Saturday, 25 August 2012

Sour Cream - Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing and a Salad

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Here is my twist on the ranch dressing. I do not usually buy mayonnaise and I have never made my own, so my dressing had to be mayonnaise free.

The Dressing

1/2 cup Sour Cream
1/2 cup Greek Yogurt
3 or 4 spoons of extra virgin Olive oil
Fresh dill finely chopped
Fresh chives, finely chopped
Horse radish (prepared in vinegar) per taste
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Add the sour cream, greek yogurt, olive oil, prepared horse radish and a little water in a blender and blend until everything is fully mixed.
Pour it out into a bowl.
Add the chopped herbs and mix by hand until everything is well blended.


Fresh pepper and chives

The dressing
The Salad:
Mixed greens of your choice
Pepper Jack cheese (I am in love with this thing, but don't seem to like it melted)
You could throw in some nuts, but I did not.
Toss with dressing. Done!

The final nom, nom!

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Saturday, 18 August 2012

Wooden Pallet Shelf

How to start with this 

and end up with this

Wood pallets come in several sizes and types. The ones I scored from my garden cinder block delivery were large and looked like this:

This was too big for the projects I wanted to try and so I put it off for a while. Until on the way to work one day I spied a stack of pallets that were just the right kind -- stronger boards and also heat treated. I talked to the owner of the beer wholesaler and got me a couple of those boards. They looked like the first pic on this post.

I started by sawing off the appropriate end of the pallet using a Ryobi reciprocating saw. To end up with this

It already looked like a shelf, except it had no bottom. To make a bottom, I sawed off one of the narrower planks on the remaining piece of the pallet which gave me this

And the leftover pallet looked like this

Hmm this itself is an interesting shape and is giving me more ideas. But, I have to stick to my project on hand for now.

Then came the Grand Sanding! I used some 3M sand paper with coarse and medium grit, but soon tired of it and decided to invest in a power sander. So got me a Ryobi orbital 1/4 sheet sander and went to town on the boards with it.

I then used Minwax Espresso satin to stain the bottom board to see if I would like this color for the entire shelf.

I really loved it, but was not too sure that I would like for the whole shelf to be this color, seeing as it is so dark. So I decided to paint part of it white with some house paint I had lying around and stain part of it this color.

All I had to do now was attach the bottom to the shelf and then hang it over the rods in the kitchen nook (see here for the kitchen nook). I originally planned on using an L-bracket on the inside to screw the bottom to the rest of the shelf, but it was impossible to get into that tight spot with my screw driver. So, I found some wood screws that I simply used to screw the bottom to the sides of the shelf
Wood screws attached the bottom to the sides of the shelf

Now I am all done except for the hanging on the wall part.

Now I finally have a place to put my oversized baking accessories that had to be stored in the oven until now!

All I have to do is find a safe way to put it up on the wall!

This project was inspired by:

Other Pallet projects on the web include:

This project has been linked to the following parties:

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Friday, 17 August 2012

Italian Inspired Black Bean, Cauliflower Casserole


3 cups cooked black beans
1 egg (skip if you don't eat eggs)
1.5 cups pepper jack cheese
1 whole cauliflower
Basil (fresh if possible)
4 pods of garlic
chili flakes (crushed red peppers)
pepper -- whole and crushed
1/4 to 1/2 cup butter

What to do with the stuff:

Preheat the oven to 350 F
Blanch the cauliflower in a little water with a little salt. Make sure not to over cook it.
Break and egg and mix it in with the cauliflower and the black beans
Add the shredded pepper jack cheese
Crush some rosemary (releases the fragrance)
Add some salt and crushed pepper and chili flakes and mix it all up in a big bowl

In a pan, add some butter and add whole pepper corns to it. Let it pop (smells awesome!) Then add in the chopped garlic and some basil and saute until the garlic is sort of roasted

Add this into the rest of the stuff and mix it up.

Grease a couple of oven safe dishes and add this mixture in each.

Bake for 20 minutes and its done.

