Archive for November, 2010

No Waste Recipe: Butternut Squash Pasta Helps Tonia out of a Wintry Slump

Posted on November 19th, 2010 by Tonia No Comments

Once in a while {umm…aprox twice a week} I have zero motivation to do anything productive.  It usually happens on days when I’ve had an extra demanding client at work {“demanding” is my “Minnesota Nice” way of saying “asshole”}.

It happens more often this time of year because by the time 5 PM rolls around and I shut my laptop for the day, it’s totally dark out and all I want to do is snuggle on the couch with a book.  Something about less sunlight puts me in hibernation mode.  This would be fine, except for the fact that I have kind of designated myself as the meal-preparer in the relationship…in other words, if I don’t make us something to eat for dinner, then we don’t eat anything for dinner. 

This is not because Mike is lazy or because of old-fashioned gender roles or something.  He does other things to contribute, like chopping huge amounts of firewood and redesigning my blog for me.  😉 So I do most of the cooking. 

Anyways, when Mike closes his laptop for the day and finds me spooning our dog on the couch instead of enthusiastically creating a culinary masterpiece in the kitchen…well, the look on his face can only be described as pure and utter disappointment, with a dash of hunger mixed in for extra potency.  It doesn’t exactly make me feel like Wife of the Year. 

But I can’t help it…some days I just want to sit around and play on Pinterest.  On sad nights such as this, I usually call upon my Twitter friends for inspiration.  There’s nothing better than delicious pictures of food to get you off your butt and into the cooking mood.  If I tweet “looking for a good meal for dinner tonight…” I usually get four or five tweets in response with links to luscious and tempting recipes. 

Last night, I wanted something wholesome, fall-ish, easy to make, and in the “comfort food” category.  @YouCanCookThis totally read my mind somehow, and sent me this.  One glance at the ingredients and I realized I already had everything I needed for it {having to GO GROCERY SHOPPING is a huge thorn in my Wife of the Year foot.  Can’t wait until spring when we can “shop” our garden instead of going to the store!}  I made it in about a half hour, along with an arugula/apple/cranberry salad. 

It was soooo delicious and easy.  I doubled the recipe so I could use a whole squash and a whole box of pasta {qualifying it as a “No Waste” recipe, and we like having leftovers to re-heat for lunch}.  Make this right now, and savor every bite, and congratulate yourself on being Wife/Husband/Person of the Year, if only for a night.  :)

Reuse Tues: Gifts for the Holidays

Posted on November 16th, 2010 by Tonia 1 Comment

It’s Tuesday again!  Time to put some old items to new use.  This week the theme is gifts, because the holiday season is upon us and it’s time to start plotting what we’ll be giving our friends and family! 

For the accessory-loving women {or men} in your life:

These colorful necklaces are made from old t-shirts!!  Here’s the tutorial so you can make them yourself.

For the new homeowner/decor lover  in your life:

This awesome lampshade is made from yarn!  What a great way to use up old yarn {I have a million tangled balls of left-over yarn from long-ago projects!} Here’s the tutorial– looks pretty easy!

Or how about some cute cushions made from old rugs?  These would look so good in our house {hint, hint whoever picked my name for Secret Santa!}


For your bachelor friend who desperately needs some Christmas cheer around his pad:

Cute but still manly!  Every guy I know has a plethora of ugly ol’ ties they’ll never wear again…this is the perfect way to use them!

If you’re looking for more green gift ideas, head over to Etsy where I have put together a “treasury” board of some of my favorite green items!

Itty Bits: 100-Mile Thanksgiving

Posted on November 12th, 2010 by Tonia No Comments

Thanksgiving is an awesome holiday for many reasons, the main one being it is a chance to gather and give thanks for the many, many blessings in our lives.  The other main reason being that the holiday centers around the Three Holy F’s:  food, family, and football.  My three most-favorite things!  😉

We have so many things to be grateful for this year- it’s a little ridiculous.  I kind of feel like we hit the celestial jackpot in 2010…Mike’s brother got married to an incredible woman, Mike’s sister & brother-in-law had their first child {making us an aunt and uncle for the first time in our lives}, we got married and took an incredible honeymoon, we purchased our dream-hobby-farm and moved, I started working from home {a very welcome change that makes having a somewhat-boring-full-time-job a WHOLE lot more bearable}, and so much more.  AND the Packers aren’t half bad this year.  WHEW!

In other words, this Thanksgiving is kind of extra-special because of the remarkably fantastic year it has been, and I am really looking forward to the big feast and the moment just before we all dig in, when we bow our heads and collectively lift up our prayers of thanks.

SO!  For Thanksgiving 2010, I challenge you to break the status quoe and try something a little different.  It’s called the 100-Mile Thanksgiving Challenge and it’s brought to you by TreeHugger, which is a fantastic website and you should check it out if you don’t already have it bookmarked and read it religiously every day…ahem.  I’m slightly addicted.

The challenge is very simple: make your Thanksgiving meal local.  Buy groceries that were grown/raised within 100 miles of your home.  Send TreeHugger your 100-mile menu.  They will be voting on the best local Thanksgiving meal and announce the winner on the week of Thanksgiving!!

Eating local is one of the most important and best things we can do as a society.  It’s good for the economy AND the environment.  Mike and I are thrilled to live in a town that is highly supportive of local farms.  The bakery down the road uses locally grown wheat for all their goods, we’re able to get our milk, cheese, and ice-cream from a dairy that is about five minutes from our house, there are apple and cherry orchards everywhere around here, and 15 minutes to our north is a beautiful free-range pig farm where we get brats, bacon, ribs and the likes.  You’ve never seen happier, healthier pigs.

This challenge will be more difficult for those of you living in urban areas, I know, but get creative with it: do you have a relative coming to visit from a farming area?  Ask them to bring along some local produce or meat if they’re able.  And if you’re not able to make everythingon the table be from local sources, at least try to make some of it be- the turkey, the sweet potatoes, the green beans, the cranberries {this one shouldn’t be tough for anyone in WI…it’s the cranberry STATE!  So I don’t wanna hear no excuses.}  😛

We haven’t done an Itty Bits Challenge for some time now, so you’ve been off the hook.  Make this one count!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Around the Farm

Posted on November 11th, 2010 by Tonia 2 Comments

I haven’t had the chance to take many blog-worthy photos of our new place yet, but a couple of you have bugged me to no end to give you a glimpse of it {I’m not complaining- I rather like the attention, and I’m dying to show it off}, so here are some shots to tide you over. I know you’re waiting for wedding pictures too, and for realz, they are coming in spades!  Pinkie-swear.

My family came to visit last weekend and we chopped/stacked firewood in preparation for winter, made some great meals together, and sorted socks.  Yes, sorted socks.  One of the great things about my mom: she always leaves our house cleaner/more organized than when she arrived. :)


Green-smoothies being drank and homework happening at our kitchen table {which Mike made- isn't it a beaut?} Such good students.


My dad helped Mike cut enough firewood to last us several months.


That's our little guest cottage in the background, and Mike hucking logs.


My brother helped stack the wood in the woodshed.


And at night we made a big batch of Nonna's spaghetti {that's a glimpse of our pretty kitchen for ya!}