On my radar – first week of March

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March 4, 2013 by E.

Since it seemed to be a popular entry last week, and because it keeps me motivated to try intimidating recipes in the kitchen, I’ve decided to do another On My Radar post.

A. has a particularly long week at work ahead, which means I need to keep myself occupied and (mostly) productive for at least 10 hours a day while I’m in this apartment by myself.  He watched the first 8 episodes of the first season of Sons of Anarchy while I was gone for the weekend, and he’s suggested that I spend a day catching up so we can watch the remaining episodes together.  Although I can be a bit of a couch potato when the weather is bad or I’m feeling sickly, I cannot imagine anything more awful than watching TV for 8 hours straight.  I’m the type of person that, unless I’m vacationing on an isolated beach, gets bored extremely quickly, and I derive personal satisfaction from completing tasks.

Which is why this “to-do” list of sorts is mostly for my sanity benefit, but I hope you all enjoy it as well!

To-Do, Week of March 4

1.)  Make jambalaya.  This will be our dinner for tomorrow night, as Wednesday will begin the 1 month countdown until A. and I have our engagement pictures photo-shoot.  In order to look our skinniest best (these photos will be used on our “save the dates”), we’ll both be working to eat healthier and reduce portion sizes.  Diets, per se, don’t work for us (do they work for anyone?), but we are cutting back on alcohol (except for special occasions, like our 2 year anniversary in a few weeks), sweets, and other extremely delicious high-caloric foods.

2.) Order canvas pictures for our living room.  A few days ago, I found a Groupon for MyPix2Canvas, which will take any picture you have and turn it into a “work of art”.  I think pictures are the best way to decorate, because it’s so personal and sentimental, but printing out pictures and having them framed and matted can be an expensive hassle.  (In case you haven’t noticed, I can hold my own in the kitchen, but when it comes to decorating, Martha Stewart I am not.)  I love the look of canvas pictures, and since sites like this run Groupons or Living Social Deals so frequently, it’s much more affordable.  A. and I both love the beach and love to scuba dive, so it seems fitting to display pictures from our tropical vacations.

Sunsets give me an instant jolt of happy

Sunsets give me an instant jolt of happy

For our "ocean" themed living room
For our “ocean” themed living room

Sunset from my family's FL beach house

Sunset from my family’s FL beach house

3.)  Make banana bread.  Yes, I know just said we’d work on cutting out sweets.  But that’s as of Wednesday, and I have 3 very ripe bananas today.  I can use those up in a recipe (I’m thinking of this one, from Annie’s Eats), then send A. to work with the finished product (minus a slice or two for the baker!) to minimize my exposure.  Thank goodness his co-workers like to eat.

4.)  Visit the art supply store for canvas and paints.  Yesterday, I came home (to an impeccably clean home, my fiancé is a gem) after a weekend away and realized that we’ve been living here for a month and our walls are still completely blank.  I guess I’ve been bitten by the DIY bug.  Anyway, this project is to paint nautical flags (in letters that are meaningful to us) onto blank canvas.  I was inspired by the signal flag art sold (for an outrageous sum of money) by Williams-Sonoma home.  Since we don’t have money to spend on a bit of framed cloth, we’re hoping to re-create our own (using our 3rd grade that might be an overstatement art skills) for a fraction of the price.  This should be an interesting experiment.

5.) Stock up on Asian spices and condiments.  The March 2013 issue of Cooking Light has an entire feature on healthy Asian noodle recipes that I’m just dying to try.  The weather has been so up-and-down here, that as much as I want to believe spring is just around the corner, the “significant amount of precipitation” that’s being forecasted for Wednesday is sure to have me craving hearty, spicy, wholesome comfort food dishes.  I’m particularly excited to try the Indonesian Stir Fried Noodles, but that hinges on me being able to find a special condiment called kecap manis.  Surprisingly, DC is extremely lacking in Asian grocery stores, so I’ll probably have to venture to VA or MD to secure it, which makes it a perfect opportunity to stock up on other Asian food staples, like gochujang (Korean chili paste) and uncooked rice vermicelli noodles.

6.)  Make my own ricotta cheese.  I’ve read several recipes, both online and in cookbooks, on how to make your own ricotta.  The ingredients are oh-so-simple (lemon juice, milk, vinegar, salt), and the process doesn’t even look that intimidating, just slightly time consuming.  Since cheese is absurdly expensive in American grocery stores (I’d move to Europe in a heartbeat for the cheese alone), I think learning this process would be a huge money-saver, even though it may not be so in line with the goal expressed in point #1.)

I think that’s it for this week!  Wish me luck.

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