Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 Reads

I kept good track of my reading this year! (I didn't do so well last year!) In 2008, I read 65 books, and I'm guessing I was close to that in 2009 as well. 2010 my list is at 76 books - 2 of which are in progress, but which I anticipate finishing this week! (** is a re-read. I do re-read books a lot - my comfort books! And yes, I do re-read Nora Roberts a lot... they are like old friends. :)) The count is 50 new titles, and 26 re-reads. I've read a number of really great books this year. I bolded the ones that are my favorite reads of the year! I spent a lot of time in airports this year. You can tell that from the quantity read in June, August/September, December.

The Last Van Gogh by Alyson Richman

U is for Undertow by Sue Grafton
Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs
Love and Meatballs by Susan Volland **
The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
Jewels of the Sun by Nora Roberts **
Tears of the Moon by Nora Roberts **


Fight Club by Chuck Palahnuk
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling **
Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah|
The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
Born in Fire by Nora Roberts **
On Mystic Lake by Kristin Hannah

Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Born in Ice by Nora Roberts **
A Vision in White by Nora Roberts
Born in Shame by Nora Roberts **

Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
Midwives by Chris Bohjalian
True Colors by Kristin Hannah
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling **
The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Leguin

Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts
Enslaved by Ducks by Bob Tarte
The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum
The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
Amy's Eyes by Richard Kennedy **
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer **

Twilight Children by Torey Hayden
The Family by Jeff Sharlet
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer **
The Help by Kathryn Stockett

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman
A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White
Summer Island by Kristin Hannah

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

Blue Dahlia by Nora Roberts **
Black Rose by Nora Roberts **
Red Lily By Nora Roberts **
Daring to Dream by Nora Roberts **

Such a Pretty Face by Cathy Lamb
Holding the Dream by Nora Roberts **
Fit and Fabulous in Fifteen Minutes by Teresa Tapp
Finding the Dream by Nora Roberts **
Harry Potter and the Prisoners of Azkaban by JK Rowling **
Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling **
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling **
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by JK Rowling **
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling **
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Leguin

The Scarpetta Factor by Patricia Cornwell

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn
Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jones

Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson
Key of Light by Nora Roberts **
Honolulu by Alan Brennert

Key of Knowledge by Nora Roberts **
Key of Valor by Nora Roberts **

Knit Two by Kate Jones
How to Be Lost by Amanda Eyre Ward
The Beach House by Jane Green
The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel and Nancy Garfinkel
Zooborns by Andrew Bleiman and Chris Eastland
Lean Forward Into Your Life by Maryann Radmacher
Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Song of the Exile by Kiana Davenport

What did you read this year?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wishcasting Wednesday

So, again it's been a long time since I posted. But I keep thinking about blogging, so I figure I probably should blog now and then.
Jamie's prompt today for Wishcasting Wednesday is, "What do you wish to invite in?"

As always - my response to a question like this one is creativity. I often forget that I NEED to let my creativity in so that I can let it out. (Does that make sense?) I so often don't let my creativity shine. And I want to. It's easy to get lulled into a sense of complacency and not do the things that make you feel good, make you feel alive and happy.

Now, don't get me wrong. Overall, I'm very happy. I love living on the Oregon coast, and life with my husband is good. But it could be better! So, I am wishing to let the creativity in... and then to let it all out and express myself!

What are you wishing to invite in? And to all of you in the US, Happy Thanksgiving. What are you thankful for this year?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Birthday fun

My birthday was this last Saturday. Mike and I celebrated by driving south down the coast to see places we haven't visited since moving to Oregon.

Our first stop was Shore Acres. It's an amazing coastline, but also has a botanic garden there! It was wonderful! As we wandered through the flowers, we could hear sea lions barking and waves crashing! Amazing! You can see all of my photos at my Flickr. We intended to have lunch at a Mediterranean cafe we knew, but they were closed, so we wound up at a local Mexican place. The food was actually quite good (we don't find decent Mexican food around here much!)

The pond in the garden

Shore Acres

We drove back up to our favorite spot, of course, the 804 Trail and walked a ways. There was one spot where there were rose petals strewn on the path.... Maybe someone got married there! :)

Petals on the trail.

