Friday, December 9, 2011


This is another neighbor's cat, Chloe, who is a cross-eyed Burmese.  Being cross-eyed doesn't stop her from chasing Priscilla around and up into trees.  Gorgeous fur!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Toasty legs!

I just wanted to put these up.  I've been doing a lot of sewing and cooking (with exciting new Christmas presents!), which I should update with soon, but these legwarmers were a long time in coming....

The book they are from is a few years old...they are the "Super-easy Legwarmers" from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, but I got it from the library just so I could make these.  They are so boring to make, but they make a pretty fabulous legwarmer.  I wouldn't make them as a gift though, they took me several months of slogging through k1p1 ribbing.  Kind of brain-melting.

Yes those are my front steps and yes that much moss is standard here.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Comments can be helpful.

Or dangerous.

When browsing sites like I enjoy reading the comments.  Sometimes they can be really helpful.  Add more ginger.  Add allspice.  Too sweet, reduce sugar. Adding a touch of lemon juice to your apple pie makes it amazing (true fact). These things can be very, very good to know.  

But sometimes comments can be misleading or even strange.  Here are a few of my favorites:  

Comment on a Tabbouleh Recipe:

"I have always made it without mint, just because I didn't have it on hand and it is wonderful. I have't tried it with the green onions suggested here, usually just a little yellow onion chopped super fine, or just left it out. I don't squeeze fresh lemons either, though I'm going to try that way next. "

There aren't that many things actually in Tabbouleh.  Sure, some people add cucumber.  I personally make it with quinoa instead of bulgur so that it's gluten free for parties.  This person, however, is leaving out three of the CORE ingredients of Tabbouleh.   I'm going to make cheeseburgers and leave out the meat and buns and cheese.  By the way you shouldn't just try to use fresh ingredients in your cooking. That should be a cornerstone of your cooking from the beginning.This goes doubly for lemon juice in a dish where the main dressing is composed of it.  Realemon juice is plain nasty.  

Try not.  Do. Or do not.  There is no try.  Yoda knows how to cook.  

Another bad comment is people who try to make ethnic foods but are afraid of foreign ingredients:

"I didn't have any tahini in the house so I substituted a little peanut butter and some ground sesame seeds to get the nutty flavor."

My god, woman get to a grocery store now!  Tahini, for those who don't know, is ground sesame seed paste.  It tastes, looks, and smells completely different from peanut butter.  I can't even fathom how gross it would be to put that into a dip with garlic, lemon and beans.  Maybe it's more like a thai peanut sauce flavor?  Still that is really NOT HUMMUS.  I don't put red peppers in my apple pie, so don't put peanut butter in your tahini.  

There's also the "I messed this up terribly, so I'll give this perfectly good recipe a bad review" comment.

On a perfectly functional recipe for crepes:

"Sadly, my crepes turned out thick, undercooked (or burned), and tasted like flour. I'm not sure if that's a reflection of this recipe (followed to a T) or if I'm just an awful cook."  

My crepes were great, so I'll let you pick which one was the reason your crepes came out badly.  Undercooked?  How is that the recipe's fault?  Turn up your stove.

Now everyone makes mistakes.  Most of mine in the past have resulted from an attempt to vegan-ize a recipe that really is a disaster without meat.  And experimentation is fine, that's how fusion is born, but I happen to be very by-the-book in the way that I do things, because I don't have time for a meal to taste bad.  

Bottom line:  Reader beware!  I like to check more than one recipe if I'm looking online.  Usually all the best recipes are similar, i.e. Gravlax, which I'm about to try soon!  I also really, desperately try to avoid pages at any cost.  As an information professional as well as a cook, I really feel they are the bottom of the barrel as far as reliability is concerned.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sewing...yep still hate it.

I managed, against all odds, to finish this.  That's a really easy-looking tutorial, right?!  Wowee, what fun, I said to myself.

The tension on my sewing machine is very iffy and no matter how you do it, it only goes right every...3 times you re-thread the machine.  This means the thread may break at any time, or get loopy in the back or whatever the hell else thread wants to do wrong.  Annoying.  Also while I was sewing, the needle snapped in three pieces.  I still haven't found one of them.  Maybe it flew up my nose and is currently lodged in my brain.  That could explain why I feel dumber than when I started.

