Tuesday, January 27, 2009

choccy-oatey cookies.




First, I need to brag a little bit about the cute apron above, made by my mom for me for Christmas. I've wanted a cute apron forever, and lo, I got 2 for Christmas! One full apron from Andy and one half/bistro apron from Mom. I love wearing them! My mom is a great seamstress and I usually run to her whining when I can't get my project to look the way I want it to. I hope I sew 1/2 as good as she does, someday!

Tonight Andy had a craving for cookies and I had a hankering to do some baking. I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen's website, which ALWAYS delivers. How does she do it? These cookies are de-licious. I also found out that she bakes in a kitchen about the same size as mine, which is encouraging but means I can't complain anymore.

You can link to her recipe here:

Oatmeal, Chocolate Chip and Pecan Cookies

By Katy Sparks with Andrea Strong, from deb @ SmittenKitchen.com

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
1 cup quick-cooking oats
2 cups chopped pecans
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange zest
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment or a Silpat (rubber nonstick baking mat). Using an electric mixer, beat the butter in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add both sugars, salt, and vanilla, and beat until well mixed, about 3 minutes. Stir in eggs, one at a time. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove in a separate bowl. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter with the mixer on low speed. Once the flour has been incorporated, add the second half. Stir in the oats, pecans, orange zest, and chocolate chips. Drop the dough, by the tablespoon, onto the cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden.

Remove from the oven and cool the cookies on a rack. Store at room temperature in a cookie jar or other airtight container.

Monday, January 26, 2009

when the student surpasses the master.

My husband's hidden talent. How is it that his "Happy Birthday" cutout was so much neater and in better cursive than mine? Our mom's birthdays are within a week of each other an we decided to send them handmade cards. There he sat, for about an hour, carefully and precisely planning and cutting and snipping his card. I think I'll recruit him.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

beachin' around at the coast...

Last Sunday around noon, we decided to skip our icky-weather plagued city and head to Cannon Beach for a few hours of fun. To our surprise, it was a gorgeous day! Sunshine and light wind, perfect winter beach weather. We had never been to Cannon Beach before and thoroughly enjoyed the little town. We packed a picnic of tuna on sourdough, chips, and granola bars and ate at Ecola Park, then drove down into town and checked out the shops and beach area. After we watched the beautiful sunset (the green flash still eludes me!) we ate some clam chowder and fries before heading home. Oh, and a stop at Dairy Queen in the middle of nowhere for some ice cream. Our sad little picnic almost blew away.

This is a taffy machine in case you were curious. Don't be fooled - it was still cold.
Mmm, chowder & fries.

Why Dairy Queen, you ask? I have this notion that everytime you go to the beach you have to have ice cream. Even if it's freezing. To carry on this untraceable tradition that's in my head, we went searching after clam chowder for some, but being a Sunday night, all the shops had closed! There were at least two places on the main drag that we could have had a delectable scoop of Umpqua heaven, but we waited too long. Hence the stop at DQ. It's tradition people!

Monday, January 19, 2009

now you see it...

Now you don't...
It snowed around 1opm and by morning there was not a trace.
But not before we could enjoy it!

Andy's snow angel...
Shattuck Hall, down the street from our house on PSU campus...Park Blocks at PSU below our house...
Just in case you were missing snow!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

pho-natic!

I finally tried something that I've been wanting to eat ever since I moved to this city.
Pho.
Phở (fuh) n. Traditional beef noodle soup, Phở Bò, or chicken noodle soup, Phở Gà.
I did my research like any good food fanatic (how 'bout pho-natic for this post's purposes) and decided that the closest place to get a really good first Pho would be at Silk, a sister restaurant to the well-know Pho Van in SE Portland. Since Silk is down in the Pearl it was only a quick walk/streetcar ride from our house. AND, Silk has "Silky Hour" (I don't get it, is it supposed to be as funny as I think it is?) to make it even more alluring.
It was delicious. Warm, a little spicy. Notes of spice we couldn't put our finger on (clove? 5 spice? Must be 5 spice. We think) and extra little dishes of bean sprouts, basil, lime, chilis, and hot pepper pastes. The beef was very thinly sliced and I assume it finished cooking in the broth because it was still a tad pink when it came out of the kitchen.
Now that I'm an official pho-natic, I think I'll make it a New Years resolution to sample all the good offerings of Pho that Portland has to offer. God, Thank You for Pho!

"Silky Hour" at Silk. Seriously, that's funny, isn't it? I just laughed every time I said it. For a semi-serious restaurant I was surprised by this bold risk of humor.

Although the meat looks a tad rare for my tastes, it was fully cooked by the time I got to it because I pushed it to the bottom of the bowl and it finished up in the broth...yum!

Don't worry, I finished every last drop.


Monday, January 5, 2009

a midwinter's drive

Andy and I went to visit his grandparents in Hood River on Sunday. It was a gorgeous wintry drive; cold and desolate, but we were snug in our little Honda with coffee, and ipod, the heater, and our newest little gadgets: courtesy my parents (the gps) and Andy's parents (the camera). After attending church, we ate at the Riverside Grill overlooking the Columbia and then headed home to beat the 10 inches of snow Hood River was expecting that evening. But NOT before we looked through Grandma & Grandpa's records and books! I have 6 new George MacDonald books to read, yay! Between that and the Gilmore Girls, I think I need to quit school.


Do you see the blurry white rectangle on the left side of the picture, amidst the trees? Apparently there was a landslide years ago that completely took the house out. There have been landslides in Portland lately that have destroyed a couple of houses. Scary!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Christmas crumbs...

Snow is falling in Portland once again as we prepare for another 10 weeks of classes starting tomorrow. Remind me again what possessed me to sign up for an 8am class during winter?
I finally finished filling out my Christmas Memories book. I think I wrote on almost every single line trying to squeeze it all in...
...
I'm very happy with the results.
...

These were my only decorations out this year. Since we spent the majority of the holiday in Medford, it didn't make sense to get a tree, etc. So we just built a little shrine on top of our bookcase :) Mom gave us the nativity scene last year and it's my perfect style - vivid colors and kinda vintage-y. Plus it's all in one piece so I don't have to worry about losing any important characters! The tree topper is held up by a spatula in a canning jar and the berry strand and tins were on clearance at Joanne's last year. I used some linen and sheer gold fabric which is actually keeping more true to the Christmas story because Jesus was born in the desert, not in the snow. I think we all know that.


My evenings have been consumed by the Gilmore Girls on DVD, seasons 3 & 4. It's really addicting and I should have started it sooner so it won't get in the way of studying, but I know it will...maybe I should just pull an all-nighter and watch every episode so I can get on with my life? But that doesn't sound as fun as a few episodes every night.