Adventures in Target with Amy & Emily

Editor’s note: Once upon a time, we tried to start a blog. The year was 2009. The blog was called “Kant Touch Us.”  It shut down in 2010. We saved some of the posts however. Here’s one of those gems, originally posted in June 2009.

Tonight after Em got off of work, we decided to go to Best Buy and Target to pick up some things for the house. For some reason, we decided that we EACH needed a cart to push around. We were probably obnoxious because we took up a good portion of the aisle wherever we went, pushing our red carts side by side in the main aisles. In the smaller aisles, we went tandem.

targetcart

Continue reading “Adventures in Target with Amy & Emily”

It’s finally Spring! Which means Ramps!!

So here in the Midwest, it has taken awhile to see spring. BUT it is finally here! And when Spring is here in the Midwest, I get especially excited for cooking. One of my favorite foods to eat in spring is ramps. If you have never had them before, you are totally missing out. I LOVE RAMPS!

Ramps

Ramps are wild leeks. Their flavor is kind of like a mix between garlic and onion, but so much better. The versatility they offer in cooking is awesome and an amazing addition to just about any dish.

In many areas in the US that don’t experience high heat, you can even forage for your own ramps as long as there is a fresh water source nearby. While this can be awesome, I would only recommend it if you know how to sustainably forage for ramps (and other foods). Ramps take awhile to recover when harvested. It can take up to 10 years for a patch of ramps to recover, even when only 25% of the patch is harvested. There are certain areas in North America who are having shortages of ramps. It’s even illegal to harvest ramps for sale in Quebec. This article by Chefs Collaborative discuss harvesting ramps and the problems that could arise, if you would like to learn more. If you do decide to forage for ramps, please be smart about it–as we want ramps for many years to come.

So, what can you do with ramps? So, so much. You can eat basically the whole ramp. I usually cut up the bulb part of the ramp and then sauté them. This lends itself as a nice base to many dishes, whether it be a sauce or seasoning for a protein and veggies. The leaf of the ramp is great to incorporate when you finish the dish as a garnish or within the dish itself. Cook it like you would spinach. You can even have ramps raw or pickled, however I prefer my sautéed or roasted.  

ramps prep

Ramps are quite the versatile vegetable. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend you make incorporate ramps in your cooking this spring or check out a local restaurant who highlights this awesome piece of produce. Just be sure to enjoy responsibly!

If you aren’t sure where to start, look out for my ramp and beef stir-fry recipe later this week.

Succulent Sunday: Propagation

I’ll admit it. I have a problem. I am addicted to succulents. You may remember a few weeks ago, when I shared a tutorial on how to make a succulent container garden. In that post, I mentioned that I was going to attempt to propagate a leaf from one of the new succulents.

I decided to take a look around my ever-growing succulent collection to see if any of my plants would benefit from propagation. And then I found these babies at work.

Leggy Succulent

Can you say “leggy succulent”?! While I’m happy that these succulents survived the Sconnie winter, it’s obvious they had a serious lack of sunshine. Succulents thrive on sunlight and those gray, gloomy days of winter did not provide the needed sunlight. That said, the sedum succulent needed a little TLC.

I started by gently removing the leaves from the bottom of the plant. One of the best ways to do this is to gently move it left to right until the leaf pops off easily. If you damage the end of the leaf, it won’t propagate.

succulent propagation

Once you get to the head of the succulent, take a clean set of scissors and snip it off.

succulent leaves for propagation

succulent propagation

Lay the leaves and heads of the succulents out for 1-3 days or until the ends callous over. You’ll want them to get some sunlight but not be in direct sunlight or they will burn. Indirect sunlight is best.

propagating succulents with leaves

I checked on the leaves every day.

succulents callous

succulent callous2

Once the leaves callous over, it’s time to move them!  Since I had so many leaves, I prepped a large ceramic dish I made in college for propagating baby succulents.

laying out succulent leaves

I put a layer of small stones for drainage and then covered them with cactus soil. Then, I placed all the leaves in rows in the dish.

layingoutsucculents

You might have noticed that I also included the stems of the succulents I am propagating. I have done some reading and it’s possible to propagate from the stems, so I figured it was worth a shot! I’m checking the soil daily and if it’s dry, I am spraying lightly with water from a water bottle. 

