Friday, January 20, 2012

Adorable Paper Models - Papercrafts

Oh - how I wish I bought that paper model craft of the scooter that I saw at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  Now I see cute paper model crafts, everywhere!

So, I just saw this terrific set of paper model towns by papierowemiasto that are inspired by a small town in Poland.  This set is only available in Europe so we'll have to settle with enjoying it visually:

I bought the Themis Mobile after drooling over it for months and finally found it at one of my favourite shops, Vancouver Special.  I first saw it in Lucky Magazine a couple of years ago and then went on a hunt to find something similar.  Leave it to one of my favourite shops to carry this wonderful piece by Artecnica.  Even though I knew that I didn't have a proper home for it, I bought it anyways just in case I change it up in my apartment.
Photo Courtesy of the MOMA Store

 So how about we do a little roll call to bring some attention to some other eye catching paper model and crafts:

Can you believe this is a paper model of the Audi A7? I guess this is the only way I could fit it into my budget!
Nicol and Felix by Spanish designer Perro Loco
Shinkansen (Train) Town by Sanrio - link to the templates

You might also be interested in:
My Trip to San Fransisco MOMA Store
March 2011 - Greedy Girl Wishlist

Monday, January 16, 2012

Modern Pendant Light

I have decided that I need a new light fixture.  Currently, I have mid sized discrete pendant lamp that I had picked up at the Torre and Tagus sale.  It's okay.  There's nothing really special about it.  There's no real impact.  I don't want it to be the main focus of the open space but I do want it to be a point of interest.  It must be a bright light - since it is in the kitchen and would also be the main source of light in the room.  I don't want it to look like it belongs in the lobby of an expensive condo or in a restaurant.  I want it to look unique - like my home.  I think the idea of repurposing a bird cage is cute but just too shabby chic for me and I don't want too many edges or details.

Here's what I have - and unfortunately, with the light on, you can't see the mesh-like details:

It's currently sold on (I got mine for only $30!).

I'd like something simple.  I did a little Ikea hack by spray painting a fruit bowl and turning it upside down for my entrance light and I would like to have something similar this light:

I'm not sure if I want to go industrial or continue on with the quirky and bright scheme.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Eating Habits - Goal for 2012

My sister used to lecture me about my carbon footprint.  Okay, it was huge.  Like, Shaquille O'Neil huge.  But things changed when I moved out on my own.

First of all - I couldn't afford to buy all new furniture so I became the Craigslist queen.  Then my inventory of clothing was getting out of hand so I turned to consignment (to buy and sell).  Then I got into gardening and became more selective of the food that I bought, what I kept (as organic fertilizer for my garden) and what I put in my body.

Then I moved downtown and I got rid of my car and took public transportation, zip car, cycled, scootered, or walked to my destination.  

All these changes happened in the span of about two years.

But now I have a new goal, which I've been working on for about two months.  I plan to cut down my carbon footprint and live a healthier life by drastically reducing the amount of packaged and processed foods I eat.  I had to take an inventory of the food that I consume the most to identify my buying patterns.  How to do this?  I kept track of what was in my recyling box for the past three weeks.  Here's what I found:
  • LOTS of canned beans, tomatoes, beets, pears (for baking), Jyoti's canned curry, herring and sardines and condiments
  • Tons of plastic packing for campari and grape tomatoes, arugula, falafel, and goat yogurt
Bye! (Sniff, Sniff)

From this
To this

This is much better than a year ago when I was taking out my recycling every other day.

So what can I do?
  • I have already bought containers and filled them with dried beans.
  • Continue to pre-plan my meals (I have weekly meal plans).
  • Make my own curries.
  • Take the time to prepare my own beets.  
  • Never buy canned goods by the bulk and when I don't actually need them.  They tend to just sit there in my cupboard taking up valuable space.
  • Make my own chips (kale and sweet potato) and pop my own popcorn.
  • Buy seasonal veggies.  In the summer, I would get large bunches of mizuna and arugula from the UBC farmer market for stupid cheap.  So, now that the season has changed, I can eat kale and sprout my own quinoa for salads.  
  • Make my own falafels.  Besides, the store bought ones are always pre-fried.  I'm sure I can make patties that I can just pop into the oven or on the Foreman Grill.
  • In the summer, I will buy fresh berries and make my own preserves.