Not to mention finding acceptable-looking fabric at JoAnn's is like looking for the Arc of the Covenant. It may or may not exist.  If it does, its probably buried very deep, and its going to kill you to find it.  I guess most people who sew go on the internet to find their lovely designer fabric.  I managed to get this one with shoes (wtf?) that isn't too bad.

In the end, the goddamn fabric shrunk so much during prewash, that I was only able to make the bag half the size I wanted it to be, so now it's totally unsuitable for its intended purpose, which was to be a swim/gym bag for myself.  Now its more like a purse.  What a scam.

The straps were also twisted, even though I swear I had them in there straight when I sewed it up.  I tried to fix this but only one one side, and I found that to be the least valuable endeavor I've ever attempted.  So one is twisted?  Well too bad, nobody will ever notice.

Oh, and I added a pocket.

Ugh point me towards the handbag store. :(

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I finally did it!

Zach helped.  Really. Our own crepes with Nutella and home-made cardamom-vanilla-agave whipped cream.  The All Clad d-5 pan helped a little, I'm sure.

And if you don't have one yet, you should get yourself one of these:  MISTO.  Its a bit like Pam or other non-stick cooking spray, but you can use your own gourmet oils (EVO or something organic?).  Pump it up and it makes a fine spray that easily coats pans, veggies, etc. Re-use again and again.  Find them at discount stores like Marshall's and also at places like Kitchen Connection. Genius.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fall in Oregon...

Half a mile from my house is Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, home to much wildlife and a great hiking experience.
Things growing on things which are growing on other things which get the idea.

Blue Herons and Egrets are common here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

No-Knead bread

I've never had very good luck with loaves of bread.  While tasty, they always come out a little bit heavy, not moist enough, or both.  Bread also requires a lot of work which, as a modern person used to modern conveniences, I am not really willing to do.

So what I need is to not knead.  Enter the no-knead bread method brought to the table by author and bread-baker Jim Lahey, who revolutionized bread by creating a method so easy, and foolproof that you could literally have fresh home-baked bread in your house every single day.  Without a bread machine or doing more than 5 minutes of actual labor.

The secret is time.  The bread dough is mixed and then left overnight to basically "knead" itself.  Then the dough is baked in a dutch oven to control the moisture and create a moist bread that still has a crispy crust.  Why not try it yourself?  Here is the original 2006 New York Times Article with the basic recipe:  No-Knead Bread.

The recipe is really easy to tweak yourself, or grab a copy of Jim Lahey's book with more no-knead and some sweet bread and other interesting recipes:  My Bread.  There are also many recipes available on the internet, and many other books, too.  While a little primitive and simplistic, I think this method of bread-making will satisfy most people who are tired of flavorless and expensive store-bought bread but who also have no time or patience for cooking.  I'm not a bread-baker, but I do love this recipe.  It's great and leaves you enough time to find your next great cooking adventure.

So how does the bread turn out?  I'll let the pictures tell you themselves:

My first loaf, still in the pot.  I replaced some of the bread flour with 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour to make it a bit healthier.

As the bread cools and the crust shrinks, it makes a fun crackling noise that the book calls "singing".

Amazingly lofty, not heavy at all for home-baked bread!  We've already made sandwiches with handmade charcuterie purchased  from Elephant's delicatessen here in Portland. 

Loaf #2, baked with 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour plus amaranth, sesame seeds, oatmeal and other grains for bite and flavor.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween. Things on fire.

Last day of October today.  What does that mean?  A lot of things.  Its my Dad's birthday, for one.  It's also a holiday.  You may have heard of it...Halloween.

In the United States at least, Halloween means Jack-O-Lantern carving.  Cookies, roasted pumpkin seeds (from that Jack-O-Lantern), candy and costumes, Trick-or-treaters.

November is also the start of the cold part of the year, to me anyway.  November and December are really dark months, especially considering here in the Northwest it's cloudy most of the fall and winter months (though, oddly enough I am looking out my skylight at blue skies with puffs of clouds right now.  Don't be jealous, it won't last).  This stove came with the house.  What is it?

It's a wood pellet stove.  Not a wood-burning stove that uses logs, because I would have enjoyed that.  No, this stove gets filled with what is essentially feline pine.  It makes an annoying noise.  But it is warm and the cats LOVE it.  I'm not sure if it's because cats like the destructive power of fire.  Or warmth.  Or maybe the stove, which has four legs and makes a similar sound to a purring cat, seems like one of them.  They love to sit in front of it and watch the flames dance.  One night, we left it on very late, with the door to our room open. That night, Furball slept on top of me all night, purring loudly, just to tell me how happy he was that the stove was on.  Supposedly, however, it is very efficient, the pellets take up no space, and the stove is smokeless, which is good for your lungs.  I'll get used to the thing, I'm sure.

