Tuesday, July 31, 2012

homemade baked potato chips

homemade potato chips raw

Homemade Baked Potato Chips

2 medium russet potatoes
2 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400. Slice the potatos using a mandolin or paring knife. Toss with olive oil in bowl. Lay out flat on baking sheet. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake until golden, about 12 - 15 minutes.

You can season, again, if you like, when they come out of the oven.

baked homemade potato chips


Thursday, July 26, 2012

when . . .

I find myself in the check-out line at the grocery without my debit card,

I wanna poke my eyes out.

five more things about being single. . .

that i love:
  • You can nap, guilt-free, whenever you want.
  • You learn that variety really is the spice of life. 
  • You can live your life, follow and fail at your dreams to your heart’s content, and not worry about taking anyone down with you. 
  • When you buy a pizza, instead of having it for just one meal, you can nosh on it for days. 
  • You can spend your (meager) income however you like.
five (or 6) more things about being single that suck:
  • You have to live on your own (meager) income.
  • There’s no one to cook for/with.
  • You don’t get to experience the joy of (insert, here, however many days, weeks, months, or years, it takes until you no longer experience the joy of making love to the same person), of making love to the same person. 
  • You don’t have a built-in someone to go biking with, or to one of Portland’s many, daily, annual festivals with.
  • There’s no one to drop you off or pick you up from the airport.
  • There’s no one to blame when you fuck it all up.

you know you were born in utah if . . .

  • When you shop on Sunday, you postdate your check
  • You are 23 years old and completely bald
  • You were an aunt or uncle before the age of 3
  • Your (spouses) mother was pregnant at your wedding
  • You have more children than you can find biblical names for
  • Your family considers a trip to McDonald's a night out
  • You consider "damn" a swear word
  • Peanut butter on the seats of the car is an accessory
  • Your first child was conceived on the honeymoon
  • You feel guilty when you watch Monday night football
  • Your kids believe the deer hunt is a national holiday
  • You drink coke from a brown bag
  • You consider a temple recommend a credit reference
  • At least two of your salad bowls are at the homes of neighbors
  • You believe you must be 18 years or older to order coffee at a restaurant
  • You wonder why the fire truck honks when you drive 35 mph in the left lane on the       freeway
  • There is a similarity between the LA riots and ward basketball
  • You think Jack Daniels is a country western singer
  • You negotiate prices at garage sales (doesn't everyone?)
  • You make Jell-o without a recipe
  • You have heard about BYU football in a testimony meeting
  • You have two gallons of ice cream in your freezer at all times (doesn't everyone?)
  • Your father-in-law thinks Ronald Regan was a liberal
  • A member of your family wrote in Lavell Edwards for president in 1984
  • You went into education for the money

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

quinoa w/moroccan winter squash and carrot stew

Here's a yummy, quick way to fix quinoa, which is a great source of protein.  It comes from a Moroccan stew recipe.  I'll include the whole recipe, but I often only fix the quinoa portion of it.

This recipe come from epicurious.com, one of my favorite recipe sites.

A gorgeous, satisfying vegetarian main course that's easy to make. Quinoa requires no pre-soaking, so it's as simple to do as rice.

Quinoa w/Moroccan Winter Squash & Carrot Stew

Stew – makes a lot, try storing half in freezer or cutting recipe for stew in half, leave quinoa recipe the same amount, it's yummy!

    •    2 tablespoons olive oil
    •    1 cup chopped onion
    •    3 garlic cloves, chopped
    •    2 teaspoons Hungarian sweet paprika
    •    1 teaspoon salt
    •    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    •    1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
    •    1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    •    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    •    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    •    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    •    Pinch of saffron
    •    1 cup water
    •    1 14 1/2-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
    •    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    •    3 cups 1-inch cubes peeled butternut squash (from 1 1/2-pound squash)
    •    2 cups 3/4-inch cubes peeled carrots

For stew:
Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; sauté until soft, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Mix in paprika and next 8 ingredients. Add 1 cup water, tomatoes, and lemon juice. Bring to boil. Add squash and carrots. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and chill.)

