Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Walking on clouds

My newest pair of shoes just arrived at my door today and they are like heavenly clouds in the shape of cute leather sandals;
They're Fly Flots, an Italian brand Mum suggested, and boy was she right! The strap by the ankle is velcro adjustable which is perfect for my fat foot. I've been tromping around the house all evening since putting them on. These are going with me to Seattle and Victoria for sure.

Monday, May 30, 2011

So easy

Since I had today off for Memorial Day, my Sunday baking for work became Monday baking instead. This week's recipe was ridiculously easy. These two things brought together for about 12 minutes in a 375 degree oven;
To make decadent nutella croissants.
I only made enough for the boy and I to sample since they're better fresh. I'll make the rest in the morning before work. I think all of Chris' swooning while eating it meant it was a success.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Oregon bound

For our long holiday weekend we took a couple of days and went up north to visit the 'rents at their new house. We tried to get out of here early so that we would have some time to make a couple of stops along the way. After taking care of a last minute church money emergency we left in time to make it to Weed to have lunch at their brewery, Mt. Shasta Brewing Co.
The menu was pretty basic - dogs and sandwiches, but it all sounded tasty. I got an artichoke and spinach panini and the Canadian got the brat and pint combo. The brats were cooked in their porter so that's what Chris got as his pint, too.
Good stuff, Maynard. On our way up, Chris had agreed to stop in Ashland for a quick jaunt around since we hadn't been there since the Christmas preview we attended about three years ago. We did a stroll down both sides of the downtown strip where I just happened to find a nice pair of Keen shoes on sale that the boy offered to buy for me.
We made it the 'rents in the late afternoon, just in time to unpack, take the grand tour of the new digs, and get the bbq started for dinner before the rain started. Much to the beef-starved Canadian's delight, Mum had steaks for dinner with delicious roasted red potatoes, asparagus and garlic bread. After dinner Chris made up for lost time with his little buddy Chase.
The next day I tricked Mum into taking me to Macy's and Harry & David where I could stock up on all the goodies I can't get here like cute clothes and Oregon beers while the boys played with engines in the garage. We also took the 'rents out to dinner at a brewery in Medford called Wild River. Chris' brother Mark met us there and we reaped the rewards of early bird dining, in that we had the whole restaurant to ourselves at 4:30 pm.
Chris immediately sought out the beer sampler and was not disappointed.
Tasty food and tasty beers. It was a good choice from the 'rents since we'd first thought about going to a brew pub in Ashland. It rained most of the time we were there so we got to spend a lot of quality time torturing the dog.
We had an excellent visit and the Canadian was able to stuff himself silly with steak, bangers and bacon. It doesn't get much better than that in his little world. And the best part is that even after our little mini vacation, we still have another two days off!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Turtle bars

For my Sunday baking adventure I chose Turtle bars otherwise known as chocolaty caramel pecan bars. A layer of shortbread covered in caramel and pecans and then topped with chocolate. Can you say perfection? Unless you're the Canadian and hate nuts in your food. Then you take an obligatory bite and declare that they're good except for the pecans. Bah!
I think these will go over very well at work tomorrow. Assuming that the rest of the bars come out of the pan as easy as the first. Sometimes shortbread can get a little stuck to the pan and cause me numerous gray hairs in frustration. Let's hope for the best!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Men at work

Chris spent the morning, with the help of a few curse words and a sweet, sweet headband, getting engine stuff ready to take with us to Oregon next week;
Who's having the sexiest day ever? This guy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Coconut milk to the rescue

While finishing my grocery shopping at Traders today, making sure to stock up heartily for the boy after my eminent rapture tomorrow, I found this delightful looking treat in the freezer section;
Coconut milk ice cream. I've been slowly weening myself more and more off of dairy products as they appear to be increasingly upsetting my tummy so I was excited to see an alternative for my nightly ice cream cravings. I've had some soy ice cream recently, but this just tasted better and creamier. I've seen some chocolate covered coconut ice cream bars in magazine ads, but after looking them up online I was disappointed to see how fatty they are. So for now, I shall enjoy my new evening treat.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Beer and brownies

For my Sunday baking extravaganza this weekend I decided to make beer brownies after having the ones our neighbors made last weekend for the home brew awards ceremony. I talked Chris out of his last bottle of coffee stout to put in my brownies. They turned out really good, not as sweet as normal brownies, but with a really yummy stout aroma.
I took most of them to work today, but I did manage to save a few for us. Delicious topped with some coffee ice cream.