On another note, I've had a visitor lately:


This is my dear, sweet Priscilla.  Well not mine.  She belongs, according to her tag, to the Sailer residence at 8515 8th.  Her meow is really strange; she sounds like a creaky door.  At least once a day, usually in the morning or just after dark, she shows up to get treats and curl up on my porch furniture.  Yesterday she got a third of a can of cat tuna.  I'm sure this means she'll never leave.  Sometimes she finds her way inside, but Balloon and Furball chase her off.  I wonder what her family will think when she gets really fat from all the treats she's been eating here.

Next time:  The virtues of No-knead bread.  I'll leave you with this year's Jack-o-lantern.  I'm sure you recognize the fluffy shape.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

New cookware...

...and a recipe to christen it!  On the way home from our anniversary trip to Sisters (and Bend!) we spotted some really nice cookware on the cheap and my fabulous husband decided to buy it for me.

Given the choice, I went with the larger pot.  This thing is huge.  It's got to be up there with the largest pot Le Creuset makes.  So what to do with such a massive Dutch oven?

 Hungarian Goulash.  Bet you didn't expect that.

Inspired by travel documentaries of Hungary, I decided to make something I have never attempted before.  In fact, I've never actually had it before.  I researched "authentic" recipes, but having found so many varieties of  Magyar Gulyas I had to make my own recipe.  Really, according to the internet, Goulash needs beef, potatoes and paprika only to make it authentic.  The rest is up to you.

New knife, too.

Here it is:

Serves 4-5:

1lb stew beef (like round steak, cut up.)
Beef stock
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1 large potato, cubed
2 large carrots, cut up
fresh parsley, about 1/2 cup
all the world's paprika*

*Note:  I have no idea what kind of paprika I used.  Honestly, there are sweet varieties and hot varieties but mine just says "paprika".  I'm guessing it's not the hot kind because it's not spicy at all, so I used some cayenne for bite.  I plan on finding out more about these things, and updating my recipe accordingly.

Sautee the onion in butter or oil until soft but not brown.  Add about...3 tablespoons of paprika.  Add the beef to brown it.

Once your beef is brown, add the stock, some of the parsley, salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer this for at least an hour, but if you can manage two hours your beef should be really tender.  Then add the potatoes and carrots (and the rest of the parsley) and cook for about 30 minutes.  Check the taste to see if you need to add anything.  The broth should be brownish-red and kind of awkwardly thick with paprika.

It's really good.  I was also urged not to serve it with any kind of noodles since the potatoes are going to carb you up enough.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Hanging Around...

So since we're getting moved in, I started a bunch of new houseplants which will probably, inevitably, die.  I always start new plants when I move, then forget about them.  But we're not thinking of that.  These are the plants that will last!  Yes!

I have plenty of pots, but what I need are hanging pots. Why? Because cats love to munch on some houseplants. In fact, that's what did in my last house plant.  Furball chomped it down to stems.  Bad kitty!

The key to having both pets and plants is first to find plants that your cats won't die from eating.  Common spider plants are an easy place to start.  Second, you must find a spot to put your plants where your cats can't get to them.  Because spider plants are tasty.  Very, very tasty.  Ask Furball.

Plastic hanging planters are tacky.  Metal ones and nice ones are too expensive.  In fact, the plastic ones are too expensive, too, while still being tacky.  What to do?  Make your own, dummy.  There are a bunch of tutorials online.  Here and here.  I'm fairly excited about that "double" hanging planter, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

 All are fairly easy, and don't limit yourself to a particular kind of string(for indoor planters, anyway).  Anything strong enough to hold your plants which can also hold a knot is going to work.  These can also be customized for any size pot or basket.  I prefer not to make my look all funky with lots of knots, but that is a fairly easy option to add if you've ever made jewelry with hemp or leather cord.

I bought some colorful plastic pots from the store and used ordinary twine for mine.  These are going up into the attic room with all the nice skylights when they have rooted.  Thanks to Sue at work for the spider plant babies!

ASPCA list of plants that are Toxic and Non-toxic to pets.  It's not comprehensive, but it should give you a good idea.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Rhubarb and Strawberry Pie. I'm not out of season, YOU'RE out of season.

