Thursday, September 30, 2010

Smell and taste these hops!

Tanks bought in Germany and then trucked up I-5.

Bottling one six pack every second.

Tom Bunger:  Do you want this for your house?

Emil and I took a tour of Deschutes Brewery today.  Amazing!  They are the #1 brewer in Oregon, #6 Craft Brewer in America, and the #13 Brewer in the United States.  Yes, I was listening to the tour and thinking how much Tom Bunger needs to visit, so we can go here.  We tasted several good beers, including the Black Butte XXII.  Much tastier once it warms up.

I made homemade oregano and parmesan focaccia bread yesterday.  Whipped up some turkey meatballs tonight.  They are super easy to make.  Ground turkey, one egg, a couple of handfuls of seasoned breadcrumbs, couple of tablespoons of pesto.  I brown them in a little olive oil, then dump in some Classico Cabernet Marinara Spaghetti Sauce.  Perfect to go with the focaccia.  I also mowed the lawn today, so extra activity points from Weight Watchers.  Hand over another breadstick, please.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We fished last night at dusk near Steelhead Falls, and Emil caught a fish.  It was a beautiful hot night, and it gave me a chance to use my new headlamp (thanks to United Way generous staff and REI).

This morning, we went back to fish again a little downstream.  Two brief hook ups for me, sunburnt and three hours later, we headed back home for some shade and cooler temps. 

Here is a pic of Emil fishing:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Birthday Boy doing chores

Digging out some of the ditch

The neighbor's gate

Opening our gate

Water flowing through
We are watering our pasture with the Deschutes River.  How cool is that??  Seriously, water is a big deal around here, and we receive our share every nine days for nine hours.  Today, we opened the water gate and watched it run through the ditch and spread into the pasture.  It was amazing how fast it traveled just in 30 minutes.

For the birthday fete, we had lunch at Zydeco in Bend.  It was delicious!  We splurged on an order of corn and artichoke fritters for an appetizer.  Then shopped at REI, Fly and Field, and The Patient Angler.  Thanks to everyone for the warm wishes to Emil!
It's such a small world!  I went to Jazzercise this morning (free week trial), and the instructor is from Anchorage.  She moved here on August 1, AND her husband works for Doyon Drilling, one of my favorite companies who I worked with at United Way.  We chatted for a bit, and her husband stopped by as well.  I told him to tell Mona hello for me when he flies back up for his hitch tomorrow.  Such a small world!

Today is Emil's birthday!  I baked him a triple chocolate cake last night.  We are headed into Bend for lunch and shopping.  Then, we will be home tonight to open the gate for irrigation water and see how that whole process works.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My first attempt at bread is pictured above.  I am reading a delightful book called "Ratio:  The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking" by Michael Ruhlman, from my good friend, Mary Ann Bush.  The first chapter was the ratio to making bread, so I gave it a try today.  It did seem a little time consuming to whip up the bread, let it rise, shape it, and proof it, but it was definitely worth it.  I will make bread again and throw in some roasted garlic next time.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rock climbers

To quote my good friend, Lori...  "Gorgeous!"

Monkey Face

Went for a hike today at Smith Rock State Park.  It's about 5 miles from our house.  Beautiful!  We also splurged and split a Sonic Blast (Erica, I thought of you!).
Fast little chicken!
How many Weight Watcher Activity Points for mucking out two chicken coops?  Enough for a Sonic Milkshake? 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Peeled grapes
Beulah, peel me a grape.
~ Mae West

Speaking of peeling grapes, we have a lovely grapevine on the corner of our deck.  One of the homeowners' children said her Mom makes grape pie.  Well, I had to give that a try! 

I found a grape pie recipe, courtesy of an annual grape festival.  My first surprise was purple grapes have light green guts.  For some reason, I assumed they would be purple.  Interesting.  Peeling the grapes was easy!  Just pinch the opposite side of the grape where it's attached to the stem.  Four cups didn't take long.

The pie is good, although I cut back on the sugar after reading reviewer comments.  Here are a couple of pictures:

Ready for the oven

Baked and ready to eat!

