the lights, they are up!   Thanks to Paul's tools and skills, we altered the cord to have an easy on/off switch for each light.  We still need to get some tacks to secure the cords against the corners, but they are functional! I've been researching changing out a lot of the lighting fixtures in our house and am astonished at the cost of lights.  We got these done for $35 each. Hopefully we can stumble across some more DIY options we like!

I think Tchazo says thanks for brightening up his crate-zone.

Partly motivated by a chocolate zucchini cake I've made for him numerous times, my dad shredded and froze a bunch of zucchini for me in the fall.  I've used frozen zucchini in soups before, but had tested how it behaves in baked goods.  I put it to the test this weekend.  After thawing and draining it, I think it still released too much moisture to trust it in baked goods.  As you can see from the "bites" above, the liquid caused a bit of a problem.

The solution?  Bake it in a pan instead!  I definitely want to try this recipe again with fresh zucchini.  The recipe is Zucchini Bread Bites from The Sprouted Kitchen Cookbook. (I am loving this book!).  In addition to subbing in frozen zucchini for fresh, I also followed the option that suggested using 1c. cooked quinoa for the quinoa flakes.  The quinoa flakes were $6 for a tiny box at the coop, so used the mixed color quinoa I already had at home.  I love the crunchy texture it yields.  I also made my own oat flour for this recipe.  I put some rolled oats in my spice grinder and whirred it around until it was the texture of flour.  Nifty!  The grinder was a Christmas gift and it has already proven quite useful despite not yet having ground any spices.

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