who thought anyone could write this much about popcorn?

Earlier this summer I bought some popcorn kernels and tried making popcorn in a brown paper bag in the microwave. It worked! Most of the time, anyway. But it seemed that lately my success rate has lowered to about 50/50. I usually leave it in for just seconds too long, and end up with mostly burned popcorn. Sometimes I'll pick out the good ones, but last time I just threw it all away. Dave offered to buy me a popcorn popper, but I valiantly said I'd just tough it out. Then we saw one at fred meyer and I thought that it'd be cool to have one, but we should try to find one for cheap/free. So of course, Dave'd parents have one they aren't currently using and we snatched it. And love it. And now Dave can just buy me something else! (haha, kidding. sort of. who says no to gifts?)

We brought it home on Saturday and both wanted to try it. Dave just wanted buttery popcorn and I wanted to try something extra delicious, but easy. He fondly remembered a white-chocolatey popcorn he had once and we happened to have a quarter bag of white chocolate/vanilla chips. But I was feeling more like caramel popcorn, but didn't want to make the caramel. I found a recipe that used honey and peanut butter for a faux-caramel and it had pretty good reviews. I thought it sounded okay and Dave, eating his completely butter-saturated popcorn, thought that it sounded gross.

I decided to make half recipes of both kinds. First, I used a pyrex bowl over a sauce pan for a double broiler (I thought it was a pretty good idea and still am certain that people do that..?) but I ended up with chocolate that refused to melt. I tried melting it in the microwave and that just ruined it. Ugh. So, I attempted the honey/pb kind and used up the last bit of honey we had...and it wasn't enough and I failed to reduce the peanut butter. So it wasn't liquid-y and I was frustrated. BOTH recipes failed.

I should have known better...faux caramel? That can only end in tears.

Which, mind you, it did, as I flipped the spatula out of the boiling hot gloop and caught it with my hand. It was sooo hot and caused some startled/pain tears. So I retreated to the couch, icing my fingers, sniffling, while Dave gave it one more go. Since we were out of honey but had a few chocolate chips left, he attempted to make another type of double broiler, where he floated the smaller sauce pan in the larger once. Maybe our chocolate chips were old and sucky, but by golly, IT SHOULD HAVE WORKED. But it didn't. But Dave popped some popcorn and stuck the gloopy ball of chocolate in there and shook and shook and what do you know? It worked!

and it was deeeee-licious, as you'd expect popcorn covered in white chocolate to be. yuuum. It's good we don't have any more chocolate chips (or like, half the things one should have in a pantry...oops) because I'd be eating that all week.

I'd still really like some caramel popcorn or some cheesy popcorn, but I'm not sure that powered cheese is anything anyone should really be eating, you know? And honestly, it wasn't the faux-caramel's fault...I picked that because most of the time it's real caramel causing the tears. Last time I made it for homemade caramel ice cream, I had to make it twice because I overcooked it. Sheesh! So finicky. (and let's not forget the apple cider caramels from last year) (hmm, that post is kind of depressing...but just skip to the bottom)

Oh well. I actually think that plain ol' popcorn tastes great. But a little butter, salt and sugar for some kettle corn never hurt anyone. And what a delicious way to eat butter, amiright?

I think it's time to see if we can purchase a double broiler that was made for our pans.

And anyone have a favorite popcorn recipe??


dahlia

Last Saturday we went to a dahlia festival that was about 20 minutes south of Portland. Dave and his dad biked over and everyone else drove. There were so many varieties of dahlias! I had no idea there were so many. Some were HUGE puffballs (almost the size of a basketball) and some were really tiny. They had ones I never would have guessed were dahlias, but of course they all have a similar, distinctive leaf,  and I could probably tell if something was a dahlia outside of the festival. 

