Ain’t No Mountain High Enough #tbt

fro 2004

This week’s Throw Back Thursday photo is from 2004, when I was a senior in high school.  Yes, I that is me. Yes, I have an afro. No, it is not my real hair (unfortunately). 

My high school choir was doing a medley of songs from the 70s. If you hadn’t guessed, I got to be a Supreme. It was awesome, not only did I get an amazing afro wig to wear, but I also got a wear long white gloves…and a full body jumpsuit that was this orangish red color. (This is also the only time in my life I could probably get away with wearing a full body jumpsuit.) Anyways, they kept the “Supremes” backstage until “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” came on. The roar of the crowd when they saw the “Supremes” walk out was pretty fantastic. Having the fro was so fun. It was huge and super bouncy…not to mention, I think I can actually rock a fro. (If I can’t rock a fro, please don’t tell me. I don’t want to know. Let me live in my dreamland.)

The whole experience was amazing, from the costume to being on stage. In high school, I loved to be in front of crowds of people performing. Probably would still love to do it, but the opportunities to easily do this greatly dwindles once you leave high school. You will probably see a few more photos of Amy and I from high school on TBT, as we both participated in the fine arts…which lends itself to some awesome photo ops!

Guacamole Hummus

Whenever I hear the word “hummus,” I think of this.

What Gets Out Hummus Friends

“What gets out hummus? What gets out hummus?!”

I am a huge fan of hummus. I love all the varieties and I especially love to make it from scratch. I think a lot of people get intimidated by making hummus, but I’m telling you it’s not that difficult. As long as you have a blender, Magic Bullet or food processor, you’ll be fine!

guacamole hummus

First, you’ll gather up all your ingredients: garbanzo beans (AKA chickpeas), tahini, olive oil, avocados, lime, salt, pepper, cumin, garlic, onion powder and cayenne pepper.

ingredients spices

Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans.

garbanzo beans

Pour the garbanzo beans into your blender and pulse until coarsely chopped.

Add all the remaining ingredients except for the avocado.

adding spices

Pulse some more until the mixture is well mixed.

mixture

Transfer the mixture to a medium-sized bowl.

beanmix

Next, cut up the avocados.

avocados

Add to the mixture and mash lightly with a fork.

avocados2

Serve with your favorite chips, crackers or veggies.

guacamole hummus

Adjust the cayenne pepper to taste. If you don’t like spicy things, use less. (Me? I like spice!) I think next time I might try adding a little more lime and try a diced garlic clove instead of the garlic powder.

[yumprint-recipe id=’2′]

Put a bird on it

sconniesistersbirdonit

I know I am late to get on the Portlandia train, but it’s my new obsession. Fred Armisen, need I say more? Then, pair him with Carrie Brownstein, comedic genius happens. It is freaking hilarious.

Many of their sketch subjects are spot on and remind me of some of my previous experiences. For instance, I was a history major and focused a lot of my studies in women’s history. I have taken my fair share of women’s studies classes. So, the Feminist bookstore sketch…love.

I am also a huge foodie and have worked in the natural and organic food industry for quite a few years. Oh my, the sketches that remind me of my time in that industry…A-MAZING! Here are my two favorite scenes…so far.

Is the chicken Local?!  This reminds me of my time working at the Holiday Table. The questions I had about turkeys…good times. Watch it, you won’t regret it.

Did you ever forget your re-useable bag?!

“Didn’t you date a girl who owned a bag?” Hahaha.

If you haven’t check out Portlandia, you totally should. And…we can pickle that!

 

What’s your favorite Portlandia sketch?

 

Grandma’s jewels mason jar home decor

Grandma's Jewels Mason Jar Home Decor by SconnieSisters.com

Anyone who knows me well, knows I have a slight major obsession with mason jars. I love mason jar crafts, activities, foods, home decor, etc. If I could, I would live in a house of mason jars.

