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There’s this thing that happens to me when the sun shines.
Suddenly, things that were so stressful and worrisome become not such a big deal.
Where I would have found myself saying no before, I now find myself enthusiastically saying yes.
I get excited about being outside again, and I don’t even have to be bribed!
Missoula loves to celebrate. Especially when it comes to beer.
So twice a year we have a Brew Fest to celebrate all the local and regional brews we have access to.
Unfortunately, I don’t like beer.
Even still, I’d never miss a Brew Fest.
you know you’re in for a good time.
Thanks Missoula! Can’t wait for the summer Brew Fest!
It’s been pretty quiet around here lately. Let me explain.
My laptop died. You know, the one I’ve had since 2007? My beloved, solid as a rock, ancient-but-still-totally-usable 2007 Mac Book?
One day it was totally fine, and the next, gone. Just gone! It was seriously upsetting, and I may have cried big crocodile tears every day for a week.
So, there I was with pictures in my camera, an exciting blog post to write, and no computer. In a stroke of pure generosity, my husband wiped his iPad and handed it over to me so that I could at least feed my Pinterest addiction and upload photos. Unfortunately, writing an entire blog post with photos on an iPad is a little bit more than difficult. Probably doable, but more time consuming than I could manage.
Oh, did I mention that this was just before Nutcracker?
Yeah, I had a few things going on to distract me from my laptop woes.
So after the Nutcracker, when visions of Sugar Plums had cleared from my head, I started to really think about how I was going to make this work. Sure, I could find a cheaper laptop than a Mac, but that’s what I wanted, and really, if I’m going to drop hundreds of dollars on something, it darn well better be exactly what I want. Why spend $600 on a laptop if I’m going to have to do it again in a year or two? I might as well make an extra investment and not have to do it again for a long, hopefully really long time. (By the way, I’m not trying to advertise for anyone here, I’m just a huge Apple fan-girl and can’t help but gush. I’m certainly not getting paid or perked in any way.)
I did the calculations. Even if I saved up $100 every month (ha!), it was still going to take me at least 10 months before I got a new laptop. I’m no stranger to sacrifice and saving, but almost a year of borrowing someone’s computer to write blog posts was a bit daunting.
I think I scared my in-laws when I made that first tear in the wrapping paper. I may have screamed something like “SHUT UP!!” Sorry GG, I was more than a little surprised.
I don’t know how those elves managed, or how Santa pulled this off without even giving off the slightest hint! My Christmas spirit was strong to begin with, but this just put it over the top.
It was absolutely perfect timing, because tomorrow I have a giveaway to announce. It’s not a laptop, but it will definitely make a difference for someone. Let’s keep this spirit of giving alive, shall we?
By the way, I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas or Hanukkah. Any other “SHUT UP” inducing gifts out there? Did you get to spend time with your loved ones?
See you tomorrow!
I have a recipe to share with you, I promise!!
But it needs just a little more tweaking. Which involves re-making it and taking new photos.
Trust me, this is a good thing. For me. Because I’ll get to eat it.
Eventually it will be a good thing for you, because you’ll get to eat it. Assuming, of course, that you make it. (You should!)
Anyway, until Saturday when I can re-cook and re-shoot, here’s a look at what I’ve been up to.
Canning! For the first time ever! It’s so fun, and I love love love eating homemade applesauce, apple butter and plum butter. I don’t know enough about canning yet to share with you, but I have lovely friends who are helping me learn.
Pinterest. If I need to tell you more, you are seriously missing out. I can pin like it’s my job, people.
I’ve also gotten us back on a weekly menu plan. I can’t believe how much time, energy, money and sanity this saves! It only takes us about 10 minutes to figure out what we want to eat that week, and then we just figure out what ingredients we need to buy and head to the store. And then I know that we won’t be eating the same things over and over, and we use up leftovers much more efficiently because it’s planned into the menu. Oh the little things that make me happy
What have you been up to?
I can’t admit how much it saddens me that summer is almost over.
Hold on, yes I can. And I’ve been telling everyone for the last week.
So rather than focusing on how dark it’s getting in the mornings/evenings, and how much I hate being cold, I’m trying to squeeze every last drop of summer onto my vitamin-D soaked skin.
We are totally in love with Britta! She was a stray, in line for euthanasia before an absolutely lovely woman introduced us. If you’re even thinking of adopting a dog, I’d highly recommend driving over to Corvalis and visiting the MT Companion Animal Network.
How are you feeling about the end of summer?
So yesterday was my birthday.
But I didn’t.
Honestly? I was feeling lazy.
Like, oatmeal for dinner lazy.
That’s ok, right?
I did win at ping pong, and I’m totally going to believe that I won legitimately, and that nobody let me win because it was my birthday.
That’s ok, right?
