Small Kitchen, Big Dreams

Billy and I have lived in our apartment for four years now, a bit hard to believe. I remember my brothers Chris advice on apartment hunting, don’t be cheap – get the apartment you really like. I did that and I have loved starting my life here with Billy. We have a large 1 bedroom, huge bedroom, lots of closets, huge living room, a dining area and a really small kitchen. I figured at the time, it hit so many must haves, that I could over look the small kitchen. I have and I have done pretty well given my limited space.

You know what I am talking about, you’ve seen my prep space before!

Tikka-Masala-4

We also have a mini fridge, which can be awkward for such large people…

small fridge

I’m actually surprised I could get this picture, two people in there at once is a bit difficult. Moral of the story is, we make it work with the space that we have. Today, we utilized some wall space to maximize our existing storing. Take a look:

I would’ve gotten better angles, but I was up against the stove. Share some of your space saving ideas, this tomato-ette can use all the help she can get.

tagged in cooking, kitchen

The Fall Harvest

garden rockaway

As summer comes to a close, here in Rockaway we are getting ready for the cold weather. Our bountiful garden is still producing the last of the vegetables that we all enjoyed this summer. The wonderful bright green basil has been picked and placed in freezer bags to sweeten every pot of tomato sauce we will enjoy this winter. Some of the basil has been transformed into tasty pesto, (not my favorite). With the daily picking of the tomatoes, I am able to create small batches of delicious simple tomato sauce for pasta or anything else I want to make. The mason jars make a wonderful storage for the tomatoes and the portions are perfect for a large gathering, (use 2) or just a small group. Nothing goes to waste and as you can see, the family is just waiting for guests to arrive or just us sharing a great Italian dinner.  Check our the recipes here if you have some basil or tomatoes that need to be saved for winter.

Rockaway Summer - The Honans

Source: Rockaway Summer

SIMPLE PESTO
2 cups of fresh basil (or baby spinach, or arugula)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 or more olive oil

Put the first 3 ingredients in food processor and blend.  When fully incorporated, slowly add olive oil until nice and smooth.   Put in a jar, seal, freeze and  use when needed.

EASY TOMATO SAUCE
Wash fresh tomatoes –   Cut off stems and chop into chunks (leave skin on)
Put into blender or food processor and chop
You may need to add a bit of canned tomato paste to help blend.

In a medium saucepan put olive oil to cover the bottom
add chopped garlic cloves  (3)

ALTERNATIVE –  add chopped onions too (1 large white)
You can have a sauce with only garlic, only onions or a combination of both
Add salt, a pinch of sugar, pinch of dried oregano
Cook garlic/onions until slightly softened, not burned or  brown

When tomatoes are fully blended, add to the garlic and/or onions and cook.  Add a small can of good tomato paste, (use an Italian variety- Cento, Progresso etc)
Cook until thickened.  Cool and then put in jars or tupperware containers.

MANGIA MANGIA MANGIA – all winter long.

garden harvest

tagged in garden, gardening, moms, plants

Chicken-sitting

I would bet good money that my friend John (who’s working on our house) knows more of my neighbors than I do. He introduced me to Sam and Elsa, awesome people who have what you could call a mini-farm on Beach 92nd street. Last week, John informs me that we are taking care of their chickens for 10 days while they are away. My immediate response was “Are you kidding me?!??! I know nothing about chickens except that they taste great as parmesan!”  I go into panic mode. “What if we lose one? I’ll go to that live poultry place in Bushwick to replace the bird – no one would ever know.” John notices my rant spiraling into worst case scenario mode. He stops me!  “Don’t worry, everything will be just fine. It’ll be fun!”
Urban Farm in Rockaway

He was right, not only are all 6 chickens alive and well, but I truly enjoyed my chicken-sitting experience.  I also learned a lot about chicken behavior.

They love eating tomatoes and bugs.

Chickens in Rockaway

If there’s danger they know to run back into the fenced coop area. If they sense trouble, the chickens are back in the coop safe zone within seconds. This is Mango, she likes to play with the chickens.

Mango the Cat

I’m not sure if this is true of all chickens, but these gals line up on the roof of the pen at sundown. It’s adorable. They all snuggle on top waiting to go inside. To get a chicken in the coop, you grab her close to the neck (so the wings can’t flap), scoop her up and put her in. That’s it. It’s easier than it sounds.

Besides letting them out in the morning, collecting eggs and making sure they’re safe in the coop at night, you need to give them fresh water, chicken feed and some garden treats like cabbage, tomatoes and bugs.

I never thought I would have interest in having a coop myself but now I do. It’s a sustainable investment. You can give chickens table scraps, they produce eggs and you can use the manure for your garden – a full circle operation!

Urban Farm in Rockaway

To learn more about chicken care check this out.

The Basement Challenge – By the Skin of Our Teeth

The night before move in day we were still painting – It was a long night. The floor paint said it would take three hours to dry, we thought all would be ok.

The next morning we walked in and the paint was sticky. After a freak out sesh, we concluded the paint wasn’t drying because of the humidity in the basement. We decided to borrow some air conditioners in a last attempt to dry the floor.

I started to worry – we failed the basement challenge. We would have to stay with Maureen for a few days, with Fiver. He’s been through two moves in six weeks and I knew this temporary stay at my mother-in-laws would add to his anxiety.

Later in the afternoon we get a call from the management at our sublet, we were not allowed to move over the holiday weekend. We had until Tuesday to move out! Talk about luck!!!

In light of our extension, I’m considering the basement challenge a draw – we made it by the skin of our teeth.. and good luck.

Here are before and after photos. We’re still working on lighting so the shots are a bit grainy.
basement1

basement

basement window

basement

basement

basement-2

basement bed

basement

We have a few odds and ends to finish, but all and all, I’m happy with the outcome. I can’t believe how this space transformed over 14 days. Now if only we had a working shower…