Thursday, October 30, 2008

Rebuilding New Orleans

I adore New Orleans. I've only been there a couple of times but it left a lasting impression on me. I haven't been since Katrina and since my experience with Ike, I can say I have new appreciation for NOLA.

I happened to be wandering around on the internet and found some pictures of the houses that are being built in New Orleans by the Make It Right Foundation run by Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie. I guess they opened the first newly built homes earlier this month. And wow, these homes are awesome.
These 2 are my favorites (All stolen from Make It Right's Website):
I love how the "garage" is under the house. Also helps in case another flood occurs. If this house was on my block, it would take me forever to get used to it.
But it's not all tilted inside! How cool is that. I love this house. Again there is a "garage" underneath.
All the houses were built by international teams of designers designed to be suited to the community and regional needs. Definitely check out their website and see which one is your favorite!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

In Love with A Slow Cooker

I received a slow cooker as a wedding gift. I really wanted one. Tai was less impressed. He isn't not a huge fan of stews and pot roast. So I decided to be creative and come up with other recipes.
In the October issue of Real Simple (who else loves this magazine?), I found a recipe for Asian Short Ribs. I dumped all the ingredients in the slow cooker before work one day, turn on the heat and left for the day. Tai usually leaves way later than I do so I checked with him before he left the house. Tai confirmed that the slow cooker was doing it's job and the food smelled yummy!
When I got home (11 hours later!), everything was prefectly cooked. I put the cooker on warm til Tai got home later that night.
Here's our first slow cooked meal:I wasn't a huge fan of the cabbage. I don't think 11 hours in a slow cooker improves the taste of cabbage so I might omit it next time or add it later. But the meat was falling off the bone, so tender! I didn't thicken the sauce enough but it was totally yummy anyway.
I made another dish with my beloved slow cooker since I'm addicted to using it. This is another recipe I made up on my own.

Pork Carnitas

4 lbs of pork shoulder (pork roast works too)
1 jar of your favorite salsa
3 cups of chicken stock

Toss all the ingredients in the slow cooker for 6 hours on low. Once the pork is cooked, take it out to cool. Once the meat is cool enough to handle shred the meat. Heat 1"-3" of oil (olive, peanut, or canola) in a pan. Once the oil is warm add shredded meat. Fry meat in oil, turning to get pieces crispy.
After the meat is cooked, drain meat from oil and serve with garnish (onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and avocado are all good options) and tortillas.You could also skip the frying step and use the pork for burritos, tacos, etc.
Any good slow cooker recipes you like?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Get Out There And Vote

Honestly I don't care who you vote for. I just want you to vote. Every person in this country is affected by the outcomes of every election. It's your right (except if you are a felon in some states). Thousands of men and women died to give you the right and the privilege of being able to vote, so just take the time next week to vote. I signed up for permanent absentee voter status so I look up each issue while completing the form.
Educate yourself with the wealth of resources out there such as:

Project Vote Smart-A nonpartisan website dedicated to candidates, issues, and ballot measures. I used this website for the primary and found it very helpful. You can look at issues in your state only and regional candidates.

Can I Vote-Not sure if you are still registered to vote? This website will connect you to your local resource to find out.

Voter Information via Google-Find the closest place to vote to your home and basic voter information. As well as state specific contacts for more information.

Vote 411- Developed by the League of Women Voters, this resource has a Q&A with the presidential candidates. Plus general voter information.

As well as the individual presidential candidates websites:

John McCain

Barack Obama

Ralph Nader

Bob Barr

Chuck Baldwin

Cynthia McKinney

Vote with however you choose, but please do vote.

Monday, October 27, 2008

In Response to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

If you know me irl, you've probably heard me say this book changed my life. Eh, sort of true. This book reminded me of everything good about eating locally and seasonally. It inspired me to go back out there and start looking for fresh food, not boxed food or processed food. I have done this before. I think I did the 100-mile diet for a month before finding it too difficult to find locally grown olive oil.
And there lies my biggest challenge accepting that I cannot eat all locally grown food. The chicken I bought today was either from a Washington farm or an Oregon one. I have no clue where the mushrooms came from. The olive oil is imported and the pasta from a box. I have to accept I cannot be perfect in this mission but I can buy local, pasture raised meat. I can go to the farmer's market (in season) and buy food straight from the grower. Off season I can look for local produce and eat more seasonally. No more asparagus in November! And in finding local produce I will be inspired to cook more. To make meals that change with the seasons. I find that thrilling and inspiring.
One note of warning. Do not read this book in winter. It will make you sad. No farm fresh tomatoes for you (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). No fresh berries or melons. It made me crave those things despite them not being in season. Save this book til spring when the farms are getting ready to bring their produce to market. Then hopefully it will inspire you too.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Recap Get Hitched Give Hope

