Sunday, June 28, 2009

Jewelry Making Fool

I've been a jewelry making fool!  I just can't help myself.  I love color so sometimes I get my inspiration in weird places.  Here's some of the jewelry I've been working on.  I usually start with a necklace then make a matching pair of earrings.  I love chandelier earrings so that's been a favorite of mine lately.

Like I said before, I like them all so I may just keep them all.  I'll have somethings to wear every day of the year!      

Gone Rafting

Whitewater rafting that is!  Every year a group from work gets together for a weekend of camping, rafting and good times.  We usually head down near Southern Oregon for the festivities.  

We stayed just south of Roseburg, in a town called Riddle.  One of my co-workers family lives there.  Every year they open up their home to a big group of us.  They have a huge property with a great big lawn.  People set up tents and "camp" out in their yard.  Of course it's not actually camping since the family cooks our meals and allows us the use of bathrooms and running water.  It's always a fun time!  We set up volleyball nets too (did I mention that it's a great big lawn?).  

This is my 2nd year rafting.  My other trip was on the Rogue River.  This year we had 29 rafters (a new record!) and we were rafting the North Umpqua River.  I've never been on the North Umpqua but I was told it was a fun trip with class III and a IV rapids.  

We met the rafting company at around 10am and set off.  It was a perfect day to be on the water!  The weather was 85 degrees but the river was about mid 50's.  I wore a wetsuit.  I'm from Hawaii, we don't go in water that's not nice and warm.  After we went down the first rapid, I was sure glad I got into the wet suit.  The water was COLD!!  It was a fun trip with fast water and great rapids!  Our guide was uber cool and we got to do all kinds of fun stuff.  At one point in the river we got out and "swam" one of the rapids.  Luckily there weren't a lot of rocks, just a fast moving current.  I did it but the water was so cold!  Add ImageThis is a river where everyone gets wet!  

The trip was a lot longer than anticipated.  I think it was because we had a group of 5 rafts and we spent time waiting for others to stay together.  Several rafts got dumped into the Umpqua.  No terrible injuries to report, although my guide got whacked in the lip with a paddle and had a nasty cut.  I won't admit to being the one but it may have been me that hit him as we tipped over.  OUCH!

We didn't get out of the water until 6:30pm or so.  It was a LONG day!  We were so pooped!  My body aches a little from all the hard work but it was so worth it!  Another great rafting trip!!  Looking forward to next year!

Sorry I don't have any pictures.  We took some waterproof cameras with me so no digital pics!     

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Raspberry Newtons!

Damn those Raspberry Newtons!!  I must be living under a rock because I didn't know Nabisco made these.  I just happened to be in the grocery store the other day and they were on display.  Mmm....sounds good.  Well on the way home I made the mistake of digging into them.  By the time I got home I had already had 2 serving sizes!!  They're sooo yummy!  Have you tried them yet?  I assure you that you'll be addicted.  Bad news: the display at the store was a buy one get one free sale.  So I have 1 raspberry and 1 strawberry (yes they make it in strawberry too!!) package at home!  UGH!  I'm in so much trouble!!  

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Juggling a Jewelry Habit

So I saw this really cute pair of earrings one day in a catalog. When I looked at the price I think I developed a little sticker shock. $35 for a pair of earrings! I refuse to pay that much (it was a freshwater pearl set). I thought..."heck, I could make that for way cheaper!". Thus began my decent into being a jewelry addict.

I love jewelry! Earrings are a favorite of mine. I have many pairs in different colors of the rainbow. I was determined to make that pair that I saw for $35 for way less. I wandered into the craft store and picked up a few basic supplies to get started. version turned out just as cute and cost way less (minus my overhead for basic supplies).

Sudden I got inspired. I just bought a cute top. A matching pair of earrings and a necklace would seal the deal! It got out of control after that. I started with some basic pairs of earrings. Eventually it was bracelets and necklaces. Soon I was returning the craft store to get more beads, wire, containers to hold name it. Before I knew it, I was making one piece after another! Yikes! What have I gotten myself into?

