Friday, November 28, 2008

Champagne Kisses and Thanksgiving Wishes

Oh goodness, this holiday is what I needed! Thanksgiving was the best!!!! We stayed at our house because my mom flew to California to be with my aunt, and since Casey had to work today, we couldn't make it to Bend, where his Mom lives.
We made everything from scratch and used fresh ingredients whenever possible.
We special ordered a petite turkey that we brined in maple syrup and kosher salt, then rubbed with herbs and butter, even injecting butter under the breast skin, then stuffed it with lemons, apples, and fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, lavender, and sage.
We made green been casserole w/ panko topped crust, french green beans, and garlic cream. From Cook's Illustrated recipes we made Baguette Stuffing (soaked in olive oil, fresh cream and soy sauce, and baked like bread pudding, but savory.) and we also roasted carrots and potatoes in the turkey juices.
We had champagne with frozen apple slices slices, which was so yummy and helped keep things fun in the kitchen
And for dessert we had this Skillet Apple Pie, the recipe is from Cooks Illustrated, it has no bottom crust and you caramelize the apples in maple syrup on a skillet then press the dough in the mix, bake for 20 minutes and you have flaky gooey pie (there are more ingredients, but that is the basics.)

And also we had these hearts shaped shortbread cookies, which I have made in the past as Strawberry Matcha Cookies, but this time I sandwiched Pumpkin Butter and Lemon Curd alternately with a little powdered sugar on top. I also made a big batch of these earlier in the week to give out as holiday gifts to neighbors and friends.
The pumpkin butter was cool, because it was like having little mini pumpkin pies. You can get jars of it at Trader Joes for under 3 dollars, and don't let the word butter scare you like it did for me at first, it is fat free, more of a jam than a butter.
There is a ton og butter in the shortbread already, so there was no need to add more!
After dinner we had coffee and hung out, watching the most amazing movies! If you have not seen the french insect documentary Microcosmos, you must watch ASAP!
It was the most beautiful film I have ever seen. I am a huge fan of nature films, and this is the beautiful and elegant one I have seen. It makes you look at insects with a whole new perspective. There is even a snail make out scene that is so freakin cute I just about died.
Better than any romantic chick flick out there. There is a lot of time lapse photography, something that always makes me pretty much clap at the television when I get to see it.
Then we watched a Japanese Movie called "Into the Faraway Sky" billed as the Japanese's answer to Stand By Me.I didn't see many simularities, except it was a heartwarming movie about young childhood friends with a fairy tale vibe that was sweet and had just the right amount of sweetness that didn't seem contrived like so many Hollywood movies do.
What a snuggly Thanksgiving! It felt good considering I did over a weeks worth of work in 3 days this week. The whole time I was at work I pictured eating and relaxing and spending time with Casey and the dogs and now that it is finally here, I am so very grateful for it! The leftover turkey will be used used to make turkey, bacon, and swiss melt on these homemade croissants I made last weekend and saved some dough for
I am also very excited for Christmas~! On the 6th I am going with my mom to watch the Nutcracker Suite, which Portland has a good show downtown of, we are going to get dressed up and have a date together. For Christmas we usually decorate a theme on a budget, in the past we did a Candy Cane Stripe theme, this year for our new house we are going to go with an all white Christmas, a white fake tree, snowflakes, and white hanging orb ornaments, sort of a 2001 Space Odyssey Christmas, haha.
We are already menu planning together and I am very excited. So I will update the Christmas Season as it happens, until then I hope everyone is having a relaxed, special holiday season with their family.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hello, its Bunbun......

Hey anyone out there! Wow, it has been a long time and so much has happened. I didn't mean to be gone this long or to lose touch with my blogging friends, but one thing lead to another and I almost forgot I ever had a blog! I still plan on mostly staying on flickr, but I want to keep Honey and Clover alive, because I really liked blogging.
So, summer came and went, and it was beautiful. both our birthdays were celebrated and we are now both 28. Then came the news that my mom was in poor health, and it was devastating. I am back in school and working full time, so there wasn't much time for me to process how I felt about everything. In fact for awhile I felt neither good or bad, which scared me. But for privacy reasons (I am not sure if my mother wants her health history broadcasted on the internet, haha!) I wont go into details. I do know because of where I work, that life is short and you gotta never take a second for granted, like that one song by the Flaming Lips(sorry I don't know the name cause I pretty much only listen to the Rolling Stones and Rap nowadays). The month of august I was pretty stressed and even my mom didn't know how much. I tried to look at the more beautiful and carefree aspects of my life, all of which I put on flickr, I have always wanted to focus on those things anyway.
Then around the time of our first wedding anniversary, everything seemed to calm down. My mom started to look and sound more normal. We got a new house which makes our old house seem like a crackhouse. If you have read past posts, you might remember that I love the St. Johns area in Portland, that is where we are now!!!!!! So close to a lot of beautiful trails small companies. We found it on our anniversary. I started baking again (goodbye toaster oven, hello new gas oven!), and everything fell back into place.