The top cuttings from the succulents I’m propagating were placed into a small pot so they can begin rooting. 

succulent cuttings

I’ve done a lot of research on best practices for propagating succulents with leaves and cuttings. I’ve had success with cuttings in the past and am looking forward to trying out leaf propagation!

succulent terrarium

Luckily, I already know what to look for since I received some bonus baby succulents in one of the succulent pots I bought last weekend for new terrariums. I immediately put them in their own “pots” (mason jars – one of my other obsessions) and hope they survive!

babysucculents

babysucculents2

I’ve learned that succulent cuttings and leaves need lots of water in order to propagate, but once they get to be about the size of the photo below, you can start to withhold water and the new baby succulent will pull its moisture from the original leaf. Once it shrivels and falls off, you can treat the new plant as you would any other succulent.

babysucculents5

I have found some great resources for succulent propagation and care. One of my favorite resources is Succulents and Sunshine. Cassidy Tuttle has even written two eBooks (both of which I purchased and reference often). Click the images at the bottom of this post to check them out!

Another great resource is Needles & Leaves. I have often referenced the post about propagating leggy succulents.

I’ll be posting weekly updates on the progress of my propagation experiment. 

Click here to visit Succulents and Sunshine.
Click here to visit Succulents and Sunshine*
Growing-Succulents-Indoors-An-eBook-by-Cassidy-Tuttle-of-Succulents-and-Sunshine
Click here to visit Succulents and Sunshine*

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TBT: Lazy Selfie

So TBT takes us all the way back to…May 3, 2014. Yes, less than two weeks ago. Amy and I were at our brother’s house, celebrating his 30th birthday. We decided to take a selfie together. However, Amy was sitting on the cooler, and I was sitting on a hammock. We were about 5 feet away from each other. I was quite comfy in the hammock, so I had no desire to get up. Amy was also apparently comfortable sitting on a cooler (not sure what that says about her). So, we decided to take a lazy selfie…both of us staying in our respective seats…a cooler and a hammock. The lazy selfie did turn out cute though! Proof that laziness sometimes pays off! 

lazy selfie

Can we stop talking about the thigh gap already?!

thighgap

Unless you have been under a rock for the past year, you have probably heard of the “thigh gap.” Let me tell you, just hearing the words “thigh gap” makes me cringe. If you do have a thigh gap, I hope this is simply part of your natural genetics and you did not go on some crazy workout and diet to achieve the “thigh gap” or got on the “thinspo” movement. (Thinspo is a whole other can of worms that I won’t even begin to open. Francally, it is really crazy to me that Thinspo exists.) 

There are maybe five people in the entire world who naturally have a thigh gap and are healthy at the same time. Every one else is either photoshopped or achieved the thigh gap in an unhealthy way. The numbers could be off, but seriously the thigh gap is not attainable for A LOT of people.

Rather than focusing on achieving the thigh gap, I would prefer we focus our energy on being healthy, happy, and confident. While magazines and media are slowly getting on the strong, beautiful regardless of size woman bandwagon,  it is far from perfect.

Media and technology can be great, but it also puts out a lot of crap that sends messages saying skinny is beautiful. I grew up with friends who had eating disorders, and it sucked to see them go through that.  When I was younger, I struggled with my own body image, and I still do sometimes. When I look in the mirror, I often see my flaws. I don’t love that this happens, but honestly it does. I do know I am a beautiful woman, but I sometimes I just don’t see it. Media’s images get in my head. I do not want the “thigh gap.” But maybe I don’t like how my triceps are kind of jiggly or I am not as toned as I would like (maybe it’s because you can only look so tone as a pale Sconnie).  Long story short, there are things I don’t necessarily love about my body, however I am developing my own confidence. I may not be the skinniest person out there, but I don’t need to be or want to be.  I do know I am healthy, have an awesome life, and am happy. And I couldn’t ask for anything else.

Anyways, I am over the thigh gap. Let’s be done with it America.

Hopefully we can come to a place that focuses on beauty at any size. Be healthy. Be Beautiful.

That’s all, I’m off my soap box now.

Serrano Lime Roasted Chicken

roast chicken serrano title

Roasted chicken is the best way to have chicken. Seriously. Not only do you get super juicy chicken, but you can also use the chicken carcass and scraps to make chicken broth.

Before I tried to make roasted chicken, it seemed kind of scary. I mean it’s a whole bird. But I promise, it really is easy to make and only takes about an hour to cook. Once you get past taking the liver, heart, and who knows what else out of the cavity of the bird, and rinsing your bird–it is a complete breeze. Roasting a whole chicken is really the most delicious way to make chicken. I rarely ever even buy chicken breast anymore. The whole chicken is totes the way to go.

