Tuesday, October 21, 2014

My Forest Phone

Inspired by Blue Eyed Night Owl's new phone post, I decided to share photos of my phone as well!  I bought a cheap smartphone last year and customized it since I couldn't find any cases for it!  I used woodgrain con-tact paper, scrapbooking scissors, stickers, and buttons to create a nice little design (anything but black plastic, ugh!).  I installed a woodgrain keyboard app and a nice background.  I even created my own app for The Forest blog, since I like seeing the little tree icon.

Recipe: Pumpkin Lasanga


Friends of the Forest who love Fall will probably love this pumpkin lasagna I've been making every October since 2009!  It's become a regular tradition at our house, with Jesse asking when I'm going to make it as soon as the Halloween stuff comes out at the stores.  My mom and I created the original recipe (although I'm sure we're not the first people to ever make it, haha!), and I've tweaked it over the years.  I think this version is the best yet!  

1 package lasanga noodles
2 cups pureed pumpkin
6 cloves garlic
a handful of mushrooms
half a yellow onion
2 cups ricotta cheese
1 jar of tomato alfredo sauce
1/2 cup mozerella cheese
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
a few teaspoons of salt
tablespoon of butter

Start off by preheating the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  While you're waiting, chop up half a yellow onion, chop mushrooms, and mince the garlic cloves.  You can obviously use less garlic if you aren't a big fan of it.  I am a huge fan of garlic, so I prefer a ton!  Saute the garlic and onions with the tablespoon of butter in a frying pan.  Have the heat on low.  Get out your pan that you plan to make the lasagna in.  Now, add a tiny bit of the alfredo sauce into the pan.  Mix with a little hot water and shake the pan to get an even layer in the bottom.  This will help create a layer of liquid for the noodles to boil in while it bakes.  I promise all water will be evaporated once its done and the sauce will still taste delicious!  

Add a layer of lasagna noodles to the bottom of the pan.  Spread an even layer of pureed pumpkin and sprinkle a tiny pinch of salt over it.  Add another layer of noodles over that.  Next, spread some ricotta cheese over that layer, adding a tiny sprinkle of slat evenly over the layer.  Top the ricotta layer with the mushroom, onion, and garlic mixture.  Layer more noodles over that.  Repeat the pumpkin and ricotta topped with veggie layers until you run out of pumpkin, ricotta or noodles.  If you have a tiny bit of pumpkin left and a lot of ricotta (like I did) mix the pumpkin with some ricotta for another layer. 

 Once all layers are complete, add a final noodle layer on top.  Now take the can of alfredo sauce and pour over the top of the lasagna and sides.  When the jar is empty, but sauce still sticks to the sides, fill the jar 1/4 with hot water, shake and pour around the liquid around the sides of the lasagna pan.  This will help the noodles fully cook in the oven, with no crispy edges. Grate the mozzarella and cheddar cheese on top (This step is totally optional, as are all steps in all recipes.  If you don't want something, don't like an ingredient simply change or substitute to fit your preferences)  Cover the pan with tinfoil and bake for 30-35 minutes.  When that time is up, remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Music Monday: Beirut

"Come, sit at the table under October's able skies..."

October just isn't complete for me without this song, pumpkins and candles.  Play it at a dinner party in the autumn woods, or just listen to it today to add a little spice to your week!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Recipe: Forest Flatbread

A fun lunch was had in the forest today.  I decided to play with my food and used ingredients we had in the fridge with a flatbread I got in the grocery store's bargain bin.  Forest Flatbread ended up being very fun to make, and you can enjoy creating your own with this recipe...

1 piece flatbread
2 mushrooms
spinach leaves
red chard leaves
radicchio leaves
green onions
half an apple
1 tablespoon pesto

When I was making the Forest Flatbread, I originally wanted to make a book and use pesto in a squeeze bottle to write 'Once upon a forest..."  The pesto I had was a little oily, so I decided to create a scene instead.  I used a piece of flatbread to make this scene, but you could use naan, a tortilla, or just about anything to create it!  I spread a little bit of pesto on the bottom to create a soil/ground layer.  I gathered green onions from our garden and cut them short, then pressed them into the pesto to resemble grass.  I sliced the mushrooms in half and placed them among the grass, leaving the ends to give a 2D effect.  With some of my cookie cutters, I cut spinach and red chard into leaves.  I used a flower cutter on the radicchio leaves and a tiny circle from the white part of purple cabbage to create flowers.  We had an apple in the fridge nobody wanted, so I decided to incorporate it into my scene.  The tree's trunk is made of sweet potato skin, and the leaves were arranged for the top.  It was a delicious lunch!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Life Lately...

We recently acquired two accordions for our growing musical instrument collection.  

We went by a local dairy farm to pick up milk and saw a cute horse sign...

We were given a free keyboard with our accordions, and we already have three keyboards!  I decided to make cute forest keyboard with washi tape, woodgrain con-tact paper, and stickers!

Made cookies with my cousins for Halloween.  Although, I didn't exactly stick to the Halloween theme, haha.  These cookies were fun to make, but a little too much fake food for me to eat!  I made my cousins put them in gift bags to give their school friends.

Went to the forest to take pictures and romp around...

Last but not least, we've been playing a lot of Hyrule Warriors this week!

Daily Outfit: The Hero in Green

It's dangerous to go alone...but with a cute dress that looks like Link's tunic from the Legend of Zelda video game series, it'll all be ok!  This week was filled with Zelda fun for us.  Jesse bought me this dress at Hot Topic and we got the new game Hyrule Warriors!  

Luckily Jesse's old Zelda shirt still fits!  We like to go walking around the woods dressed like this.  One time we were in the forest taking pictures and I got frightened because I heard someone walking over.  At the time I was wearing a green dress, elf ears and playing a flute on a stump.  The guy who walked over was so shocked when he saw me, he jumped back.  Looks like I scared him more than he scared us!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Forest Fiction Fan Club October: The Vanished Messenger

Friends of the Forest who enjoy reading old novels will enjoy this month's book club pick, The Vanished Messenger by E. Phillips Oppenheim.   In fact, most of this book is a mystery to me since I haven't read it yet.  I hear it's very Edwardian and spooky, with a touch of romance.  What really got me was the cover, as I was searching for a book that was both forest and spooky this month.  I'm happy to announce that I think this book will be just perfect.  Download it at Project Gutenburg for free and come back on October 30th to discuss your impressions of The Vanished Messenger!