Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Adventures in Vegetarianism // Sweet Potato Pasta

Oh hey, remember me? Katia? That girl that blogs sometimes?
Well, I've been trying to brainstorm things for me to blog about, and to feel passionate about, and then I remembered I've gone vegetarian, and that I haven't really blogged about that yet. And how I love food photography (And would love to improve at it, an excuse to take out the DSLR and actually take pictures with something other than my Iphone too!). And how I love cooking. That's one thing I've definitely gotten from living on my own this year, an affinity for getting off my butt, in the kitchen, and actually cooking. 

So I'm going to start sharing some of the recipes I've come up with for vegetarian meals.  This one was a first-attempt type of meal, and I really loved the outcome.

Disclaimer: I'm writing this from a "What Katia Learned in the Process" perspective, so some of these things may seem obvious to you long-time cooks, but maybe not for beginner cooks!

What you'll need:
- Pasta of your choice
- 1 Sweet Potato
- Olive Oil
- Red Pepper
- Red Onion
- Brown Mushrooms
- Pesto Sauce
- Lemon

1. First, I roasted the sweet potato. Preheat the oven to aprx. 350 degrees. I cubed them, and in retrospect, could have cubed them even smaller so they got softer, but hey! You live cook you learn, right? Then cover them in olive oil and set them on the baking sheet. I read somewhere that sweet potato sticks easily to pans because of the sugar in them, so lining the sheet with aluminum foil/parchment paper is a good idea! (Unless you want to spend time after your meal scrubbing your pot and working those arm muscles. Personally I'd prefer using that time to eat dessert. ha!) Stick these babies in the oven and flip them around at about 15 minutes - then put them back in for another 30 minutes!
2. Then I sauteed the other vegetables. These are the exact amounts of each vegetable I used. I think I would have added more red pepper if I were to do this recipe again. I started with the onion and mushrooms first because I like the onions nearly caramelized and the mushrooms as cooked as possible. Then I threw in the red peppers at the end!

Note to self: Take the sticker off the red pepper before slicing it up and throwing it in the hot pan. This will help you avoid digging through your burning hot veggies to find the stickered piece. Silly Katia.

3. Cook your noodles the way you'd normally cook them, and when you're all done? Throw it all together! I used a small amount of pesto sauce on mine, and juice from a quarter of a lemon. I also added some Parmesan cheese at the very end but that's just because I love love love cheese. So any sorts of toppings or sauces that you prefer would work!

The sweet potato and the red pepper were a really nice sweet kick to the meal, and I must say - I've grown to love mushrooms and onion. Especially when sauteed, I looove the way my kitchen smells after! The leftovers the next day were a great lunch too, so, win win win all around!

Any other vegetarians out there? Any great recipes you'd like to suggest to me to try?


Friday, March 15, 2013

Design Mind .03 & Blog Lovin'

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I've been in a blog slump.

There's no denying it. I've been too busy, too focused on other things. And that's ok,  but I do miss blogging and I want to pick things up again! I was looking back at when I first started Kitty Snooks, when I was full of gusto and zest for it. I'm going to be drawing from that in hopes of re-establishing a regular blogging routine!  For starters - I'm bringing back a feature I had tried to start at the very beginning: DESIGN MIND.

If you've been following my blog for a while, you must know that I'm in the Illustration/Design program at my school and I sometimes feel as though the world of art and design is what sustains me. I love it. I'm obsessed, now even more so than when I first started university. So what better feature to bring back than one focused entirely on little design thoughts?

Today I bring you little pretty things from my New York trip!

The windows of the seemingly empty building across from our hotel - really neat variety in light colours and a super asymmetric grid pattern! 

Walls and walls of M&M's, they start to just look like really cool textures and patterns.

One of my favourite shots I took - see that american flag with the sky behind it? Yea, that's not intentional, the screen just happened to be playing a scene of sky at the moment I took the picture!

And fro the plane as we left,  there's something so magical about seeing the world from so high up, and I love the  variety between warm lights and cold light - much like in the first picture!!

So as I'm sure most of you have heard, Google Reader is on it's way out. I've always used the dashboard on blogger (because uhm... I'm behind on the times ok? Don't judge!) So I figure that I had might as well just make the switch to Blog Lovin', since I've only ever heard good things about it anyway.


I'm in the process of following everyone through blog lovin' right now! 
It's kind of a good way to clean out my follow list of people who have stopped posting or whose blogs I don't read anymore too. Sometimes a little follow-list cleanse is necessary, even though I always feel a bit bad un-following wonderful bloggers, oh well.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Solé Survey!

Hey everyone!
Remember that etsy shop I opened up?
Yea? No? Maybe so?
Well I've had to put it on the back burners of my mind through this semester as it has become increasingly busy and I have been so invested in trying to do the best I can at school that I've had no time to let Solé ideas float around in my head!
For anyone new to the blog - here are a few photos of my jewellery designs.

The semester is winding down, and I'm starting to really look forward to summer break! Which means I'll have plenty of time to kick start Solé again and hopefully make some worthwhile changes.

Please take 5 minutes to fill out my survey to help give me feedback on Solé and what you'd like to see me expand with. I am really excited to give it a bit of an overhaul and add more to what I offer, and I'd love for you all to have a say in the matter!

Take the survey HERE
It'd be super super helpful and please don't be afraid to tell me the honest truth. I am in art school, where we do regular critiques, so I'm used to having my work be judged and picked at ;) 

Thanks guys <3

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Art Lately / February

I know it's already March, but these are all pieces I worked on for school in February!

A character design assignment - I came up with this little story ages ago and took this as an opportunity to design Frothy! Frothy is the subject of a cautionary tale, much like the Boogey man or Baba Yaga. Only Frothy is intended to keep kids away from the ocean's undertow - he's the guy who'll snatch up little kids if they get stuck in it!
Done using Adobe Illustrator - I used the assignment as an opportunity to play around with techniques that are unusual for Illustrator pieces!

"The Tooth Pick Pig Pal - On the Go Travel Case"
My prof gave each of us a toonie and told us to go buy something under 2$ and be back in an hour. Luckily China Town is a few blocks away from my school - so a bunch of us went there and I found a creepy tooth pick dispenser. In the shape of a pig (bottom right corner). Needless to say I extrapolated, and turned it into a little kid's tool to improve dental hygiene. This was definitely one of the funniest assignments I've ever worked on!

Top left - the embroidery on the front of the pouch. 
Top right - hand drawn lining fabric with pig face pattern
Bottom - Instruction card for the pig, on the other side are silly dental hygiene facts!

"Day of the Dead"
 The first in a series of paintings for my Drawing & Painting class. The theme I chose for the 4 paintings I'm to do is 'death as seen in varying cultures". I already did the grim reaper, but I'm not very happy with it. Next up - an Egyptian Mummy!
This was also my first time trying out oil paints - I like them, but they're a super hassle.

Excuse her terrible lip liner ;)

(All work copyrighted to Katia Engell)

I have fallen head first into art & school. It's hectic, sometimes frustrating, but so satisfying and fun too!