the weekender 1/23/2015

Rifle Paper Co

(source)

Happy weekend, friends. I started feeling a little burnt out from heavily pursuing some of my new year’s projects, so I hopped a flight to Chicago for the weekend in hopes of shaking things up.  Instead of spending the night on the town with my best friend, we’ve already committed to staying in and watching Netflix. True love is flying across the country to watch Netflix together. <3

I’m using up a lot of my capacity for creative ventures working on the analytic (work) and physical  (exercise) aspects of my life. I walked into a craft store the other day armed with a coupon and gift card (holy grail!) and was so overwhelmed and uninspired that I left empty handed. Has that ever happened to you? It’s happened to me more than once. And I know it’s totally crazy, but I can’t help but feel like a failure.  Like, a true creative person would be able to work through this mental block and figure it out. Ah, well, I guess I’ll just take some time and keep working with what I know  and challenging myself to work harder at my roadblocks.

Creativity takes work.

And with that said, here are some creative links for the weekend.

How pretty and elegant are these DIY Leather keychains? I’ve never been more taken by keychains.

DIY Pretzel earrings. Perfect.

I wish I had an office (and coworkers) so I could make valentine’s treat bags for them.

I want to warm up with this vegetarian ramen and this tahini soup.

I can’t stop reading the Outlander series – I’m half-way through book three! The only thing that can stop me is Andie’s memoir, which I’m so excited for!

 

last week: hedwig, hair, and hats

This past week was a busy one. We got a lot of snow and it was below freezing for much of the week, so navigating even the simple everyday tasks has been challenging. I’m in desperate need of clean laundry, but with the weather like it is, nothing gets done until you reach desperate level.

Brooklyn-Week-Snow

On Tuesday, Ryan and I ventured out to the theater district to see Hedwig and the Angry Inch. I knew almost nothing about the show, but wanted to catch it while Michael C. Hall was still playing the lead. It was fantastic. I thought the show had a lot of energy, even though the audience seemed asleep (probably all in winter comas). We got day-of tickets at the TKTS booth in Times Square, which is always a crapshoot. But I was thrilled when the only tickets they had available were 3rd row! I was sitting so close, I could see Michael C. Hall’s smoothly waxed…well, everything.

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Wednesday was when my week took a turn for the worst. But first, I’ll start out with the positive. I got my hair dyed by my stylist friend at the salon where she apprentices. She did beautiful hand-painted highlights and it was only $30! If you are interested in getting high-end work done at a professional salon at a steep discount, definitely schedule an appointment with an apprentice. She recommends salonapprentice.com. If you’re in the New York area, email me and I’ll give you her name.

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Now on to the negative. My skin had a terrible allergic reaction to the dye she used and my face broke out in a horrible red, itchy rash. I pretty much cancelled all of my plans for the rest of the week and sat inside eating ice cream and moping over episodes of New Girl. Fortunately, it was snowy and freezing out, so I didn’t feel like I was missing much.

My best friend also gifted me this incredibly intricate and beautiful coloring book, so it kept me occupied for some of the week.

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Today the rash is almost cleared up.

On Thursday, I went on a run and locked myself out of the house. Fantastic.

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On Friday, I had to venture out of the house with my ruddy, bumpy face to the Brooklyn Brainery. Ryan bought me a loom weaving class as a Christmas gift. I learned how to dress a loom and somewhat mastered a few weaving techniques. I’ve been interested in loom weaving for years, but have always been intimidated. Now I’m seeing weaved pieces everywhere, it seems like everyone is doing it. I can’t wait to create my own.

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Speaking of looms, if you follow me on facebook or instagram, you may have noticed that I’ve picked up another hobby – loom knitting. For those of you who can’t knit or crochet (me!), I definitely recommend loom knitting. It’s very simple and, most importantly, quick. I don’t have the patience to spend days killing my fingers knitting a 3-foot-long scarf that doesn’t even look that good. But with loom knitting, you can knit a hat in just a matter of hours. Hours! And it looks wonderful. I made Ryan a hat for Christmas and this week I finished my own. I followed this pattern for both hats.

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Brooklyn Week-3

On Saturday, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or maybe it was just the renovations that are going on upstairs. Everything that could go wrong, did. It’s not that interesting of a story, just a ton of small things building on each other to put me in a bad mood, but the highlights were a broken phone, dropping my french fries all over the floor at lunch, and having a CO2 tank explode in my living room. I’m glad that day is over.