There are many ways to season a roasted chicken, but this Serrano lime roasted chicken is one of my favorites to make!

serrano chicken-ingredients 

All you will need for this recipe is a whole chicken, an onion, serrano peppers, garlic, salt, limes and olive oil. (The recipe says two limes, but the limes at the grocery store were uber tiny, so I got three. If your store only sells tiny limes, buy three.)

Remove the neck and any innards from the cavities and discard. Rinse chicken in sink, then pat dry with paper towels. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

 

onions

Cut up the red onion into large pieces. Put 1 tablespoon of olive oil and onion pieces into a roasting pan or large baking dish.

peppers

Pro tip for cutting up hot peppers: Use a grapefruit spoon to scrape out the seeds.

bowl

Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. 

raw chicken

Loosen the skin from the breast and legs of the chicken and, using clean hands, spread 1/2 of your mixture underneath the skin. Rub the remaining mixture all over the outside of the chicken.

Place chicken in a roasting pan or baking dish on top of the onions, breast side up. (You can tie the legs if you’d like, but it is not necessary.)

roast chicken serrano

Roast the chicken for about 50-60 minutes. The chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees when the meat thermometer is inserted into the thigh; let sit at least 10 minutes before carving.

cutting chicken

Carve the chicken and serve with pan juices.

This chicken is super tasty. The leftovers also are awesome in tacos or on salads. Enjoy!

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Important: Turn headlights on when driving at night!

Editor’s note: Once upon a time, we tried to start a blog. The year was 2009. The blog was called “Kant Touch Us.”  It shut down in 2010. We saved some of the posts however. Here’s one of those gems, originally posted in July 2009.

Soo. . . Last night driving home from work. I was driving around the block to park the car.  I borrow Amy’s at night, because I don’t have a car anymore, and so I don’t have to walk home at night.  As I am going up a side street, sirens start going on behind me.  At first I thought crap, maybe I rolled through a stop sign or accidentally turned at where it says “no turn on red”.  That as not the case…the cop walks up.  He says, “Miss, is there a reason to why you are not driving with your headlights on?” OMG I have been driving around with my headlights not on… hmm pretty dumb.  I then continue to say, “OMG, I am borrowing my sis’s car and thought she had headlights that automatically adjusted-just like my old car.  I saw headlights on in the garage, when I was coming from work.  I never drive her car at night.  I feel really dumb!”  Ok, side note #1:  I only drive her car at night and have numerous times.  I have been borrowing it at night for about a month-and never realized they weren’t on.   Continue reading “Important: Turn headlights on when driving at night!”

A style change to help some kids

I’ve had long hair for a couple of years now. At first, I just wanted to have longer hair so I could braid it. Then, I wanted it long for a friend’s wedding. Then it became a game with my hair stylist – let’s find out how long my hair will grow!

Long Hair Don't Care

But, last month I just couldn’t take it anymore. I needed it gone. So, I made an appointment with Dawn last week.

After a bunch of research, I decided to donate my hair to Children With Hair Loss, a charity that helps children who have medically-related hair loss. Their mission is “to empower these children to become whole again by making hair replacement available to those who may be financially challenged and might otherwise not have a means of obtaining the hair they want and need.”

I chose this charity over others for a couple of reasons:

  1. They accept color treated hair
  2. They never charge recipients for wigs (yes, there is a charity out there that charges children with health issues for wigs)

</soapbox>

Time to chop the hair!

hair6

hair5

Of course, I couldn’t JUST get my hair cut – I needed a vibrant red color for the summer!

hair4

hair3

hair2

hairbeforeafter

I was able to donate about 11 inches of hair – and, I still have enough hair for a pony tail! I love the new color, too. 

TBT: Brewers Style

Umm, so the Milwaukee Brewers are doing amazing. Like crazy, amazing. Like best in the whole entire league amazing. And for a Brewers fan, this is pretty freaking awesome. So in honor of this awesomeness, today’s TBT brings us to the parking lot of Miller Park in 2011.

One thing that makes Brewers games so much fun is tailgating. If you have never tailgated, this needs to go on your bucketlist ASAP. If you have never tailgated in Wisconsin, you also need to add that to you bucketlist. Us Sconnies, really are experts at tailgating. Trust me. 

Fam at the Brewers game

Amy, our brother, and I were tailgating a Brewers/Cubs game (which is one intense rivalry).

Emily tailgating to her bro

This may be one of the favorite pictures I have ever taken with my bro. 

Go Brewers! I look forward to “Rolling out the Barrel” soon!!