DIY wall planter

wall planter1

Hello Everybody,

This post is going to be about a DIY project we did this summer. We live in a small apartment with a balcony. We try to upgrade it every now and then, but there was this wall of the balcony which was sooo empty. We wanted to do something about it, but couldn’t find anything that was good enough. We were knew we wanted to do some balcony gardening there, bud we weren’t sure how. Then the magic of Pinterest happened, as I browsed it for ideas, I found these planters. Well not exactly like these, but something similar that led to this installation.

And the planning and building process begins…. (imagine some A-Team music here). They are pretty easy to make, you only need some wood slats/pallet wood and a few screws.

We made 4 boxes, you can see how we placed them on the pictures.
First you need to cut the wood to size, you’ll need 4 slats for the sides, and one or two for the bottom (it depends how wide you want your boxes). We used two so the boxes are pretty wide, about 20cms.

wall planter collage

So you only measure, cut, and screw together. We made some separations inside them, but this is only stylish addition. 🙂 We put them on the wall with big screws. When they are on the wall, you fill them up with potting soil, and you plant your spices, flowers, etc. You can line the boxes with something that holds water in, but than you have to watch your watering, because if you overwater the plants they can rot quickly. I didn’t line them. Now when I water the plants, water comes out of the bottom of the boxes, but because of how we placed them, I just start the watering from the top, and It’s kind of a self watering system. 🙂
In the lower boxes I have thyme, mint, lemon grass, and rosemary growing, in the upper box I put some flowers, and as you see I have one empty as well. I’m planning to plant some vegetables like tomatoes and lettuce when the time comes.

Do You have some kind of planters on your balcony? What are You growing in them?

Have a nice day!

Salmon in the oven

Salmon1

Hi Everyone,

I’m here again, and I brought you a delicious 30 minute dinner. We are baking Salmon this time. I usually try to fit as many fish into our meals as I can, because we love it, and more importantly it is extreme healthy.
As we all know Salmon is rich in Omega 3, but recent studies show, that it also contains small bioactive protein molecules (called bioactive peptides) that may provide special support for joint cartilage, insulin effectiveness, and control of inflammation in the digestive tract. So we should eat salmon (and more fish) more regularly. But you also have to be careful, because of the mercury level of this fish. Now you won’t have any problems if you eat salmon once or twice a week, but you shouldn’t eat it more often than this.

And now the recipe. It is the easiest and most delicious way to prepare salmon. It takes literally 30 minutes (and if you make salad instead of the mashed potatoes, it’s even faster). This recipe serves 4 people. I used salmon fillet, because it’s easier to prepare, and it was on sale as well 🙂

Salmon2

You’re gonna need:

2 medium salmon fillets with skin
2-4 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped
Salt (I use himalayan salt, but seasalt, or simple table salt is great too)
Black pepper, freshly grounded

First you preheat the oven to 200°C. (next I made the mashed potatoes as a side dish, so I cooked the potatoes in salty water, smashed them, and mixed with butter and cream) You cut the salmon to about 10cm wide pieces, lay them on the baking tray skins down. Then you salt them, pepper them, and put the chopped rosemary and garlic on them. Now put the fish in the oven for about 10 minutes, until it breaks easily into small thin pieces.

Serve and eat with joy! 🙂
Share Your favourite salmon recipe with me in the comments!

Salmon1

DIY Pallet wall

pallet collage

Hello Folks,

I brought you today a crafty post which is kind of far from the kitchen.
We live in a small, two-bedroom aparment, and we really struggle with the heating. Our devices are not so effective, and also the apartment is not really new, It’s about 40 years old. Of course we made some renovation before we moved in, but that didn’t solve all the problems we had due to the lack of insulation on the walls. Therefore our bedroom wall was always cold, and we paid too much on hetaing to reach a comfortable 18 degrees (celsius) for sleeping. We tried so many things, but then found a great idea, which also looked great and stylish. This was to cover the wall with wood. The idea came from Pinterest of course. I’m obsessed with this site. But aren’t we all? 🙂

