Friday, October 30, 2009

Radio silence

yard art

You many have noticed things are a little quieter here on my blog lately. Honestly, there's not a lot new going on: just the day-to-day of birthday parties, flu shots, running errands, sipping tea, etc. I don't want to post just for the sake of posting, so I'm waiting patiently until I have something worth saying.

I do anticipate a LOT of posts in a few weeks, when we arrive in Japan! I'm super excited for our trip. We're planning 5 days in Tokyo and 5 in Kyoto, with at least one day trip to Osaka. Hopefully the hotel internet connections will be good, and I'll be able to post daily. Travel blogging is really my favorite, so I can't wait to get back to it.

Until then, know that I'll post when I have something worth sharing. Until then, a bit more radio silence than usual.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pumpkin Muffins

Pumpkin Muffins

Every fall, I make these almost weekly. They are good with a variety of add-ins: dried cranberries, raisins, pumpkin seeds, or walnuts are my usual favorites. The smell of these baking on a dreary, wet morning somehow makes everything seem warm and cozy. Top them with cream cheese for extra decadence!

Pumpkin Muffins (or bread)
1 c. whole wheat flour
3/4 c. white flour
1/4 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2-1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. cloves
scant 1 c. sugar
1/3 c. canola oil
1 1/4 c. canned pumpkin
2 eggs
1 c. mix-ins (see above)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix together dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients and add to dry. Stir in nuts/dried fruit. Place batter in greased muffin tin or loaf pan and bake until done (about 20-25 minutes for muffins; 1 hour for loaf). You want it to feel springy to the touch. This freezes well, but you won't have any leftover!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pink Converse

pink Converse

These were given to us as hand-me-downs when Anna was a few months old. I put them away thinking that it'd be forever until they actually fit. Forever happened on Saturday. Life moves fast.

Monday, October 19, 2009

On the shelf

Dad's shelf

There's a new meme going on over at Meet Me at Mikes. A different theme will be chosen each week, but this week's theme is On the Shelf. Bloggers are free to interpret it how they want and then link back to the original post. I encourage you to check out what others have done.

As soon as I heard this week's theme, I knew I needed to shoot my Dad's shelf. Dad passed away just over two years ago, and this shelf is a memorial to him. On it are mementos from his life, and our life together. Artwork I made for him as a kid, his aftershave, and the copy of the Constitution that he kept in his desk drawer because it meant so much to him. A lifetime on a shelf.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin-Chocolate chip cookies (to die for)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

There are a few things I'm known for. These cookies are one of them. Because they're made with pumpkin, they are softer, cakey cookies. If you like them crunchy, as I do, stick them in the freezer. Perfection.

Pumpkin-Chocolate chip cookies

1/2 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 egg
1 c. canned pumpkin
1 t. vanilla
2.5 c. flour (I use half white and half whole wheat)
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
.5 t. salt
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. cinnamon
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix first 5 ingredients together. Mix dry ingredients minus chips and then gradually add to wet. Stir in chips. Bake at 350 (F) for 15-25 minutes. Note that they don't spread much, so keep them on the small-t-medium side or they'll take forever to cook through.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Apple tasting at Portland Nursery


Every Fall, Portland Nursery hosts a weekend-long apple festival with tastings, live music, treats, and activities for the kids. The nursery itself is lovely, with a sprawling outdoor space filled with beautiful plants and trees, garden sculpture, giant ceramic pots, and all things garden.

I didn't take nearly as many photos as I should have — I guess I was too focused on tasting the dozens and dozens of apple and pear varieties. There weren't nearly enough organic options, unfortunately. Still, we had a wonderful time celebrating the change of seasons that comes with living in Portland.








Friday, October 9, 2009


A bit of before and after.

Yesterday I got a moment alone in the Action Center before today's grand opening. I hope this is the last time the Center will be so empty.

I did all the graphics for the Center. A few were just production of files, but most were designed and produced by yours truly. It was so satisfying to see it all together.

