Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Birthday to Jessica!!

In honor of our dear friend, us gals decided to take Jessica away for a much needed weekend of girl time and some R and R. Kate's mom and step dad have a beautiful home on the Willamette River and they graciously let us use it for the weekend. We started the weekend of with a wine tasting/appetizer pairing. Our goal was to only try wines that were $10 and under from Trader Joes. We chose Pinots...Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. We were each in charge of bringing one of each and a pairing to go with it. Abbey made us darling wine journals to record our thoughts about each wine...although by the time we made it to bottle 7 and 8 we forgot to take notes. We then had a Port tasting along with a very rich triple chocolate tart. The next morning we decided to be resourceful and use our leftovers to make quiche. We made a smoked salmon, goat cheese, and dill quiche and a pepper, kalamata olive, feta quiche. We had a great laid back day watching TV, drinking coffee, and of course eating Abbeys famous popcorn. Seriously people this stuff is amazing. We then started the evening off with a cheese sampling and Gewurtztraminer wine sampling...thanks Shannon for the great wine!! The weather broke just long enough for us to sit outside with the beautiful river as out background. We followed the wine and cheese with a dinner of salmon, asparagus, and a wonderful salad and were able to finish the wine from the evening prior...and of course we finished the chocolate tart. The evening ended with a game of Apples to Apples. Jessica had to get up early to get to work the next day (those kiddos in children's ministry love her as much as we do and would have been disappointed not to see her). A quick Starbuck's stop and we were on our way home. It was such a refreshing weekend filled with great fun and conversation with 4 other lovely ladies. Thanks Jessica for being such a wonderful gal and letting us celebrate you!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Meatless Recipe

I have been trying to find some new vegetarian recipes lately. Not only is meat getting very expensive, I've been having a hard time buying it because it's starting to gross me out. I have no idea why, but I'm guessing it has something to do with watching Food Inc. The problem is that I need to find substantial meals that Chris will eat also. The other night I came across this winner of a recipe. Now please note that I am borrowing this picture from the same site that I got the recipe.

For 6 people

  • 1 large tomato or 4 plum tomatoes (about 3/4 pound)
  • 6 medium fresh poblano peppers
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 cups cooked cheddar cheese grits (recipe follows)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup coarsely grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese

1. Core the tomato with a sharp paring knife. Arrange the tomato, pepper, onion, and garlic in a 9-x-13-inch roasting pan, with the peppers gathered at one end. Brush all the vegetables with the olive oil, and sprinkle them with salt. Slide the pan under the broiler (about 3 inches from the flame or heating element), with the peppers nearest you; you’ll be turning them frequently as they roast. Turn the peppers every 3 minutes until their skins are blistered and blackened all over, about 9 minutes total. Transfer the peppers to a large bowl. Transfer the tomato, onion, and garlic to a medium bowl, and let them cool. Set aside the roasting pan. I did find it easier to cut one small side of the pepper off, remove the seeds, and boil it for a few minutes, instead of roasting the pepper.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

3. When the peppers are cool enough to handle, gently massage their skins to remove them and discard. Cut a 3-inch slit down the side of each pepper and gently spoon out the seeds and any whitish, fibrous veins. Fill each pepper with 1/2 cup cheese grits, and place in the roasting pan.

4. When the tomato, onion and garlic have cooled, remove the skins from the tomato and garlic. Process the tomato, onion and garlic in a blender or food processor, about 30 seconds. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the peppers.

5. Bake the peppers on the middle rack until the tomato sauce bubbles gently, about 15 minutes. Scatter the cheese on top, and place the pan under the broiler about 2 inches from the flame or heating element until the cheese has browned.

6. Serve immediately.


  • 2 teaspoons sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup stone-ground yellow grits
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels (fresh off the cob tasted amazing)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup grated pepper jack cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
1. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Stir in the salt. Add the grits in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly.