1.  Chickens are very sneaky.
2.  Two chickens overpowered me and ran out of the coop when I was checking for eggs.

So, we talked to the homeowners the other day.  I mentioned only two chickens are laying eggs, and they gave me a funny explanation.  Turns out chickens sometimes forget where to lay eggs, so they need reminded.  They suggested we keep them in the coop for a couple of days, so they will lay in there.  This is day two, and I've only collected one egg.  I've also looked around the yard, kind of a treasure hunt for a stockpile of eggs, and no luck. 

While I was checking for eggs yesterday, two light brown chickens overpowered me and ran out to the yard.  Okay, they didn't really overpower me, they just run reaallllyyy fast.  Emil and I devised a plan to corner them back into the coop.  Guess what? All they did was run around the yard in different directions with Emil trying to run after them.  If I only had my video camera....

Anyway, I'll keep you posted on the great egg hunt.  Here is a picture of the mountains taken from our back deck:

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Most of you know my brother, Tom is over in Afghanistan working as a contractor since business is slow in Greenville, South Carolina.  I've been sending him fun care packages that include snacks, clothing, and other requested items.  Now that we are settled in, I am sending him a package today.  It contains homemade biscotti.  The recipe below is courtesy of Epicurious, one of my go to websites for recipes.

Double Chocolate Walnut Biscotti

2 c. flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
3/4 stick (6 T) unsalted butter, softened
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. chopped walnuts or almonds
3/4 c. chocolate chips
Confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a large baking sheet or use a silpat.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.  In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and beat together.  Stir in flour mixture to form a dough (a little crumbly).  Stir in nuts and chocolate chips.

On prepared baking sheet with floured hands, form dough into two slightly flattened logs, about 8 inches long by 2 inches wide.  Sprinkle with confectioners sugar.  Bake logs 35 minutes or until slightly firm to the touch.  Cool for 5 minutes.

On a cutting board, cut biscotti diagonally into 3/4 inch slices.  Arrange cut side down on baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 8 minutes. 

I like this recipe because it's easy to make, and I generally have all of the ingredients on hand.  If you like your biscotti a little more moist, don't bake it the second time and shave off a few minutes on the cooking time.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Score!  I finally caught a fish here on the Deschutes River.  Third trip to Steelhead Falls.  Here are a couple of pics from our day:

10 inch rainbow trout

Monday, September 20, 2010

While Emil went on his first bike ride tonight, I made a chocolate pudding pie.  I guess I am a little homesick for South Carolina, so I decided to make the pie that my Mother makes often.  She would make it at major holidays for Patti, my sister-in-law.  She loves chocolate!

I've actually never made the pie before, so I had to read a few directions on the pie crust and pudding box.  Basically, bake the pie crust (poke holes in the unbaked crust), and then let it cool completely.  While it cools, cook up the chocolate pudding and then pour it in the crust.  Takes about 3 hours to set.  Mother always tops it with Cool Whip, which I forgot to buy at the store today.  Emil gave it a thumbs up even without the Cool Whip.
You may gasp when you read this next sentence, so there's your warning.  I have only used a lawnmower once in my life.  Probably because my Dad always mowed the lawn, and my job was to crawl around with the hand trimmer, while listening to my walkman player.  Cool.

So, both mowers here needed a little work, and it's been raining.  The grass is super high.  Today, we went to the store in town to ask about a new carburetor for one of the mowers and ended up buying a $75 used mower.  I was excited to mow the grass.  That's right, folks.  Here are a couple of pics:


Spumoni the kitty.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Greek Shrimp with Orzo

10 oz uncooked orzo
Olive oil
3/4 c. red or yellow onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
28 oz. canned diced tomatoes
1 t. oregano
3/4 lb. shrimp, tails off and deveined
1/4 c. fresh basil, chopped
Crumbled feta cheese

Cook orzo in salted boiling water according to directions.  Drain and set aside.  While pasta is cooking, saute onion, green pepper and garlic in olive oil in a large frying pan.  Cook until soft, about 3 minutes.  Add tomatoes and oregano; bring to a simmer.  Add shrimp.  Cook about 5 minutes until they turn pink.  Spoon cooked orzo in pan and combine.  Remove from heat, add basil.  To serve, spoon serving of pasta and shrimp mixture into a bowl and top with feta cheese.