Ok, maybe not, but you get my drift. I heart them. In fact, I’m currently rounding up my favorite mason jar activities for a future post. But before then, I have a quick and easy mason jar “craft” you could do in 10 minutes or less!

I recently inherited some of my grandmother’s jewelry. With the exception of her mother’s ring, I would say that most of her jewelry is costume, enamel and other “vintage” relatively inexpensive jewelry. There were broaches, clip-on earrings, necklaces and so on.

grandmasjewels

I absolutely love each of these pieces. They embodied my grandmother’s style. Plus, OMG SPARKLES!

I could have always just packed these gems away in a jewelry box or storage for safe keeping, because they’re not items I would wear on a regular basis. But that seemed like such a shame because I would only rarely have the opportunity to enjoy them.

So I decided to put them out on display in my living room in – you guessed it – one of my vintage teal ball mason jars. This is an especially awesome way to not feel bad about only having one earring from a pair. In the jar, it doesn’t matter.

jars2

jars1 jars3

I am pretty happy with how it turned out. What do you think?

Mango Chia Pudding

mangochiapudding

I have a huge sweet tooth and am always looking for treats that don’t make me feel terrible after I eat them. Don’t get me wrong, I love to have a huge piece of cake or a whole pint of ice cream from time to time, but I can’t (well I can, but I shouldn’t) indulge in treats like that daily.  My new favorite treat is chia pudding. It is super easy, but also not too bad for ya. Really it is not bad for you at all, especially if you make smart milk and sweetener choices. I have made quite a few rounds of chia pudding, and I have found this to be the best (at least to my taste buds).

The bonus to this pudding is the benefits of the superfood, chia. Chia is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, and they are high in antioxidants. Not to mention, chia makes you feel full, since it can absorb a ton of liquid. Trust me, chia seeds are the bomb, just google “health benefits of chia seeds,” and a ton of info will pop up, as there are many more reasons to eat chia. Chia seeds are also great in oatmeal, smoothies, and on top of a ton of foods!

Here’s how you make this delicious chia pudding.  You will need milk, chia, cinnamon, vanilla, sweetener, and a mango.

chia pudding ingredients

Combine the chia seeds and milk in a bowl.

milk chia pudding

Once combined, add cinnamon, vanilla and stevia. Stir until combined. (I sometimes stir with a fork, as it combines the chia and cinnamon a bit better into the milk.)

stevia chia pudding

Cover the milk/chia mixture and place it in the refrigerator. While your pudding is chilling, dice up mango.  Set aside in the refrigerator, until pudding is ready.  

mango

After one hour in the refrigerator, stir your pudding.  It should have already started to gel. Then, refrigerate 2-3 more hours, until the mixture has fully gelled and is pudding-like.  Stir right before eating, and top with mango. Then,  enjoy! 

mangochiapudding

You really can top this pudding with any diced fruit.  I can’t wait until summer when berries and stone fruit are in season! Oh, the delicious possibilities!

Mango Chia Pudding

[yumprint-recipe id=’1′] 

The day I had to get my car jumped…twice. AKA just another day in March in the Midwest.

Yesterday was a “fun” day.

I was eating my bowl of GF Panda Puffs right as my boyfriend, Matt, was leaving for work. After about five minutes, he comes back up to our apartment. He asks to borrow my keys, because his car wouldn’t start. I check the weather. It is currently -2 degrees. Yes, two degrees below zero. However, this past week in the Twin Cities had been pretty cold. We maybe had a couple days that got above 10 degrees, but most days were below that or below zero for most of the day. We even had a day with a high of one degree. (Yes, you read that correctly.) Well, I guess last night it got as low as 15 degrees below zero (without the windchill). But I figured my car would make it through, it did all last week. Alas, my car did not. My little electric clicker thing that unlocks and locks my car didn’t work. My car wouldn’t even turn over. So, now both of our cars won’t start.

