Monday, January 21, 2013

Office Update

Waaay back in November, I wrote a post about how I wanted to organized an area in our downstairs.  It functions as a kind of everything space and it was a disaster!  If you want to read that post, click here.

Well, it's finished - almost!  There are a few little details to be taken care of - like labeling and filing, but the majority of the work has been done.  All I have to say is thank goodness for the playroom because just about every evening for the past few weeks Nick and I have taken the girls downstairs and they have been keeping busy playing (for the most part!) while we have been organizing away.

We got the IKEA EXPEDIT shelving unit and I love it!  It has just enough room to fit everything, but is small enough to force me to purge, and purge we did!  We donated, recycled, and threw away at least half of what was on the large and small bookshelves and the contents of our files.  I also moved some things around and got rid of a few pieces of furniture.

Are you ready to see what it looks like?  Here you go...



You'll notice there is no desk and that is because we decided that we really don't need one.  We both have desks at work, and TRY to keep our work at work.  My laptop and Nick's ipad go with us everywhere around the house so we didn't feel like we needed a place to keep them. If we need table space, we either use the dining room table or the kitchen counter.

Want another look?  Check it out...



I turned the back corner into a sort of bar area and since that is kind of Nick's domain, I added his replica high school helmet to give the corner a Nick feel.

Here's one more before and after...



Did you notice how the Keurig was on the wine fridge before?  I moved the utility cart to where the wine fridge is and made a coffee area. We keep the Keurig downstairs because we don't use it that often and it takes up too much space on the kitchen counter, but at least now there is room to make a cup of coffee when it does get used and to top it all off, there is room on the utility cart for when I need a little desk space.

Well, what do you think?  I'm loving it!  In a future post I'll explain how I organized all of the stuff we didn't purge so that I can find and file things easier, but here's a sneak peek at how I have decided to organize all the pens, notepads, paperclips, etc.

P.S. I just have to add this disgusting picture because look what I found making a home in the corner behind one of the shelves...


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Monthly Menu: No Bake Meals

Here is the timeline of events:

4 weeks ago - the oven (actually both ovens) stopped heating up

3 weeks ago - the repair man said the oven needed just a little part to fix it, then he called in to make sure the part was in and discovered the part isn't made for our oven anymore

2 weeks ago - after the Christmas craze it was time to start shopping for a new oven

this week - the oven was SUPPOSED to arrive, but apparently now it is on back order and won't be in until the 23rd!

So yep, that's right... we've been without an oven for about a month now and we still have a few more weeks to go.  If only it were summer and we could BBQ everyday!  We've had to really think hard about what we are cooking for dinner because we didn't realize how much we used our oven.  It seems like every meal we think of requires the use of an oven... ugh!

Here are just a few of the no-bake meals we have made over the past 4 weeks:

1. penne with homemade pesto*
2. breakfast (we did this a few times and switched it up between pancakes & breakfast sandwiches with fruit and turkey sausage as sides)
3. spaghetti and meatballs & broccoli
4. paninis & ceasar salad (pretty much our go to quick meal... we seem to make it once a week)
5. vegan white bean chili & tortilla chips (I usually make my own chips by baking tortillas, but since that requires the use of an oven, I was forced to indulge in some very oily and salty tortilla chips - yum!)
6. salmon (cooked on the stove), kale, & toasted bread
7. lemon chicken pasta
8. turkey tacos & peppers
9. green chili cheese soup (with another bag of chips... might as well milk this no oven thing for all its worth in the tortilla chip department)

Christmas breakfast - crockpot breakfast casserole (Thank you Amy for being a life saver and sending me this recipe!)

New Year's Eve dessert - chocolate chip cookie dough truffles (I also made these for some friends when we watched the Seahawks playoff game and decorated them with blue and green sprinkles.)

*I have to make homemade pesto because Nick is allergic to tree nuts.  I've come up with a pretty yummy one.  Here is the recipe:

1. heat 1/2 cup oil and 2 cloves of garlic on medium heat for 5 minutes
2. meanwhile, combine the following ingredients in the food processor and pulse until well mixed:

1/2 cup sunflower seeds
about 3 large handfuls of basil
1/2 cup parmesan
juice of 1 lemon
about 2 tsp of kosher salt
20 grinds of pepper

3. add the oil and garlic to the basil mixture and pulse until smooth (you may need to add a little more oil as you are pulsing to get the right consistency)
4. I usually add the pesto to penne pasta with feta and halved cherry tomatoes that I warm up in a little oil on the stove to make them softer for about 5 minutes...

The pesto is so easy to make that sometimes I will make an extra batch and freeze it for a really easy cooking night!

Hope this gives you some ideas for no bake meals.  I would love to hear if any of you have meals that you love that don't require the use of an oven... since apparently I have a few more weeks of no bake meals to go!!