I just signed up for the 2008 Portland Race for the Cure. It will be my third year running the 5K with tens of thousands of others, raising money to beat breast cancer. Last year, with your help, I raised more than $500. That's my goal again this year... but you can help me beat it!
Mom, Eryn and I drove north Wednesday morning for this week's summer adventure. We arrived in Seattle in plenty of time for the afternoon Mariner's game but drove around for almost two hours trying to find a parking spot under $40.
We finally parked in the Qwest stadium lot for $25 and made it to our seats in Safeco Field during the third inning. The view was terrific from the front row of the upper deck, right above Ichiro! We witnessed a couple Mariner homers, Oregon native Jacoby Ellsbury and a shirtless man running around the field. He made it all the way across the outfield before getting tackled by one of the pursuing security guards - right below us! The game went into extra innings, and we donned our rally caps to help the Mariners wrap it up. It didn't help. The Red Sox beat the Mariners for their first series sweep at Seattle in 15 years. We still had a great time. After the game, with our car stuck on the top of a six-story garage and a train blocking the exit, we passed the time at a nearby thrift store and found great bargains! A good trip to Seattle :)
I've known Laura since third grade. We spent a lot of our childhood making memories together... Fort Frog, slumber parties, dance routines, Camp Tilikum, VBS, cul-de-sac marching, weddings. She now lives in California, so we don't get to see each other often. But she was in town this week and introduced me to Evan. What fun it was to catch up and meet her little boy. -Liz :)
My contribution to last week's Garden Party potluck was lime squares with pistachio-graham cracker crust, a recipe I recently saw on Everyday Baking on OPB. It wasn't complicated, and everyone seemed to think they were yummy. Lime isn't my favorite flavor, but I'd likely make them again for sharing. --------------------------
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pan
2/3 cup shelled pistachios
1 cup (4 ounces) graham-cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoons grated lime zest
2 large egg yolks
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush an 8-inch square baking dish with melted butter. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides.
In a food processor, finely grind pistachios with graham-cracker crumbs, sugar, and zest. Blend in butter. Press mixture into bottom and 1 inch up sides of prepared pan. Bake until lightly browned, 8 to 12 minutes. Cool crust, 30 minutes.
To make the filling: In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and condensed milk. Add lime juice; whisk until smooth. Pour filling into cooled crust; carefully spread to edges.
Bake until set, about 15 minutes. Cool in pan on rack; then chill at least 1 hour before serving. Using parchment paper overhang, lift out of pan, and transfer to a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut into 16 squares, wiping knife with a damp kitchen towel between each cut. To store in refrigerator, cover with plastic wrap.
Scheduling issues pushed Weekly Wednesday to Thursday again. We settled on seeing the new "Indiana Jones" movie, followed by Thai lunch and a Costco run. The movie was terrific - super campy and action packed, just like the originals. Harrison Ford was great, even poking a little fun at his age. We would all recommend it!
Brad's mom, Donna, celebrated her birthday Wednesday. We made the trip to Vancouver Thursday evening for dinner at Applebees, ice cream cake and presents. Happy Birthday!!!! Because Brad was on a climbing trip and missed my birthday last month, he took off Friday for a special make-up birthday. After a lazy morning and a short stop at the annual G.I. Joe's tent sale, we drove to the Gorge for our first visit to Rooster Rock State Park. Brad packed us a picnic of fancy cheeses, bread, fresh fruit and Snapple lemon iced teas, which we ate at a shady table near the Columbia River. The river was beautiful, but our real entertainment was watching all the people heading to the nude beach at the far end of the park. It provided a lot of laughs!
We'd heard about rock climbing on Rooster Rock, so we went off in search of the route for future adventures. After some bushwhacking, walking next to the freeway and wading through poison oak, we found the spot. The bottom section is vertical fourth-class rock, meaning that we didn't need a rope, but a fall would have been bad. We scrambled up to a lookout spot, heard some loud squawking and looked over to see a big osprey nest on the tree next to us. The birds were not happy with our proximity and began circling and yelling loudly. Before they could peck us right off the rock, we grabbed a couple pictures and headed down... very carefully. Saturday included plans to hit the REI return sale and then hike in the Gorge with Christine. Instead, we shopped into the afternoon, getting awesome deals for us and Christine - she's turning into a gear head! We all did a short, intense hike at nearby Tryon Creek State Park, checked out the Art Walk in downtown Gresham and then tried a new-to-us Mexican restaurant, La Fiesta, at Division and 242nd (YUM!). Once home, we did a bit more REI shopping with some online coupons (more deals!!) It was a really fun day of spontaneity and new adventures.
After months and months and months of planning, training and equipment purchasing, it looks like our Mount Adams climb with Brad's dad is on hold. Sunday morning, a lightning-sparked wildfire flared up in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, very near Adams. In fact, it's called the Cold Spring fire, named after the trailhead we were to use for our ascent.