Thursday night Kris and I went to Get Hitched Give Hope. It was held at the beautiful Arctic Hotel in Downtown Seattle. Such a pretty place. I'd been there years before they remodeled it, so I was excited to see it now all restored.
Kris bought a swag bag:
I was most impressed by the Dry Soda which is so yummy. It came with such a wonderful glass too. She also got gift certificates for massages, facials, and fitness training. She was wonderful let me take pictures of all her stuff!
The event was really a fundraiser for Making Memories Foundation, but a delightful excuse to fawn over beautiful bridal goodies. I was bummed that I only got one Wink cupcake as they were delicious!

Post Wedding Chop

I actually chopped my hair before we left for Houston, but didn't really feel like talking about it back then. I went in for another hair cut to so I thought I'd share.
Remember how long it was before?This was the day before our wedding. Now this is how long it is now!I chopped off 10". I was able to donate it to Locks of Love and I got a free haircut. Score! It's not too short, but not as long as it was before!
Here's the front:I like the swoopy bangs. Plus it has a lot of movement too it. I think it's too short but I'll get use it. Plus it grows quickly anyway.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


drinkingMy coworker was drinking these and I became intrigued. I like that they boost immunity. I have one every morning. I like the pomegranate one the best. Strawberry isn't bad.

wearingI bought these Keens a few weeks ago. And I love them. I had long wanted a pair of Keens. Now I can't wait to buy my next pair.

usingI bought my new camera. It's pretty sweet. I wish I had gotten a different color since I got silver-so boring.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ideas for Halloween Costumes

We were invited to a Halloween party next Friday. Originally I thought we wouldn't dress up (not because I didn't want to) because I'll be going to the party directly from the train and Tai didn't want to dress up alone. But Tai thinks we should dress up. So what to wear? The party is superhero themed so I took that into consideration.How about BeerMan? Kind of lame huh?With a lab coat, Tai could be Dr. Horrible!

Or a ninja? Do you think ninja's can be superheroes?Maybe I can live some childhood fantasies of being Linda Carter. I loved Wonder Woman as a kid.I have no idea who she's supposed to be. Perhaps a Green Beret? Add a cape and I could be Recycling Girl!How about a cop? Aren't cops superheroes?
We'll keep thinking and hopefully I'll have pictures of our costumes on Halloween!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hello, Hypertension!

I love salt. This all the different kinds of salt I currently own.
Each has it's own purpose. I use the iodized salt for salting pasta water or boiling potatoes. The kosher is my current favorite. I use that on most everything. Sea salt is my second favorite. It can go anything as well. And the canning and pickling salt is so finely ground. It works well on steaks (before searing) and popcorn.
I tend to salt things after I cook rather than before. Tai is used a low sodium diet after years of living with his grandpa. If a recipe calls for salt I add the recommended amount. When it's done I taste it and add salt if needed. I let Tai salt his own food since I get accused of over salting food ;)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chestnuts Roasting in My Oven

Last weekend Tai and I found some chestnuts at the market. We both love chestnuts so we picked some up. Roasting chestnuts is pretty easy. The key is to cut an X in each one before roasting.It makes it easier to peel them but it's still a bitch. I make a chestnut stuffing for Thanksgiving so I'll be doing this again. These were just for snacks.
To learn how to roast chestnuts, go here. If the inner skin sticks to the chestnut, soak the chestnuts over night in luke warm water. Refrigerate for another day and the skins should just slip off.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Movie Weekend

Over the weekend I went to see two very different movies. On Saturday, I saw Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist with Marta. It was kind of a spur of the moment kind of thing. We decided it was the only movie playing at that time that we wanted to see. From wikipedia
Ok, he's adorable. Not in like a conventional way. Like your friend's younger brother way. Anyway, he's slowly becoming my new favorite young actor. From
I dig Kat Dennings look. For some reason I think she'd make a good vampire.
It was a good movie. One thing that bothered me through the whole movie was that it was like 3am and these kids were running around New York. And no phone calls from their folks. At 3am I was at home when I was a kid. I knew kids running around at that time as well. But there were no cell phones back then. Not one of these kids got a call from their parents wondering where the hell they were. But I guess that's the movies.
Sunday I saw W with Ashley, Shoshana, and Ethan. Wow, Josh Brolin looks like GW. I was looking forward to this movie. I love Oliver Stone's other films (JFK, Any Given Sunday) so I was looking forward to seeing how he portrayed GW. But I was kind disappointed. I preferred the look at the younger GW than the Iraq War Bush. Stone seemed very sympathic to GW. I can see how you would if you spent enough time reading about his history. It was kind of long and a little boring at times. But the actors were excellent and worth watching.
See any movies this weekend?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ok, Someone Needs To Have A Baby