2. Reduce the heat to medium low, and cook the grits, stirring frequently, for 40 to 45 minutes, until they are thick-soupy and the grains are tender to the bite. Stir in the milk and corn kernels, and cook for about 2 minutes to warm the corn.

3. Remove the grits from the heat, stir in the butter, pepper Jack and pepper, and continue to stir until butter and cheese are melted. Season to taste. If the grits are stiff (rather than loose and creamy), stir in more milk to loosen them. I then served it with this great black bean recipe:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 large jalapeño chili, seeded, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon (generous) ground cumin
  • 2 15-ounce cans black beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 14 1/2-ounce can low-salt chicken broth (I used vegetable broth)
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
Heat oil in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, chili and cumin and sauté 30 seconds. Add beans and broth and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Coarsely mash beans with potato masher. Continue boiling until thick, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with lime juice, salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Apartment Tour #2 and More Organization

This weekend, we finally tackled the hall closet. What once was a disorganized mess with coats, purses, and shoes is finally organized. Thanks to 3 shoe organizers, some 3M wall hooks, and a great drawer unit from the as is section in Ikea, we now have a nice place to even hang guests coats. And we did it all for under $50!! And this is the entrance to our apartment. The trees came from this etsy site and although seemed daunting at first, were quite easy to apply. Gotta love some major decoration that isn't permanent since we're renting. Oh, and a note on those 3M wall hooks...these are the best non permanent solution ever. They truly do not damage any surface. We've been using them for years.

One Bad Meal

It was Friday night and Chris wasn't off work until after 7:30, so by the time he made it home we were both starving. We decided to flip through the Entertainment Book and see if we could score us a good deal. We came across the Alameda Brewhouse. Generally you can't go wrong with pub food. Boy were we wrong. Unfortunately this was probably one of the worst meals we've ever eaten. The place did have some cool lighting though.But since the only thing we managed to eat what the bread basket, we ended up at Burgerville for french fries and milkshakes. We still had to pay for our meal since neither Chris or I will complain at a restaurant. So we want to know about you. How do you handle less than good food at a restaurant?

Friday, May 21, 2010

To Dry For

I am loving these awesome tea towels! They are from To Dry For an online boutique specializing in designer tea towels. They're a husband and wife team based in Oxford, England, sourcing over 100 tea towels from numerous designers. In addition to acting as a retailer, they also produce their own line of artist-commissioned tea towels, promoting work by both prominent and up-and-coming artists and illustrators. I think any of these would look great in my kitchen. Hmmmm, my birthday's coming up!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Bike Helmet

Chris noticed this bike helmet in the window of a store in the Pearl Distict in Portland. When he aksed the guy how much the helmet was he said $50. Since I wasn't with him, Chris was curious about the return policy if I didn't like it. When he questioned the salesguy about that he said, "here, you can have it." The guy really did give Chris a $50 bike helmet for free. Isn't that awesome!!! And isn't it cute!!


I have been dying to get some of our cabinets and closets organized. The following is what happens when your husband has to work all day and you go crazy with storage bins and a label maker. Yayyyy!!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Gunnar does not want his balls in a pile.

Gunnar did not like his balls in a pile while I was trying to make a picture of them. So he came over and took the pile down.

Happy Mother's Day Take Two!!

So, we decided that since we were having my mom, and Caitlin's mom and sister over the day before Mother's day, that we would spend actual Mother's Day with my Step-Mom Maggie at her house. We hung out and ate ribs (nice cookin' dad) and played Wii Fit. We had a great time hanging out with Maggie and Dad and my sis Brittany! One thing that surprised me is that they actually OWN some HoolaHoops AND use them!!! I kind of always thought that those things were mythical. Like a slinky. Or Rubik's cube. Maybe everyone had one but it never got used. Well I don't know, but it was a very funny surprise to me. So we used them. As you can see we took Gunnar with us and he was not interested in the HoolaHoop. Anyhow, we had a great Mother's day at Dad and Maggie's, we hope they did too!