Then we headed toward home and had dinner at our favorite steak spot. It was a great, low-key birthday, which I enjoyed very much... and needed! :)

Mike spoiled me with a bunch of movies. I owned them on video tape, but wanted to replace these with DVD or blu-ray. Yay! :)


It was a good way to celebrate turning 36!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Good-bye, Vicki

It has been a tough couple of months for me. In July, I flew to Arkansas on last minute notice because my sister Vicki was ill and in the ICU. I didn't know if I would make it to see her. I did, and she pulled through several surgeries. She knew we were there, but was just barely awake/lucid at all. I stayed for a bit more than a week and then had to come back home.

Then on August 17, my sister died. She had gone into a rehab hospital to recover and have physical therapy and was doing well. She caught pneumonia and a systemic staph infection. Her poor body just couldn't fight these infections and she passed away that evening.

I made another trip, this time to Colorado for her memorial service and a family gathering (party, according to Vicki's daughter, Sheri - that's what Vicki wanted.)

This experience has been one of the most difficult I've been through, but also good in many ways. I spent a lot of time with my sisters Connie and Rhonda, as well as my nieces Amanda and Sheri. I got to know Amanda's kids - Kenadie and Cooper (5 and 3 mos.) while in Arkansas.

I spent a lot more time with my sisters in Colorado and we started building good relationships - something we've never had. The time in CO was extremely stressful, emotional, and exhausting, but I am trying to hold on to the good things that happened. We said good-bye to Vicki. In that process, my entire family came together - for the first time in many years. All of the rest of my siblings and my parents were there.

At the memorial service for Vicki. (L to R: Rhonda, Connie, Tom, Me,
Sheri [holding Vicki's urn], Joe, John, Mom, Daddy)

At the family gathering - all siblings together with Mom and Daddy. (Back l to r, Yancy [Rhonda's fiance], Rhonda, Me, Connie, Ed [Connie's husband], Ramona [John's wife]. Seated l to r, Jacqueline [Tom's wife], Tom, Mom, John [behind mom], Mary, Daddy)

I'm doing better now that the time in Colorado has passed. It was a tough time with a lot of tears. I will always miss my sister, Vicki. She was a big presence in my life. She helped me find a lot of the creativity that I have.

Love you, Vicki!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy Friday!

I don't know how months can go by without posting anything, but that's what has happened!

Lots has happened, but suffice it to say, things are good here in Oregon! We are LOVING summer here - the temperatures remain quite cool (only gotten above 70 a few times!) The farmer's markets are just now finally starting to get yummy veggies in since it has been so cool. But, oh the berries!! We are loving the fresh berries. We've moved from strawberries (my last post) to fresh blueberries now. I'm turning into quite the baker with this fresh fruit around! (A blueberry galette below)

We've had a few visitors and enjoyed the time with them. We have another friend arriving this coming Monday! We love being able to show off our new area. In just one week, we will have been here one full year! Amazing!

I also wanted to share with you a friend's success and new venture! My blogging friend Tanaya has opened a new etsy store! You can go take a look here, and also see her blogging or on Facebook! It's amazingly creative, and I love seeing a friend take off on a creative venture! Good luck!

Hope you're all doing well and enjoying life!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Strawberry shortcake

No, not the cartoon. The real deal!

Oregon strawberries are in season, and we are enjoying them immensely! They are super sweet and tasty! I made homemade strawberry shortcake the other night. YUMMY! Best dessert I've personally ever made I think.

I used a recipe that I found online at Patent and the Pantry (via Tastespotting). The recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson's "How to be a domestic goddess". I really love the biscuits. They are super creamy tasting and just a hint sweet. I also LOVED the trick in the recipe of grating the butter. I've never been successful at cutting butter into bits, and this was a great (pun intended) way to do it!

Strawberry Shortcakes

Adapted slightly from chef Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess.

For the shortcakes:

  • 1½ cups (325 ml) flour
  • ½ tsp (2 ml) salt
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) baking powder
  • 5 tbsp (75 ml) sugar, divided
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup (125 ml) half-and-half cream
  • 2 tbsp (25 ml) whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp (15 ml) sugar, divided
  • 1 cup (250 ml) whipping cream

for the filling:

  • 1 pound (500 g) strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • mix the sliced strawberries with 1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar and set aside in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 425°f (220°c).