I've managed to make myself a nice lot of jewelry. Most of the items I want to keep. However, I am scheming to fund my addictive habit. I did some homework on some online sites that sell handmade crafts. I'm still debating about it but I think it would be fun! I'll let you know what I decide and I'll show you what I've been up to. =0)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Flirty Fushsias

These are some of the fuchsias I planted early in the season in some hanging baskets.  I love them.  They're so vibrant, flirty and fun!  Happy Wednesday!!    

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Loving the Veggies!

These pictures were taken this week.  I'm so excited how well these veggies have done!  Here's a lemon cucumber that I planted in the box when I saw how the ones planted in the yard revolted.  He's doing really well and seems to like his home.  
I cheated and bought this regular cucumber plant in a panic that the lemon cucumbers were dying off.  Surprisingly he's liked it in the ground.  It maybe because he's in a better drained area.  
Here's the zucchini.  Like I said before, he tried to bite the dust but thought about giving me a second try.  Again, he's in a little better drained area of the yard.  

Here's the bad side of the yard.  Daddy built another skinny box to accommodate the graveyard of plants that didn't like the soil.  These are plants I picked up from the nursery.  I bought 2 Japanese eggplants (to replace the ones that didn't make it) and a sweet banana pepper plant.  

These are on the other side of that box.  I should note that the only plants that didn't completely die off on the bad area of the yard were these green bean plants.  They haven't died but have been slow to grow.  I panicked and got some more green beans and another zucchini (I really thought that other zucchini was circling the drain).  
The snap peas and beets have done really well.  The peas are even climbing their trellis!  

My basil that I thought were gonners seemed to perk up after I put them in the box.  
My tomatoes are coming along nicely too!

I was shocked to see how big the bok choy are getting.  Dang!
Here's the lettuce, arugula and spinach.  They're growing like crazy!!  

Thanks for letting me share.  

Friday, June 12, 2009

Baby veggies

I've been taking pictures of my vegetables every couple weeks to note their progress (and to prove that I have a semi-green thumb...although my dad's green thumb may trump my black one).  I realize though, that I haven't posted pictures since my babies were seedlings.  Here's before pictures when they were just coming along and adjusting to their new homes.  

These snap peas and beets were direct sows into the ground.  They did really well!  
These guys were my seedling that I planted in the box.  Among them are bok choy, 2 kinds of lettuce, arugula and spinach.    

This was my lemon cucumber that I attempted to directly plant into my yard.  All three did not survive.  In my defense, I claim it was the crappy soil in the back yard, not my black thumb that did them in.  I planted on in the raised bed just in case (that one is thriving...WHEW!).  The zucchini (also planted directly into my yard) did really well at first, threatened to call it quits, then thought they'd give me a second try.  They're doing okay now!  

Wait for the after'll never believe me if I told you how well they're growing!  

Monday, June 8, 2009

What's Bakin?: Strawberry Lemon Shortcake

I've already told you about the yummy strawberries I've acquired. What to do with them all? I love eating them plain but came across this recipe and thought it sounded yummy enough to give it a try. It's well with the hassle of making a "from scratch" shortcake batter! I was going to cheat and use a pre-packaged one. I'm glad I took the extra time. The lemon in this really makes it pop with the strawberries! I skipped the lemon butter and whipped cream (I thought I could pretend this recipe was fat free if there was no added lemon butter...tee hee hee. Oh and I don't like whipped cream).

This recipes is definitely a keeper! Note though that the serving size is only 2 (or 1 if you're like me and could definitely all of it!) so adjust the recipe accordingly!
Strawberry Lemon Shortcake
Taken from (submitted by Nancy Hooper)

1 1/2 cups sliced fresh strawberries (a little less than a pint)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 c. flour
2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cold butter
3 Tbsp 2% milk (all I had was 1% and it turned out okay)
1 egg yolk, beaten
3/4 tsp grated lemon peel

Lemon butter:
1 Tbsp butter, softened
1/4 tsp grated lemon peel

Whipped cream:
1/3 c heavy whipping cream
1 tsp sugar

1) In a small bowl, combine strawberries and sugar. Cover and refrigerate until serving.

