Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Long Live The Weekends!

Why do fun weekends have to end so quickly??? My mom came for a girls weekend and boy did we have FUN! This weekend was all about creativity as we thrifted and hit up Michaels and Craft Warehouse (twice!!!) and made some CUTE CUTE CUTE holiday gifts but cannot show you as you might be getting one :) It was such a great weekend and I just want to say thank you to my mom, you gave me a weekend I totally needed!! You are the best!!!

So I haven't had a chance to upload any new pics for awhile but thought I would share these scones that I made a few weekends ago...if you are a fan of Maple like I am then you will LOVE these!
Maple Scones

1 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 cups oats
2 tsp baking powder
10 Tbsp cold butter
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 egg

Mix flour, oats, and baking powder together and cut in 10 Tbsp cold butter. Add remaining ingredients. Knead dough and pat down into an 1 inch thick circle. Cut into eight wedges and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 425. Once cooled, add maple frosting...yum yum!

Maple Frosting:
1 Tbsp melted butter
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp cream
1 c. powdered sugar
Whisk until smooth and frost scones...enjoy!!!

Thanks Monica for the recipe!

Lunchtime Stroll

I work in a really fun part of Portland, historic NW Twenty-Third, or also commonly known as NW "trendy-third" by the locals. This is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Portland and they have kept a lot of the businesses in the quaint houses that have graced the neighborhood for many many decades. It has been A LONG TIME since I took a lunchtime window-shopping stroll and thought you might like to come along...have fun getting to know the neighborhood!

Starting off, the first place we come to is Pepino's which is home to my favorite taco's in town! The ladies who work here are so nice and always seem to know that as much as I tell them I "might" try something new that I will almost always end of sticking with the $3.99 fish taco yummy! If you don't want taco's for lunch, how about a crepe from this oh so cute sidewalk cafe! Oh wait, there is still another option just up the block...Mio Sushi! I am fairly new to adventures in sushi but I can recommend their cucumber rolls (I get mine without avocados), a great option if you are looking for something healthy and fresh!Looking for something to do this weekend? Make sure to check out a phone pole, also known as community bulletin board, for what is happening in town! Isn't this a great bike!!Better stop and say Hello to the urban chickens :)Oh my goodness, right across the way is Urbino, probably my favorite store on Twenty-Third! As soon as you walk through the door you will be transported to Old Europe and may be enticed to spend all afternoon wandering through oooing and awwing over all their goodies! Better get going if we want to keep exploring!Thirsty yet? How about a quick pint at McMenamins...oh wait, I might need to wait until Happy Hour as I forgot that it is still lunchtime :)
Ok, lets cross the street before we hit Moonstruck Chocolate Cafe (don't worry, we'll visit it sometime soon!) and let's start heading back. Don't you just love walking through the leaves!Want to get inspired by funky clothes or unique home good then 3 Monkeys is your place to shop! They always have such great finds on the sidewalk that make it hard to walk by without visualizing them in your home! I spy vintage holiday ornaments in the window so we might have to return here when we visit Moonstruck on our next lunchtime stroll :)Here is our hidden treasure, Laurelwood Public House! When it is raining (if you haven't heard, that happens quite a bit in Oregon!) you might want to pick a table by the fireplace and enjoy some of their amazingly delicious food! Want a fun salad? Try their spinach, feta, red onion, and pink grapefruit salad...sounds like a strange combo but once you try it you will love it!
Ok, I might have lied as Nob Hill Shoes is my favorite store on Twenty-Third...Dansko Love, no need to say more!Oh, I should stop in at the bookshop to see if they have my latest bookclub selection, Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing.
And here we are back at our starting point so let's end our lunchtime stroll with a vanilla latte at Vivace!! Aren't you glad we didn't stop at one of the Starbucks we passed, way to go local!Hope you liked the tour, there might be another one in the future as this barely touched the surface of NW Twenty-Third! It was great sharing it with you :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Happy Halloween

In the spirit of Halloween, I wanted to share some crazy cat costumes I found online. Who would do this to their cats??? Must be crazy cat ladies and me not doing this takes away some of my fears that I might have been becoming one. Anyway, If I was to do this to my cats I think they would torture me in my sleep!! Don't worry Murphy and O'Malley, I won't strip you of your cool catness and make you wear a costume...just wish I could say the same for Gypsy! Gypsy girl, watch out if Joey brings home any "presents" for you have been warned!
Gotta have a puppy picture too...thought this one was pretty funny!