Mix together the flour, salt, baking powder and 3 tbsp (50 ml) of the sugar in a bowl. Grate the frozen butter into the dry ingredients and use your fingertips to lightly toss all together. Whisk the egg into the half-and-half cream and pour into the flour mixture a little at a time, using a fork to mix.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, then roll gently to about ¾-inch (2 centimetres) thick. Dip a cutter in flour and cut out as many shortcakes as possible. Work the scraps back together, re-roll and cut more. Place on a baking sheet, brush the tops with the 2 tbsp (25 ml)whipping cream and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. (I forgot to do this last step! Will try it next time, for sure!)

Bake for 8-10 minutes until golden. Remove to wire rack to cool.

The recipe also included whipping cream, but we opted for a small scoop of vanilla ice cream! What a treat this was! I bought more berries and put them in the freezer. I thought about making some jam, but that's a process I've never taken on by myself. (I always assisted my friend Nancy in jelly-making!) I may still decide to give it a try - we'll see. These berries are very tempting!

The local Farmer's Market opens tomorrow. I am way more excited about fresh veggies than I probably should be! I have no idea what the growing season is like here in Oregon, so I don't even know what to expect veggie-wise. Should be fun though!!

Happy long weekend! :)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Circe's Circle

It's been a while since I posted! I forgot. That's all.

This week - making me happy is Jamie's Circe's Circle being opened up for new participants. I took part in last years circle, and it was a truly amazing experience. I learned a ton about myself, got some ideas lined out for my own business, and made amazing friends.

My project for Circe's Circle was thinking about my own business doing web design. During the class, I had a lot of stress and personal things going on (You'll remember - Mike's stressful job, my health, our decision to move to Oregon... all during Circe's Circle!) I put my business ideas on the back burner during the circle, and focused on myself. But those ideas were there, and now they have actually started happening! Amazing!

I am an independent web designer now. I have a business called Off-Center Studio (taken directly from the circle and ideas we floated then!) I am in process of designing my own business website. And hoping to take on new design clients soon!

That is a lot of success in one year's time. And I can really attribute much of it to the time I spent on the calls and "homework" in Circe's Circle. Thanks Jamie!!! You rock.

If you're interested, take a look at Jamie's website. She is offering a preview call and I will be part of that. yay! It is a life changing experience.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy Friday (times two)

Well, I forgot to post for Friday happy last week! I had happiness to share, but just forgot about writing it out! (see more happiness here).

So - today, I'll share two happy things!

First off, I'm so excited to have a new printer/scanner combo! I have many old photos that I have wanted to get onto my computer, and now I can do that!! YAY! The scanner is also a color photo printer, so I can make prints of photos as I go along! I had initially ordered just a scanner, but it didn't work. I was so frustrated, but in the end, it worked out better. For just a few dollars more, I got this combo, and it is working just great!! (It is an HP Photosmart, All-in-one C4780 for anyone who wants to know!)

I am working on a fun project (which I'll keep secret for now) and this new equipment is going to help that along! I've had fun this week scanning in old photos! I'll share some of them later.

For my second bit of happiness, my husband showed up at home yesterday after running some errands with flowers for me!! I love flowers! He doesn't bring them home often, but when he does, I love it!! yay! The bouquet was big, and I didn't have a vase big enough for it, so I split the flowers into two batches! So pretty!

What made you happy this week?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Brunswick Stew

For this week's happy, I'm posting a recipe that I made the other night for dinner. I love to cook, and having a recipe turn out well is a very good happy! (See more happy here.)

When we were visiting North Carolina a couple years ago, we had a fabulous dinner at a BBQ place called Smithfields. YUMMY! One of the sides they offer is Brunswick Stew. I had never heard of it, but it was fantastic. Turns out, it is a very common side in the south. Every place has a different version of the recipe!

I went looking for a recipe recently, and kept finding recipes for HUGE amounts of this stew (think three whole chickens, a pound of potatoes, etc.) I decided to just take bits and pieces from these recipes and make up my own in order to make a more reasonable amount of stew.
About two weeks ago, my husband made pulled pork. He got this recipe from someone in the south also, and he has perfected it. It is super tasty! We saved out a portion and froze it to put into our stew. (We will be doing this from now on!)
OK - on to the recipe.

