Mac and Cheese

I love mac and cheese, it’s one of my favorite foods.

Last night at around 2am for my nightly snack (that we eat while reading in bed), I asked Matthew for some mac and cheese.  He told me to get out of the kitchen and go in the bedroom and wait. 

TADA! Amazing.  This is what he whipped up in 20 minutes.. it was delicious!

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Coriander

Today I ripped up the cilantro plants after I let them go bad.  Why?  Because cilantro turns into coriander, a yummy herb! 

I was at the grocery store this morning in the spice section and saw each of these little packets for $4.

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So let’s harvest our own!

After the cilantro turns brown, flops over and turns into seed – then it’s coriander time.  When should you pick? The coriander should be brown and the seeds should almost fall off in your hand when you rub the plant.

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Then you’re going to sit on the ground and remove the seeds.  I heard you can put them in a paper bag and shake it too.  The smell is amazing!

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Xanadu and Essy were all over at me this time too.. not sure why but Essy wanted to rub her cheeks in it.

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Then place your coriander seeds in a jar.  You can keep them whole or grind it if you want.   When you’re ready to use, just take some out and spice away!

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Pumpkin, AKA, “You should make this post title “The greatest day of 2011””

So today we picked our first rooftop garden grown pumpkin! Smiles all across.  I have the pumpkin in my arms and might sleep with it tonight.

It started from this:

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Then to this:

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Then to this:

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And then I pollinated early in the morning:

Up at 6:30am pollinating pumpkins.

Then we got this:

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And today we have this beautiful guy:

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Anything is possible!!!!!! <3 <3 <3

Pumpkins

So this is our pumpkin we grew! It’s basically ready to be picked.. I just don’t know what to do with it yet!
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I know you’re thinking – it’s July! But don’t worry, we will still (hopefully) have Halloween Pumpkins too  because we just started seedlings…

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All 4 of them came up.  We are growing 2 Jack-O-Lanterns and 2 small sugar pumpkins.

 

Can't stop expanding...

So that sent us back to Home Depot to expand again as we wanted these pumpkins to be container based as well.  Our potting mix has been out of stock for the past 2 weeks so we’ve been obsessively checking everyday online for their stock.  Yesterday it was back in stock! This cart basically broke btw, we had to switch.

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Making the containers..

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Watering the containers for the first time  (hello Mr. Watermelon trying to peek into the frame).

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All planted.. Grow strong little pumpkins!

Homemade Tomato Soup

I love tomato soup (LOVE LOVE LOVE) but I always buy premade or in a can soup.  So with all our tomatoes, I decided to finally make a proper homemade tomato soup.

Alot of recipes call for crushed canned tomatoes, but it’s summer and I wanted to use our fresh tomatoes, so I did that instead.

The recipe I’m using comes from here but with my changes below.  Also the amounts below equal about 3 servings.

 

28 oz of tomatoes – this equaled for me 3 beef tomatoes and 5 romas (I guessed)

1 cup chicken broth

8 fresh basil leaves, minced

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 cup milk

3 tablespoons butter

 

So like I said, most recipes just list canned tomatoes so now we have to take our fresh tomatoes and get them to that point. Extra work? Yes.  Worth it?  Definitely!

So first we need to blanch the tomatoes – blanching consists of boiling the tomatoes for a small amount of time and then quickly putting them in ice water – this makes their skin peel off easily!

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Clean your tomatoes and say hello to them.

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Cut X’s on the bottom of every tomato, also cut off the top stem.

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Put in boiling water – for about 1 minute.

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Spoon each one out and put it in ice water immediately. Leave them in here for a minute.

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Where you cut the X, your tomato skin will peel off.. see.. amazing, no?

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My tomatoes, feeling naked…  Compost those skins too. :)

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So now let’s get these tomatoes crushed.  You can do many ways here – you can use a blender, potato blender, but I like my food chopper.  So I cut a few tomatoes up and put them in here.

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Chop for a few seconds until this.

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Repeat until all the tomatoes are done.  So now we got our crushed tomatoes.. let’s begin!!

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Pour chicken broth (I use bouillon cubes) into tomatoes – bring to a boil.

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Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

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While it’s simmering, let’s collect our basil.  I walk a few feet to our basil plant. :)   Take a minute and enjoy the smell.

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Then mince the basil. 

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Once it’s done simmering, add your sugar and basil. Stir it up.

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Add your milk and butter, crank it up to medium heat.

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Stir until all ingredients are blended, what you got here is tomato soup!

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Put in bowl, garnish with extra basil leaves if you want.

