Office additions

When I get a chance (read: a few extra bucks) I try to upgrade my office/craft room a little. I got one of those 3×3 cubes from Target with the fabric drawers, which helped a lot. But I’m already in need of another one. So until I can get that put together, I’ve been focused on the walls.

I added these cork tiles (only $5.99 for 4 at Target) because I like them more than a plain cork board.

They are also great for showing off my little thumb tacks made with fabric covered buttons.

I also stole yet another idea from Real Simple and put up a piece of grosgrain ribbon to hold postcards and other fun mail with little clothespins.

My next plan is to add that second 3×3 cube and fill it with see-through jars filled with buttons, ribbon, and other supplies I can’t see when they’re shoved in a drawer.

Accidental pizza

I’m kind of obsessive compulsive when it comes to using up leftovers. I was raised not to waste food, and it drives me crazy when things languish in our fridge. So today when I was making dinner I realized I had the makings of a little pizza that would use up some soy sausage and homemade tomato sauce that were sitting in two little Glad containers.

I spread the sauce – a mixture of tomatoes, onions and basil – on a pita (cut in half so Mike and I could each have some) and then sprinkled the Italian sausage flavored soy crumbles on top. Then I added some shredded mozzarella and heated it in a 400-degree oven for about 5 minutes.

It was wonderful! One of the best things I’ve ever created with leftovers. And if you use the soy crumbles and only eat half, you can consider it a pretty healthy snack.

Pesto Genovese

As soon as you walk into our garden you smell the sweet basil, and it just brings a smile to your face. So now that our plants are thriving I decided to pick a bunch of leaves and make pesto.

I have a great recipe from my friend Alessandra, who is from Viterbo, Italy. It’s your classic basil pesto with a LOT of garlic. She tosses it with pasta, and that’s what we did, too.

I find that this makes just enough to mix with a pound of pasta and have a little left over to spread on a grilled veggie sandwich.

Pesto alla Genovese for 4

2 cups of fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
3 tablespoons of pine nuts
5 garlic cloves, peeled (Yup, that’s 5.)
2 tablespoons of Pecorino cheese
4 tablespoons of Parmigiano cheese (or use all parmigiano)
Olive oil (maybe 1/3 cup?)
Salt to taste

Toss basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, a pinch of salt and cheese in a food processor or blender.

Add olive oil and pulse a few times until blended. At this point you’ll want to taste it and make sure the texture is smooth and moist. If it’s too dry, add more oil and pulse again.

That’s it. You’re done. Pesto is ridiculously easy to make. You don’t even have to cook it. Just toss it with cooked penne (I like Barilla Plus) and top with a little more cheese.

*Pesto freezing tip: If you want to save some pesto to drop into sauces or spread on sandwiches later, prepare the pesto without the cheese, and freeze it in an ice cube tray. When you’re ready to use, thaw a couple cubes and mix in the cheese.