The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center is reporting it at 3,000 acres with 0 Percent containment and no estimated containment date. More than 230 firefighters are battling the blaze from the ground and from the air as it burns through timber in extremely difficult terrain.
This coming weekend was our first choice and next weekend was our backup. Shoot.
(Just think, when I retired from news, I thought I would never have to report on another summer wildfire. Shoot.)
We get out a lot... a whole lot. Most trips are good, full of memorable experiences, photo ops and adventure. But yesterday's outing to Barrett Spur on the north side of Mount Hood was truly exceptional!
Steve, Jacob and Christine joined us on what was expected to be a hot, sunny, pleasant trek full of terrific views. We knew the trailhead was out in the middle of nowhere, but it took a really long time to get there, putting us on the trail almost 1.5 hours behind schedule. But the long drive was broken up by a little excitement when A BEAR ran across the road right in front of us! It wasn't huge but it also wasn't a baby. We decided it must be a teenager. I've never seen a bear in the woods before... yay!! (and all from the safety of our car!) We bounded through huge potholes and slid over a couple small snow patches on our way to the trailhead. Our drive came to an abrupt end when we rounded a corner and found snow across the road - one pile covering the path 4-5 feet deep. My Ford Escape wasn't making it over that, so we pulled over right there, put on our boots and packs and started our hike. Luckily, we weren't far from the end of the road. After a short time, the trail disappeared under more snow... a lot of it. It's not a winter recreation area, so there were no little blue diamond markers to guide us. And the snow was so deep that if there were any regular trail markers, we couldn't see them. We had map and compass (and Brad had been there once before), so we navigated the old fashioned way. We stayed near a ridge as we made our way toward the tree line, catching glimpses of the summit here and there. Every once in a while Adams, Rainier and St. Helens could also be seen to the north. We stopped for lots of gawking and photos. We came out of the woods to amazing views of the mountains, the Gorge, the Hood River valley, Central Oregon. We also stumbled upon a sign way down in a tree well confirming that we were in the right spot! Always a comforting feeling. After resting, refueling and reapplying sunscreen, we headed up the snowy slopes.
Then it was up a rocky ridge to the saddle below the spur. Tiny alpine wildflowers were everywhere. The snow and lack of trail slowed us quite a bit, and we decided to call it good without going the extra 800 vertical feet up the spur. After getting tons of "summit" shots, we started down.
Things really picked up when we hit the snow and taught the mountain newbies the art of the standing glissade. There were screams, laughter and smiles all around.
Things got a bit tricky when we reentered the woods. Without a trail, and with sunset fast approaching, the adventure intensified. We took a wrong turn and ended up off course. I slid on the soft, slippery snow and fell into a deep tree well. Christine thought it looked like so much fun that she followed me in :) No one was hurt, though my elbow and knee are a little scraped.
Thankfully, we put our minds together and figured out where we needed to be. We found the ridgeline from our ascent and kept it in sight as we made our way down. And now I call Jacob "Tommy Lee Jones," from "The Hunted" (watch it and you'll understand). Soon, we spotted the log where we had stopped for snacks on the way up... and there was the trail! Even with a couple stops for photos of the glowing mountain (Christine filled her memory card!), we made it off the Forest Service roads before dark. Dinner was sandwiches at the ZigZag Subway (which apparently had the heat on inside!)
We figured we'd be home around 6. We pulled in the driveway about 11. But the views were phenomenal and the weather was perfect: warm, clear, calm. The company was wonderful! Jacob definitely caught the climbing bug, and Christine was already planning our next hike during the ride home. Steve got a taste of next weekend's adventure: climbing Mount Adams. Their excitement was contagious. Plus, we didn't see another soul the whole time we were on the mountain.
That was, without a doubt, one of our best, most memorable outdoor adventures! Thank you, God, for your magnificent creation and love and care for us.
This isn't a new recipe for me, but I served it at Garden Party last night and the recipe was requested. (From my trusty Better Homes & Gardens cookbook)
------------------------- 1/2 cup chopped onion 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons olive oil or cooking oil 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained 1 14.5-ounce can Mexican-style stewed tomatoes 1/2 cup salsa 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper 2 cups hot cooked brown or long grain rice 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, or Mexican cheese blend
In a medium saucepan cook the 1/2 cup onion and garlic in hot oil until tender but not brown. Carefully stir in beans, undrained tomatoes, salsa, salt, and cayenne pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
To serve, mound rice on serving plates; make a well in each mound. Spoon the black bean mixture into wells. If desired, sprinkle with shredded cheese.
I was cooking for a crowd, so I quadrupled the recipe. I used two cans black beans and two cans pinto but I've also used kidney in the past. I served it over bulgur wheat instead of rice.