Brunswick Stew (My way)
1 yellow onion, diced
3 potatoes, diced (I used yukon gold)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can whole tomatoes (28 oz)
1 can cream corn
1 bag frozen lima beans
1 bag frozen corn
3 chicken breasts (cooked, diced)
1/2-1 pound cooked, pulled pork
s&p to taste
Herbs - rosemary, oregano... I used dried - big pinches of each and a couple bay leaves
Dash of worcestershire sauce
4 cups chicken broth, 4 cups water

First - saute the onion and garlic in a little oil. I did this right in my big stock pot. Add in the diced potatoes. I added a bit of salt and pepper at this point. Dump in the juice from the canned tomatoes, and break apart the whole tomatoes - add. Stir in your broth and water at this point and get the soup simmering. Add in your herbs and worcestershire sauce. Taste for saltiness. I didn't need to add much more because of the broth.

Add in the pork, chicken, and all veggies, except the cream corn. Let everything simmer for about 45 minutes-1 hour, until the potatoes are done. Add in the cream corn and let it all get heated up again. Serve.

You can also add some heat with a few red chile flakes. Many recipes I saw also called for added sugar. I skipped that. The cream corn is pretty sweet and added enough sweet for me. You can really vary this how you like it. I wanted to add okra also, but couldn't find frozen in our little local grocery. If you don't like lima beans, use something else. You could also do this with just chicken if you don't have leftover pulled pork. I think you would want to add in some spice though. (The pork has cumin, chipotle, brown sugar, etc. on it.)
This was an amazingly yummy stew! We ate it for dinner last night, and have a huge amount leftover. Yay! We have a frozen pork shoulder and Mike will be making pulled pork again soon. There will be a portion placed in the freezer for another round of Brunswick stew! :)

Friday, March 5, 2010


It's Friday and that means time for my happy for the week. (See the Happy Book here.)

Yep. This week taxes actually made me happy.

I have been fretting about our taxes this year. Normally, they have been quite easy and uncomplicated. Enough so, that I've been able to do them on my own. Even the year we got married, I did them with no trouble.

This year, however, we moved to Oregon. I became self-employed, and Mike became unemployed. It got complicated! I hired an accountant, and boy am I glad I did! Living part year in one state, part in another is hard enough, but throw the self-employed bit in there too. Pshew! Too much for me.

I got word earlier in the week that our paperwork was ready for filing. We are getting a refund from Colorado, and we owe Oregon - that pretty much washes each other out. We will also get a decent sized federal refund! YAY! And my estimated returns for the rest of the year are ready too! Pshew!

Talk about a load of worry off of my mind!

Now, we can have a free and clear weekend. Tomorrow, we are heading for Multnomah Falls. It is about three hours away from us. And there is an amazing Mexican restaurant that we know near there, so we're looking forward to that as well!

What are your weekend plans? What made you happy this week?

Friday, February 26, 2010

My Happy Book experience

I got the Happy Book in the mail a week ago today. I pretty much added my contributions that day and the next! I was excited to get my input down into the book! :) (The book is now on the way to CA and the next participant!)

It was super fun to read through and see what the previous people had said and added. There is already some amazing art work, and some inspiring words in this book!

I added my own art work. (The curlicues are my favorite thing to draw. The ATC is from a while back, and I thought adding it to the book was a great idea!)

I also added a page where I pasted in samples of some of my favorite paper. Yes, paper makes me happy! I have scads of pieces of cool paper! When I went through stuff before we moved, I got rid of a lot of things, but my paper... I couldn't part with it! :)

I added a photo of myself on the page for favorite pics of yourself! It's actually my husband and I on our wedding day. We are both laughing and I love it! The picture makes me happy. (No one else has added a photo there yet! I hope more of you will!)

I loved getting to participate in this project, and I can't wait to see posts from others as the book makes its way all over the place!!

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Happy Book Happy Friday!!

The Happy Book arrived on my doorstep in Oregon yesterday!!! I'm the third person to have the Glee circle copy, and I'm SO excited!

I will share next Friday some of the pieces of the books that I have filled in with my own versions of happy. But for today, I have some pictures of the book and of me with the book. I enlisted my husband's help and got a couple pictures at my favorite spot near where we live - Fishing Rock.

I am happy to have the book, and to see what the other ladies shared too. I think we'll all wish we could see the book at the end of its journey and ALL of the contributions! It's really fun!!!

I will send the book on its way later this next week. It will journey to 26 total participants and each of us can add as many or as few entries as we'd like. Jamie is our inspiration and you can read all about the Next Chapter/Happy book over at the blog!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Henry's feature

Henry is the featured kitty of the day over at Vet Wisdom Café. Go meet my Henry boy!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cat happy




Thursday, February 11, 2010

Vet Wisdom Cafe blog

As part of my duties as webmaster for World by the Tail, I manage and write for their blog, Vet Wisdom Café.

