Saturday, December 5, 2009

Last Fall of College

Finally fall term is almost over! My last fall term of college!! Only two terms left to go and I graduate, thank goodness. I know I was trying to start using this blog as a cooking blog, but once school started I had neither the funds, nor the time to cook. I am hoping that during the Christmas break I will be able to utilize my mother's kitchen and ingredients to cook up a storm! Nothing better than having a large space and seemingly unlimited resources. But to update a bit on how this term played out:

I was taking five classes:
-English 440: Modern Irish Literature
-English 412: Studies in British Theatre and Society
-Anthropology 240: Biological Anthropology
-Writing 224: Fiction Writing
-History 362: Women in U.S. History

The classes were a mix of good and bad. I loved my fiction writing class, the teacher was energetic and I was able to test the waters of short story writing by being assigned to write two stories during the term. Both of which I enjoyed writing. Conversely, my Irish Lit class was a struggle. The material was not the problem, I enjoyed reading Yeats, Shaw, and O'Casey. But the teacher was another matter. He constantly yelled and degraded the class for not being up to his standards in discussion. While he may have been trying to get us to think more deeply about the subject materiel, it led most students, myself included, to fear going to class because we knew that we would never have the right answer. The few times that I or my friend Kalin would speak out and try and participate with valid responses, we would get cut off or practically ignored. If someone didn't give him the exact answer he was looking for to an open ended discussion question, he would tell them they were wrong. I thought discussing literature was pretty much open to the reader. My Irish Lit professor thought otherwise. So for anyone who attends OSU and may take an English class in the future, avoid Professor Davison. I will say, that I have learned a lot, but I don't think the means to getting there were the most effective.

After Midterms I was looking at all A's in my classes and I hope I did enough in the second half of the term to keep them. I have two papers left to write and one test this week, but other than that I am finished!

Other highlights...Heath and I celebrated our One Year Anniversary in November! To think that so much time has gone by, but at the same time, not very long, is exciting. To celebrate the big occasion we went out to eat at The Painted Lady in Newberg. ( For those of you who have never heard of it, it is a four course meal, and truly delicious experience. Heath and I had recently become fans of the Food Network Channel show, "Chopped" and neither of us had ever been to a super fancy restaurant and thought it would be fun. We were a bit worried that four little meals would not be filling, but trust me when I say that was not the case. We both left stuffed!

For starters I had a Venison Carpaccio with Petite Salad and Heath had a Miso Custard with Crab and Sea Urchin. Next they brought us bread.
Our second course was a crispy skinned steel-head on top of a cauliflower ravioli.
The main entree, I had Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin over Potato Puree and Sherry Cream Sauce and Heath had Beef Two Ways; Prime New York Steak and Braised Short Ribs
And the most important, dessert, Heath had a Citrus Quartet, which had four mini citrus themed desserts; a citrus salad, lemon creme brulee, citrus tart and citrus merengue. I had a Chocolate Souffle. Having only ever heard about them and never tried one I had to give it a shot.
All the food was delicious and it was truly a romantic evening to remember!

Thanksgiving was a big occasion at my parents house with about 20 people. We had my family, my sister-in-law's family and Heath's family over and it was truly a feast. The day was spent socializing, eating, and eating a bit more. Heath and I were lucky enough to take the majority of the leftovers back down to Corvallis which sustained us for about a week.

Also, I was introduced to this site called and it is basically an online bookshelf! You can add books you have read, are reading and want to read. It can be a bit addicting when you start finding all the books you've read and give reviews, etc. I mainly enjoy it because I can keep track of books I have read and whether or not I liked them. So check it out!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