    •    1 cup quinoa*
    •    1 tablespoon butter
    •    1 tablespoon olive oil
    •    1/2 cup finely chopped onion
    •    1/4 cup finely chopped peeled carrot
    •    2 garlic cloves, minced
    •    1/2 teaspoon salt
    •    1/2 teaspoon turmeric
    •    2 cups water
    •    1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
    •    2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint, divided

For quinoa:
Rinse quinoa; drain. Melt butter with oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and carrot. Cover; cook until vegetables begin to brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, salt, and turmeric; sauté 1 minute. Add quinoa; stir 1 minute. Add 2 cups water. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

Rewarm stew. Stir in half of cilantro and half of mint. Spoon quinoa onto platter, forming well in center. Spoon stew into well. Sprinkle remaining herbs over.

*A grain with a delicate flavor and a texture similar to couscous; available at natural foods stores.

Nutritional Information
Per serving: 271 calories, 11 g fat (2 g saturated), 5 mg cholesterol, 645 mg sodium, 40 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 7 g protein



It's so hard to get enough protein in your diet when you don't eat meat.  I've probably been deficient for several weeks, if not longer.  I'm guessing I was probably deficient even when I was a meat eater.  It didn't even occur to me until I started getting the shakes just from stretching.  Yikes.  Then the recent ridges in my nails made sense.

This website I found is a great resource for info about protein.  Although, the calculation to determine the amount of daily protein intake differs from this site's.  The first site suggests between 27 and 53 more grams/day for me than the second site.  That's a pretty big difference.  I guess, with protein, it's better to error on the high side, but I hate getting my protein from supplements rather than whole food.

I try to eat a lot of quinoa, which has 18 gms/C, and beans, which have 7 gms per 1/2 C of kidney, but you can only eat so much quinoa and beans.

My roommate uses this whey protein.  I'm gonna check it out.  It has 24 gms of protein in a serving, which is a rounded scoop (30.4 gms – looks to be about 1/3 C.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

darlings discovered

Darlings (do people still use that word?)-of-the-day:  here’s wishing you all the affection you can stand.

The charming young man at the grocery who greeted and engaged me in conversation even though I looked and smelled like hell.  (Just came from gym.)

The friendly young man at the grocery’s cash register who, in spite of my look and smell, also engaged me in conversation.

db detected

locker incident:

I was really hoping not to resort to including this category in my blog.  But, alas, I'm not a big enough person to overlook some of the amazing behavior I'm blessed to witness, if not on a daily, at least on a weekly basis.

To my credit, I was willing to overlook the two db's in the same day, in the gym parking lot who pulled out of their parking spots without looking or yielding to oncoming traffic.

But, following is the straw that broke the camel's back – I hope you're never again able to find underwear that fits right.

When I finished with my workout and went to the locker room, someone had put a paddle lock on my locker.  Then I noticed they'd taken my shit outta my locker and put it on the bench.


It was during a time of the morn when there weren't many people there.  Of the 80 or so other available lockers, only about 4 - 6 had paddle locks on them.  I'm baffled.

I guess I should just be grateful they took my shit out, before putting the lock on, huh?


spaetzle (german dumplings)

spaetzle ingredients
The first time I ever heard of Spaetzle was in Mt. Angel, a cute, little German town in Marion County, NW Oregon, about 30 miles South of Portland.

spaetzle frying
A Monastery, Mt. Angel Abbey – a Benedictine Abbey and Seminary, teaching Philosophy and Theology, with a world-famous library built by famous Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto, is located there.

They have a guest house I'd love to visit, maybe for my 50th (yikes!) birthday this year.  When I do, I'll post some pics.

I've only tried two of the German restaurants there and my favorite closed since the economy went to hell (the building where it was located is owned by a competing German restaurant in the same building).

One of the fun, German restaurants in Mt. Angel, where I first had Spaetzle. 

Fresh Herb Spaetzle (dumplings)

Found on Epicurious – Bon Appétit | March 2006
by Dorie Greenspan

These little drop dumplings are easy to make — and eat.

  A classic spaetzle maker resembles a food mill fitted with a large-holed plate, but other utensils with 1/4-inch diameter holes will work too.

Yield: Makes 4 servings

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk
8 teaspoons minced assorted fresh herbs (such as parsley, thyme, rosemary, and chives), divided

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, divided
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 cup (or more) low-salt chicken broth

Blend flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in large bowl.  Whisk in eggs and milk, forming soft batter. Mix in half of herbs.

Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Butter large bowl.  Working with 1/3 cup batter at a time and using rubber spatula, press batter directly into boiling water through 1/4-inch holes on coarse grater, strainer, or wide ladle.  Stir spaetzle to separate and boil 2 minutes. Using fine sieve, scoop spaetzle from pot, drain well, and transfer to buttered bowl.  (Can be prepared 3 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium heat.  Add mushrooms; sauté until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.  Add onion; sauté until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon oil, and spaetzle.  Sauté until spaetzle begin to brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes.  Add 3/4 cup broth.  Simmer until broth is absorbed, adding more broth if dry. Mix in remaining herbs; season with salt and pepper.

spaetzle plated

Saturday, July 21, 2012

when . . .

you leave your dishes in the sink,

I feel . . . 

like I want to poke your eyes out.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

db detected

family night at winco:

It’s easy to forget how powerful acceptance can be, especially while a poor, middle-aged, desperate, hick is spewing nonsense at you.  But, once you remember, it relinquishes all power over you.

The other day I was entering Winco – well, I was attempting to enter Winco, when four over-fed, white-bread Americans on their weekly family outing expanded, congesting the entry-way while they pondered the situation and people began piling up behind them.  

A democratic decision being made, they managed to maneuver to the inside of the store, where they moseyed along, once again, expanding to the width of the aisle.   At the first indication of a break, I made my move and passed them.  In passing, the man, who apparently didn’t have the balls to confront me, comments loudly to no one in particular something to the effect of, “Who does she think she is?” or some such thing.  When I turn and look at him, he says, “We’re a family!”


I’d like to have said, “Yes, and I’m Jesus.”

Next time.  Because you know, at Winco, there will be a next time.

But, once I remembered to accept that he’s just a poor, middle-aged, desperate, hick, just like me (OK, I’m not a hick –  but, and I know you’re not gonna believe this, I can be a bitch), the anger disappeared faster than an illicit lover after sex.

Friday, July 13, 2012

five things about being single . . .

that i love:
  • You can go to bed and get up whenever you want.
  • You get the whole bed to yourself.
  • You can eat ice cream for breakfast (in bed, guilt-free).
  • You can read for days, even weeks, at a time (in bed).
  • You can run the remote (but, I prefer to eat or read, in bed).
five things about being single that suck:

  • You have to go to the grocery alone.
  • There’s no one to get you soup or put their hand on your forehead and say, “There,      there . . . ,” when you’re burning up with fever.  (I just keep burning up with fever to a minimum.  Still.)
  • No one gives you chocolates on Valentine’s.
  • You can’t let yourself go, just in case you run into someone who might consider buying you chocolates next Valentine’s.
  • You prefer listening to Garrsion Keillor or Ira Glass than to any one else (that's a bad thing, right?)
Hmmm . . . This has shed a great deal of light on why, exactly, it is I’m single.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

what i had for breakfast . . .

What I had for breakfast . . .
cake for breakfast
Leftover beer-battered fries from Ringo’s and leftover chocolate cake from Ava’s.

Apparently, last night when my daughter and I went to get cake, I was so intent on getting it in to my pie hole, I forgot to take a pic first.  I know you're worried, sick, about this, but, don't be.  I promise I'll go back, order another piece, and take a pic BEFORE I stuff it into my gob, so you can see it.

Hey, don't judge.  My roommate rode his bike to the grocery at 10P, bought a 16 oz plastic container of Cool Whip, sat down in front of the TV and ate. The. Whole. Thing.  All of it.  In one sitting.  COOL WHIP, people!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

weight gain from week of 4th celebrations

    I know, I know, you’re dying to know how many pounds I gained during the 4th of July week of celebration (well, I celebrated for a week, anyway).  The answer is 3.5 pounds, people.
    And it’s no wonder, after all the crap I ate:  hot dogs, beans (w/cheese), jello salad (w/Philly Cream Cheese and ½ & ½), chips (2 large bags.  But, you know they only fill those things half full, and, to my credit, I did share them with my daughter.  Well . . . One of them, anyway.), dip (2 jars, these were full and I did not share either one of them with my daughter.  Her self-esteem doesn’t allow her to eat pure fat disguised as dip, or anything else.  Except cake.), cake from Ava’s, and ½ burger and fries from Ringo’s.  Wow, that’s remarkable.
    I was a lil OC that week, but last week was much better.  Although, I did have Papa Murphies.  Twice.  Hey, the second time, I shared it with a man, and you know what that means.  In the amount of time it took him to inhale three pieces, I only had a piece and a ½.