What is weird is that during this whole time, things were stressful, but probably the most happy time of my life! Autumn is my favorite time of year, so I am really enjoying everything around me. I am sorry if this post is a little vague and scattered. I didn't know where to start. I hope all my blogging friends out there are doing great and I hope to reconnect soon!

Also,(sorry, I normally am pretty quiet about this kind of stuff, but our country is falling apart!) today is our election day in America! I am not even going to try and be PC, if you didn't vote for Obama, then you are an ignorant and selfish idiot that supports war and needless killing. But I am pretty excited about the fact that he is really damn close to becoming president!
I am super excited that someone like him is here to represent our generation. Right now in my neighborhood people are lighting off fireworks and celebrating Obama! Okay, I will shut up now.......

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Honey and Clover Hiatus

This photo is for Ling239 who had asked me about purple roses....

Hi! My blogger account has been very buggy lately and after many attempts over the last week to post about our recent trip to Mt Hood not working, I gave up. I became slightly embarrased at the time I was spending on trying to fix it. So I have decided to take a little break from blogging and focus more on my flickr account. It makes sense since I actually pay for my flickr. I am just going to do longer and better photo descriptions. The problem with blogger is that it wont let me upload photos (more than one) and I pretty much use blogger to post photos, so it has left me high and dry. ( i have a no post without photos rule for myself)
Anyways, summer is speeding along too fast to worry about petty things like uploading photos. I am still going to stay in touch with all my blogging friends via their pages, so please don't forget about me!!!
This is not the end of Honey and Clover and I think it will only be a few weeks. I love everything about blogging, especially the great blogs I have come across.
If you want to stay in touch with me in the meantime, please contact me via flickr. Flickr is free and I don't believe you even have to have an account to leave a message or comment.
But if flickr isn't your thing and you want to wait till I come back here to say what's up to me, that is cool, too!
I have gotten a few emails asking me what Honey and Clover means. It is one of my favorite Japanese movies, or favorite movie in general. If you have a chance to watch it, please do. I have a weird phobia of watching movies and television. I think it is boring, so I have to really like something to want to watch it for 2 hours. And Honey stands for Holly and Clover is for Casey. Plus, I just really like Honey, and I really like Clovers.
Anyways, to my blogging friends out there, keep on having a great summer and I will talk to you soon! xoxoxoxo-bunbun

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sweet Summer Sunsets

Wow, time is just FLYING! My job has really consumed most of my life this summer so far, but I have to step down from my new promotion soon because there will be no way to go to school with the workload that I currently have. I am grateful that they are willing to accommodate my needs and they are giving me my old position back. I will truly miss the amount of patient interaction I have had. That part has really changed my life, and it will continue to everyday. I have learned to acclimate myself to the sadness, So every night, no matter how tired and weary I am, I ride my bike to meet Casey on North Willamette Blvd. Willamette Blvd is by my house and overlooks the downtown (mainly industrial) part of Portland. We have it timed perfectly that when I arrive, the sun is just about to go down so we sit and watch the sunset, and I have to say, this little ritual has been so good for my soul, it is almost a religious experience! I am a different person on my way back home, my shoulders relaxed and my mind cleared again. The street is pretty quiet and it seems like you are in a little perfect pocket of Portland where cars and annoyances have disappeared.

Still not baking much, we do eat well, but the heat and the time constraints have really put a damper on my baking missions. I did make this Blueberry jam a few days ago.
A blueberry truck at Casey's work accidentally unloaded 900 dollars of blueberries, and I guess there was a free for all, and brought home bag after bag of fresh berries, so I made this jam. I cannot believe how much sugar jam recipes call for! One pound for every pound of fruit, my goodness! I didn't use any sugar because I think fruit is sweet enough. I like tartness anyways. So here is my jam, which I am quite happy with. I used my Zojirushi Bread Machine's Jam setting, so I really don't even feel like I did anything!
Life is great, Summer daydreaming in the backyard and gardening is what we live for,
and best of all, this Saturday we are back on the road again camping!!!

Monday, July 7, 2008


"Happy Birthday!!!!"