It's kind of a rare point in my life right now. None of my friends are preggers right now. It's kind of a lull right now. We just had a couple of weddings, perhaps some babies next year. I'm hoping that someone does have a baby soon cause I saw some cute babies clothes over the weekend. Janet, Kris, and I went to an adorable little baby store and here are some of the cutest little clothes.

baby clothes by honeylin
If I had babies I would not buy these since they are around $35 a pop. But they would be a great baby shower gift. I especially like "My dad's a geek". I know quite a few people that would be appropriate for. If Tai and I did have a baby I would definitely buy that one. But I want one that says My mommy is a geek.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Good Habits I Wish I Could Do Everyday

1. Drink enough water. I feel better when I do. On weekends I don't drink enough water. I wish I could find someway to make it easier for me.
2. Empty my change purse once a week at least. I usually wait til it gets full and overflows. We have change jars to save change but I can't seem to get off my arse to do it.
3. Do WiiFit daily. Again during the week is easier to do than on the weekend.
4. Clean a little everyday rather than try to clean everything on the weekend. By Saturday the house is a mess and it's too overwhelming. I usually just do enough to keep the health department away.
5. Put my shoes away everyday. I have a shoe rack but my shoes seem to like to stay by the bed or the front door. I think Tai's shoes are a bad example.
See? I'm so far from perfect!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dream House

We are no where near being able to buy a house but I like to dream about what our house would look like.
I would love a house with a porch. Here in the Pacific Northwest porches are not the norm. But I would love a house with a porch to enjoy the cool summer evenings with a cold beverages and host friends on chilly Autumn nights with a hot cup of cider.
But no house I would buy could not have a gorgeous gourmet kitchen. I love the island. Ever since I was a kid I was jealous of houses with an island in their kitchen. All that extra space plus a place for people for people to sit. Of course I would have a gas range. I've always wanted one.
How about a gorgeous bathroom overlooking the water? Nice relaxing place to take a bath. If I lived in more tropical climate the balcony would actually be used.
As a child I wanted a four poster bed. Actually a canopy bed but I don't think I can convince Tai to go for that. But I love the simple clean lines. I would love a bedroom big enough to have a couple of chairs in. Actually I would rather have a couch, but all that room.
And the most important part a huge library with more couches for reading and relaxing. I have always wanted a house with enough room for a library, not just a couple of bookshelves!
We'll be looking for our dream house for a while. Renting is great for us right now. When there is a problem, call the landlord. Someday a house will be a great idea but right now renting is fine for us.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Yummy Breakfast

On Saturdays and Sundays I make breakfast. I'm got into the routine of making eggs, bacon or sausage, and toast or rice. But this Saturday I decided I needed to find some other breakfast recipes. I did a quick internet search didn't yield an recipes that I could make right then. I seemed to lack a few ingredients. So I created a recipe using what I had.

Mexican Egg Bake

6 eggs
1 bell pepper
1 small can of chopped green chilies
1/2 onion
1 can of chopped black olives
4 tbsp milk
1/4 cup of melted butter

Preheat oven to 350°. Chop bell peppers and onion. Scramble eggs and mix eggs, melted butter and milk. Add peppers, chilies, onions, and olives to egg mix. Coat 9"x13" with nonstick spray. Pour egg veggie mix into pan. Cook til firm in the middle-about 40 minutes. I served with salsa and crescent rolls.
I found a new breakfast favorite. I could change the ingredients and have completely different dish! Plus it reheats nicely. I served it reheated in a tortilla which was good too.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Collection of Nothing

A coworker gave me these salt and pepper shakers for our wedding:I thought they were cute but not something I would choose. It turns out these were given to start my collection. I don't know what kind of collection-a salt and pepper shaker or a bird salt and pepper shaker. Right now, I collect nothing. I buy shoes but I give them away once I'm done with them. You could say I collect books but I purge my collection frequently (I'm stalling on this right now). So I collect nothing.
I did take a look to see what kind of bird salt and pepper shakers were out there:

Or if I wanted collect salt and pepper shakers:

I really don't have room for a collection now. Perhaps when we have a larger home.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Lemon Sole and Roasted Brussel Sprouts

I had the good fortune of finding some good sole on sale. Plus I had brussel sprouts that I bought over the weekend. I'm odd cause I love brussel sprouts. I'm being trying to tempt Tai but he was pretty anti-brussel sprout. I figured that I would try to get him to eat some but the bulk of them would be mine (all mine!). Neither of these are really recipes but more things I know how to throw together.

