Friday, April 30, 2010

Timing is Everything - 4/25/10

... By 12:30 a.m. we were one of the first teams headed up the mountain. The higher we got, the windier it got. After about a half hour of marching we stopped for a break at Silcox hut (~7000’). There were still a lot of clouds up high, but we were hopeful the forecasted clearing would come to fruition. We continued on to the top of Palmer (~8500'), where we were met with fierce winds and no opportunities for shelter. It was quite cold and we all added a few more layers. Dan decided the cold wind was a bit too much and decided to head back down. The clothing he had wasn’t as warm as what Don and I had brought, and his teeth were starting to chatter, so this was a wise decision....

Click HERE to read the rest of the Brad's Mount Hood trip report. Yes... he started his own blog! Check it out :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

(Belated) Muffin Wednesday: Chocolate 'n' Banana

Yesterday was testing day at Tigard High School for all freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Seniors had the day off, including all our CE2 students. So it was basically a workday for me. And without students, I opted to skip Muffin Wednesday. But it didn't feel right. I missed my morning baking routine and the joy it brings to my THS friends. So I decided to have a belated Muffin Wednesday this week!

Everyone enjoyed the surprise when I walked in with these Chocolate 'n' Banana Muffins:

Preheat over to 350 degrees
12-cup muffin tin, greased or paper lined

1/3 c vegetable oil
1/2 c sugar
1 egg
1 c mashed bananas
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cinnamon

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar and egg. Add bananas and half of the chocolate chips. Mix well.

2. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add to liquid ingredients and stir just until blended.

3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling three-quarters full. Sprinkle evenly with remaining chips. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

I didn't try one of these, but the banana/chocolate batter was tasty (yes, I always eat the "raw" dough/batter). Andy didn't hesitate to try one and then proclaim it to be the best one yet -- as always. Stacie said they were great but countered Andy's comment by saying the Strawberry Drop Puffins were still her favorite.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Blueberry crepe

Juan has been with me since the beginning of my Credit Recovery adventure in the fall. Together we've been in some fun classes and some stressful classes. Through it all, he's been a model student and an all-around good guy to have around. This week, he completed a second course with me just in time to leave Tigard High and finish his senior year through our high school-completion program. Today, while I was working in my classroom (workday for me), he brought me this:
From the Lake Oswego restaurant where several family members work:
YUM! It was filled with blueberries and tasted very good - I think I'll have to go back for more!

What an honor to work with students like Juan. And what an honor to be recognized and appreciated for doing my job.


Monday, April 26, 2010

Girls' Weekend, April 2010

I was very neglectful with the picture taking at our latest Girls' Weekend. So there are no photos of our lounging, chatting, reading, knitting, movie watching, cooking, cleaning, running, walking, sun bathing, toenail painting or napping. But I did manage to capture the most important moment: cheese buffet!
I don't know when it started, but cheese buffet has become a very important part of our regular weekends away. YUM!

Thanks again to Ma & Pa for their gracious hospitality so that we can get away for rest, relaxation and eating!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ice cream truck!

I'm sitting by an open window... warm breeze from outside... what's that sound? neighbor kids scream, "ice cream truck!!!!!" But what's that song? Jingle Bells! And now? La Cucaracha! very strange...


Friday, April 23, 2010


In this week's Tigard Times. I like it.

Homemade pizza lunch

For some reason, Andy decided that the CE2 staff needed homemade pizza for lunch today. Who am I to argue?? So he took over the kitchen and made two amazing margherita pizzas.
As you can tell, they weren't very good ;) I struggled to eat my 4 pieces!
Great coworkers are such a blessing!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

(Alleged) Creeper in handcuffs

A year ago, I blogged about Jeff Alan, the last news director for whom I worked at KOIN-TV. Like I said before, I always knew something was "off" about this guy, but when The Oregonian did a three-part expose, we all found out how truly "off" he is, including allegations of identity theft and being declared dead after vanishing from his family.

Today, he was arrested at his Northwest Portland home after a federal grand jury handed down an indictment. Click HERE to read more.

