Monday, June 29, 2009

Soap and Jam!

I'm back!

I am too lazy to post much of anything about our trip at this very second- but I will say that I had a FANTASTIC time, and I basically had a whining contest the whole drive home with Laila about how we didn't want to leave. I'm not sure who won.

While I don't have the energy to put into posting pictures and doing a day by day run down at the moment- I do want to share two sweet little companies that I discovered over the weekend.

The first being Sundance Lavender Farm (big surprise, I know). Becca took me to the PSU Saturday Farmers Market on Saturday morning, where we picked up the most amazing berries in the world to make something that I will tell you about later. It deserves its own post! From halfway across the market I spotted this huge sign: "LAVENDER JAM" - OH HEY WHAT'S UP??? Do you know me at all? Yeah, heaven. I somehow managed to restrain myself enough to only sample 3 flavors, and to buy just one jar! How can this be? Yeah, I don't know either. Somehow it happened. So I came home with a jar of Lavender Marionberry, and am now trying to talk myself out of placing an online order this very second. Maybe I should wait until I get through the first jar, no? Yeah, we'll see about that.

The second company is a sweet little soap company, named quite simply The Oregon Soap Company, that I found at the Portland Saturday Market (on Sunday, ironically enough). I have to admit that I am basically lured by anything that smells of peppermint, tea tree oil, honey, or (big surprise) lavender. I know what I like, bizzle. Right off the bat I had a bar of Tea Tree Peppermint shoved halfway up my nose. I ended up making off with that, a bar of Extra Strength Peppermint, and a bar of Caribbean Bay Rum for my stinky boyfriend. My apartment smells ridiculously wonderful right now.

I'll try to muster up the strength to post pictures and some food reviews tomorrow, and maybe even a recipe if you're lucky.

I leave you with this beautiful shot of our berries, from my lover Laila:

I want you to dream a little about what these ended up being.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Failed Pizza and Portland!

So, Tuesday night didn't go quite as planned. We decided to put off cheese making for another week or so, and using Trader Joe's pizza dough ended in failure. I always forget that it never turns out the way that I want it to (basically it always ends up being a gooey, sticky, glutenous mess). So we scraped the toppings off of our pizza, drank 47 Pound Rooster Cab, and probably ate a few too many dark chocolate almond cookies.

A note on the wine- it is one of my absolute favorites, and for under $8 at TJ's you really can't beat it. I enjoy it so much, that I ONCE drank the entire bottle in about an hour. AndthenIthrewitallbackupandpassedoutinJesse'sbedandReneehadtotakemehomeandbabysitmeanditwasallverysadandkindofgross. Anyways...

Last night David Byrne played at The Paramount, and as per usual- I have a sweet hookup and we had free second row balcony seats. Suckas! He puts on such a ridiculously good show. It blew me away. During his (first) encore he had an entire marching band and dance team come out and perform Burning Down The House- which had the entire theater up and dancing. He had dancers and backup singers interacting with him and each other the entire time- and it wasn't the typical "cute girls in short skirts" kind of deal. It was all really interesting and artistic and fun. The whole thing was so high energy and I'm really glad that we went. I'm posting these at work, so forgive me if the sound is crap. I'll fix them later! Take a quick listen if you aren't familiar with his most recent work with Brian Eno.

I'm heading down to Portland with Laila tonight to spend some time with my good friends from Alaska, as well as the regular Portland activities- riding bikes, eating food, and drinking beer (and coffee). We're wild. My bff/lover Becca has a food blog so we may combine forces and cook up something dangerous at some point. We will see! I don't like to plan much ahead of time, as it leaves no room for disappointment- but I'm aiming for good street vendor food, and hitting up the Portland Farmers Market, either Saturday or Sunday before we head home. I'm broke as a joke this time around, so it'll be a lot of frugal fun, if nothing else!

Updates on Sunday!

Luff you.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Jam, Cheese, and Beer

Oh, me.

I get antsy so easily. My garden is content and as big as it can be this year, my food processor and ice cream maker are well broken in, my cookbooks have all been read, my bikes are all fixed up (minus putting a brake back on the Kilo), my apartment is the right amount of cluttered, my finances are in order, and I'm in a nice every other week routine of farmers market/CSA box.

So what that means- is that I'm bored. Which does NOT mean that I should further clean my apartment, or finish old sewing projects, or make myself lunches for the week. Nothing responsible like that.

Oh no. Not even close.

It means that I need a new hobby! Or even two!

