Posts filed under Recycle

Looking for Recipes That Use Food You Already Have?

After all the holiday cooking, I usually end up with a variety of left  over ingredients that don't necessarily go together in my staple of recipes.  When it's time to use these rainbow of ingredients I typically mix them all together to create what my dear friend Joanna calls "Army Food."  However if you are looking for new recipes to use either left over ingredients or your old staples ones, I found a new app called Su Chef.

The app works by creating filters for recipes based on various ingredients; you can put in navy beans as your main ingredient, for example. Su Chef has other filters like type of cuisine, cook-time, which meal, dietary preferences, etc. LifeHacker says it’s like an “advanced search” for recipes.

I imagine Su Chef won't find recipes for all your needs, but what it will likely do is give new ways to creatively configure your staple ingredients, or show you how to make an all new standard dishes with the addition of an ingredient or two. And Su Chef will surely provide some clever uses for your Holiday leftovers. Get Su Chef for $2 on iTunes

via Lifehacker

Posted on December 27, 2013 and filed under cooking, inspiration, Organization, Recycle.

Less <3 More

“What if we could save money, radically reduce our environmental impact, and have a freer, less complicated life?”  Now that is an attention-grabbing-question, isnt’ it?  This exactly is the premised behind the interior-design project LifeEdited.  In the project, Graham Hill challenged interior designers to create a space using technology and common sense to transform his NYC 420 square foot apartment into a comfortable place to live.  I mean, comfortable: home office, space for 2 guests to stay over, a sit down dinner for 12, lounge space for 8 and even a workout/steam room!! I totally recommend you look at the designs submitted- the winning designs are outstanding, and you can also see all the submitted designs.  It is a feast of multi-function and organization.  However, you don’t have to move or remodel your home to achieve this Less = More status, you can start right now and I think that  we  can all use technology and common sense to make more out of our living spaces.  Here are some life-editing steps we can all implement immediately:

Multipurpose spaces:  allowing your real estate to be multifunctional doesn’t have to involved designer or custom-built contractions (though I have seen some amazing work at my friend Lalita’s renovated apartment).  If you want to transform, for instance your living room into your personal yoga space, add casters or furniture sliders to your coffee table and sofa and listo, you have created the necessary space for your yoga mat.  Another example could be packing your laptop computer and file folders in a canvas tote when you are not using them, this can clear a lot of space of your desk or kitchen table.

Store everything digitally: this may require some effort and time, but the amount of space you will gain will be lucrative and satisfying.  First sign up to receive your bills electronically-don't ask any question, just do it.  Additionally, little by little you can download your CD and DVD to your computer.  Donate the hard copies to your local Library.  Chances are you have a bulky printer that scans, faxes and make copies; it is time you put it to use and begin to scan to your computer all those snapshots from the 90’s that you have been carrying with you for decades.  You will be surprise the amount of embarrassments you will inflict on your facebook friends.  Worried about computer memory?  You can use countless sites to store your information.

Think Accessibility vs. Ownership:  Netflix, eBooks, SoundCloud…should I continue?  You get the idea, why have excess DVDs, Books, CDs collecting dust and taking space.  The only way to allow for the divine grace of new/fresh ideas to come into your living space is to have space for it (spiritually, mentally & YES, PHYSICALLY!)

Only Keep Essential Necessities:  Constantly, ask yourself how is this item serving my vision, my values and everyday harmony?  That is a tough requirement to fulfill, but aren’t you and your home worth it?  Think about it, how could you take space from your everyday existence for something that isn’t allowing you to live a better life?  Edit, edit harshly.

Free your T's and the rest will follow

If there were a sartorial symbol of American summer freedom it'd be the cotton T-shirt.  They are audacious, cool and comfortable.  However, these freedom-fighters can get easily lost and forgotten while piled on top of each other inside a drawer.  Any yogi could tell you stories of summoning peace and calm not to go crazy trying to find a T-shirt lost in a messy drawer.  Here is an organization tip that will allow you to have a greater visibility and accessibility to all your T-shirts (while at the same time reuse those old bookends left over from the pre-e books era) This is what you need

An L shape bookend.  It is amazing what you can organize with items you already own and are not using.

This is what you do

Fold your T-shirts (I know.  In order for this idea to work you gotta do some work).  Any classic T-shirt folding will work.  I like to fold them in thirds, lengthwise as per pictures.  Then fold them in thirds again.  Nine-fold style.  I learned this technique from a pair of twins that are over 6' tall, they should know how to make all their clothing small to fit in a drawer.

Once you have your T-shirts folded, instead of placing them onto each other, stand them next to each other and use the book end to keep them in place.  As you can see from the picture, you can now see all your T's at once and the book end will keep them from becoming a mess.