2) In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder & salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. combine the milk, egg yolk and lemon peel; stir into crumb mixture until a soft dough forms (dough will be sticky).

3) Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead 10 times. Divide dough in half. Gently pat or roll each half into a 3/4 inch thick circle. Place 2 inches apart on a ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine butter and lemon peel. Set aside. In a small mixing bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

5) To assemble, split shortcakes in half. Place cake bottoms on a dessert plate, spread with lemon butter, then top each with a fourth of the strawberries and whipped cream. Cover with the shortcake top and spoon on remaining berries and cream.

Garden Greens

When we got back from a few days away, I checked on my vegetable garden.  It had been hot in Portland that weekend.  I had tried to give them a good soaking before I left.  When I got back, they were a little thirsty for the most part but ALIVE!!  Woo hoo!!

It seems like my greens have grown like weeds overnight.  I was able to pick some of the spinach and arugula.  I added it to some store-bought greens since I didn't have enough to make a salad.  I also trimmed back my beets.  Apparently my beet thumb is extra green because a lot of the seedlings grew.  I trimmed them back so only the healthy ones would grow.  I was told to save the tops and they make good salad greens.  Here's my little salad of my first harvests of my garden!  Look how pretty the beet greens are!  

Sunday, June 7, 2009

What's Cookin?: Oysters on the Barbie

What happened to the oysters you brought home from the San Juans you maybe asking. Well, we cooked them on the grill when we got home. Like I said before, not a fan of raw oysters. Ewww!!

I prefer mine cooked. My favorite way is to cook them out on the grill. I usually like to add a mixture of soy sauce, vinegar and chili pepper water to them as they cook up. Being that I don't have an chili pepper water (it's a Hawaii thing). We added some Srirachi. It made the most yummy dipping sauce!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Farmer's Market: Hood Strawberries and Peonies

You know the Farmer's Market is in full swing when you stop by and are pleasantly surprised by this year's crop of HOOD STRAWBERRIES!  In my opinion, Hood Strawberries are definitely the best of the season!  They're an early berry and can be found usually by early June.  I was excited to see that they were ready for harvest.  Mmm....I helped myself to a flat of them!  Definitely the sweetest berries around!
Peonies were also making an appearance at the market.  They're one of my favorites!  I love the deep red ones!  These guys started as buds about the size of a half dollar.  By the time they bloomed, there were the size of a grapefruit!  Apparently my cat loves peonies also because I came home to find teeth marks in the leaves and the petals!  

I also bought some asparagus and beets!  Love Farmer's Markets!!  

What's Cookin?: Cedar Plank Copper River Salmon

OMG! It's Copper River Salmon time!! I absolutely *HEART* Copper River Salmon. I get really excited each spring with you can't go anywhere without hearing the advertising. What's the big deal you may ask?
I love salmon in and of itself. Only wild salmon please. No farm raised stuff. I watched too many Discovery Channel and Animal Planet to know that farm raised salmon is one of the reasons wild salmon populations are dying off. Okay, I'll step off of the soap box now.

My dad doesn't care for salmon. I told him we were having salmon whether he liked it or not. I also told him it was going to be the best damn salmon he's ever had. I should also add that my favorite way of cooking salmon is on a cedar plank. Those of you who have had it before know what I'm talking's such a rich and wonderful taste! Just be sure to soak the wood plank for at least a few hours or overnight if possible (you don't want to start a salmon fire now do you?).