Usually, strawberry-rhubarb pie would be something to eat early in the summer.  If you grow rhubarb, you know it's best to pick it before the end of July.  However, I inherited a MASSIVE rhubarb plant from the last inhabitant of this place and it needed trimmed back.  Badly.  So while we were pulling the large green stalks off of the plant, I saved a few of the smaller, pinker ones in the center to make a pie with.

Now, I think rhubarb pie is gross.  And I think strawberry pie is gross.  Somehow, when you mix the two together, they become some sort of delicious magical treat.  The tartness of the rhubarb mixes with the sweetness of the strawberries and they balance one another out.  Next time I will probably go ahead and add the tapioca like most recipes suggest.  Corn starch and flour don't work like they do for apple pie, because the berries and rhubarb become extremely liquid.  Fortunately for me, most of the liquid spilled out into the pie pan where slices had been removed and left the actual pie, keeping it from turning into a soggy mess.

Pies- now with better lighting!

I used all the rhubarb and strawberries I had (a whole pound of strawberries!) and I think it still could have used more filling, but it was pretty tasty.


In other news our move to Sellwood has gone mostly very well.  A friend helped us with big furniture, but we have done most of it ourselves without any help.  Both of us have lost enough weight carrying things up the steps here to afford eating pie for breakfast.  We are not quite done yet but we will be probably by the end of the week.

A strange phenomenon has occurred, though.  Balloon and Furball no longer fight.  They are more like partners in crime, now.  They are both allowed to go outside (collars on, during daylight) and they seem a thousand times happier for it, though they act like snotty teenagers and pretend not to know us when they are outside.  All calls and temptations with food or treats fall on deaf ears until they are good and ready.

There are lots of other neighborhood cats, too.  Word traveled fast in the cat community, and once I gave treats to one, more came to say hi!  The neighbors have a tiny grey cat named Priscilla.  She might weigh 5 pounds and I think she's an adult.  Another cat without a name tag (Just a Multco registration tag) came to say hi.  I couldn't believe it; he was a beautiful cross-eyed Balinese!  Furball doesn't like the Balinese...colorpoint envy?  Zach said other cats had come during the day while I was at work, so I think there will be more.

For now here's a picture of our dining room, still not totally unpacked.  (Enlarge the picture, we totally have a framed photo of Ms T and her husband from our wedding.)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today. I cooked. My face off.

Misery loves company cooking.  Lots of things have me down lately.  Bad attitudes.  Bad appraisals.  Boredom.  Illness.  If all my stuff wasn't boxed up, I would normally clean every inch of my apartment.  Since that would be pointless, today I cooked.  Everything.  Mostly foods I like.  And I didn't take pictures, because these are comfort foods.  They ain't pretty.  And my camera has sand it in from that time I took it to the river, so I'm getting a little help from creative commons photos nabbed from wikipedia.  Here goes.

First up were some pickled beet eggs.  This time I used fresh beets instead of canned, and the results are pending.  I can't imagine much of a difference, except I suspect the fresh beets will be more flavorful.  Why do people skydive or run marathons or choose natural child birth?  Just to say they did it?  I suspect this will be the case with my pickled beets.  I used five out of the six eggs I had. ***Update:  These are the best pickled beet eggs I have ever had.  I added a cinnamon stick and it was definitely worth it.
How my mousse would look if I took a picture.   With weird leaves and sticks.   From Wikimedia.
One egg was used in my recipe for Chocolate Mousse.  Right out of the same cookbook I've been using, Quick Foods.  It came out kind of heavy, so I'm not sure what I would do next time (whipping the cream before adding it?).  The recipe was kind of strange in that the ingredients called for coffee liqueur, but nowhere in the instructions did it mention when to add it.  No worries folks, it made its way in there.  Tasting more like ganache, I could only eat half a serving.  It's delicious but has that "I'm frickin' terrible for you" heavy chocolate flavor.

One thing I did here, and it was totally for convenience, was to spoon the mousse into the smallest gladware containers you can buy, which is a 4 oz size, and topped with a little homemade whipped cream.  It's perfect because each container has a lid to keep it fresh.  Not terribly classy, but it might just be if you are the only one bringing a french dessert in your lunchbox at work.