Round 1: Matt did have a solution. He has this chargeable car jumper cable battery starter (that is its official name). So, we charge it up inside so we could jump his car, and then he would jump my car with his car. Luckily, Matt could work from home yesterday, and I really did not have to go anywhere either…so we could take our time. We let the “device” charge, and he goes to jump his car. I go with Matt, so I can refresh my memory on how to jump a car. It did not start his car. We try mine too as the device has some more juice left. Once Matt connects the device up to my battery, my car alarm starts blaring…and my car will not start.  So, we decide the “device” needs to charge a bit longer.

Round 2: This time we decided to try my car first. Alarm goes off, and my engine will not even turn over. So, we try Matt’s car. Now, his car’s alarm is going off. It does not even stop  when I take off the jumper cables (that were attached to the “device”). So, we decide to charge the device and do some internet research on this car alarm jazz. We both have Hyundai’s, so we think it may be related to that.

Round 3: After some research online, Matt learns that the jumper cables or something like that is making our car alarms go off, which then activates the “Starter kill” circuit. The internet then has some solutions on how to get past the alarm to allow the car to start. I could describe this is more detail, but I won’t because it is long. (Actually, I probably couldn’t explain it, but it is not that interesting.) Anyways, we try what we found online, but the internet fails us (how dare the internet fail us). Our cars still will not start.

Jumpstart #1
Jumpstart #1

 

At this point, I decide to use my Progressive Roadside Assistance. (Not sure why we did not choose this option earlier, especially because I pay for it). It is really easy to call someone to come out to jump my car. While we are waiting for PRA to come, Matt does some more research and found another way to get past this alarm thing. So, he tries it. His car starts!! So, then he jumps my car, and it starts! I cancelled my PRA order…which is only 10 minutes away. We let our cars run for a bit, so they can warm up and feel loved. I wanted to get groceries earlier today. So, I figure while my car was running, I will run over to our food co-op.

I get my groceries. I go out to my car. I use my clicker to unlock my car. Nothing happens. My heart drops. I try my clicker again. Still doesn’t work. Mentally freaking out, but trying to stay positive. Manually unlock my car (weird, huh). Load my groceries, all hoping that just my clicker is busted. Sit in the driver’s seat. Take a deep breath…and turn my key. Nothing happens. My engine wouldn’t even turn over. But, I try again hoping the second..and third time is a charm. No go. So, I call Matt to come jump my car…for the second time today.

Waiting for Jumpstart #2
Waiting for Jumpstart #2

 

Round 87: As I am waiting, I stand in the open parking space next to my car…like a fool, but also so Matt has a place to park, so we can jump my car. Remember that is was -2 degrees earlier in the day. While it isn’t that cold anymore, however it is not that much warmer. I am also not properly dressed to stand outside, which is clearly not smart on my part. However, I was expecting my car to start again after all the work we went to getting it started.  While waiting, a nice man parked near me asks if I need a jump. I say yes, if he doesn’t mind. He mentions he just got a brand spanking new battery, so he would gladly share his battery love. I call Matt to tell him that someone is jumping my car. He is already on his way, after getting his car jumped again as well. (It was a rough day for both of us.) Anyway, this nice man jumps my car. Matt shows up. We chat a little and discuss our great co-op. The nice man also mentions that my pumas aren’t really winter shoes.  (They are not. My feet are freezing.) Anyways, we all go on our way. I decide to drive my car for at least 30 minutes to make sure my car has fully warmed up and juiced up its battery.

After I get home, I make some dinner and relax. I then eat a whole goat cheese log with a large side of red wine. It turned out to be a good day after all.

wine cheese log

28 Days of Salads

I’ve been wanting to do some type of long-term food challenge for awhile. But, I always felt like the challenges were too extreme and that I couldn’t possibly follow through on them.