The original source was this:

http://www.cape27blog.com/2012/10/20-diy-pallet-wall/

DIY Pallet wall from Cape 27

But pallets here are depositable, so the planning and counting brought, it would be cheaper to do it from pine slats. Fortunately we have a lumberyard nearby, and they have very reasonable prices, so we bought the wood material, and cut to size. (my Man is very handy, so we do most of our stuff ourselves, and also have the tools, but if you don’t, the lumberyard workers will cut to size everything as you want)  Of course we had to treat the wood with linseed oil to make it last longer and a litlle more resistant to water, so for like 3 days our living room looked like this while it dried:

Pallet wall 01Then when they dried out, we started to put them up to the wall. First we needed four sleepers, screwed the on the wall and we put the slats onto them. We thought about putting some insulation material under the slats (because there was about 3cms big space), but then we decided not to, due to our worries about mold, so we didn’t. We figured, the air between the wall and the wood will be enough.

pallet02

When all the slats were on the wall, we needed to sleep, because we were exhausted (and also it was 11 pm.).

pallet03Forgive me for the quality of the photos, but it was in lamplight at night and I only had my phone to take them.

The next day the work continued by painting the slats, and with little touch ups, like putting reading lamps  and my mirror on the wall. It looks neat, isn’t it? And I have to say we don’t miss the additional insulation, the room is about 3-4 degrees (celsius) warmer than before this adjustment, and with the same amount of heating. It’s much comfortable now to sleep, we aren’t cold, and we feel good everytime we enter this room.

pallet collage

The whole project took us about 4 and a half days, and only because of the linseed oil we put on the slats. The process of putting this on the wall was only 1 day, and the painting was also 1 day, so it is a very easy DIY project. A cheap weekend makeover, which also will save you money, and make your apartment look stylish.

Did anyone of you do a project like this? Please share your experiences with me in comments.

Bye,

Ágnes

Marbled Cheesecake Brownies – from Pass the Cocoa

Marbled Cheesecake Brownies – from Pass the Cocoa

Marbled Cheesecake Brownies

Hi Folks,

Last week I tried a great recipe, I found on Pinterest from passthecocoa.com.

I hereby recommend it to everyone, who craves a marvellous sweet. I had some trouble making it but that was jus from my lack of experience I’m sure. But the outcome was indescribable, we went through on a batch not more than 4 hours, and everyone who tasted it had a breathtaking experience. One of my friends described it as the brownie of the brownies. 🙂

So thanks passthecocoa.com for introducing me to this wonderful thing I’m officially addicted.

See the recipe here.

Agnes

Baked cheesy chicken

Hi everyone!

I’m here with yet another food post. I couldn’t resist. At the weekend I made this quick and easy but delicious meal and I thought I share this recipe with you just in case anyone is in the “what the heck should I cook” phase. :)This meal is usually my life saver.

Ingredients:
-1kg chicken breast fillet
-20dkgs cheese (this time I used Edam but you can use any cheese you want)
-3eggs
-1cup heavy cream
-salt, pepper (seasoning is really up to your taste)

You’ll start with buttering a large Jena glass bowl or a casserole dish. Next you mix the eggs with heavy cream than slice the chicken. You can either slice or grate the cheese. Grating makes more even layering. I was lazy last time just sliced it. Now you start with a chicken layer (on every layer of chicken sprinkle some salt and pepper or your choice of seasoning) than place cheese slices on them.
Repeat this once more, than pour half of the egg-heavy cream mixture on it.
image

Repeat the whole method once but the final layer should be cheese.
image

Now put it in the preheated oven. Bake it on low temperature until it bakes together completely and the cheese melts on top. Than raise the temperature and bake it until the cheese starts to turn brown.
image

We like to eat it with mashed potatoes but it is also great with salad or rice.
Try it and let me know how it turned out.
See you next time.

Food We Eat.

Hey everybody.