Essential Exposure

I hope it's save to say that winter is gone; after veiling my skin for the last months with cold weather, bright lights, dry air and public transportation air, I am ready for a deep cleansing of my skin.   Scrubbing my skin is my way to polish and groom the shield that allows me to interact with the world and what better time to clean the skin than Spring (this can be done all year around though) A little nerdy facts, exfoliants cleanse deep within the pores and remove old flaky, surface skin.  In my research of essential oils’ health benefits, I’ve re-discover some simple exfoliants that work great for any skin type.  Different essential oils are used for different complexion types: dry skin – frankincense, oily skin – tea tree, sun damaged – sandalwood, etc, etc.  But there is an essential oils that works with all skin types and most skin conditions, that is lavender essential oil.  So without having to consult an aromatherapist or dermatologist, a lavender exfoliant can be a good start for most folks.  After some research and trial on my skin (no animals were scrubbed in this experiment), I am ready to share my favorite facial scrub.

A little safety note, essential oils, if you haven’t use them before, are in their majority steam-extracts of plant’s vital substances.  They are super concentrates of plants' super powers.  Essential oils are use in Aromatherapy, but despite the name, it is not the aroma that makes them work.  So when using essential oils on your skin, make sure you are using “therapeutic grade” essential oils.  I have never had any allergic  reaction with therapeutic grade essential oil, but every skin have different degrees of sensitivity so use your judgement when using any substance on your skin (a.k.a., no one here is a dermatologist so if you have sensitive skin, be careful)

This is what you need

1 part oatmeal, 1/3 part cornmeal (I have used sugar instead), 1/3 part lavender (the market at Union Square has a stand that sells lavender)

Essential oil:  lavender

I keep some next to my sink and often use it instead of soap.  All ingredients used are kitchen staples, minus the essential oil, so I make small amounts at time so it doesn’t spoil.  The exfoliant can be stored in a cover container so that it won’t dry out quickly.  I have used it after 20 days of storing without any problems.

This is what you do

Grind the ingredients together in an electric coffee grinder  or a mortar to a fine powder, and store it in a closed  glass container.  To use the scrub, make a paste using 1 teaspoon scrub powder and ½ teaspoon water with lavender essential oil.  Apply to a dampened face.  Gently scrub your face, and rinse with warm water.  You can also use this mixture as a mask by leaving it on for 10 minutes after you scrub.  Rise with room temperature water.

This scrub also tastes good, perhaps I can try cupcakes with the left usual if you have questions let me know.

Storing Ginger - vodka pickled ginger

Whenever I can, I use fresh ingredients.  One of my favorite flavors to add to any zesty meal is ginger root (by the way not really a root, but an underground stem or rhizome).  Minced or grated, the fresh aroma of ginger root will evoke voluptuousness and its spicy flavor will delight you every time.  Fresh ginger root is like the Scarlett Johansson of spices!  But just like any starlet would tell you, it is not easy to stay fresh. Typically, one only uses a small amount of fresh ginger root in a dish .  So I always ended up trying to store the rest so I could have it available when I needed more.  I tried or heard of many methods: wrapping on paper towel and placing in the refrigerator (only good for a week storage); pickle ginger in Madeira wine (I never tried this, but it sounds odd); wrapping in aluminum foil in the freezer (stores well for a long time and the flavor is great, but texture and handling is awful), and burring it underground in a small pot in the kitchen and keeping it moist (OK Martha, I have a hard time remembering to water the plants that I can see!).  So after many years and trial, this is the method that gives the best results:  vodka pickled ginger.  This is a variation from a Japanese technique I heard in which ginger is stored in sake.  I however, always trust vodka over any alcohol (I think Scarlett does too)  This will provide you with fresh ginger for up to a year.  A bonus is that you can prepare ginger martini, nothing is wasted.

Things you will need

ginger root

a vegetable peeler and a metal spoon

a clean glass jar (this is why you keep those around)


permanent marker

This is what you do

Peel the ginger root using the vegetable peeler for the straight sections and the spoon for the curvy ones.  Place the ginger root inside the jar.  Add vodka till the root is submerged.  Place the lid on the jar and write the date on the lid.  This is the best way to preserve your ginger.  Fresh, crunchy, light color, every time.  Keep in the refrigerator for up to a year.

Posted on January 20, 2011 and filed under cooking, Organization, Recycle.

Boot Tray 2.0

A boot tray in your mudroom or entrance space can be a blessing when you are dragging the not so nice snow in your home.  I loved the idea of the boot trays, but I was always irritated after a puddle of water was left marinating my snow boots.  Martha Stewart to the rescue; she suggests adding river stones to the tray to allow the melting water to move below the stones, allowing the shoes to dry faster and to stay dry.  It works so well, I can’t even tell you how exciting I get to see this simple design at work.  You can find a rubber tray at The Container Store (TCS) , Bed, Bath and Beyond (BB&B) or simply recycle an old lid from a discarded plastic box.  If hunting for river stones is not your thing, Michaels sells the stones.

Posted on December 28, 2010 and filed under design, Living spaces, Organization, Recycle.