Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Shopping and Food Therapy

I have been a little frazzled with school and trying not to think about my dream job, which has been hard because it is pretty much always on my mind. It is a slow process, however, so I am trying to not focus on it. My sister in law, Amanda, her husband Dustin, and their adorable daughter Lucy were in town for a few days and they helped relax me, we all went to Uwajimya together, and on Tuesday Amanda and I went shopping in local boutiques, which was so much fun. Except I sort of took her on a wild goose chase in the rain, but she was a great sport about it. I can't believe I did not take a single photo!
Then we all went out to the Concordia Ale House for dinner and I had one and a half beers. I think they went straight to my head and this morning I had a pretty intense hangover! My head is still throbbing a little. Why? I think I need to drink more water.

Here are some things I picked up while we were out and about, which all was nice to comfort my hangover with this afternoon.
Orange Page is my favorite magazine in the universe! I have gone off about it before here, but lets go over it again, just for fun. It is a Japanese housewife (or just women's lifestyle) magazine that comes out weekly in Japan. The price surprises me, I pay 3.80 for it here at Kinkokunia bookstore, which is quite a bargain for an imported Japanese publication. I know that the recipes are in Japanese, but they are very inspiring to look at the beautiful photos, many of which are step by step. If you click on the Orange Page link and hit the book icon, it will load a player that lets you browse through pages of the last few magazines. My grandmother in law, Toshi has gone through some of them for me and given me the ingredient list in English, then I follow the photograph instruction. But mostly what I get out of it is general food styling ideas, fashion, craft, and decor inspiration.
While in Portland, Amanda and Dustin went to the Decorette Shop and she got me some awesome cake/food decor! I am so excited. But i am waiting to show most of it until I bake some things. But these little gnomes are going in my garden area, so I took some photos today! It was such a sweet gesture on Amanda's part.

When we went to Bolt (a fabric boutique in Portland) I got a little bit of kawaii Japanese fabric. Today I made a little pillow for my shih tzu, Nigel. He is always stealing my pillow, so I hope he starts using this little one! I know, I probably shouldn't let him sleep next to me, but I enjoy it!

And, to end off a long day, I needed something hearty to boost my spirits. I made cheesy rice with bulk pork breakfast sausage wrapped in egg. It was just greasy enough to make me feel good!

It was so nice to visit with Amanda and her little family! I hope that I get to see them more often and just spending time with her gave me some creative inspiration!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lazy Weekend/Dreams for the future

This weekend was marvelous, we hung around the house most of the time. Things are going to start getting really busy for us soon, so it was really nice to take some time out to enjoy not doing much. Thursday night Casey brought home a large amount of asparagus from his work, so we made Asparagus Tempura, with rice.
Here is the batter mix

Served up:

In a bento for the next day's lunch

For dessert we had these vanilla soy milk ice cream banana splits, topped with coconut wafer cookies.

I love soy ice cream, not really to be healthy, I just really like the taste better than dairy ice cream. But I love both!
Here are some new plants we added to the garden over the weekend.
More hens and chicks cactuses:

They have giant ones on sale at our neighborhood grocery store, fred meyers
Here are some african daisies, they are so pretty! Casey took these awesome shots.

More various flowers from the garden, I really like the the ant on the yellow flower, ants are everywhere right now!

On a walk home from the grocery store, i noticed several sakura clumps that got blown off trees during a windstorm earlier last week. I grabbed a bunch of them and made little dome bouquets for the living room. They lasted about two days and I felt they were a nice tribute to say goodbye to a season of beautiful sakura that means so much to me.

A lot of great things are happening around here in our household. I am trying out for a job that coincides with my goals for the future. I am keeping it undercover for now, because I don't want to jinx my dreams. But if it does come true, everything will change for the better for us. I haven't been able to sleep, I am so excited! One clue is that if I get this job they will pay for a lot of my tuition. It is located at my dream university, the one I aspire to attend as a student someday. If i don't get a job here, all is not lost, but this is the king of all jobs! My sister in law, Amanda is town for a few days! I am meeting up with her later today, I am so excited!
Also, I have been setting up my Flickr account. I have so many photos, it is hard to organize. For awhile I was accidently uploading duplicate photos, and not knowing it. I have fixed this problem, and now I am working on organizing into sets properly. I will have a garden and baking section, so check it out! The photostream is a little messy at the moment, but I have the sets pretty well organized. If this dream job doesn't work out, I have been offered a job at a camera store in Downtown Portland. That would be a fun part time job, I think. But I really want this secret job. It is all I can think about!!!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Whole Wheat Baking/Gingham Love

On Monday I was all set to make these Chocolate Raspberry Sandwich Cookies, and after all the ingredients were set out on the counter, ready to go, I realized that I was out of all-purpose flour. What? I just bought a 5 pound bag less than two weeks ago! I guess that is what baking flatbread everyday does to my flour supply! I didn't realize that 2 cups of flour could really add up. Anyways, I didn't feel like going to the store, and I also didn't feel like giving up completely, so I made them with whole wheat flour. I think that the flour was mixed with a little white flour, but I am really not sure because I can't remember if I added any back when I filled my jar. I couldn't believe it, the cookies came out moist and chewy, with no sign of whole wheat to distract the cooky's flavor! I think the cocoa powder disguised the healthy parts of the cookie! Casey doesn't even know that they have whole wheat in them and he has been eating these for a couple days. I haven't kept it a secret, I just forgot to tell him. I really like these cookies, but chocolate desserts are an every once in a awhile thing for me. After a day of eating a lot of chocolate I am ready for something else, like vanilla. Oh, that also reminds me. These cookies taste really good on top of vanilla ice cream!
I am going to put the recipe in the comment section after I am done posting this.