I haven’t been here in a while, but I got a little overwhelmed, we started to repaint our apartment and had close to no free time. But It was worth it. The place looks very neat now. 🙂 I also started a few new projects, and as soon as they’re done and photographed, they will definitely be uploaded here. But meanwhile I’d like to raise attention to something what is very important to me, the Food We Eat. My eyes were opened circa a year ago to this mass lie, what the food industry in generally feeds us. I have been searching, reading, watching videos about it and it is horrifying I have to tell. Most of you ovbiously know what I’m talking about, but i think there can’t be enough talking in this subject,  and to tell more, we can do a lot of things about it.

All of this started with the industrial revolution in Europe, which than spread to the rest of the World in a few decades. This was the transition for the World to new easier, more efficient manufacturing processes. This was the time, when hand production turned into machine production basically. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against every machine, I don’t want to be a cave-woman I’m glad we evolved. 🙂

But there is a right amount of everything and i think especially in the food industry things are sailing far away from what is good for us, and getting closer and closer to what is good for  the food companies, and that has to stop.

I’m not a hypocrite, as of today I also go shopping to hypermarkets, and buy mostly what is cheap (because everyone is living from money, right?) not really reading the labels. But today I saw a video (I saw similar videos before as well, but it seems, for me this was the border of the ignorance), which made me think this can’t be right  we can’t be that dumb to not realize this, to not care about this. THIS HAS TO STOP!
I generally try to reduce, but at least not to grow our ecological footprint. We collect the waist selective, try to buy local food, but we are in tiny baby shoes in this area.

This is the Video I’m talking about,  it was posted on Upworthy, and shared by the Food INC.’s facebook page. Please see it yourselves, and outrage as you wish, It just brings you all closer to the state of mind I’m in now.

O.K. humans are carnivorous, so we eat other animals. I have no problem with that, I love meat. The problem is, how we treat this mass processed meat. And mostly not because how the animal feels ( however that is also a significant point of view), but because of the impact this mass processed food has on us.

I start with chickens. What do you have in mind when I say chicken? Something like this, right?

chicken

Well it is mostly like this:

Chicken"farms"

It’s sad. And also it is only a google search away from you, if you search chicken farm tonns of pictures like this come up, and i think only one or two which shows an actual farm with grass.

Well as you saw in the video the chicken you buy at the supermarket comes from this industrial processing. It’s like a chicken factory. And there is a difference whether you eat this chicken or you eat the one who actually had a life, saw the sun and ate grass and had space to run around. First of all if you bake the chicken from the factory it leaks water from itself. It’s because of what they eat pumps them up to look bigger, better, but really they are just water. It is proven, that the animal which was “happy” and healthy during its life, tastes better. Try it, it’s true.
Second of all, this mass produced chicken (and every other animal in mass production), is stuffed full with antibiotics. Which makes sense, if you think about it, when there are a few thousand chicken in a warehouse pressed onto each other there are a lot of bacteria and virus and also they’re milling around in their own poo. So that’s not healthy, they have to get so many antibiotics, that it does not empty from them, and you eat the antibiotics with the chicken. (most of them you cannot destroy with heat). You would think that’s not such a bad thing, you eat the medicine, so you won’t get sick either. WRONG.  You will get sick eventually, but then your body is so used to the antibiotics, they have no healing effect on you. But they have side-effects. Just read about it. Really it’s worth the time.

The saddest thing is that this all depends on us! We are the consumers, we are the ones, who only care about the price tag, and not the product. Or worse we care about it, we know all this, we just choose to ignore it, because it takes effort to go further than a hundred meters to buy our food. It takes effort to read about these things, so we choose to be treated this way. We do not care. And many many people will get wealthier over our ignorance. Over our health.

Don’t think that you are alone and one man can’t do anything. Educate the people around you. One step at a time we can make a difference. Remember we are the mass. There are more of us then them. We could easily control the supply.

Here is a Video that demonstrates farming can be done different.
Oh yeah! And see this Video in case you were wondering how can they sell this crap to us as we thing we buy good things.

