Saturday, October 13, 2012

September Snapshots

September rocked. Portland held onto summer. The sun never left. Friends visited. We went to the Oregon State Fair. Gerry and I made it to the Northern Oregon Coast. I went on a field trip to several vineyards and farms. I turned 27. I saw some movers and shakers speak about food at the Whole Foods Market Speakers Series during FEAST. I made Cream of Heirloom Tomato soup and Tomato Tarts three times each! I read Most Talkative by Andy Cohen.
It looked a little something like this:
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Even though I know I am going to get a little bit seasonally depressed by the Portland rain doom and gloom, I am looking forward to making pot roast, soups, chili, roasted vegetables and baked goods. I had been avoiding my oven. I'm also ready for scarves and boots. I've been browsing the library catalog regularly to find movies, TV shows and books. Ready to relax more, and try to save some money for Christmas with homebody habits. I will take Vitamin D! Maybe I will even blog more?



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

While I Was Out

Yet another unintended, extended blog break. I blinked, and it's the end of August. Summer has been a blur. Although crickets still breathe summer nights, dusk is creeping in earlier each evening. All of a sudden the breezes feel more crisp than cooling. 

I'm trying to fight reality. 

In the Midwest, fall was a welcome transition from being preoccupied by sweaty thighs and frizzy hair. In Portland though, it's feels like impending doom. I know my days with the sun are limited and ought to be savored. Before I know it everything is going to be grey and wet again. At least I bought a new (thrifted!) raincoat. 

I know I talk about the weather a lot. I'm still a Northwest newbie in awe of how all this works. Because of the climate contrast, Gerry and I have been cramming our weekends full of fun. Hiking, grilling, days at the beach; street festivals, walks into town, and drinks on restaurant patios. I keep saying to him, "I feel so lucky to live here." He agrees.

Here's an Instagram collection of Summer photos. I love the easiness of my iPhone. I hate bringing my camera out with me nowadays. I know as a reader cell phone pictures can be less than thrilling, but I love the convenience too much to apologize. 

What I Did and Saw


What I Wore
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What I Ate


I've been cooking up a storm lately. If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, this is no surprise. Because of educational assistance offered by my employer, I have started a classic French & Italian culinary training program two nights a week. It's been incredible! I love learning new techniques and trying new foods. I had been nervous to try beets for years and then in one night I tried them 4 different ways, all of which were tasty. This opportunity blows my mind. It's something I have been wanting to do for years, almost feeling as though I blew it by going to a university instead of culinary school. Now I work for a company willing to reimburse me for taking these classes. It's like giving myself a raise! It's a welcome change of pace, and has really amped my passion and creativity for cooking. I'm still trying to figure out what it all will mean for the future. 




Monday, July 9, 2012

Grilled Chipotle Portobello and Pepper Tacos

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I am one of those people. I love taking pictures of the yummy things I cook and/or eat. NPR had a little blog and poll about it, and I was surprised most people voted "Bring on the photos!"... I suspect guilty parties showed up to the polls... I know I did. But I'm sorry I'm not sorry for flooding your feed with food. Or loving alliteration.

I thought maybe every now and then I'd share a recipe that appears to be well-received by Instagramers, like these Grilled Chipotle Portobello and Pepper tacos. I live with a meat-loving man and come from a steak-and-potatoes family, but I try to make a conscious effort to eat vegetarian at least once a week. I know for a lot of people, it ain't no thang, but eating this way doesn't come naturally to me. Also,  often times when I suggest a meal, I'm met with, "That sounds good, but it would be better with chicken." 

Although these tacos might be good with chicken, they're scrumptious with earthy portobellos. I love the way grilled portobellos bite; toothy and tender. Grilling these with pureed chipotle gives the tacos a smoky heat that just barely catches you at the back of the throat. 

Ingredients (makes 5 tacos... awkward number)
5 corn tortillas, warmed
2 large portobellos, sliced
1 orange bell pepper, sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons pureed chipotle in adobo sauce
1/4 teaspoon cumin
canola oil to coat
Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Cheese, sour cream, sliced avocado, chopped red onion, and lime wedges for garnish

Prepare your ingredients. To puree the chipotles just toss them into a blender or food processor on high for about a minute. Heat a grill pan over medium high heat. Coat pan with canola oil, then add garlic and peppers. Grill for about 3 minutes then add mushrooms. Once the mushrooms begin to become tender on one side, flip and then add chipotle puree and season with cumin, salt and pepper. Stir and mix with tongs until mushrooms are tender; it should only take a couple of minutes. Garnishes are obviously a matter of preference, but if you skip out on lime, you'll be sorry. 

I served these with black bean, corn and tomato quinoa seasoned with cumin, garlic and coriander. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

4th of July | as captured on Instagram

Hope everybody had a good 4th! Mine was mostly good. Mostly. We started the day by sleeping in, playing tennis, eating brunch and then scouring the city. We drank too much and watched the big fireworks display down by the river. The whole day was super fun, but apparently watching fireworks downtown is what the whole city does. Afterwards it was nearly impossible to get on the bus or catch a cab. It took us two hours. So getting home at 1 am when you've got to be at work at 7am really solidified that I am not 21 anymore. I was the Mayor of Hangover City once again. You live and you learn, right? Maybe.
untitled collage, I used http://www.picture2life.com

You can follow me on Instagram @mittenpaws

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Piece of Paradise

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I wish all outfit photo shoots could be taken here.
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Somehow basically everything I am wearing is from Target, except the tights... and those might even be, too. I like that the life of these items spans over at least 4 years though. The mot recent purchase being this super lightweight dress that I snatched up on clearance. 
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Left rings are Target; Right is Macy's
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Can you imagine having a home so near the ocean? It's beyond the realm of my life expectations to dream of such richness. But when you think about "icing on the cake" type future fantasies, oceanfront property sounds like heaven. 
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The salty ocean air is enough to sell it. 
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I wonder what people in these large, beautiful coastal homes do for a living.
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I also wonder if most of them are purely vacation homes. It appeared like most of them were.
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It's interesting to me that these beautiful seaside towns seem to be mostly tourist destinations. How come there is generally such a separation between the areas where we work, and those where we play? Shouldn't we have flocked to the Land's most beautiful coastal destinations to set up shop and society? 
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Clearly, urban planners and I should talk.
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