A few years ago, I even tried to go vegetarian for a month. But, due to some health issues that came to light during that period, I found that my body is incapable of being a vegetarian. I can’t handle all the fiber. My doctor actually told me to eat less fiber (he said he NEVER tells people that, especially people with IBS, but I’m special like that). But that doesn’t mean I can’t handle a salad every day. I just can’t have salads for every meal.

So, on February 1, I visited my co-op and loaded up on all sorts of veggies.

veggiesveggies2

I’ve found that the trick to actually using the great produce you buy at the store or farmer’s market is prepping it all before you put it in the refrigerator. I’ll post some of my favorite tips for preserving fresh produce soon!

Below you can see photos of all 28 salads I ate last month. I’ll be honest – my favorite ones were those that I made myself with fresh ingredients. I wasn’t always able to do that, though, so some salads are from the cafeteria at my work or from some cafes/restaurants nearby.

I only missed four days of salads, but made them up with a couple of two-a-days later in the month. The missed salads were usually due to having an unexpected meal at someone else’s home, so I didn’t have control over what was served. Well, then, by the 28th, I couldn’t eat three salads in one day, and said, “SCREW IT. Pizza salad and beer salad it is.”

28 days of salads

Which salad looks the most appetizing to you? What are your favorite salad toppings? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Emily’s First Attempt at Gluten Free Bread

frenchbread_nailed it

I recently discovered I have a gluten sensitivity. Due to this, I have started to eat gluten free. While some weeks I am very good at sticking to the GF (Gluten Free) lifestyle; other weeks I indulge in glutenous goodies. Overall though, being gluten free has not been crazy difficult for me. I worked in the natural food industry for five years, so I was able to develop quite a bit of knowledge about the GF lifestyle, which made the transition less scary.

There are a couple things I really crave. The first is delicious craft beer. I mean I am a Sconnie girl, so beer is in my blood. I have found some tasty GF craft beers, but I miss some of my local brewery favs. The other thing I crave other than glutenous craft beer is bread. Delicious, warm fresh bread. I love bread. Well, I love fresh, homemade bread–not the processed variety. While I LOVE bread and baking, I don’t normally bake my own bread. Yeast is scary to me. So, I am not sure why the first gluten free goodie I chose to make was French Bread. It was probably because I had been craving bread, and because I am overall good at baking, I figured it would all work out. It did not.

I tried a recipe from a great Gluten Free Cookbook. I won’t mention its name because of my failure, since I truly believe the reason the recipe did not work out was not due to the recipe, but operator error. HUGE OPERATOR ERROR. My first mistake was overworking the dough. Once you do that, there is no going back. After that, I tried really hard to make this bread work out…but it was too late. I wish I had pictures to show my french bread making process, or rather large mess. But, my hands were so covered in dough I would have forever wrecked my iPhone. I did eventually get the dough to be bake-able. However, bake-able does not mean it turned out. I would say rather than french bread, I made a new creation. I give you “French Bread Biscuits.” Fancy, huh?

frenchbread

I let Mr. Jack try some. Even he was not so sure about them at first, but he did end up eating some.  Whew, I passed the dog test.

jack and the french bread

Then, my boyfriend very kindly tried them. Trying to make the best of a bad baking outcome, he suggested we have Biscuits and Gravy.  This was a great idea. I mean, if you put enough delicious homemade sausage gravy on something, it’s got to taste good…and it did. So good! I made Pioneer Woman’s Sausage Gravy. I adapted the gravy by using GF All-Purpose Flour. I also don’t have seasoning salt, so I just subbed regular sea salt with a dash of cayenne pepper. It all turned out great…the gravy that is. Maybe just use Pioneer Woman’s biscuit recipe too.

sausage and gravy

Moral of the story: When you fail at baking bread, put sausage gravy on it.

Google Hangout: Nailed It

The other night, I was showing Emily how to do something in Photoshop using Google Hangout’s Screenshare feature. When I tried to click back to the video chat feature so we could talk for a little bit, this happened.

Google Hangout Nailed It

Nailed it.