Let’s just pretend that I made these spring rolls for my birthday dinner. And how about I promise to make the epic ice cream sandwiches again that I made for my birthday last year. Deal?
Spring Rolls with Marinated Steak
Spring Roll Wrappers (we found these at the local health food store)
Quinoa, prepared according to package directions and allowed to cool slightly
Cucumber, sliced into matchsticks
Red Pepper, sliced into matchsticks
Onion, sliced into strips
Avocado, sliced very thinly
Cream Cheese (your favorite kind)
Steak, cut into strips, marinated in your favorite Asian style and seared
Reduced Sodium Soy Sauce
Start by soaking a wrapper in warm water for about 30 to 45 seconds
Carefully remove the wrapper to a plate. Spread a layer of cream cheese on the wrapper, followed by a scoop of Quinoa. Add the steak, and then the vegetables. Fold one side of the wrapper over, followed by the opposite side, and then roll the open ends. Like so:
Either way, you will want to make these immediately before serving, as they dry out pretty quickly. It’s fun to make these and let people eat them as the are done, or let everyone customize their own roll.
Have a lovely weekend!
Oh my gosh, it’s been so long!
You *look* fantastic!
*I can’t really see you, but knowing you, I can assume.
What have I been up to? Oh geez, where do I start?
Well, we’ve been moving. And that’s seriously hectic.
Have you ever moved? I swear things start appearing. Literally materializing out of thin air! You think you know how much stuff you have until you try to move from one house to another. Just as soon as I thought we were close to being done, I’d open a closet or a cupboard and have another carload of stuff. Plus, if I ever have to scrub walls again, I may die.
*Also, Nick is rolling his eyes. I can feel it. It’s cool.
And that’s been mixed in with working, rehearsing, performing yadda yadda yadda.
But it’s great. All of it. I can’t believe how lucky I am. How awesome our friends and family are. I’m never hesitant to say that I’m loving life, but there are times when it’s truer, more real. This is definitely one of those times.
What about you? What have you been up to lately? I’d love to hear from you, and let’s promise to meet like this more often!
See you soon?
We all know I suck at presentation. It’s something I’ve learned to deal with, because for the most part, I can make it taste good.
I’ve made cheesecake without the top cracking. I’ve made creme brulee the perfect shade of golden, caramel brown. I’ve even made chicken pot pie without a pie dish!
But there was one thing that I’ve just never been able to achieve. I’m not talking “It didn’t look pretty, but it was edible” or “I made some mistakes but ended up with something almost as good.”
No, since I started this fun, laughable, delicious culinary journey, I have always wanted to poach an egg. Folks, it’s harder than it looks.
And I’ve wasted so. many. eggs. It saddened me. So I tucked it away in the back of my mind, in that place where I store things that nag me. Things I can’t admit to anyone else for fear of ridicule. What self respecting food blogger can’t even poach an egg?
Months after I had given up on my poached egg dreams, I got a call from my mother in law. She was visiting family, and someone brought up how delicious but difficult poached eggs are. In her sweetness, her blind faith, she said, “I know someone who can do it for sure!” And then she proceeded to call me.
I had to admit–out loud, no less–that I had never successfully poached an egg. The shame! It was too much. I knew I had to do it.
Ladies and gentlemen, I did it. On my very next try. I freaking did it!!
Crack an egg into a bowl. Cracking it right into the water isn’t going to cut it. You don’t want it hitting the bottom and then spreading out everywhere. Putting the egg into a bowl allows you to gently tip it in right at the surface of the water.
I feel it is my duty to inform you that runny yolks can pose health risks. You’ll notice that my yolk wasn’t runny at all, but I didn’t know that until I had bitten into it. To be on the safe side, make sure you err on the side of more done, probably at least a 10 minute cooking time, depending on how hot your water stays. (It felt like it took foooooreverrrrrrrrrrrrr to cook, but I was really hungry at the time.)
Add about an inch and a half to two inches of hot water to a deep skillet, place on the stove over medium high heat. Crack each egg into its own bowl.
When the water starts to form bubbles on the bottom of the pan, turn the heat down slightly.
Place the edge of the bowl right at the surface of the water and let the egg slide into the water.
After about 30 seconds, use a wooden spoon to gently nudge the edge of the egg to loosen it from the bottom. If you get too overzealous with your nudging, the egg will separate and you’ll have a pan full of nastiness.
The more done the egg, the easier it will be to move around. Eventually it will “solidify” and you can take it out of the water.
***It’s important that you never actually allow the water to fully boil. Especially when the egg is in the water. You just want it right on the verge of bubbles.
Try this soon, and if it doesn’t work, give it a few months. Don’t give up!
Poached egg victory tastes so sweet.
You see, Farmer’s Market is back. And it was Brew Fest.
I don’t drink beer (still. Shocking, I know), but I got to people watch,
In short, it’s that time of year in Missoula.
And I am happy.