We had some decent fair food (a great pulled pork sub) and enjoyed the indoor display and the funny names they had come up with. It was a nice sunny day and thanks to the in-laws for letting us tag along! 




if I take more than one picture, this is the smile I get from dave (unless I tell him to really smile). missed it this time. I tried to get at least one dahlia in the background. ha.

csa/summer recipes

Last week I signed up for a CSA program in Portland. It's where you purchase a share of produce from local farms and then pick up a basket full of whatever they harvested that week. I meant to do it last year but never did. I also missed out on half of this program, but they let you sign up each week during it, which is nice. We've enjoyed it so far. We've gotten some squash, hot peppers (not knowing they were hot the first week...that was a surprise), banana peppers, lettuce (sounds weird, but it is the softest lettuce we've ever had and it's delicious), tomatoes (my favorite part is the carton of cherry tomatoes!), cucumbers, corn on the cob, apricots, cranberry beans and this week we got some parsley. Each week we've also gotten something we've never really eaten or cooked with before. Last week was cranberry beans and golden beets (both good) and this week we'll try and make some kohlrabi. They even throw in some flowers each week.

here is a terrible picture of some of the produce from this week: 


I roasted the beets and we ate them with goat cheese (it was good, but we're going to pickle the rest), lemon orzo salad (one of our favorites) with peppers and cucumbers, summer squash soup (with milk instead of cream because we didn't have any) (I wanted to try this one but we didn't have everything for it). I also made this cranberry bean stew because it was the easiest recipe I found...and think it was better as a salsa the next day. 

Anyway, I'm kind of excited for the rest of the weeks. It all tastes delicious (fresh tomatoes are unbelievable...I am really missing our little garden from last year), lasts us all week and it's local, which of course, as portlandians, we totally care about (joking...I mean, it's great that it's local/seasonal but you know, I'm not nutso about that or anything). I mostly bring it up because of this clip: 



I don't even know if it's all organic.

Any favorite squash or other late summer produce recipes??

social commentary


I thought of this post on the way home from work today and actually wrote it up (that doesn't always happen). Of course nothing I say is pointed at any specific person in my audience, so please don't take offense. I also believe that we can still be friends AND think differently. So read, and know that I am not taking any of this so seriously as to be crazy.

first, the facebook timeline.

enough. Stop complaining about it! I mean, seriously, if I had a dollar for every complaint I read about it, I could hire someone to build a new facebook for all the complainers that, let's face it, wouldn't be as popular as the original facebook. Facebook has changed SO many times in the past 6 years that I've been using it and I don't see the point of complaining about it. If you really hate it that much, then stop using it. amiright?

They've been initiating the change for like a year now (or it just seems that I've been reading complaints about it in waves for that long). It's like each new person to hate on it is the first person to have discovered it. Oh, you're being forced to have timeline now? I've had it for 5 months (voluntarily, even?) and I'M STILL ALIVE.

OR, you're complaining about it, really? And you've had this long to prepare? You didn't know, from everyone else's complaints, that you'd eventually have to have it? Are you surprised enough to say something about it, like you're the first person to have noticed?

Also, this may just be me, but how often do you click on someone's profile as opposed to just browsing the news feed? I hardly ever even USE the timeline on someone else's page. I don't really see the problem with it? Except now we get to see two pictures of you instead of one.

Anyway, of course the solution to my problem is just about the same: stop using facebook. But this is just a commentary post, written in a jest-ful tone. Everyone has the right to write whatever status they want, no matter how TMI, journal-y, annoying or gross it may be.

second, using internet quotes as your original thought.

what? I see a quote pinned or an eecard somewhere and then I see someone post that same quote as their facebook/twitter status like they just thought of it. What? I think we all have learned that plagiarism is wrong (and impossible to spell the first time) and you may think "hello, letter of the law" here, but seriously! Most people know you didn't write it, but it still seems like you think you did when you post it with no quotes, the original picture, etc. Which just seems ridiculous to me. What do you want people to say? "wow, you're soooo original or creative!" "wow, how did you finally find words to describe what everyone has thought for years?" "way to find that funny pin and then re-quote it so fast!"