Less packaging, just buy your veggies from the smaller grocery stores or farmer markets

    These tools will be part of my arsenal to keep me on track:

    Foreman Grill
    Slow Cooker
    Salad Spinner

    Currently, my intake of processed and packaged foods is quite low - I'd say I'm probably at about 65-75%.  I'd like to see that go down up to about 75% - 85% by the end of February.

    How will I know that I've succeeded?
    • I only need to take my recycling out once a month and eventually, every other month
    • The canned goods shelf is replaced by dried food.  It has already gone from two whole shelves to half a shelf.
    • Packaged salad and tomatoes in my home become as rare as a full moon (I'm keeping my expectations realistic).

    Any tips to share?

    Monday, January 9, 2012

    Recipe - Quinoa salad with sauteed kale and tofu

    So, I've gone on about how much I'm loving kale so here's a little recipe to the dish I made, today:

    Quinoa Salad with Sauteed Tofu and Kale

    -1 cup of mixed dried beans (or two cans of mixed beans)
    -1 bunch of kale
    -1 large red onion
    -1 bunch of parsley
    -1 cup of grape tomatoes
    -two cloves of garlic
    -1 red pepper
    -juice of 1/2 lemon
    -1.5 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
    -2 tablespoons of masala spice powder
    -1 small package of firm tofu
    -1 box of quinoa
    -water or stock

    If you are working with dried beans make sure to soak them over night and boil them for about 10 minutes.  Drain and put aside.

    Prepare marinade:
    -In a bowl squeeze the juice from the lemon
    -Add 1.5 tablespoon cider vinegar
    -Add masala powder, pinch of salt and pepper

    Prepare the quinoa:
    -Follow the instructions on the box
    -I added half an onion and 1 clove of garlic to the boiling water as well as a pinch of salt
    -The box of quinoa that I used made about 2 cups of quinoa and let it it aside for 15 minutes

    Prepare kale, tofu and onion mix:
    -Clean and de-stem the kale chopped up into 2 inches chunks
    -Drain and cut the tofu in 1 inch squares
    -Put the other half of the onion in 2 tablespoons of oil
    -Add 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
    -Sauteed until onion start to brown a bit
    -Throw in the cubed tofu and add a little bit of salt
    -Once the tofu starts to brown a little add the kale
    -Add one tablespoon of masala powder and a bit of salt

    Sauteed until kale softens but still crunchy.  This will take about 5 minutes.  Set aside.

    Prepare the rest of the veggies:
    -Slice grape tomatoes in half
    -Cut red pepper into 1 inch squares
    -chop up the parsley

    -Add beans

    Throw in all the vegetables in one bowl and mix with the marinade.  Throw in the quinoa last.

    Eat and enjoy!

    Kale - My new meal buddy

    Ever since the Fall popped around, I've pretty much had kale everyday.

    I grew two types of kale in the summer - baby kale and just regular kale.  The baby type was lovely in salads and sandwiches, where as the kale is great sauteed, roasted or in a baked dish.

    Now, a bit about my eating habits.  I'm back to my regular schedule where I prepare my meals by the week.  I find that if I pre-plan my meals I make wiser choices on what I buy, how much I buy and what I cook.

    I have another thing to admit.  I'm ridiculously cheap at times.  I can't stand seeing people put things to waste.  We had a number of luncheons at work and they used kale as a garnish and they were going to throw it all out!  You can eat that stuff!  So I took it all (about three large plastic bags full) and froze what I couldn't use immediately.

    I'm not the type of person who gets tired of eating the same thing everyday.  I can eat the same thing for lunch and dinner - I'll go ahead and toot my own horn - I'm a great cook.  I've been using my slow cooker for the most part and it's one of my favourite kitchen tools.  I love eating soups and stews.  They're hearty, good for you, easy to make, and you can fill em with great stuff.  

