The results are in, Week of March 4

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March 10, 2013 by E.

On Monday, I made a list of all the goals I hoped to accomplish over the week.  I didn’t quite finish all the tasks on my to-do list, but I came close!  Here’s how everything turned out.

1.) Make jambalaya.  THE VERDICT? Success!

I started with Emeril’s Cajun Jambalaya recipe, and adjusted seasonings and ingredients to suit our tastes and what we had on hand.  Instead of making an entire batch of cajun seasoning, I used the same spices, but in smaller amounts.  Rather than buying out-of-season, taste-like-cardboard tomatoes, I used a can of diced tomatoes.  And I substituted spicy chicken sausage for the Andouille to save on a few calories without sacrificing flavor.  I also added a hefty amount of hot sauce, since we like it spicy!

Topped with sour cream and cilantro - yummy!

Topped with sour cream and cilantro – yummy!

2.) Order canvas pictures for our living room.THE VERDICT? Not attempted…

Ok, so we totally dropped the ball on ordering our canvas pictures (the Groupon deal doesn’t expire for awhile), but we did make other decorating progress!  Saturday we ventured into a Goodwill thrift store in search of home accessories that could be “upcycled” with a little spray-paint.  I didn’t have any major finds, but I did pick up 2 vases and a picture frame for $6.  We also decided to try our hand at painting a Jimmy Buffett quote onto a blank canvas.  And A. spent 2 hours Saturday night assembling our new bookshelf.  Now all my cookbooks are displayed where they belong!  All of the projects worked out fabulously, but the Jimmy Buffett art project has to be the one I’m proudest of one of which I’m most proud one I like the best.  “A Pirate Looks at 40” is one of my favorite Jimmy songs, and I’m really pleased with how this poster art turned out.  We’re thinking of doing another piece with lyrics from “Last Mango in Paris”, one of my other favorite Jimmy songs.

Vases (originally red) and picture frame (originally light wood), spray painted to match my living room colors

Vases (originally red) and picture frame (originally light wood), spray painted to match my living room colors

Not too shabby for my first attempt

Not too shabby for my first attempt

Up close

Up close

My little handyman

My little handyman

Weekend home improvement projects

Weekend home improvement projects

3.) Make banana bread.  THE VERDICT?  Success!

I used Ina Garten’s Old-Fashioned Banana Cake recipe, and it was a dream.  Couldn’t have been easier to make, and everyone loved it!  I substituted non-fat plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream and left off the cream cheese frosting to make it a little healthier.  A. took most of it to work and had several friends come by for seconds and thirds!

4.) Visit the art supply store for canvas and paint.  THE VERDICT?  Success!

Earlier this week, I headed to Utrecht Art Supply in Downtown DC.   I am no artist (unless you count my kindergarten macaroni project – those showed serious promise), so this place had the potential to be completely overwhelming.  But the staff at Utrecht were so helpful, I left confident that I had everything I needed for my own little project.  A. and I haven’t actually painted the flags, but at least we have the supplies, so that’s a step in the right direction!

5.) Stock up on Asian spices and condiments.THE VERDICT?  Fail (not attempted).

was too lazy to drive all the way up to MD ran out of time this week.  I’ll attempt to expand my culinary horizons some other time.

6.) Make my own ricotta cheese.  THE VERDICT?  Success!

I followed a combination of Annie’s recipe and Ina’s method, since I don’t own a food thermometer.  It was actually as easy as it sounds (cook milk, stir in acid, let separate, and strain), and tastes delicious!  I strained mine for almost 20 minutes, using a clean dishtowel, so it would be nice and thick (I want to add it to lasagna and pasta dishes later this week), and added a hefty dose of freshly chopped rosemary.  Easy, yummy, and way cheaper than buying from the store!

Whew!  I can’t believe it’s Monday again tomorrow.  How is the weekend over so quickly?  I blame that awful time change for stealing an hour (hey, on the weekend, every minute counts).  Still, A. and I accomplished a lot and still had time to relax and recharge for the upcoming week.  Plus, we had incredible weather.

I hope all of you enjoyed your weekends just as much as we did!

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