I have been DYING all year to make my own jam. But after looking up local U-Pick farms via, I decided to wait until mid July when I'll have a lot more berry options. Seriously though- realizing that I can go and pick blueberries and raspberries until my little fingers fall off pretty much made me the happiest I've been in a long time. I grew up on a dead end street with a "yard" that was more or less a massive patch of blueberry bushes, and then a giant mountain. Now my "yard" is a bunch of overgrown grass and a freakish monster-looking rhododendron, with a heavily used street on the other side. NO GOOD. So- jam will be my July project. If you want in on this- seriously hit me up before then. To this day- one of my all-time favorite Seattle days was when my dad was in town, and we drove out to Snohomish with Amy to pick pumpkins, which was something that none of us had ever done before. It was probably the closest thing I've had to any of my childhood experiences with my dad, since I turned 14. OKAY enough of that. I'm getting smushy.

Anyway. Back on track. The chapter I'm on in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle right now is all about cheese making. The thing that caught my eye the most- especially since Matao has been on a bit of a mozzarella kick lately- was her recipe and guide for making 30-minute mozzarella. Which is actually from The New England Cheese Making Supply Company. Recipe: here. And since I'm lacking in rennet and citric acid, I did a little internet investigating, and figured out that The Cellar Homebrew in Greenwood actually carries cheese making supplies, as well as beer and wine supplies. Oh, sweet heaven, I have found you.

Is it really bad that I have the slightest hunch what my next project might be...? La la beer la la la la.

So, anyway- tomorrow: we pick up our CSA box, then cheese making supplies, and proceed to make the best dinner there ever was. Or, at least that's the plan. I'm thinking grilled pizzas? I'll probably cheat and pick up crusts at Trader Joe's, but whatevs. I'll post pictures and a basic recipe if we succeed!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Too Pooped to Poop

Things and stuff:

On Thursday night Mant Jerkson drove me up to Everett to pick up a new (to me) '88 Raleigh Technium aluminum 12 speed road bike. HI! I scored big time. The only modifications that I did to it were to switch out the saddle for my Brooks, change the drops to bullhorns, change out the brake levers, and slap on some new tires and tubes. The wheels need some major truing- but I rode it last night without too much wobble.

Nevermind the giant bike pile going on here. It's stacked on my Mercier, which is stacked on wheels/tires/fenders/pumps. Welcome to my apartment!

The solstice ride was last night. From what I heard from Ryan today- 67 people registered, and about 50 people actually lasted the full 8 hours. I more or less lasted until 4 this morning, but that was only because I took a nap at Beccca's, and then got up just to come home. Laila and I had this great plan of attack at the beginning of the night, but it quickly turned into more of a short and sweet plan of attack with a long nap at the end. It sounds like Laila actually ended up finishing after we parted ways from Becca's, though. I on the other hand- needed my beauty rest. I'll see about getting some pictures of the ride up once Laila posts hers. I didn't take any last night.

Matao was actually nice and let me sleep until almost noon today. Once I was finally up and moving, we went out to the Ballard Farmers Market, and picked up some of the first raspberries we've seen this season, as well as some fresh peas from our favorite flower lady, dill and garlic white cheddar from Golden Glen Creamery (love!), and summer sausage from Olsen Farms, where we've also bought wonderful potatoes in the past. We sat out on the grass above the locks, until it started to rain on us.

Clearly Matt was REALLY enjoying the raspberries.

Aside from that- I moved my jalapeno plants to the disaster of a "yard" on the side of our building. They were harboring a very nasty aphid infestation, and after it spread to my carrot seedlings and spearmint- it was time to get them away from everything else. I sprayed the plants really well with 1 part oil/3 parts water/a squirt of dish soap, and as of yesterday all of the creepies were dead. I just didn't want to risk missing any of them- so the jalapenos get to live outside now. I think it may actually be a better bet for them anyway, as they hadn't been fruiting due to a lack of sun. We will see!

I re-potted some of my garlic, and the lettuce starts that Idil had given me. I did a bit of re-arranging so that some of my struggling plants can now get more sun. I also planted some dwarf nasturtiums, which I'm really excited about- as they remind me of the garden we had living out North Douglas when I was five or six! Fresh peas and broccoli have that affect as well. It's funny how well those memories stick sometimes.

Hopefully this means tomatoes soon!

I also cut my hair super(ish) short again on Thursday. I'm finally getting better about leaving it natural. Check it!

I'm hoping this next week is fairly mellow. I'm heading down to Portland with Laila on Thursday night or Friday morning until Sunday- so for me that may mean less bike riding and more spending time with Becca and Aaron, as well as the Danger Death Ray boys. I have been so severely homesick lately- and they all feel like home.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sad Eyes On A Sleepy Girl


I am having an incredibly exhausting, overwhelming, blah sort of week. I have been day dreaming about naps.

We have to tear the sheet-rock out of the ceiling above my bed this weekend, and I don't have an effing clue where I'm going to be sleeping. I (hopefully) finish the Solstice ride at 5:11 am on Sunday, and from there eat breakfast and then ride home from the Hill. The idea of not having my bed actually in my bedroom is making me want to cry. Awesome.