Oregon Media Central
reminded readers that: Alan had sued KOIN for millions after his 2008 firing, claiming wrongful termination in a very colorful lawsuit (possibly NSFW). It was later revealed that Alan ran a website selling bondage gear under the pseudonym "Sir J."

Very interesting! :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Muffin Wednesday: Strawberry Pecan

Strawberry Pecan was today's Muffin Wednesday experiment... YUM!
I had an early meeting this morning so I whipped these up in the CE2 kitchen between meeting and class. I haven't baked in there in a while and forgot about its charm. It's a narrow galley, and when you add to the mix a handful of students making coffee, it's very crowded. But I got it done!

These were very good and sweet. Andy said they were the best ones yet (he always says that but said he truly meant it this time!) Joan said they were "bomb". Alex and Patsy liked the streusel topping.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Muffin tin, paper-lined

Streusel topping:
1/4 c flour
1/4 c finely chopped pecans
1/4 c brown sugar
2 T softened butter or marg (I used butter)

2 c flour
1/3 c sugar
2 1/2 t baking powder
1 t lemon zest
1/4 t salt
2/3 c milk
1/4 c butter or marg, melted (I used butter)
1 egg
2 c finely chopped fresh strawberries

1. In a small bowl, combine flour, pecans, brown sugar and softened butter. Mix with your fingers until crumbly (I used a fork). Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest and salt. Make a well in the center.

3. In another bowl, whisk together milk, melted butter and egg until blended. Add to flour mixture and stir just until moistened. Do not over mix. The batter will be lumpy. (My batter turned into dough right here. It balled up and got strange. I was scared.) Fold in strawberries. (It was hard to fold berries in to a lump of dough. I'm sure I ended up way over mixing. But what other option did I have?? They ended up OK in the end)

4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin, filling cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle with streusel topping. (I patted mine down a bit with the back of the spoon.) Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.

If I was going to change this at all, I would probably double the streusel topping recipe. I just can't get enough brown sugar, butter and pecans! I also baked mine to 20 minutes and they were a tad gooey inside (partially because of the strawberry bits). I think I would lean toward 25 next time.


Not cool

I was just looking at Facebook (no, I don't have an account but I often look at Brad's... Creeper, I know) and saw a post by a friend (Christ follower):

Dear Lord, this year you took my favorite actor, Patrick Swayzie [sic]. You took my favorite actress, Farah Fawcett. You took my favorite singer, Michael Jackson. I just wanted to let you know, my favorite president is Barack Obama. Amen.

On the surface, a funny political joke. But then I saw a post by another friend (non-Christ follower):

Today's "Idiocracy" moment....People who label themselves and "Christian" and then post death wishes to the president on their facebook pages. I'm pretty sure that Jesus is not impressed.

Is this really the message "we" should send to others who need to know Christ's love? Just asking....

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hamilton Mountain - with no broken ankles! (4/18/10)

One year ago, I took some family members and a THS student on a training hike up Hamilton Mountain in the Gorge. It was a beautiful spring day and a wonderful hike... until Aunt Kari slipped on the descent and broke her ankle. It turned into an hours-long rescue with strangers helping carry her to the waiting ambulance. Surgeries, pins and plates and months of rehab later, Kari's ankle is strong and ready to go again... so we did!

A big group of friends and family went up Sunday to prove that she's (mostly) healed and back at it:
This is the spot. No slipping this time:
The summit crew: (the others turned back at the lower waterfalls)
Vicki, Kari, Walt, Dad, Me, Brad

Dad enjoying the wonderful weather and the view of Table Mountain, which we hiked together last month:
We all made it down without incident. Kari's ankle hurt some and was a bit swollen, but she felt good about it - YAY!!!

After, we all (plus some) gathered at Old Town Pizza Company in Portland to celebrate the hike and also Kari's 50th birthday - two awesome milestones :)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Ski/snowshoe Palmer Snowfield (4/17/10)

The weather was questionable, but we decided to stick with our Saturday plan to ski/snowshoe from Timberline Lodge (6,000 feet) to the top of the Palmer Snowfield (8,500 feet) with friends Sarah, Jacob, Lindsey and Tyler.