And So It Begins

I've done it! I've began the cooking process! And it has already been a roller-coaster of excitement and emotions. Not what I expected from simply cooking from a few recipes but a good experience so far.
I ended up not being able to cook anything on my designated day, Saturday, because I had unknown plans to hang out with some friends during the afternoon. Which, believe me when I say it was a blast, but I was a little down because I would have to postpone my cooking further. Worried I would have to wait until next Saturday, I was relieved when I realized I would be making a dessert on Wednesday night for a bible study my parents host at their house. The next day, however, I was informed by my mom that someone else wanted to make dessert because it was their birthday, so yet again I was defeated before even beginning the process. As it got nearer to Wednesday the group realized no one was signed up to bring appetizers or a side for the main dish. Immediately, I jumped at the chance and began searching through the cookbook for the best things to make. That's when I found out the main entree for the evening was Chili Cheese Dogs...not much you can pair with those as a side. I was forced to narrow my search options through the cookbook; something healthy, something green perhaps. I finally settled on a Warm Green Bean Salad for the side dish and a Hummus dip and a Artichoke and Scallion dip for the appetizers.
Come Wednesday, after shopping and acquiring all of the ingredients needed for my three dishes. Upon arriving home I promptly start setting out the ingredients for the individual recipes and my mission was under way. I started with the Hummus; now I have had a few store bought types and even tried someone's homemade, so I was excited to attempt my own. While shopping for the ingredients, the Hummus recipe called for Tahini. My mind drew a complete blank. Tahini? What is that? A vegetable? A spice? No...apparently it is a sauce, who knew? Not I, so as I am searching up and down the aisles at Fred Meyer I eventually come to the conclusion that it doesn't exist or I am too blind to see it. Baffled, I decided to ask someone who works there if they happen to know where it could possibly be. I assumed that no one else had heard of it either so I say, "Excuse me, I have an odd ingredient to ask about, do you know where Tahini is?" To which the kind lady, fully knowing what it is I am looking for points me in the right direction. Of course, why didn't I look in the Natural Foods the Peanut Butter...
I have come to the conclusion that grocery stores should have a look up computer like they have at libraries. So I could go to this computer and type in "tahini" and it would tell me what aisle to look down. Back to the cooking - I put all the ingredients in my mom's mini food processor and watched as Chickpeas (also known as Garbanzo beans), lemon juice, tahini, and garlic became my own homemade Hummus. I was elated! I had made Hummus and it was easy as can be and looked perfect, and some paprika sprinkled on top gave it a nice look. My joy, however, was lost when I tried said Hummus. Taking a pita chip and putting a fair amount on it and putting it in my mouth, expecting a delicious flavor. Instead my delicious flavor was overpowered by an after taste that was bitter and sour! Immediately I looked at the recipe; did I add more garlic than I thought? Did i mess up the amount of lemon? No, everything looked in order. No idea why, but the Hummus I made had a sharp after flavor. Worried I was going to be serving something gross to people I put it in the fridge for later, hoping that the next dip would be better.
Artichoke and Scallion dip! I've already noticed something funny about this recipe book. It gives you an estimated prep and cook time, and so far they have been WAY off in when it comes to prep time. The Artichoke and Scallion dip says "Prep time 5 minutes." Maybe for a master chef! The only way I can think they allotted only 5 minutes was if the ingredients were already set out, chopped and measured just waiting to be mixed together. Taking probably 15 minutes to make this dip, I again tried it with a pita chip and Voila! Delicious! It is a very savory but mild dip and I was much more pleased with the way it turned out. Putting it in the fridge with the Hummus to get cold I waited to start the third recipe until people started arriving.
Before people started arriving I had my fabulous taste-tester Heath try both dips to see if they were edible and worth setting out for others to partake in. Wonderful Heath, who likes everything, put my fears to rest when he announced he really like both; including the Hummus! People started arriving and the dips were both a huge hit! Maybe I'm the one with the weird taste buds; which Heath would agree with considering he doesn't understand how I wouldn't like any and every food. I'm working on training my taste buds to like different foods, especially those I usually dislike, but I'm not going to lie, I avoided the Hummus dip for the rest of the night.
As Sasha, who was preparing the Chili Cheese Dogs, started setting up, I decided to start making the Warm Green Bean Salad. I had my cookbook sitting out on the stove top next to the counter where I was mixing my ingredients together for the sauce. Sasha, who claims she can never understand which button to turn for which burner, decided to try one that she thought was correct. The one she turned on, which we have a gas stove, so it's flames not just a coil heating up, but the burner she chose happened to be the one my cookbook was sitting against. Suddenly we started noting there was a smoke-y smell in the room, thankfully my mom saw what was going on and picked up the cookbook and the paper towel which was in flames and put it all out. My cookbook is now officially christened. Normally, I would be quite upset over the fact that I just spent 35 bucks on a brand new cookbook only to have it get a nice crinkly burnt spot on the front cover, the first time I go to use it. Thankfully, however, Heath was there to quickly put my emotions at bay by telling me it was now an official cookbook and it showed how used it was. If he hadn't been there, I may have gotten a bit more upset. And now that I think about it, who really cares, it's just a book and a cookbook at that, isn't it supposed to get stains and burns and whatnot all over it to show how used it is? The Warm Green Bean Salad ended up being scrumptious! I, with my picky taste buds, thought there was a little too much ginger in it, but everyone else seemed to like it.