I had a special surprise waiting for me on the front porch when I got home today - new Born shoes I'd ordered from QVC last week.
I'm glad to have a colored pair of shoes that fit over my stocking. And since I have more turquoise in my wardrobe than any other color, it was the choice shoe color. Go ahead, be jealous.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mother's Day Bake-off

For a late Mother's Day present I took my mom to the sourdough bread class today that my mother-in-law and I took together a couple of years ago. My mom and I had taken a tamale class from this same gal, so I knew that she would enjoy another baking experience there. The class started with a few appetizers before getting started on the sourdough bread and pizza dough for our lunch.
Besides my mom and I, my co-worker Curtis (on the right with the Hawaiian shirt) and his wife Kathy (who works with my mom at the hospital) were there as well as another couple from the hospital that my mom also knew.
Pizzas always taste better when baked on a heart shaped crust, don't you think? Sherry (the head baker) had lots of delicious ingredients to choose from including my favorite - artichoke hearts.
After lunch we learned how to shape our sourdough into bread loaves.
Next it was time for the apple stromboli dessert! Leftover pizza dough filled with sweetened cream cheese and canned apple pie filling seasoned with a healthy helping of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Glazed with egg and raw sugar and then baked off in the outdoor bread oven and served with ice cream. Heaven! Finally it was time to bake the sourdough bread loaves for us to take home.
Then there was a little time to sit and visit for about 20 minutes while they baked.
Eventually the magically delicious loaves were pulled out and left to cool for us to bring home.
We had a great day and this time I made sure not to leave my loaf on the top of my car as I drove away!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Look mom, you're famous!

I was reading the paper this evening, minding my own business, when I ran across this full page ad from the hospital up in P-town;
Scanning all the names, look who I found at the end of the third row from the bottom;
It's my mom! It's not quite as impressive as when my name made the local police blotter about 6 years ago, but it's a good start.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The results are in

Last night was our award ceremony for last weekend's home brew competition. We had it in the backyard of one of our member's houses here in Chico. It was a potluck so around 4:30 pm we packed up our pasta salad and headed over. The backyard was set up with dining tables and all the leftover beer from the competition.
The whole event was pretty unorganized, but eventually things got moving. For dinner we had a potluck buffet with the club providing tri-tip as the main course. Our neighbor, Cathy, made brownies with Strong Scotch Ale which were so delicious three of them accidentally fell into my mouth.
In a funny twist of irony, even though it had been in the 80s all week long, as soon as we sat down to eat it started raining and we had to erect some last minute tents over some of the tables. It had started clouding up earlier in the day, but the rain forecast said it wouldn't rain until Sunday.

After dinner we did some raffles, none of which we entered, before starting the competition awards. The most coveted award was for Best of Show which comes with a professional, and very classy award that stays with the winner until the next year's competition and includes a name plaque on the base.
I know, who wouldn't want to take that home? Anyway, everyone gathered in a semi-circle as the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners were called for each category. Over 50% of the entries were from out of the area so there were a few categories where no club members placed, but some of the members still did very well for themselves.
Unfortunately for the Canadian, he entered some of the most popular categories and did not come home with any bling around his neck, but we still had a good time cheering and applauding for our friends who did win. Like our neighbor Doug, the Best of Show winner last year, who placed in three different categories out of the six he entered. Since no one from our club won the Best of Show this year, Doug got to keep the statue for another year. Lucky him!?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Lots of new things

Yesterday was like an early birthday for me because not only did my newly ordered Dansko shoes arrive in the mail,
but my mom also stopped by my work and gifted me with a new electronic picture frame. It was her 5-year anniversary gift from the hospital, but she already had one so I not so subtly suggested who she could give it to instead. Hint, hint.
I have commanded the Canadian to help me load some pictures on it so that I may be endlessly entertained by them at work.

This evening we went over to Barnes & Noble where I used my 20% off coupon to get a new cookbook I've been eyeballing. It's a cookbook for people like me who are limited to a soft food and liquid diet.
The smoothie/shakes, breakfast and dessert chapters are my favorites. There's lots of good ideas to try! Especially the Kahlua Chocolate Cake that is made like a jello poke cake where you poke holes in the freshly baked cake and pour a creamy Kahlua mixture over it to soak in. Yes, please!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo

Celebrating my mom's people with food.

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