I'm not sure if this falls into the same category as having a tv/movie quote as your status. (which I have done.) I'm kind of thinking out loud here. Perhaps it depends on your intent? Mine is to bond fellow office watchers together, because they get my reference.

And with all creative things, it's hard to say which source is the original source and such...some people may be legitimately saying something they just thought of, but I think you know to what type of quotes I am referring. Ah well. life moves on. thanks for reading!


what is your latest social commentary?

bridges

If you ask me, the best views of Portland are on the bridges. Portland has a lot of bridges, and they are all unique and very cool. We almost can name them all and in order. Our favorite is the freemont bridge (the third down). It's one of the tallest and coming down from the north side, it gives you THE BEST view. It's very hard to capture on camera (I've tried every time we've driven down), but you can see the west side of the city, the west hills with their gorgeous houses and the river. I love it. Almost all the bridges are walkable and they are fun to walk. They are less fun to drive across accidentally, which I have done many times. But, you still get a view on your way back. 


august.

Having a job again has been nice. It's nice to hang out in air conditioning, talk to grownups and feel busy. Although feeling busy means that since my parents left three weeks ago and I started working, there is a never-ending list of things I never do. Even though I'm only gone for a few hours, it adds up. Anyways, I have the next few days off so I am trying to do them all.

The last few weeks have been hot (everywhere, it sounds like) and it's put a damper on a lot of new cooking experiments. We've tried to avoid the oven at all costs (though the other day I did make these muffins and they were great). It seems every new recipe I want to try involves the oven or extensive use of the stove top. We have our favorite cold salads but don't actually have too many staples that are no-cook/bake. Any suggestions?

Another thing on my list since...May...has been a hair cut. I've really needed one over the last few months as my layers have grown out and the bob I had looked less and less like one and just weird. Ah well, good thing I was at home most of the time, so who cares! Yesterday we had some meetings at our church which is near a chain salon. Almost desperate, I made Dave take me to get my hair cut. As my luck would have it, my stylist was a lady who spoke English with a very, very thick Asian accent. Ahhh. So I tried my best to convey what I wanted and was increasingly frustrated. And, blah blah blah, after I straightened it at home, it wasn't as bad as I thought, but there was this bottom layer that she left too long (it flipped out when she plastered it with water, so neither of us could tell what her cut was doing. And when I said something, she went on about how if I used gel, I could get it flip out like that all the time (uh, yes, thanks)). So the front looked fine (a much needed bang trim) but there was just this uneven, weird chunk in the back. Almost like a mullet. I am sure no one really would have noticed, but I did.

ANYWAY, why am I boring you with this long ol' story? Well two reasons: 1. lesson learned. Not going to get my hair cut without a referral OR unless I find myself at home with my favorite stylist.

Second, the next part of the story was that I didn't want to necessarily pay for another hair cut, but I wanted it fixed.

Enter the thought of mine that I wondered on a scale of 1 to tube city how bad of an idea it would be to have Dave use the hair scissors that came with his hair cutting kit and have us stand in the bathroom, blind leading the blind, trying to even out my hair and trim the bottom layer. Would it work, me looking in a mirror to look in the other mirror at the back of my hair, directing Dave where to cut? As I closed my eyes while he cut what sounded like inches of my hair and he said things like "don't look!" & "this is going to look terrible!" in a bathroom that is 1000 degrees? Would that end terribly? Or would it actually work out fine and be totally worth it?

Well I'm not going to say what actually happened.




But yes, that is exactly what happened.

ONE-WAYS

I don't know the origin or actual purpose of one-way streets. I assume, and know this would be a quick google search, that they are for making traffic more efficient and/or safe by eliminating left-hand turns (meaning some turns because right-hand turns to the left, if you will). What I do know is that they are frustrating when you end up circling your destination in an unfamiliar city. I can't even think of any one-way streets in orem/provo, so other than other big city driving, I've not had too much experience with one-ways. So for any of you who are or who may be new to a city and must learn to incorporate one-ways into your city driving, have hope. There are simple steps to becoming a pro at using one-ways:

.5 (optional) go down a one-way street the wrong way. vow to never drive again. I don't think this has happened to me, but I was in a car where that happened once. 