I started reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle this week, and so far I love it. Basically all I want to do lately is snuggle up in bed, read, and eat cameo apples from our CSA box.

I'll try to post some updated pictures of my plants soon. Probably after this weekend. They have gone completely nuts. Unfortunately my jalapeƱos have a pretty bad aphid infestation right now, and I'm really worried about it spreading. I'm going to try to drag my butt to the store later tonight to get some shears and a spray bottle so I can attack them before they get to anything else. I really want to move everything inside inside, but we just aren't set up for it yet. Soon soon.

Anyway. Here is some sweet sweet internet love for you:

- Lentil cookies!(?)

- Target Women: Lady Friends. If you don't know about Sarah Haskins yet- GET ON IT. I love her and so should you.

- PEDALING REVOLUTION- How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities book review by David Byrne (of Talking Heads).

- The cutest damn thing I've ever seen (this week).

- The Sounds just put out a new album, and Le Tigre and Christina Aguilera are teaming up to make an album. OH MY GOD. ILY Christina.

- This picture makes my little heart happy.

- Lessons In Compost Breakdown from a fantastic photographer.

- An Awesome Book! No joke. I love this.

- A wonderful post, titled Imaginary Summer from All This Happiness.

Alright. Home to bed I go.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Lets Get Visual

Have you checked my Image Spark lately?

My love for this website is still going strong. I can be in the most absolute crap mood, and having this huge library of images that I LOVE is so therapeutic and wonderful. It's also been a very good way to feed my fashion lust, while leading my very unfashionable life.

Sign up for one. Seriously. Especially if you have as severe of a Tumblr and blog addiction as I do.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Solstice Scavenger Hunt/All Night Ride

I just registered for THIS, and you should too if you're going to be in Seattle that weekend. It's a ride, not a race, and I'm sure that it'll kick my ass and then-some regardless.

All the better! Click the link for details and to pre-register. Registration fee covers breakfast the next morning (vegan option is available!)

Thanks to Ryan at Go Means Go for putting this on!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fresh Strawberry Cake & Scones

I don't know what happened to me yesterday, but around 1:23 PM I was hit with a sudden NEED (definitely not just a craving) for strawberry cake. Now- I'm not talking about vanilla cake with fresh strawberries, or strawberry shortcake, or anything like that. I'm talking about straight up- layered strawberry flavored cake with buttercream and lots of things that are bad for me.

The weird thing- is that I've never actually had strawberry cake before. I just felt liked I needed it, for whatever reason. It was beyond me.

I ended up having to do some searching. Almost every single recipe I found called for either boxed cake mix (sin!) or strawberry Jell-O (ew!) NOT HAPPENING IN THIS KITCHEN. Sorry kittens. I finally landed on this glorious, wonderful recipe, that was exactly what I was looking for.

Now. Call me crazy- but I really, really do not care for cream cheese frosting one bit. I made my bosses daughter a pound cake with Toffuti cream cheese frosting last summer, and that was the closest I came to liking it. And that most likely had something to do with the half pound of strawberries that I had added to it. Just saying.

I have the tendency to try to make every "bad" for me thing that I ever bake relatively healthy. This goes beyond just veganizing recipes. I sub out white flour for whole wheat, I use applesauce instead of oil, nuts instead of chocolate... blah blah the list goes on. Yesterday was not the day for that nonsense. Plus I wanted other people to actually eat it.

So, out with cream cheese frosting- and in with whiskey buttercream. Yes, really. First of all- this is my all-time favorite frosting recipe. Second of all- I'm out of vanilla and too broke/cheap to replace it right now- but LUCKILY for some reason I have a plethora of mini-bottles of cheap whiskey in my cupboards. I'm not sure how it all got there, but I sure am glad that it did. It was an easy substitution to make (I did it in the cake too, shhh!) and OMFG am I glad that I did.

In all of the moving that I've done in the past year and a half, I managed to misplace my cake pans. All I had was a 9"x11" pyrex, so once my cake had cooled (and I freaking burnt half of it because my oven is the devil), I cut it in half, and then layered it that way. Oh, sweet, sweet heaven.

I was planning on posting both recipes, with my modifications- but really, I don't need to. If you need the cake to be vegan- just sub the eggs out for silken tofu (or whatever your egg sub preference is- although with the number of eggs being so high, I would definitely suggest tofu over flax meal or Ener-G) I made the cake using eggs (the first non-vegan thing I've baked in over a year, whoaaa), and really all I did was sub the vanilla for whiskey in both recipes, which isn't required, but is still a very wise choice. Just try it. Do it. Come on.

Oh yeah, and after that was done I made strawberry scones because I had leftover puree. And no, mine weren't whole wheat, and yes, they were vegan. Matt has been living off of them for the past 24 hours. That and cake. I want him to get fat.

