Quick Tip: Business Card Holder to iPhone Stand

I recently got a new job and now I have business cards. Grown-up job, woo hoo! I figured I should probably get a holder for my desk for all the dozens of visitors we get to our office who will want my business card (I'm being a tad sarcastic).

I got the absolute cheapest business card holder at Office Depot. It was less than $2. It's pretty boring, see?

In an effort to prop up my phone one day, I discovered it makes a much better iPhone stand than business card holder. You can now have a miniature movie night. Pretty great, huh?


Artichokes Steamed in White Wine and Broth

I have always loved artichokes. My parents boil them in a big pot of water and serve them with either melted butter or a mayonnaise yogurt dip. I have fond memories of the whole family tossing the scraped leaves into a big bowl in the center of the dinner table.

Recently my mom changed her artichoke tune. Instead of tossing them in a pot of water for 45 minutes, she prepared them with oil and vinegar and steamed them with white wine and chicken broth. She only cooks them for 20 minutes because -- now brace yourself -- she microwaves them. Never would I have imagined that you could produce something so flavorful in a microwave, but she's done it. The outer leaves are a bit tougher than when you boil them, but the inner part of the flower is tender and delicious.

And now I'll share her recipe.

Two artichokes
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper
White wine
Chicken broth


 Snip off the tips of the leaves so you don't get stabbed while working with the artichokes

Cut the top inch or so off the top of each artichoke.

Cut off the bottom half inch of the stem and cut the whole artichoke in half.

With a spoon, scrape out the furry centers and inner leaves. This is kind of tough, so really work at it. You might need to use your fingers to yank out the inner pointy leaves.

Place the halves in a microwave-safe dish. Make a light dressing of two parts olive oil to one part vinegar. No need to be exact. We maybe used 1/4 cup oil and 1/8 cup vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. Now pour the dressing in between the leaves and coat the outsides of the artichokes. You may need to add more oil and vinegar if you run out. No biggie.

Pour about 1/4 cup of white wine into the dish.

Add some broth too. There should be about a half an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pan, so add broth and wine if needs be.

Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the plastic wrap when done (it will be quite hot) and check an inner leaf for doneness. If it's still tough, microwave another five minutes.

Reserve the liquid in the dish and use it to dip the leaves in. Add a little mayo or yogurt for a creamy dip. Don't forget a big bowl in the middle of the table!


Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

In an attempt to make less messy breakfasts for my 13-month-old son, I came up with a tasty pancake recipe that's healthy and delicious. I'll never understand why my mom always had pancake mix in the cupboard because homemade pancakes still only take minutes to make. And if you have leftover pancakes, bag them and freeze them for another day when you don't have as much time. Just pop them in the microwave to reheat.

2/3 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 Tbs. sugar or agave nectar
1 egg
1 Tbs. cooking oil or melted butter
1.5 cups milk
1/4 cup canned pumpin purée

Mix together the dry ingredients. Measure the milk in a large liquid measuring cup and add the rest of the wet ingredients. Whisk gently to combine. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir till just combined. It's ok if there are lumps.

Heat a large skillet over medium flame. Coat with cooking spray. Ladle batter into pan, forming three flapjacks at a time. Turn when edges are cooked and bubbles form in middle. Cook on other other side till brown. Repeat with rest of batter. Serve with butter and syrup or honey.


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