1. drive to a destination and find that every street you would like to turn on is a one-way going in the opposite direction.

2. learn how to tell if it's a one-way with out signs (you know, just in case) by looking at the direction of parked cars.

3. predict where the one-ways are (using patterns such as every other street) and realize you know the names of a few streets that are one-ways

4. find routes to your destinations that incorporate, and are not frustrated by, one-ways. you learn which streets go which direction AND where specific streets turn into one-ways or two-ways

5. use them normally in your commute and, unless you're going somewhere totally new, come to terms with the fact that one-ways are a part of life. And, with sufficient warning, it doubles the amount of parking spaces available to you as you just need to change lanes.

Anyone have any other advice/stories/experience with one-ways? Thankfully we have gotten used to them, but those first few weeks in Portland had their frustrating moments as we tried to get somewhere new in a new city only to be, so it seemed, thwarted at every turn.

for the record: it does not rain here all of the time.

Today was so hot. I have lived in the desert (but no, not Arizona) and the huuuumid east coast. I know what hot is. It was 100 degrees! The last time I felt this hot was after walking all over DC. 

We went berry picking today and it was fun, in spite of the heat. A bucket of berries and sweat later (not a cloud nor breeze to be seen) we happily paid $5 for these beauties and turned up the car AC.  


We spent the afternoon cleaning our apartment and car and the settled into the heat of our apartment. Deciding we did not want to clean another dish nor heat up the house to cook, we decided to try a food card that shows up close to our place a few times a week, koi fusion. It's korean bbq and mexican food mixed together. It was great! Definitely a unique flavor, but really good. And for $2 tacos, I feel this will be big part of our Friday and Saturday nights.  (I cannot get this paragraph to left-align?)

Also, we're pretty sure the lady in the truck thought we were brother and sister. She said (and I'm paraphrasing, but it's fairly accurate) "isn't it funny? you guys have, like, the same complexion and hair color, but you have, like, olive-colored eyes and you have these deep, blue-sky eyes. Aren't genetics so crazy?" uh...yes. 

So we're just lounging around tonight, eating berries, smelling salty (haha) and hoping it cools down a bit up here! 

hope you had a good weekend!

the haps. or, if you care.

So, a few things are new over here. First, I have a part-time job! I'm doing some temp work for Dave's dad's firm and you know, it's crazy exciting. I pull old files, update their status in the computer...but in reality, I am glad for the few hours out of the house and a feeling of contributing to society. 

Next, I am taking some classes this fall at portland community college. I am planning on taking the remaining pre-reqs that I need to apply to OHSU's accelerated nursing program. It will take a few semesters (due to pre-reqs for pre-reqs and series of classes) but I'm really excited. If I had been a little more on the ball, I could have started some classes this summer semester and have a better start. It took me a few months to get here, but I feel good about it and feel that it is a good path for me.

Also, I made this dress: 


My parents gave me a serger for my birthday, and two days before they came out to visit, I figured I should probably make something with it...

So I spent a few hours setting it up and getting the tension right, bought some material, used this tutorial (just lengthening it for a dress) and somehow, it worked. If I didn't do it myself, I wouldn't have believe it. You should try it! It's two pieces, front and back (both the same, if you want) and four seams + hemming. amazing. and I will spending the rest of my summer in it. 

As far as Dave goes, his job is going great. He got a new bike (did I ever post about it? It's beautiful) and FINALLY sold his old bike today. For the last two months we have had two bikes sitting in our small hallway. And we meant to post the bikes for sale or whatever and they just sat there forever. Ridiculous. Anyway, my brother-in-law is using my old mountain bike and I'm going to avoid taking it back, and then Dave finally sold his. It's like our apartment doubled in size.

Here's to not being lazy!