Thursday, April 28, 2011

Homemade Cooking: Pasta with Beans and Greens

I’d like to share a recipe I tried out a couple of days ago. I came up with it mostly based on a few veggies that begged me to buy them at the Trader Joe’s. And I love pasta, so of course I had to include some! It’s simple but tasty, and would be really easy to modify further to fit your tastes. The veggies, whole wheat instead of regular pasta, and some beans for protein sound like a fairly balanced and healthy combo to me! As usual I forgot to take pictures before we’d eaten it all.


1 bag whole wheat egg noodles
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic (minced)
½ of a red onion (diced)
1 bunch kale
1 bunch chard
1 can of white beans (drained and rinsed-I used great northern)
Red pepper flakes (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
Grated fresh parmesan cheese (to taste)

Cook pasta (I suggest undercooking them by about a minute as they will cook more when combined with the other ingredients) while you prepare the rest of the meal. Put olive oil in a cast iron pot/dutch oven-just enough to coat the bottom of the pot.  Add garlic and red onion. Slice kale (without stems) and chard into pieces and add to pot. Cook until tender.  Add beans, pasta, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to pot. Toss together and cook until heated through (5-10 minutes).  Add grated parmesan cheese to each person’s when serving, stir and eat! Yum!

This was a really quick and easy recipe to make. You could probably use any kind of greens (spinach would probably be tasty!)  You could omit the red pepper flakes if you don’t like spice. It would probably also be tasty with zucchini, bell peppers, or just about any other veggies that are good cooked.  You could probably also omit the olive oil, although I think it makes the spices and garlic/onion flavor stick to the pasta and veggies. Even though it’s a fairly healthy oil it should be used sparingly, of course, as a little bit of oil adds a lot of calories. Enjoy!

Copyright 2011. See more at Voyage of the Hyperspace Hippo

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Triple Word Score-Scrabble Tile Pendants

Hello readers! For the past few days I've been working on scrabble tile pendants. This is the first time I've tried working with resin and I'm having so much fun! I thought it'd be even more fun to share the process with you guys. I bought some individual scrabble tiles at a flea market (the Fremont Sunday Market) while I was visiting Seattle. I also got some other cool stuff while I was there-watch backs, old coins-but those will have to wait for another project.

Scrabble tile pendants are pretty popular-as are variations like glass tile pendants. To put my own twist on the whole scrabble and make it a bit more 'me' I thought I'd try using my own travel photos for the designs. I also did one using some Japanese paper scraps that I bought on etsy. Scrabble tile pendants are NOT for the impatient-they take days to make if you do them this way.

Day 1: Computers, cutting, and glue (oh my!)

First I had to crop photos to the right shape, and make tiny versions of the pictures I wanted to use. I used GIMP for that-good free software! I printed them on photo paper and cut them out with an x-acto knife.  

The size came out pretty close to the tiles; I might make them slightly bigger next time as I'm not sure I want the white border.

Next I glued the photos to the tiles with mod podge and waited them to dry before trimming the photos closer to the edges of the tiles. 

Then I 'sealed' the paper with more mod podge-covering the surface and cut edges of the photo and let them dry overnight. Oh yeah-I should mention that our power went out mid-way through this step and I had to finish by the light of a flashlight and candles!

Day 2: Resin time! 

This was the exciting part. I used Ice Resin which is a two-part epoxy meant for jewelry, it dries clear and is supposed to resist clouding over time. It also makes a dome shape by itself if you're careful. I mixed the two parts of resin carefully and began dripping resin onto the pendants. (I had to open the windows-it's a bit stinky once mixed!) As I kept dripping resin onto the pendants it naturally went to the edges and domed in the center-so far it seemed to working great-at least until I bumped some of the pendants and spilled it down the sides-boo!

Here is what the pendants looked like when coated in resin before I covered them up and left them to dry for 24 hours-no peeking or moving them, as you could ruin the dome! I covered them with a box top weighted down with some books to keep curious cat paws away!

They're already forming a dome, as you can see. This is only about 10 minutes after I finished putting the resin on. William the hippo plush snuck into this photo somehow . . . 

24 hours later I was finally able to take a look at the pendants! I think they worked out well, despite the spills. The doming effect seems to be intact from the side view. 

You can see the effects my bumping and spilling did have here. I'll have to try trimming or filing the excess resin off the side, because I really like the design on this one!

Now that the resin has dried, I think I'll try out some bail designs while I'm waiting for them to cure completely (this takes 3 days!) I think the hardest part of this is all the waiting. LOL I've bought some ready-made glue-on bails, but I'm determined to try making my own bails. I love hand-making as many bits as possible.

So, what do you think of my first attempt at these pendants? Has anyone else tried doing this? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Copyright 2011. See more at Voyage of the Hyperspace Hippo


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