We ended the week on a positive note by inviting some friends over for board games. It feels like my weekend flew by and I’m definitely not ready for today to be Monday. But oh well. Here’s to hoping the laundry gets done today.

PS. Thursday is my two-year anniversary for living in NYC!

Creamy kale and grapefruit salad with garlic tahini dressing

Since many of us are making resolutions to commit to a healthier lifestyle, I thought I’d share a tasty way to put a little more kick in your kale salad.

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Last year, something clicked and I determined that I absolutely loved kale. Prior to that, it was only a fibrous and bitter leaf and the butt of my jokes. “No one actually likes kale. They just eat it out of a sense of responsibility to their body or the clean eating culture or whatever cause it may possibly represent.” I was one of them. I even blogged about kale chips! I still stand by them, but let’s face it, it’s not the same as a carb-loaded potato chip.

What changed? I’m not sure. It’s likely I was eating it wrong many years. Being stubborn without cause, I kept chewing through it and eventually found a few ways to make kale a lot more enjoyable.

  • Massage it – Before I tried massaging the leaves, I didn’t think it would really make that much of a difference, but it does! If your kale is too tough, throw a few drops of olive oil into the leaves and massage it for a few minutes with your hands.
  • Dress it – With kale, you can’t dip your fork into a side of dressing before eating the leaf. This kind of goes along with massaging it, but the kale leaf needs to be sufficiently covered with a dressing, even if it’s just balsamic vinegar. It helps soften and moisturize the leaves while making it more palatable.
  • Dry it – My salads improved immensely when I bought a salad spinner. It’s hard to get all of the water out of the curly kale leaves, but the spinner leaves them crisp and dry.
  • Top it – I’ve found that the toppings make all the difference. First, add fruit. Fruit isn’t too common in the traditional iceberg and romaine salads, which are usually filled with cheeses and vegetables. But I think fruit is definitely a “must” when it comes to kale. It’s soft and adds a bit of juice. Additionally, it adds sweetness to offset some of kale’s bitterness. I also like to add nuts in my salads to give it a crunch. Adding anything to change the way the salad feels in your mouth will enhance its flavor.
  • Go for something different – Don’t be afraid to try something that you wouldn’t ordinarily add in a salad. I hesitantly added a raw egg yolk in this recipe (my favorite!) and it was amazing! I experienced reluctance with the grapefruit and fennel in this recipe and was pleasantly surprised.

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I first tried this salad over the Thanksgiving holiday. Ryan’s sister prepared it for us and I have to say, I was reluctant. While I’m usually pretty enthusiastic about kale, I’m definitely less so about grapefruit and fennel. You know how I said I used to joke that no one likes kale? Well, I strongly believe that no one can possibly like grapefruit.

But the flavors really come together in this salad. The grapefruit bursts with juice as you bite down, but it’s mellowed out by the creamy tahini. There’s definitely a lot of bitterness in this salad, but it’s not overwhelming and very pleasant to eat.

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Creamy Kale and Grapefruit Salad with Garlic Tahini Dressing
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Makes enough dressing for one bunch of kale and serves 4 – 6
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: American
Yields: 4 - 6
Ingredients
For the Dressing
  • 1 – 2 Cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp of water
For the Salad
  • 1 ruby red grapefruit
  • 1 bulb of fennel or small red onion
  • 1 bunch of kale (lactino or curly)
  • Toasted pine nuts (optional)
Instructions
For the Dressing
  1. Create the dressing by whisking together the garlic, tahini, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt and pepper.
  2. Add the oil by slowly drizzling it into your tahini mixture as you continue to whisk.
  3. Whisk in a tablespoon or two of water to thin out your mixture. You can do this as needed, if you find the mixture is too thick to cover completely cover the salad.
For the Salad
  1. Wash the kale and remove the ribs. Tear the kale into bite-size pieces. If you’re using lactino kale, consider slicing them a little thinner.
  2. Peel and slice the grapefruit into chunks removing any seeds or pith.
  3. Thinly slice the fennel bulb or red onion.
  4. Combine all of these ingredients into a large salad bowl
  5. Pour the dressing over the kale salad, making sure to cover all of the leaves.
  6. Serve with toasted pine nuts.

 

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I had to use a red onion because I didn’t have any fennel on hand, but they are both delicious. I promise this will not disappoint!

So what about you? Do you like kale? What’s one food that you can’t believe people eat?