The post there today is about Oscar, my grumpy grey kitty. I've written posts that will be scheduled in the coming days about Henry and Ben as well.

Here is Oscar's feature:

Friday, February 5, 2010

It's Friday... time for happy!

Simple this week! The Lorax is my very favorite Dr. Seuss book. This van lives around us somewhere. I've seen it a couple times, and this time - I captured a photo!! It totally makes me happy! (If you haven't - take the time to read The Lorax. The other Seuss that is my favorite is The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sunrises and rainbows!

This week what makes me happy (and has since we moved here to Oregon!) are the amazing views we have surrounding us.

We live in an apartment building which backs up to Devil's Lake State Park. The view from our balcony is astonishing! (There must be people who pay millions for houses with lake views like ours!) We very rarely go a day without saying something about how pretty our view is!

Yesterday morning, there was an amazing sunrise over the lake!

A week or so ago, we had views of an amazing rainbow over the lake late in the afternoon! The rainbow lasted a long time - coming and going in intensity, and even having a double sometimes. We were able to get some pretty good photos of it, too!

I think maybe people get tired of me posting our lovely views! I know I would be jealous of someone else's view like this! :) We will be hard-pressed to find a prettier place to live. I don't dislike our apartment, but I do wish it was bigger (and the appliances leave a lot to be desired!) At some point, when Mike is employed again, we will very likely try to make this a permanent residence by purchasing a home. But... we will forever love our lake view apartment! (See more photos at Flickr!)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy Friday!

It's Friday and I'm going to post my happy ON the day this week! :) (For The Next Chapter - Happy Book!)

This week, my happy Friday is about cooking. I love to cook, and I've done some fun experimenting recently. Right before Thanksgiving (the day before, in fact) I took a class at our local culinary center. It was to make pies. I've never made pies before! I've actually never done much in the way of baking, and pie crust always seemed scary.

The class was SO much fun, and I came home with a great pumpkin pie, and a hazelnut chocolate pie. So decadent. The better news was that I learned how to make wonderful, flaky pie crust. And it's just not that hard!!

Since Thanksgiving, I've made my crust recipe a couple times. My husband's birthday was December 15, and he requested a pie. He even found the recipe he wanted me to use. It was a Paula Deen recipe for Grits Pie... Hmmm... It sounded odd, but it turned out SO yummy! It was a custardy sort of pie - we ate the first pieces warm, with *real* whipped cream. The next pieces, we ate cold - and it was even better that way!

The next experiment was a savory pie. Mike requested a chicken pot pie. Let me tell you - that was YUM! I found a recipe online for the filling, and of course, I experimented with my own additions/changes. The filling was a little soupy, but man, this was a tasty pot pie.

I made this again just this week, and it turned out even better! The filling wasn't as soupy, and the crust was super flaky! Yummy! Mike told me it was the best pot pie ever. :)

Here is the recipe with my modifications:

Chicken Pot Pie Filling
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed
1 cup sliced carrots (about three carrots, coins)
1 cup frozen green peas