I basically took a slab of the Copper River salmon and drizzled it with a little extra virgin olive oil. I sprinkled it with my dad's special Hawaiian Salt blend. I chopped up some fresh dill and sprinkled it on. I also added some brown sugar on top. I squeezed some fresh lemon juice on it and sliced up some lemon slices to coat the top. It went onto the grill for about 20-30 minutes.
The edges of the plank may burn, just have a spray bottle with water nearby to put out wayward fires. The result maybe the best damn salmon you've had. I think I even convinced my dad!
We also grilled some veggies for dinner (mushrooms, zucchinis, red bell peppers). It was a fantastic meal! I was so excited to have leftovers the next day too!! Gotta love that Copper River salmon!!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Travels: San Juan Island (Day 3)-British Camp, Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm & Westcott Bay Sea Farms

It was our last day on San Juan Island. We headed to the north side of the island to explore some. A lot of the breakfast spots on the island don't open until 9am (just a helpful hint). There's a place down by the ferry in Friday Harbor that opens at 7am for breakfast. I can't quite remember the name of the place. We decided to drive to Roche Harbor. Something must be open there right??

It was another beautiful day in the San Juans. Roche Harbor was beautiful. We got out of the car and wandered around the docks. We ended up just following all the sea farers who were getting an early start out on their boats. We had a nice dock-side breakfast at Lime Kiln Cafe. Lucky for us, Lime Kiln opened at 7am. We weren't there that early but good to know right?

I should warn you that they're no pictures because being the great camera woman that I am, I forgot to bring my charger AND my extra battery. The entire trip up to the San Juans found me conserving my camera batteries. For a live shot of Roche Harbor, see their webcam.

For breakfast I had the Classic Eggs Benedict with Shaved Ham (shaved old time cob smoked ham, poached eggs atop an English muffin with hollandaise sauce). It was so good! The ham was excellent! Dad had the Harbor Breakfast Classic (eggs, thick sliced sourdough toast with bacon and pancakes). Since it was such a nice day, we had breakfast out on the patio that overlooks the docks.

After breakfast we headed out to the English Camp.
We stopped by Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm to visit the alpacas. Poor looks like they have just been shaved. The last time I saw them they were a bit more fluffy. Now all they have are little tufts of hair on their head. They're pretty cute!

Since we had samples such good oysters and clams on the island, we decided to stop and take some back with us. We waited patiently until Westcott Bay Sea Farms opened. They farm raise oysters, clams and mussels in the Westcott Bay. They have a retail shop where they sell to the public. I highly recommend stopping here on your way home and picking some up. They're so good!!

The shellfish are in tanks and you basically help yourself to them. There's a separate washing area to hose down your shells. It's by the pound and on the honor system. Pay for them around the back in the office. We decided to get some of the "Medium" variety since they were recommended for grilling. I'm not a fan of raw oysters but if you are, apparently the European Belons are the way to go.

When we pulled out of the driveway for the oyster farm, we spotted something very unusual. Apparently a Bald Eagle was very close to the side of the road. He had apparently found a deer that looks like it was hit by a car. It was so close to the side of the road. I've never been so close to a Bald Eagle before. Amazing!
We decided to head back to the ferry in Friday Harbor. Since it was the weekend the ferries fill up fast. We parked the car in the ferry line and walked around Friday Harbor. It's a great little town with little shops and galleries. We walked to the top of First Street and went to the Whale Museum. It's a great place to stop and learn about the Ocras that frequent the waters off of the San Juans. There's even an board that lists recent whale sightings. Wouldn't you know it....there was a siting the day of our whale watching excursion. Looks like the whales were seen coming back into the bay from open oceans. DARN!

Here's a ferry arriving in Friday Harbor as well as a shot of the harbor.

We boarded the Chelan which took us straight back to Anacortes. The ferry ride among the islands are so scenic. If you can stand the chilly fresh air, be sure to sit outside for the best views.

Here's a view of Mt. Baker as we sail towards the mainland.

On the drive home we had great mountain views also. What a nice trip! I love the San Juans! It's quickly becoming my new favorite Pacific NW getaway!!

Lime Kiln Cafe
Roche Harbor Village
248 Reuben Memorial Drive
Roche Harbor, WA
phone: 800-451-8910