It started with sprinkles and ominous high clouds as we moved up the first mile/1,000 feet to Silcox Hut for a snack break. Then as we tackled the last mile/1,500 feet, fog moved in and a little snow started, leaving us in a near whiteout. But because the Palmer ski lift wasn't operating, we cut left across the snowfield and stayed near the lift towers to provide clear direction for our hike.

The sun poked out a couple times, offering brief views of the valley below. But we never really saw the mountain in front of us. Here's our view toward the summit from the top of Palmer:
Very exciting, huh?!

But the wind was calm and the temp wasn't bad, so we hung out a bit to refuel and rest up.
Then Brad removed the skins from his skis, and we strapped our snowshoes to our packs and prepared to descend. Brad skied down with ease on the fresh snow while we glissaded on our butts, passing around the WHAM-O.

When we reached to bottom, Brad, Tyler, Jacob and I played a bit with ice axes, practicing self arrest on a slope near the climbers' parking lot. By then, the sun was out (but the summit was still shrouded) so we relaxed for a few minutes, throwing snowballs and enjoying our last moments on the mountain. Mom called and invited us all to BBQ at their house, so we packed up and headed back to town for a yummy dinner to end the day.

The weather was less than ideal, but we still had a nice adventure. Hopefully they'll come again sometime when the sun is out and we can stare at the beautiful 11,240-foot summit as we make our way up.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

4th place?!

I just checked out the race times for last Saturday's Tilikum run and I think I took 4th place in the Women's 5K!! The 3rd place time was 31:15 and I was 32:27 - and I don't see any other times between those. Holy cow! And I was out of practice and slow. If I had known I was that close, I would have kicked it up a bit a the end. Cool!


Friday, April 16, 2010

Jam tart

What to make for Thursday's gathering?? How about this beautiful "Easy Jam Tart" from Smitten Kitchen? I've never made a tart, but I have a couple pans and a bunch of homemade jam in the freezer... and it claims to be easy. Let's give it a try!
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 c cornmeal
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
9 T butter, at room temperature (I cheated and nuked mine a bit... so impatient)
1/2 c sugar
1 large egg, whole
1 large egg, separated
1/8 t almond extract (I left this out because I don't like almond flavor)
1 1/3 to 1 3/4 c jam or marmalade (I used berry/rhubarb that I froze last year)
2 T coarse-crystal or granulated sugar (I used raw)

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt. In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or in a food processor (I did this by hand), mix until smooth the butter and 1/2 c sugar. Add the egg, egg yolk (keep the egg white for later) and almond extract (again, I skipped the almond extract) and beat until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until the dough just comes together.

Transfer about one-third to a lightly floured counter and shape it into a log about 2 inches in diameter. (My log was a bit more skinny and long) Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until later.

Transfer the remaining dough to a buttered 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom or a 9-inch springform pan. (Note: I have 5 tart pans. None is 9-inch and none has a removable bottom. I should buy one. But for now, I used my springform.)

Using your hands, press the dough evenly into the bottom. If using a tart pan, press the dough up the sides to the rim of the pan and set the tart pan on a baking sheet. If using a springform pan, press the dough about 3/4-inch up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate the dough-lined pan until firm, at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the jam or marmalade evenly over the dough. With a sharp paring knife, cut the chilled dough log into very thin discs. Arrange them slightly overlapped in concentric circles over the jam to form a top crust. Whisk the remaining egg white with a teaspoon of water until frothy. Brush evenly over the tart and then sprinkle with 2 T coarse sugar. Bake until the top crust is golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely.

This turned out really well. And it truly was easy. I put the crust together Wednesday night and threw it in the fridge. Then I finished assembling and baked it Thursday morning. It looked good and tasted great. I would definitely recommend this and make it again.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fun-filled weekend

Last weekend was a whirlwind of excitement. Brad was helping teach a climb school, but I managed to keep busy. Here are some of my highlights...

Tilikum 10K/5K has become an April tradition for me. I've been focused on other exercises and have only run a handful of times in recent months, but I decided to run the 5K anyway. Eryn and Sarah joined me. I was a tad slower than I'd like, but it was a good run.