Along the lines of pickled items, I used a can of salmon I had to make an easy pickled salmon + onions.  I remember liking it a lot as a kid, and my grandma gave me instructions on how to make it once.  All the recipes I looked up called for fresh salmon (duh) but I'm not about to use that until I've tried it once Grandma's way.  The salmon in the can was kind of yucky to me (pre-pickling), but Mr. Furball didn't mind the extra bits.

baby salmon are as adorable as their parents are delicious. Around
here, you can visit a salmon hatchery to see them jumping "upstream" into water jets.
I also made salmon dip. This is good because my eye doctor told me to eat lots of oily fish for my eyes. Cream cheese-based dips are easy if you have a food processor.  This recipe also came from my book, but dips like this are common and involve the following:

  • Some kind of fish.  Smoked Trout, Smoked Salmon, maybe crab?  I'm pretty serious about oily fish, so I might try herring someday.  Maybe a combo?  I found that salmon comes in 4, 8 and 12 oz packages.  4 oz is really enough.
  • Cheese.  I used cream cheese.  Try Neufchatel, it's got less fat.  I was going to but I couldn't make a solid decision at the store.  1 box of 8 oz is enough.  (get the box rather than the tub so you can slice it and use it in your food processor)
  • Seasonings.  People like dill with Salmon.  Lemon Pepper is also a good choice with fish. Do what you love.
  • I added plain yogurt.  It's tangy and made of awesome.   This made my dip thinner and more spreadable. 
  • Capers.  In case you used smoked salmon.  They are like eating sad, pickled flowers.  Well, that is literally what they are.  Don't put them in, they are more of a topping.
Process these.  If you are awesome, serve it in a bread bowl.

Side note:  The Pacific Northwest and Alaska are famous for having lots of salmon in general.  Think that would make smoked salmon cheap here?  No it does not.  Still the most expensive item on my list, save perhaps the jumbo bottle of Kahlua I bought to make the mousse. 

How do I feel now?  It doesn't matter, I have dishes to do.

Fishy Goodness. (warning: educational)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Fall Favorites, recipes and a new scarf.

Fall begins early in the Pacific Northwest, and may actually last two or more months.  Where I grew up in the Northeast, fall is a quick week-and-a-half-long event right between the hot, humid of summer and the (i n c r e d i b l y) cold and dry winter.  Basically only the third week in October is spared.

But here in Oregon, Fall is a long, slow affair with some sunny days, trending towards mainly rainy ones.  Leaves may turn and slip off the trees slowly.  Sweater weather lasts a long, long time.  Soup is a perfect meal.

I found this book at work, recently. Quick Food (which is shockingly published by Readers' Digest) contains over 300 recipes that you can make in half an hour. Most recipes produce about 4 servings, perfect for two people (with leftovers) or a modern-sized family of 1-2 children.  Since I work in the library, I've come across lots of different recipe books so far, but with so many fast recipes to choose from, this book is a winner.  I've already made two soups from it, it's great!

The first soup I made was the potato leek soup.  So good, and only a few (very affordable) ingredients.  My husband and I had seconds, its fabulous and really does only take 30 minutes.

Tonight I'm making the Thai Sweet Potato soup.  Currently, its still on the stove.

Update:  Sweet Potato soup was good.  Good enough to make me eat the leftovers, which I hate to do.  I might use this recipe and substitute pumpkin chunks for the sweet potato for a good fall Thai soup.  Its much easier than the easy pumpkin soup I've been making for years now, which is already extremely easy.  But cooking with sweet potatoes is easy in its own way, much less cleaning and cutting than when using pumpkin.  I suspect this will still work though!

The book has everything from starters, meat, poultry, vegetable dishes, soups and desserts.  Many of the soups can easily be made vegetarian or vegan simply by swapping chicken broth for vegetable broth.  Its perfect for nearly no-mess, neat-little-package kind of cooking.  Beginning to end (and probably cleaned up) in an hour.

Since soups don't photograph very well, here's something prettier that I've made lately:

Palmiers are easy to make, made with frozen puff pastry and sugar, they are nearly foolproof.  Good instructions can be found here:  Palmiers.

Hot off the needles:  Shizuku Scarf.  Easy, nearly meditative knitting produces a triangular-shaped scarf with fun dangly fringe.  Balloon loves it, naturally.

