Thursday Ramblings

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I haven't had much time to blog this week. My in-laws arrive on Sunday, so I have been trying to get our house in order. I'm impressed with how everything is coming along. I just need to hang a few pictures and do some cleaning and everything will be set! We ordered a closet organizer from Amazon last week, so as soon as that arrives I can clear out all my clothes that I currently have piled in the guest room.
Of COURSE with so much going on I suddenly feel like I'm coming down with something. It started with a sore throat last night, and has not improved this morning. I'm trying to take it easy today even though I have a to-do list a mile long. We are supposed to travel around Italy with my in-laws for a week, and being sick would so not be ideal. So I'm going to try real hard to kick this thing in the next couple of days!
Last night I was talking to my mother, and she asked me what I miss about the states.
My response? LAUNDRY! The ability to easily do laundry! I have a teeny tiny washer that will only wash with hot water, there's no setting for cold water. I have a joke of a dryer that actually leaves my clothes feeling more wet than they began. Hang drying works as long as it's warm out. I don't have a dishwasher either. I feel like I've moved backwards in time. It's insane how much of my day is spent attempting to wash/dry clothes and washing dishes.
One things for sure, when we move back to the states I will not take those things for granted!
And with that, I must go. There are still clothes hanging outside from yesterday that need to be folded so that I can start on a new batch. And some green tea with honey is calling my name...

Black Bean Brownies

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Yes, you read that title correctly.
These moist, rich, delicious brownies were made with black beans.

This was also one of the easiest recipes I have ever made. 
You simply throw all of the ingredients into a blender, and blend! 
After blending stir 1/2 cup of chocolate chips into the batter, and pour into a baking pan. 
The recipe calls for the brownies to cook at 350 degrees (180 degrees Celsius) for 30 minutes. 
I am dealing with an oven that is Celsius and is difficult to determine the temperature, so I kept a close eye on my brownies. They ended up being done in a mere 15 minutes. I would highly recommend keeping an eye on these and check them often.

Ingredients
1 Can of Black Beans (15.5 oz), drained and rinsed
3 eggs
3 Tbsp Oil (I used Canola Oil)
1/2 Cup of Cocoa Powder 
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Salt
1 Tsp Vanilla 
3/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Chocolate Chips (optional) *Don't blend these with the rest of the ingredients*

I was shocked when I tasted these, and I hope you will give them a try! 
A delicious, healthy alternative to a classic treat. They are rich in flavor, so you don't need to have much in order to satisfy your sweet tooth!

Re-Purposing Furniture

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

This has only been our first move, but already I am learning some important tricks.
As we accumulate more furniture and move all over the world, I have discovered the importance of re-purposing furniture.

When we first moved into our little apartment in Georgia, we basically started out with nothing. My husband went from college dorms to Air Force dorms and had absolutely nothing to "bring to the table" house-wise. I had accumulated a few things while in college, but as far as furniture goes I only had a few pieces that I had grown up with at my parents house. This included a small desk, matching dresser and mirror, and nightstand. My parents were ever so generous, and gave us a lovely sleigh-bed that was residing in their guest room and a baker's rack. My husband and I slowly started furnishing our little one-bedroom apartment, and by the end of our time in Georgia our place was bursting at the seams with stuff.

Here in our new place we have PLENTY of space, and it feels so wonderful to not be starting out from scratch.

There has been lots of rearranging and with this I am finding certain pieces that no longer fit. Right before leaving Georgia we purchased a new desk and a matching credenza, both of which are light colored. We had a dark colored bookcase in the living room that we used to store books, movies, pictures and other trinkets. The living room here is small, so last week when the movers came we had them place this bookcase in the office, along with the credenza and the desk.
Well, the dark colored bookshelf clearly looked out of place (that's and understatement). We also no longer had a use for it as a bookcase.

So I had an idea.

I currently do not have a china cabinet (we have plans to get one before leaving Italy), but I have pretty wedding china and crystal glasses that have been sitting in boxes since our wedding (almost a year ago!). I have been dying for a china cabinet so that I can display it all.

I asked my husband to move the bookshelf downstairs into the dining room. I got out all of my china and started arranging it on the shelves.
Before I knew it I had re-purposed the bookshelf into a make-shift china cabinet. Another bonus, it happens to match our table too.


Another problem I was presented with during our move was the bathroom. It doesn't have much space, and leaves barely any room for a girl to get ready.
Since we no longer needed to use the small desk from our old apartment as a desk, I decided to re-purpose it as a vanity. I snagged the matching mirror from the dresser, and voila. I created a space that is my own so that I can do my hair and make-up in peace and out of the way.


Taking pieces that we already have and re-purposing them to fit other needs has been a huge help as we settle into our new place, and a trick that I'm sure will serve me well in future moves.

A Refreshing Summer Dinner

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

It's pretty hot here in Italy.
We have air conditioning, but it's not quite the same as back in the states.
This evening I was craving a cool refreshing dinner.


Spinach Apple Salad

Salad:
Baby Spinach Leaves
Half an apple, chopped
 2 Pieces of crispy turkey bacon, crumbled
2 Tbsp Toasted Almonds
Feta Cheese
Fresh Ground Pepper
Dresssing:
1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar 
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard 
Freshly squeezed lemon juice

Almond-Cranberry Chicken Salad Wrap

Cranberry-Almond Chicken Salad:
1 1/2 cups Chicken
1 Tbsp Low-Fat Mayonnaise (I'm not a big fan of Mayo, add more depending on your preference)
1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard 
1 1/2 Tbsp Slivered Almonds 
2 Tbsp Dried Cranberries
1/2 Tsp Pepper
Salt to taste
Pinch of Cinnamon

A healthy, easy, refreshing dinner. Perfect for those hot summer nights.

Finally feeling like a home

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sorry it's been a while since my last post, things have been a bit crazy. Our stuff finally arrived!
It feels SO good to no longer be living in an empty home.
As you can imagine, I've been busy trying to put our house together. I've made some good progress, all of the boxes have been unpacked. We are still waiting on the bedroom furniture that we ordered about a month ago, so things are kind of scattered everywhere. We have a few pieces that we still need to get (such as shelving), but everything seems to be moving along great.
My in-laws were originally planning a trip out here in September, but after my husband was told that it wouldn't be a great time take off of work, the plans changed. They are now coming at the end of this month. I am trying my hardest to get my house completely pulled together in a mere 2 weeks.
I'll post pictures of rooms on here as I finish them. The living room is almost done, a few pictures just need to be hung.
I honestly don't know how we crammed all of our stuff into our tiny one-bedroom apartment in Georgia. Our current home has 3 bedrooms plus a basement, and we seem to have no problem filling it up!
That's all for now, but I'll be sharing pictures of my home and upcoming projects I have planned!
Let's see how much I can accomplish in 2 weeks...