Tuesday, July 9

Recipe: Roasted Parmesan Edamame

I don't know exactly where I got the idea to make these. I think maybe someone on A Beautiful Mess blogged about it, or maybe I just saw it on Pinterest. Either way, I figured I'd give it a try and I put it on my to-do list. I love edamame, I love parmesan, and I really love oven-roasted things (like chickpeas - YUM).

The recipe I found was really simple! All you need:

  • Edamame beans
  • Parmesean
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt & Pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Super easy, right?

I started off with frozen whole edamame because that's what I already had on hand. That was my biggest mistake right off the bat: the recipe needs them to be shelled.

This meant that I had to defrost all the beans just to be able to shell them all. Let's just say that it look close to 45 minutes and my fingers were prunes afterwards. Definitely buy a package already shelled.

Once the beans were all shelled and cleaned, I tossed them in a bowl with a little bit of olive oil and parmesan. I salted and peppered to taste. I also sprayed the roasting pan down with Pam so that they wouldn't stick. 

Heads up: I clearly didn't spray enough, because these guys did NOT want to leave their toasty pan by the end. Be liberal with your cooking spray.

My roasted parmesan edamame weren't at all what I expected. I guess I thought they'd cook up like my chickpeas (i.e. crunchy) even though I knew they wouldn't be in the oven near long enough to actually become crunchy. I cook my chickpeas for close to an hour - there was really no way these were going to be crunchy after 20 minutes.

What I guess I'm trying to say is, the edamame were soft.

This totally wasn't a bad thing, it just wasn't what I was expecting. The parmesan on them? AMAZING. Easily the best part. I wish I could just roast parmesan in the oven without shame, but alas, that's not the world we live in.

I ended up eating the first plateful while I stuck the rest of the beans in the oven for longer. I don't really think it made a difference, but I ate the whole batch in under an hour despite the soft-ness. It really was a great snack: flavorful, protein-packed and relatively healthy!

I'll definitely be making these again, though I think I'll leave them in the oven for a lot longer next time. What can I say? I'm a girl who loves crunchy foods. :)

Have you ever made these before? Will you try out this recipe? What would you change about the recipe?

Monday, July 1

Moving Tips: This Time, We Should...

Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about the things J and I did really well when we last moved! This time, I'll be talking about the things we should have done... or what we should do the next time we move!

P.S. My moving date is now just over a month away! Ahhh!

#1 - Move clothes in garbage bags!

I saw this on Pinterest and immediately knew it was brilliant! In the past, I've either folded up clothes into boxes to move them or just taken them in loads, by the hanger. Now, there's nothing wrong with either way, but by moving them in garbage bags means that (a) you free up valuable box space for non-hanging clothes or other movable items, and (b) you don't have to worry about clothes falling off the hanger on the way out to the car and falling in the dirt! I've moved clothes from home to college and vice vera so many times in my life - I couldn't tell you how often (b) has happened to me!

When using the garbage bag, you cut or tear a small hole in the bottom of the bag and stick the hangers through there. You then tie a knot in the bottom of your bag so that none of your clothes fall out. I might use the kind of garbage bag with the red plastic strings - I think with that kind of bag I might put the clothes in the opposite way, so I don't have to tear any holes. I think since the red plastic strings are stronger, they could handle the stress of the hangers better than a plastic bag with "wings" to tie together.

#2 - Get lots of people to help!
I can't emphasize this point enough - ask your friends, neighbors, family members - anyone, really -  to help! This is really only useful during the last moing process. You don't really want your mom packing your undies, right? But if you can invite people to come help move boxes or help with some of the heavier stuff, DO!

I'm lookin' at you, Broich! ;)
We had J's mom and her best friend's husband come help us move, which was a lifesaver. Jeanna helped me pack the last of the boxes up as well as helping me move them to her car. Her friend's husband helped J to move the big items to the UHaul. This was a huge help to me in particular! I'm not weak, but truth be told, I'm not strong enough to move all of our furniture. Without two strong people, moving would have been so much harder than it already was.

I did offer J's friends in Iowa City food to come and help us, but unfortunately we had to move during the afternoon when all of them were at work. Next time we move out of an apartment, I will be offering food AND booze (and hopefully having a lot more friends since I'll be in law school, haha). Any way you can make moving fun, like a group activity, or making it seem a little more worth it (offer me pizza & tequila and I will help you move whatever you want) would make the moving process seem so much easier. It was already super helpful to J and me having Jeanna and her friend's husband's assistance. If we had a few more people, it probably would have gone even faster. Plus I love to cook, so seriously, offer your help to me and let me feed you.

#3 - Clean ahead of time (like, FAR ahead of time)
J and I had agreed beforehand that I would be the one to clean the apartment during and after we were moving out. It just made sense - I had taken the whole week off of work, and J actually had to work the entire week, as well as go to school. I had more time on my hands, I was more anal about cleaning anyway, and part of me was excited about it!

By the end, I was not excited about it. 

We had to be moved out by the 1st, and we had planned on being out of the apartment at least a few days before the final date. It was nice to have that wiggle room, just in case! We had also heard that the landlords were sticklers with how nice the condition of the apartment needed to be, so I was determined to give them a perfect apartment back. They were tearing it apart regardless, but I wanted the entire deposit back and hell if I was going to be docked off money because I didn't clean the bathroom properly.

Once everything was actually moved out, we had about two days left before the move-out date... And while we had cleaned periodically throughout living there, I was pretty surprised by how much dirt and grime was left over. The kitchen was a war zone. I scrubbed a year's worth of stove oil off the side of the fridge. I discovered what was under the stove. I cleaned the wall behind the fridge. I scrubbed the floors. I vacuumed everywhere. I inhaled more bleach fumes than I should have. I pretty much destroyed a few washclothes (I actually left permanent bleach stains on one, though it looks cooler now).

The worst part of it was, I felt so frustrated doing all of it alone. Even though J and I had agreed that I would do it (and it made perfect sense), I was so sick of cleaning in an empty apartment. I was so sick of having pruny, chemically-soaked fingers and scrubbing on my hands and knees. I was pissed that the task I thought would take one full day, tops, was taking longer than that.

It got done in time (a day before, actually) and everything turned out fine. But you know what would have made this so much easier? If we had done bigger cleaning projects throughout the year. Even starting the deep cleaning at the beginning of the month instead of the last week would have made the end result so much easier. It would have been even better if two or more people worked on it at the same time instead of just one. I won't make that mistake again - I'm not a superhero!

As I've said a few times, I have the added bonus of being half-packed already. Due to space (and my capacity for obsession and perfection), I decided this weekend to re-pack my boxes! Why?

  • We've already messed up about half of them from searching for necessities (books, latex gloves for hair coloring, heaven knows what else).
  • I want to make sure nothing of J's is packed away that he wants to keep!
  • I want to move my things into sturdier, plastic boxes so I don't have to worry about them breaking or tearing.
  • I want to save space and make sure we're using every possible inch of empty box that we can!
  • I have more things that can be packed already (I don't think I will read 30 books by the end of the month - I'm just sure some of those are safe to pack).

That little project will go down this week or this coming weekend! Hopefully it won't be stressful, but I'd rather get it done now than the week I'm supposed to be moving!

Do you agree with my additional tips? What would you add? Any embarrassing or frustrating moving experiences you want to share to make me feel less like a freak?