Sunday, April 24, 2011

Birthday Bonanza

It's been a lovely birthday, and thank you for all the calls and cards!  We went to church this morning and stopped on the way home for our favorite stuffed hashbrowns at Shari's Restaurant.  After completing some yardwork, we went to see "Water for Elephants" at Sisters Movie House.  I was worried about the movie since I loved the book, but they did a pretty decent adaptation.  Definitely take some tissues when you see it.

For dinner, I tried out a new recipe...Bistro Style Beef Shortribs.  Course, I changed up the recipe after reading through it, and the outcome was delicious.  The picture doesn't really do it justice.  The broth was amazing.  Scalloped potatoes (recipe from Tyler Florence) and pickled jalapeno deviled eggs rounded out the meal.  No room for dessert...pineapple pie (thanks, Erica!).

Fresh chicken eggs!

My very first meringue

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Pork Belly Obsession

My pork belly obsession began with Top Chef two seasons ago when I saw Kevin, one of the chefs, use it in every single meal.  We finally had pork belly sliders at Level One.  Delicious!  Just recently, I had an amazing pork belly BLT at Rockin' Daves.

This week, we had dinner at Terrebonne Depot, just a few miles from our house.  I read in a magazine about their pork belly lettuce wraps.  What a unique twist!  They were delicious, but I wished I had more toppings to go in them.  The dinner special was homemade meatloaf topped with pork belly.  My lucky day!  Course, my Weight Watchers is suffering, but we did split everything, including two desserts.  Hee Hee.

Banana Chocolate Bread Pudding - I already downloaded a recipe and will make it next week!

Meatloaf topped with pork belly

Pork belly lettuce wraps

Rum cake with AMAZING cherries

Easter/my birthday is tomorrow, and we have some fun stuff planned.  Most importantly, I am making braised short ribs, scalloped taters, and blueberry muffins.  I woke up early this morning and whipped up a pineapple pie to go along with it.

Emil and I biked about 7.5 miles today.  That's enough to cancel out one piece of pie, I think.....

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Summer Plans

What are your summer plans?  When are you coming back to Alaska?  Have you found a permanent job yet?  Lately, these are the most popular questions asked via email, in person, on Facebook and over text.  Course, we've been kicking around some ideas, and I want to share them with you.

1.  Bike ride to Ohio and write a book about it, called The O to O Ride.  This is probably off the table since I don't have a road bike.  And, there may be big hills on the way to Ohio. 

2.  Bike ride to Colorado.  There's a wedding in August we would like to attend.  I know there are really big hills there since I used to live in good ol' Georgetown, up on I-70 on the way to Summit County.

3.  Load the vans with float tubes, mountain bikes, flyrods, and a tent.  Travel the, bike and visit my family.

4.  Apply for jobs here and fish as often as possible.  Also, master going uphill on my mountain bike.  On Sunday, I practiced at the Dry Canyon as Emil coached me.  Fell off four times, but still kept trying.  I will master hills.  I will master hills.  I will practice on our driveway.  NO WALKING!

Anyone have other ideas?  Something more wild than the ones I listed above?  We do not plan to return to Alaska, other than to pick up our stuff eventually.  Sorry, Erica. :)  I sure appreciate you asking me several times...makes me feel super missed!

Guess we do have to make up our minds soon, as plans need to be made.  Will keep you all posted!

P.S.  Spring is almost here.  I've cut the grass once already.  Woo HOO!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My Top Five Highlights From This Week

1.  Picked up my new blue bike named "Bonita."   I'll save up for some cute bike shorts and hit the trails soon.
2.  Had dinner at a darling restaurant, Jackson's Corner.  It's been on my list to try since Christmas.
3.  Streamed episode one of Top Chef Masters.  Ruth Reichl is one of the judges.  I ADORE her.  I've read most of her books.  She is fantastic, and I miss reading her Editor Notes in Gourmet magazine.
4.  Emil suddenly has lots of free time on his hands.  That means he will finish editing my book, so I can send it on to my two willing and awesome beta readers.
5.  I can now find Costco and Old Navy without a GPS.

P.S.  Rockchucks are everywhere right now!  I also saw a peacock on the side of the road this morning on the way to the gym.  Gorgeous colors!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rockin' Daves

Okay, my favorite sandwich is the Captain Jack Sparrow from Brother Jon's.  Hands down.  I probably won't stray and order any other sandwich from there.  My number two favorite is the Pork Belly BLT from Rockin' Daves.

We went there for lunch today, and it was FANTASTIC!  Dave is super cute!  I heard him on the radio several days ago, and he LOVES pork belly.  Sorry, my picture doesn't do it justice.  Pork belly, romaine lettuce, tomato, soft wheat bread, and ranch cream cheese. 