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Bookclub Fun...Eat Pray Love!

Last spring I took Eat Pray Love with me on a trip to Europe and it turned out to be a GREAT companion for my travels! Over the weekend I joined a dozen bookclub friends and we had a great time being together and discussing what we learned from Elizabeth Gilbert and her three journeys she welcomes us to join along with her! We also had a great time enjoying delicious food as we all loved how Elizabeth was not bashful in writing about her passion for food...especially her love affair with pizza in Naples, Italy! She loves that pizza so much that she even shares with fans in her FAQ how to get your own slice of that famous pizza if you are lucky enough to find yourself in Naples :) I think for every person who asks her about joining the ashram in India or working with the medicine man she worked with in Bali that there are double (maybe even triple!) the amount of people asking her about the pizza :) I can just see people making pilgrimages for that pizza, especially the chocolate pizza she made us all have dreams about!!

You can read a description of Eat Pray Love HERE but I think Anne Lamott (one of my favorite authors) sums up the feel of the book pretty well..."This is a wonderful book, brilliant and personal, rich in spiritual insight, filled with sorrow and a great sense of humor. Elizabeth Gilbert is everything you would love in a tour guide, of magical places she has traveled to both deep inside and across the oceans: she's wise, jaunty, human, ethereal, hilarious, heartbreaking, and God, does she pay great attention to the things that really matter."

And remember this post...well, it looks like I can finally uncross my fingers as Elizabeth will be in Portland on April 3rd!!! YAY!!!

(*photos not mine, borrowed from flickr)

A Week With A Purpose

I do campus programming and one of my favorite weeks to host every year is Homeless Awareness Week. Bringing awareness to the issues and realities of homelessness is something that I have been doing on a yearly bases since 2000. It's exciting to see two completely different programs I've started for two colleges and I can honestly say that important programming like this is why I love to do what I do! I really enjoy working with local agencies here in Portland who are helping people without homes and I am so excited to see students want to volunteer their time, energy, and resources to helping others beyond themselves. We had a full week on campus and here are some of the highlights of what I organized :)

PhotoVoice Exhibit:Sisters Of The Road is one of Portland's flagship organizations for helping people in need and doing it with amazing care, dignity, and respect. A few years ago they gave some men and women camera's for a week to document their life without a home and now it is a traveling exhibit and one that we are proud to display for them! I even met Dan, one of the photographers, and he shared quite a bit with me when we were setting up the display the things he was able to overcome by the help given at Sisters of the Road.

Voices From The Street Book Sale:Part two of the PhotoVoice Exhibit is a new book that is a leading resource and fact sharing book on issues surrounding homelessness. I cannot wait to dive into my copy as the facts are taken from Portland...what a great way to learn more about our city and the needs of our neighbors!

Movie Showing:
WOW...Homeless in Paradise is a remarkably well done movie on the reality of homelessness as it follows four individuals and their journey to living on the streets and what keeps them from an improved life. I was so excited when our librarian called to tell me she bought this for our campus as she thought it would be a great addition to raising awareness and she couldn't be any more's powerful and thought-provoking!

Collection Drive for Rose Haven Womens Center:Students collected a car load of items to donate to Rose Haven, an INCREDIBLE community and intervention center for women and children without a home and survivors of violent relationships. Sister Cathie (director of the center) came and spoke on how she has dedicated her life to serving woman in need and shared story after story of women and children she helps just a mere few blocks from our campus. The stories were absolutely heartbreaking and all of us left with wet eyes, Sister Cathie included. We were able to donate a large amount (a car load!!!) of feminine hygiene and baby products to help assist the tangible daily needs of the woman and children but still there is so much more that they need, things like a listening ear, a safe place, and most importantly people and services they can trust!

Volunteer Opportunity:
The week ended with a handful of students volunteering alongside our campus director at Operation Nightwatch, a local center for people who are lonely or don't have a place to go in the evenings. I haven't heard how it went but I am sure all involved had an amazing evening of giving to others!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Coffee Break

Incase you haven't heard, it is a widely known truth that the Pacific Northwest is the Coffee Capitol of the world! I would have to use all my fingers and most my toes to count all the coffee shops within a 3 block area of my office and I just love how all the independent shops have their own personal vibe and style! One of my favorite coffee shops is Vivace who also has Portland's vote for best crepes in town! I was able to escape my office for a few moments today and Vivace provided a great coffee break...well, vanilla latte and pumpkin spice biscotti break! Here are some pics from enjoying the place almost to myself as most people were getting their coffee to go as to take in the most of the amazing weather we had today!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Say Cheese

One of the random jobs that has fallen into my lap at work is being responsible for ID pictures for our campus community. I'll tell you this, taking ID pictures is one of the least favorite parts of my job but I wouldn't mind it if I was the person who had to take his picture this week...Welcome His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the world of Higher Education!