(Yes the scones had purple and pink turbinado sugar on them. What?)

And my real dinner- because my body was going to kick me out of it if I didn't feed it something that wasn't made out of 95% sugar- was wilted dandelion greens with garlic, balsamic, and sea salt. Pretty damn delicious, minus the fact that my greens were too mature and a bit too bitter for my taste. Oh well. Back to the sugar.

Sorry about the crap pictures. The lighting in my apartment gets all sorts of crazy once the sun goes down.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Short Shorts

I just got home from a 15 mile bike ride and was standing in my new (!) living room stripping down when I realized that the neighbors across the street can see RIGHT in our windows. YES!!! Or not. My bad. I guess it's time to give in and get curtains.

So the reason why I haven't updated in nearly a week is because we did a bit of apartment switcharooing. I realize that I have pretty much had almost no one over since I've lived in this apartment- but the basic break down is that previously I had a small downstairs room, and my roommate had the giant upstairs- with her own bathroom, loft, and huge huge walk-in-and-then-some closet. So when Matt moved in a monthish ago, we decided to switch things around. So as of this past week we were moving upstairs, and Allison downstairs. Our setup is really great up here now as well. We put our bed in the closet, which actually used to be a porch- so with a ton of huge windows and plywood walls it actually feels a bit like we're sleeping on a porch, which right now I absolutely love. The main area is our living room, and the loft right now is mostly a big mess, but will eventually have Matt's music stuff and my sewing stuff set up in it.

Oh, and as of this morning, we have a woodpecker who has decided it wants to move in with us. I woke up at 7ish to something pounding on/in the wall. I woke Matt up and we both laid there for a while trying to figure out what it was and where it was coming from. Me: "I think it's a cougar" Matt: "Wait... like a hot mom?" He finally got up and opened one of the curtains and scared the crap out of the lovely little woodpecker who had decided to wake us up so bright and early.

What else what else... we get our first Full Circle Farms CSA box on Tuesday, which to me feels like my birthday in June. Vegetables??? YES!!! We had Mighty-O donuts for breakfast this morning, which was definitely a good choice. I made really delicious peanut butter oatmeal cookie dough on Friday at 6 am, which ended up making really terrible cookies. So most of it went unbaked and I've been picking at it all weekend. Good enough for me! I think I want to experiment with baking pies this summer, as it's something that I've never quite gotten down. For some reason it feels like a necessary life skill to me. That and being able to start a fire with a shoelace and a bobby pin.

I actually managed to drag myself out of the apartment last night, and went to B's for a short shorts party. I'm so glad that I did. I have been so anti-social lately, and the less I go out the less I want to- but when I do go out I'm usually glad that I did. Although Laila and myself are still 110% about living the old lady life of crafting and farmers markets. Whatevs. It's all about balance.

And yes, that's my super hot boyfriend with the uneven cutoffs and the purple shirt. It looks like he's sticking his butt out, but it's just how the shorts are cut. I think... Oh Matao. The rest of the pictures I took last night are up on Facebook. I don't feel like bombarding my blog with sexy man legs.

Alright. I think that's all I've got.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sunday Night Dinner

My favorite favorite favorite thing is when Matao actually has a full weekend day off from work. Oh man. Yesterday we were up early (we always are these days), lazed around for a hot second, and then went to the Ballard Farmers Market. We always do one lap around before buying anything. This week: a mixed bag of baby potatoes (red/pink, purple, and yellow), sharp white cheddar with basil and tomato, a baby green mix that included spinach and arugala from Full Circle, snap pea sprouts, strawberry apple cider from Rock Ridge Orchards, fresh picked asparagus, "Chipotleyaki" sauce from a really cool guy with really cool condiments, and a bunch of lupine for Matao's mama.

Not so bad.

We made dinner last night after running around all day, and used up most of what we had bought. The potatoes were boiled, and then fried until crispy with fresh garlic, sage, thyme, basil, rosemary, lavender, and marjoram. I grilled the asparagus on our funny little "grill" that really just makes me miss having a gas range. The greens all got tossed together, and I opted to make a light vinagarette with fresh ginger and mint, while Matao ate his with Goddess dressing (we're frugal and buy the Whole Foods brand, 'cause it's way cheaper than Annies). A little cheese on the side, and pineapple for dessert, and I don't think I could have been happier. Oh yeah, and I got Matao to cook, so that made it even better.

And yes, I do often cook in my undies, in case you were wondering. Hot days are no pants days around here. For me, at least.

I'm really interested in signing up for Full Circle's CSA and supplementing with produce from weekend farmers markets... anyone tried their (or anyone elses) CSA program and liked it? Grocery shopping is a pain in the ass without a car, and I eat mostly produce anyway. Hummmmm.
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