997 recipes to go!

Next task: Dinner for Heath and my parents :)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Adventure Time!

I'm beginning to realize that the title I originally chose for my blog now sounds extremely conceited. I started this blog as a photography blog, so the quest for beauty was through pictures, then my blog was a travel blog, and now it is my personal blog for writing about anything and I fear people assume the quest for beauty would be for physical, personal beauty - but alas it is not.

My next adventure which I plan to use this blog for is my attempt at cooking through a cookbook. Now before you assume I just simply copied the idea from the movie Julie and Julia, it is not true. I have always wanted to make every recipe in a cookbook. I mean, if the recipe made it into a cookbook it has to be good right? But how often do I really use a cookbook to try something "new"? I use cookbooks when I want to make something I know I will like; I just need a recipe for it - like cheesecake. But now I am going to cook through an entire cookbook even if it is a recipe I don't think I will particularly enjoy. Thankfully my taste-tester is Heath, who happens to eat anything and everything. So I know there won't be ingredients that he wouldn't eat, I will be more of the problem in that department. I'm the one who can tend to be picky, which is why I never think to make certain recipes in the first place, or even take the time to try. But now I am making that time.
Heath and I went to Borders and picked out a well rounded cookbook that we thought would give me a wide range of things to cook and bake. It's called, "The Kitchen Bible," but you want to know what the best part is? It's Illustrated! Which is, in my opinion, the best part. That way I can see if what I make actually has any resemblance to the picture of the pro's version.
In contrast to the movie, I won't be trying to cook through this book in a year. First, I don't have the money to buy all the ingredients to do it that quickly and second, I don't have the time to devote to cooking. So I am going to start by using my Saturday morning/afternoon to cook a few things from the Kitchen Bible, whether it be bread and a salad or a main dish and dessert (I'm telling you this book has a bit of everything).
Similarly to the movie, I will be attempting to update my blog with the on-goings of my cooking. Hopefully it will encourage me to use my blog more often and be able to write about my ups and downs of cooking new and exciting dishes.
My only problem that I have noted so far is realizing how much kitchen gadgets I don't own, which of course will add to the cost of cooking. Maybe I will save recipes, in which I don't have the correct utensils, for after Christmas. That way I can ask for what I need then.

With the first Saturday coming up so soon (tomorrow) I am not sure where to begin in this cookbook with 1,000 recipes! I'm thinking I should start small and just test the waters first but part of me wants to go all out and make an extravagant meal. We shall see and I will be sure to post about my first run with the cookbook at work tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The phrase "working mother" is redundant