Friday, October 19, 2007

So I just went and saw a fantastic film and wow, there was so much to take in from it!! Into The Wild (from the book Jon Krakauer) is the story of Chris who after graduating from college leaves behind his family, gives away all his money to OXFAM, and begins a journey across the country searching for truth. What I liked about the movie is that it did a great job of showing the impact he had on the lives of the many people he met and connected with on his journey, on his path that leads him to the wilderness of Alaska where he lives by his wits and adopts the solitary life of the wild. We see Alex through the eyes of a hippie caravan couple, an not-so-typical midwestern farmer, a lovestruck teenager, and lastly an older man who gives Alex the love of a father that he has never had. All these people have troubles of their own but Alex and his spirit give them the strength to seek their own truth and walk strongly through their struggles. Alex takes a lot of his vision from authors like Tolstoy, London, and Thoreau and at one point in Alaska he realizes that he has found his truth and is ready to be in community again...but is it too late? Did his search for truth bring the happiness that he was after or are there drastic implications?? You better go see the movie to find out!!

And here are some other films coming out this Fall that I would love to see!!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Martha, Betty, How About Both!!!

I had a couple of MUCH NEEDED days off and on Tuesday I was torn between doing Martha (crafting) or Betty (cooking) activities so I did both!

My Martha project:

I've been in the mood for doing some crafts lately and have a whole list going for things I want to make for the holidays...cannot wait to get my craft on! This weekend I found a great kitchen towel and when I held it up for my sister to see she said it would be cute as an apron so guess what...I made an apron! I simply sewed some ribbon on it and I really like it! After wearing it for my Betty (see below) activity I realized there is probably a better way for making it so I am now going to be on the hunt for other fun towels and ribbon! What do you it??

And now that I have a perfect fall apron I needed to channel Betty Crocker and try out two Fall recipes I have been wanting to try lately!

First, I found some great zucchini recipes this Fall that were really good so thought I would expand into the squash family and try making something with Butternut Squash. Luckily the grocery store had them clearly marked as I really did not know what a Butternut Squash looked like :) Anyway, I used one of Giada’s recipes from Everyday Italian and let me tell you, it is delicious and very squashy!Rigatoni with Squash
3 tbsp olive oil
1 pound butternut squash, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/2 teaspoon
1 cup vegetable stock
1 pound rigatoni

3/4 to 1 cup milk
Basil and Parmesan to taste

Warm 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butternut squash, garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Saute until the squash is golden and tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the squash is very soft, another 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the squash mixture to a blender or food processor and puree.

Cook pasta

Add pasta to pureed squash mixture and 3/4 cup milk. Stir to combine. Add the remaining 1/4 cup milk if the sauce needs to be moistened. Add basil and cheese. Yum Yum, cannot wait to have some today for lunch!

Apple Cider Making

Our family has a tradition of making apple cider every fall. All I remember of it from childhood is having to go to my grandpa's really early in the morning, usually in the rain, getting sticky hands from pouring cider into the containers, and having donuts as a morning treat! I can say that I like the tradition a lot more now! And here are some pictures to show you how our Hansen Family Apple Cider is made...

Start with A LOT of apples...a whole bin full straight from the apple orchard!!
Put them in the egg basket and take them to be cut...Eli and Catie like helping with this part!
Now the apples need to be quartered...luckly that water is warm, not ice cold like grandpa used to make it. This is also a great time to catch up on family news from aunts, uncles, and cousins :)Here's the press, already working on some applesPour the apples into the press where it will crush them down...make sure to use that really old stick so your hands don't get cut on the blades at the bottom of the bin!
Take a moment to cuddle with Lily...isn't she a cutie-pie!!!Here is my sister pressing the crushed apples for their sweet sweet ciderKenton pours cider into 1/2 gallon containers making sure to sieve out any apple chunks that got through the press.Ta-Da!!! Here's the final product, 92 1/2 gallons of Hansen Family Apple Cider...the best Apple Cider you will ever taste!!And now that work is over it's time to play on the farm...YAY!!!