   Being the good friend he is, he's always eager to devise ways to support me.  Every time I set my beer down, even if it's only for a split, I turn around and he's drinking it!  Damn him.  Then, when he left, he took the pizza with him and only left me two pieces.
   Fess up, y'all.  How many lb's did you gain?

ringo's – *update

*update:  unfortunately, as often happens when a place is found out, the service and food quality has gone to hell.  :(

portland events and activities
. . . is the best freakin neighborhood dive bar.  Ever.

portland events and activities
The burgers are served fresh – not frozen, hot off the grill.  The fries, which are mind-blowing and beer-battered – crisp and crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, are THE best.  Seriously.

portland events and activities
The buns are baked fresh daily in the bakery located right across the street.

I'm vegan (not in the strict sense of the word, of course), and it's the only burger that's worth the cheat.  Although, to my credit, whomever I'm with and I order one, split it, and order an extra order of fries . . .

There are 4 or 5 pool tables in the back room, the majority of which are almost always available, except on pool tournament night, which, I think, is on Thursday eves.  So you never hafta worry about those people who can actually shoot, sweating you for your table as they snicker and roll their eyes at your incompetency (even if I haven't finished my first, my go-to excuse is that I'm just one or more beers over the OCS (optimum consumption for shooting) threshold.

Usually, you have your pick of booths, except on Trivia night, which could be Tuesdays.  I must be livin right because we got the last available booth that night.  The service is fast and friendly, even on Trivia night when it's assholes to elbows with people.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

today's definition:

Tramp, adj. an unmarried woman who is touched, explored, unpure, unchaste, – n. not a spinster, not vestal, not a virgin.

Friday, July 6, 2012

4th of july fireworks 2012

red yellow green fireworks
Fireworks on the Columbia River

full moon and jet
This is a jet taking off from PDX with the full moon rising.

green palm fireworks
I prefer traveling alone when going abroad. You’re forced to interact with the locals. And you find yourself in situations and you meet people you wouldn’t otherwise. Also, people everywhere seem much more tolerant of ignorant tourists than locals are of each other. I remember a rental-car clerk in Italy lamenting, “Scooza! Italians are fools!” as he negotiated his way through traffic.

But, I will do anything, up to and including not going, to get out of going somewhere locally alone, especially the grocery. So I felt fortunate when my daughter agreed to go with me to the Red Lion Hotel on the Columbia River to watch the fireworks.

blue palm fireworks
As dusk approached, I left her at our table on the waterfront overlooking the Columbia, where we'd sat and played chess while passing the time, to scout out a good place to shoot some pics. As I stood alone, near my camera and tripod, enjoying the start of the fireworks a charming woman approached and asked if I’d ever been to this event to see the fireworks before. Then she said, “I’m looking for a friend.”

“I’ll be your friend,” I said.

red palm fireworks
It turns out she lives in Honolulu and is here for a teachers of T’ai Chi convention. She asked if I might join their group the next morning at The Chinese Garden downtown and take some pictures of them while they did T’ai Chi. I was disappointed to tell her I couldn’t make it due to a prior appointment that morning.

While driving home from the fireworks, I couldn’t stop thinking about what a great opportunity it would be to shoot them at The Chinese Garden. I figured if I timed it right, I could spend a half an hour in the morning at the garden shooting them. So I went.

In the future, when I want to go somewhere but there’s no one to tag along, if I could just pretend I’m in another country, then maybe I’ll have this thing licked. Plus, now I have a new pick-up line, “Excuse me, I’m looking for a friend.”

t'ai chi at the chinese garden

cu sister leading t'ai chi
group t'ai chi
The morning I arrived at The Chinese Garden, the charming woman I'd met the previous night at the fireworks, was surprised and seemed delighted to see me. Except for the 100 or so people being led in t’ai chi by a nun in her habit, there were no other guests in the Chinese Garden. You could feel the energy being harnessed. It was magical.

inside looking out t'ai chi
ls group t'ai chi
The architecture and flora in the garden is so breathtaking, I couldn’t decide whether to focus on the people doing t’ai chi, or on the architecture. So I really wasn’t successful at getting either. I should’ve focused on the people and used a faster shutter speed, but I used a higher f-stop because I didn’t want to give up dof, so didn’t quite get the movement stopped. I did the same thing at my Mom’s 80th birthday gathering last month.  I don’t like to use a flash when shooting peeps. I need practice with this subject.

sister leading t'ai chi