Unfortunately, we were too hungry to bother with pics of the finished product!

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Thursday, 16 August 2012

Old Trivet = New Key Organizer

This has got to be the fastest, easiest, smallest project I have ever done.

My entry way had a key organizer that looked like this:
Anyone who was married in the south of India has some version of this. In fact, I bet they have a million copies of some version of this. The clock stopped working perhaps the very first day we opened the package. But, it served its purpose for while until, as always, the number of keys that needed a home far out numbered the hooks on this thing.

Enter an old trivet from IKEA that I saved from the dumpster several times over.
I cleaned the thing, removed the hooks from the old key organizer and screwed them on to the old trivet and voila! I have something that is much more Zen.

I used to old nail that held up the old key organizer to hang this thing. I used the same nail to also hang one bunch of keys. There is easily room for three more hooks on this thing.

After I fixed all the hooks I realized that I wanted the pieces of wood to go horizontal -- that's more Zen to me than vertical stripes. Oh well! I will just have to find the other trivet and hang it horizontally!

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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Organizing the Kitchen -- An IKEA hack

I guess I am really sick of all the lack of organization in my home in general. So, I am on a mission to use as much of my wall space as is possible for my storage needs. This is how it looks like now:

There was this little corner in the kitchen where I used to have a corner planter-shelf thing where I stored my onions, garlic, banana and such like. That did not last long because I started to buy more stuff than that plant stand could take and besides, when Dufus got nervous, the plant stand migrated to the center of the room and the onions were usually rolling around on the floor by the time I got back from work!

So the plant stand was replaced by a side table that was far too big for its intended spot. I lived with that for a really long time, for only one reason, Dufus could not get stuff out of it. It was awkward and taking up too much space and it really had to change. Finally the time for change came tonight!

I used IKEA fintorp series of rods and hooks and then their napkin holders to hold my garlic and oranges. Their Bygel series of rods and hooks were on sale, but I wanted something that looked nicer than the Bygel, so I went with Fintorp. I did use some Bygel hooks to adapt the fintorp hooks to the Bygel basket for my yam (or is it sweet potato?). The remaining (empty) fintorp hooks will serve as a banana holder when I do have some banana to hang!!

The Bygel hook also came in handy to hang one of the two over sized cumbersome pots on this system.

I also bought the Fintorp dish rack to use as my onion holder, but I found that this had to be directly mounted on the wall. So this is where it went

The painting was bought on my trip to South Africa two years ago from people living in a project. The canvas was a bit dirty and it did not come with any framing. But, I loved the simplicity of the strokes in the painting and so just had to buy it. I made the "frame" for that painting using some satin ribbon, fabric spray on glue and PVC piping. I will post a how to on it sometime later.

Here are some more views of my latest pride and joy!! :)

Now that empty wall over the rods looks rather bare doesn't it? Well, I have something up my sleeve for that space!

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Thursday, 9 August 2012

King's Nephew Swapped at Birth!

In a bizzarre turn of events this morning, King Kamsa's routine assassination of his beloved sister's new borns, hit a glitch. The child flew out of the King's grasp just as his Royal Highness was about to smash him down on the rock dedicated to this sole purpose. To add further confusion to the already brewing chaos, the child flew upwards in clear violation of Newtonian Physics (who was not yet born and therefore whose laws perhaps did not apply) and revealed that indeed, she was a she and not a he!

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Driven Up the Wall: Office Room Make-over Part 3

(Continued from Part 2 here)

So what do you do when clutter and disarray drives you up the wall? You go up the wall! That was my final solution for the office room.

The office room was not working in so many ways when I started. It was dark and had boring white walls. And the desk! Oh the desk!! The desk proved to be such a clutter magnet that no one could ever work on it. Or if you did, you first had to shove a whole lot of junk out of the way first. This of course meant lost papers, bills, what not. The office room had taken a life of it's own. It was as if the walls were closing in on us and squeezing us out. It was time to take back the room. The first two problems were taken care of in Part One and Part Two of this makeover.