Sarah, who is a total stud and
won last year's women's 10K (and the September race we did together), came in second this year to our friend's daughter, who happens to be a 16-year-old Newberg High School track star. No shame in that. Nicely done! The rest of my Saturday was spent beautifying my yard, watching a high school winter drumline competition and eating pizza dinner with family for Dad's birthday.

Then it was a bell day for Eryn and me. We play in the Newberg Friends Church handbell choir and had our monthly Sunday-morning playdate, which meant an early morning, five different songs and two services.
A quick clothes change and then we're off to the beach (eventually!) for Dad's birthday celebration. First up: Taco Time for crisp bean or meat burritos. We ate them in the Nap's parking lot (leaning out the doors as to keep the crispy crumbs outside Brad's car) while Mom ran inside for tissues. Gas in Mac: Then Dad was craving a milkshake at Alf's: We hit the highway and Dad fell asleep: Finally, the Lincoln City outlet mall. We all found something to buy: And what's a trip to Lincoln City without dinner at Mo's?? Shrimp salads, cheese bread and chowder all around: On the way back we stopped at Stuart Grenfell Park to stretch and use the facilities. A nice little park next to Highway 18: Mom nearly fell in the rushing waters of Mill Creek in an effort to see how cold it was: She also wanted me to take this picture to show how much taller she is than Dad. They used to be the same height, but apparently he's shrinking! On the road again: The rolled-down window (and resulting crazy hair) provided several minutes of near hysteria at the end of our road trip: Thanks to Dad for having a birthday and inviting us on his adventure! :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Muffin Wednesday: Strawberry Drop Puffins

Stacie and Gerise chose Strawberry Drop Puffins for this week's Muffin Wednesday experiment. They aren't muffins at all. They are cream puffs filled with yummy strawberry goodness.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
Baking sheet, greased

2 c mini marshmallows
1/4 c sugar
1 c sour cream (I used light - because I always do)
1 c water
1/2 c butter or marg (I used butter - because I always do)
1 c flour
1/4 t salt
4 eggs
4 c fresh strawberries

1. In a bowl, combine marshmallows, sugar and sour cream. Cover and chill for several hours. I did this last night before bed.

2. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring water to a boil. Add butter, stirring until melted. Add flour and salt, stirring vigorously until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.

3. Drop batter by heaping tablespoons about 3 inches apart on a prepared baking sheet. I used the larger of my small cookie scoops and it worked great. And I didn't space them that far apart because I didn't have time to bake several batches. They didn't spread much, so it was fine.

4. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for 25 minutes. My oven temp is very erratic. I baked them for 15 minutes but had to really watch the temp as it kept creeping higher. I continued to watch after I turned it down, and they seemed to cook fast. I got scared and ended up taking them out after about 17 minutes and they turned out just fine. Set aside to cool.

5. In a bowl, crush 2 c strawberries. Because I had the hard California berries, I decided to use my food processor. I ended up processing more than I probably should have, but even pureed, the berries were good. Slice remaining 2 c strawberries. Fold all berries into chilled sour cream mixture.

6. Split puffins in half and remove any webbing inside. Spoon 1/4 c filling into the bottom of each puffin. Cover with the tops and add a dollop of filling to the top. I let everyone split and assemble their own puffin masterpiece at school.

These were very good - I ate two before work! The tasters agreed.

I had made cream puffs before and they were easy once again. The strawberry goo was fabulous - even without the puff. These would be fun to make for a summer dessert - and even better with fresh Oregon berries!


Zoom, zoom

Michael and Kendra use an electric cart to zoom around their property. My CE2 students saw it and said, "I want to drive that!" Michael, who is one of the most laid-back guys I know, said, "OK!" ("Are you sure," I asked. "Oh, they can't hurt anything," he replied.)

Maira and Makayla immediately jumped in and
flew down the driveway, switching drivers at the bottom: Carly and Adriana's turn: It was Adriana's first time driving... ever: Jose and Joan... and Cammy! Everyone pile in! It was such a wonderful day of fun and new experiences. We're making plans to go back again - this time maybe with the whole CE2 class. Everyone needs some time to play on the farm :)

Again - a huge thanks to Michael and Kendra for their willingness to share their farm with us city folk!