Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Are You a Scrapper?

by Katie

If the answer is yes, please specify: do you fight in back alleys with wiry, deft speed? If so, then you're infinitely cooler than I am. If you put together little collage things of photos, ticket stubs, and old birthday cards to put in albums, then you and I have more in common and we both have significantly less street cred.

Regardless of our respective levels of cool, I do enjoy making and keeping scrapbooks. They are artistic, visual accounts of certain periods in our lives, and in creating them we can (finally) make use of all those pictures we take and momentos we keep. (If you don't keep momentos per se, check your wallet/bottom of your purse and see what scraps of paper you can dig up.

Most of my scrapbook pages are filled with photographs and personal stuff--remember the day we went snorkeling? Went to the farmer's market? The week in Mexico? That friend's wedding/shower/housewarming/hospitalization?

There are times, however, when I want to make a good, old-fashioned collage and not feel like a weirdo by hanging it up on the fridge. I've found that scrapbooking gives me this opportunity. Thought I'd share this idea with you.

If you keep scrapbooks and you also keep magazines around because you're sure you'll somehow use them one day, here's a creative exercise: make "time capsule" pages that recall significant moments and your state of mind in the current year. Here are a few examples of this kind of thing.

I like throwing in a political cartoon here and there, some popular references that might prove humorous down the line, and little pictures/words to remind me of my current obsessions (note that Tina Fey doesn't make it onto a collage until 2012--I'm a little behind the times with my newfound love of 30 Rock).

Basically, this gives you something to do with all those old mags you've been saving for a crafty project and gives you an excuse to glue/tape together a bunch of random nonsense.

Happy scrapping!

Friday, July 6, 2012

OPA! Greek Fajitas!

by Anita

So long story short, I had a great meal all planned out. Ingredients bought and everything. Minor detail...I forgot to read the recipe which called for a slow cooker to be set for 6-8 hours. OOPS! So at 7pm I decided to improvise since I was a tad hungry at that point in the evening.

One quick look in my refrigerator and I found inspiration: cucumbers, feta, Greek yogurt, limes, spinach & feta chicken sausages, bell peppers, pitas...see where I am going here?! OPA! Greek Fajitas night! You could use any type of meat or choose to make this purely vegetarian as well using chickpeas for the protein and other veggies. This quick meal took around 30 minutes to prepare and included: Greek Fajitas, homemade Tzatziki sauce and quinoa. 

Save time while prepping items when other things are cooking

LIME-CILANTRO QUINOA (servings  4 - 10*)

Make this first since it cooks for about 10 -15 minutes and there are items to prep/chop/mix before it is done cooking. *

Lime-Cilantro Quinoa with bell peppers, feta, and pine nuts

   *I made a HUGE batch of the Lime-Cilantro Quinoa that I have made a few times before now. It is such a versatile side dish and topping that I knew if I made 3 cups of dried quinoa versus the 1 cup, we (2 people) would finish it within a few days. 

For this Greek inspired dish, I opted to not include any dried fruit and added crumbled feta instead. This has been a part of my lunch to work all week and I am not sick of it yet so try it out if you have not already!

Quinoa can be served hot or cold.

TZATZIKI SAUCE (servings: 4 - 10)


  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 Cucumber , grated with cheese grater/Microplane
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced; OR 1 Tblsp pre-minced garlic in a jar (that's what I used)
  • 1 tsp of dried Oregano (or dill); or 1 Tblsp of fresh
  • 1 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tblsp red wine vinegar

  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl that can be sealed to store later.
  2. Can be served right away or even better to let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours. 

The finished and homemade Tzatziki sauce

GREEK FAJITAS (servings: 2)


  • 1 or 2 Chicken sausages, chopped (w/ feta/spinach or any type of added vegetables)
  • 1 Tblsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 Cucumber, diced
  • 1 cup or more Spinach
  • 2 whole wheat pita pockets
  • OPTIONAL: 2 Tblsp of hummus, crumbled feta cheese, tomatoes, red onion 
  1. Heat a saute pan on medium high heat with 1 Tblsp of oil. Once it is nice and hot, add your chopped chicken sausages to the pan. Stir and cook thoroughly for about 6 minutes.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, chop the cucumbers and set aside.
  3. Get your assembly line ready with plates, open pita pockets, hummus, spinach, chicken sausage, cucumbers, feta and top with your homemade Tzatziki sauce.
Assembly ready for Greek Fajitas
Add hummus, spinach and a tasty amount of Quinoa
Add sauteed chicken sausage on top -- only a little is necessary

Top with Tzatziki sauce, cucumbers, and feta
Leftovers Galore: 
  • The Quinoa and Tzatziki sauce were phenomenal the next day at lunch with a side spinach salad all tossed together. 
  • The next day I rolled the Quinoa, Tzatzki sauce and sliced turkey breast into a whole wheat tortilla. 
  • AND the following day (yes, I made my meal stretch!) I rolled yet another whole wheat tortilla filled with Quinoa, cheese and leftover Texas Caviar (multi bean, tomato, corn dip from a 4th of July party) and warmed it up for another delicious lunch!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Summer in Madison

I love Madison in the summer. There are gardens everywhere, whimsical sidewalk paintings, bizarre and ambiguous posters that invite you to basement discussions of various ideological positions of the far left. Thought I'd share some photos of my (daily) walking journey through the city.