This weekend was Casey's birthday and we celebrated it all weekend. We also met each other on his 25th birthday and we pretty much were instantly a couple after that day, so it has always been a little like a dual holiday! Every birthday since that first one together we have always gone camping to our favorite spot together.
It was so lovely this time, but it always is. We joke that our spot is our vacation home. It truly is like paradise, every shade of green glowing and vibrant with beautiful ferns,wildflowers, and succulents everywhere.
We sleep in a hammock with Nigel and Simon sleeps underneath us.
Our campsite is a about a 10 mile hike from our car(we had a subaru zipcar this weekend, along beautiful mossy trails, with beautiful babbling springs. Our site is along the edge of a stream, which is Mt. Hood runoff water, it is ice cold, but feels good to splash your face with in the morning.
That is the magic of camping here. Everything is bursting with beauty, it doesn't seem real. You half expect Totoro or Bambi to frolic out of nowhere. The dogs really needed this trip more than anyone, they love camping and turn into different dogs. Simon is obsessed with sticks and rocks, and will swim lap after lap in the ice cold water for them, then violently chew on them.

Nigel hops rocks that make me scared for life! But mostly they relax and scope out nature.
We drank sake and for food we used our Jetboil, which we love so much! Casey got two for his birthday a few years ago from his family and the cooking system is so lightweight and durable. Here is our breakfast,

which is a skillet meal of bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns, cooked in bacon fat, something I only eat when camping, but so good and fills you up for plenty of hiking.
We came home feeling like a million bucks after hiking and enjoying nature for the weekend. It was so nice to get away from clocks, phones, computers, and just listen to the beautiful sounds of birds chirping and the stream flowing for the weekend. We are going to try to come here every other weekend this summer to take full advantage of our summer, we will see what happens, but that is close to what we did last summer. We sort of live in fear of losing this spot to developments someday, but that is something I just don't want want to dwell on.

There is just so much to talk about when it comes to camping, I guess I will save the rest for future trips, I also uploaded a ton of photos on flickr of our trip.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

City of Roses

*Sorry for the upcoming spelling errors! Blogger's spell check isn't working right now and I am too lazy to edit!*
What a crazy week! By last friday, my brain felt hard-boiled! It was good and I have gone through a lot of learning experiences this week, but boy was I glad when friday came and our weekend was in effect. Casey got his early birthday present (it is next Saturday) on friday, a new Bike! We finally sold our broke down van and so it justified him having this Swobo Dixon bicycle! I am excited for him because I catch him just gazing at it lovingly!
Saturday the weather was 100 degrees. We did as much housework and gardening our bodies could stand before collapsing outside in a daze. That night we had Yakisoba, served cold. The cold noodles and chicken were so refreshing to our depleted bodies. I used Annie's shitake seasame dressing, green onions, and basil from our garden for the sauce. Basil is kind of odd to put in the mix, but it added a nice kick to the flavor. Here is a photo of the leftovers the next day in the park. Today the weather cooled down some, but it was very muggy. We rode our bikes and it was nice to have the breeze flow through our hair. I swear, I could take a shower every hour and still feel grimy due to the humidity! But it was a gorgeous day! We rode to The Little Red Bike Cafe, a new "Bike-Thru" cafe in our nighborhood that a co-worker of Casey's just recently opened. It is so freakin cute! Click on the link to read their blog on starting up the cafe, it is quite interesting, and I also love the charm the place has. Casey's friend, Deacon was working there today, and I got to try some of his famous donutholes I have heard about since last winter from my husband. Wow, they were amazing! Really, I have never had any that have compared to this before! We rode our bikes back to Columbia Park to enjoy our treats
Then we decided to head over to Peninsula Park to see it's famous Test Rose Garden. The rose garden is so breathtaking and magical!

I like it far better than the Washington Park Rose Gardens (which is a beautiful, you could say "royal" park) because Peninsula park showcases the beautiful roses that so many genius gardeners have labored over in such a personal way. The other rose garden is more famous and big, and is always loaded with tour buses. I laid on a park bench in the shade and just gazed at all of the beauty.Portland is called "The city of Roses" so I feel that when the roses are in bloom here, it is part of our culture to admire them, like Japan does with Sakura Blossoms.
And then we headed back to Columbia Park, where we had a picnic and I napped in the grass for a marvelously long time.
When we headed home, a huge thunderstorm started. What a way to end the weekend!
Also, a few things from last week, we got Wiifit for our Nintendo! We got it on Craigslist, an it is awesome! I use it everyday, at least for yoga on busy days. I like it because I feel like I get a good satisfying workout without with the instuction I need. I cannot tell you how ridiculously excited I am about this game! So cool!
And all week I was sososososoo tired, and ate cereal for dinner almost every night, but one night I managed to make this Thai soup called Tom Yum Goong soup with shrimp over steamed rice. It is a very citrusy, spicy soup. It is actually pretty easy and very yummy.
Here are some flowers that are currently blooming in our yard, some vibrant Fuschia, and some Trumpet Lilies
Well, that was my week. Hope everyone out there had a great week, too and has a great week ahead! I can't wait for the next 4 days to move along, we are going camping for Casey's birthday, it is also the date I met him on!