 

Well it became a long post. I hope that a lot of you will think about that, and make changes. Little changes are enough.

Care about the Food We Eat!

See you soon.

Agnes

Quick cold fruit soup

fruit soup

Summer is here, the weather is hot and it’s lunchtime. Everybody is hungry, but you don’t want to spend an hour in the kitchen to cook. Seems familiar? Now I have the solution! This soup is delicious, it’s cold, and fruity. 🙂 Perfect summer meal. I made this  like a thousand times, from different fruits, and the result was great each time.

Now I share the secret with you all.

 

Ingredients:

1/2 kg fruit of any kind (it can be only one type of fruit, or you can mix some fruits, can be canned or fresh fruits, It’s up to you)
2dl whipping cream
1pack of vanilla pudding powder
1teaspoon of cinnamon
1-3 cloves
sugar, water

I used canned blueberries and canned sour cherry, each in a 0,7l bottle. The measurements have been adapted  to this.

canned fruits

First thing to do is to cook the fruits. If you use canned, as I did, pour the fruits and the syrup into a pot, then add 6dl water (more-or less, it depends on how much is your canned fruit). If you use fresh fruit, then pour the water until it is slightly above the fruits. Add the spices. They can be varied to suit your taste. Now you have to let it boil together.

soup

 

When it is almost done, you start to mix the whipping cream with the pudding powder, then you add the pudding mix to the soup while constantly stirring it.
Now you only have to boil it once more, then let it cool. You can also put it into the fridge.

Yummmmm. 🙂

After we ate this I made the same soup but from pears and apples, it was also delicious.

See ya’ll 🙂

 

 

 

 

The easiest hand made bread

IMG_0796p

Hi everyone!

We don’t usually buy bread,  I rather bake it myself, because this way I know what is in it. 🙂 No preservatives or any kind of bad stuff.

When I first started making our own bread I used a bread machine, and the recipes that came with it. But then I started looking for the hand made way to do it, because our kitchen is not so big, the machine is packed away on top of the cabinet, and it is complicated to always take it down, pack it out, and then put it away again when I don’t need it anymore.

Pinterest was a big help in this, there are tonns of recipes there. I tried many, some worked, some didn’t. But finally I found an easy, cheap recipe, which I upgraded to our needs, and it became the perfect bread recipe.

The pattern was the Jamie Oliver basic bread recipe. I started making this in every second day, because it was so great, that we ate it all quickly.

But then we minimalised our white flour consumption, so I had to adjust the bread recipe also, to fit more into our new eating habits.  I red a lot about rye and whole grain bread making, tried a lot of things, but I got the best result if I used half rye or whole grain flour, and half white for the bread.

So now I’m sharing this great and easy hand made bread with you all, I hope you will try it and love it just as much as I do.

Ingredients:

1/2 kg white flour
1/2 kg whole grain of rye flour
600 ml  lukewarm water
30 g fresh yeast (or you can use dry yeast as well, than you’ll need 3×7 g)
1 tablespoon salt (I usually use seasalt)
2 tablespoons sugar

 

All the ingredients are adjustable, you can use more of one flour and less of the other, you can use full white flour, full rye flour. The amount of the water depends on the flour mostly. some of them need more, some of them need less.

First thing to do is to put the flours into a large kneading bowl and mix it together (you can use your hand, you’ll going to use them a lot making this bread)

flours

Make a large well in the centre. Pour some of  your water into the well, then add the yeast, sugar and salt and stir with a fork.

PicMonkey Collage
Now stir it together. As you stir, bring in the flour from the inside of the well. Continue the process until you get a stodgy,  consistency – then add more water. Continue to mix until it’s stodgy again, repeat this until you’re out of water, then bring in all the flour, make the mix less sticky.

Now flour your hands and pat and push the dough together with all the remaining flour. (Certain flours need a little more or less water, so feel free to adjust here.)

