Monthly Archives: October 2012

Reason #1 to live in Portland

Reason #1 to live in Portland

Powell’s Books. Glenn has had a long love-affair with the City of Books. Me, not so much. It’s not that I dislike it. It’s that I am not a purchaser of books. I love to read them, don’t get me wrong. But I’m a bigger fan of the library than the bookstore, honestly. Glenn treats Powell’s much more like a library. While I search for my one book that I’m willing to purchase, he makes a stack as long as his arm (which between you and me is pretty long.) Then he sits down and looks through, takes a few notes, sorts the books into purchase or not and starts the process all over again until he arrives at the two or three that he just can’t leave behind. Meanwhile I have my one book and have probably read the first chapter or two by the time he’s ready to go. So most of the time I send him by himself: there’s no pressure to be finished by a certain time or be in a certain section (the rose room?) or even to be locatable in the maze-like shelves.

But last night our teacher in Bible study at Imago Dei mentioned a C.S. Lewis book that we didn’t have so after class we drove over the bridge to Powell’s. And for some reason I loved it. Glenn was a man on a mission instead of wandering aimlessly from section to section which might have influenced me but also I liked the Portland-ness of it. Quirky, bookish, outdoorsy, and a little damp, all wrapped into one.

The secret of my new found love though just may be the mocha at World Cup Coffee, located inside the bookstore. I’m not usually a sweet coffee drinker. Not a fan of flavored creams or egg-nog latte. Pumpkin-whatever-seasonal-drink isn’t going to be my drink of choice. But let me tell you that mocha was life-changing. The perfect amount of sweet with almost a buttery taste from the steamed milk.

So there it is–reason number one. Obviously not in any kind of value order. Just a reminder that it’s good to be here. Stay tuned for more Portland gems…

What’s for Dinner {this week}

What’s for Dinner {this week}

I’m cooking dinner for four now. This is a first in our marriage since we have always been just us. The funny thing is that I now find myself thinking it’s not worth making anything fancy if it’s just Glenn and me when that has been the norm for the past 22 years! I guess we’re getting used to our new setting pretty quickly.

The first week we were here I somehow made white rice as an accompaniment three nights out of five. It’s possible that I overdid it. So now I’m trying to be a bit more sparing with the sticky rice. I’m also trying to consider my parents’ eating habits and what they like while still making sure that Glenn wants to eat along with us. It’s not hard just a bit more to think about. Since fall is upon us and it’s rainy and gray I’m trying to make soup on Monday or Tuesday night so we can have leftovers for lunch during the week. And while I have failed this week, yes, Shelley, I am thinking about meatless Mondays. The experts say it would be good for us and it would certainly help with the budget.

Here’s what I’ve done so far/have planned for this week:
Sunday–dilled tomato soup and mom’s yeast rolls. We came back from a week at the beach on Sunday so our refrigerator was picked bare. So yes, this was just some dill added to Campbell’s Tomato Soup. (Not too gourmet!) And since my sister, Delores, and I are on for making the Thanksgiving dinner this year, I thought I should get some practice at Mom’s Yeast Rolls before the whole hee-haw gang is waiting to be served. Here’s the recipe:

Mom’s Yeast Rolls
2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 packages yeast
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
6 1/2 to 7 cups flour

Mix together water, sugar, and salt. Crumble yeast into mixture. Stir until dissolved. Stir in one egg. Add shortening. Mix flour in with spoon or hand. Let rise until dough doubles in size. Roll or pat (Mom never rolls it out–it gets too thin) dough on well-floured board until 3/4-1 inch thick. Cut with a biscuit cutter. Spread a small amount of butter in center of roll and fold over. Place in oiled baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Monday–chicken noodle soup (from No Regrets Living) with leftover mom’s yeast rolls: This was yummy. The soup comes together super quickly–especially since I cheated and used the ready-cooked chicken from the grocery store. If I was thinking I would have purchased a rotisserie chicken and then used it for two meals. Maybe next time. I used 6 cups of water and 6 bullion cubes instead of 5 like the recipe said and probably doubled the celery and carrots. I used regular egg noodles. (Don’t know where to get them frozen like she says on her post.) It came out more like chicken and veggies with noodles with-a-smidge-of-broth, not really soup. But delicious and satisfying nonetheless. Next time I would a) do it exactly the same or b) add a can of cream of chicken or cream of corn to try to add a little soup-i-ness to it.

NOTE: Be sure to read the comment below from Jayme from No Regrets Living if you
try this soup. Bet the frozen noodles don’t suck up as much broth
and you’d actually get soupy soup! Thanks, Jayme!

Tuesday–Glenn and I are headed out to dinner before our Bible study at Imago Dei. I guess you could call it date night; we’ve never had that habit since it’s always been us. 24/7 date night. Depending on where we go, there may be a new restaurant to tell you about tomorrow.
Wednesday–balsamic cranberry pork (I’m using porkchops instead of tenderloin–they were on sale at the market) with broccolini and baked potatoes

Note: This was delicious and quite showy. The whole-berry cranberries make for a festive sauce. Speaking of, I doubled the sauce and then overdid the cranberry a little because I wanted to use up the can. This recipe is a keeper.

Thursday–lasagna with green salad and bread with lemon pudding cake (from Mandy’s Recipe Box): My original plan was to be very clever and double the recipe for the lasagna, freezing one for Christmas and serving for dinner with the four of us and my MIL. But savvy shopper that I am, I failed to buy enough ingredients to double the recipe. So we’ll see if I am going to the store to purchase more so that I can double the recipe and increase my holiday-convenience, or shining the whole planning ahead thing, at least for now, and making a single recipe with the ingredients on hand. (I’m guessing plan B at this point.)
Friday–bourbon chicken (from Big Oven) and white rice: Yes, white sticky rice is making an appearance!

Note: Another keeper. This comes together really quickly and makes a nice thick sauce. I love that it’s ingredients I keep on hand. Again, I doubled the sauce and probably doubled the ginger again. (I keep a knuckle–is that what it’s called?–of ginger in the freezer and just use the microplane grater to grate it while frozen.) This will become part of the regular rotation I think.

Saturday–pumpkin pancakes and sausage: I’m on a mission to use up and clean out as much as I can around here. Mom stopped cooking, well, awhile ago and ingredients have just been sitting around getting old and going bad. So I’m trying to use what I can and compost what I can’t. With that in mind, I found a Krusteaz Pumpkin Bread mix from Costco in the closet. And it’s still within its date! I already have a favorite pumpkin bread recipe so I checked the box to see what else I could use it for. Lo and behold it suggests pumpkin pancakes which I think sound ah-mazing! Somehow my sweet husband would rather have savory for breakfast but will happily consider pancakes or waffles for dinner so that’s what we’re doing…along with some sausage and apple slices.
Sunday–mom’s cheesy meatballs with cauliflower and beef rice-a-roni: This is an old family favorite. Mom used to make meatballs (pretty standard recipe) around a cube of cheddar cheese and then bake them. While they baked she made a sauce from condensed tomato soup and a ton of dried oregano. She served it with beef rice-a-roni and some kind of vegetable. So Sunday night is old-home night around here. I’m sure dad will enjoy the nostalgia along with me!