Lemon Sole
I think this recipe actually was in a Real Simple magazine but I memorized it so I can't be sure. I took pictures but it was just a lump of white. I didn't think that would make you want to try it.

1 lb of sole
4 tsp of butter (I used Earth Balance)
4 Tbsp of lemon juice (from the bottle is fine)
1/2 cup of all purpose flour-plus some for thickening

Melt two tsp of butter in a nonstick pan over low-medium heat. Lightly coat both sides of the fish with flour. Once butter has melted add fish. Don't crowd the pan. You may have to do this in parts, taking out some fish and adding more. Lightly fry each side of the sole. Sole is extremely delicate so pieces may seperate so try to be careful to keep each piece intact (but don't worry if they break apart).
Once all the fish is cooked, melt the remaining 2 tsps of butter in the pan. Once the butter melts add the 4 Tbsp of lemon juice. Heat for a minute til juice is warm, but not boiling. Turn down heat to a simmer. Add flour to thicken and whisk to thicken. I start with a little flour and add as I go. Pour sauce on top of fish and serve.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

1 lb of brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Coat brussel sprouts with olive oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Roast in 400° oven for 40 minutes. I like them al dente. If you want them softer cook them a little longer. Tai loved them. he actually ate more than I thought he would. Yea! I coverted my hubby to being a brussel sprout liker!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lots of Yummy Sushi

Tai and I went to iSushi in Issaquah on Janet's recommendation. It's a revolving sushi place(my favorite kind). There were so interesting dishes-sashimi salmon and crab legs with the shell on. Plus more fried dishes than I see a lot of other revolving sushi places. Tai wants to go back but that means cheating on our new sushi place plus it means going out of our way. But I woud go back. Incidentally Janet was less impressed on her second visit to iSushi and hasn't tried for a 3rd visit.

Monday, October 6, 2008


I stopped at Linens & Things since they are going out of business. The store was almost picked clean and the discount wasn't that good yet (30%-50%). I don't get excited til it's closer to 50%-75% off. But I wanted to see what they had in case there was something I needed. Nothing I needed but I did pick up these Joy Mangano Huggable Hangers.
I have a few deep V-necked shirts that do not seem to want to stay on the hangers. I have some of those padded hangers for them but I had too many and needed more. These seemed like a more affordable option. The 10 pack was marked down to $6. The package also claims that it will double your closet space. I don't know if it will and I don't think I'll buy enough to see if that claim is true. But if I do go Linens & Things again I might pick up another pack.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


I wore really uncomfortable shoes to work one day. They hurt my feet so bad I knew I wouldn't last all day in them. At lunch I ran out to Macy's to buy flip flops. I had planned on buying some cheap ones but I found these. I had heard about FitFlops when they first came out. These are so comfy. i don't know if I'm really getting a workout but I love them!

I bought these huge recyclable bags from Costco months ago. I love them. They were really useful during the wedding. I used them to lug gifts home, carry supplies to the site, and of course buy more things at Costco.


I have to say I've been excited about this show since I first heard about it. Hello? JJ Abrams and Joshua Jackson? There's something that I'll watch. The first episode didn't excite me but the shows have gotten better since. We a little disappointed that they are taking a 2 week break especially since the season just started.

I haven't been a fan of Barbara Kingsolver's other books but this a fantastic book. I hate getting off the bus because I have to stop reading it. I'm learning so much and I can't wait to go shopping and start buying more local produce and less processed food. I don't know if I'll be able to eat seasonally all the time but I'll try.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Looking for a new ring

These days I just wear my wedding band as my engagement ring does not fit with my wedding ring. Tai sometimes wears his engagement ring on his right hand with his wedding band on his left, but I would like to wear an engagement ring on the same hand as my wedding ring. Silly I know.
Before we got married, Tai offered to buy me a more traditional engagement ring but I said that I rather we wait til after the wedding to buy one. Well here we are after the wedding and I'm ready to find an engagement ring!
I need something thin so I can wear my wedding ring and my engagement ring on the same finger. Here's what my wedding ring looks like:
I thought a nice flash of silver and diamond would look very nice. Like one of these:

Nothing too expensive, just a little bling. Perhaps I'll have one of these on my finger this holiday season!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Foodie Fight!

My friend Janet had a birthday recently I was looking for a food related gift to buy her. I contemplated buying her kitchen gadgets but I wasn't sure what she needed. So I found this:It's like trivial pursuit but about food. Some of the questions are kind of hard but you'll learn something new and have some fun at the same time. If you know someone who likes to cook and knows a lot about food (think Alton Brown wannabe) then this would be a great gift for them.