I borrowed this recipe from Weight Watchers, and it's 7 points.  Delish!  I served it with garlic bread and salad.

Today was a good day on the farm.  Little Red, one of the chickens, laid an egg, so that's two in a row for her.  Emil worked on the lawnmower and diagnosed a carburetor problem.  I started a fire and burned our paper/cardboard and pulled weeds. 

BIG NEWS:  My Uncle Ron and Grandma are coming to visit!  We are looking forward to exploring Redmond and Bend with them.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Today, we relaxed and took a day off from housework and chores.  After picking up The Source Weekly Entertainment paper for Bend, we saw several festivals scheduled for this weekend.

First stop: Bend Fall Festival.  Food booths galore, live music, arts and crafts.  We picked up a plate of yakisoba noodles with teriyaki chicken from the vendor below.  The thigh pieces were served on a kabob stick and were tender and very flavorful.  The noodles were mounded on the plate and perfectly seasoned. 

One vendor in particular stood out.  Guten Tag Bags.  Handmade here in Oregon, and they are SO CUTE.  I already googled them, and she sells them on  I'll have to pick up a bag from her.

Second stop:  Farmers Market over at Northwest Crossing.  It was small and catered to an upscale crowd.  Many of the vendors sold organic beef and goat.  Two bakery vendors, veggie vendor and a fruit vendor.  We picked up two peaches grown in Tacoma (shout out to Tom Bunger).

Final stop:  Bendistillery's 15th Anniversary Party. The ad in the The Source promised free food, free tastings of spirits, live music and cyclocross.  Wait.. what?  They weren't kidding.  Bendistillery is the first organic vodka and gin distillery in the world. It's located on a large farm off Highway 20.  They have several award winning products, and we took a short tour of the property.  Very impressive.. they are going to build a greenhouse to grow peppers for their pepper infused vodka and will grow beets for sugar.  Wow.  Here are a few pictures of the cyclocross and peppers marinating:

It was a fun day, despite a little rain.  Back at the farm, we collected two beautiful brown eggs.  Just in time for a little Sunday baking if the rain continues tomorrow.

Next items on my checklist:  either join the gym or pick up a step and exercise DVDs (thanks to Lori Moore for the great idea), make a wish list of places to eat in Bend and Redmond (I have a list for Portland, thank you Spencer!), and work on my book.  I also still need to try and relax a little instead of running around every minute of the day cleaning, cooking, worrying and more.  Any tips on how to relax? 

Blueberry Pudding Cake

Great for breakfast (coffee cake texture) or topped with ice cream for dessert.

1/3 c. plus 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. water
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. cornstarch
2 1/2 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 3/4 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 egg
1/2 c. whole milk
1 stick (1/2 c.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 t. vanilla

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Butter a 9-inch square baking pan.

Stir together 1/3 cup sugar with water, lemon juice, and cornstarch in a small saucepan, then stir in blueberries. Bring to a simmer, then simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a medium bowl.

Whisk together egg, milk, butter, and vanilla in a large bowl, then add flour mixture, whisking until just combined.

Spoon batter into baking pan, spreading evenly, then pour blueberry mixture evenly over batter (berries will sink). Bake until a knife inserted into center of cake portion comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes.

This recipe comes from Gourmet magazine.  I made it last night with frozen blueberries from Costco, and it was great!

Lots of liquid, but don't worry!  It will bake in.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Here are a couple of pictures of the chickens.  No eggs today yet, but I am hopeful.  Not sure why only two of the chickens are laying eggs.  I am reading "Storey's Guide to Raising Poultry" to find out.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I made my favorite turkey meatloaf tonight.  It tastes great, and your hands don't get dirty mixing it.  The recipe is from Epicurious, but I've made some modifications (I know, big surprise).

