things they don't tell you...
I'll say what you're thinking on all things family, friends, food, fitness & fashion.
Just look at this space! So much untapped potential! How did I let it go 3 years looking like this? Ok, well not exactly like this. There used to be a giant cabinet that held everything I was trying to hide. And now, well, now I have an entire room to make my own.
I think most people who enter my home would easily be able to describe my style as neat and cool (love my teals, blues, and greys) but this room is going to be different.
I am visualizing a homey little office with knick-knacks, plants, mood lighting and pops of color.
What's with the redecorating?
Over the summer I wrote a post about “spinning”- a term borrowed from a girlfriend. The term is used to describe the feeling of losing control of everything in my life. Although the spinning has not yet stopped, I continue to work through it. It is an in-and-out of psychologists and psychiatrists kind of struggle. Anxiety is a constant battle but comfort can be achieved. At least that thought is what keeps me moving towards my goals.
Catharsis. One way in which I deal with my anxieties is to write. But then sometimes the anxieties are so strong that I can’t even put together cohesive thoughts, never mind try to entertain readers or be creative. What I have been doing instead is creating my writing zone/zen space- an office in the nook above the stairs. Whether the space be used for coloring a mandala book, writing, reading or playing with my daughter (who has a rocking chair and books present to keep busy while I “work”). The one rule of the office is zero negativity. So, definitely no paying bills in this office!
Creating the perfect home office has been a slow process for a number of reasons. The first of which is money. Creating a room out of an empty space can be done on a budget but not for free!
I was able to save some money by using the desk from my college dorm room. It is a big white table-like desk with shelving.
I purchased a few French posters and look forward to framing and hanging them. Originally I had planned on printing and framing old maps of the cities I have visited like Paris, London and New York but then found these great posters which are actually wrapping paper! A nice $5/piece find at one of my favorite local shops, The Purple Rose.
The office is the one room in the house that I allow to be silly. Little pieces that have no place but that represent me: a beautiful little urn from my mom which used to hold the succulents at the left but now hold cacti picked up on a recent trip to Arizona, a hula dancer meant for a car dashboard that I have had since high school, a Nicole Miller (who also designed my wedding dress) photo frame with a picture of my daughter, books, air plants and succulents and candles. Too many candles to be necessary, but they make me happy.
The Finished Product...
I use the term "finished" loosely here. I still plan on buying a big succulent for the hanging basket, need to hang the posters, and find a cute little dog bed for Delia. And most importantly, I need a new laptop!
I am so happy with this space so far. The addition of the Dash & Albert rug and the curtains really helped me achieve the look I am going for. I love sitting at my desk wrapped in a fur blanket, candles burning, baby sleeping in the next room, and my dog snuggled next to me on the floor. Now THAT is Zen.
My girl and blog contributor, Krista, pulled through once again. I say I have a writer's block and she inspires me. Do you have any of those people? The ones who just seem to know how to lift you when you're down? I actually think I am that person for some of my friends and family members, I just can't do it for myself.
So I am down and out and empty of ideas when I receive a text from Krista with the idea to do a recipe teaser. She happened to be creating a recipe and offered it up for the benefit of all my readers! So, as promised, here is a Ramen Noodle recipe for you, inspire by the book Prison Ramen by by Clifton, Jr. Collins, Gustavo Alvarez and Samuel L. Jackson and the NPR story that introduced me to the idea of transforming Ramen to begin with.
So, I know what you're thinking... RAMEN NOODLES!? Like, the Ramen Noodles from college? Yep, these crunchy, salty, radioactively colored noodles in a packet that cost about $.13 when bought in a pack of 12 or more. Yep, those same chicken, beef, pork of [grosssss] shrimp flavored noodles.
Here is the teaser I released earlier this week...
And here is the recipe...
Krista's hubby, Brian, was feeling a little under the weather the night she created this easy meal. He was beyond excited when she fed him this meal on the couch that night. Veggies, broth, noodles- the key ingredients to a heart-warming meal.
1 carton store bought chicken stock
Half of a small onion
1 good sized clove of garlic, 2 if smaller
1 stock celery
1 carrot (or a handful of the shredded carrots from the store)
Half of a bell pepper (color of your choice, I like red or orange or yellow for the color)
1 good sized chunk of fresh ginger (about 1 inch long) peeled
5-8 dashes of toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
1 cup water
Pinch of salt
Pepper to taste
Roughly chop everything. Throw together and bring to a boil, boil until veggies are soft then let reduce for 20ish mins. Via simmering. Strain veggies out and put broth back in pot and bring back to a boil.
2-3 packs cheap ramen noodles
1-1.5 chicken breast sliced paper thin (or as thin as you can get)
½ cup or half of a bell pepper sliced thin
½ cup or about 5-6 cremini or baby bell mushrooms sliced thin
½ cup carrots shredded or sliced thin (or preceded from the store)
½ cup or about 5-6 brussel sprouts thinly sliced (or half cup of cabbage thinly sliced)
½ cup bean spouts
½ cup broccoli chopped small
¼ cup or two green onions sliced thin
In the boiling broth, add the chicken. Let boil for 5 mins and then lower heat to a simmer. When cooked like this, the chicken can become tough if not cooked long enough. Simmer for at least 10 mins. Bring everything back to a boil and add noodles, peppers, mushrooms, carrots. Stir to make sure the noodles get soft. Add the remaining veggies. Stir to blanch slightly and serve. Bonus: stir in some siracha or chili garlic sauce for a kick!
This version is not extra soupy but there is some broth. If you are serving two people who eat smaller portions, only use 2 packs of noodles. Use 3 for more people or bigger eaters or if you want leftovers.
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About the Author
I am Dom. A mom, teacher, novice writer, cook, wine drinker, and so much more- filling the internet with unsolicited stories, questions, dreams, recipes, and advice. I'll be the voice that tells you what everyone is wondering but no one wants to ask!