Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Three Storms

 











What a strange last few days we have had here! Snow was predicted for Thursday afternoon of last week and three storms were supposedly headed our way. A few weeks earlier snow had been predicted but it turned out to be just a dusting, so I was skeptical this time. Well, we ended up with more snow than we have had in the last few years! We had a few rounds of snow plus a few rounds of ice. One of the days we took the kids sledding at the park a few streets over. It was 24 degrees and raining (sleeting?) ice pellets. By the time we got home our coats were covered in a fine sheet of ice.

Our days alternated between playing outside in the snow (mainly the kids) and playing games inside. Wingspan is our current favorite. I can't resist beautiful illustrations of birds. We started our Valentine's Day celebration with a virtual school party on Friday, and then heart shaped cinnamon rolls and lots of cards and chocolate on Sunday. I spent a lot of time making sure the hummingbird feeder didn't freeze. Hummingbirds need to eat twice their body weight every day, no matter the weather. They're so tiny! 

When the ice storm arrived lots of houses in the area lost power. Many are still without it. School (distance learning) was canceled today and the doctor's office is without power, so that appointment has to be rescheduled. Last week I had ordered a King Cake for Fat Tuesday (today) but the bakery is without power so we'll have to postpone that celebration. It has been a hard weekend for so many businesses losing power on Valentine's Day. So many bakeries and florists had to cancel everything due to ice, snow and power loss. I feel so fortunate that we haven't lost power. It's been fun to have snow, since we get it so rarely, but I'm glad it is already melting. Give me a winter full of plain old rain over snow and ice storms any day!


Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Into the Woods

 












Last week we played hooky and left Portland for two nights in a cabin on the river at the foot of the mountain. It snowed in town the day before we left and I worried that we'd get stuck on our way to the cabin. We'd never gone to that part of the state before and I didn't know what to expect. We aren't seasoned snow people, living here. It hardly ever snows, and when it does the whole city freaks out and shuts down, even for an inch or two. Fortunately for us, the roads were all clear for our drive. 

The cabin was perfect; very cozy with handmade quilts, and a bit rustic with knotty pine walls. We kept the wood stove burning while we played darts, put together puzzles, and watched the water go by outside. We took a walk by the river and the kids delighted in the snow on the ground. 

To get a break from the eternal task of cooking all the time, we got a pizza and kale salad the first night, and some local barbecue the second night. I brought a lemon poppyseed loaf that I had baked ahead. It was the perfect thing to eat while sipping a quiet cup of tea in the morning while everyone else slept. I'm always an early riser and sleeping somewhere different exacerbates it. I woke up at 4:15 both mornings. The last morning I was up early enough to catch the full moon before it slipped behind the hills. 

Sunday, August 9, 2020

An Escape

 

That's me!












I love this little dogwood type flower that was all over.


Huckleberry Cheesecake Ice Cream 

The highlight of July (probably the highlight of 2020 so far) was a camping trip to Lost Lake near Hood River, Oregon. I won't say it was relaxing, because camping is never relaxing for me, but it was a nice change from being home. It was great to be somewhere different and it's always wonderful to be surrounded by nature. We borrowed a friend's kayak and had so much fun taking turns with it on the lake. We are definitely going to become kayak people. 

I felt fairly safe as camping is an outdoor activity, but there were reminders everywhere of COVID-19. Most people were wearing masks in public spaces, but not everyone. Nothing feels normal this year. 

I prepped a bunch of food in advance. For the first night we kept it easy and did hotdogs and burgers, s'mores too. I mixed and shaped the burgers the night before. The second night we had steak, melon, and garlic bread (pre-made garlic bread from the grocery store). The leftover steak was so good with eggs the next morning for breakfast. The last evening we had beef bulgogi and rice, recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen's Bulgogi Tacos in Smitten Kitchen Everyday. I cooked and mixed it up at home and warmed it up in a cast-iron skillet in camp. We spent our last day there kayaking so we were very tired and hungry when we got back to camp. It was so nice to have something I could just heat and eat. For lunches I made an antipasto pasta salad from Gimme Some Oven. I love how adaptable it is. It made an enormous amount. Next time I will cut the recipe in half. 

This trip reminded me to make everything as easy as possible for a camping trip. Buy the baby carrots, don't bring the carrots from the CSA no matter how beautiful they are. It sounds lazy but being able to grab a handful of carrots versus having to peel and chop them while dirtying a cutting board, knife and peeler in the process can make me choose to leave the carrots in the cooler. Easy wins the day! 


Friday, August 7, 2020

July
















Lots of cooking, baking and eating here this summer. 

I baked some sourdough loaves, a flag cake, and a plum cake. I made pelmeni filled with potatoes and cheese. 

We are part of a CSA and once a week we drive 30 minutes into the country to pick up veggies at the farm. If there's an excess of something a sign will say "take as much of this as you can eat!" There were a few weeks in a row when bok choy was in the all-you-can-eat category. I made weekly dinners of teriyaki chicken meatballs, spicy bok choy, and buttered kohlrabi. Kohlrabi has been the best discovery from the CSA so far. It's a strange looking vegetable that tastes like broccoli stems. I peel it, slice it into sticks and steam it. I told the kids it was broccoli stems (they both love broccoli) and they gobbled it up. After dinner  I told them it was actually kohlrabi and now there's another veggie that they eat!