Turkey Meatloaf

1 1/2 c. chopped onions
1 T. minced garlic
2-3 T. olive oil
2 medium carrots, diced finely
Couple of good handfuls of crimini mushrooms, chopped finely (can leave out if you don't like shrooms, just increase onions and carrots a bit)
Salt and pepper
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
2 T. coarse dijon mustard
Lots of ketchup
1 c. panko
2/3 c. milk
2 eggs
1 pack ground turkey

Note:  You will need a meat thermometer or instant read thermometer

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a glass or aluminum pan (rectangular 11 x 7 or so).

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil in a skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  Add carrot and cook about 3 minutes.  Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated and all veggies are tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Stir in Worcestershire sauce, coarse dijon mustard and 3 good squeezes of ketchup.  Transfer veggies to a big bowl and let cool 10 minutes.

This round does not have mushrooms, as the store was out of crimini!

Stir together panko and milk in a bowl and let sit for 5 minutes.  Add this to vegetables.  Then add eggs to vegetables.  Finally, add turkey and another round of salt and pepper.  Use wooden spoon to stir everything together, then dump into the pan and shape with the spoon , leaving 1-2 inches open on the sides.  Cover the whole dang loaf with ketchup (including the sides), and bake for 50-55 minutes or until thermometer inserted reached 170 degrees.  Let meatloaf stand for 5 minutes.  Then, you all can fight for the end pieces.  I serve this with cheesy polenta and a green salad.  Enjoy!

Raspberry Muffins

3 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1 t. baking powder
3 t. cinnamon
3 eggs
1 c. canola or vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 c. raspberries (fresh or frozen)
3 t. vanilla
1 c. chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.  Stir in eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla and nuts. Mixture will be very thick.  Fold in raspberries as best you can.

Spoon into greased muffin pan.  Fill to the top, as they don't rise much at all.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, using the toothpick test to check doneness.  Makes about 24 muffins.  P.S.  They freeze well.

Miscellaneous News

Llamas:  Sad to report that Nitro became sick before we left and had to be put down.  He was 17 years old, and we miss him!  I already had a reserved spot for them on our Christmas card.  Since llamas are social animals, Santana went to live down the street with some fellow llamas.

The drive here: Want to take a scenic road trip?  How about 2760 miles to Redmond from Anchorage?  I can tell you where all the good rest stops and hotels are along the way.  Seriously, if you want to come visit, please do!  We can hit Deschutes Brewery or the other seven breweries in Bend.  I will also let you collect eggs twice a day from the chickens. 

Finally, I want to share the best video ever with you all.  My best friends in Anchorage made it for me as a parting gift.  Please click on the link below to view.

It's funny, sweet and so creative!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It was a busy day today on the farm. I collected one egg from the chicken coop, cleaned up the coop and surrounding areas, swept off the wrap-around porch, watered plants and more. Much different type of work than several weeks ago when I was gearing up for the United Way Campaign. I miss everyone there so much! Plus, those daily runs to Kaladi in the mornings.... hello Kaladi Latte.

We visited True Value Hardware and Fin and Fire flyfishing shop in Redmond. Secured non-resident fishing licenses, picked up some streamers, nymphs and a guide to fishing Central Oregon. Also chatted with some avid fisherman who gladly pointed out where to fish. They all said that we could fish a different spot each day of the year close by, and it would never be the same spot twice. Very cool, indeed.

I've never lived in a state with a bottle deposit, so we investigated one center today at Fred Meyer. The machine jammed a lot, and there were several people in line. We will venture back in the early morning to test it out. I saw several Moms with kids push a cart up full of coke cans or beer bottles.

Our first fishing trip was to Steelhead Falls near Crooked Creek Ranch. It's part of the Deschutes River, and we were told to fish at dusk and bring headlamps. Okay.... Emil caught an 11 inch rainbow using a Conehead Flashabu leech.