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Serve with grilled cheese because there’s no combination better than that.

Enjoy!! :)

Dinner Tonight

Matthew made this meal tonight and it was amazing.  I did help though by making the salsa…

We get some chicken breasts, marinate them with Italian vinaigrette overnight.  Then fry them up, put some fresh salsa on them.  Then serve fresh vegetables on the side.

SO GOOD!

We also can’t have a meal without some type of tomato…

Salsa:

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Pick some roma tomatoes.

 

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Roma Tomatoes + Green/Orange Peppers + Cilantro + Red Pepper Flakers + Salt/Pepper.   I use my Black & Decker food chopper so  much, an amazing purchase.

 

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Chop up for a few seconds. I like it so it’s not that  mushy.

 

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Serve on chicken. MMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

Garden Besides Tomatoes

It’s been hard to type the last few days, us being avalanched by a mountain of tomatoes and all.. but more about that later.

Other parts of the garden:

 

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Our watermelon starting out! So cute.  This was July 12th!

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This was July 17th!

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I’m pretty sure I’ll be picking this pumpkin in the next week..

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The beautiful scarlet runner beans. It’s been super hot here the last few days (and upcoming) so the beans haven’t started yet..

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We planted more carrots..

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The sugar snap peas crop is done.  I’d say we got about 400-500 sugar snap peas just from a few seeds – it’s been beyond our expectations.  We are going to have some for dinner tonight.  So we ripped this out and what did we do.. planted more sugar snap peas!

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We had a crazy rain storm last week, so we used the roof water for our rain barrel (it gets filtered with screen/funnels).

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We had a big rainbow too!

Beck’s Green Box Project

Can we tell you how much we wanted to share this project with you? It’s been killing us.

Thanks to Beck’s, the Protein team, our team (Aki, Lottie, Saya, Layla, Vanusa) and everyone else that helped along the way!

Today, July 15th, our augmented reality project Super_AR_Avatars goes live in Milan!

We were selected as one of the launching artists of the Beck’s Green Box AR Project.  We will be launching in Milan – the boxes will be worldwide throughout the next year in New York, London, Milan, Miami, Los Angeles and more.  So if you’re in Milan, grab your smartphone, download the app, and see our magical world! You can find more about this project at www.becks.com.

Here is a preview image from our project (credit).  A description reads: “Reed + Rader have turned their Green Box at landmark Via Pio IV in Milan into a fantastical world of photo realistic, fairy tale fashion animations. An enchanting, pixie-like model with candy-flossed hair kicks her way through video-game inspired scenery, finding herself on a journey through a sky full of puffed up clouds and lost balloons. Inspired by the virtual world of dreamy impossibilities, Reed + Rader have taken their well-loved playful approach and created a Green Box full of aesthetically pleasing fashion fun.”

Beck's Green Box AR Project

Here is a video as well that goes behind the scenes on this project and answers some questions:

We’re super proud of this project, once we can get a video if it live in action we’ll share that too. <3

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

In my  never ending google search of “What to do with tomatoes” – I found oven roasted tomatoes and thought “Yes, let’s do it!”. So off we go..

What you need:

Tomatoes – cherry or grape size – how many you want is up to you

Olive Oil (about 2tablespoons)

Minced Garlic (about 1 tablespoon)

Fresh herbs (oregano or basil is great!)

Salt and Pepper to taste

 

Gather up your tomatoes, I’m using cherry tomatoes.

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Clean them, cut them in half and then toss in bowl with olive oil, garlic, herbs (I used garden oregano) and salt/pepper.

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Put them on parchment or aluminum foil.

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Put in the oven at 350 for 45 minutes.  When they come out, you will see and smell glory.

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How do you eat them? Well you can eat as is, on some crackers, on some bread, or what I did – on pasta.

I made some fusilli pasta with garlic alfredo sauce and then put the tomatoes on top – it was beyond delicious.

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Basil, Bacon, Tomato Sandwich

This is what we had for dinner tonight! It tasted like a gourmet sandwich, but more special because all the vegetables were picked a little before this. :)

What you need:

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Slices of tomatoes – about 5 per sandwich.

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For this I went to my current tomato stash… ;)

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About 5 basil leaves per sandwich.

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Some nice bread – here is french sourdough.

Put everything on the bread, add a piece of cheese if you’d like, sprinkle some salt and pepper.

Then make some bacon – about 2-3 slices per sandwich. For mine I made turkey bacon.  TADA!

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It was delicious!

 

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What to serve on the side? Well garden fresh vegetables of course.. so good.

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Bon appetite!