November 30, 2008

Sweet Potato, Sweet Potato

Just thought I'd share this little tidbit for those of you making leftover turkey soup... add mashed sweet potatoes (not yams) to the broth - it adds wonderful flavor and texture.

November 28, 2008

Over the channel and through the woods...

... to Poppy's house we went.

On Wednesday night Mike and I headed North to Pop and Sharon's new house in the woods of the Kitsap Peninsula to celebrate family and food. We were joined by Susanna, Aidan, Tia, Tio Joe, and Auntie Joan. The new house, while still a work in progress, is a gorgeous cedar and log construction, set amongst 10 acres of woods. They've been hard at work for years on this, but the attention to detail is wonderful. We're looking forward to seeing new elements evolve with each visit, and we're suffering with deep jealousy over their cedar bat-and-board siding.

To burn a few calories pre-dinner, Aidan and Poppy led us on a trek through the woods to the "bear tree" - a beautiful old tree, covered in moss, with lots of nooks perfect for sleeping bears.

Food was celebrated ten-fold: mashed potatoes with winter squash and parsnips, sweet smoked salmon, yam bake with pecans and coconut, fresh Thai crab and clam cakes (caught by Clayton, prepared by Susanna) and apple pie, pumpkin pie and delicious peach cobbler.

In between meals we busied ourselves with lots of small projects. Susanna created a half dozen wooden holders for jewelery pliers, Aidan put his touch on a wooden stool, airplane, rocket and a car. My craftiness was applied to gathering materials for several christmas gifts that I'm hoping to get started on soon (stay tuned as they develop).

November 23, 2008

Mustard-roasted Potatoes

On Friday, Deb at Smitten Kitchen posted a recipe for mustard-roasted potatoes. She suggested that leftovers would be great the following morning served with an egg on top. I thought, "ridiculous, why wait for leftovers", so I just made them for breakfast with an egg on top. Since I was trying a new recipe I thought that I'd also try the new poaching pan that Megan and Trevor gave us. Unfortunately I've never poached an egg before so I was winging it. They were ultimately a bit mangled looking, but tasted marvelous just the same.

November 20, 2008


I have a high-tolerance for consuming soup, love it, but I'm very picky about the type of soup. I don't go in for brothy soups, or cream-based soups, or any soup that has absolutely no bite-profile (eg. tomato soup) with the exception of split-pea. So when I find a soup recipe that I like, I make it to death (ask Mike how many times he's had the 3-bean soup listed below). Speaking of which, I just made the 3-bean soup listed below.

The beauty of this soup is that you can make it all year round, substituting fresh ingredients for canned, depending on the time of year. There really isn't any "adventure" in this recipe, but it's filling, good and good for you.

Three-Bean Soup

2 cups water (or broth for even more flavoring)
1 can Chick Peas/Garbanzo Beans, rinsed
1 can Kidney Beans, rinsed
1 can Cannelini/White Beans, rinsed
1 can diced or whole tomatoes, or fresh tomatoes if the season is right
1 medium onion
lots of veggies (I use carrots and zucchinni, because our garden runneth over)
Italian seasonings + salt + pepper, to taste (I also sometimes use the canned diced tomatoes that are pre-seasoned).

With a little olive oil in the bottom of the pot, saute the onions and veggies. Add 2 cups water and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Add the beans. Heat, and eat.
Since I'm also a big fan of carbs, I pair this with bread or grilled cheese sandwiches.
It's fast, it's easy, it's good. And again, it's fast. And good.

And while we're on the subject of soup, I went to Yetti's last night for a cup of soup (best in town), where I met a friend of hers who makes soup for a place in town (for free, because he just likes making soup), and he encouraged me to try my chicken soup recipe again, but to boil the chicken for 4 hours instead of 1.5, and even roast the chicken beforehand to bring out the sugar in the bones. If I can bring myself to dissect another chicken carcass, I'll give it a shot.

November 18, 2008

Slap some paint on it, and call it done

It was a transforming weekend. We finally reached the point where we decided that nothing more could be done for the South Wall - it was time to paint.

By the end of the weekend, the first coat was on. We opted to paint by hand instead of using the sprayer, as we weren't sure that we could exercise as much control with the sprayer. Perhaps we'll use it for the other sides of the house. Still one more coat and the trim to paint; and we still need to decide on a color for the foundation - stay tuned.

November 14, 2008

Turquoise Eggs, Anyone?

I finished my "egg" necklace earlier this week, after having it sit on the shelf in a half-finished state for over a month. I found the charm awhile back, and I've had the pearls forever, so I finally found the time to put the two together.
The next goal is to replicate a pair of anthropologie earrings and save myself a hundred bucks - stay tuned...

November 12, 2008

Harvest Stuffing Bread

While I rarely post recipes on this blog, I do actually enjoy cooking, and do it fairly often. Since we are officially in the midst of the rainy season, I've been pulling out all the recipes for the food that I like to eat when the weather is shit. This recipe for Harvest Stuffing Bread is a new one, but I thought it turned out fairly well. I made it to accompany homemade chicken noodle soup, which didn't turn out so well.

Harvest Stuffing Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 envelope rapid rise yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon minced onion (I used dry minced onion)
1 tablespoon parsley (also used dried)
1.5 teaspoons poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1.25 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon celery seed

Combine 1 cup all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, undissolved yeast, sugar, 2 tablespoons onion, parsley, poultry seasoning and salt in a large bowl. Heat water and butter until very warm (120 - 130 degrees). Stir into flour mixture.

Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer, scraping bowl occasionally. Stir in remaining all-purpose flour to make stiff batter.

Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Turn batter into greased 1.5 quart bread dish. Smooth top of dough with floured hands. Cover.

Rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 30 minutes. Brush beaten egg on loaf. Sprinkle with remaining onion and celery seed.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes for metal pan, 350 degrees if glass dish is used. Remove from the loaf pan and cool on a wire rack.

Slice that puppy open, and enjoy.

November 11, 2008

Honored, just down right honored.

A shout out for sister Sara!
I'm proud to be genetically related to her, and I'll honorably mention her every chance I get.

Check out her recent accomplishments...

November 10, 2008

Football Weekend

Years ago Mike and I started a tradition of taking in a college football game sometime during the Fall, so that we can pretend, just for a moment, that we're back in college. We just took in our fifth game, and coincidentally, celebrated our fifth anniversary together (we celebrated by forgetting about it entirely). For the first time ever, this year's game took place during a torrential downpour. Those who know me, and know my level of sports enthusiasm (low, for those who don't know me) would be surprised to learn that I lasted through nearly the entire game, and didn't once pull out my book or ipod. Have I changed my tolerance for football? Nope, it was just too damn wet out to read.

Despite the rain, we had a great weekend in Eugene. We checked out the Eugene City Brewery (36 beers on tap, people) where we had a very nice waiter, who managed to maintain his smile and good humor, even after a table of three girls skipped out on their check. For those heading to Eugene soon, I'd also recommend the Allann Bros. Beanery for excellent pie, but I'd steer clear of Sam Bond's Garage, who put on an excellent display of poor customer service.

Keith's Comment

Listening to Keith Olberman's Special Comment on Countdown tonight just made me so proud. He so eloquently expressed his feelings on marriage and love, feelings that echo my own, that I just wanted to reach through the screen and give him a hug. If you missed it, check it out here.

November 6, 2008

Tree Rockets!

I noticed these trees on a construction site this morning, waiting to be planted. They look ready to take off.
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