If you're in town, come by the Action Center tomorrow (Saturday, Oct 10). There are workshops from 10-2 and live music from 2-5.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Date night at the Armory

Inside the Armory.

Glass "Wall of Fire" art installation.

The set for Ben Franklin: Unplugged. Because the Ellen Bye Studio is small, all the seats are great!

At intermission, you can get a mean cappuccino…

and a cookie! Mine was lavender shortbread!

A few months ago I mentioned that David and I saw a great show at Portland Center Stage in the Armory building. Thanks to the persistent calls of a very friendly staffer there (Hi, Adam!), we now have subscriber tickets to their smaller stage, the Ellen Bye Studio. We realized that for the price of dinner and a movie, we could occasionally go see live theater. Because it's not the main stage, these tend to be small, lesser known productions. But that's what makes it fun. It's sort of a cultural grab bag — we never know what we're going to get. Last night was our first such date. We saw a one-man show called Ben Franklin: Unplugged by Josh Kornbluth. It was fun, funny, educational, and we had a great time.

The Armory itself is a beautifully restored building. We learned last night that it was the first historic rehabilitation on the National Historic Register, and the first performing arts venue to be Platinum LEED Certified (I love Portland).

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What’s Hot + What’s Not

Thought I'd join in on Loobylu's What’s Hot + What’s Not list this week.

What’s Hot
Fall Food: pumpkins, squash, figs, apples, pears! Fall is my favorite food season) although I can get pretty excited about late Summer, too).

Wrapping up work on Mercy Corps' Action Center, scheduled to have it's grand opening on Friday! If you're a Portland local, check out the schedule of events and come check it out. It's going to be a great, local resource!

The BoBike. Now that we have one of these for Anna, she and David bike to school every morning. That means David gets exercise, Anna has fun and learns about a greener approach to our life, and I get time to blog (or work, or eat, or shower).

Homemade cheese. I wrote about mozzarella here, but I've been playing with ricotta lately. It's even easier than mozz and, well, yum!

Reading: Recent faves include The Book Thief and The Colour. I'm currently reading The Last Days of Dogtown, and am enjoying it quite a bit. Just realizing these are all historical novels — a new trend for me.

What’s Not
Fall colds and other assorted germies floating around everywhere. The downside of preschool!

Shorter days. These days it's staying pretty dark until after 7am and soon it will be getting dark by 5. This, for me, is the biggest challenge of life in the Pacific Northwest.

Temper tantrums. We seem to have entered a new phase and it's a doozy!

Not enough hours in the day! Will someone please figure out how I can get an extra five productive hours each day? I think that would be enough. Maybe.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Serious Yum


There are a few food bloggers I follow pretty regularly. One of them is Barbara Austin of Serve it Forth, who I came to by way of David Leibovitz.

Recently, Barbara tweeted about this Fig & Chèvre Tart and I knew right away that I had to make it. I'm relatively new to figs. Not sure how I missed them, but suffice to say, I've bought a few different varieties this fall and I'm hooked.

The recipe is super simple, and I thought I was keeping it that way by using a ready made crust. All I had to do was place it in the pan, right? Wrong. After some research, experimentation, and a crust landing in the trash, I learned that you need to weight your crust when you pre-bake it. If you don't, it will shrink up and you'll have no sides to catch the custard-like filling. I used dried garbanzo beans as my weights, and also periodically pierced places in the crust with a fork when they'd start to bubble up.

The end result? Serious raves from my guests. One left with the recipe in hand after telling me his wife never has seconds (but did this time!). And I believe David proposed to me again. Twice!

Note: Barbara mentions the option of using honey instead of sugar for the custard, which is what I did. I think the honey, figs, and chèvre are the perfect combination.

Tossing the figs with a bit of sugar before making the filling.

Weighting the crust.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fall: from my kitchen


It's beginning to look a lot like Fall in my kitchen. Visions of pumpkin stew, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin muffins. Yum!

More cooking and recipes to come soon—promise!