So, the flatbread obsession/craze hasn't stopped around here. This recipe also did well with whole wheat flour, just needs a little longer in the oven. I normally have a rule with myself not eat "cute animals" such as deer, rabbits, ducks, and lamb. Not that I judge anyone who does, I just already feel a little guilty about eating meat, so I decided to not eat anything that I wasn't raised on eating. Well, my petty little morals can always be compromised and I ended up making Lamb Gyros for the both of us. Normally I buy Casey a patty and get myself a beef patty. While I was at the meat counter, I thought this is silly, and bought all lamb. I made the gyros with bulk lamb sausage, spinach, whole wheat garlic flatbread, and homemade tzatziki sauce (recipe from Kalyn's Kitchen). I really liked it, but I would like to try and stick to my no lamb rule in the future, just to make myself happy. Plus, it is so greasy! and the color of the meat stays pink no matter how long you cook it! Whats up with that? Oh, and the drink in the background is a peach strawberry smoothie. Lately if I don't have a smoothie everyday I start to feel like a corpse.
The weather in Portland has awful! I don't mind the rain, but the wind is what is annoying! I have been doing little projects inside, including a lot of homework, but I scored this massive amount of gingham curtain fabric at goodwill for 99 cents! So I made this little half apron today.

I did not sew the trim, unfortunately, it was all ready on there. All I did was cut it and sew a button on the back. What I would like to know is: should I add and embellishments, a bib, pockets, etc? Or should I just leave it alone??? I am limited in skills, lack of sewing machine, so easy ideas/feedback is what I am looking for.
I LOVE GINGHAM! Really, I love it too much! I have matching kitchen slippers from Japan that I am excited to wear this with!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sugary Sundrops/Succulent Appreciation Day

Thursday I made these little sugar cookies (it seems like the only cookie I bake is some sort of variation of the sugar cookie, but they are very popular with the cookie monster that I am married to!) topped with Sundrops. Has anyone ever tried Sundrops before? They are organic M&Ms and they have a taste that is extremely addicting. it is hard for me to bake these cookies because I end up eating a ton of Sundrops while I am baking them!

So this weekend (weekends for us are Friday and Saturdays) the weather was COLD. The sun came in and out and when it did peek through the gray skies, we would rush outside and do some gardening. I am so proud of Casey's work, he planted a ton of different tomatoes varieties, basil, artichokes, more lavender, and more strawberries.
Here are some flowers that got planted this weekend:

I am not sure what this is, it is a perenial, and has the prettiest little flowers on it, here is a bud taken in macro mode.

And Casey planted a lot of succulents which I am happy about because succulents make him happy the same way Sakura blossoms make me happy. Here are some macro shots that he took of his newest plants, after a light rain.

We even got one for the bedroom.
The more plants we have around and fresh cut flowers, the more alive and cheerful the house feels. We went through a little phase where we were very busy and most of our plants died, it feels really good to be back into the swing of things again!

Ikea Shelf Update!

The shelf is up! Well, it has been up since the evening of my last post, but I have had the hardest time getting a decent photo of it. Anyways, I love it and it is nice to be able to display my vintage stuff better and more safely. The shelf actually was really easy to put up, it was the fact that we needed huge screws to hang it, and that took a minute to track down.

Here is my secondary shelf next to it.

The Better Homes and Gardens cookbook is a shout-out to my Mom, who has had that cookbook since- well actually I have no idea when she got it, but probably close to 1962, when my father and her got married.I love how used it is, you can tell her favorite recipes by the burn marks and dog-eared pages. I love everything on the shelves because either it came from family or Casey and I found it together.
The Bambi book on the main shelf we got on our honeymoon when we made a pit stop at the thrift store. The illustrations are done like paintings and I have always wanted to frame some of the pages, but Casey won't let me. I know he is right about not tampering with the book, but sometimes I have come really close to just doing it anyways while he is at work. Now that I have the shelf to display the book, there are no more worries of a Bambi book massacre! One time I even bought frames for the pages while he was at work, but I forgot to hide them and he found the frames with the book sitting out and he grabbed them and confiscated everything!!!!
Bambi is our little theme, I have talked about in the past.
Spring cleaning has been going really well, we now have a van full of Goodwill donations. I just have one more area to clean out, which is my closet, which is the least favorite mission and I am blogging right now instead of doing it.