It's definitely going to be one of my go to places from now on.  I'll swing in and try out one of their famous bagels next week..or tomorrow.
Food and Games

We've been eating some good meals at night and engaging in Mexican Train Dominoes.  What a fun game!

Cherries with the most amazing crust/topping with ice cream.  THANK YOU for making it, Teri!

Guess which train is mine

Parmesan Crusted Pork Chop via Giada on Food Network

The weather was sunny and blue yesterday in Sisters.  Checked out a wonderful art gallery.

Attached to that gallery is the Jennifer Lake Gallery.  We chatted with her, and she has a keen sense of humor and is super friendly.

Last day with our dear friends, Teri & Troy!  We will miss seeing them this summer in Soldotna and fishing for salmon!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Time with good friends

Troy and Teri arrived yesterday, and it's been a grand ol'time so far.  We had a leisurely dinner and caught up on all the gossip.  Heard about their time spent in Florida, Texas and Death Valley.  Sounds pretty hot and fun!

Today, we hit the REI sale and bought me a mountain bike!  Now, I can fly down the trails with Emil.  Or try to keep up with him.  Or at least ride in the same car to the trailhead.

My new sweet ride will arrive on Friday!

A visit to Bend with friends is not complete without a trip to Brother Jon's Public House.  Kristen greeted us warmly like old pals, and I will never stray again from ordering the Captain Jack Sparrow with fries.  It never lets me down.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Good people and good times

"We flew kites in the pasture."  Six words I never thought I would say!

Mariko and Chris are here visiting, and they arrived on Tuesday afternoon.  It was windy and a little chilly.  But, we headed down to the pasture and flew two kites that Chris brought along with him.  What fun!  A little more wind, and my feet would have lifted off the ground.

Ready to launch

Two string kite

Am I doing it right?

I LOVE this picture!
We spent yesterday in Sisters, despite on and off flurries.  Checked out some new stores, tried on some cowboy boots, and enjoyed the afternoon.  Today, we had lunch at Brother Jon's, my current favorite restaurant.  Kristen, the server remembered my name, and she is super friendly.  I made myself try a new sammy even though I would've been perfectly happy with the Captain Jack Sparrow.

BLT with Smoked Chicken and Split Pea Soup

Philly Cheesesteak

My Reuben with the BEST fries
It's been a super visit!  I will be sorry to see them go.  Our next group of company arrives on Saturday.  More exploring, good food, and memorable times to come.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

I am known for overdoing it when it comes to trying out a new hobby, hiking, or other random things.  My backside is a little sore from yesterday's five mile road ride.  Today, we started out the morning riding the Dry Canyon (7.7 miles) in Redmond.  Lovely weather, saw a rockchuck and several cats in the fields.

Headed into Bend for a snack...tried out Kebaba restaurant.  Very good!

Vegetarian Mezze
After our snack,we headed to Phil's trail area for some mountain biking.  Emil took it easy on me since I've never mountain biked before, and we only did two miles on Bend's trail.  It was a great time going downhill....

Tonight, I'll sleep well, as it's a super busy week ahead! 

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Full Weekend, and it's only Saturday!

Yesterday was a busy day at work, plus running several errands.  I am behind in sending care packages to my brother, Tom, who is in Afghanistan.  So, I baked in the evening and made him Peanut and Chocolate Chip Blondies.  They are one of my favorite desserts.  Blondie Recipe

I loaded his care package with candy, homemade banana bread, and wet wipes (his most requested item for battling dust).

Then I did some menu planning for our next round of guests, Mariko and Chris.  She is the one of the best cooks I know, so I want to try out some new recipes and cook outside my comfort zone.  I'll take some pics of the food if it all turns out!

Today, I rented a bike from Sunnyside Sports, so we could bike around Old Mill.  The last time I biked was with Brian Shea at Eklutna Lake, and my bike was a Huffy from Walmart.  Not exactly good for the trail or an inexperienced biker.  It was a memorable day of biking that included him promising to stop for ice cream on the way home. As I recall, he chose to pass by the ice cream shop, and we went to Sagaya, bought swordfish and had an impromptu party at his place.  Ahhh...the sweet cabin in Fairview.

Biking around the parking lot and trails

We ended the day at a cute little smoothie place with a HUGE menu.  I'll be back to try the peanut butter and jelly smoothie.  One of the things I LOVE about Bend is the retail sector...everyone is super friendly.  When you enter their establishment, they ask, "what are you guys up to today?" instead of saying hi, how are you.  It makes me feel instantly at ease, and suddenly I am telling them what we're doing and chatting away like old friends. 

Tomorrow, we plan to bike the Dry Canyon here in Redmond and maybe return to Old Mill.  Hope your weekend is going well!