Joining the Composting Cult

One day, my compost bin will look like this one. I can only hope.

This week, as part of some New Years burst of ambition, my husband and I finally bought a composting bin.  For the six months we’ve lived in our house, composting has been one of those “we’ll get to it” activities.

It all seemed so mysterious — not the actual composting, but securing a container to put it in. Whenever I Googled “compost bins,” the Internet returned instructions on how to DYI one from scraps of wood or items scavenged from your neighbors’ trash. Seeing this, I filed the whole idea away in my “for later” brain storage area.  I am someone who hasn’t picked up a hammer since my ninth grade Habitat for Humanity camp. And we’ll see if that house is still standing.

So, after a brief trip to Lowe’s, I am now the proud owner of this.  Yes, like the reviews say, it is a piece of poorly crafted plastic.  Now, I am officially a compost-er.

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Spaetzle: Carb of the Year

spaetzle

Spaetzle: Deliciously unhealthy German comfort food. Yum!

Time for another recipe! It’s December; it’s time for magazines, newspapers and blogs everywhere to release their “best of” lists. Well, I’ve already tackled kale, my favorite healthy food for the year. Now, I’m going to tell you about my favorite deliciously unhealthy carb.

Spaeztle are little German-style noodles made out of a eggy dough. Size-wise, they are in between gnocchi and couscous. Something about the noodle’s petite size make them even more delicious than regular pasta. Maybe it’s having more surface area to cover with butter and Parmesan cheese. Just a guess!

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Why I love Trader Joe’s or Mo’ Choices, Mo’ Problems

Trader Joe's in Old Town Alexandria
OId Town Trader Joe’s: Where I am unfortunately on a first name basis with the man who does wine tastings

I’m very, very late to this not-so-scandelous expose on Trader Joe’s, but thank you Forbes (and Huffington Post for your round up with photos) for pointing out that more is not always better. I’m Trader Joe’s crazy, so not much of what the article reveals surprises me. But I love how the writer hit on the main reason I shop there: lack of choice. I love how shopping at Trader Joe’s requires making almost zero decisions!

My Favorite Meal (When I have 5 minutes and a jar of kimchi)

A bowl of kimchi and ramen

Yum! Heartburn!

Let me share my favorite fast meal. I learned this in China from my co-worker who learned it from his Korean girlfriend. This recipe has really passed through many cultures to make it to this blog. So appreciate it.

My favorite part is that it contains most of your basic food groups (is that even still a thing?), so I can construe it as somewhat healthy. Well, healthier than the cheese quesadilla I would eat in its place.

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The Marketability of Brooklyn Beer

Flight of the Conchord stars

Yes, I know they actually lived in Manhattan on the show

Six Point brewery is everywhere in the DC area these days — dinner parties, beer store tastings, on tap at my favorite bars. It’s great. It comes in cans. It’s from Brooklyn.
The key point, I believe, here is the Brooklyn. A beer from Brooklyn is an easy sell. The main demographic for craft beer (white, male, 25-44, with a household income of more than 75K/year) is the same one that wishes they had moved to New York after college and started that band, written that book, launched that career as a stock trader/journalist/comedian/filmmaker or indie lay-about.  Selling Brooklyn is selling what could have been to the late 20s/ early to mid 30s crowd that abound in DC.

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My new obsession with… um, kale

bag of kaleAs it grows cooler out, I like my food cooked. Salads and brown bag lunches are for the hot months of summer. When I’m driving home from work and it’s already dark, I’m craving soup, stew, big ol’ bowls of noodles.

Combining my love for comfort food with my need to not gain 20 pounds in the next four months is an amazing feat. Meet kale. Yeah, I thought it was gross, tough and bitter two weeks ago. But I have learned my lesson! I love kale now.

I now am the proud owner of an industrial sized bag. Because if the world ends and I am trapped in my basement hiding from the zombie appocolypse, I will need my dark green veggies. That and kale cooks down, a lot Here’s the secret to kale love.

How to make kale:

I learned this at a dinner party from a chef in Brookyln. Honey, if you are wondering, is the secret ingrediant here.

  1. 1.  Heat olive oil in a frying pan. Actually, I like to cook this in my wok so I can make bigger batches.
  2. 2. Add chopped garlic and a shake or two of red pepper flakes. Saute.
  3. 3. Add two squirts of honey (hopefully your honey comes in a bear squeezy bottle like mine does)
  4. 4. Make sure the pan is really hot. Put handful of kale in pan, and pour about 1/4 of a cup of chicken broth over the kale. The broth should steam immediately upon hitting the hot pan.
  5. When the kale start to wilt,  add more kale and chicken broth as needed. When you have the desired amount, cook for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Eat.