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Friday, October 5, 2007

A fantastic pasta sauce

Forget buying fancy canned tomato sauce. You can make it yourself for less money, with higher-quality ingredients, and it will be a much more rewarding process that opening a jar.

2 cups baby portabella mushrooms
10 leaves of fresh basil
4 tbs organic extra virgin olive oil
1 large can of organic fire roasted tomatos
1 large onion
1/2 head of garlic
1/4 cup of pine nuts
5 leaves fresh oregano
ground pepper and salt to taste

-- Add olive oil to a large sauce pan and warm on medium heat.
-- Chop the onions and mushrooms into small pieces; add the to the pot
-- peel, crush and mince the garlic; add it to the pot
-- put the pine nuts in a small pan to roast on medium heat, no oil. Take up when browned
-- crush the pine nuts and put them in
-- roll up the basil and oregano leaves like a cigarette and cut them finely. Add them to the pot.
-- open the fire roasted tomato can and pour it in.

Stir and serve. I like a chunky sauce like this on a flat noodle like fettuccini.

Spicy Shrimp Pasta

Small carton of heavy whipping cream
A box of fettuccini
A bag of frozen shrimp or crawfish tails, thawed
A head of garlic
Olive oil
White flour
Tony's cajun seasoning

-- boil the pasta
-- add oil and garlic, minced
-- add shrimp or crawfish
-- add lots of Tony's cajun seasoning. This is where the heat comes from
-- add heavy whipping cream and simmer on medium for about 5-7 minutes
-- add a pinch of flour to thicken the sauce.
-- add fettuccini and stir
-- salt & pepper to taste

Friday, September 21, 2007

Crash Couches Abroad: Bumming Goes High-Tech

Traveling is a good time, but it can be lonely and expensive if you don't know any of the locals. Hotels are out of most travelers' price range, hostels are a little cheaper, but what if you would be content with crashing on someone's couch? The less money you spend while you're asleep, the more you can experience while you're awake. Now there's a solution to all of these problems: couch surf.

This website,, has put together an amazing network of travelers and hosts throughout the world that are all committed to having a good time and giving or receiving hospitality. You create a profile, search for people in the area where you want to travel, and arrange to crash their couch. Members are vouched for by trusted members that have also been vouched for. Couch surfers build networks of friends and mutual contacts as they travel the world on the cheap.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Pancake Meow taking Pre-orders!

Pancake Meow, run by Leslie who makes the most adorably quirky scented clay jewellery, is now taking pre-orders for her custom coloured and scented cupcakes. These tend to run out quite quickly- order before it's too late!

She's also begun to offer the CUTEST sugar-cookie heart rings. Ok. It's been confirmed. I really need to eat right now.



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Exotic Foods for the Lazy

This list is for the people who love trying new foods, but are either too busy or too lazy to make them. I've included recipes for foods found all around the world, because everyone's version of 'exotic' differs according to where they live. All of these items are quick and easy to prepare, and for the most part only require ingredients found around the house. They make great party foods, or simply treats to gobble by yourself as you watch reruns of Project Runway or America's Next Top Model . Yes, I am one greedy, happy person- thanks for asking.

1. Vegetable Pakora are the tastiest, crunchiest snacks from India. They're traditionally made from veggies like carrots, onion rings, potatoes, cauliflower and/or broccoli coated in a spiced flour batter. Allrecipes has a pretty good, detailed recipe, though in a pinch I'd use ordinary white flour mixed with some corn flour (as opposed to the traditional chickpea) and whatever spices I have lying around the house. Traditionally, Indians also coat pieces of bread in the batter to be deep fried. These taste really good served with ketchup.

2. Tres Leches is the name given to a Latin American dessert (alot of Venezuelans I've met really enjoy preparing this dish) that should really be called Manna or Ambrosia. It's basically a sponge cake soaked in three types of milk- evaporated, condensed, and plain full cream milk. The result is very moist and very sweet. I've always seen this cake topped with whipped cream and dusted with cinnamon. Here's another detailed recipe from Allrecipes. though you'll get similar results from a box-cake that's been soaked in the three-milk mixture. Don't forget to mix some cinnamon and other spices of choice in the milk mixture itself before pouring into the already- baked cake! The recipe given seems to exclude this step.
(picture from

3. Banana Fritters- this dessert seems to find its roots in the Caribbean. My Jamaican grandmother always used to prepare these to the great delight of my very sweet teeth. This snack taste the best when very ripe bananas are used. Here's a basic recipe.
Dust the fritters with brown, cinnamon or icing sugar when finished frying.

4. Peanut Punch- An easy recipe for a great smoothie-type drink that perhaps many readers have already tried. The interesting thing is that this drink is also Afro-Caribbean in origin. Simple recipe here, though instead of peanut butter many prefer to use pre-roasted peanuts.

This post has made me very hungry....


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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Summer Solstice

Being that today is the longest day of the year, it is important to take into account just how much time you will have to spend absorbing sunshine and warmth. According to , Germany will have four extra seconds to bask in warmth before the moon and stars come out to play. With that time, it is your decision how to enjoy it. Whether you decide to go out for a night on the town, exercise, or just watch television, it's important to be grateful for such time. I've decided that since I have such an enormous amount of time to love life, these are the things I've come up with to consider doing:

1. Take the shortest drive ever
2. Read a book
3. Discover a new band
4. Write a short story in record time
5. Sunbathe on the sidewalk
6. Check email
7. Take a walk
8. Visit a neighbor
9. Take photographs of the clouds
10. Sit with friends/boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband and gossip about work and how much it sucks

I hope you all enjoy your summer solstice. This is the longest day of the year. Take advantage of it!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Motivation in a sugar-coated video pill

Need a lighter under your bum to motivate you to start a project, or perhaps even a diy business? Here are some great resources I've found by Internet trawling to assist you in doing just that.

The insanely pretty prettymperfect from livejournal's T Shirt Surgery has happily modernized ye olde MS Paint tutorial of yesteryear (or rather, of 5 days ago) by starting a new series of video podcasts. C'est vrai; she teaches you how to easily make a simple babydoll top quite like this one^
And yes! She's taking requests for more video tutorials, you lazy-poos, you.

It's no secret that I think reconstructed vintage is the coolest thing since KFC began to offer macaroni & cheese. Preloved, based in Canada, is probably my latest favourite reconned-vintage store. On their site, they've posted this cool video from around 2005- a clip from Fashion File showing how their business works, including the selection, design and construction process. Yummy, and no danger of clogged arteries here!

Also loving: the new threadheads podcast, the fact that all of readymade magazine's archives are available online (and are searchable!), Sanjaya running for I Love New York Season 2, Henry Cavill (the succexy Duke of Suffolk on the Tudors).

Trying not to get carpal tunnel from all of this typing I've been doing lately (but not on the blog, haha... still finishing up exams- sorry for slow posts!)

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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Like Tropical Pepsi without the horrible aftertaste

I'm now a member of Wardrobe Refashion! Four months without buying new clothing- just wearing altered, handmade stuff. Check out the Flickr community- really inspiring stuff.

I Amanda C.Q. pledge that I shall abstain from the purchase of "new" manufactured items of clothing, for the period of 4 months. I pledge that i shall refashion, renovate, recycle preloved items for myself with my own hands in fabric, yarn or other medium for the term of my contract. I pledge that I will share the love and post a photo of my refashioned, renovoated, recycled, crafted or created item of clothing on the Wardrobe Refashion blog, so that others may share the joy that thy thriftyness brings!

Signed, Amanda C.Q.

For some reason, the phrase "thy thriftyness" is really funny to me.

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