 Perfect for fall and made with my favorite yarn:  Noro Kureyon.  The pattern is free, make it yourself!  Suitable for advanced beginners.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I finally found a video (of another cat) doing something similar to what Balloon does.  We call it her "scoot" but for the most part, it seems to be called "sideways cat" or "sideways crawl".  I've never seen another cat do this, but Furball actually did it one time himself, so it must be catchy.

 Balloon's is more hilarious and less locomotive than this cat's movement.  She only uses her front paws to dig into the carpet and move, about an inch at a time.  At this point she stops, and rolls around for a second, then continues scooting.  I can't get a good video though, because she's pretty self-conscious and if we move or she thinks we're looking at her, she promptly stops and runs away.  I've heard cats do this when they become overly excited or playful.

p.s.: Holy pregnant dog...

does YOUR cat scoot?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

September 11 is just around the corner.  I don't normally like to get political, but I find this video very interesting.  Watch it if you have time.  The world isn't perfect, and my comfort zone tends to be very small, but I love thinking that everyone in the world just wants the same thing:  to live their lives according to their beliefs and in peace.  Many Muslims I have met have been excellent human beings, and understanding other countries, peoples and views is essential to peace and democracy.  Do I challege some of their findings?  Yes, but I also find them excellent.  We can all benefit from better understanding of the human race.

Watch more free documentaries

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Less is more...but sometimes it's not.

My friends are going on a road trip this weekend. You know, without me.  Being short on funds, finding food on a road trip might be a tad difficult.  Baking to the rescue.  Sometimes baking can be healthy...or at least a [somewhat] nutritious replacement for food.

Enter oatmeal cookies.  Well not JUST oatmeal.

Oatmeal-Raisin-Currant-Sesame Cookies.  + Replace half the raisins with dried currants.  Add sesame to your personal taste.  I just shook in the seeds, but you'll need at least a tablespoon.  Sesame seeds, while high in fat, also add fiber, small amounts of calcium and totally delicious flavor to your cookies.  I found that making one inch round balls and no bigger produced a bite-sized cookie with a crisp bottom perfect for snacking.  Ms. T might call this "portion control".

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blackberry Recipes for Indian Summer

Its a well-known secret that in August in Oregon, blackberries grow everywhere.  You can pay to U-pick them at a farm (along with blueberries and raspberries), but lots of people know a place where they grow wild.  Indeed I have my own secret spot; an almost unlimited supply of them during the month of August. And if you don't mind tearing your clothes and getting minor flesh wounds from thorn poke-age, you should look yourself!  No, I won't tell you where.  Not a chance.

So given pounds and pounds of blackberries, what would YOU make?

Cobbler:  For my cobbler, I used an old standard, Betty Crocker.  Its like a batter+fruit.  I found out I don't really like cobbler, but my husband liked it.  He's not really hard to please.

Pie:  Yesterday I made a pie.  I used this one.  I added peaches as well.  Do take the advice of the reviewer who added lemon juice, it adds much needed tartness to the pie.

Crisp:  This is still in the works, though I have to admit that its a much healthier dessert than pie.  Using rolled oats and 1/3 the butter, its a great alternative for those on a diet.  Updates later on the taste.

Don't have a blackberry patch?  Substitute frozen.  While I probably wouldn't eat frozen blackberries raw, when they are cooked there isn't really a noticeable difference...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kawaii Meringues.

It's easy to make tiny meringues!

2 egg whites
3/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (this one is pretty optional, I still think it would work without)
pinch salt.

Preheat oven to 280 degrees F.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Beat egg whites until foamy and gradually add sugar.  Add vanilla, cinnamon, salt, cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form.  This process might take about 15 minutes or more, depending on your mixer

Using a small spoon or an icing bag + tip (preferable), make cookies 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter.  Smaller cookies become crunchier, while larger cookies remain chewy in the middle.  Leave a little bit of space between each one, they puff up slightly while baking.

Bake 20 minutes or until cookies slide off of the parchment easily.  They may crack a bit, this is normal.

Become addicted.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Annual Rose Garden Trip

I know I did this last year, but I really really love visiting the rose garden here in Portland.  This year, since we've been having a milder summer (a.k.a. a complete dud!), different flowers were blooming than last.  Some weren't blooming at all; this was the case with my favorite, Rouge Royale.
"Black Jade"

"Carding Mill"

"Lady of Shalott"
"Reba McEntire"

 White Clematis



Bzzzz... "Monkey Business"

"First Prize"


"Si" Micro Mini
"Carding Mill" - Probably my favorite of this year.