1 yukon gold potato, diced (skin on)
1 portabello mushroom sliced
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Fresh rosemary, thyme, sage - chopped fine. (Don't know quantity - whatever looks good to you! I only had rosemary the second time. It was better with all three!)
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C.)
In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, and potato. Add water to cover and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and set aside. (I also put in a whole sprig of rosemary at this point, and tossed it once the mix was done.)
In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent, along with portabello. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and herbs. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Remove from heat and set aside.
Mix the broth mixture with the chicken and veggies. Place into par-baked bottom pie crust. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in the top to allow steam to escape.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Crust Recipe (that I learned in my class!)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
6 1/2 oz. (13 Tbsp.) Unsalted butter, cold - cubes
2 1/2 oz. (5 Tbsp.) vegetable shortening, cold
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sugar
4-5 oz. cold water
I use a food processor, but this can be done with your hands too.
Put dry ingredients in the processor bowl. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse the machine 4-5 times. Pour in 4 oz. water all at once and immediately pulse several more times. The dough should begin to form a ball on the blade. If not, drizzle a little more water and repeat. It is done when it begins to come together. Don't over mix.
After the dough is mixed in the processor, do Fraisage - final blending. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. With the heel of one hand (not the palm, it is too warm) rapidly press the pastry by 2 spoonful bits down on the board and away from you in a firm, quick smear of about 6". With a scraper gather the dough into a mass, knead briefly into 2 fairly smooth round balls. Sprinkly lightly with flour and wrap separately in plastic wrap.
Place in the freezer for 1 hour or the refrigerator for 2 hours (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Rolling out the dough - place the dough on a lightly floured surface. If it is hard, beat it with the rolling pin to soften it. Knead it briefly into a fairly flat circle. Lightly flour the top of the dough. Starting from the center, roll away from you. Lift the dough and turn, repeating the rolling. Flour as necessary. Roll until it is 1/8" thick and 2" bigger than your pan.
Place the dough in the pan (I fold the dough in half and then again - and move the center point to the center of the pan and unfold.) Fit it into the pan. Trim excess dough, leaving a 1/2" overhang, then fold under pastry and press into pan to reinforce edge. Decoratively crimp (I skip this!) the edge and lightly prick the bottom and side of shell with a fork. Line shell with foil and fill with pie weights (I use foil filled with dry rice)
Bake until set - 8-9 minutes. Remove weights and foil and prick bottom with a fork to keep from rising. Return to oven for 2-3 more minutes. When shell is starting to color... Then fill as you plan and cook according to those directions. Enjoy!
Good food does make me happy. And cooking that good food makes me even happier. I am waiting impatiently for our local farmer's markets to open again for our yummy fresh produce.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Happy Book

I'm a little behind in posting about this, but only a week or so! :)

I'm very excited to be participating in The Happy Book Mail-Around. The amazing, wonderful Jamie is sponsoring this as part of her "The Next Chapter" book club. This is a bit different in that there are four groups of about 26 people and one copy of this fun book is being mailed around from person to person in the groups! We will each get the book for one week to add our own personal touches, and then we pass it along to the next person.

For this, you didn't have to buy a copy of the book as we're passing along just one copy within each group, but I wanted my own! So, it arrived in the mail last week. Wow, is it ever fun?! I haven't played yet, but just in leafing through - there are so many ideas, ways to express what makes you happy!

Each Friday, I'm going to try and post something here that makes me happy. I missed Friday last week, so there will be TWO this week (I hope!) :)

This week is a no brainer. It's simply - THE OCEAN. It never fails to make me happy when we make the trip to the beach, whether it is the 1/2 mile walk, or a drive to one of our favorite spots. I love living by the water. We've been here for six months, and I know it was the right move for us. That draw to the ocean is still there - it's just easier to get to the ocean now!

Friday, January 8, 2010


I think about writing a blog post often... but, obviously, I don't get it done!

I have lots to share. So, I'm going to see how I do in the new year and try blogging a little bit more regularly!
We love it here in Oregon! The winter weather is interesting - we love that we are not in the icebox like Colorado, and NO snow! I visited Colorado in early December for a week (to catch up with friends, and work in my office there). It was negative zero degrees all week! Yikes! It felt downright balmy in Portland when Mike picked me up!
The rain all the time is wonderful to both of us. We haven't been affected by any problems with being depressed because of the grey (at least not so far). Some of the storms have been quite impressive. The wind is actually pretty scary during a big storm! We've lost power a couple times, but not for any length of time. We really enjoy seeing the waves after a big storm passes through! It's truly stunning how big they get! (Photos below are from a storm in early November - our first big storm - we spent hours watching the ocean! You can see all of my photos at my Flickr page.)

We celebrated our first Christmas in Oregon with Mike's brother, Jeff and his wife, Geeta. They stayed with us for about a week. We drove all over the coast and saw the sights with them. It was a little cramped in our tiny place, but overall a good visit. (I got sick on Christmas day, so they went around without me after that. I missed out on some pretty cool coastline that Mike will bring me back to see soon!) They are vegetarians (Mike and I are not) so I was a bit worried about the food situation. They took over and did quite a bit of cooking while they were here! Geeta made saag paneer for us, which was wonderful!

Mike is still looking for a job - and we're doing OK on just my salary. We're hoping he can find something nearby in the next six months. If not, we'll have to reevaluate before we sign another lease on our apartment. We may have to move into a larger town for him to find something. Our little Lincoln City doesn't have much in the way of jobs to offer, but we sure do love it! I'm hoping something will come through so we can stay here. I don't want to leave our coast if we don't have to. Salem would be the closest big town, and it's about 2 hours away - inland. Blah!

That's what has been happening in our little world! :)