    So, I've made the following items over the past weeks and everything had kale in it:

    Week 1: Minestrone Soup
    Week 2: Butternut and sweet potato soup with roasted walnuts, fennel and fried kale chips
    Week 3: Thai Curry stew with sauteed kale, roasted almonds and root vegetables
    Week 4: Lotus root, shiitake mushrooms, baby bok choi, five spice marinade tofu stew in a spicy chili sauce and pickled kale
    Week 5: Borscht
    Week 6: Kale, sun-dried tomato, pecorino cheese, green olives, mustard seed, red onion quiche
    Week 7: Quinoa salad with sauteed onions, kale and tofu

    What the hell is so great about kale?  According to WHFoods, kale has some of the following benefits:

    Antioxidant-Related Health Benefits
    Kale's cancer preventive benefits have been clearly linked to its unusual concentration of two types of antioxidants, namely, carotenoids and flavonoids. Lutein and beta-carotene are antioxidants that protect our body.  Recent research has also made it clear that at least 45 different antioxidant flavonoids exist in kale.

    Other stuff about kale according to
    • Kale eases lung congestion and is beneficial to the stomach, liver and immune system
    • It contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the eyes from macular degeneration
    • It also contains indole-3-carbinol, which may protect against colon cancer
    • Kale is an excellent source of calcium, iron, vitamins A and C, and chlorophyll

     Nutritional Value of cooked 1 cup of kale (boiled and without salt) from Happy Juicer:
    Vitamin A(IU) 13621
    Vitamin A (microg retinol activity equivalents) 681
    Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.138
    Vitamin B12 (microg) 0
    Folic Acid (microg) 0
    Niacin (mg) 0.5
    Riboflavin (mg) 0.07
    Thiamin (mg) 0.053
    Vitamin C (mg) 41
    Vitamin E (mg) 0.85
    Vitamin K (mg) 817
    Calcium (mg) 72
    Copper (mg) 0.156
    Iron (mg) 0.9
    Manganese (mg) 0.416
    Magnesium (mg) 18
    Phosphorus (mg) 28
    Potassium (mg) 228
    Selenium (microg) 0.9
    Sodium (mg) 23
    Zinc (mg) 0.24
    Protein (g) 1.9
    Fibre (g) 2
    Water (g) 91.2
    Carbohydrate (g) 5.63
    Energy (Kcal) 28
    Lipids (fats) (g) 0.4
    Cholesterol (mg) 0

     Care to share your recipes???

    Friday, January 6, 2012

    Modern Faucets

    Okay, so I've fallen off the grid again.  I blame it on Turkey coma.  That's terrible of me, blaming the poor bird.  I take accountability, I got lazy.  But I'm back and I have to get some things off my to do list!  On of the top things that I need to do is get a new faucet.

    I hate my kitchen faucet.  It's just so generic.  I want something with a pull down spout.  I had one at my old apartment and it made such a difference with regards to cleaning the sink and getting all the food into the garburator.  So my lovely parents got my a gift certificate to Home Depot to help me with that. 

    Definitely not one of these:
    Judge Judy says "That thing looks like my gavel.   Get this ugly thing out of my court!"

    Okay got that out of my system.  I don't have a lot of room so those larger faucets for gourmet kitchens just won't work.  I also want something sleek and discreet.  The last thing I want is for people to come to a dinner party and immediately see the faucet.  It should complement the space.  People's reaction should be "oh, and this faucet... it's nice". What I want in this faucet:
    • Must be silver or chrome
    • Single handle
    • Cannot be more than 32 centimeters tall
    • Must have a pull down spout
    • Must be below $300
    • Easy to install cuz this gal is going to try to do it herself
    Alas, I was shocked at the sticker prices...I won't even bother posting the prices.  Some of them cost more than my mortgage.  YIKES. - by Sinofaucet

    The Decorating Diva - faucet by Blanco
    Als Pics = faucet by KWC Ono

    Home Depot - Faucet by Blanco

    Faucet Direct - faucet by Moen

    So far, no. 4 looks like it might be a winner.  It's in my price range, it's sleek and simple and I like the Blanco faucets.  Suggestions?