Mom's on the East Coast for a short vacation, so Eryn and I were on our own this week. Her house makeover is coming along nicely. She finished the baseboards and outlets in the office, so we decided to spend our Wednesday getting the room unpacked and settled, complete with new bookshelves from IKEA! The finished product is terrific!
We stuck close to home for the Fourth of July, walking to Tigard High School for the city's annual fireworks display. My mom's community band was providing patriotic music as the crowd kept growing and growing. Soon the fields were filled with families, and it was time for the main event! We hope you had a wonderful holiday! :)
------------------------------------------------------- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar 2 teaspoons salt 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled) 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 2 large eggs 1 1/2 cups packed light-brown sugar 1 tablespoon dark corn syrup 2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Preheat the oven to 375. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, confectioners' sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt until light. Beat in 2 cups flour until it forms a mass. Transfer to a 9 x13-inch pan. Plastic a sheet of plastic wrap on the dough and use it to press the dough into the pan (this will make it easier and will prevent the dough from sticking to your fingers). Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until edges are golden.
Meanwhile, whisk together remaining 2 tablespoons flour, remaining teaspoon salt, and baking powder. Using an electric mixer, beat eggs, brown sugar, and corn syrup until light. Fold flour mixture into egg mixture, then pecans and coconut.
Pour over crust and bake 20 to 25 minutes until set. Run a metal spatula around the edges while still warm, then transfer to a wire rack and cool in pan before cutting into 24 bars. ------------------------------------------------------------
I need to start focusing a bit better when I'm making a new recipe. Oprah distracted me, and I accidentally put in about 3/4 cup of the corn syrup instead of 1 tablespoon. So I added a bunch extra flour to offset the liquidity. Then I got distracted by e-mail and left it in the oven too long. But it turned out just fine - my fellow potluckers consumed about half before dinner!
In an effort to cut pollution and save gas money, today's Weekly Wednesday (or Wacky Wednesday, as one dear friend likes to call it!) started with a walk from our respective homes to the 76 bus stop on Hall Boulevard and then a transfer to the 12 to downtown Portland. We explored a few urban spots and got in a fair amount of walking. But the main goal was the Farmers' Market in the South Park Blocks. After surveying the goods, we settled on a few veggies, cherries, jam, dressing, cheese and pesto. Eryn bought the smallest broccoli head we'd ever seen. Our eating corresponded directly to the gift cards in our wallets (free food!). Red Robin for lunch and Starbucks for a snack. It was a fun, low-key way to spend the day.
Do you have any ideas for future Weekly Wednesdays?? Tell us! -Liz :)
I found this recipe last week from Everyday Food. Made it Monday night and really enjoyed it. Simple and pretty quick. Didn't taste "weird and healthy" - just yummy! 3/4 cup walnuts 1/3 cup plain dried breadcrumbs 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped 2 teaspoons ground cumin 2 teaspoons ground coriander 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes Coarse salt and ground pepper 3/4 cup lentils, cooked, drained, and cooled 4 tablespoons olive oil 1 large egg
In a food processor, combine walnuts, breadcrumbs, garlic, cumin, coriander, pepper flakes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; process until finely ground. Add lentils and 1 tablespoon oil; pulse until coarsely chopped (some lentils should remain whole). In a large bowl, whisk egg.
Add lentil mixture; mix well. Divide into 4 equal-size parts; roll into balls, and flatten with the palm of your hand into 3/4-inch-thick patties. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add burgers; cook over medium-low heat until crisp and browned, turning gently with a thin-edged spatula, 8 to 10 minutes per side. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined late to drain.
I made a half recipe, which was enough for two burgers. Served on kaiser rolls with all the regular burger fixins'. Enjoy!
I recently discovered some mouse droppings on the shelves in our garage. "Oh great," I thought. "I guess we'll need to clean that up." Upon further investigation, we discovered a lot of "evidence" of the little critters living among our things, including tiny footprints in the dust. The most frustrating part is that we have a cat... he spends his nights in the garage... apparently sharing his space (and food!) with the mice. How is that even possible?? Way to use those hunting instincts, Linus!
So the cleaning began - a 10-to-1 bleach-water solution has been sprayed on everything, and the "evidence" has been removed. We are putting all our precious belongings in plastic bins to minimize any future cleaning sessions. (It's not so bad, really... I LOVE organizing things and putting them in bins. I've wanted to do this for a long time - now we have a good excuse) I don't like killing things, and I genuinely feel bad about trapping these little guys. After all, they're just doing what they do... they don't know any different. BUT, we need to get them out of the garage. We caught this big guy on the first night. (If you're offended by this picture, blame Brad. He insisted on using it) We've since caught three more, and Brad has sealed up all paths in and out of the garage and crawl space. Hopefully we can be mouse-free very soon.