Then start to knead the dough ( I usually just do it in the bowl) for 4-5 minutes until you have a smooth elastic dough.

dough2

Flour the top of your dough.  Cover the bowl with a dish towel and let it rise for about half an hour until doubled in size – ideally in a warm place. This will improve the flavour and texture of your dough.

When it’s doubled in size,  start bashing it for about 5 minutes. You can now shape it or flavour it as you want, then put it into the pan (or pans- I usually use a medium bread pan and an oven-use glass bowl) leave it to rise for a second time for 30 minutes to an hour until it has doubled in size again.

This amount of dough is enough for 2 breads I shape them like this:

let it rise

 

You also can make rolls, or baguettes out of it.
Meanwhile turn on the oven and preheat it to 180°C/350°F/gas 4

 

It is very important to rise it the second time, because now it gets the air what will be baked into the bread.
When the second rising is done, put the pans into the oven, and bake it for 25-30 minutes until its color is golden brown. To check if it’s done, tap its bottom,and if is sounds hollow, it is. Once cooked, place on a rack and allow it to cool for at least 30 minutes.

easiest

Now you can enjoy your hand made bread. 🙂

Bye until next time,

Agnes

 

Canelloni with tomato sauce

Hi everyone!

Yesterday I had to cook something, so we would have lunch today. For some days I wanted to try the Canelloni pasta. Well now was the time to do that, and also I’m sharing this recipe with you all.

The Canelloni is an 8-10 cms long tube shaped pasta with a 2cms diameter. You can fill it with almost everything, the most popular stuffings are the tomato sauce with meat or the spinach and ricotta with beschamel sauce.

I choose the tomato version, since I had no spinach at home… 🙂

First of all you need the Canelloni, which I’m sure you can find in any store, now It’s pretty common. Here’s what I used:

CanelloniDried cannelloni pasta

This is 250 gramms, that means about 25 tubes. It should be enough to fill up a 1,5l rectangular shaped baking dish. You can see that in the picture on the box there is a spinach filled version of the pasta. The box came with the recipe for that so next time I’m making Canelloni , I will definitely try this version.

You’ll need a medium-sized onion, 500g minced meat ( I used half beef, half pork, it was delicious, but you can go with either), 1l tomato paste (or you can make it from fresh tomatoes, in that case you have to use about 8 big tomatoes), about 15dkgs of greated cheese, some salt, pepper and basil, about 1dl olive oil and 1dl water and some butter for the pan.

First you have to heat up the olive oil in a medium saucepan, than cut the onion in small pieces (maybe save the root end of the onion for planting, that’s what I did), put it in the heated oil, and fry until it seems glassy.

onion

Than put in the minced meat tear it apart for very tiny pieces for it will be easier to stuff the pasta that way. Season the meat with salt and pepper.

meat

When the meat is completely browned, pour in the tomato paste, water down a little if needed.

tomato sauce

Put some more salt and pepper into it and season with basil also to give it an Italian taste. 🙂

Boil the sauce while stirring it occasionally. Then turn off the heat, let it cool down a little. Meanwhile you should preheat the oven. When the sauce is not too hot anymore, start stuffing the Canellonis. Careful, because if you don’t support the back end of the pasta, all the sauce will come out what you fill in, and the dinner making becomes the never ending story… It takes some time to figure out how to stuff them, but once you got it, there’s no way to stop. Fill the Canellonis one-by one, and place them into the buttered baking dish. When you’re out of the pasta, pour the remaining sauce onto them. Mine looked like this at this point:

almost ready

You may notice, that the dish is not completely full with pasta, I was one canelloni short. Nevermind, I filled the hole with cheese.

So now’s the part when you sprinkle the greated cheese onto the pasta.

cheesewith cheese

Then cover it with tin foil (just to not burn the cheese) and put it in the oven for 15 min. After the 15 min take it out take the tin foil down and put the dish back to the oven for another 15 min to neatly bake the cheese on top.

There you go, It’s done. Wasn’t so hard after all, now was it?

Enjoy this meal.

Agnes