This Sunday is Mother's Day, a wonderful time to celebrate all that mother's do for their families. My mom has been such a blessing in my life. She is someone I look up to and hope to be like when I am a mother. She has always had her families best interest in mind. Looking back to my childhood and adolescent days, I realize all the times I didn't thank her, I didn't even realize the sacrifices she made for us as kids and family. Every day she made us dinner, every week we had clean clothes and a clean house. And how many times did I say thank you? Not enough I'm sure.
What I challenge myself to do now is to thank her as much as possible, because I am always thankful for what she does, but I need to make more of an effort to express it. I realize how much I am like my mom, I give to people time. And usually that time is spent cooking, cleaning, helping, doing anything I can that I know that person will appreciate. And when I don't get a thank you? I feel like I must not have done a good enough job, and if I'm anything like my mom (which I know I am) how often must she have felt not good enough as a mom, not valued for all she did for us. So once a year we are given the opportunity to show just a little bit of the gratitude we have for the mothers who have given so much for us.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up"

I had a wonderful weekend. On Saturday I was able to get work off and go visit Heath's grandparents with his family for his grandpa's 75th birthday. We got there and Heath, his mom-Rhonda, and I all chatted with his Grandma while his dad-Darren and Grandpa were working on some stuff out in the shop. We then went to lunch at Mcgraths Fish House and had yummy seafood. Then afterward Heath, Grandma and I all played Scrabble and went for a refreshing walk. While driving home Heath and his parents and I all stopped to eat dinner at this wonderful Mexican restaurant, I was so full after!

Sunday my mom came down and went to church with us. The sermon was awesome. We went through a section of Psalm 119 and it was really powerful and full of impact. We then made a huge lunch of Coconut Chicken, Bread, and Cesar Salad. It was so scrumptious. Then my mom headed home and I went off to work.

Monday meant going back to school, I had to lead discussion for English 436; we're reading the book Middlemarch by George Eliot (female pen name). The book is great. We're wrapping up the book this Wednesday, and the ending was perfect (I read ahead). Then I had Writing 201 in which all the students came in and sat down and we're all sitting there until about 5 minutes after class should start when we realize there is a sign outside the door that says the class is cancelled today haha. If only I had noticed that beforehand I would have saved some time. Then I was able to have leftover coconut chicken with Heath for lunch before walking to my Anthropology 380 class - where we watched the first part of a war movie called "No Man's Land."

Today, Tuesday, I walked in early to meet Heath at the Library where we went over the reading for our English 206 and 203 class. Then we walked to English 206 where we were studying for the midterm we have on Thursday and took a quiz!! Now we're sitting in English 203, Shakespeare, where we also had a quiz and are now discussing Timon of Athens - a play I have never read or studied before.

Tonight Heath and I get to do laundry and then we're going to make dinner for our friend Christy. My mom gave me this awesome Stir Fry recipe and I'm going to attempt to make it for the first time - hope it tastes good!!

Heath and I started watching "The Day the Earth Stood Still" last night, and I must say the movie isn't very good. It's all about preaching how we are ruining the earth and the only way to save Earth is that if we change--but that humans never change. A bit far fetched and the directing/script/acting/cinematography isn't even good to begin with.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I Have Almost Forgot the Taste of Fears.

I am sitting here in my Shakespeare class - while we discuss the play Macbeth. Makes me appreciate the theatre I did in High School, so much easier to understand Shakespeare when you have actually acted in a play. Then I start missing theatre. The last play I acted in was Romeo and Juliet. Why didn't I continue to do theatre in college? Time, mainly. Didn't think I would have the time and I wanted to not be attached to the theatre world for once (considering it ate my entire high school career). I have acted in 19 plays and Assisted Directed 1. How do you just drop something that is so consuming of your life for so long?
Every time I see someone from my past, the question always asked is "are you involved in theatre?" And my answer..."no" I don't regret not continuing to be involved in theatre, the only times i miss it are when I watch a play. Like Broadway shows, I absolutely love to see professional (or nonprofessional) shows, but then I always get this little feeling inside of me of how I miss it.
But then I think of all the things I wouldn't be able to do if I was involved in theatre!
I wouldn't have been able to go to Spain, I wouldn't be able to have a job, I wouldn't have all the free time to spend hanging out with friends. I'm sure my homework would suffer and I would be wrapped up in a completely different group of friends. Probably would have never met all my friends through Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship. I don't regret not going into theatre and I will continue to enjoy watching what other people will produce for the stage. :D